I’m over the moon to share the Littlest Herrmannito arrived and she’s a GIRL!!! We were shocked in the best possible way. Also as they say, life immediately flipped in the best way, too. A little over a week ago, Emilia arrived making us the perfect trio. She surprised us, but like mom, she’d prefer to be early than late.
I haven’t touched base with you all since I was about a month out, so I figured I’d recap the last month of pregnancy and share the exciting story of how Emmie arrived. Towards the end of pregnancy, you can’t help but feel anxious awaiting the arrival of your little one. Plus, we did not know the gender, which made for an even better surprise!
How were the last few weeks of pregnancy?
To be honest, hard. Although it did not completely surprise me because my body didn’t respond well to pregnancy at all. I started showing signs of labor about a week before baby girl arrived. In fact, we were set to have a party for the new Girl Meets Party studio that we ended up canceling because I wasn’t sure if labor was starting. The last 2 weeks, I had a particularly hard time breathing at night and my back pain was off the charts. The breathing and discomfort made it tough to sleep, but I knew the end was in sight!
When did you go into labor?
Well, this was a complete surprise. We went in for my 38 week appointment. All seemed fine until I mentioned my feet were itchy, which can be a sign of cholestasis. My doctor shared that given I was full-term and exhibiting the signs, it was time to get baby out to be safe. Matt & I were both deer in headlights. Oh my God, we were having a baby. Like today. Luckily, our hospital bag was packed.
She said I was to go right over to the hospital from the office. The funny part is I didn’t even bring my cell phone to the appointment. I forgot it at home. We live in a second floor condo, and when I got to the car realizing I forgot it, I was like oh well. No way am I climbing 2 flights of stairs to get it. Luckily Matt had a work phone & his personal so I used one of those. He dropped me at the hospital and headed home to grab our hospital bag.
Want to know what’s even more funny? I had a dream earlier in the week that our doctor walked into our 38 week appointment and said, “Hey guys! Guess what? We’re having a baby today!” Matt and I even debating on bringing the hospital bag. I ultimately vetoed the idea because I didn’t want to have to carry it back upstairs [the waddle is real].
At any rate, I was induced on a Thursday morning. They did a two-step induction process starting with a crib, which fully opens your cervix [ouch] and then started pictocin to kick-in labor. I’m sharing all of my pro tips on labor & delivery here.
How bad was labor?
Not nearly as bad as I thought it’d be! I was really surprised. The worst part was honestly the crib. It’s essentially a water balloon they insert down there and slowly pump it up. Between that growing and girlfriend head butting my cervix plus contractions every 2-3 minutes, I was DYING. After that though, it was easy.
Pro tip: get the epidural early (if you’re getting one). I was consistently having contractions but only had the pain of a 2 or 3 when I got the epidural. It worked out so well because I could easily sit still while they did their work. It was all over inside of 15 minutes and I swear to God hurt less than a flu shot. I intentionally told them I did not want many details so they shared only what they legally had to. For about 5 minutes, they taped my back. Then, they give you a numbing shot. It’s a teeny prick and you feel a slight warming feeling (seriously not bad at all). After that, the epidural goes in. The worst part was hearing some kind of tapping when the epidural went in, which I simply asked the nurse to chat with me and it was fine. I also learned everyone responds differently to the medication. The epidural actually made me super itchy for about 2 hours afterwards and I couldn’t sleep. Plus, any medication gave me hardcore shakes with teeth chattering. Minor problems to mask the pain though.
From there, I had to wait until 3-4 hours until they broke my water. Then, it was all a waiting game. I only slept 2-3 hours that night because people were in and out so much checking my vitals. Overall, I was pretty comfortable. I felt cramping and was uncomfortable, but was not in any pain. Labor seemed to take forever though. It was a full 14 hours until I was ready to push. At one point my epidural started to wear off, so they gave me more medication. The pain of those contractions was the second worst part of labor, but honestly still not that bad. It was about 45 minutes of nasty pain. Once the new medication kicked in, I was OK.
Delivery was shockingly calm. I had been 10cm for about an hour. The doctor was on her way, but not there yet when the nurse said I could start pushing. Friends was on in the background. No music. Just Matt & the nurse. It was like it was a casual little Friday. The nurse grabbed one leg and Matt the other and I started pushing. Inside of 15 minutes, baby was already starting to debut. The doctor was just walking in at the time [thank God because I was getting a little nervous].
The nurse kept telling me how great I was at pushing, which I thought she was just being nice to encourage me to work hard. Turns out, I finally found out what I’m good at when it comes to labor — delivery! Ha! I delivered Emilia in 29 minutes. She popped right out and I couldn’t believe it. The doctor held her up, and Matt looked at me. I saw the umbilical cord and assumed it was a boy, and he goes, “It’s a girl! We have our girl!” I sobbed my eyes out. I couldn’t believe it. She started crying immediately and I was so relieved.
How’s it going at home?
Shockingly well! I genuinely can’t believe it. Matt’s a really supportive guy in general, but holy cow has he stepped up to the plate. The first few days are definitely stressful, but if you roll with it, it’s OK. First of all, if you’re breastfeeding, your milk doesn’t suddenly appear when the baby appears. It takes a few days. Baby can live off the droplets you produce or you can supplement with formula if that makes you more comfortable.
Also, you’re pretty sore down there. Honestly, it’s like a bad period and like you rode a bike for a day straight. You can do it. It’s not as bad as I expected, but do take it slow and be gentle to your body. Listen to what your body says. I’m a super active person and had 0 interest in getting out of bed the first two days, so I didn’t.
Our first night with Emilia was tough. She was starving. I was trying to breast feed. She was crying because we both weren’t quite knocking it out of the park. So, Matt & I started trading off on holding her. You get through it. While it’s tough, listen to their cries. You’d be amazed at how much you can learn about this tiny human in 48 hours. Also, know that every day gets easier and these are moments you can never replace. Do your best to enjoy them. While I was tired, I was (and still am obviously) so enamored with this little girl that it washed most [not all] of the stress away. It helped a ton to have Matt right by my side every step of the way.
Are you dying without sleep?
Again, definitely not as bad as I thought. I expected for my hormones to crash and I’d be crying all the time going crazy. I, frankly, have never felt better emotionally. Physically, I already feel better than my pregnant-self, so we’re getting there. The key is to figure out how you’ll divide roles with your partner. The hardest time for me is 8pm – 12am. I usually go to bed at 9pm, so when 8pm rolls around, my body starts shutting down for the night. If I can get a stretch of sleep then, I’m good to go over the night hours.
Think about getting 7-8 hours of sleep a day – not at night. It makes a world of difference.
It’s a girl! Can you believe it?
No! Part of me can because deep down I had this weird intuition it was a girl, but I thought I was hormonally insane. It’s funny because the same week I had a dream about my doctor, I had a dream that we had a baby girl with dark hair & blue eyes. That’s exactly what we had… weird, right? I’m still processing how I have this adorable little mini me. She definitely has many of my personality traits (hates being told what to do), but as far as looks, she’s a combo as best I can tell.
What’s been the best part so far?
Spending time as a little family of 3. It seriously has been magical. So magical that we didn’t announce her arrival until now! We’ve soaked in all the fresh newborn moments just us – sharing pictures with family as we feel like it. Little Emmie is the perfect addition to make us a trio. Newborns can be tough, and I don’t want to gloss over the hard moments, but this little girl has made me slow down, relax and savor every moment. She’s just what I needed.
Affectionately known to her friends as Millennial Martha for her love of DIY and decorating, Jen can’t help but pour her heart + soul into everything she touches. She’s loved to entertain since acquiring a table and chairs, and giving gifts is one of her favorite hobbies. Jen is the creator of Girl Meets Party. Her dream is to share her passions with the world in hopes to inspire others by making the seemingly unattainable attainable.