Read part 1 of this epic saga here.
We pick up the story again at about 3am on 8/30/16.
Except first I feel like there should be a picture, so I give you this.
Taken 11 days before Tad was born, after helping the fam chase a calf through a cornfield. I’m not sure how much help I actually was.
Bored-and-jumpy me decided to make the decision to head to the hospital. I really wanted a change of pace, and I was getting a bit worried that this was in fact actual labor. Kenny gathered our bags and made a few peanut butter sandwiches for himself as I brushed my teeth one last time.
The car ride was when things got pretty terrible, as I was buckled in and couldn’t move around during contractions that were becoming more and more insistent and less easy to ignore. But traffic was very light that early in the morning, and Kenny was very focused on his job. This was his big role, in his mind! He’d practiced this!
We got there in no time at all, around 4am.
When we arrived, I had Kenny park in the parking ramp and we made the long trek through the dark parking garage, down the sidewalk, into the birth center, and past the security guard who asked if we knew where the triage area was (we did). I think we stopped once outside in the warm night air to let me breathe through a contraction. As we walked, we both took guesses as to how far I was dilated. I hoped for 3cm and Kenny guessed 5. I laughed at him.
We made our way unaccompanied through the dim, early morning hallways of the hospital to the triage area and filled out some paperwork. I worried that they would send us home since things weren’t THAT bad. But they had me change into a hospital gown: hooray but yet whoa! Is this really it? I needed to pee (which always happens whenever I get nervous), and they let me do that first before they checked how far I was dilated. While I was in the bathroom, I felt like maaaaybe my water broke and that I was leaking a little. I hobbled back to our room to tell the nurse, and she strapped me into the monitors and began checking me out. No, my water had not broken yet (I was just super sweaty; see: nerves), but I was 4 centimeters dilated. YAY! No going home for us. BOO! Baby was coming sooner than we had so carefully planned.
There, lying on my back in the bed, I had my first monitored contraction, and THAT’S when my water broke–sort of like a pop-and-gush situation that felt very, very gross. The next hour was a blur, a very very intense blur. They took a blood sample. I requested an epidural, against my original plans, since things all of a sudden seemed REAL BAD and I was quite sure I couldn’t handle another 12-24 hours of this. The nurse began an IV, and it was the first and only time I’ve been thankful for being poked by a needle–it was a much welcomed distraction to the pressure wrapping around my stomach and radiating through my body. The worst part about that hour was being hooked into the monitors and lying on my back, unable to move around during contractions. I felt dizzy and faint and hot and was very, very thirsty. Kenny fed me small sips of water through a straw (“SIP!” I kept demanding between contractions) and fanned me with that ubiquitous mauve-y pink hospital tub as he encouraged me to keep breathing. I also felt quite nauseous and was POSITIVE I was going to tumble right out of bed. I kept begging Kenny not to let me fall in between my requests for a “SIP!” He assured me I was fine and that he would definitely not let me fall.
In between contractions and my demands for a “SIP!”, Kenny ate his peanut butter sandwiches in the corner of the triage room. How could he possibly eat at a time like this!? WHY was he not by my side making absolutely certain I would not fall out of bed?
Spoiler alert: I did not fall out of bed.
Finally, finally!, we were ready to move upstairs to the labor and delivery area. The nurse checked me one last time before we went upstairs to our delivery room, and OH! I was 9.5 centimeters dilated. The epidural would not be happening after all! I was simultaneously very excited and very scared. (I’d wanted a natural birth, but I did NOT want the pain…so I’m not sure what I wanted?) Our dear nurse helped us remain calm despite this sudden news. Her gentle words were so encouraging and I’m so grateful God chose her to help.
Oh–did I mention that it was only 5am, barely an hour since we made it to the hospital? I went from 4 centimeters to all-but-completely dilated in 45 minutes. No wonder my contractions felt pretty intense!
While we were on the elevator headed upstairs, everything changed again! I had the overwhelming urge to push. Hooo boy! I couldn’t have resisted if I wanted to–and I didn’t want to, at all. “Wait!” said the nurses wheeling the bed out of the elevator.
We got to our room on the Labor & Delivery floor and there pushing began in earnest. It was actually a huge relief to DO something rather than just lie there in the triage area. The nurse offered me a mirror, encouraging me to watch saying “it’s so beautiful!” and apparently I responded “if it’s so beautiful, YOU watch!” though I have no memory of it. Ken finds my comment quite hilarious and reminds me of it regularly.
As things progressed (quickly! so quickly!) the nurse pointed out that I had on a very sturdy sports bra. “Did I want to take it off to do skin-to-skin?” she asked? Together we ripped that thing off so fast. THAT was an “oh man this is REALLY REALLY happening” moment. Also. Where in the world did my last shred of modesty go?
Our doctor was not able to get to the hospital in time for the delivery, so the first time I met the doctor who delivered Tad was…as I was pushing him out of my nether regions. Ha! What an introduction. (“Why hello, doctor! It’s great to meet you. Here are my lady parts.”) A med student named Jackie was there as well to observe. When they asked permission for her to stay, I was in the throes of pushing and couldn’t have cared less who was there. A dozen strangers could have been in the room and I wouldn’t have minded! I was focused on getting this baby out.
After just a few pushes, Thomas Michael was born, wet and slippery, and placed on my chest. It was 5:50 in the morning on Tuesday, August 30. Daddy cut the umbilical cord and we were a family of three.
It was the best day ever.
We had been at the hospital for less than 2 hours. The birth plan we had so carefully considered never made it out of the bag. All of the supplies we’d packed (bathing suit, music, massager)–none of it saw the light of day. Sadly, even the cord blood donation kit we’d prepared–you guessed it: never got used. There was NO TIME to even mention it to the nurses.
But we had Tad, so all was well.
He spent his first hour of life in my arms. I got VERY shaky after delivering (uncontrollably so!) so they covered us with blankets heated by the warmer. Kenny and I kept marveling at Tad’s tiny features. He didn’t nurse (though we tried), which we did not realize would become a larger issue later. When the nurses weighed him and took his initial vitals, I popped through the shower with the help of a very kind nurse. These people do NOT get paid enough! There was a lot of blood, and as I stepped out of the bathroom there was one scary moment where I thought I was going to go down (I faint more or less regularly, so I am quite in tune to what it feels like). Thankfully a wheelchair was close by and sitting quietly helped with no further intervention needed.
Afterwards, the term “precipitous labor” was thrown around (although I’m not sure this labor exactly qualifies) and the doctors and nurses made sure to emphasize that we should come in to the hospital right away for subsequent deliveries. I’m sure Ken will be on even higher alert next time. Poor guy is going to get an ulcer.
But wait! There’s more. Read part 3 here.