On June 26, 2022, we welcomed our second child into the world, Ellie Mae Tsai. She is 7 weeks old and we are truly savoring all the newborn goodness this time around. She is the sweetest most cuddly baby, and we just stare at her all day and take a million photos of her.
Here is Ellie’s birth story:
39 week appointment:
On June 22nd (Wednesday), I had my 39 week appointment with my midwife. My estimated due date was June 25th, and I was starting to wonder when Ellie would make her appearance. Jack came 5 days before my due date, and this time around, I had zero indication that labor was coming. During my appointment, my blood pressure was high (130-140/95) for the first time in my life and I found out through a quick ultrasound that baby was posterior (OP/occiput posterior). I was discouraged to learn that she was sitting posterior (this was how Jack was delivered, and I had a hard time pushing him out), but I was more worried about my blood pressure, and immediately went to get a blood pressure machine from Target. I was told to practice the Spinning Babies maneuvers, particularly the Sims position, and start curb walking to shimmy baby into a better position ASAP. So for the next few evenings, I was that humongous swollen pregnant girl looking like a crazy person curb walking up and down the street with Yung.
June 24, 2022
Happy 31st Birthday to my little brother, Aaron! 🙂 I woke up this morning with bright red blood and mucus in my underwear. We had a miscarriage in early 2021, and that experienced changed my attitude towards this pregnancy. For 9 months, every time I went to the bathroom, I was checking for blood, and if I couldn’t remember when I felt the baby move last, I would worry and go drink a bunch of iced water. So needless to say, when I saw blood, I knew “bloody show” was normal, but I went ahead and woke my midwife up at 6am to report my symptoms. I also texted my best labor and delivery nurse friend, Kristina, to get her thoughts. I ended up monitoring my bleeding, which stopped, and we all chalked it up to me losing my mucus plug. I had Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day (tightening, but no pain), and was very productive with my mom. We cleaned and organized and I felt good about the state of my house and felt like I was ready for the baby. More curb walking that night.
June 25, 2022
Today, I woke up with painful contractions, and hung out all day. Yung took Jack on several adventures to the playground and Target, while I rested and tried to stay cool. We are having an incredibly hot summer in Dallas with temperatures reaching 100+F nearly everyday. My contractions were painful, but they were inconsistent, sometimes coming every 30 minutes, and sometimes longer/shorter. I knew something was wrong because these contractions were not progressing. I did a lot of leaning over counters and chairs, hands and knees, and different side lying positions. Yung and I went to bed around 9:30pm-10pm, and my contractions were painful, but still nothing consistent enough to start timing.
Around 12:30am, my contractions started coming closer together, and I decided to start timing them. They were about 4-5 minutes apart, and I got out of bed and got in the shower. Between 1am and 1:30am, I vomited twice, started getting chills, and felt very confused because I remembered learning that these were signs of transition, but I thought there was no way was I already that far along. I was still texting Kristina, and finally decided to call my birth center on call number. The student midwife, Maisie answered, and I heard this very strange noise in the background. Maisie confirmed that they were at the birth center with a mom who was pushing. To be very honest, the screaming gave me a little apprehension and it made me nervous. She told me the midwife on call would call me back soon. At that point, my contractions were still very inconsistent–some coming closer and some further apart. I decided it was time to wake Yung up and tell him I think it was maybe go time. Elizabeth, one of the midwives called back and I explained the situation. She told me to come to the birth center in about an hour. I told her we were planning to leave now. If you ask Yung, he will tell you that I had my actress voice on and on the phone, sounded like everything was fine, but in reality, I was not okay.
Yung started running around the house putting our things in the car. We had our bag, but the birth center also requires that you bring snacks, labor soup, and juice. By the time I had walked out of our room and made my way to the car, the contractions had really picked up–very painful and very close together. By the time I was in our driveway, I felt like I had to poop, and my first thought was let me go back into the bathroom, and my next thought was…”that couldn’t be the baby, could it?
The Car Ride:
It took about 20 minutes to get to the birth center, but Yung was flying down interstate 75 at 90 mph, so we probably made it there sooner. On the way, it truly felt like we were acting out a scene in a movie. I was screaming and telling him to hurry, which was ridiculous, because how was he supposed to go faster than he already was?! Yung was calling the midwives to confirm the address of the birth center (The clinic and birth center were on the same street, and we forgot to save the address into our phone), I was pinching and squeezing his arm so hard, and all the while, I was pretty sure the baby was very close, but I didn’t say anything to Yung because I didn’t want him to freak out. I was getting the sensation to push, and I thought, “well, I should have a little while. My water hasn’t broken yet.” In that next second, my water broke in the car. Right on the seat of our brand new minivan. After that, I was panicking inside, but there was nothing to do but keep driving. We hit a little traffic in Deep Ellum (2am is when the bars close), but soon enough we pulled up to the birth center.
As soon as we stumbled into the birth center, someone pulled down my shorts, and it was baby time. They started filling up the tub and asking if I wanted to labor in the tub, but unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time. I leaned over on the bed, and after a few short pushes, Ellie was here!! It was such a weird sensation. I know it was painful, but I honestly cannot remember the pain. I barely pushed, and it felt more natural than anything, and she came right out and started crying. They had me reach down and scoop her up and that was that!
We are SO happy that the labor and delivery went smoothly and quickly, but a part of me was sad that we didn’t get to use the birth center to the extent that it was intended for. Yung didn’t get to do any counter pressure or hip squeezes on me. We did so much prep work to have a natural birth, including taking an extensive birth class, practicing different positions to labor in, guided meditation geared specifically for labor/pregnancy, making a playlist, prepping positive affirmations, and so on and so forth. I didn’t get to do any of the squats that I practiced or labor in the tub in my black bralette with people wiping away my sweat and fanning me. Okay, I’m kidding about the last part, but in all seriousness, I am happy with the way it went. We brought home a healthy baby, and that’s all that we could have asked for.
After I got to lay down, this was the pain that I remember. For some reason, the placenta didn’t want to come out, and I experienced a cramp-y sort of contraction-like pain as Ellie was resting on my chest. Birth is so messy. There are fluids everywhere, I’m laying in an awkward position on the bed, completely exposed and writhing in pain. I received an injection of pitocin because I had some moderate/severe bleeding, a dose of cytotec and an oral tincture to help the placenta come out. We did delayed cord clamping, and we finally cut the cord and gave Ellie to Yung so I could focus a little better. In the end, I had to get up and sit on the squatty potty type of thing to birth the placenta into a bowl. We got to look at my placenta and were given a brief lesson on the anatomy of it, and it was disposed.
After all that fun stuff, Yung and I had some time alone to bond with Ellie. She started nursing right away, and she had lots of poop at the birth as well. I drank lots of orange juice and hydrated and ate some snacks. I got to take an herbal bath with Ellie as well, which was so relaxing. The bath contained 3 ingredients that are supposed to promote healing. It smelled like I was bathing in an herbal tea, but it was enjoyable.
Next came the newborn exam and measurements. In the hospital, it is a rush to get the baby checked out, give them the medications/injections, and all that, but it was very relaxed at the birth center. Ellie got a very thorough and gentle exam, received her eye ointment and vitamin K injection, and Yung got to dress her.
We left the birth center 4 hours after we arrived, and it was truly the best thing. It was nice to be able to go home and rest in our bed and not have the usual hustle and bustle of the hospital. We drove home at 6:30am, and thought about getting breakfast tacos on the way back, but then just decided to head straight home. Everything worked out so well, and we got so lucky. We had anxiety about who would care for Jack, how he would get to/from school, who would give him a bath, and all the normal things you prepare for when your toddler has to be left alone, and it turns out, all of that was taken care of. We left home at 2am and got home at 7am. My mom was already here, so she got Jack up and fed him breakfast, and then Yung’s brother came to help during the day.
Here is Jack’s Birth Story
Thank you for reading our story!