It’s taken me a bit longer than anticipated to write this post, but adjusting to being a parent of two babies has been quite an adjustment (a good one, of course!). Two weeks in and Viggo James (pronounced VEE-GO) is such a bundle of sweet love; I look forward to seeing his first smile and getting to know his personality more as the weeks and months go on.
We’ve had so much fun introducing Sidney to Viggo and it’s incredible to see how sweet he is with Viggs; he loves to give him kisses and even calls him ‘Go-go’ on occasion. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything is peachy and easy, nor do I wish to paint that picture; it’s been challenging with Sidney going straight into toddlerhood, which includes screaming at the top of his lungs for fun, tossing the food he doesn’t like on the floor, throwing toys and only wanting mama to put him to bed. We’re not fully in toddler tantrum mode just yet, but I anticipate we’ll get there soon. Send me all your tips!
Anyway, onto the beautiful birth story of Viggo James.
Viggo was born on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 6:36pm. The birth was nothing like I’d imagined it would be, but almost pretty much what I had hoped for: a miraculous, welcome change from Sidney’s birth story.
This story begins the day before on April 9th at around 3pm when I started noticing a slight leak in my underwear. At first, I thought, hot damn, I hope I’m not pissing my pants, but after a few hours I knew that it was more than that. The trickling continued to happen so I called Tony, who was at the grocery store, and told him to come home so we could talk about our next steps.
Now for a brief history, my water had also started leaking with Sidney and I ended up having to be induced as my contractions didn’t start for 24 hours and so I was put on Pitocin, where I went through an almost 40 hour long, horrendous, very traumatic labor. Therefore, the one thing I wanted to avoid was being induced and put on Pitocin.
Fortunately, I had discussed this scenario with my doulas, and was prepared, but that didn’t leave me any less anxious. As soon as Tony got home, we called our doula around 4pm who gave us some evidence based birth information on water breaking. Most of the time, you can be perfectly fine for up to 24 hours after your water breaks so I decided to monitor myself at home and refrained from calling my midwife, as I knew they would likely make me come in. I took my temperature every once in a while and monitored the color of my water leaking.
We decided to call Tony’s parents to give them a head’s up that within the next day we’d be heading to the hospital to meet our baby boy, we just didn’t know exactly when.
After that, we proceeded with our normal evening activities, picking up Sidney from school (he goes 3x per week), making a yummy dinner on the grill, putting Sidney down for bed, making sure everything was packed and ready to go, etc. And then I kinda started freaking out.
I thought to myself, “What if my contractions don’t start on their own?” I couldn’t help but run the scenario through my head over and over again. Being on Pitocin aka being induced, screaming in pain for hours upon hours; I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to go through that again, yet in a way, I knew I could do anything after Sidney’s birth. That I was strong, confident and ready to meet my son. That I was meant for this.
If you’re not familiar with Pitocin, it’s the synthetic hormone of Oxytocin that helps your uterus produce contractions. Unfortunately, it’s just not the same as your body naturally producing the hormone and can create incredibly strong, painful contractions. And since I was planning an unmedicated birth, I wanted to avoid at all costs.
I spent the rest of the night doing exercises off of YouTube, including the Miles Circuit, which is known to help flip sunny side up babies and put them into the right position for birth. Still, I felt nothing. No contractions, no bleeding, no mucus. NOTHING except more water trickling down my legs every so often.
I went to bed around 10:30pm then woke up around midnight and basically laid in bed tossing and turning until 3am waiting for something to happen. I couldn’t sleep, which was even more upsetting because I knew I might have a long road ahead of me and that I’d need all of my energy to make it through. Tony woke up shortly after and so did Sidney (he typically wakes at 5am — fun!). We called my in-laws at 6am on Saturday and told them to come get Sidney as soon as they could and by 7:30am they were at our place.
After that we decided to call our doula again and talk to her about our options. I explained to her that I hadn’t made any progress, and that it had now been 16 hours since my water started leaking, but she helped to reassure me that it was okay and that I had options. We chatted about how I could go into the hospital, or how I could try a few things at home including a breast pump and castor oil. Sex for induction was out of the question because my water had broken and you don’t want to introduce any bacteria once that happens.
Now for those of you not familiar with either natural induction method (castor oil or breast pumping), I’ll briefly explain. Breast pumping can help to produce the hormone oxytocin, which is what your body naturally produces when you have contractions. Castor oil, on the other hand, is a laxative and somewhat of an old wives tale, but it’s been known to bring on labor in women. Some claim it isn’t safe, but there really haven’t been any conclusive studies. The downside is that it can potentially cause stomach upset, diarrhea, etc. so I really was unsure of this one. My nerves were really starting to kick in so I decided to think a bit and try going for a walk.
Around 8am, Tony and I grabbed some french toast at one of our favorite breakfast spots. It was absolutely delicious and I’m SO happy I fueled up. If you’re in Chicago, please go to the Golden Nugget and get their french toast. INCREDIBLE, fat, fluffy and perfectly cinnamony and sweet. While we were at breakfast, I called my friend Kristin, who had successfully used castor oil to induce herself. She had been over 41 weeks and told me that within two hours of taking castor oil she went into labor, and without any side effects. She explained that made scrambled eggs with 2 tablespoons of castor oil and had toast on the side; apparently the trick was getting protein, fat and carbs in. It gave me confidence that perhaps I wouldn’t be shitting my pants after taking it, hah!
We got back to our house around 9am and I decided that it was probably time to call my midwife, but I decided to fib and tell her that my water broke at 3am, instead of 3pm the day before. This would give me more time at home and likely less pressure and stress once I arrived at the hospital. Remember, I had been down this road before. She explained to me the process and that I’d need to head to the hospital by 3pm on Saturday (or what she thought was 12 hours since my water started leaking.) I also decided to ask her what she thought about castor oil and she said she didn’t recommend it because of the digestive upset, but that she hasn’t really seen a ton of people take it. We talked about trying a breast pump first to naturally induce and she said that she would call me back by 1pm to see if I was making any progress.
So what did ya girl do? Try to release some oxytocin hormones at home by putting on The Lucky One — a romantic movie starring Zac Efron, bouncing on an exercise ball and pumping every 30 minutes for an hour or so. If anyone could bring on contractions, it’s that sexy MF Zac Efron.
After 30 minutes, there was still nothing happening contraction wise (damn it Zac), so I figured, screw it — I’m going to try the castor oil. I cooked scrambled eggs with castor oil, then made myself a slice of peanut butter toast and mixed peanut butter with more castor oil. I used 2 tablespoons total and then after eating, decided that I should probably try and take a nap after virtually no sleep the night before.
I laid down at 10:30am and woke suddenly at 12:30pm with a pain in my stomach and thought, I really hope this isn’t gas or stomach pains, but then they continued in a pattern for the next 10 minutes. I thought that it was too good to be true: did castor oil really start my contractions?! Let’s hope this stays!
And they did. They started out 5 minutes apart for the next 20 minutes or so, then very quickly changed to being every 2 minutes apart and lasting around 30-45 seconds. They were coming strong and fast, but still incredibly manageable to what I had experienced with Sidney. I was SO FREAKING EXCITED. Like couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t have to be on pitocin aka the devil’s juice. I was ready and eager to have this baby.
Tony quickly called both our midwife and doula and explained what was happening. My doula suggested heading to the hospital sooner rather than later because with second babies, labor can happen much quicker and tends to go from 0 to 100 on short notice. The midwife told us to pay attention to the intensity of the contractions and come in when they were feeling stronger.
Everything seemed to happen within the blink of an eye. Around 2pm, Tony suggested we get into the bathtub to try and alleviate any discomfort and pain. The contractions were still coming every 1.5-2 minutes and now lasted for 45 seconds. However on a positive note, I felt completely normal in between each contraction — something that never happened for me during Sidney’s labor.
The bath was warm, comforting and felt amazing. We listened to relaxing music and timed the contractions as Tony poured water all over my belly, which by the way, felt amazing. About 20 minutes into the bath, I felt my water break a little more and started to feel some pressure down below. Things were beginning to kick up a notch intensity wise. With each contraction I took deep breaths in and out, closed my eyes and thought about my cervix opening up. It sounds crazy but it was literally all I could think about, and somehow I instinctively knew it was helping.
By 2:45pm, roughly 2 hours after my contractions started, I could tell Tony was getting worried. I finally got out of the bath, sat on the toilet, saw light bleeding and felt another gush of water. I agreed it was time to head to the hospital as the contractions were now 1.5 minutes apart, fairly intense and lasting nearly a minute. Again, none of the contractions felt like they were unbearable like they did when I was in labor with Sidney, therefore I felt like I still had a long road ahead but agreed to head to the hospital to give us time.
We texted our doula to meet us at the hospital and left our house around 3pm. The ride to the hospital was TERRIBLE. Sitting in the seated position with a seatbelt on and feeling every Chicago city street bump was the worst imaginable thing at that moment. I remember screaming in the car and telling Tony to drive carefully but to get us there quickly. Thankfully, we live roughly 10 minutes from the hospital, so we got there around 3:15pm and I hobbled my way into the lobby, doubling over from a contraction or two halfway there. Tony whisked me away in the wheelchair and off we went to labor and delivery.
Once there and checked in, my midwife checked my cervix and told me I was a 4. Hearing that number was somehow both encouraging and devastating to me. With Sidney it took me over 12 hours to get to a 4 and much longer after that to get to a 10. I was worried that this was only the beginning and that somehow I’d be in labor until Sunday. I felt a little panicked, but in another sense, I felt eager that this could all happen very quickly.
And then I suddenly felt dizzy, hot, nauseated and…HUNGRY. I told Tony I needed to eat and drink something because I felt like my blood sugar was low (my body was doing so much work!), so he busted out some jelly beans from Trader Joe’s and I shoveled them into my mouth in between contractions while standing naked next to the hospital bed. So typical of me, hah.
Heather, my doula, who is one of the most supportive people on this earth, was rubbing my back with essential oil blends and reassuring me how great of a job I was doing. I breathed into every contraction, ate my jelly beans and mentally prepared for birth. I would meet my sweet little boy so soon and I was THRILLED, honestly. I leaned into the pain, took the deepest breaths I could gather in my lungs and blew it all out. I held Tony’s hand with one of my hands and rubbed it with the other hand through each contraction. His touch made me feel safe and confident.
Around 4:30pm, my doula suggested we get into the bath or shower to alleviate some pain, and because she knew how much I loved being in the water when I labored with Sidney. I tried the shower for a bit, doing some positions to help open my cervix and then quickly decided to lay on my side in the bath. The contractions began to grow more and more intense and lasted for a minute each, coming every 2 minutes. As the intensity of the contractions grew, so did the pressure in my vagina and near my butt.
I have to say that I never once had the urge to quit or throw in the towel or give up like I did during my first labor. This was such a different feeling. I kept asking my doula if I would know when it would be time to push and she told me I would know, then suggested that I check to see if I could feel the head. She told me that the last few contractions had seemed very intense and like everything was picking up. I was doubtful I’d feel anything at all, but I stuck a finger inside and felt the top of his head. I was in shock. It was almost time to meet my boy.
At 5:45pm, my doula told the nurse to get the midwife and that I could feel his head and immediately the nurses began to get everything ready for delivery and the midwife came swooping in. I quickly got out of the bath, had a few more contractions before I could make it over to the bed and then had my midwife check me. She said I was a 9.5 and that I was ready after just a few more contractions or whenever I felt the urge to push.
This time around, pushing felt harder for me for some reason. Even though I only pushed for roughly 35 minutes, it was truly so exhausting and sometimes even discouraging when you feel like you aren’t making progress.
At one point it felt like one of my ligaments seized up and like someone was breaking my hip/pelvis in half. It was awful. I had to adjust positions a bit and felt some relief. Soon enough we could see his head and after a few more pushes, he was out.
At 6:36pm, approximately 6 hours from the start of my contractions, Tony caught him and cut his umbilical cord and placed him on my chest. I couldn’t believe it.
Viggo James Bucciferro. 8 pounds, 9 ounces of pure perfection. And born at 39 weeks 3 days. My beautiful boy.
Everything about his labor, birth and delivery was so much easier, so much more welcomed. I did have a 2nd degree tear but it was so small that I just needed a few stitches. Recovery has been a world of difference, and for that I am grateful.
So there you have it! That’s the birth story of Viggo James. I’m adjusting to being a mama of two little boys now, but feeling so much love for my family. Thanks for reading — xo.