Disclaimer: If you are related to me by blood or marriage, or you are someone I eat dinner with on a regular basis, I am asking you not to read this as it contains personal details that I do not wish to discuss over dinner. I am very, very serious about this and I will be angry with you if you ignore this. Yes, this means you. Read the other version above this instead.
Subtitled: Try to Reschedule ME- Hah, I’ll Show You
Okay, so let’s recap. I was originally supposed to be induced on Wednesday, September 26th at 39 weeks. That would have meant checking into the hospital the night before for all the prep. Well, at my doctor’s appointment on Monday, my doctor said that she had been getting a lot of trouble lately for scheduling inductions before 39 weeks exactly, even in a situation like mine where they weren’t starting the induction until the next day. And she was very annoyed by it and said she didn’t even want to deal with the mess, so let’s just move me back one day. So, I was now checking into the hospital at 4:00pm on Wednesday, to have the baby the next day.
Well, I now had an extra day to kill. I pretty much had everything ready before that, so Matt worked his last day of work that Monday and we ran errands on Tuesday and went out to a fancy dinner. (Rice and fire, Elizabeth’s favorite hibachi. And our favorite hibachi too.)
So, Wednesday m0rning, I woke up at 6:00am and thought “wow, that one actually hurt.” You see, I’ve been having contractions and Braxton Hicks contractions since back when I was eleven weeks pregnant. So basically forever and I don’t really even pay any attention to them. They had ramped up a bit around 37 weeks, which I thought was good, since it meant things were getting ready and the induction would likely be easier.
Well, I stayed there in bed and play around on my phone and at 6:10am, I thought “wow, that one hurt too.” And then at 6:20, 6:30, etc. So I downloaded a contraction timing app and started timing them “officially.” Matt rolled over around seven and like he always does, said “you okay?” (He started saying that when I was pregnant with Elizabeth and has asked me every time I’ve been awake in the middle of the night for the last four years. And after he has confirmed my okayness, he confirms Elizabeth’s and then goes back to sleep.) I said “guess what I might be doing over here?” And he said “going into labor?” And I said “yep. But go back to sleep.” And he did.
My contractions stayed at ten minutes apart until I got up and showered and started getting dressed. Then they went to forty minutes apart or five minutes apart or thirty minutes apart. And I thought, “oh, great, this again.” Because when I went into labor, this is exactly what happened with Elizabeth. I woke up early (at 6:00am) with contractions that hurt on Monday, waited all day for them to turn into Something, and eventually went to bed on Monday night still waiting. Woke up again on Tuesday and finally went to the hospital at midnight on Tuesday night and had Elizabeth on Wednesday morning. So I am now thinking that instead of an induction, I am now going to get more of an augmentation of labor.
My contractions stayed very irregular for most of the day. This is why I never really mentioned anything to anyone, didn’t alert the troops or anything like that. I was still thinking that everything was going to go according to the previously planned plans. In fact, I was now concerned that this would actually DELAY things- that I would arrive for my induction barely in labor and have the induction canceled and be sent home to finish going into labor myself. Matt says he has never seen anyone more in denial than me about how this was going to take forever and there was no way this baby was going to come early on his own.
The only concession that I made to the fact that I may be in real actual labor was to notify Leslie, my fabulous babysitting friend, and tell her that it was possible that Elizabeth was going to need to stay overnight with them after all. See, the plan was for Matt and Elizabeth to check me into the hospital, then go home to sleep, then in the morning, Elizabeth would go to Leslie’s for the day. And unless I was in active labor, Matt and Elizabeth would always sleep at home and I’d just stay at the hospital by myself. I had packed overnight bags for Matt and Elizabeth, but I didn’t really pack serious overnight bags.
Then at 3:00pm, my contractions went from randomly about ten minutes apart to three minutes apart, no fooling around. All of a sudden too. I was in “kind of” labor all day and then suddenly I was in WHOA LET’S GET GOING labor. I started to think about stories like Maggie, Erica, and Jonna. Maggie in particular, since Emma’s birthday had been two days earlier and I had just re-read her birth story. (And if you weren’t watching on Twitter at the time, Erica and Jonna both had babies within minutes of getting to their respective hospitals and birth centers, in maxi dresses and hoodies.) I had no “should we or shouldn’t we leave for the hospital” moments. I went straight from “let’s get there on time for my induction” to “whoa, should already be there”.
I texted Leslie and told her that we were bringing Elizabeth by now. We loaded up the car and I almost missed telling Matt the turn to get to Leslie’s house (luckily, Leslie lives four minutes away) because I was contracting again. Leslie and her boys were waiting for us in the driveway (she’s the best, really) and she laughed when we drove up because she could see me through the window breathing all in labor-like. So, we were in Leslie’s driveway at 3:45pm and then in the hospital maternity ward at 3:50pm. (Leslie also lives about three minutes from the hospital. See why she is the perfect babysitter?)
Instead of taking me into admissions and doing all the paperwork, as was expected when I checked in for the induction, I was ushered right upstairs into a room. (Where the nurse reminded me again of Maggie’s birth story by being the same amount of calm and non-plussed that Maggie described in hers.) I was instructed to change and Matt was sent back downstairs to check me in.
I was put into the last available room. (Fun fact! My tiny hospital has three labor and delivery rooms and a fourth, double room that they use for overflow and triage. I was in that fourth room.) The nurse told me that they’d move me to one of the single rooms as soon as one was available. (Ha! I will end up having a baby much faster than anyone in any of those other rooms.)
This is when I took the picture of myself and put it on Twitter and this is why I looked rather strange. I actually didn’t even have time between contractions to look at the picture, just enough time to take it and post it.
Matt showed back up right after I had gotten into the bed and been hooked up to all the monitors. The nurse checked me and declared that I would not be getting cervidil, as I was already at a three. I don’t remember exactly what happened for about the next half hour or so. I was having very rapid contractions and I did some things like signing the paperwork consenting to both a vaginal and caesarian delivery and signing for an epidural. They started my IV. Matt reports (I was breathing through contractions with my eyes closed and didn’t notice any of this until later) that my IV was very difficult to start and once she got it in, my arm gushed blood all over the bed. (I opened my eyes about fifteen minutes later and found a pool of blood under my arm and said “what happened here?!”) (Then I moved my arm slightly to the side, out of the pool of blood, and didn’t think about it again until now.) And then after it gushed blood, another contraction started and suddenly she couldn’t get any blood out of it for the required blood tests. So she started the fluids instead after checking with me that I didn’t mind getting blood taken separately out of my other arm later. (I didn’t. Blood draws don’t really bother me.) As she started the fluids, she also gave me a narcotic through my IV and some anti-nausea medicine. The narcotic took the edge off the contractions (well, it took them back down to where they had been about half an hour before, it didn’t make them NOT HURT or anything) and I told Matt that in the thirty seconds between contractions, I felt really good.
Both my doctors came in, separately, at some point during this time and were highly amused that I was in actual labor and not being induced any longer. The nurse came back in and said something about not needing pitocin either. I was checked again and now I was a six. It was less than an hour after we had gotten there.
The anesthesiologist came in and explained the epidural. We had to wait on the blood results to come back before I could actually get the epidural, but she wanted to discuss it before that.
Then something gushed and I said to Matt that I thought my water may have just broken. He went and got a nurse and it wasn’t my water (but my water was bulging and the nurse said she was afraid to touch it because then it would break and then she thought I’d have the baby before the blood tests were back) but instead a gush of blood. I had another one a few minutes later and my doctor came in and checked and said it was blood from me dilating too quickly. A few minutes after this, the anesthesiologist came back and said that she’d give me the epidural if I wanted, but since I was bleeding more than usual and had been on blood thinners one of my concessions to maybe being in labor that morning had been to skip my last dose of heparin, as I had been instructed to if I ever thought I was in labor because you need twelve hours after your last dose), she wanted to run one more blood test to be certain I wasn’t bleeding too much. (A fun side effect of blood thinners and epidurals is bleeding into your spinal column. Which isn’t good.) She said it was up to me, she’d do the epidural now if I wanted since I was certain I hadn’t had a blood thinning injection since nine the night before, but that the test would be a good thing to run. I told her that I’d rather be safe than pain free, so go ahead. Even though this would delay the epidural at least another half an hour. (Foreshadowing- it is now 5:30pm.)
I tried to get Matt to update Twitter for me but he refused. I called him mean and told him that he didn’t have his priorities straight.
I started to shake and chatter and Matt went bustling about to get me an extra blanket, but I told him that it wasn’t cold, it was labor. (He got me a warmed blanket anyway from the next nurse through the room. And it didn’t stop the shaking and chattering, but it did feel marvelous.) Side note: Matt is a fabulous person to have around when you are in labor. He alternated between rubbing my head and rubbing my shoulders while I would have contractions. Also he’s seriously strong and able to do things like hold me up from both sides while I am pushing and also move me around the bed. I would rent him out as a labor coach and make millions.
One of the nurses mentioned that I was in transition and they were doing things like uncovering the infant warmer and bringing in a scale. I realized that things were happening so quickly that they had left my door open and just drawn the curtain around my bed because people were coming in and out so often. They started to say things all the time like “you aren’t pushing, are you?” They broke down my bed and tried to get me to scoot down while I was in the middle of a contraction. I ignored them. One nurse said “well, (term of endearment that I do not like but have forgotten which actual term of endearment it was), it’s not going to get any better, you may as well move now.” I ignored her. After the contraction was over, Matt put his forearm out in front of me, I grabbed it and he swung me to the end of the bed. (See how useful he is?) I gasped out that I was pushing now. My doctor was here, gloving up and putting on her face mask. (I had forgotten about those, since Elizabeth was born.) Somewhere in all of this, the anesthesiologist showed back up, offering the epidural, I looked at her like she was crazy, and she apologized for being too slow. (Not her fault! I’d blame the lab instead, but not their fault either! I’d been physically at the hospital less than two hours at this point.)
I think I pushed five times. Matt claims that it was more, but I think he is counting the few where I was trying not to push. And those do not count. I did not feel a ring of fire, but I did feel stretching and think “whoa, I did not think I could stretch like that.” And then I stretched more and thought “WHOA.” My doctor told me to open my eyes and I thought, well, the baby must be about here if she wants my eyes open. I opened them, didn’t see anything in the immediate second after opening them and shut them again. Suddenly I had a warm squishy thing on my chest. I opened my eyes again and there was a baby there!
There was a lot of patting and flicking at him to get him to cry. Apparently he was a little shell shocked. (Plus, he’s not an easy crier now. Much more chill than Elizabeth, who was born VERY MAD.) He finally did cry and I got to hang out with him and cuddle him and kiss him and talk to him. (Much longer than when Elizabeth was born. I swear they gave me thirty seconds with her before they pulled her away and started doing their thing.) I also checked the clock immediately after he was put on my chest because A) it was right at the foot of my bed and B) after Elizabeth was born, I heard the doctor ask for a time of birth and someone say “oh, let’s call it 11:35am.” And I was deeply annoyed that no one had checked the actual exact time. So this time, I checked myself. And also this time, I heard the doctor ask for time of birth and I heard the nurse say “6:00pm exactly. And fifteen seconds.” So I know that they checked properly.
The doctor asked Matt to cut the cord and he did, but I only registered this with the back of my mind because I had to confirm it with Matt later.
Ryan was taken away and weighed and cleaned up and all that. And Matt went with him and took pictures and such. I got stitched up and cleaned up and then got up and went to the bathroom. Someone brought a tray of food into my room. (Because oh! The food service closed at 6:00pm! And some magnificent nurse had placed a dinner order for me while I was pushing! Or I would have missed it!) Ryan was brought back to me and I held him in my left arm and ate some dinner with my right. I also tried nursing him a bit but he was still pretty shell shocked from being born so quickly and he declined.
I posted a picture on the internet. One of the things I am actually sad about is that I missed out on all the fun of being in labor on the internet. It’s fun to update Twitter and talk to people and watch all the excitement over the next internet baby being born right then. I was actually rather looking forward to that and I didn’t get to do it.
Another nurse came in and between the two of us, we got Ryan to latch on a little bit and nurse for a few minutes. It ended up taking him a couple of days before he would actually nurse with intent though. He was too sleepy and too confused. (He ended up losing about 6-7% of his birth weight. Not enough to be concerned about, and he didn’t care, but certainly different from my fierce Elizabeth who insisted on FOOD RIGHT NOW and wasn’t willing to wait for my milk to come in and never lost any weight.)
I was moved into a wheelchair and moved to the postpartum hall. My food came with me and I ate every scrap of it except for the lemon bar because I do not like lemon bars. Matt was gearing up to stay overnight with me, but I told him that I felt fine and that he should pick up Elizabeth and both of them should go home to sleep. He argued with me, but after we got to the postpartum room and he saw the chair he was expected to sleep in, he finally gave in. (A reminder- he’s six foot ten inches, so while the fold out chair may be uncomfortable for regularly sized husbands, it’s not really workable for him.) So, that is how Matt ended up being at the hospital for a total of three and a half hours and getting a brand new baby out of the deal.
Ryan was taken off to the nursery for his bath and evaluation by the pediatrician and all that and Matt left to get Dibits and sleep at home. (Elizabeth ended up being very thrown off by the day and not really sleeping that night, so I think I got a better night’s sleep in the hospital than Matt did at home that night.) I really felt so much better than I did after Elizabeth’s birth (I think being in painful labor for 33 fewer hours and not missing any meals had a pretty big effect on that) and I kept being impressed by that. I co-slept with Ryan in bed with me that night and the nurses pretended not to notice (or actually didn’t notice because they never actually caught me sleeping- I would hear them coming in and be awake before they got to my bed). I was woken up for vital signs once an hour until midnight (fair, I suppose, since I had had a baby only six hours earlier) and then it was only every couple of hours. The hospital was really noisy though. Not really the nurses or the people, but the building. The air conditioner was noisy and my door would creak every time they opened another door on the same wall. So my sleep wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t bad either. I have television shows loaded on to my cell phone, so each time I woke up from noise or vitals or the nursery visiting the baby (he needed his vitals taken every so often too, being all freshly born), I would put on a show and it would cover all the ambient noise and I would fall back asleep within minutes.
Well, morning arrived, I believe at 4:45am, when the lab technician came in cheerfully to draw blood and I got up. Ha, I am just kidding, I kept sleeping until breakfast showed up a little before eight. I got the IV out of my arm and then I was happily comfortable again. Ryan was taken off to the nursery again and they kept him for a bit so that I could sleep. (Also a huge difference from high needs Elizabeth- Ryan had no problem hanging out in the nursery and I didn’t feel bad sending him there. When Elizabeth was born, we’d send her to the nursery for a couple of hours sleep and they’d be back with her in a half an hour, saying that they couldn’t calm her down. And one of us would then stay awake holding and rocking her. HUGE personality differences between these two babies.)
My doctor came to see me and just kept saying “very impressive, very impressive.” She was amused both that I managed to go into labor on my own and have the baby on my previously scheduled date and that I had such an incredibly fast labor. (Also, please stand by for a moment of bragging. One of the delivery nurses told me “I had no idea that you didn’t have an epidural. You did better than most women do with epidurals.” Bragging ended.)
Matt and Elizabeth came to visit that morning and Elizabeth was SO PROUD of her new baby brother. She had her Big Sister shirt on and Matt brought the presents with him (a present for Elizabeth from Ryan and a present for Ryan from Elizabeth) and those were a huge hit. They stayed for a while and then Leslie picked Elizabeth up to play at her house for a while so that Matt could hang out with us for a while.
I was told that I could be discharged that day, but that I had to stay until 24 hours after the birth. I analyzed the situation, thought about how long it actually takes them to discharge you, and then told them I would stay the extra night and be discharged in the morning. This was entirely the right call, since my discharge was started the next morning and we didn’t actually get home until 6:00pm. It would have been midnight or later if I had tried to leave that day. Better to sleep at night, even if it was in a hospital.
Anyway, most of the rest of the hospital stay was quite boring, since the baby was all calm and didn’t really need much attention and I felt pretty good. Matt brought in a steady stream of food, Elizabeth came to visit with him, I read all the things there were to read on the internet, and I maintained a strict regimen of ice packs applied to sensitive areas. (This made a HUGE difference in my recovery this time too. That was the WORST after Elizabeth was born. Ice packs, man. Do the ice packs.) Ryan even slept in his plastic produce drawer that night without fussing. (Elizabeth first slept alone when she was seven and a half months old.)
And the next day, we went home!