I better get this down before I forget all of the details. This birth was so weird in some ways and exactly how it should have been over all.
To start, it was weird because I was so unsure if I was in labor or not. Monday 10/22 I had lots of random contractions all day, but around 1PM they were more regular. I was trying not to get excited because they didn't hurt at all and if there is one thing I remember about going into labor... it's that it hurts. Hurts so good. :)
I called Thomas at work and told him not to get all excited, but I was maybe-possibly-kind-of-thinking-I-might-be-in-labor. Or starting to be anyway. He promised not to get excited, but he sounded pretty dang excited.
Ambrose came like a week late and Asher came a day late and my due date this time around wasn't until the 25th so I told myself not to get excited. But I was.
Around dinner time I was still not sure because the contractions seemed to slow down a little and still didn't hurt. I told my in-laws to be on stand-by just in case and called my good pal Emily Plicka to have her be on back-up stand-by just in case. I took some laundry downstairs so the boys would have clean clothes while I was gone... just in case. I carried some laundry upstairs and woah woah woah what a contraction and now another and another-- how could we deny it any longer? I was totally going to have this baby!
So we shuffled the boys down to my in-laws and said uncertain goodbyes. I hate that feeling. I simultaneously feel like I can't wait to get this baby out and meet our new boy while wanting to sob and sit right down where I am standing and cling to my two little boys for a couple of hours before their whole world as they know it with their Mama gets turned upside down. It's so bittersweet. I was glad the boys had their grandparents to be with during the transition and hospital stay, but I was irrationally worried and upset that I didn't know the exact, secure plan for them the next morning when Grandma and Grandpa had their crack-of-dawn temple shift and I wouldn't be there. I knew something would ultimately work out, but was upset the entire way to the hospital until that great Emily friend called and reassured me that no matter what she would be there. "Whew, ok, the boys are in great hands the entire hospital stay with G&G Robertson and the Plickas. Let's have this baby!"
And just like that I was on fire! Ready and confident and wishing the hour-long drive to the hospital was a little shorter.
As we passed each landmark and familiar coast-line my heart started sinking because my contractions seemed to be slowing. Slowing, stopping, disappearing. What happened?! By time we got to the hospital I felt sheepish and silly and disappointed. We checked in anyway.
They got me into a room to monitor the now nonexistent contractions and I kept apologizing for wasting their time. The nurse turned me on my right side and put the monitors on my belly with the familiar "whoosh whoosh" of the baby's heartbeat galloping through the monitor speakers. There were in fact some contractions, but they were moderate and few and far in between. I tried to mentally prepare myself for the long drive of shame home as we waited for word from the nurse and watched the Presidential debate on TV.
Baby's heartbeat was dropping. They didn't know why. They decided they needed an ultrasound technician and at this point we prepared for a late night since they had to call her in and she had to perform her tests and we still had to drive all the way home. When she got there it was determined that the heartbeat dropped because they had me laying on his cord. DOH! So they flipped me on my left side and continued. The test showed that I was low on fluids in the womb and a call to my doctor confirmed an overnight stay to increase fluids and induce at 5AM the next day because of the low fluids.
"Well. I guess we will leave here with a baby after all!" I beamed at Thomas. I was nervous because being induced with Ambrose was a long and very painful process. Not being induced with Asher was normal, relatively quick, and completely awesome. "Oh well, I hate being induced, but I am just happy to be having this baby!"
We got checked into our real room and settled in for the night. I woke up at 4AM with real contractions so they didn't need to do the Cervadil but they still started Petocin around 5AM. The contractions progressed normally throughout the morning. We had a great nurse named Melody come on for the day shift who got me hooked up to a wireless monitor so I could get off my very sore left side and move around the hospital. Bless her! We walked and walked and stopped for increasingly painful contractions. These were the demons I remembered from births one and two. These were hard. Thomas would immediately rush to my side during each one and rub my back and say encouraging things. Just like clockwork, there came a time when they were so bad I told Thomas to back-up and not touch me. I felt bad to be shooing him away when he was just trying to be helpful, but they were just so irritating I couldn't help myself. Soon they went from irritating to life-crushing. I felt like I would rather be doing ANYTHING else rather than feel the way I was feeling and doing what I was doing. SURELY I MUST be at a 9 by now. Melody the nurse thought so too. She checked me and NOPE. I was a 4 at best. A 4?! A stupid, disappointing 4?! I couldn't go on. No way.
This was a familiar, Petocin-is-the-absolute-devil feeling. I felt the same despair and unrelenting pain with Ambrose's labor and delivery. What got me out of that hell last time? Oh that's right! After 24-hours of what felt like near-death, and being stuck at a 3, I got an epidural! I felt like I had failed last time, but then quickly sang epidural-induced praises as I was finally able to relax enough to dilate quickly and have a baby!
"Can I please have an epidural?" I asked the nurse with a hint of shame. Why the shame people? True, I didn't get one with Asher's birth and felt like a complete goddess as a result, but seriously?! Epidurals are God's gift and completely wonderful if you are stuck at a 3 or 4 and feeling like you are going to die. Ain't no shame. Quit being all superior about your prideful, smug so-called "natural-births"! They are all natural! What's the alternative? Artificial births?! Who am I ranting to here? I'm not sure! Moving on!
The epidural came, and it was warm, awesome, and just as enjoyable as I remembered. I rested for a while and then a POP sound startled me from my nap... did I just wet my gown? Nope! My water broke. Oh, ok. The doctor broke it for me the last two births so this was a new experience. Cool!
And then I felt a head. "Hey guys, I think I need to push."
The doctor appeared out of nowhere and after a few bouts of pushing everyone exclaimed about how much hair this baby had followed by an immediate, "Stop! Don't push anymore- he pooped!"
The baby pooped right before I pushed his head out and it was all over him. They had to suction it out of his nose and mouth before he could take his first giant gulp of air or it would be toxic to him. I puffed and puffed to keep the natural urge to push at bay. The epidural had worn-off just enough that I knew exactly what was going on and could maneuver accordingly.
When I could finally push him out I felt the same amazing sacredness immediately enter the room that I have with each of the other births. The only way I can think to describe it seems inadequate, but I am sure you know exactly what I am talking about. The veil between this earth life and heaven was extremely thin as my last child entered this world and made us complete.