I've been putting off this post.
Baby J3 is three weeks old but I'm not looking forward to reliving his birth! It includes phrases such as "heart tones not good", "not recovering well", "baby is in distress", "emergency back-up", "ambulance", "call 9-1-1".
Ok, well, now I guess I have to finish what I started!
I had really really hoped to have this baby early. I'm not sure what gave me that hope as my first two babies were both over a week late! On Saturday, three days before my due date, I started having contractions but they were mild and inconsistent. On Sunday I remember being grumpy and annoyed because I wasn't in labor! I did stuff around the house--including sewing a couple pillowcases--and tried not to think about having a baby!
But that afternoon the light contractions started up again. I timed them and realized they were a lot more frequent and consistent than the day before. My husband was very excited and set up the birth tub, then we made a couple calls to our midwife and the boys' babysitter to give them a heads-up.
I continued to have contractions all night. I took a hot bath before bed to try to relax, but I wasn't able to sleep. I think it was more excitement and trepidation than the contractions. They were still consistently spaced but not very strong. I knew though, that I was in early labor.
I woke my husband at about 4 AM. Well, I didn't try to wake him but he heard me get up to use the bathroom. He started filling the tub, put on some relaxing music, and at about 5 AM he called our midwife. She asked some questions, gave us some advice and sent our doula out to our house. At 6 AM my husband called the babysitter and woke the boys. He dressed them and gave them breakfast while the doula checked my progress, made me some tea and had me eat some nuts and toast. The babysitter came shortly after 7 AM and I was glad when my husband was able to be with me again!
Things get progressively foggier after that! The contractions were more painful, but I was able to handle them by relaxing and breathing. I was very encouraged that it wasn't my first birth, that things should go faster the second time, that perhaps baby was turned the right way and I wouldn't have as much painful back labor as last time...
But then my water broke and all of a sudden IT HURT!!! Contractions were longer and more frequent too. I wanted to get in the birth tub to try to relax and not be in pain anymore. Our doula helped me undress (when my water broke I was laying in bed and it went all over!) and got me into the tub which was in our bedroom. I had to stand up and walk from the bed to the tub at the end of the bed and it took a lot of concentration and I had to pause through several contractions as I went the short distance.
No sooner had I gotten in the tub than the doula wanted to check the baby's heart tones. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when she waited through a contraction and checked again. Baby wasn't recovering well.
Baby's heart tones were low.
About this time our midwife got to our house. They had me get out of the tub and lay on the bed in various positions, none of which were comfortable or decent for someone only wearing a bra! Feeling humiliated was the last thing on my mind; all I could think about was my baby in distress and how. much. it. hurt!
We started talking about hospitals. And ambulance rides. And calling 9-1-1.
We live 45 minutes from the hospital. On a good day if you speed a little! I don't know which was worse, the pain or the fear! The pain kind of helped me deal with the fear, you know? I knew I would do whatever it took to keep my baby healthy.
I won't try to pretend, and this is the hard part to write; I was scared our baby wouldn't survive. I knew 45 minutes was too long to go without oxygen. I didn't know if I would survive if our baby didn't--from a broken heart if nothing else! But remember I was in too much pain to voice any of this, or to really dwell on it. All I could do was pray and breathe and cut off all circulation to my husband's hand!
Seriously, I have never prayed so hard! I was begging God for a miracle--not to stop the pain (although that would have been nice!) but for our baby to be born soon and healthy.
EMTs started coming sooner than I thought possible. And more of them than I thought possible! In my haze I would have guessed 20 people responded to that call! My bedroom started filling with strangers, mostly men, and I was still only wearing a bra. Can you imagine?! I was finally covered by a blanket which stayed with me as the ambulance came and I was strapped to a gurney and wheeled out of my house and into the ambulance. They let my husband ride in the back with me after he put his foot down that he was staying by my side. I'm so thankful for that!
So imagine with me, being in hard labor with barely a pause between contractions. You're mostly naked, surrounded by strangers in an ambulance and you have no idea how your baby is doing. You're strapped down, they've given you oxygen and started an IV and you just know you're headed in for another c-section when you'd dreamed of a natural birth.
And then you have the urge to push and you're told not to. And you know the hospital is still more than half an hour away.
I remember thinking that I wish I knew how to make myself pass out. I seriously wanted to be unconscious! I was looking forward to that horrible shot they give you before a c-section, because then I would be numb!
The EMTs warned me as we approached the hospital that we had to enter through the front doors of the labor-and-delivery unit. I felt sorry for the other moms who would see me and be scared for what lay ahead for themselves!
The emergency room we went to was, again, filled with strangers. This time they were all dressed in blue. Once the hospital staff took over, my stats were taken again, baby's heart rate was taken (still low but not in serious danger), and my progress was checked. Good news!
You're fully dilated! Go ahead and push!
I was moved to a regular delivery room instead of surgery! My prayers were being answered!
Our doctor was amazing. I completely trusted him. The nursing staff was efficient and helpful, especially the head nurse. I really appreciated her!
It took another 45 minutes (it seemed like about 3!) and the help of the vacuum, but our baby was born at 11:16 AM on May 16, one day before the due date.
And then I heard a cry! Another miracle! It's a boy! And he's perfect! Even though I was braced for it, he wasn't even taken to NICU! I was holding my perfect baby just minutes after he was born! All is well!
Did I mention he weighed 10 lbs, 15 oz? Hence the difficult labor!
Sure, it wasn't the birth I had envisioned. There was much more trauma involved than I ever want to have happen again! It hurt way more than I expected and there were things I wish hadn't happened. But they did. I had hoped to hold my baby immediately after he was born, I didn't want his cord cut right away, I certainly didn't want the vacuum or the (seemingly) hundreds of stitches down there, and I wanted to be HOME! But my baby was healthy and safe and in my arms.
Thank God for miracles!