I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write this out. Well ok yes I do, I guess. That whole newborn thing…
Anyhow, during that time Laura has given birth to her beautiful Ethan!! I’ve only been able to snuggle him for one brief moment but I can vouch for his absolute adorability. I will most definitely make sure to get more cuddles in with him once I see the end of these very ill-timed cold symptoms.
Well here we go. This is the somewhat abridged version, mind you. The one I am writing for myself is turning into a novel. This one is more like a lengthy short story.
I’ll start when last I updated, on Wednesday the 25th. The doctor had swept my membranes and ordered me back on on Friday the 27th for another NST and biophysical profile. He also ordered me to walk a lot to try to get the contractions going. All that day I was very crampy. I walked as much as I could stand (NPI) on my recently bum foot. I noticed what could have been mucous plug. I thought things were getting started.
Then Thursday the 26th all of that was pretty much gone. No more spotting, really. No more contractions or cramping even. I made the labor cake that is ever-so-popular these days. I made some freezer meals and ate a spicy lunch. I walked, again, as much as I could. Nothing. that afternoon I was going to get Gus early but suddenly felt ridiculously tired so I lay down to nap instead and went to get him at the usual time. Should have slept more! heh.
I picked up Gus and walked around the farmers’ market with him and his little friend and his mom. Then Masa and Gus and I walked to a restaurant for dinner, and walked back to our cars. All this time I was feeling really sick. Not contractions but just suuuper tired and a bit nauseous. We got home and I parked it on the couch while Masa gave Gus his bath. I just couldn’t do it.
At 8:00pm nearly on the button, I had a contraction. It was the first I’d had in hours but it was pretty uncomfortable. There was nothing about that contraction that said to me “this is it!” They kept coming every 3-5 minutes though, so after about a half an hour I texted my friend who was on call to watch Gus should the baby come over night, and asked her to be on stand-by. We put Gus to bed while trying to time the contractions. When I lay down with Gus, they slowed down and I thought it was just another bout of the fakies. Again. sad face.
At about 10pm, I decided to try to get some sleep, the contractions weren’t getting stronger or closer together. Masa and I lay down in the bed and as soon as I’d gotten comfortable (as much as a nine-month-pregnant woman can) I had a doozy of a contraction. It wasn’t so much that it was extra painful but just that it didn’t let up and I could feel the baby moving around a lot. I *had* to change positions so I got on all fours to try to help him get in the right angle, then I stood up and did hip circles… all the while the contraction dragged on.
Shortly after that I started to shake. Hard. That’s when I admitted that this was probably the real deal. I remembered the shakes from last time. So about 10:30 I phoned my friend to come on over and got through to the doc on call who said come on in! A few minutes after that I felt a weird and familiar sensation like a kick but different and realized that my water had broken. It was a high-up rupture so I wasn’t positive at first, no gush or anything, but I grabbed a waterproof changing pad and a towel anyway.
I stopped into Gus’ room and gave him a kiss and told his beautiful sleeping face how much I love him. I tear up thinking of that moment. The last with my first baby as my only baby.
But minutes later our friend was here, and we were off. Halfway to the car I had a pretty hard contraction and it confirmed the water breaking was for real. By the time we got to the hospital, the towel was soaked. Yum.
I called my mom on the way to the hospital to let her know. She was due to come into town the next day but we were hoping she’d be there for the birth. Since my water was already broken, and given family history, we knew she wasn’t likely to make it as she lives three hours away. So we agreed she’d come Friday, as planned. I was disappointed but what can you do.
The drive to the hospital was hairy. We felt like we were in a sitcom or something. It’s just pretty surreal making a mad late-night dash to the hospital in labor, water broken, the whole nine yards. As I mentioned, my family has a history of quick births, especially once the water is broken, so I can’t even tell you how relieved I was when we reached the street the hospital is on and I knew we’d make it no matter what.
We got there around 11pm I think, checked in at the ER. I was rolled up to L&D and checked in. Gushing fluid with every contraction, I changed into a gown, peed in a cup, and answered a bunch of questions. I was checked and found to be 5-6cm, 80% effaced and membranes definitely ruptured. They were crazy busy that night, and down three nurses, but they got us a labor and delivery room right away and I settled in for the ride.
The nurse was busy but super nice. She got me a labor ball and set me up with juice and water. They didn’t give me any grief over asking for the hep-lock instead of the full IV, didn’t give me any flack over wanting to walk around. I was kept on the monitors for the most part but that wasn’t a big deal as I could still sit comfortably on the labor ball and squeeze Masa’s hand. That’s all I needed.
Now, I know that most labor stories have this at some point, but I’ll say it too – this is where things get a bit hazy…
They told me that my Dr. had said to check me in an hour and call him when I was 8cm. Well. With my first labor I’d gone from 6cm to 10 and pushing in … ohh… just under an hour. So I kind of knew that this wasn’t a very smart plan, but I was focusing on getting through contractions and I think I mentioned it to them maybe but no one really paid attention. *sigh*
So I labored and focused and took things one contraction at a time. I didn’t look at the clock really at all so I can’t give times. Things started to pick up and they checked me again. I’m not sure if it was the end of the allotted hour or if they could tell I was transitioning or what. I don’t remember much here, but I think they checked me and I was 9cm and suddenly there was commotion of people trying to get a hold of my doctor. A few minutes later they were trying to get a hold of ANY doctor.
I was in a LOT of pain, obviously. I couldn’t really get out of the bed after that but lay on my right side, the same as I did with Gus. I screamed and I cried a bit and I think (ok I know) I bit Masa at one point. Yeah. What can I say? You kind of get feral at that stage of the game…
Not long after that 9cm check, I could feel the baby moving down through the birth canal and could feel my body begin to push. So I said, “I’m pushing!!” and suddenly the nurse was frantic, telling me no! you can’t push! and I was thinking, “lady this is not up for negotiation, I couldn’t stop if I tried…” but instead I think I just whimpered a little. She told me to go “hah! hah! hah!” so I gave it a try.
“hah! hah! hah!” but all the while my body was still pushing the baby down. If you’ve never had a full size baby in your vagina for any length of time, I’ll go ahead and let you know that it’s not the most comfortable sensation on Earth. I wasn’t quite crowning or anything but he was in there, no mistake. So after one round of “hah!-ing” I called it quits and decided to just push him out.
Surreptitiously, I started bearing down with my contractions and while that is still painful, I don’t care what anyone says, the sense of relief is certainly real. And because I was trying to push on the down-low, I didn’t have to do the whole hold-your-breath-one-two-three b.s. In fact, if someone had tried to count during my pushes, I think I might have tried to cut them.
Anyway. Apparently the room was in mayhem because my doctor was not there and when I was checked again (as I screamed “What are you DOING TO ME!!!” at the resident) and found to be 10cm and +2station (in other words – kid’s coming NOW) it was determined that my doctor was not likely to make it. There was a resident that didn’t seem to know much about what he was doing and some nurses. I heard my labor nurse on the phone frantically trying to track down another doctor. I could tell there was chaos ensuing even though my back was to the room. I couldn’t believe how fast things were going but I wasn’t about to slow it down.
Finally someone asked me, “Jennifer, are you pushing with contractions?” and, believing they’d tell me to stop I said, “I don’t know?” and then… “um. yes?” They seemed to accept that, and at some point, not sure when, they made me get in position on the birthing bed and actually push the baby out.
To me, time stood still. Masa tells me that they checked my cervix again (I don’t remember this, and I have no idea why) and that I pushed for maaaybe 10 minutes tops. Alls I remember is pain pain pain someone saying “the head is out” and thinking and exclaiming “THANK GOD! OH THANK GOD!” as I pushed his fat little body out. After the head, pushing that body out is the most blessed lovely thing EVER. so squishy. Apparently, after the head was out, there was a huge gush of amniotic fluid that shot out. The chief resident, who’d come to the rescue, tried to duck but apparently it hit her square in the apron. The other resident, I noticed later, got shot with meconium. Good times in the birthing room!
Then suddenly it was all purple slimy baby on my stomach and several hands wiping him and checking him and someone saying, “dad, do you want to cut the cord?” and Masa cutting my baby’s tie to me. It took some suctioning to get him to cry but he was alert and beautiful from the first moment. I don’t remember a whole lot about when I first saw Gus, so I wanted to burn into my memory the experience of seeing this boy for the first time. It really is incredible. The love you feel for that little creature the moment you see him. For months before that, to be honest, but it all just gets that much more real. That much more amazing.
Jude came into the world at 1:09am on January 27th, weighed 8 pounds even and was 19.75 inches in length.
My doctor finally showed up in time to stitch my second degree tear and tell Masa, “Next time, I’m just going to teach you how to deliver the baby at home.” Hahaha. ha. ha. Funny Dr. B. on many levels.
I got to breastfeed Jude a bit and cuddle and things and we were moved to the recovery room where we stayed for less than 36 hours before being allowed to leave. I have more to say about the whole hospital experience and how it’s changed my mind about a lot of things. But that’s for another post. This one is ridiculously long already.