June 20, 2008
We went to bed late on Friday and I had about two hours of sleep when I woke up with a contraction. I had them five minutes apart for three hours and then was able to sleep between them for the next four hours. They were painful enough that I was breathing through them and using effleurage to deal with the pain. In the morning, I checked my cervix to see what I could feel and something was definitely different. Instead of feeling the neck, I just felt the edge of it, which I figured meant that those seven hours had at least gotten me effaced. I didn’t check any more than that, but I may have been somewhat dilated as well.
My contractions more or less stopped when I got up and so I told Mike that we had to stay busy that day or I was going to go nuts. I figured that I would probably have the baby soon, but had no way to really tell and I had errands to run and cleaning to do in the house. I decided that if we could get a few things done at home and then have the kids nap at Mike’s parents while we went shopping, it would be a good way to stay busy. We finished up at home and went to his parents around three-thirty. We put the kids down for their nap, Mike had some steak and we left to get our shopping done. I was pretty tired and not feeling great when we got back to pick up the kids, so we didn’t stay for a long time. We had some dessert and left around seven-thirty. I had at least two or three bad contractions when I was at my in-laws, but nothing was regular. On the way home, we stopped at Safeway to get ice and against my better judgement, I went in to get it myself. Getting back out to the van, I was in a terrible amount of pain. We got home and Mike sat down to watch a movie with the kids. I heated up some food for myself and gave them some string cheese to snack on while I checked my email and did a few other things on the computer. I got up to go to the bathroom a little after eight and had a bad contraction when I was in there, so I decided to take a bath and see if it would make me feel a bit better. It felt good, but mostly just made me have more contractions. When I got out around eight thirty, I checked myself again and realized pretty quickly that I could feel a good sized circle of the baby’s head through the amniotic sac. At this point, my contractions were bad enough to make me cry, and I figured that this was a good sign that real labour was finally happening.
Mike called his parents, who were already in bed, and we packed the kids up and took them over. They had not had supper and I felt bad about it, but there was no way I was taking the time to do it. It turns out that when they got to their grandparents, they went right to bed and slept through the night without ever eating anything. We got to the hospital around twenty to ten. Right away I was having contractions that the nurse said sounded like the real thing. After being on the monitor for awhile, she checked me and said I was four or five centimetres dilated, which meant, she said, that they were keeping me. Mike and I high-fived after she left – I was actually in labour!
I stayed in the same room for a short time and then went to the delivery room and got set up in there. It must have been ten-fifteen or so at that point and things were still slow but getting more intense. I was having intense back pain and the nurse suggested that the baby was posterior, so I got on my hands and knees to try to get the baby to flip. I’m not sure that he ever did, but things did feel better after awhile, so he must have at some point. It seemed that the whole time I was in the delivery room, I would just get into a position that was comfortable and then I would have to pee. So I would move to get up, have a contraction, go the bathroom, have another contraction and then repeat it all going back to where I was. I spent some time in the shower, but found that while it felt great on my belly during a contraction, the rest of my body was getting too cold. Every time I changed positions at all, I would have a contraction, even if I was just at the end of one. Finally, I got back in bed and didn’t feel like getting up again. The nurse checked me and said that I was six or seven centimetres and while she was checking, she broke my water. She said that while I was having a contraction, there was a bulge in the amniotic sac and she just had to loop her finger into it to break it. Things went fast after that was done – I must have gone right to an eight in the next few minutes and soon, I was feeling a lot of pressure; not quite the urge to push, but I knew it was close. When I mentioned it, the nurse checked me again, found that I was nine centimetres and a minute later, nine and a half, with just a lip of the cervix still there. They called the doctor, told me that she would be three minutes and that I should pant if I felt the urge to push. I think I had two or three contractions before my doctor got there and I was panting through the second half of every one. Finally, my doctor walked in and I was told that I could push. For some reason, unlike when I was in labour with Jenny and Elias, I didn’t feel the animalistic urge to push. I felt pressure, but I was reluctant to do it. They all kept telling me to give it everything I had and I tried to do that during the second contraction, but still didn’t feel like much was happening.
I had no drugs during labour at all, so at this point, I was very aware of what was going on. They were checking the baby’s heart rate off and on, and during contractions, it was going down to 80 or 90 beats per minute. I knew that this was a bad thing, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I looked down at my doctor and heard her ask for Lidocaine. The nurse told her that I wanted to go without an episiotomy or tears, but my doctor said that the baby needed to be born and she was just going to have to get it out. I knew right away that I had to do it if I wanted to escape without stitches. They had already seen the baby’s head at this point, so I knew it wasn’t long and with the next contraction, I finally gave it all my strength. When he crowned, they coached me through little pushes and panting to keep me from tearing. It was really hard not to just get it over with, but having experienced stitches after an episiotomy and then, when Elias was born, making it out with just a tiny tear, I knew it was worth it for my recovery. Very soon after he crowned, I pushed his head out and then, even though I could have waited, I pushed his shoulders out as well. The cord was wrapped around his neck a bit, which explained his heart rate dropping. It was 12:46 am when he was born – I had been in the hospital about three hours and had only pushed for ten minutes.
Because of his cord being wrapped, no one said anything to me about whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I had felt like it was a girl, but when I sat up to see for myself, I said to Mike, “Oh, it is a boy!” So many other people had said it was a boy, but I hadn’t really believed them. Mike had said during my labour that he was hoping for a boy, and I was glad to see that he had gotten his wish. It was amazing being so aware of what was going on that I could sit up to see him at the foot of the bed. I had asked to let the cord pulsate after the baby was born, so they put a towel on my chest and then laid him on top of me. It was amazing, as it always is, that I loved him so fully the moment I saw him. I held him for a few minutes until the cord was definitely done pulsating and then cut the cord myself. Mike had not interest in doing it, but my doctor asked if I wanted to, and I thought it might be a good experience. I wouldn’t jump at the chance to do it next time, but it was neat being so clear headed that I was able to do it. After I cut the cord, they took him and cleaned him up quickly and looked him over to make sure things were good. I think I actually heard his Apgar score mentioned (which I never have with the other kids). My doctor said eight and something about his colour, but I didn’t really care. As soon as he was back with me, I nursed him and he stayed with me for at least forty-five minutes, nursing while I had a snack. He was very awake and making eye contact with both of us for most of the time. It was amazing, because Jenny and Elias were taken away much sooner and were not nearly as alert as Erik was.
After he seemed to have enough to eat, Mike took him to have him bathed and weighed and the nurse cleaned me up and moved me to my room. At this point, it was close to two in the morning and I felt bad for my roommate in the bed across from me. Mike came back ten minutes or so later with the nurse and our new little boy. I quickly asked Mike how much he had weighed – I had been expecting a nine pound baby because when Jenny was eight days late, she weighed 9 lb 6 oz. Erik was a week late and after holding him, I knew he wasn’t as big as Jenny had been, but I still thought he had to be bigger than Elias was at birth – 7 lb 4 oz and two and a half weeks early. I had the second shock of the night (the first being that he was a boy) when I heard he was only 7 lb 1 oz! I guess because our nephew was born 5 lb 8 oz so recently (about five and a half weeks before), Erik just didn’t seem small. He was twenty inches long, half an inch shorter than both Jenny and Elias. Right away, we noticed that he had a completely different look than both of our kids. They had looked so different from each other that I thought our third would look more like one or the other. Erik has lighter skin like Jenny, but only a few similar features to Elias. He has lighter hair than both of them and much less than they both did when they were born.
Mike went home around three in the morning and I slept off and on through the night, waking up to feed Erik once or twice before breakfast. Mike went to breakfast at his parents house before they went to church and then he came back to be with me. He snoozed on my bed holding Erik while I made phone calls to my family. When I was in labour, we were watching the clock to see if the baby would be born on Saturday or Sunday. When the hands moved past midnight, I knew that I’d be giving Mike and our dads a great Father’s Day present. My dad had mentioned weeks ago that I should have the baby on Father’s Day, but I brushed the idea away because I didn’t want to be pregnant still. It was also nice being in the hospital Sunday afternoon, because the whole family came all at once to see us after they went to church.
My doctor came Sunday morning and actually indicated that I could go home if I wanted to, but I knew that the rest in the hospital would be good for me. I did tell her that I definitely wanted to go home the next morning. With no tears or stitches, I felt really good right away. Monday morning, after a pretty good night’s sleep (my roommate left Sunday before noon and I had the room to myself the rest of the time), Erik had his PKU blood test done and my doctor checked us out and gave us the go ahead to go home. We went home around ten in the morning – I wasn’t even in the hospital thirty-six hours this time!
So far, Erik has been a very happy baby. He eats really well and sleeps for long stretches. He’s also awake for long periods of time, which has been lots of fun for anyone who sees him. He has an intelligent look about him, like he’s really studying things and wondering about the world already. Right from the beginning, it has looked like he wanted to smile at us. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he does it before he’s a month old.
My recovery so far has been great, too. The pain I had after labour went away quickly and other than cramping while nursing, I have felt good since we came home. My milk came in during the night on Tuesday, which was just in time because Erik seemed to be needing more than he was getting. Other than the discomfort coming from some engorgement, my body does not feel like it just went through labour four days ago. This makes me look forward to any future deliveries – hopefully they’ll all be like this one (or even shorter). The great thing is that even though it was a fast labour, it wasn’t really intense. My labour with Jenny was just barely longer than this one, but it was awful right from the beginning. I was very quiet during my labour this time and only yelled a bit when I was pushing. It felt good to have control like that over my reactions to the pain.
So, that’s the story of Erik Michael, born June 15, 2008. His big brother and sister love him and the whole family thinks he’s pretty cute. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like as he grows up.
June 11, 2008
I had a dream last night that I lost my mucous plug and I was bleeding. I woke up, went to the bathroom and there was nothing. Drat. I went back to bed, slept for another hour or so and went to the bathroom again. Nothing. Then I ate breakfast, went through my routine with the kids and checking email, etc. and went to the bathroom again (gotta love a pregnant bladder) and what do you know? Something! A nice bit of mucous that had to be my mucous plug and blood – red blood. I’m being descriptive again. Just you wait, after this kid is born, you’ll all be cringing at my descriptions of labour. The thing is, if it’s false labour and there is bleeding, it is usually brown. This is definitely not brown. And yes, it can mean that labour is still a day or more away, but still – this means that I should have the baby by the end of the week, rather than having to go through having my membranes stripped or being induced. I literally just prayed for this specific thing moments before I went to the bathroom and made my discovery – God is listening! So here’s hoping that today will be the day. Apparently, my child decided that coming during the first ten days of the month wasn’t going to happen, but if it’s born today, all three of my kids will have been born on Wednesdays, which I think is pretty cool. You know me, I get joy out of silly things like that.
Now the hard part is knowing when to go to the hospital. I’m not having regular contractions, but rather lots of cramps. I guess I just wait it out at this point. I called Mike and let him know something was happening, and called my mother-in-law to put her on alert for the day. So now I just hope it wasn’t in vain and I don’t have to wait until tomorrow. Oooooh, there’s a nice crampy contraction. Yikes. Let’s just hope I don’t wait too long and end up delivering on the floor in my living room (or..my bed or couch, etc.).
Other than updating this post, I think I won’t be writing again until the labour story that will come in all its gruesome glory sometime after the birth of my baby. Hooray!
Update: 4:00 pm
A whole bunch of nothing. Well, so far anyway. I feel sort of silly now for calling Mike and his mom since I haven’t had any indication that anything is going to happen today. I did some work around the house, kept the kids entertained, called my sister, made lunch and went for a walk and still not much of anything. Including more bleeding. The thing is, it seems that if I lost my mucous plug weeks before having the baby, it wouldn’t be so red, it would be brown-ish. Maybe I’m wrong, but I sincerely hope that I’m not. It’s okay if this kid doesn’t come until tomorrow or Friday…or sometime before Monday, but if it waits that long, I’m pretty sure my doctor won’t have any trouble stripping my membranes, and that was something I wasn’t looking forward to. Maybe I’ll have the baby tonight and look back on this and laugh later. I totally did this when I was pregnant with Elias, actually. On the 5th of September, I had some bleeding and then contractions in the evening. When I went in to the hospital, I wasn’t effaced or dilated at all. The next morning, I was giving up and deciding that I’d just stay pregnant until I was overdue (since that was still two and a half weeks before my due date). Elias was born before seven that night. One of the reasons I’m waiting to go into the hospital is that when I went in with him, I was six centimetres dilated and they put me on pitocin to get things moving. I was then stuck in a bed for six hours. I really really don’t want that to happen again. Sorry if I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel pretty strongly about it. So I’m waiting for something drastic to happen – my water to break or my contractions to get really bad. Half of the things I read about losing your mucous plug say that if it’s tinged with red blood, or if you have show that is red or pink (rather than brown), labour will start within twenty-four hours. Other sources have said that it could mean labour is still weeks away. At least I know that’s not right. If this kid isn’t out on its own by the 20th, it will be forced out of residence by the power of prostaglandin gel (gulp). But really, I was thinking how awesome is this that I’m just going to have the baby on my own and not have to have any of that happen again. Oh, please. I really hope that I didn’t jump the gun getting so excited about it.
April 25, 2008
The tail end of week thirty-three and I’m still feeling like the end will never come. I am insanely jealous of a friend who just had her baby on Tuesday, another who – if she has not had it yet – is a week overdue, and my sister-in-law, who tomorrow will be two weeks away from her due date. The only consolation is that if this baby decides to be as early as its older brother, it could be here in three and a half weeks. I’m not hoping for that, but I’m sure I wouldn’t complain, either. If it is as I assume it will be, with me staying far away from the maternity ward until I’m certain that I’m in labour, I will probably be two weeks late. I know, that’s really pessimistic, but I can’t help it. After all, this is my third baby and I have to be realistic. I will admit that Elias was more than likely born two and a half weeks early because I went in to the hospital the night before with Braxton Hicks contractions that were bad enough to make me suspect that I was in labour. They checked me for dilation, found that I was still sealed up nicely, and sent me home. By around noon the next day, I had dilated to six centimeters without feeling a thing. So this time, I’m determined to wait until I know for sure that I’m in actual labour – as in, strong contractions, my water breaking, lots of show, etc. Because I was induced with Jenny at eight days overdue, I do not expect to be early. But you never know, I suppose.
My other reason for not pushing myself into labour early is my desire for both a June baby born after Jenny’s birthday and a big baby. Jenny (at eight days late, as I mentioned) was nine pounds six ounces. Elias was seven, four. A two pound difference is huge and with Jenny, I felt pretty confident that I wasn’t going to break her, but Elias felt so tiny (and still is pretty small, too). Big babies are also nice because generally, no one worries about where they fall on the percentile charts for weight and height. Another reason to be only slightly early, on time or late is that Jenny’s birthday is one week before my due date, and I’d love to make it through her party without having a newborn to care for. Anytime after that is just fine, though.
Physically, I actually feel pretty good. I still have some of the aforementioned issues, but they are improving. I’m not counting on this improvement holding through until the end, but it is nice for now. I still double over with Braxton Hicks when I walk more than two blocks or sweep the floor for more than five minutes, but I’m used to it, so it’s not so bad. And I can tell myself that it will be worth it when I have another quick labour (please, oh, please). As for size, I feel quite small, especially compared with my sister-in-law, who isn’t huge, either, but is four weeks ahead of me. For awhile, it seemed that we were about the same size, but she’s passed me now that her baby is getting ready for birth.
One thing that makes the waiting easier is the fact that I will have a niece or nephew to hold sooner than I’ll hold my own baby. The only way this won’t happen is if my sister-in-law is two weeks late and I’m two weeks early. I’m pretty certain that her doctor won’t let her go that far, though, and this is her first baby, so she won’t have any reason to push for waiting longer. I have been pretty firm with my doctor, and will continue to be, on the issue of induction. Unless there is a problem with the baby or I am more than two weeks late, I don’t want to be induced. For once, I’d love to go into labour and through it on my own. I may have made it to six centimeters with Elias on my own, but then they said that his head was up so high they were worried that if my water broke, the cord would come out before his head. Because something like that would result in an emergency c-section, I agreed to being put on a pitocin drip to get him moving down. I then spent the next six hours stuck in the same bed hooked to an IV, waiting for things to progress more. Had I not gone in when I did, I may have had to rush to the hospital to deliver, but I suspect that I would have progressed much the same as I had all morning – with teeny tiny cramps being the only contractions I felt. That’s my opinion on it, anyway. And of course, what I would love to have happen this time. I think having hard labour twice is enough – the rest should be a piece of cake. Maybe that’s why so many people stop after having two children…??
One reason that I was starting to feel so good physically is that the weather was starting to feel spring-like and the snow had all melted. And then, yesterday morning, we woke up to a few more inches and vehicles completely covered in white. Fortunately, most of it melted yesterday, but the ground is still dusted, making it feel like early winter instead of early spring. However, the clouds will part because tomorrow is supposed to be very warm – 15 to 18 above if we can believe the forecast. Spring would be lovely right about now. I’m officially tired of winter.
Well, my children are hungry and bugging me and I suppose I’d better find out what trouble they’re getting into (well, the boy anyway – Jenny is just talking about being beautiful…sigh).