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Oh, hey! I had a baby! Three weeks ago! Andrew “Drew” Jay joined us on June 8th. We are overcome with love and happiness. Here is his story.
On Friday, June 6th, I felt off. I can’t explain it exactly, but I felt differently than I had the previous 39 week. I was also losing my mucus plug (Oops! Sorry! Gross TMI birth stuff a must.), and since the same thing happened the entire day before my labor started with Ryan, I had an inkling this baby’s birthday was not far off. At just four days from my due date and having experienced lots of false contractions near the end of this pregnancy, I didn’t expect much to happen, but I called my mom anyway and told her maybe it was a good idea if she made the 3.5 hour journey my way. She agreed, and I went off to get a much anticipated pre-baby pedicure. I left the appointment with pretty toes, and headed to the grocery store.
While I was in the checkout line, I started to feel tired. SO TIRED. Like, about to fall over with exhaustion tired. It frightened me for a second until it passed, but reiterated what I already knew: something was up. A few hours later my mom arrived and we spent a nice day with the boys playing, planting flowers, and just…waiting for something to start. I was REALLY grumpy all day, too. Just like before Ryan. It did not go unnoticed haha!
Friday came and went without incident. Saturday morning I heard Owen calling for me at 6 a.m. I stood up and had a very mild contraction. I didn’t think much of it (again, lots of false labor), and went about my morning. The contractions continued on and off, but were not very strong nor regular. Sometimes I would have one an hour. Then maybe three. Then none. I was frustrated. I wanted labor to either ramp up, or the contractions to stop. Not this in-between nonsense. I was grumpy and emotional. Michael was supposed to be at work but after lots of back and forth (and an emotional breakdown from me), he decided to stay home. I’m so glad he did, because it was one less thing for me to stress about.
By the afternoon the contractions were stronger, but still not regular. Ten minutes apart. Then 22. Then five. Then THEY WOULD STOP. I started to walk circles around our cul-de-sac, occasionally being stopped by neighbors wanting to chat about how I was doing. By seven p.m., 13 hours after the contractions started, I had fed the boys, given them a bath, and done their nighttime routine. In that way, I was glad the labor had progressed as it had, because I was able to give them that stability and say goodnight to them. I told Owen there was a good chance I wouldn’t be home in the morning and his grandmother would be here instead. He understood what that meant and happily kissed me goodnight.
After the boys went to bed, it was almost as though my brain allowed by body to really get going. I bounced on an exercise ball and the contractions got more intense and closer together. For the first time, I experienced back labor (OW), so my mom would push on my lower back during a contraction. It helped a ton. This went on from 8-10:30 when suddenly…the contractions stopped. Cold turkey. That’s it. I’m done. I’m going to bed, I thought. If I wasn’t going to have a baby tonight, I wanted to go to sleep. I was exhausted from laboring all day. Just before 11, I texted my sister who was almost at my house. I told her to let herself in, lock the door, and I would wake her if anything happened. I got ready for bed, climbed in next to Michael, and we heard the door open.
“Your sister is here,” he said.
“Yeah, I hear her,” I replied, grumpily.
And then my water broke.
I shuffled to the bathroom to get stuff together as Michael let the hospital know we were on our way, called his mom to come stay with the boys and gathered up last minute items. Those mild and irregular contractions had instantly turned into strong and regular ones after my water broke, so I didn’t feel like hanging around the house much longer. By 11:40 we were in the car and making the short, familiar drive to the hospital. All my babies began their labors at night, so there is something nostalgic about that middle of the night drive for me. Though, contractions in a car are hell. Pure hell.
We arrived in no time at all, and soon enough I was changing into a particularly difficult hospital gown. (It took three of us to figure out the snaps on it!) I was hooked up to the IV and the fetal heartbeat monitor, and tried to find a comfortable position, which proved difficult with the contractions now only seconds apart. Michael applied pressure to my back and I worked through some of them laboring on my hands and knees. When I was checked, I was dilated to about five centimeters, and decided to once again get the epidural. The anesthesiologist was already on the floor, so it wasn’t long before I was being prepped for what I knew would be sweet relief.
I leaned into my wonderful nurse as the epidural was put it, and tried to focus on the sound of my baby’s heart beat coming through the monitor. I told myself the pain was worth it. It was bringing him to me. And soon I would feel relief and could rest. There were no longer breaks between the contractions, and I began to wrestle with my thoughts. I didn’t feel like I could do it any more. The pain so so intense and so constant. I tried to tell myself it would be easier soon, but I didn’t believe my own words.
Finally the epidural was in, and I leaned back onto the bed. I knew from my previous births that relief would come shortly. Only, it didn’t. Suddenly I began to feel intense burning and shouted at the nurse that something was wrong. She calmly said she would check things out, and her check revealed I was fully dilated and the baby was on his way out. Looking back, I realize now I was going through transition while sitting absolutely still for the epidural. Which explains the crazy head games and also ALL THE PAIN.
I am told Andrew was born in just minutes, but it felt like hours. I now understand what women mean when they speak of the “ring of fire”. I had always wanted a natural birth, but changed my mind in the end. This time, I didn’t have a choice. Drew was born the fastest of all my babies at 1:01 a.m., just an hour and a half after my water broke and hard labor began. And…before the epidural kicked in. As a matter of fact, the only thing I got from the epidural before they took it out was tingly feet 10 minutes after he was born. I won’t lie. It was the most painful hour and a half of my life, but I felt amazing afterwards. Like a rock star!
He was placed on my chest and my heart once again filled with love for our new son. He had a full head of dark hair, the longest fingers and toes, and lungs that announced to all he was here. We lay skin-to-skin while I delivered the placenta, and soon he began to nurse.
A few hours later, Michael brought Owen and Ryan to meet their new brother. Suddenly we were a party of five. In the time he’s been here, I find myself delirious both with lack of sleep and love. Every day is more challenging than I thought it would be, but oh. My three little boys. I am so very lucky.
The day before my due date I was terribly crabby. No, scratch that. I was downright bitchy. Nothing could make me happy, I didn’t want to do anything and I was done, done, DONE with being pregnant. That morning Owen and I met some friends for coffee and when they asked if I was having any symptoms of labor, I regretfully said no. Nothing! After coffee, Owen and I went grocery shopping. I figured the baby had to come at SOME POINT during the week, so I should probably make sure I had some food in the house. After no less than three cashiers made comments about me still “not popping”, I decided we were done running errands.
Later that afternoon we went out on the boat. We had been out on it almost every day that week, and every time I told Michael to really hit the bumps hard. Bounce this baby out! The bouncing didn’t do anything, but we had a nice afternoon — our last as a family of three. I made spicy burritos for dinner as one last ditch effort for the day, and put Owen to bed. By 10 p.m. I was still grumpy and figured I might as well just go to bed. I read a magazine for a bit and at 10:45, right before I closed my eyes I said out loud, “Baby, you are coming out tomorrow. Understand? Good.”
Thirty seconds later my water broke.
With no contractions to speak of, I went to the living room, shared the news with Michael, called my family and told them to hit the road, and started getting things together.
Last belly picture — one hour before being 40 weeks pregnant — baby time!
When we were ready to leave for the hospital, I tiptoed into Owen’s room, snuggled the blankets around him and kissed him goodbye. He didn’t wake, but mumbled a little in his sleep. I was overcome with emotion then, and had to leave the room before my tears woke him. I came out wiping my eyes and Michael gave me a big hug and assured me that Owen was going to be just fine. (Spoiler: he is!)
My mother-in-law arrived soon after, and as I was now having contractions about 5 to 7 minutes apart, we headed out. We checked in around 12:30, in the same room I delivered Owen in. I told the nurse I was maybe interested in using the labor tub, and she was all for it. Whatever you want to do, she said. I figured I would play it by ear. At this point, the contractions were, well, contractions, but they were pretty manageable. They began to set me up for the IV, and this is where things went a little wonky. I HATED the IV last time. Worst part of having a baby. I told them as much as since it was hospital policy I have one, I asked if they could at least put it in a different spot than last time (it had been right below my thumb near the wrist). Their first attempt this time was in my forearm, but it wasn’t taking. As the woman continued to jab me — and talk about how it wasn’t working — I began to get lightheaded. REALLY lightheaded.
Before I knew it, I had an oxygen mask on my face and the nurse was saying something about my blood pressure being sixty over thirty, and I don’t know much about blood pressure, but I know that is not normal. Baby wasn’t in distress, though, so long story short, in a little bit I was fine and they put the IV in the back of my hand. Wish they had just done that the first time.
The clock ticked into the one o’clock hour and as the contractions got stronger, I reflected back on Owen’s birth which was 16 hours start to finish. I’d only been in labor for just over two hours at this point and hadn’t yet slept. This was going to be a long night, I thought. I think I’d like to get some sleep. Right then and there I changed my mind about the tub and asked for the epidural and not long afterwards, I was comfortably resting.
My mom and sister arrived and since the maternity floor was empty, the nurses set them up with some beds in an empty room so they could sleep. I didn’t get much sleep, though, because the nurses kept bothering me. Every so often they would come in and roll me over, move the fetal heart monitor or check something or another. As it turns out, my contractions started getting further apart instead of closer together, and when they reached 10 minutes apart, the OB came to check me. I had gone from 2 cm at check in to about 6 cm, and they discovered that I had a second small bag of water (I didn’t know that could happen) that was still intact and was acting like a little pillow for baby’s head, slowing dilation. I asked him if he could break that bag and he said yes. As soon as he did, I felt TONS of pressure and when he checked me again not even 15 minutes later, I was 10 cm.
I told the nurse I felt like I could push, so they asked me to do a “practice” push before they woke up my family. Michael stood by me, I gave a push and they all said to stop. Baby was coming!
My mom and sister came in, everyone gathered around and I started to push. Unlike with Owen’s birth where it took a while for me to feel the urge to push and I pushed for an hour, this time it was immediate. The nurse laughed that this would be quick, then told me NOT to push for a minute (I don’t know what the reason was, but ah! agony!) I panted trying to fight the urge until finally I was all, “Um, I’m pushing…I have to push. I’m going to push RIGHT NOW!” and I heard Michael say “SHE’S PUSHING!”
And just like that, Ryan Mason literally tumbled into the world. Six hours start to finish, nine minutes of pushing. (And no tear this time, thank god!)
Owen arrived a few hours later and cuteness and sweetness filled the room. He was so excited and proud to meet his baby. We stayed the full two days. I could have left earlier, but I liked the short time of relative quiet where I could bond with Ryan. And then we headed home, our family of four.
Life is good. It’s tiring and chaotic and sweet and wonderful. I am so lucky.
(Ryan says “woe is me”. Life on the outside, man. Crazy.)
You guys. I’m so impatient! I know. I KNOW. Babies come when they are ready to come. But the remaining 12 days till his due date seem endlessly far away.
At this point last time I was done. DONE. I had awful sciatica, everything was uncomfortable and Owen’s arrival five days before his due date was such a welcoming relief.
38 weeks with Owen (left) vs. 38 weeks with Baby #2
Owen was born on a full moon. The theory about the moon bringing babies isn’t proven or anything, but some people say the gravitational pull does the same thing to your uterus as it does to the tides.
I don’t know if that’s true, but today is a full moon and nothing is happening. Not even a little.
I really shouldn’t complain. I’m comfortable. Seriously, aside from being a little off balance, I feel great. I have experienced prelabor, or false labor, whatever you want to call it, this time. I didn’t have that with Owen and each time I have a contraction (an hour of them the other day), I think this must be it. And then it’s not.
I should just sit back and enjoy this remaining time before being awake all night and having two in diapers. I should make the most of the 4th and the time left as our family of three.
But oh, how I’m ready. I just want him to be here! I want to hold him and smell his new baby smell and introduce him to Owen. I want my family to come and although I still don’t know if I’ll manage this labor without an epidural or not, I actually want to feel those contractions that symbolize his birth is eminent.
So I wait. Hopefully not too much longer…