Career & Freelancing
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I'm Audrey, a copywriter with a heavy obsession with iced coffee, my cute fam, true crime, good wine, and great stories. Let's tell yours!
Three weeks ago we welcomed a new little arrival to our family, Erickson William Skelton, or Sonny as we’re calling him. His birth story is as low-key and chill as he is (well, as low-key as delivering another human CAN be).
He’s truly the most peaceful, sweet, snuggly baby and the perfect addition to our family! I just stare at him and it brings me back to my first baby… mostly because they look almost identical as newborns. The genes are strong over here.
I always love hearing other women’s birth stories, and find them so interesting because each pregnancy, labor, and delivery is SO different (and almost never go like we plan them). So I wanted to take some time to share mine with you today!
Sonny was born on January 10 at 6:50 pm after we elected to have an early induction. My due date was January 13, but I had been dealing with a debilitating and painful side effect of pregnancy that I’m prettttty positive NO ONE talks about… to spare you the *full* glamorous details, it rhymes with “shmemmorhoids.” Yep.
And we’re talking going on MONTHS of them getting increasingly worse leading up to my due date. It was… torture. I couldn’t sit, walk, or lay down comfortably. And before you start wondering, I did all the “things” to try to help heal them: fibrous diet and plenty of fluids, creams, sprays, donut cushions, even prescription strength cream. (More TMI, but I was never constipated and my doctor said the hemms were simply caused by the baby’s weight & positioning causing added “pressure” down there.) And they only grew worse as baby grew bigger. Pregnancy is so beautiful! 🥲
Finally at my 39-week appointment, my doctor was like, “Well, these aren’t getting any better, and you look incredibly uncomfortable, and the baby is term – would you like to schedule an induction for early next week?” Ummmmm… MUSIC TO MY EARS. I don’t think I’ve ever said yes quicker.
I felt a bit bad about not letting the baby “choose their own time to come” as so many people urge pregnant moms to do… but the pain I’d been dealing with for months plus the knowledge that baby was healthy and term helped me get over that expectation pretty quickly.
We scheduled the induction for the following Tuesday, and I was elated. For weeks I’d been having increasingly uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions that would periodically grow closer together, plus several other symptoms of labor nearing. I was losing tons of sleep between the pain of the hemms and the anticipation of labor, so I can’t tell you how massive of a relief it was to have a scheduled time to go in and have this baby.
You might be wondering why I called Sonny’s birth “chill” at the beginning of this entry when all of THIS is what led up to it… I should’ve prefaced that the day itself was fairly chill, but the month or two leading up to it was full of mounting pain, discomfort, sleepless nights, and so much anxiety about what life would look like with a toddler and a newborn.
In comparison, the delivery day was like a trip to Disneyland… We were finally going to meet this little pistachio and see who had been growing in me all these months! We had a date! And a time! A true control freak’s dream come true, to be honest. And spoiler: all the anxiety I had about splitting love and attention between two babies was just not necessary. Sure, we’ve all had (and will have more) overwhelmed moments, but the love I feel for my boys is so astronomical and incomparable. And because we talked with Wally about the baby so much, he’s dealt with the change so much better than I expected.
On the day of our induction, we made oatmeal for breakfast, kissed Wally goodbye (my mom was in town by then to stay with him), and picked up coffees on the way to the hospital. I had time to curl my hair (priorities), listen to calm music, and chat with my mom before heading out. It was so peaceful. It was also THE rainiest week we’ve ever experienced since moving to California. (In hindsight, I find it so funny that we named the baby Sonny when he was born in the middle of record-breaking rainstorms across the state.)
We got admitted to the hospital around 8 am and the nurses got me all set up to start on Pitocin (the synthetic form of oxytocin, the hormone that kickstarts labor and contractions) by 10 am. I had been on Pitocin during my last delivery and experienced immense pain with it, so I was NOT looking forward to it. But this time just… wasn’t as bad for some reason?
The nurses came in every 30 minutes or so to increase the strength of Pitocin, and my contractions definitely grew stronger and closer together, but they were by no means unbearable. I even took a nap at one point, did a meditation, and watched an episode of Siesta Key?! Not exactly what I pictured during labor and delivery. 😆
We ordered lunch – quesadillas and fruit to keep it mild – and still I wasn’t making much progress. I started the day at 2 cm dilation and 70% effacement, and by late afternoon I was barely at 3 cm. I started thinking this might take longer than expected.
For context, my first labor and delivery was relatively fast – my water broke at home at 5:30 am and I had Wally at 3:44 pm that same day. I was hoping for an equally quick second delivery (especially since everyone says baby #2 always goes way quicker), but with hardly any progress all day long, I started coming to terms with having a late-night or even next-day delivery.
That was, until my water suddenly broke on its own around 5:20 pm. I’d been bouncing on the yoga ball provided by the hospital and talking with John while he gave me a massage to help with the contractions. We had soft jazz playing when all of the sudden it felt like a giant water balloon popped inside of me and, no joke, what seemed like gallons of water poured out of me ALL over the hospital room floor. I was stunned.
When my water broke at home last time, it was a few small gushes/trickles. This was… MUCH more dramatic. I yelled, “MY WATER JUST BROKE!” and things got crazy from there.
The funny thing is, my doctor was going to come by soon anyway to manually break my water and try to help speed things up when it suddenly broke on its own!
John rushed to call the nurse in and my next waves of contractions immediately grew in intensity, pain, and strength. I could no longer talk through them and they were coming FAST. I had to strip down and get into a new gown since my other one was soaked, but the gown buttons/ties were super confusing, and I was in immense pain and couldn’t figure it out. John (ex-engineer, BTW) couldn’t either and I was just standing there naked *trying* to breathe through the contractions while the nurse quickly mopped up the floor and then came to save us with the gown. (Why do they make those SO confusing?!) It was quite the scene I’m sure, and hilarious only in hindsight.
The nurse helped me get dressed and my whole body was shaking uncontrollably with pain and adrenaline. I couldn’t believe this was suddenly happening so fast when pretty much nothing had happened all day.
Our nurse said the anesthesiologist was on his way but she wasn’t quite sure when he’d get there, which left me terrified because I could feel things progressing very quickly. Luckily, he got there about 20 minutes after my water broke and administered my epidural (praise the LORD), but at first it only seemed to be working on the right half of my body and I was scared I was going to feel everything on the left half. They propped me on my side so the medicine could work its way into my left side which thankfully did the trick.
Within about 10 minutes of getting the epidural, I started to feel the pressure to push. They checked me and sure enough, baby’s head was RIGHT there, ready to go. I’d gone from 3 cm to 10 in about an hour, most of that time without the epidural, which I 10/10 do not recommend.
My OB was on her way in from the clinic, so the doctor on hospital rotation told me to “hold the baby in” since Dr. Wang would be there soon. I thought she was kidding?!… She was not.
She told me to breathe like I was blowing out birthday candles and that would help me keep from pushing, so two contractions passed like that as the pressure became impossibly strong. John was by my side encouraging me to breathe and being the most calming, reassuring presence.
Dr. Wang ran into the room and I pushed for two contractions and out came our baby! The baby didn’t cry right away which made me very nervous but everyone kept saying it was fine and healthy and perfect. John announced it was a boy and they laid him on my chest for skin to skin as all three of us (me, baby, and John) started to cry uncontrollably. I was still shaking and couldn’t believe how insanely fast everything went once it got started – my water broke at 5:20 and I had the baby at 6:50!
Wally had been saying it was a girl and a baby sister for MONTHS, and I sort of felt like kids have a sixth sense about these things, so I was shocked to hear it was a boy! Truly, I LOVE being a boy mom and was ecstatic to have another, but still surprised after thinking it was a girl these last few months. Moral of the story, kids aren’t psychic after all. (John thought boy all along!)
I had a gut instinct to name him Erickson (“Sonny”) soon after he was born, a name on our list after my grandpa Albert Erickson. He was one of my most cherished relationships and dearest role models who passed away about a year-and-a-half ago. We love old, traditional names that can have cute, shorter nicknames, and we knew Erickson was a little different and liked that.
But we had a few other names we loved, too, and knew we’d use part of my grandpa’s name as a middle name if not the first name, so it took us until noon the next day to ultimately decide. After spending some time with him, he just seemed like a Sonny, and a lot like my grandpa: calm, easygoing, wise, good natured, peaceful. His middle name William is also John’s middle name. It’s so special that he’s named after two of my favorite men in the world.
For all the pain I went through leading up to his arrival, he’s sure been an easy, sweet baby now that he’s here. We’re all so happy, and so in love with this little guy. We’re still finding our new rhythm as a family of 4, but I can’t tell you how different and less stressful my postpartum experience has been this time around. Both babies have been easy, but my anxiety levels and hormones just seem much more mild compared to what I felt last time for a LOT of reasons.
I sometimes still can’t believe we have TWO SONS! It is such a surreal, special feeling getting to be these guys’ mama, and truly the most important role in the world to me. Sonny arrived with a spirit and soul that is the perfect addition to our family, and I just feel so lucky to call him ours.
Thank you for sharing your special day. I know that Greg and Contessa are “chomping at the bit” to get their hands on him. He is a precious addition to your family. I hope to meet him, Wally, and you one day. Blessings to you all.