Before Ethan was born I was so scared about how the birthing process would play out. People like to bombard pregnant women with the horror stories of their own birth experiences. Smiling and nodding through nine months of the gory details of other peoples’ nether regions is sort of a pregnancy rite of passage.

As it turns out (you can read Ethan’s birth story here), I birth babies fairly easily, so I wasn’t too worried about what giving birth would be like this time. My biggest fear was giving birth too quickly, as Ethan’s labor was less than three hours long and he was out in under five minutes of pushing. My whole pregnancy this time seemed to revolve around the logistics of go time, who would watch Ethan? Would we make it to the hospital in time? After all, everyone told us that second babies come faster. Would Roy be cool delivering our baby in the living room if need be?

He seemed pretty down with the idea, but I have a “no looking below the belt during labor” policy, so that wasn’t my favorite option. And so, in an effort to control the uncontrollable, I spoke with my midwives about induction. I’d heard horror stories about long, painful induced labors that ended in distressed babies and scared mamas, but I also didn’t want to give birth in my living room, so I decided it might be worth the risks in our case. I decided that March 18th would be our daughter’s birthday.

Turns out a lot of other babies wanted to be born on March 18th and the morning of my scheduled induction, I got a call from my midwife apologizing profusely, but asking if I could come in the next day—they were having a baby boom, and there were no L&D rooms available.

I’m a firm believer in listening when the universe speaks to you, so I just laughed it off, and The Fella and I went out for pancakes and enjoyed a nice little day off together while Ethan was at preschool.

Guess what happened next?

That night, a few minutes after Ethan cried from his bed to come to sleep with us, I turned over felt a pop in my abdomen and a gush of (definitely not anything like) water. It was actually more viscous than water, a little gooey. I was basically leaking Aloe. Yeah, aloe, let’s go with that. Anyhoo, I turned over in bed, looked over Ethan to Roy, and said, “I think my water broke.” And then went to the bathroom to put on one of those sexy adult diapers I had stocked up on for the postpartum period.

I wasn’t having any contractions yet, but I didn’t actually feel my contractions all that much with Ethan, at least not until he was crowning, so I decided to call the midwife on duty at the hospital. I was hoping she’d say I could wait to come in until after I dropped Ethan off at school, but she said because I had a history of fast labors she wanted me there ASAP, so we called our friends to come watch our little man and I took a shower.

I’d imagined things being far more harried and chaotic this time around, but it all felt very calm, even a little euphoric. But that could just be the hormones.

When my friend Eddie came in the door, to watch our little man, Ethan announced, “Hi Eddie, Mommy’s water broke!” And that absolutely made my night. I was so worried about leaving my little man and coming back with a new baby, but he was so psyched about the process that I felt pretty calm about leaving him and knew that he’d be spending his day with his favorite aunts and uncles while we were at the hospital.

We drove to the hospital and waited…and waited…and waited. I was 4cm dilated when I got to the hospital around 4am, and I was 4cm dilated eleven hours later when we finally made the call to start a Pitocin drip.

This is what I look like when I’m in labor.

I didn’t have Pitocin with Ethan, so I wasn’t sure what I was in for (for those of you who aren’t hip to the L&D drug lexicon, Pitocin is synthetic Oxytocin, which is a hormone required for labor, it helps bring on contractions if your labor isn’t progressing particularly quickly), but this was basically our plan of action for my induction anyway, so I was prepared for an assisted labor this go around. Honestly, I didn’t feel like the Pitocin contractions were all that much more painful than my regular contractions, but when they started speeding up I decided to get an epidural. I didn’t have one with Ethan (I tried, they put it in wrong and it didn’t work, I gave birth to him standing up and felt every single stitch they did afterward!) but was sort of like, “Hey, let’s try this without pain this time and see how it goes.”

It was about 45-minutes from when they started giving me the Pitocin that I was fully dilated and ready to go, so it really did progress things very quickly for me. Even though I had the epidural I still felt some pressure in my abdomen so they checked me out and I was basically ready to push about 10-minutes after I got the epidural. Iris, like her bro, was a fast delivery, about three pushes, under five minutes, and out came a baby with a full head of black hair!

Also, the epidural was great. No pain! None. Not any. Zero. Zip. And Iris was totally fine, not lethargic at all and a great eater from the getgo, which is one of the things people worry about with epidurals.

Iris Ariel Schwartz was born at 4:25pm on March 19th, weighing 7lbs, 120z. 

And this is what I look like right after I give birth.

They handed her to me and I thought, “Well, this is not what I was expecting.” Since my only other experience had wielded a blond, mostly bald, tiny Elmer Fuddish looking boy.

She was also screaming her head off, two inches taller than her brother was and a pound and a half heavier. From the very beginning, Iris has been totally different from her big bro.

She’s really a very chill baby. If she’s unhappy about something she’ll let you know, but as soon as you fix it she calms down. She likes being held, but also prefers to put herself to sleep (Ethan still needs to be holding me to fall asleep). She eats like a champ and is growing like a weed. At seven weeks old she’s almost ready for 3-6 month clothes. And thank the heavens, she’s an awesome sleeper.

Our transition to a family of four has been much, much gentler than I expected it to be. Ethan adores his little sister, and we are loving our perfectly complete little family.