Even though he’s now appeared on the blog three times since being born, I haven’t officially introduced the newest member of our family!
21 1/2 inches
And since no introduction of a baby is complete without a birth story, I’ll share that too 🙂
About two and a half weeks before my due date, at my 37 week checkup, my doctor checked my cervix for the first time and told me I was dilated to a four. At this point in both of my previous pregnancies I’d been dilated to half a centimeter, or maybe one centimeter, so the news that I was already this far along was completely shocking. My doctor told me to go home and pack my hospital bag, and since neither of my labors were super long with my boys, she expected that this delivery would go quickly. And if my water broke, I should waste absolutely no time in getting to the hospital. I also found out that I was positive for Strep B (which I hadn’t been with either of my boys), and I would need two rounds of antibiotics before delivery.
I was expecting to make it to full term, or at least close to it (which was the case with both of my boys), so suddenly being only 37 weeks pregnant and hearing that it could really be any day now was a major shock. I came home and spent the rest of the day in full blown baby prep mode, of course not knowing that I would still have three more weeks.
Over the next week I had some contractions. None of them were painful or consistent, but I still was really careful, since I felt like any sudden movements might break my water and send me in to labor.
I went in the following week for my 38 week checkup to find that I was dilated to a five. At this point I was starting to feel really anxious, not because I wanted the baby to come early, but because I was afraid of going into labor in the middle of the day while Philip was at work, or B was at school. I tried to think of a solution for every possible bad situation, just so I had a plan if I did suddenly go into labor. But of course I didn’t.
At my 38 week appointment (I was actually only two days away from hitting 39 weeks), I was now dilated to a five. I made my appointment for the following week, but I told the doctor that I hoped I wouldn’t be at that appointment and hoped I’d see her at the hospital instead. I was bound and determined to put myself into labor that weekend so that Philip and the boys would be home and everything would go smoothly (and no one would be caught in rush hour traffic and I’d have to drive myself to the hospital while in labor, or labor would go so quickly that I wouldn’t have time for the antibiotics…legitimate concerns I had!)
On Thursday night I started to have my first strong contractions. They still weren’t painful, but for about an hour that night they were consistent, and about eight minutes apart. Since I knew I needed the antibiotics before delivery, and I was so far dilated, I was sure the hospital wouldn’t send me home, even if I wasn’t in really active labor. I was convinced that was the night, and I was about ten (not painful) contractions away from forcing Philip to take me to the hospital. He told me, “I’ve seen you in labor twice before. You are not in labor right now.” Obviously this was not what I wanted to hear, but he reasoned with me and finally I relented and went to bed.
All day Friday I laid low, but when evening came around and Philip was home, I started walking around the house, walking up and down the stairs, and even doing a few jumping jacks. Contractions picked up again, as they had the night before…not painful, but consistent. We went through the same charade as the night before, me trying to convince Philip that it was time, and him trying to reason with me, because obviously I was not in real labor yet. So again I went to bed instead of forcing him to take me to the hospital.
On Saturday morning, I woke up absolutely determined to put myself into labor. After breakfast, we headed out to run some errands. Contractions were back again, which was a good sign, and they were starting to get closer together and stronger. As we drove, I opened the Notes app on my phone and started recording the time and length of my contractions, since they were consistently about five minutes apart, and lasting ten to thirty seconds. It was almost lunch time, so we stopped at a little pizza place for lunch, and contractions continued as we ate. After that, we headed to Sam’s Club, and as we walked around the store, my contractions got stronger and felt painful for the first time. As we stood in line to check out, I told Philip that this was it and that as soon as we got home, unloaded the car, and dropped off the boys with friends, it was time to go to the hospital. I knew I still wasn’t in fully active labor, since the contractions weren’t very painful and weren’t lasting more than thirty seconds, but I was convinced that I was far enough along that with my Strep B diagnosis, being dilated to a 5+, and having regular contractions was enough to not get me sent home from the hospital. And at this point I was mostly concerned about getting both rounds of antibiotics.
We checked out, drove home, and as we unloaded the car and began packing a bag for the boys, I suddenly realized I hadn’t had any contractions in about twenty minutes. About ten minutes later, I still hadn’t had any more, and at this point Philip noticed. I was hoping he wouldn’t, since I knew he would talk me out of going to the hospital, which is exactly what he did. I figured I might as well make the most of the afternoon, so I finished a few last minute things for the blog, spent some time with the boys, and then made dinner. We hung out as a family that evening, and then put the boys to bed, all the while with almost no contractions.
Once the boys were asleep, I was hoping contractions would pick back up, so I ran around the house and almost immediately they started up again. I told Philip that if they continued for the next hour, we were absolutely going. I called my friend Tara, who was going to stay with the kids while we were in the hospital, and at nine o’clock, since contractions were still going strong, she came over. It was drizzling a little bit as we left, and as we drove the 15 minutes to the hospital we placed bets if they would send us home or not.
When we pulled into the parking garage around 9:20pm, the rain had stopped, and my contractions had also slowed. Philip suggested we walk around the parking garage for a little bit, just to make sure the contractions didn’t stop. We spent the next thirty minutes walking up to the top of the garage and back down to the bottom about five times, and each time the contractions got longer and stronger. Finally after thirty minutes, I was exhausted, and contractions were getting very uncomfortable, so in we went.
At the check in desk, I told them I was in labor, and within a few minutes we were admitted to Triage. The nurse came in, I told her the status of my labor, and she checked my cervix. I was now dilated to a six, and at the mention of my Strep B she said, “oh, you’re absolutely staying.” Whew. Over the next hour, they checked us in, put in my IV (which was probably the most painful part of the whole experience), and started the first round of antibiotics. The nurse said that usually they diluted it, but since they wanted to make sure I got at least my first round, she wanted to speed the process up and not dilute it. So the medicine that usually took about an hour to administer (through the IV) was pumped through in less than five minutes. My entire arm felt like it was on fire as the antibiotics moved through so quickly and without being diluted, so I clenched my fist over and over and tried to distract myself by talking to Philip.
Once round one was done, it was about an hour before they moved us over to Labor and Delivery, so we both rested since it was close to midnight at this point. Finally they came to get us and moved us into a nice big delivery room. At the foot of my bed, about ten feet away was the baby station with the warming lamp and scale. It was so strange to think that in just a few hours my baby would be over there.
Within about fifteen minutes of arriving in L&D, the anesthesiologist arrived to give me my epidural. It was uncomfortable while he did the procedure, and I sat hunched over on the side of the hospital bed, clutching the nurse’s arm as tightly as I could. He was done very quickly though and now it was close to 1am and I was exhausted. My next antibiotic was due at 3am, so the nurse turned off the lights and left us to sleep, which of course we did. Over the next few hours, I slept, only waking up when they came to do round two of antibiotics, break my water, and eventually give me a dose of pitocin since my contractions had almost completely stopped. I was sleeping so deeply that most of this was a blur and I fell right back into deep sleep the moment they would leave the room.
at 6:15 I woke up suddenly to the feeling of a strong contraction, and I knew it was time. The contraction wasn’t super painful, but more like a deep ache on my right side. I’d been sleeping on my left side (since being on my right side always made my nauseous during this entire pregnancy) and since epidurals are affected by gravity, my right side was not very numb anymore. I called the nurse and told her what was going on. After a quick check, she announced I was completely dilated, and she left to call the doctor. I rolled over on to my right side to help distribute the epidural more evenly, and then we waited for the doctor to arrive. Philip got up, the nurse turned on the lights, and we opened up the windows and discovered it was pouring rain outside.
At 6:45 am the doctor arrived. My regular doctor was stuck a few cities over for some reason, so the back up doctor, whom I’d never met, was on call. She walked in and I instantly liked her. She was kind and calm, but also ready to get down to business. Since it was a full thirty minutes since she had been called, everything was prepared and ready for delivery, so she walked in, put on her protective gown and gloves, and immediately sat down in front of me ready to get this baby out. The nurse told me that she was sure this was going to be quick, and her prediction was three pushes. And just like that it was time, and exactly as she predicted, three pretty easy pushes and out he came at 6:56 am.
There’s this really strange disconnect that I always feel between the baby in my belly and the baby that’s born, and I instantly felt that…is he really that baby that was just inside of me? He was so calm as the doctor pulled him out. In fact, they didn’t hand him to me right away because they wanted to get a good scream out of him just to make sure he was okay. They used the bulb suction to clean out his nose and mouth, and even that didn’t elicit more than a grunt or two. Finally they got a good enough cry out of him and they came and placed him on my chest, and of course I instantly burst into tears, so relieved he was here, and was completely healthy.
The next two days in the hospital were amazing as we introduced San to the boys (who were so, so sweet with him), and I bonded with this fresh little spirit. He is such a calm and sweet little baby, and although diaper changes and hunger elicit the most high pitched pterodactyl-like scream, he’s so mellow and calm besides that.
Now, two and a half weeks later, he’s a champion sleeper (already doing multiple 5-6 hour stretches every night), amazing eater, super happy and low-key baby, and we could not feel happier and more blessed as a family of five.