Seeing as baby #4 is due in t-minus 2 1/2 weeks (hi, little buddy! Looking forward to meeting you soon!), what better time to document the birth of baby #3 just over two years ago? Yikes, I'm a little behind.
Three days past my due date, I woke up in the middle of the night wondering if perhaps my water had broken. I noticed some uncomfortable contractions and thought I guess I could be in labor, but mostly doubted it because after an awful back labor with baby #1, I have this habit of discounting anything that doesn't have me doubled over in pain for a day and a half. I slept off and on for the rest of the night.
In the morning, the contractions were a little stronger but still nothing to write home about - like Braxton Hicks getting a little more uncomfortable and perhaps a little closer together if I had actually stopped to notice. Before Ryan left for work, I mumbled something about how he should keep his phone close because this could be the day. But I was half asleep so I'm only half sure that's what I actually said.
After I got up and got the kids breakfast, I called my midwife, Tina, since I still wasn't sure my water had broken (it never had before). She wanted me to come to the office as soon as I could for a quick look-see, and I was all, "Um, yeah, how's THAT gonna happen?" as I looked at the two tiny faces seated beside me.
*Tangent. I'm having trouble picturing my skinny, tall, rambunctious 4-yr-old Jacob as this tiny, little speech-delayed CHUBBY 2-yr-old, sitting there at the table idolizing his big 3 1/2-yr-old sister...*
But Tina insisted - apparently when you're overdue and you think your water might have broken and your contractions are getting stronger, other people start to think you might actually be in labor, even if you don't yourself - so I called my neighbor to come stay with the kids for "just a little while" so I could go get checked out.
One pH test later and Tina informed me that no, my water had not broken (oops), but after an internal exam and one glance at my contractions (the "no, wait, stop talking for a second so I can concentrate through this" kind), she happily announced that I was 5cm dilated and indeed in labor.
Um, come again?
It's interesting being told you're halfway through something that you didn't even realize you'd started. Starting a labor in denial is DEFINITELY the way to go...
She told me she didn't want me driving myself home and having this baby on the side of the road - because apparently there's this pre-conceived notion that 3rd babies just FALL OUT (*cough cough LORI cough cough*) - and that I needed to walk myself across the street to the hospital and check myself in.
Um, come again? I'm just here for a check-up!
So even though my brain and my body are telling me it's too early, I take her advice and walk across the street. I call everyone I can think of on the way to tell them the exciting news. Ryan, to tell him to wrap it up and get home because apparently, the baby's coming? Maybe? Ryan's parents, Lori and Angela, because I knew they'd understand the excitement. Pam, because SOMEONE had to relieve my neighbor, who when she heard the term "possible labor," rushed over still in her pajamas for my "quick" doctor's visit. My parents, who would ultimately be staying with the kids while Ryan and I were at the hospital after the baby was born.
Long story short, I took my time getting there. I still wasn't really 100% sure I was in labor (see? DENIAL!), and this news had stalled any contractions and flooded me with adrenaline. When I finally got there, I walked myself through the front door and up to Labor & Delivery. I remember mumbling something to the guard outside the doors about, "My doctor told me to come because she thinks I'm in labor..." and he made the best surprised / you're crazy face ever. The nurses were so relieved to see me because they were convinced I must have had the baby on the walk over it took me so long. They immediately checked me into my [beautiful, huge, corner] room.
It didn't take long for Ryan to get there, and when he did, I sent him to the cafeteria to get us both lunch, because I was starving and there's nothing like a husband who just left work because something was supposed to be happening sitting around just waiting for something to happen. Tina arrived and I felt this sudden pressure to perform...all I could think about was all the appointments she'd have to cancel all day because of me and my supposed labor.
So Tina and I walked around. And around. And around. I gradually started believing her that I was in labor ("Hang on, let me lean against this wall for a second...."), and did a good job relaxing through the contractions as we walked. I wasn't crazy about being at the hospital so early in my labor - feeling this pressure to perform - and should have listened to my instincts to just drive myself home from Tina's office and come back when this thing was really in full swing, like with my last two labors. I knew my body by then and knew that MY babies don't just fall out on their own. They take a lot of work to get out - work that I wasn't near doing at 5cm in Tina's office.
But it was too late. Ryan and I ate our big lunch, and I happily smiled for the camera, sandwich in hand ("See, world? The joy of having a midwife and being allowed to EAT while in labor when you're hungry and about to run a marathon!").
The details start to get a little foggy after that...because, you know, I was a little busy giving birth. Contractions were really starting to get harder, but at one point, after a couple hours, Tina started feeling that my labor was not progressing as it should and she was worried that my [tired, used-up] uterus wasn't up for the performance. She at some point broke my water, and let me tell you YUCK I did not enjoy walking around LEAKING...so dighusting. But that didn't do the trick, as far as she was concerned, so she started me on Pitocin.
Greeeeeaaaaat. I was on Pit for the end of my (previously-mentioned, AWFUL, 31 1/2hr posterior) labor with Lily, so I wasn't as afraid of it as a regular first-time mom might have been, and I knew it would do its job of getting things moving, but I was really hoping to avoid interventions. She got the Pit going and some hard contractions really started coming. Yay...it's working...
Transition hit soon after. Sweating, cold (or was it hot?), talking about how I could go no farther, and Ryan please turn OFF that camera because who wants to remember THIS?! After one particularly BAD contraction, where I remember laying on my side and moaning, I opened my eyes and saw all this STUFF set out on a table at the foot of my bed. "How did all that get there? And WHEN?"
Tina laughed and asked me, hadn't I noticed I was making a bearing-down noise during that last contraction? I thought about it. Oh yes, I suppose it HAD felt better to bear down through that.
I guess she was ready to catch a baby!
She checked me internally again and pronounced me 10cm with a little lip but nothing I couldn't push through. So the next contraction came and naturally everyone expected me to start pushing.
I had other ideas.
For some reason, I had NO urge to push. Or maybe I had the urge but I would rather fight it because I was being lazy and wasn't this baby just supposed to fall out by itself? I seemed to remember hearing that just a few hours before...
We went through a few contractions like that. It could have been 5 or 20, I have no idea. Maybe one day we'll go back and watch the video, but two years later and we've still NEVER SEEN IT. Somehow it just seems too...real? So I vividly remember people telling me to PUUUUSH and me yelling back NOOOOO I don't WAAAANT to push, stop saying PUUUUUSH!!! And Tina made a back-handed comment like, "Well, I guess we'll just wait here because she must not be ready for this baby to come out yet," or something like that.
And she totally knew how to handle me because when a passive-aggressive person is faced with a passive-aggressive comment like that, they're all OH NO YOU DIDN'T!!! and suddenly I had the urge to push. Who knew?
The whole stage 2 of this labor took an hour start to finish, just as Jacob's had, so it's not like one push and out came this gigantic baby. It was still a lot of hard work. A lot of typical 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Finally, the head was in position and when I can reach down and FEEL it, I am HUGELY motivated (but no stop asking if I'd like a mirror put down there to help motivate me because that just grosses me out and feeling what's happening is motivation enough for me!).
I remember at one point Ryan announcing that the baby's hair looked red, and I totally didn't believe him. But even comments like that are HUGELY motivating because I really wanted to see for myself so I could point out how he was wrong ;)
Have I ever mentioned that it's not easy pushing out a 10lb baby? With a head in the 80th percentile for 10lbs? So yes, now we know for certain. My babies do not just fall out. If anyone ever suggests that again, I am going to laugh so hard the baby might just fall out. Or not.
I know lots of women fear the "ring of fire," but I remember being SO HAPPY to be that far along - knowing that with just a couple more pushes, this baby would be out and in my arms and the whole labor would be over. (We all know that pesky stage 3 doesn't really count.) So with just a few more pushes, our beautiful CHUBBY little girl came sliding out.
They put this big baby (toddler?) on my belly and the smell and feel of my previous babies came flooding back to me. I don't think that's something you ever really forget - the SMELL of a newborn who just came out of you, so fresh she's still attached to you, wriggling and whimpering, and squinting and not at all sure what just happened.
Immediately, everyone started guessing her weight, just like they had with Jacob. I wanted to nurse her and keep her with me for a good while before they whisked her away to be cleaned and weighed and checked, but my curiosity got the best of me, and I really wanted to know how big she was, too. I don't think anyone could quite believe she was 10lb 1oz. I wonder how big she would have been had I nursed first??
I tore the same as the previous two times, and Tina gave me a local and stitched me up after delivering the placenta. I remember the nurses telling me that I had to go to the bathroom before I could leave the room, so I sat up and swung my legs over the bed, and they just about fell over because my hospital has a 90% epidural rate (insanity!) and what in the world is that mother doing with control of her own legs???
After getting me set up in my mother-baby postpartum room, Tina had me still hooked up to the Pitocin, which was really irritating because it was still giving me uncomfortable contractions at a time when I was feeling like I deserved to be done having them. She was worried that my uterus my not go back down in size properly post-delivery, since it hadn't been contracting "properly" previous to the delivery.
Ryan's family were Samantha's first visitors, but I remember it taking a really long time for the nurses to actually bring her into the room. Visiting hours were ending, and they still hadn't seen their new grand-daughter. After several promptings from polite Ryan, they finally brought her in and our newest little bundle was passed around amongst the family.
The next day, my parents came with the kids so they could meet their new little sister. Lily was somewhat interested and spent a good amount of time petting her on her soft little head. Jacob had NO desire to be there and it was difficult getting any pictures of him with the baby. Lily was eventually distracted by potato chips on my food tray and noises in the hallway, so we all went for a little walk to the waiting area and the kids got to see their new sister at their own pace.
I guess two years later, I still remember a lot of the details. Here's hoping that now that it's all written down and out of my head, I've made room for a whole new set of memories with baby #4! You hear that, baby? We're ready for you! Whenever you'd like to arrive is fine with me =)
Lily Ann (December 19, 2006)
Jacob Ryan (May 18, 2008)