I can't believe that it's been almost a full week since Sam was born and I haven't even made a "He's Here!" blog announcement! Well... he's here. =) Samuel (Sam) Joseph was born October 30th at 3:28 PM. 8 lbs, 18 inches.
Sam's birth story started LONG before his arrival however. You may all remember reading about the false alarm on the 24th, the day before his due date. After being sent home, I continued to have contractions off and on, though with no real regularity in frequency and they never really got much stronger. It seemed like every day I continued to experience other labor related symptoms (stop reading now if you don't want to hear gory details)....................................................... if it wasn't more contractions, it was soft bowel movements, loss of the mucus plug, increase in discharge... all kinds of wonderful stuff. Every day I would touch base with our doula, and every day nothing happened. I continued to go on walks, bounce and circle on my exercise ball, and try everything else that I could to get labor moving.
Finally, on Wednesday, Oct. 29th at about 7:00 PM, something extra weird happened. I was cleaning up dinner dishes and felt a weird "pop". It was like someone shoved a pin into a ping pong ball sized balloon in my "area"... a little water balloon to be exact. I said something along the lines of "well, that's weird" to Jacob and went to the bathroom to check it out.
My underwear and pants were both wet, but nothing else seemed to be going on (no additional "leakage"). I had had a similar wet incident a couple days prior (without the "pop" though), so thought it was just more of the same. I took of my bottoms and went into the bedroom to get some dry clothes. I got about two steps into the bedroom and another ping pong ball worth of water came out. At this point I went back to the bathroom and yelled to Jacob that something was definitely going on. I put on a maxi-pad and some clean clothes, Jacob called his mom. We then made calls to doctor, doula and my mom and waited for Jacob's mom to arrive to hang out with Emily.
At this point I think Emily sensed that something was going on and was acting out a bit so, I sat down on the couch with her to cuddle for a little bit, talk about what was about to happen, and take in the last few moments of being a mother of one with an amazing little girl. =)
A few minutes later, Jacob's mom showed up. I got up off the couch and started walking back to the bedroom to grab some last minute things to head out. Halfway to the bedroom a GUSH of water came out. I yelled for Jacob and hightailed it to the bathroom. I had him bring me a hand towel this time and another dry pair of pants.
Thankfully the hand towel was sufficient coverage to get us to the hospital without making more of a mess. ;)
We got to the hospital, got checked in, and myself undressed and into bed where I was once again hooked up to monitors and checked out... still having the occasional gush of fluids... weirdest feeling ever.
Since my water broke, there was no going home this time! I was told that the baby would be born, one way or another, in the next 24 hours. At that point I wasn't really having contractions and, when they checked me out, my cervix was still posterior (really high) and I was barely dilated. The nurses called the on-call OB who suggested that I try to get some sleep and that I be checked again at around 5:00 am and started on pitocin. I told the nurse that I was all for getting some sleep, but that I wanted to avoid the pitocin as long as possible. At this point we checked in with our doula, told her what was going on, and asked if she could be there for the 5 am check. Then Jacob and I tried to get comfortable and get some sleep.
Right around 3:00 am I woke up with contractions. They weren't overly strong at first, but they continued to increase in strength and frequency... to the point that I woke Jacob up and asked him to ask our doula, Kristin, if she could come earlier.
Kristin got there around 4:00 and, since I was awake and having contractions, they checked me out early. My cervix was still quite high, so Kristin encouraged me to start moving around. We walked up and down the halls for a little while, and then bounced/swayed on a birthing ball. The contractions continued to get stronger little by little. Around 8:00 am (I think, time is a bit fuzzy for me at this point), my OB came by to check in on me. I think I was dilated to about 3 cm at that point. She agreed to hold off on the pitocin as long as I was making progress on my own, and said that she'd be back during the lunch hour to check on me again. So, more walking, more bouncing.
By this point, bouncing on the ball was feeling great until I had a contraction, and then, something about the ball just intensified everything... and moved it to my back. Up until this point I was so grateful that I wasn't feeling pain in my back. After the intense back labor with Emily, I REALLY didn't want to experience that again. But, something about that damn ball just relocated the pain. Kristin was helpful with some massage/pressure during the contractions, but, ultimately I gave up on the ball and just walked around the room for a bit swaying my hips in circles trying to get the little guy to DROP already!
Somewhere around 11:00 am things started to change. The contractions were MUCH stronger now, and I was feeling most of the pain in my back, even not being on the ball. Heat didn't make much of a difference, pressure/massage still helped but not enough. There were suggestions that I get into the tub, but that just seemed like way too much work when I was in so much pain that I could barely even move. All I wanted to do was lie down. The nurses came in to check on me and decided to call my doctor, who advised them to check and see how dilated I was. By the time that they got back into the room, I was in so much pain (in my back) that I could barely move and, it was at that point, that I decided that I wanted the epidural.
My plan, with both births, was always to see how far I could get without pain meds as I knew that getting them could prolong/slow down the labor process. But, at the same time, I didn't feel the need to put myself through so much pain when relief was available. I think that I could have gone longer had the contractions not moved to my back... but that pain is like nothing else imaginable and I had had enough.
Since I was in so much pain and asked for the epidural, the nurses decided to wait on checking my cervix until about the drugs had been administered. So the anesthesiologist was called. I think she arrived pretty quickly and got me set up for the needle. Our doula had to leave (protocol apparently) until everything was said and done, but Jacob was able to stay there with me. It was really hard not to clench/move/yell in agony while sitting on that table and getting contractions while trying to also get a needle shoved in my back. The doc told me that I have some pretty strong back muscles... still not sure if that was a good/bad thing given the situation. =)
After the drugs kicked in, I got settled back into bed and the nurses checked me out... 7 cm. I was pissed. With all that pain, work that I'd gone through, I thought for sure that I'd be farther along then that! Shortly thereafter my OB came back up to check on me. It had been less than half an hour since the nurses checked me, so I wasn't expecting much... but THANK GOD I was at a 9! Two centimeters in less than 30 minutes! I was THRILLED. Since I was making so much progress on my own, pitocin was no longer on the table and my doctor advised the nurses to let me labor for awhile on my own.
It was now lunch time on the 30th. I joked with Kristin and Jacob that they could feel free to go grab lunch and bring it back into the room... as long as it wasn't a bacon cheese burger. =) Since I wasn't allowed to eat, I certainly didn't want to smell anything TOO good!
That's the last thing I really remember until "waking up" to a room full of people in blue scurrying around in what felt like a bit of a panicked state.
I didn't really know what was going on and what the problem was. All I knew is that I was shaking pretty uncontrollably. The anesthesiologist was back in the room, as was my nurses and one or two more, and my OB. I remembering hearing something about a "cord issue", having a hard time finding the heartbeat, and references to my blood pressure. Someone else put an oxygen mask on me. Needless to say, I was getting a little freaked out... which probably didn't help the shaking. However, I do remember the anesthesiologist telling me that the shaking was perfectly normal... so that helped a bit.
After things calmed down a little bit, I was able to determine that the "cord issue" was an issue with the blood pressure machine's cord (not the umbilical cord). They were having a hard time getting the heartbeat with the external monitors in the position that I was in, but once they put an internal monitor in there was no problem. I'm still unclear if I actually had a blood pressure spike, or if the machine was just malfunctioning. Either way... way to freak out a laboring mama for no apparently reason! (And without much communication during the process!).
After calming myself down and getting some explanations, I was able to relax and rest for a bit longer... getting checked ever so often to see about my dilation and cervix thinning. They also asked me constantly about any pressure that I may be feeling and if I was feeling a need to push. I was definitely feeling pressure (much like the pressure you feel when you need to have a bowel movement) but wasn't feeling the need to push.
At around 3:00 PM, my OB came up again to check on me, and decided to try a couple of "practice pushes". She explained what I was going to do and how (deep breath, push for 10 seconds during a contractions while pulling myself into my bent, raised legs... three times during each contractions). We then waited for a contraction to come (which I still knew was happening because that's when the "pressure" felt the strongest) and I "practiced" a push. After that one practice push, my doc was asking for a robe because the baby was coming!
By 3:23 PM a contraction came and we were set up and ready to start the "real" pushing. I pushed through 2 contractions (6 pushes) and the little guy was OUT... at 3:28 PM. That's right... only FIVE MINUTES of pushing. So, so happy that part went so quickly! (As opposed to 3 hours with Emily!).
I had no tearing. The placenta came out shortly thereafter. I got to hold my little guy while the nurses started clean up and checking him out. He even latched out for his first feeding without me even trying to get him there. I'm so, so thankful that everything went so smoothly and that we now have a healthy little guy with a head full of blonde hair (I'm glad the heart burn I had was due to something!) and, what appears to be, brown eyes (which is super weird as both his dad and I have blue eyes!).
Jacob's folks brought Emily by the hospital later that evening so that
she could meet her new brother. She was pretty excited about it and
wanted to hold him and "pet" him. She calls him her baby and gives him
kisses and cuddles up next to him.
We were able to get discharged on the 31st, in the evening. This was really important to me as I wanted to be there to see Emily off as she went trick-or-treating for, really, the first time. Her grandmother's took her to a few houses around the neighborhood. She was dressed up as a princess and had so much fun.
I love my family. And I love how "complete" I feel that we are now with Sam in our lives. I am so looking forward to seeing what the future brings for us!