I’m back to the podcast and a little bit of work after spending the past two months snuggling a sweet new babe – I’m so happy to introduce you to my third daughter, Mae Elizabeth Hughes!
Being a new mom and a business owner comes with a lot of perks (never having a hard “stop” to maternity leave, wearing leggings all day everyday), but also a unique set of challenges.
If you want to hear all about how I planned for my third maternity leave, the challenges I faced in business and life during the initial weeks home, and what I’ve learned from the experience, then checkout episode 45 of The AMPLIFY Show (pop over to read the show notes or to listen!).
It’s always been helpful for me to hear how other moms prepare their businesses and homes for a maternity leave. But it’s also helpful anytime you want to take a break from your business or a vacation, really. I break down those 3 big takeaways over at the show notes so head over and let me know what you would add!
While the podcast is where I get tactical and that’s my typical comfort zone, this blog is specifically for all my fellow sentimental mamas who love birth stories. I usually save all my mom thoughts for Instagram, but with this topic being such a blend of business and motherhood, I figured I’d break out a separate post.
My talented friend and photographer Amy Carroll documented my last two births. She’s been there for all of our major life events from our engagement session, wedding day, baby milestones and annual family sessions. Bringing new life into the world is one of the most sacred, beautiful, raw human experiences – I can’t think of anything that has forced me to be as present and in the moment as delivering my babies. But being so “in the thick of it” means a lot of the labor memories become a blur. It will be really special to relive some of the moments with Mae years from now.
From the beginning, I thought this would be my fastest delivery- it was my third and they seem to get progressively easier so I naturally assumed I’d have one of those incredibly quick deliveries my third time around- a mom can dream, anyway. I heard stories of friends who barely made it to the hospital in time and whose husbands’ nearly missed the delivery because they were busy parking the car. I was convinced that would be me! And I also thought I’d go into labor at least a couple weeks early – if you listened to episode 44, you heard all about how I was prepping and super-nesting months in advance. Well, spoiler alert- fast & easy was not going to be my birth story this time.
I was a week + a day over my due date and had tried all the natural induction methods – acupuncture, chiropractic, prenatal massage, clary sage oil, 4+ mile walks, squats on the yoga swing… nothing worked! My time was running out. I prefer to do birth like a cavewoman (minus the cave, add a hospital) and would have loved waiting one more week for a natural start to labor, but I was hitting my ‘advanced maternal age’ limit. So, it was time to get things rolling and to be induced.
I snuggled my big girls for the last time as a family of four. I get so sentimental before leaving them! This time Jane was old enough to be a bit worried too- even though we had talked about it all before, she asked again, what if something happened to me or the baby? I comforted her but also acknowledged her valid feelings:
It’s true, we do not always know the outcomes of such things- we are not in control.
So, we prayed together and I gave them a lot of hugs before they went to spend a couple days with Grammy and Grampy.
I had my water broken late on Tuesday afternoon. Contractions started but it looked like we were settling in for a long night and baby was in no rush. So, Mike put on a good playlist and we enjoyed our little hotel getaway (ha, moms with big kids, you know what I mean!). We watched the sunset over the city and it felt really peaceful. I “danced” around with the rolling IV cart and we got into a good mindset – the calm before the storm.
Well, the night rolled on and on. In an attempt to speed things up a bit, I agreed to just a “little bit of Pitocin.” Take it from me, friends- there is no such thing as just a little bit of Pitocin! 🤪
Those contractions came on hard and fast! Maybe I should have thrown out the rest of my natural birth plan with the pitocin, but I didn’t want any additional interventions so, I charged on and endured an incredibly difficult and painful labor. I’ll spare ya the details- and the intense pictures, ha!- but it was t-e-d-i-o-u-s and by far, the hardest of my three labors.
Just when I thought I could not bear another minute, the doctor said the most defeating four words a mom in my position can hear: “You’re at a… five.”
It would be another excruciating 2+ hours before I was at a 9 and then it was GAME ON- I decided the baby was coming (not that I truly have a say in this matter but I was beyond ready and calling it). With an incredible team of doctors and nurses, all the encouragement and physical/mental support from my husband, and by the grace of God, I somehow found the strength to push after feeling completely depleted.
I’m not really sure how long this part lasted, maybe 15-20 minutes, including a moment being stuck at the shoulders 😬 Eventually, the long awaited relief as I heard the doctor say “hey there BUSTER” and then, the most beautiful gift: a big, adorable, dark-haired baby GIRL was placed on my chest. Instant love!
We all placed our bets on how big she was while I enjoyed a full hour of skin-to-skin and soaked in the moments finally meeting that active baby who had been tossing and kicking in my belly for months. It is such a surreal feeling! After we were able to get her to successfully nurse for the first time, the nurses placed her on the scale so we could finally find out just how big this sweet girl was- she surprised everyone, weighing in at 9lbs 10oz!
It’s probably for the best I didn’t wait it out another week – or day- longer!
This has been the best 4th trimester yet, despite some unexpected plans including plane travel with the whole family when Mae was only two-weeks old, a transition on my team, and a more difficult recovery. Even so, I feel so elated and blessed to have this family and a chance to be a mom to another daughter. It’s the greatest gift and sometimes, I still can’t believe this family is mine! I’m more grateful than ever to have the business that I do that allows me to enjoy this fleeting time, even if that means I have to carve my own path and don’t experience a typical maternity leave. It’s worth every bit when I can ultimately design my days and be there for what matters most.
So, there’s my gushing mom-heart post for my fellow sentimental mamas. If you want to know more about what I did (and wish I would have done) to prepare my business and family for this third maternity leave, the support I planned for at home and at HAPPY PR, the obstacles I faced, and the things that helped me to overcome them, you can head over to the podcast, episode 45!
Thanks for following along- say hello over on Instagram @emilyrichett – would love to connect with you there!