Short story and Stats:
38 weeks, 4 days- second longest pregnancy
total labor time: about 12 hours- longest labor
total active labor: 3 hours and 49 minutes. (about 11 am to 2:49 pm)
7 pounds, 1 ounces
Cole's pregnancy was emotionally rough. I'll spare you the details but Adam and I spent alot of time talking about what I would want and need in labor, delivery and the post partum period. I spent alot of time exaiming what went "wrong" and "right" in the days, weeks and months after Georgie was born and how to fix that for Cole.
With alot of help from different people, I began to exercise (swimming) at 27 weeks, took two different medications and went to group and individual therapy. I "brought back" (aka groveled!) my doula from Georgie's birth, who was and is a BIG physical and emotional support for me. I picked a dr I knew, trusted and one who wouldn't "leave me" (be put out of business) two weeks after my baby was born. He knows me, knows my kids and promised to be proactive in preventing a premature delivery.
My meditation this entire pregnancy had been a musical version of the "Magnificant." In it, two lines stood out: My sould proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exhaults in God my saviour. In the NICU, when the clouds cleared, I thought often of Mary and how she watched her child suffer on the Cross. Mary is a mother just like any other mother and Jesus always was her baby. It must have killed her to see her little boy suffer and die; you know all she wanted was to run up to the Cross, grab Him off it and take him home to "make it better." But she couldn't. She knew that God's will was being done and that she would have to endure her child's suffering to see the greater good for humanity.
I watched George breathe with a machine and all I wanted to do was grab him off that table, take him home and "make it better." I knew God's will was being done.
When things got bad during Cole's pregnancy and I worried that he too would be born early, I heard "My sould proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exhaults in God my savior" over and over again. I was reminded that the Lord is great and no matter WHAT happened, we would proclaim the greatness of the Lord and my son's life was in his hands.
We made to 24 weeks- viability
We made it 28 weeks- the third trimester
We made it to 30 weeks- when the long term risks of prematurity lessen.
We made it past 33 weeks, one day- two weeks, gestationally, before we had Georgie.
We made it to 35 weeks... then 36... then 37... still not term but when Joseph was born and he was a "take home" baby.
On Easter Sunday, I spent alot of time in a Bad Mood and Not in the Mood for Anything. I really wanted a quiet place to beeee. I spent some time in my in-laws living room doing some deep breathing, squats and leaning over the arm of the chair. Once again, I completely understood why animals make a nest for themselves somewhere in nice, dark, enclosed spot and then have their babies. I thought about chilling in the closet of the master bedroom but decided against it, since Adam would REALLY think I was crazy!
Tuesday, I had to get THINGS done NOW. I dropped my oldest at school and went to Wal Mart. I bought all Joseph's birthday presents, a pressie for a birthday party Sunday and some odds and ends. They were remodeling our WM so I walked ALOT before picking up Joe. I ran into a couple mothers who asked how I was doing. I was honest and I was feeling physically awesome but getting ready to meet my baby.
After dropping Camille off at preschool, I had an interview about my breastfeeding experiences. It was fun and I enjoyed meeting the wife of one of Adam's co-workers. I jokingly said that now I could have my baby since I didn't want to miss the interview!
Later that night, we went for a walk to the playground and met some neighbors. They were surprised that I was so cheerful about being 38 weeks and asked how long my dr would let me go. I told them I would be STOKED if I was induced for being post-dates!
After the kids were in bed, my stomach began bothering me and I chalked it up to the crap pizza I made for dinner. I wanted to listen to my Zune and Hypnobabies but we couldn't find it; I had left it on the nightstand and Georgie had taken it. I crabbed about this and went to bed.
Around 3 am, I woke up to use the bathroom. After I got cuddled back into bed, I began having mild contractions. I got out my pregnancy book and read the difference between the real deal and the fake-o ones. Because I was not having any bloody show or mucus and they seemed to be in an odd place, I chalked it up to more fake-o contractions. I cuddled down in bed and tried to go back to sleep... until they suddenly got stronger and I had to moan through a few.
Around 4 or 4:30 I poked Adam and told him he wasn't going into work that day. He asked if I was in labor and I said I didn't know. When I moaned through one he said, "Those are preggasaur noises. You're in labor."
I said, "I bet they will stop and space out when the kids wake up. Why don't you shower just in case?" He agreed and asked if I wanted to call his mother and the doula, A, so we could go right in. I said no.
By the time Adam finished his shower, the contractions were stronger. He called his mother and A and told them both to meet us at the house. When the kids woke up, they all went downstairs and I hit the shower. It felt really good and I felt like if I stayed in it, the baby would come sooner. I hopped out and went back to the bed, where I cuddled with my body pillow and relaxed.
A and my MIL got there at the same time and A joined me in my room. The contractions had spaced out and were lighter; due, in part, to the kid noise downstairs. Georgie was fussy and I was worried about him, so it was hard to focus on labor. I remembered wondering how mothers with many kids homebirthed because mine were distracting me!
Between about 6 and 8 am, I layed in bed and used the bathroom. A is also a chiropracter, so she is an adjustment on me to help my sinus' drain. Blowing my nose on the toliet really helped the baby move down! He was really high and we could both see and feel him move down.
It was nice to lay in the dark room with the sun slowly rising and just chat. Adam kept asking me if we wanted to go to the hospital to start the IV but my gut told me no. It was too soon and we had time. A and I both felt that this was going to be a putzy labor but when he chose to come, he would COME.
Once the kids left for school, I left my room/cave and walked the stairs. I showed A the baby's room and we talked some more. Once my MIL and the younger ones got back, we went for a walk with Georgie, who was still out of sorts. (Three teeth, mom in labor... who could blame him!) We went to a short walking path half a block from my house. We walked back and forth for two hours with me carrying Georgie the whole time. Every time I had a contraction, I would close my eyes, bury my face in his neck, sway/squat and hum or moan. A told me he would smile every time.
It was so, so peaceful to walk along the creek, holding my sweet soon-to-not-be sleeping baby and have the warm spring breeze blow on me. He was my little toddler doula, helping to peacefully bring his baby brother into the world in the way I wanted for him too. At some point, he fell asleep but I kept carrying him because he weight and smell was soothing.
We talked alot- I got out alot of fears which I know helped me progress. After two hours, Adam called looking for us and we went home. I had sent him for McDonald's iced tea and a bagel to keep him busy (he was fussying and worrying) so we went home for a snack. He had EATEN my bagel so I had some cheese and a zucchinni pancake and a whole lotta tea. I contracted some more and used the bathroom. A large chunk of my plug had gone. When I meantioned this, my MIL said, "Well, you don't need to worry if this is for real! If that's gone, this is it!"
Around 10:30 or so, I knelt next to Adam, who was in the recliner, and we made plans for MIL to take the kids out to lunch. I said that around 11:30 or 12 we would decide to head to the hospital or have an acupressurist come over to speed things up.
I went back upstairs to use the restroom and sit on the birthing ball. A few moments later, A followed me and Adam actually found the Zune, so I used a hypnobabies track to drown out the kid noise and relax. The contractions began to get closer and more intense but not longer.
MIL left to get Joseph around 11. A told me I was acting like "Laura in labor" and I said things were really beginning to bite. Adam finished up loading up the car and got my Zune and some pillows. I was worried that since the contractions were so short, they would space out in the car again or they would pit me at the hospital- A said she was sure neither would happen.
I contracted alot in the car but still smiled when I saw the infant seat in the back. I told Adam I was happy I was finally going to give him a healthy baby.
Adam called the hospital and, for some reason, was transferred to the dr's office. I learned my dr was out of town for an emergancy which was a disapointment but not a big deal. When we told him the contractions were short but 2-3 minutes apart and getting intense, they fussed at him because I needed the IV, yadda, yadda. Mentally, I groused. I knew that, I wanted the IV and I would get it, no problems- just SHUT UP!
I probably contracted 5 or 6 times between the car and the L and D unit. In the elevator, I told Adam I thought a sced c/s was the most brillant idea ever and this SUCKED.
We checked in and I was hooked up to the monitors. I had one of the nurses I had requested and she was awesome. When they tried to get the IV started, though, she blew a vien. I was holding onto Adam and whimpering while trying to will my body to NOT contract while a needle was being placed. Adam was AWESOME and told the nurse that in Nov they blew four veins and an ICU nurse couldn't get a line. Her eyes got wide and they looked in the other arm- no vein. I ended up "refusing" the IV (on paper) and recieving an oral abx later.
They checked me and I was five, -2 station and about 60 per cent effaced. Everyone cheered- but me, because I was just getting annoyed that the hard, painful part was coming.
After I was off the monitors, they began filling the tub and A's co-doula arrived. They both did some accurpressure on me and told me that things would get more intense. At this point my mood was, "Oh, let's not." I either wanted in the tub or to go home; being pregnant for 50 years or so was sounding pretty darned good!
(At one point, I told Adam was I mad they couldn't find a vein because now I didn't even have the option for the stupid epidural!)
Since they wouldn't let me go home, I got in the tub and sat between two jets, one on my back and one on my belly. They contractions weren't closer but still intense. I leaned forward and J rubbed my head.
I was just beginning to get comfortable and relax and I felt something SLAM against my cervix and a giant POP! Adam told me later I said, "OW!" and clear fluid poured out of me. I told A later that I would have flooded the floor if I had been out of the tub. I freaked out and they helped me out of the tub and onto the toliet. I had a little more water and it was really clear. Adam ran for the nurse and they held the monitor to my belly to check his HR. It was perfect.
(I threw on a gown to go out but put it on "backwards" like a robe. Adam remarked, "Modesty gone!")
I honestly don't remember contracting alot after this. I remember thinking that it was good my water broke on its own and I felt like it "flushed" the GBS right out. I was scared because there was no.turning.back and the "ring of fire" was about to come. (I don't like pushing!) I know the nurse had been trying to find out treatment protocol for babies of GBS moms who don't get the abx and she asked me when my PTSD started. I just pointed at my belly and walked into the bathroom; Adam and A filled her in. (Again- awesomeness. When I wasn't in the mood to answer for myself or couldn't, they stepped up. A also took down alot of information for me so I wouldn't have to worry, deal with or process it while I was in labor.)
In the (clean and refilled) tub I stood with the handheld shower on my belly. People kept asking me what I wanted and I shrugged or said I didn't know. I had a contraction and then another where I pushed. I stared at my doulas and said, "I'm pushing! He's coming NOW!" Adam literally RAN to get the nurse and they said, "You have to get out of the tub!" I was frozen and said, "I can't!" so they helped me lift my legs out, get a towel and get to the bed. They wanted to check me and I said "NO!" I just, um, wasn't in the mood.
I pushed a couple times in a really weird position. I think my answer to every question was, "I don't know" or "I don't care" or "THIS SUCKS AND I DON'T LIKE IT!" Apparently, I was pretty funny because people kept laughing.
Finally, they just broke the bed down and put up the squatting bar. In spite of me saying, "I don't want to do this and it's going to hurt!" They had me stand to push. The dr blew in and said, "Hi! I'm Dr. R and I'm taking Dr. H's place," and I ground out, "I don't care!"
As everyone laughed and Dr. R said, "I get that alot!" I pushed. I saw the nurse's eyes get wide and she slapped on a glove and knelt before me. I felt him come down and the buuuurn. Dr. R raced in and said, "I can't catch like this. Can you scoot on the bed?" Since I was a whimpering, sniveling mess, I said, "Noooo and it huuurts." I know A said something but in a second she and Adam helped me lean back, put me feet "up" and I pushed.
I felt and saw his head come out, then his shoulders and then he was HERE, being held between my legs and CRYING. A REAL cry. He really was cheesy; totally covered in vernix but crying! Not grunting, not retracting, not sneezing and coughing but CRYING!
The dr went to cut the cord but A stopped him asking, "Laura, do you want to wait?" This time I cheerfully said, "I don't care I just want my baby!" He quickly clamped and cut the cord and handed him to me as several other nurses threw towels on us. I rubbed him and said over and over, "He's here! It's over! He's mine and he's healthy!"
At some point during my pregnancy, I had a dream/vision of me holding a newborn skin to skin. He had chubby cheeks, was covered in vernix and had curly hair. I thought I was nuts because our babies are bald.
Cole has chubby cheeks, was covered in vernix and has curly hair. When I saw him I said, "He looks just like I pictured!"
No one suggested taking him away until I tried to nurse him and couldn't get comfortable. I hadn't delivered the placenta yet so I made the call to hand him off to be weighted, get a diaper and checked out. Dr. R had been waiting patiently for the placenta, checking to make sure it detached but never pressuring me to push or pulling on it. When Cole was safely out of my arms, We delivered it (and got pictures!) and put the bed back together.
A few weeks ago, when they began the whole "big baby" chat I had said my guess was 7-1 at 37 weeks. Cole was 7 pounds, 1 ounces at 38 weeks; our biggest baby by 2 ounces.
(And, yes, when they called out his weight, I laughed, and said, "I totally called it!")
I felt GREAT after. I kept saying, "I feel too good to have pushed out seven pounds!" Adam asked if all women felt this good and the nurse was like, um, no. Your wife is weird! Aside from passing a massive clot, I did really well and actually over did it by walking down to the nursery and around the room.
Everything went more perfect that I ever could have imagined. I got to labor at home, like I always wanted. He was born safe and happy and I had hours to bond with him and nurse before we ALL went to the nursery for his blood work.
The only snafu was when my dr called from the road and requested that someone "be awake" with the baby all night in case he had a late on set of GBS symptoms. The baby nurse was the mother of five and one of them was a NICU graduate. She explained that all the cute little "kitten" noises we had been hearing might actually be grunting and with a baby who's mom was GBS+, no abx, etc they wanted to be careful. Adam fielded alot of the questions and the questions he knew I would have. He couldn't stay with me; I knew he had to get home. They promised he didn't have to stay in the nursery; if I was awake to keep an eye on his breathing, I could have him. They would bring me him whenever he needed to nurse and if there were ANY problems, they would get me.
He joined me at 11 and 4 and then 6 and has had no problems breathing. I slept well that night and remembered my medication, so my anxiety was kept at bay. The kids came to see him today and they all love him! Georgie even got mad because we would let him hold his baby brother on his lap!
Cole is here and I am having the hospital babymoon I never had. I was sick with PIH after Joseph was born, Camille inhaled mec and went to the NICU for a short time and Georgie was premature. I have never had a healthy mom AND baby and this awesome!
Cole is here. Cole is healthy. May his life always proclaim the greatness of the Lord.