Thursday, November 17 at about 12:30 a.m.
I was jolted awake with a horrible pain in my back. Contraction. I did my best to catch my breath and I tried to ease the pain by shifting positions. When that didn't work I got up and went to the bathroom and hoped that would stop the contracting or at least make it not hurt my back so much. I laid back down.
I sat up at the edge of the bed and tried to huff and puff through the pain. Tyson woke up and asked if I was okay. When all I could do was groan he started worrying that I was in labor and should we call his parents and am I okay and what else do we need to put in the hospital bag? Luckily I had packed most of it the day before so not much. When I could talk again I told him that I wanted to get in the bath to see if the contractions would slow down before we did anything drastic like call his parents in the middle of the night.
We timed contractions while I did my best impression of a beached whale in the bathtub. They were coming every four minutes (and so painful! why so painful!?) so after about an hour and a half in the bath, around 2:00 a.m., I conceded defeat and we called Tyson's parents.
All I could think about at that point was how tired I was. I was so discouraged already, worrying that I was going to be in labor all night and then use my last bit of strength to push the baby out only to have to take care of said baby for the rest of its life. All I wanted was one more night of really good sleep.
So we went to the hospital. I had had a doctor's appointment the day before where she told me I was dilated to a 3 and that the baby was nice and low. Well, when I got checked at the hospital I was still a 3 and the baby was higher now. Defeat. They strapped me to a monitor and I laid in an uncomfortable bed and watched the contractions rise and fall on a screen every four minutes. Long story short... I was validated in having contractions but they weren't doing anything productive. So around 5 a.m. we got sent home from the hospital like the amateurs we are with instructions to come back when the contractions got more intense. Oh good.
I got in bed with Logan and a hot pad on my back, and after a short rest and another long bath the contractions slowed and finally stopped around 11 a.m.
Honestly, I was relieved. I wasn't ready to have the baby! Somehow 9 months doesn't seem long enough to prepare when the reality of another tiny human is staring you in the face. Or rather, pressing down on your... you know. I still had a week until my due date and I needed every one of those days to prepare. I had an uneventful rest of the day and got that solid night of sleep I was pining for.
Friday, November 18.
Had Tyson take my 39 week picture (a day late) and mentioned to him that I was having contractions again. They had started around 11 a.m., didn't really hurt, and were about 10 minutes or so apart. I wasn't worried. Phoebe and I went about our day and even went to Joanns to get yarn for the baby blanket I was making. I was timing the contractions at this point and just made sure to find a private corner to rest in every 8 minutes or so. The last thing I wanted was someone jumping the gun and calling an ambulance for me. I was NOT getting sent back home from L and D. Once was enough, thanks.
Frankly, I wasn't convinced I was in labor. Yeah, the contractions were getting generally closer together, but they still didn't really hurt and they weren't that regular. I first started wondering if I was laboring when I walked down to the bus stop at 4:00 p.m. and was having contractions every two minutes while pushing Phoebe in the stroller. I figured it was the cold making them worse. The cold makes everything worse.
But then I got home and they spread out again. Tyson got home around 5:00 p.m. sure that I was in labor, and that we were going back to the hospital later that night. I was pacing around the kitchen and eating a grape here and there to keep my strength up. I was feeling a little sick to my stomach but I didn't want to feel worse for not eating anything. The grapes helped. Tyson said he was going to call his parents, tell them no rush, but that we were going to head out sometime later. I waddled up the stairs for another bath. I kept thinking that the bath was my litmus test for labor. If a bath made my contractions stop, then it wasn't real.
So I soaked. And contracted. And changed positions. And contracted. And every once in a while the kids would sneak in and talk to me and make lots of noise until I would grunt at them to move along. It was at this point that the contractions started feeling serious. I remember thinking during one of them, "man, an epidural would feel really good right now" but then it passed and I went on reading my book and enjoying my bath until the next one. Whatever. Still, nothing was hurting as bad as those contractions I had the night before.
Tyson's parents arrived and I started seriously considering that at some point I was going to have to get out of this tub and back to the hospital. But I was in no rush to do that. Until...
I felt some pressure down yonder during a contraction. Now, I've always had epidurals in the past. I love them. I love being able to lay in bed, not feeling a thing, while my body does the work to get the baby ready to go. So I hadn't really felt pressure to push before, although, minutes before I had Phoebe, I felt something similar to what I was feeling now that I would also describe as "pressure". Huh. A little something in the back of my mind was sending a quiet alarm that it just might be time to go to the hospital.
But first things first, I was about to be examined in all sorts of ways by all sorts of people. Such things require a good soaping up. (side note: I figured a person in serious labor would have their mind on other things, such as pain, and wouldn't worry about silly things like washing up. this is why I still didn't think I was in serious labor) So I got out of the tub nice and clean and suddenly the contractions got really close together and really hard. Tyson came up and helped me get dressed as my "pressure" turned into an urge to push.
Which actually made me wonder if I just needed to go to the bathroom. Better not. We finally made it downstairs and the kids hugged us goodbye. Phoebe commented on how good I smelled, and I did a mental fist pump. Thanks body wash. We had to pause for another long contraction and then we ran out the door before I had to stop for another one.
The drive was quiet. Tyson was silently freaking out and I was just trying to hold everything together so that we didn't have this baby on the highway. I could feel my epidural dreams slipping away. However, we still weren't taking things that seriously as we pulled in the parking garage instead of up to the front door. Tyson hopped out of the car while I recovered from the last speed bump we went over and miracle of miracles, there was a wheelchair in the garage. Tyson is convinced it was left there by the Three Nephites. We haven't seen a wheelchair there since. I told him I felt dumb riding in a wheelchair but then another contraction hit and I shut up while he fast-walked us in. I didn't want people to know I was in labor (??? pretty sure no one is assuming a huge pregnant lady is visiting the hospital for a broken leg. although I am the one who broke a toe two days before I had Phoebe. things happen.) so I kept my head down through the hall and focused on not making any noise. I REALLY wanted to push and it was taking all of my effort not to.
We finally got into Labor and Delivery and Tyson started answering questions at the check in desk. The nurse was calmly having him fill out a form until I started having a contraction. I was gripping the bars behind my head on the wheelchair and grunting with every breath as I tried not to push. Next thing I knew she was on the phone and I could hear her saying something about third baby and contracting. I was immediately wheeled into the nearest room where the triage nurse told me to just take my pants off so we could see what was going on down there. As I laid there I joked that I was probably still a 3 (obviously wasn't having a contraction at that moment) and the nurse laughed and said noooo... then started talking about feeling no cervix and bulging bag of water and hard to tell... Then she looked at me sympathetically.
"No epidural for you today."
I think I whimpered.
"As soon as your water breaks this baby is coming."
No time to worry about it though, another contraction was rising up and the nurse wanted to check me again during it to see if she could feel my cervix any better. Unfortunately for her I finally allowed my body to do what it had been begging for. I pushed. And my water broke, or rather blasted, all over her. She exclaimed in surprise and I would have felt embarrassed but the baby was immediately crowning and I was thinking, "Okay. So this is the ring of fire everyone talks about." Although to me it felt less like fire and more like... I don't know. Not fire but something else that really hurts. Being constipated for a month I guess.
Things were weird for me at this point. I remember nurses running around, asking about an I.V. (no time), telling the triage nurse that no one was coming (they meant a doctor), and trying to prep the room for a baby. I was still wearing my T-shirt, the bed wasn't set up for delivery and I'm not even sure the curtain was pulled but I didn't care. I needed to get the baby out.
Tyson came over and held my hands which were above my head and murmured words of encouragement to me. At one point he asked if I could breathe and realized that no, I could not, and I was getting lightheaded. That helped me to pause for a moment to take some deep breaths and keep from passing out. I think I had my eyes squeezed shut the entire time so I didn't know how many people were in the room, just that there were voices around me.
Eventually I heard a male voice come in and heard him tell someone to hold my left leg for me. He was the hospitalist and no one I had met before. He was running from birth to birth that night, taking each emergency as it came. No time for my doctor, or any doctor from my office to come. As soon as my leg was in a better position I had a strong contraction and with a mighty grunt (apparently. i didn't remember making noise but I commented later that my throat hurt and Tyson said it might be from the sound I made when the baby came. In my mind I sounded like a pro tennis player.) our baby was born. And I felt the greatest relief that a human can feel. No doubt.
It was 7:45 p.m., nine minutes after we checked in to L and D.
The doctor asked if Tyson wanted to cut the cord to which he responded, "NO, that's what we pay you for", (darling husband still gets nauseous when we talk about this. it's a very good thing he didn't have to deliver this baby) and a few seconds later we heard a tiny cry.
"It's a boy!" said Tyson.
Oh. Right. RIGHT! I had forgotten that we didn't know the gender. I was so relieved to have the baby out that I didn't even care what it was. Honestly, the gender reveal was a bit anticlimactic for me after the drama of the birth but I was still glad that we waited. It made the anticipation more fun during the pregnancy.
They tried to stick the baby in my shirt for some skin to skin and I tried to wrap my mind around what just happened. I was just so surprised to be holding a baby. I was so sure up until the end that I would be laboring for several more hours, napping with the comfort of an epidural and allowing the hospital atmosphere to mentally prep me for giving birth.
Thanks for coming to us baby Luke!