Today we welcomed our newest little blessing! I couldn't be happier about how everything went off without a hitch. Well, sort of. I guess it depends on what you consider a hitch.
Archer Matthias, born at 10:38a.m. on 2/6/13, 20.75 inches long and weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces!
I had been having "false labor" since my doctor did a membrane sweep at 38 weeks. I was the dreaded "fingertip dilated" which is the fancy schmancy way of saying "not at all. You've had a baby before. Your cervix is perpetually not-closed." I was also told that my cervix was choosing not to efface yet, which is strange for me. I never dilated before full-blown labor, but I usually efface all the way beforehand. So it kind of discouraged me.
I began having cramps and contractions immediately, which were irregular. I couldn't believe how sore I was! It turned into nothing, and usually the contractions went away at night when I went to sleep. Before I knew it, I was pregnant for another week.
I was somewhat surprised though that when I went into my next appointment on Monday, my doctor informed me that I had progressed - 3cm and 40%! I know it doesn't mean that labor is anywhere in sight, but it was nice to know that those contractions weren't for nothing.
My doctor had also put me on the induction schedule for Wednesday. The baby was estimated to be over 8 pounds, and with the diabetes, my doctor really wanted me to go as soon as possible. But she also really didn't want to have to induce me. So she stripped my membranes AGAIN. I had mild contractions the first day. Then I had strong contractions. I was so convinced that this was it, and then poof - they disappeared when I fell asleep. Then they woke me up.
To be honest, a week of "false labor" is about a week longer than I prefer. I can't imagine how the women feel who have false labor for weeks or even months before. I was so exhausted, my anxiety started going through the roof and at one point, I had to sleep before I had a full blown anxiety attack.
Around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, I woke with really strong contraction pains. Don't take that the wrong way.. it did not feel like contractions. You know how contractions start with a tightening sensation usually, then it progresses until you feel the actual pain of it, either in your back or cervix (both for me, thanks!) then it diminishes and then the tightening goes away...? This was not that kind of contraction. This would start without warning as the pain from the middle part of the contraction, go on for 30-60 seconds, then stop. They were about as strong as my contractions usually are when I am at about a 5 in dilation. But they were extremely irregular, sometimes occurring 7-10 minutes apart or sometimes an hour apart. I was ridiculously cramp and sore by this point.
I tried to sleep Tuesday night, but between knowing my induction was coming and having all the false labor pains, I just couldn't sleep at all. A couple of the contractions were too strong to just lay there, so I got out of bed and hopped in the shower.
By 5 a.m. on Wednesday, I was looking forward to getting into the hospital. The contractions were way stronger than the should be for false labor, and I couldn't wait until 8 a.m. to go get checked in.
No literally - I couldn't wait. The pain was bad and I was scared I might have my baby in a motel room.
We called and let them know that I was coming, and even though we left home at 7:15 or so, I didn't get into my room until 8 a.m. My contractions were regular for about six or seven contractions, and those were four minutes apart. But some of them were lasting over a minute, which I thought was fairly strange.
I got checked at 8 a.m. and I was shocked to have the doctor tell me I was already 6 cm and some percentage of effacement, I don't remember. I just remember it was more than my last appointment.
The induction was basically out the window at this point, since I was obviously dilating very efficiently.
The doctor suggested she break my water - it was already going fast, and why let it slow down? She figured it would be over very soon. So I agreed, and then I immediately went and sat in the lovely tub and turned up the jets.
When I labored with Royal, I sat in the tub for two straight hours and dilated from 4 to 7. It was amazing. And nearly painless.
This time was not like that. While the water did help relax me quite a bit, I found that the contractions were getting longer and longer without a break in between. And they were getting way more intense. I felt like I was in transition already and I was scared I was going to give birth in the tub. I was only in there for about half an hour.
It was at this point I caved - I could not believe how much more intense the pain was than what it usually is for me this far into labor. It was comparable to my labor on Pitocin, where my labor stalled and I was forced into an epidural.
I asked my doctor if there was anything for pain short of an epidural. She said yes, but she *really* didn't want me to take anything when I was this far and progressing so well. It nearly broke my heart, because for the first time, I honestly felt like I might not be able to do this.
I had her check me again quickly, and I was dilated to 8cm and even more effaced. I could no longer stand up through contractions and I could not lean over either. I was at that point where I was so exhausted and in so much pain I just laid on the bed in the fetal position and through each contraction, which seemed to last for two minutes at least, I whimpered and tried to force myself to relax and breathe.
At one point I vaguely recall whipping my head up and down with my breaths. I really just wanted to jump out of my skin at this point, and I am pretty sure I was on the verge of crying. I did yell a couple times.
The doctor offered to check me again after only a few contractions, and said I was about 9 and a quarter. I knew I was close but then I though about having to push and it made me nervous all over again.
I got up and hugged the back of the bed and the contractions lessened quite a bit. Guess what? So did the baby's heart rate, so I couldn't stay there. They made me move, but they also gave me oxygen, which was amazing. I was also checked when I first got that way, and told I had a "lip" of cervix still in the way.
I informed my doctor that my last two deliveries were like that, and the doctor held it out of the way while I started pushing. She told me if I could just breathe through two more contractions, it would be out of the way and she wouldn't have to do that. So I did.
When I flipped over I was checked again and I was ready to push - which is a relief to hear when you are already feeling like you NEED to push.
So I tried sitting on my left side and pushing, and sadly, it felt like I had no leverage. It felt like the push did nothing. And it felt like the contractions that normally subside a tiny bit for you to push were worse than ever. They were still so painful I did not *want* to push.
The brought me a squat bar - I felt like I might not be pushing at the right times because my doctor did not coach me. I have never *not* been coached through pushing. Apparently she trusted me to do it on my own, which, to be honest, I didn't know if I knew how.
I still felt like I was doing nothing.
They brought me handles to pull against, and I still felt like it was doing nothing.
They had me put m legs on the bar. Yep. Still felt like nothing. And it felt like it was taking forever.
I got up to the squat bar again and the pain of the contractions and the pressure hurt so bad I almost just let go and gave up.
Something budged and I felt the baby down where he was supposed to be and that was all it took. One more push and the head was halfway out. It was much more painful than my 7lb. 14oz. baby. The doctor was also not wearing gloves yet (even though I warned her that pushing happens quick!) and started trying to get another nurse to get her gloves. She asked me to lean back, which I did - but then she gave the no-no command; STOP PUSHING.
Sorry, but it's subconscious once the baby is halfway out. I honestly tried not to push, but my body just did it. The nurse on my left reached out and helped the baby not land on his head. His head took two pushes and his body took another two I believe. Only the first was voluntary.
His cord blood was not clotting like the doctor wanted, so she cut him quickly and tossed him on my stomach. After she clasped the rest of the cord, the pediatrician snatched up my little baby and they all said it was a boy! He got a very quick look over cause you can't be too careful with gestational diabetes babies and then he was handed to me and I just cuddled him. The kids came up and looked, and were happy to see he was good and so was I.
Josh asked what time he was born, and the doctor told us. We were in shock. It was 10:38. We had only been at the hospital for two and a half hours! And I had only started having active labor (that I didn't even know was active) around 5 a.m.
It was definitely the quickest, and definitely the most painful. I think I would rather have a good ole 17 hour labor to be honest!
I feel great though, and I am very thankful that my doctor pushed for me to go natural. I had a moment of weakness, knowing that I much prefer the non-medicated recovery, but she encouraged me through it and I am very glad.
Little man started rooting before the nurse had even checked his blood sugar (which was PERFECT by the way!! Praise God!!) and he latched on his very first try - and nursed for half an hour without falling asleep.
We suddenly realized, about fifteen minutes after he was born, that we hadn't really kept anyone updated very well. It just happened very fast and between taking care of the other three kids and taking care of me, Josh was overbooked.
After I nursed the baby and Josh called everyone, I took the most amazing shower. It felt so good to feel clean and refreshed and get my own clothes on. That is probably my favorite post-delivery ritual, is washing up and putting on something besides a gown.
As of now, I am letting Josh nap and the nurse managed to wrap up the little stinker after over an hour of nursing and get him asleep too.
So yeah. We are now a family of six.
Praise God. It feels weird.