Hey! My baby is almost a month old! Want to hear how he was born?
The two weeks before Zach was born were the longest of my entire life, no doubt. I was uncomfortable and exhausted and contracting daily but nothing was happening. After our trip to labor and delivery and then finding out later that week that I hadn’t progressed at all, even though I’d been having contractions every 10-15 minutes almost around the clock… it was really frustrating. I tried to keep positive- I wasn’t even due for another week!- but man, it was hard. I just wanted to fast-forward to the day he’d be born and BE DONE WITH IT.
Eventually I got to the point where I was just ignoring the contractions. This of course made me nervous because I didn’t want to be on the news in some crazy story about having my baby on the highway. But I also refused to drive all the way to the hospital again only to be sent home. So until I was in crazy pain or my water broke or I saw an actual BABY HEAD coming out of me, I was unconvinced.
Wednesday night, April 3, we put the girls to bed and settled in to watch tv. I’d been having some stronger, more regular contractions for a few hours, but as I said: IGNORE. It wasn’t until I sat quietly for a while that I started to wonder… were these DIFFERENT? Maybe? FINALLY??!! So I waited and timed them for a while. They went from 10 minutes apart to 4 or 5 minutes apart within an hour, and the ache was deeper each time. I waited some more, and then I called the dr, and she said to come in. I hung up, then called my mom. THIS WAS HAPPENING. MAYBE. I THINK. OKAY. WE WILL SEE I GUESS.
I stood up to go to the bathroom and… WHOA WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT? Did I just… pee? Oh. Wait. A quick check and I was 95% sure that my water had broken. Holy smokes. !!!
It was 9:30pm. We packed our bags, my mom showed up, I checked on the girls in their beds for one last time before they had a baby brother… and off we went.
We got to triage and it was confirmed that my water was broken. (HOORAY! NO GETTING SENT HOME FOR MEEEEEE!) But after monitoring my contractions for a while, it was clear that things were slowing down. Again. They didn’t hurt very much anymore, and they were getting further apart. AGAIN! And get this: even after two weeks of contractions? I WAS STILL ONLY TWO-ISH CENTIMETERS DILATED. Thank goodness my water had broken because there’s a good chance they would have sent me home again and I probably would not have survived that without a severe breakdown. heh.
Because things were slow-going, we decided that once I was admitted, the doctors would start a Pitocin drip (slooooowly) and see if that would get things moving a bit. Either way: WE WERE HAVING A BABY!
We settled into the labor and delivery room, the Pitocin was started, and we waited. After a few hours, things were starting to get more uncomfortable for me and I was SO TIRED. It was almost 3am and I knew I had a long road ahead of me and needed some rest. So even though I wasn’t in extreme pain, I asked about getting an epidural. At first, they were all SURE! YES! But then the resident checked me and I hadn’t really progressed at all, and my contractions still weren’t very regular (10 minutes apart, then 5 minutes, then 12 minutes- all over the place, even after 3-4 hours of Pitocin). She explained the worry of getting an epidural too early and causing things to stall- which is DEFINITELY not what I wanted, so I appreciated her honesty! She suggested an iv drug (Stadol) to help me sleep and OMG YOU GUYS I WAS HIGH FOR TWO HOURS. Within minutes of the dose, I was having crazy dreams of pretty pretty colors and it was just WEIRD. But it did the trick and by 5am, I “woke up” feeling a little bit rested and my contractions were FINALLY moving along pretty well.
By 7am I was officially in pain and breathing and writhing and HEY NOW WHAT’S UP WITH THAT EPIDURAL PLEASE? Another check from the resident confirmed that I had moved along a little bit (4cm! 70% effaced! Baby at -2 station!) so the order for the epidural was put in. I had to wait almost an hour for it because of a shift change so THAT was super fun. OW. But by 8:30am, the medicine was in and I was a much happier lady- except for the fact that it wasn’t working 100% on my right side, more like 25%. So that kind of sucked. Even laying on my right side to let gravity do the work didn’t help. But I did figure out that I could use that little booster button every 10 minutes and give myself some extra medicine, and that helped take the edge off my right side. My left side? Totally numb and oblivious to the pain. I felt very weird and lopsided but I was no longer in agony so YAY!
My OB came by around 9am to check on me and say hello. It was the doctor who delivered Maggie and I just love him so I was pretty happy to see him. He told me that he didn’t want to get my hopes up, but given my history, he expected that I’d progress pretty quickly now that I had my epidural and we’d have this baby out by lunchtime. I just laughed. OKAY WHATEVER BUDDY. I’m not falling for false hope! I’m gonna take a nap.
And I did, kinda. With the right side still feeling the contractions, it wasn’t very easy to sleep. But I dozed and breathed through them and Dan kept checking the printout on the monitor and marveling at the peaks and valleys of the contractions, shaking his head and saying a few times “I would never do this in a million years.” haaaaa
Suddenly around 10am, I started shaking. OH, HEY! I REMEMBER THIS! The same thing happened with Audrey when my body was going through transition. I also suddenly realized that my contractions felt very different- no more sharp pains on my right side. Things were more… pushy. Um. Hey! Someone get the dr…
The resident came in and checked me: “Yup, she’s complete!” she said. WELL HALLELUJAH, let’s do this! Cue the flurry of activity that starts in the delivery room when you’re getting ready to push a baby out- lights being pulled down from the ceiling, carts being wheeled in, a whole crew doctors and interns and nurses donning their gowns and getting ready. Wheeee!
My OB came in with a very I TOLD YOU SO! face on (I am so glad he was right! ha) and he asked me to do a practice push while he held his hand inside to see where the baby was. Then he said STOP! because… apparently Baby Dude was right there. heh. It was time to do this for real. Everyone got in their positions and I waited for a contraction and pushed. Two or three pushes and I heard “Okay! His ears are out!” Another push or two, and I could feel the baby moving out of my body (SUCH a weird sensation!) and then I heard “The cord is wrapped! Hold on!” at which point I started worrying a bit. And then I heard more counting from the doctors: “…three… FOUR??!” THEY WERE COUNTING THE NUMBER OF TIMES THE CORD WAS WRAPPED AROUND HIS NECK, YOU GUYS. Everything seemed to stop around me while the doctors (very calmly! no big deal!) gently unwrapped the cord from the baby’s neck. Then they told me to push again… and Zach was born.
April 4, 2013. 11:03am. 6lbs 11oz. 20.5 inches long.
Because of the cord issue, things were a little chaotic and slightly scary for a few minutes. The doctor needed to take care of the cutting of the cord (which Dan was obviously okay with if it was better that way!). They laid him on my chest for a moment, but he was quiet- too quiet- and needed stimulated a bit so they whisked him off to the cart. I held my breath and waited to hear him… then he cried. EXHALE.
Regarding the cord thing: there was ZERO indication of any issue all through my labor. The nurses commented several times on how well his heartrate was holding up through my contractions and getting the epidural and everything. He never missed a beat! The doctors said it was likely a combination of his smaller size, the speed with which he descended, and the fact that I only pushed for, literally, five minutes. Whatever it was, we are thankful that he was born healthy and there were no complications from that. I don’t know WHAT kind of gymnastics he was doing in there the past few months, but DANG, kid. We were lucky.
The next 48 hours was a pretty typical hospital stay after having a baby: nurse the baby, eat some food, snuggle the baby, celebrate no longer being pregnant, change his diaper, have some visitors, celebrate no longer being pregnant and never being pregnant again EVER EVER EVER, try to sleep in between all that plus the nurses poking at you every few hours. But we were both doing great and were all set to be discharged Saturday morning. Then there was a mishap with the sprinkler system that caused some chaos, so we ended up not being discharged until almost 4pm. I was exhausted and frustrated by then, I won’t lie (and possibly hormonal, or so say the tears that were streaming down my face while I sat in the wheelchair in the hallway, waiting for the freaking elevators to turn back on so we could GO HOME.)
But! We made it home! And we had a welcoming committee!
There is more to the story from there- involving the usual early breastfeeding frustrations, and also a 911 call and my very first ambulance ride that first night at home! But I’ll write about that stuff later. CLIFFHANGER! I’m such a tease.
(Spoiler: I AM FINE.)
Until then, here is Zach in his official Newborn Monthly Necktie Onesie Photo. He was clearly thrilled.