After two 38 week births, I was fully expecting another, and by 37 weeks was very much looking forward to being done, because I was in all sorts of pain. 38 weeks passed, and no baby. 39 weeks passed, still no baby. Hello due date! No baby.
At 40w2d (Monday), I had a regular midwife appointment, and they did an NST to check and make sure things were still OK. He passed with flying colors! I scheduled another appointment for Thursday morning, hoping that I would go into labor after my last final on Wednesday night and wouldn't make it to the appointment anyway.
Thursday morning rolled around - no labor. My appointment was at 8:30 - they did a biophysical profile and discovered that his fluid was low, and he was also estimated to weigh 10.5lbs. I also had an NST and he didn't look great on that either, so I got sent straight to the hospital. I got to my room around 9:30, and they started me on Pit around 11. I wasn't really feeling much of anything, and the monitors weren't staying on, so they broke my water and placed internal monitors. I was still at 4cm, same as I'd been for at least a week.
After about 15 minutes, I started having noticeable contractions, but I was breathing through them just fine. Shawn and Susan (my doula) finally arrived around noon, and I got up to move around and pee. My contractions started coming on fast and strong almost immediately. I couldn't deal with them at all - Pit contractions are just so different than natural contractions, and I knew my heart wasn't in it to go drug-free this time around. So I got an epidural around 1:30. I wasn't sure about it, but it ended up being a FABULOUS epidural - I wasn't in pain, but I could still feel my legs.
After the epidural was placed, I was around 6cm. Within 10 minutes, I was feeling crazy amounts of pressure - checked again, and I was complete! He was still up pretty high and having decels, so instead of going hardcore on the pushing, they had me labor down for about an hour, and doing gentle pushes when I couldn't help myself. Another great thing about this epidural - I had no problems feeling pressure with the contractions, so I knew exactly when to push.
Eventually my body wouldn't stand for gentle pushes anymore, and I had to push full-on. I remember Gretchen telling me to push toward the ceiling to get him under my pubic bone, and by god I was pushing with all my might! It wasn't too long before Gretchen was telling me to let go of my legs and reach down and touch my boy. I felt his wrinkly little head, and she said to grab him and help him out! It was totally surreal, being the first person to hold my son, and to guide him out. It was AMAZING, and not something I'll ever forget. Gretchen took him from me at first before she laid him on my chest - I learned later that his cord was wrapped around his neck, his chest, his waist, his legs, and his ankles. No wonder he was in distress!
Dylan Christopher was born at 4:02pm, weighing 9 lbs. 2 oz. After Gretchen laid him on my chest, the nurses were rubbing him to make him breathe, and I was telling him to be a good boy and cry for mommy. Gretchen was reassuring me that he was fine, but they needed to take him to the warmer and suction him to help him out. He passed quite a bit of meconium on the way out, probably because of the stress of being so wrapped in his cord. Gretchen was great at keeping me distracted so I couldn't worry too much about him - she showed us the placenta, and how it was starting to age. She also showed us the amniotic sac, and how there are two separate layers (the amnion and chorion). I felt the sac and it was absolutely nothing like I imagined it to be - almost velvety! Thankfully I didn't tear at all, so I didn't need any stitches. After about 20 minutes they brought him to me again for a quick cuddle, but he had to go to the nursery because he was having trouble transitioning - exactly why I got risked out of a homebirth, so I am very relieved that things ended up the way they did with all that mess!
While we were waiting to get moved to postpartum, my nurse came in and said she was pushing my bed out into the hall - we were under a tornado warning. Crazy! So I sat in the hallway and ate my lunch. When they finally gave the all-clear, I went back to my room and started to get ready to transfer. On the way, they took us through the nursery, and we ended up staying for over an hour. We both got to hold him, and after his x-rays and labs came back fine they let us nurse. He latched on like a champ! After nursing, he finally fell asleep (he'd been awake and active since the delivery) and stopped grunting. I grudgingly put him back in the warmer so I could come and get settled in my room. He ended up staying in the nursery until around 9:30pm - they wanted to make sure the grunting stopped before they brought him to me. He was very ready to nurse when I finally got to snuggle him, and he latched on like a champ again!
Because he was over 9 lbs., they checked his blood sugar before every nursing session. I was not a fan of the nurse that night - she didn't explain what the normal glucose levels were, just told me a number, and said that it was too low and we needed to supplement. I was NOT happy, but they didn't give me any other options. I let him go to the nursery because I was too nervous to go to sleep with him in the room in case he started having breathing problems again, and they gave him 15ml of formula with a spoon feeder. When they brought him to me to nurse, he wasn't as interested, and was very spitty. The nurse said to give him more formula after he nursed, but he didn't take much and I certainly didn't force the issue. Thankfully our dayshift nurse was much better - she brought me a pump, said that his glucose levels were fine, and we didn't need to do formula anymore. When the lactation consultant came later that afternoon, she was quite annoyed that they made a big deal out of the glucose levels to begin with - every reading they took was in the normal range. Thankfully once the formula got out of his system he stopped spitting up so much, and we haven't had any issues nursing since.
Ethan and Logan came to the hospital around noon on Friday, and brought me 2 red carnations and a balloon. They also brought a bear for Dylan. MIL told me how when they went to the gift shop, Logan went straight for the flower cooler and picked out the flowers on his own, then picked out the happy face balloon. He was very proud of them! I wish I'd remembered to take a picture of the flowers before they wilted. :(
They wanted to hold Dylan right away, so we had them sit in the bed to hold him. They were both enthralled, and gave him hugs and kisses and gentle pats. They both love him so much, and are very excited about helping to take care of him. They're always asking if he's OK, what he's doing, and that sort of thing. Shawn had printed off a picture of Dylan for Ethan to take to school that morning and he was showing it off proudly! After they left, the lab tech came in to do the PKU screening, and it was the first time we really heard Dylan cry - he'd been such a quiet, happy baby until then! Shawn joked to me "so that's what his cry sounds like!". Poor baby wasn't happy with the mean tech squeezing so much blood out of his heel. :(
Friday night was a long night - Dylan nursed every hour from 1-6, so I didn't get much sleep at all. He was getting frustrated that my milk wasn't in yet, I think. The nurse took him to the nursery for his hearing test and weight check around 4 - he passed the hearing test and weighed in at 8 lbs. 13 oz. My mom came to visit on Saturday morning, and we started getting ready for discharge. We left around 1pm and headed home!
Now, a week later, everything is going really well! He's not letting me get much sleep at night, between marathon nursing sessions and not liking to sleep flat on his back. He's spent every night sleeping in our arms so far, but we bought a Rock 'n Play this morning and hopefully he'll sleep better in that, since it's at an incline. Nursing is going great - my milk came in on Sunday, and he weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. at his first ped. appointment (6 days old) which the ped was happy with.
The only regret I have from his birth is that because they thought he would be so big, they were worried about shoulder dystocia, and wouldn't let us have our photographer in the delivery room. Amy still came to the hospital and took pictures of everything BUT the birth. LOL I really don't have any regrets about not having a drug-free birth this time around. It was still a great birth!