Wednesday, 2/3/10, at 9:18am
Born at 37W6D
I know this is a birth story, but for me, it's also a love story. This is a baby I wasn't sure I would get, and only days before finding out I was pregnant, I was told we'd need IVF to conceive.
It was CRAZY, it all happened so fast, so unexpectedly. Because DD was born at 40W6D, and I labored for 3.5 days I really thought I had at least 2 more weeks. I guess there really is no way to predict any birth at all.
The only thing I'd done to sort of "prep" my body for labor was drink Red Raspberry Leaf tea, and I wasn't very conscientious about that. I was going to start EPO, but never got the chance.
Tuesday night (2/2/10), I took half an Ambien because I couldn't sleep. I was mainly just restless. I'd been having BH every 15 minutes or so, but that was happening somewhat frequently, they'd taper off, so I didn't think twice about it. They weren't painful, just annoying. Because I'm a night owl, I was up on the computer, and around 1am, I decided I really needed to try to go to sleep, that even if I wasn't tired, I should lay down. I went to pee before bed as I normally do, and I noticed that in addition to the mucus plug I'd been losing from the previous Saturday, I had bloody show. I got vaguely excited about this, because with DD, I delivered her five days after first seeing bloody show. Naively, I'm thinking this must mean I have close to a week left. The joke was on me. Sometime around 2am, I felt oddly compelled to put the carseat in the back of the SUV (we were supposed to install it on Thursday), and I decided to start getting most the items on my hospital bag checklist together. What was so odd about this is that I wasn't having really painful contractions that made me think "oh, this is it." It wasn't that way at all. I just felt instinctively that I needed to do those things right then. By 2:30am, I decided once again that this time I needed to get serious about laying down, so I did. And that's really when I realized that oh, this might be the start of labor. I noticed then that my contractions were 5 minutes apart, and I couldn't sleep through them. I tried and tried, and finally at 3:30am, I got up to pee, a common theme in my bedtime routine. Lay down, fall asleep for 10 minutes, pee, rinse, repeat. I sat down to pee, and when I stood up, I realized I was still peeing. My immediate thought was "great, now I'm incontinent, I'll have to buy diapers for three people for God's sake." In that moment, it truly didn't occur to me that there was another possibility. I put a pad on, and as I walked around the house, I soaked it within a few minutes, so I put on another one. I then soaked that one, and water started running down my leg and began to pool on the floor. I stood there just staring for a few moments, in total disbelief and amazement. My first thought was that this only happens in the movies or message boards, but it sure doesn't happen to me. I also started thinking about how only about 10% of women have their water just spontaneously break, and wondered what the odds were that would happen to me. Meanwhile, more water is pooling on my floor. I really just couldn't believe it. At some point, I realized I needed to decide what I was going to do. I decided to wake DH, and for a number of reasons, neither of us was totally coherent, not the least of which was that it was 3:47am. This was our conversation:
Me: (shaking him), it's time to wake up.
Him: (moaning) Hmmmm....what time is it?
Me: 3:47am. It's time to wake up. '
Him: (smiling sleepily), what? 3:47am? It's not time to wake up.
Me: Yes, it is. Look at the numbers on the clock - "3-4-7." That means it's time to wake up.
Me: Yes it is. Water is running down my leg. My water just broke.
Him: Oh. OH!! Are you serious?
Me: It's time to wake up.
See what I mean? I wasn't exactly clear. I was in such a daze. Finally, he gets up, and we get going on the details. I first call my mom and tell her, "it's time, my water just broke, get here as soon as you can." She made it in record time. Next, I call my midwife, who is conveniently asleep at the hospital already, and I tell her "It looks like we'll be meeting at the hospital shortly. My water just broke. There's no question." We discussed the details, and agreed to meet there in about an hour. In my strange state of mind, when my mom arrived, I was standing over the side table that places me directly in front of our front door, wearing a tee-shirt, and underwear with a rolled up towel between my legs, moaning along to contractions. I was quite a sight to behold. Periodically I'd move wrong, and leak water everywhere.
After much scatterbrained, hurried packing, DH and I say goodbye to DD, who is sound asleep and doesn't awaken. We make it into the car, where I'm moaning and telling him that for once in his life, drive the way he does when he's alone and doesn't care if he gets a ticket. I wanted him to hurry the hell up.
We get to the hospital around 5:15am, and have to go through ED because the main hospital is locked after 8pm. We're behind an old couple who hear him yelling that I'm in labor now, and stand in the way with their wheelchair, while the registrar waves us on. We get up to L&D, and they're waiting for me. In my strange state of mind, I'd brought a sample of amniotic fluid, convinced they'd send me home. They assured me they believed me, and didn't really need a sample.
I declined to be checked until my midwife arrived, and she had a really hard time checking me, because internals are just so agonizing for me. She said we could just wait until later anyway, since obviously we had a little bit of time. She said baby was at a zero station, and she thought I was just about entirely effaced, she just couldn't gauge dilation well. I ended up getting the epidural at 7:15am, and I had the same dang problem as last time - I couldn't get a block on my left side. She checked me and said I was about 6cm, stretchy to 7cm, and she doubted I'd be much longer. After much, much tweaking by a committed anesthesiologist (who wasn't too hard on the eyes, either), he finally got me to a point where I was in less agony. I wouldn't say comfortable, but it was a definite improvement. Right as I started to get somewhat comfortable, and realizing I was pretty dang numb, I started to realize this might be a problem with pushing. On that note, I need not have worried. By the time I was ready to push, the midwives had done a shift change, and I had the midwife I knew I'd get - I hadn't seen her since August 2008, just due to scheduling issues. She said she needed to know if I felt any pressure, because she wanted to know if she should stay there with me, or go over to the clinic to see patients. I told her I didn't feel any pressure, but to go ahead and check me anyway, so she'd feel comfortable that she'd have some time. She went ahead, and started laughing, saying, "good thing we checked you, he's crowning!!" We all started laughing, and getting everything set up. I later learned he took 19 minutes to push out. He came out with a nuchal hand in a LOA position. I got a small labial tear, and a second degree perineal tear that needed 3.5 stitches, as she put it. I had said I thought that at this age, he'd be 6lbs, 13oz, and as it turned out, I was pretty close! She said that if he'd gone to 40 weeks, he almost certainly would have been over 8lbs. He did have a very short cord, around 10" or so. They also had the NICU standing by, because I was just (barely) before term. All in all, it was a great birth experience. He was just so quiet and aware when he was born, that everyone in the room remarked on it. He got two shots without crying or flinching, and that first day, was super laid back. He just didn't cry for any reason other than a dirty diaper or hunger. That has started to change already, but it was so neat to see a baby like that, especially my own.
It was a huge whirlwind experience, and I'm so exhausted, I can't see straight. I only slept 25 minutes Wednesday night, while DH snored away from 2-7am, and still whined about being so tired. The baby has been having some issues maintaining his temperature, probably due to being a few weeks early. He's also having some feeding issues. He doesn't have the stamina to latch on and suck for a long time, so I have to try to feed him quite frequently, for shorter bursts. Now that he's 19 days old, he's doing much better with feeds. I've been able to make nursing work this time, which I'm over the moon happy about.
He's such a tiny little thing, and looks so much like his sister, only he came out very caucasian right away.
This pregnancy ended much the way it began - surprisingly, with some twists and turns along the way, some bittersweet feelings thrown, and a feeling of peaceful well being.
I had such an awesome birth experience, it was everything I wished it to be. Last time was long, drawn out, and the post partum recovery was miserable and depressing. This time has been so much different - the day he was born, the sun shined, and the birds sang, and it has been that way ever since.
His name is Tobias John, Tobias because we liked it and could agree on it. And John, after my grandfather. We also chose Tobias for its meaning, God is good, and He certainly is.