So I’m behind in blogging. I figured that if I have 52 entries in each of the “S” category by the end of the year, I will have reached my goals. So I’m going to give myself the grace of the rest of the year to “catch up.”
Disclaimer you must read before reading further: This is a birth story. As in child birth. So if you don’t like words like “vaginal” and “cervix”, OR if you don’t like thinking about big needles and blood and other medically related things, OR if you don’t want to see pictures of me looking horrible in the hospital, OR if you don’t want to see pictures of a brand new baby in all his naked glory, please don’t read this post. Or at least feel forewarned. Thank you.
So, anyway, the birth story. I left you hanging on Wednesday, March 2nd. The membranes had been swept and we were waiting for some action! Wednesday night we went to a fellowship meal at our pastor’s house. I’ll admit I was hoping to have to leave the meal a little early, and not because I didn’t want to be with the people, if you know what I mean! But, by the time we got there, the cramps and contractions had subsided and I was feeling normal again. Oh, well! We came home, put the kids to bed, maintained our tradition of vegging out in front of ABC’s Comedy Wednesday, and went to bed 11:30ish.
About 3:30 AM, I woke up. Well, I woke up half-way, at least, because I realized that I was having contractions. I had had enough childbirth related dreams, though, that it took a good 15 minutes for me to realize that it was actually happening and wake up the rest of the way! So I watched the clock for several contractions (they were painful, but not too terrible at this point,) and they seemed to pretty consistently be 5 minutes apart! I debated: watch the clock for another hour just to be sure, or start the getting-ready-to-go process? After hearing some stories about people whose third babies came pretty quickly, I opted to start getting ready to go! I packed our delivery room bag (the suitcase for postpartum was already ready, but I had to pack some things, like my camera, that I wanted easy access to). That process woke Josh up. We both showered. I called Jackie, and her and her husband, Eric, headed over to our place to stay with our kids until a more respectable hour of the morning. We headed to the hospital and probably got there around 5:30.
We checked in and sat in the waiting room. Side note: I always find checking in to the hospital while in labor pretty comical. “Why are you here?” “I’m in labor!” “OK, have a seat.” We were admitted to triage about the time the contractions started to get really painful. The nurse checked me and we were at 4 cm. I asked who was on call, and she named my own doctor! I had a moment of elation! But then I realized that it is 6:00 AM…which means that it was almost time for shift change. I mentally planned to beg my doctor to stay for delivery (how long can a 3rd baby take, after all???), but one look at her when she walked into triage and I quickly changed my mind. The woman was obviously exhausted. The doctor that was coming on was one I had never met before, which was a little disheartening, but you know, there wasn’t much to be done about that at that point!
The good news is, I was put into a room pretty quickly, which did not happen when I was in labor with Izzy. More good news is that I was put in a room right at shift change, so I got to keep my labor and delivery nurse for the rest of labor. She was great, but more on her later!
When asked what I wanted to do about pain management, I kept saying, “I want to try to do this without an epidural…but I want to have the option of an epidural!” When I was admitted to my room, the nurse immediately saw that I preferred to keep moving as opposed to sitting stationary hooked up to monitors. She checked the monitoring that had been done in triage, and declared that I did not need to be monitored for a while. So I paced. And paced. I found I could time it so that I’d be next to the bed when a contraction hit, which gave me something to hang on to.
Cynthia arrived at the hospital during this time. This gave me someone to chat with in between contractions!
After a while the nurse said I did need to hook up to the monitors for about 20 minutes to check on the baby. But she didn’t make me get in the bed! (I found out with Izzy that the hospital bed is the worst place to deal with contractions!) I opted to sit on the rocker so that I could lean forward during the contractions. After being monitored, I met the doctor that would be delivering, and he went ahead and checked me. Just 5 cm. Darn!
I then decided it was time to walk the hall. (L&D is set up in a circle, so you can make endless laps around the nurses’ station! I’m sure they love that!) I made it a goal to walk an hour. Of course, at this point, walking while having a contraction was not an option. I made use of Josh’s strong arm during the contractions! By the end of the hour, I was sure we had made tons of progress because I was in a great deal of pain. It was also time to monitor the baby. I decided that, after monitoring, if I had not made much progress, it was epidural time. I told you before, I’m pretty wimpy!
The nurse checked me, and we were at…5.5 cm. What??? OK, epidural time. Now, I know that there are some strong women out there who prefer natural child birth who are turning their noses up at me right now. That is OK. And, honestly, my experiences with epidurals in the past has not been the absolute greatest, so I had some hesitations with myself when I asked for it. Especially when, right after I received the epidural, the doctor checked me and I was at 7. If I had known that I was about to dialate 1.5 cm in half an hour, I wouldn’t have asked for the epidural! But maybe it was a good thing I didn’t know because…
Let me tell you, it was the. best. epidural. ever. I mean, seriously. In the past, it’s taken both of my epidurals a good hour to catch up with my pain level. (In fact, I think with Ava, they had to call the anesthesiologist to come back and give me another dose because the button I had was not doing the trick!) This epidural was instant relief. I was so amazed, I didn’t even know that was possible! With Ava, the doctor cut back my epidural while I was pushing, so I had a good bit of pain. With Izzy, my epidural was so strong when I pushed, I couldn’t feel anything, it was almost like an out of body experience. This epidural was just right. I could feel the pressure from the contractions and the head crowning, but not the pain! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself…
So, anyway, I received the epidural and was checked at 7 cm. (My water was also broken by the doctor at this time.) By this time, my parents and mother-in-law had arrived at the hospital. So, for about an hour and a half, we all hung out and waited. I could tell that my contractions had tapered off a good bit, and was beginning to worry that the epidural was slowing labor down. I was checked again and was only at 7.5 cm. Darn, again!
(As a general rule, I don’t allow photos during labor, but I was feeling good enough after the epidural to allow Cynthia to take just one.)
But about half an hour later, I started to feel a lot of pressure. I was embarrassed asking to be checked again so soon…but there was no denying that pressure. The nurse checked me and I was at 9.5 cm! This was around 12:30 or so, so my parents left to get Ava from preschool. The plan was that they would bring the kids to the hospital so that they could meet their sibling shortly after birth.
The nurse said that she would let the doctor know that I was almost complete, and the room cleared out except for Josh, Cynthia, and Glenda (Josh’s mom). I continued to feel the pressure more intensely, but there was nobody to tell about it! A student that was shadowing my nurse stuck her head in and asked if everything was OK. I informed her that I was still feeling a lot of pressure (mainly because it would have felt weird to say, “I’m fine!”) and she went to get the doctor. He came in with my nurse. She was telling him that I still had a little lip on my cervix, but it could probably be moved. The doctor went to remove that final bit of cervix, but instead said, “Oh, she’s complete! Let’s have a baby!”
So we pushed. Josh said it only took 3 or 4 contractions. That’s so amazing to me because I always feel like it takes me a good 2 contractions just to remember how I’m supposed to push. The doctor had some trouble delivering the shoulders (my babies like to come out with their hand raised!), and at some point during that process he stopped communicating with me when he wanted me to push, so that was a little frustrating and confusing, but otherwise I think everything went very, very smoothly. And then there was that moment…
“Look what you have!” And I saw for the first time my second born son. And a few happy tears might have been shed!
I’m pretty sure his Gigi was one of the first to get her hands on him.
And not long after that was Cynthia…
So, how big was he, you ask?
An average of his older siblings’ birth weights!
He was printed in case of future police records…
And all that goopy amniotic stuff was washed off of him…
And he was warmed up under the French fry lamp…
And then I got him back!
Ava’s first question when she came in was a hopeful, “Was it a girl???” But, when she found out otherwise, she seemed to be OK with it! Whew!
Egan was also greeted by Gramma and Pa…
By the time everyone had had time to meet and greet the baby, it was time to ship us to a post-partum room! At this point, Gigi had to head home, and Ava went with her to spend a couple days.
Here is Izzy watching for the medical helicopters in our new room!
That night, some good friends stopped by to visit…
My running buddies!
I won’t go into too many details because I’m sure you’re already bored, but this was a much better hospital stay than the last one I had. I think it was a combination of several factors: I was much more assertive about what I wanted, we had more visitors (but not too many!), I didn’t allow myself to stress out as much over the first couple days of nursing (I knew they would be horrible, so there’s no use stressing out over them!) I also think that it helped to have a baby in the middle of the day instead of the middle of the night…it felt like we were in post-partum for a day and a half as opposed to two full days. I also, for reasons I may discuss later, opted to not circumcise this time, which was one less traumatic thing for Egan to have to go to…and for me! I will probably write later posts about what I learned from this hospital stay and about specific things that occurred during it. But, for now, a few more pictures…
Egan getting his hearing test…we call this his first I-pod experience!
Lauren travelled the furthest to see Egan in the hospital!
His “going home” outfit! It’s the only time he’ll ever wear the onesie…it was preemie size and barely fit, but it was one of the first baby gifts we received and I wanted him to wear it!
Home with my boys at last!!!!
Aunt Kristy came by! (My friend Megan from high school also stopped by, and somehow I neglected to get a picture of her with Egan! I’m still kicking myself about that!!!)
OK, so there is the birth story in a nut shell! A couple more disclaimers: this is a loong post, and I’m not going back over it to proof-read, so I’m sure there are typographical errors and mis-spellings in abundance! I’m also sure I left out a lot of details I meant to put in, so I may have to do some back-blogging as I remember things. But I think this is pretty good for writing, in it’s entirety, with a two week old sleeping on my chest!