(the infamous Facebook check-in status LOL!)
I have finally tucked in my little ONE YEAR OLD for the night, cleaned up the kitchen & walked away from the laundry to sit down and write this out.
I want to preface this post by saying... it's a birth story, so if birth isn't your thing, just scroll on by or jump to another post. And if birthing babies is your thing, sit & read a minute.
Ironically, my oldest asked me during dinner tonight, "Mom, what was something you always wanted to be or do but you've never done. Career wise?" Easy, labor & delivery nurse. It's always amazed me... women's bodies, delivering babies, the process, new life, pink wigglies. But I've never been able to commit to the school aspect of it. I had Kaleb at 21, and the three years before that I was playing Mom to my sister & taking care of my Grandma who was battling cancer. So I guess I've just always been one to take care of other people, nursing always appealed to me, but it just wasn't in the cards. And that's totally OK with me. The one thing I've always aspired to be is a Mom, as good of a Mom as I could be. And I've never been able to pull away from that role in a way that fit going to school seriously. And to be honest, the few times I starting thinking about going back down that path, I was reminded by friends who are nurses just how brutal the hours are when you start out & just how much time you sacrifice from your family. I just couldn't do it... God bless nurses, I'll say that!
Alright, so let's start with my 37 week checkup. At that visit everything was looking PERFECT with Jack & myself. Minimal weight gain, great blood pressure, baby was growing great & no swelling or issues. Now, the doctor I was seeing for this pregnancy was different than my doctor who delivered Kaleb & Emma. We had moved from Alvin to North of Houston & I had my little shop to try to run this go round. So I just rolled with the punches & decided to continue to see the doctor I had seen for my yearly exams. The plus to this was her office was literally a mile from my shop & the hospital she delivered at was within a 5 minute drive. PERFECT. So, during this visit she brought up the subject of induction & I explained to her that I had been induced with the two previous pregnancies & I would like to let this last one take it's course if all looked good. My 38 week checkup went just as smooth and again the subject of induction was surfed over by us both. She did mention that the norm now with induction was to really only entertain the idea after 39 weeks & it was really only if I was showing signs of distress or baby had grown too large in her opinion. None of that was happening. But I was getting impatient. My check ups were always on a Monday. It was the one weekday my shop was closed so it always just fit well into my schedule & routine.
(me at 39 weeks preggo on the Monday of my appointment)
So, here we are the Friday night after my 39 week checkup, so 39 weeks & 5 days. That Friday & Saturday night I had woken up having some contractions, but nothing ever really stuck. They were strong enough to wake me so I would get up to pee, get a drink and re-adjust & they'd calm down. I knew my uterus knew what it was supposed to do, but it had been a hot second since the last time it 'stepped up to the plate', so to speak. I'll say this, pregnancy in my 30's compared to pregnancy in my 20's was a whole other ballgame. The last two weeks of this pregnancy I could have fallen asleep literally doing anything, I was EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME. I was convinced I was anemic, although my doctor jokingly told me 'No, hun, You're just not 24 like you were last time.' So that Friday night I started spotting, or after Googling & reading up on my What To Expect When You're Expecting, 'bloody show' had commenced. Again, third baby... but I hadn't experienced this with K or E, so I was a little anxious. According to Google (LMBO) if it wasn't my first pregnancy & delivery it usually means you will have an onset of labor within the next 24 hours. YIKES! So I had been told two things, #1 my doctor wasn't on call that weekend & #2 it was only actual labor if contractions had been continuous for at least a solid 30 mins with spacing regular or shortening in time. So I kept my cool & just was on 'high alert'. I think I had asked my doctor at least 5 times if I would KNOW it was labor or not. She laughed each time pretty much & answered with 'Oh you'll KNOW, trust me.'
Emma had dance Saturday afternoon & we just kind of took it easy Sunday. Straightened up the house, made sure K & E's bag to take to the hospital were packed so they'd have lots to keep them busy & I sat in Jack's nursery & re-packed his bag & checked mine again. We were kind of nervous because the downside to letting labor come on it's own, was that we don't have any family near & we knew that K & E would be coming to the hospital with us when labor started & we had been told they couldn't be in the room. That alone made me very anxious. I couldn't quit thinking about how on Earth I'd labor my baby while worrying about my older two. But that's life, babies come when you aren't ready & everyone tends to survive.
So Monday I go in for my 40 week checkup... I'm feeling pretty sure she's going to check me & send me to the hospital. I explain the activity with contractions & apologize because I've been wearing a pad since Friday night. TMI I know. But I warned you! I should add, I had a horrible cough that had hung around since Thanksgiving pretty much. But when you're THAT pregnant you can't take any good meds lol! I kept thinking about the stories you hear about women going into active labor & they didn't know their water had broken & all I kept thinking was, "With these damn pads on I won't even know if it breaks! Well, she had me assume the position & I hadn't progressed hardly at all... She said maybe if she was feeling generous I may have dialated a centimeter since the week before. COME ON?! That's it?! So, we made a plan of attack.. I was scheduled for induction that Thursday because she wasn't on call that coming weekend & I was uneasy letting me go past 41 weeks. I've heard too many stories of really hard labor & deliveries. I left feeling a little defeated, but a healthy baby in the end is all you really want anyway, so it was what it was.
Tuesday, Mike called to see if I wanted to meet for lunch. Only problem was all TWO pairs of my maternity jeans were in the washer... it was either my regular jeans or pajama pants! I should add, I also had a sink full of dishes, the slipcovers off my couch, bed un-made & I think I may have had a roast in the crock pot. But I decided to meet him anyway. What's one last lunch date sans baby?! I waddled into Rudy's BBQ with a hair tie in my jeans button-fly, no kidding. I made the joke that these jeans would quite possible squeeze Jack out... maybe they are what did the trick after all. After lunch I went up to the shop. Because I'm a 'Type A' person & it was Tuesday, so I had it in my head that tomorrow, Wednesday, would be my last FREE DAY & I wanted to take the day off & just relax. The printer had been giving my part time girl, Hannah, a headache so I wanted to get it working correctly. I also had some packages to ship off and I wanted to make sure to get change from the bank & make a deposit before I headed home. During that car ride, contractions started. I'm going to say I probably ran errands from about 5:15-6 & I started tracking them on the car clock. They were getting to the point where I couldn't really count, so I was just looking at the time & coaching myself what 4 mins etc from the current time would be. They were like clock work, starting at about every 5 minutes and by the time I dropped the change off at the shop & waddled back into the car, they were down to a solid 4. I messaged Mike to just get dinner in the oven for the kiddos & make sure they were ready because I was thinking this could be IT. When I got home I had to wait for a contraction to subside while I sat in the car & then waddled inside. They were at a point where it was easier for me to stop walking & talking to work through them. I got upstairs & took a quick 'neck down' shower & drank the cold Gatorade Mike had brought up. I told myself I'd lay down & see if they calmed, but I couldn't lay down... I was uncomfortable. Mike had hopped in to take a quick one, because I KNEW he'd be wishing he had if this was actually labor.
We loaded up in the car & left the house about 7. Contractions were about 3-4 mins apart at this point, but water hadn't broken & I wasn't really hurting, just cramping. But they were constant & definitely uncomfortable. Mike dropped me & the kiddos off at the hospital door & parked. We walked inside & waited for him by the elevators. And (I'll never forget this), I coughed really big & got this odd feeling. Like touhed my pants to see if I had peed, feeling. 9 months pregnant with my third baby & full of Gatorade... it happens. But remember that pesky pad!? Anyway, we went up to L&D & buzzed. Mike cracked a joke about how his wife was having a baby & were we in the right place etc. Mike has always made me laugh... and I think we pretty much were trying to make light of the situation because we were so anxious. K & E had to wait in the waiting area, which I hated. But there was security & it was 7:20 & empty except for them. Apparently 7 PM is shift change, and I was the only woman in triage. So I had two nurses, the one leaving & the one coming on shift. I was told to change into a gown & leave a urine sample and come out clothes free from the waist down. I remember looking in that little cup & thinking 'hmmm, there's stuff floating in there, that's odd'. So I came out carrying it & sat it on the table & proceeded to lay down on the bed. The nurse asked me the typical questions of my last exam, where the doctor placed my current progress etc & asked me to make my heels touch & drop my knees... I kid you NOT, that nurse barely began to examine me when 'WOOOSH' came my water. She kept apologizing & we just started laughing. At least we weren't in limbo any longer... it was baby time! She told me I was a loose 4, probably closer to a 5, but she didn't want to stretch me & get me moving too quick. I was taken to a delivery room while they got theings organized & got me checked in officially. At this point I asked to bring my big kiddos in & she THANKFULLY obliged. So Kaleb & Emma came in and we just explained the machines & what was going on... they were so so excited. We were inundated with questions of 'how long till he gets here?' Because of the timing of our arrival and the shift change, the computer in the room wasn't even on & the monitors she had placed on my tummy weren't hooked up. I felt like I had to pee constantly so I asked if we could take them off until they were ready to hook them up. So it was about 7:45/7:50, a dark, quiet, and cool night. We had our two big kiddos there with us & were just so calm & excited. By this time we had called Mike's parents to let them know it was for sure labor & they could head our way. I had called & messaged a handful of people there were lots of well wishes going around. The nurse popped in to explain that my doctor wasn't on call, and the on call doctor was at dinner & she had instructed the nurses to not give me any Pitocin & just let me labor on my own & that she'd call back about midnight to see how I was progressing. I wasn't in any pain & we were comfy... so she went back to gather some more supplies & get set up for what we thought was going to be a quiet night of me laboring.
I really don't have a great timeline as to how the next couple of hours progressed. I do know I have a very high pain tolerance & had not gotten anything for pain & Mike has told me his version and swears I hardly did more than some moans... but I just kept my eyes closed & worked my way through the contractions. I do know at one point she checked me & I was at an 8, almost 9 & I asked for something to take the edge off. Things were moving so fast by this point I just couldn't have gotten anything anyway. She phoned the on-call doctor who had decided to go ahead and head in. Another nurse came in about 9:45 & I was in the thick of some strong contractions. At one point I remember actually feeling Jack drop down. They checked me again & at this time Mike decided to walk the kiddos out to wait for his parents in the waiting room. We knew they'd be getting there any minute, but he didn't want the kiddos there for the actual delivery.. They're older & smart, but I also know seeing Mom in pain & the sight of blood etc may be too much, even for kiddos as mature as them.
So I was now at a 10, no meds so far, holding a baby in, & was told that the on call doctor wouldn't be there in time, but they were pulling a doctor in who was finishing up a C-section down the hall. In that position, I really didn't care who, if anyone was down there LOL! Mike had practically delivered Emma anyway, so I knew we didn't have any time to split hairs. I know during one contraction I attempted to close my legs & one of the nurses pushed them back open... Jack was born during that next contraction. This doctor I had never met before, came in shortly after Jack was delivered by the nurse & introduced himself, shook my hand & congratulated me. He laughed & made the comment that 'I don't waste any time.' I joked that 'I warn the nurses every time... I labor quick!'
(picture snapped by Mike, moments after birth)
Sweet Jack was cleaned up & handed to me... It sounds crazy, but he became REAL in that moment. There was a period of a lot of worry about his health & I think I put up a wall so to speak, not intentionally, but in that second it came down & I was handed this perfect dark haired baby boy. He nuzzled right onto my chest & followed my voice. I know we got a few minutes with him before Kaleb & Emma were brought in. Mike was eager to introduce them & apparently during labor he had been texting Kaleb & my mother in law keeping them up to speed. Time-wise it worked out that they stepped off the elevator about the time Jack had arrived. So, perfect timing!
Kaleb & Emma were in love immediately! They've been smitten with him since the second they met him & he just adores them. They play so great with him, are both such huge helpers & boy does he light up when he sees them! We worried about the age gap this time around, but it's been beautiful! I've had them close & I've had them spaced out & I wouldn't change the way our crazy three kiddos worked out one bit!
So to summarize Jack's birth:
Natural onset of labor.
Arrived at the hospital at 7:20
Water breaks at 7:30
Jack is born at 10:03
100% natural/uncomplicated delivery.
Jack WAS nimble & Jack WAS quick LOL!
All I can say is I am so amazed by a woman's body & all it can do. We are amazing creatures that can create, grow, nurture & deliver a brand new life... it's beautiful! Jack did have to stay some extra time after I was released due to jaundice... but that's a whole other blog post & I don't feel like tapping into all those emotions tonight..
So we have survived the first year... full of life, and change... tough stuff & beautiful moments... I am so grateful that this sweet boy is ours! Next weekend we get to pull on some plaid & celebrate this first year with him in 'lumberjack style'! Can't wait!