It’s been over a week since I last wrote, and my what a week it has been, so I have about 5 different posts floating around in my brain right now, but clearly I need to start with the one that is all about our newest addition – Truman John, born on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 9:13 p.m.
For those of you who saw the last post, you know I approached the 40th Week of my pregnancy with a bit of OMG-how-am-I-still-here and bit of productivity, sarcasm, and as many naps as possible. Each morning I posted on FB the tasks of the day, both to let people know yep, still here, and to give myself a focus other than sitting around waiting to go into labor.
All together, it wasn’t a bad week; I accomplished a few more nesting items, read another book, and gave myself the grace and space I needed to be a little bit tired and a little bit cranky because come on – 40 weeks is a long time! Upon hitting the actual 40 mark and doing my OB visit that day, I was a bit of a wreck – not because I felt pressured to do anything to start labor but because I was really beginning to think I might be pregnant for another two weeks. After a little sob session (which I let my big kids witness even though it freaked them out and caused RL to ask if I had hurt my toe), I felt some pressure lift and so began our long, holiday weekend.
Saturday was a bit of a do-nothing day, or at least nothing terribly productive. B and I had a RedBox date that night and I decided that, if I didn’t go into labor overnight, we should use the kids’ free State Fair tickets (Yay, Summer Reading Program!) the next morning to get some fun family time together (Thanks to my friend B for the inspiration to do stuff together and not just sit around hoping for Baby to arrive, and my friend A for the SF idea!) and some good walking in for me, too.
Shockingly, I did not go into labor overnight, so the Fair it was Sunday morning. We spent three hours hoofing it all around the fair grounds (which included pushing various kids in the stroller at various times), the last hour of which was super sunny, hot, and sweaty. And still no labor.
So home again, home again, we went for air conditioning and naps (for Lincoln and I), during which I had a “warning shot” contraction that felt quite low and real but was one and done, so at that point, I still didn’t think anything was happening.
Post-naps, my belly started to get really spazzy. Lots of movement, lots of tightness and short contractions, just lots of lots. But none of it seemed serious or consistent or, as I put it in a text to a friend, “worthy of timing” so we continued about our day.
5:00 p.m. found us at the dinner table with the children (as it does most days because we embrace our Early Bird ways fully and we’re really all just 85yos), eating Mac-and-Cheese (true story). I know the time exactly because that was when I had my first WHOA contraction that not only hurt but lasted the length of a real deal wave – it was “time-able”! Or it would be so long as another one followed it, and one did, 15 minutes later! The third came another 20 after that, and after an hour, we called Ben’s mom to say she was on stand-by to come hang with the kids while we went to the hospital.
However, since I have had false alarms before, I wasn’t super convinced anything was actually happening, and decided I would start moving around the house to see if the contractions kept coming. Ben got the kids bathed and ready for bed while I started attacking various little cleaning tasks around the house. And the contractions? They not only continued, but thanks to all my activity, they also increased quickly in frequency and intensity and before Ben was even back downstairs, I was down to every 6-7 minutes, some of which were causing me to stop walking/my belly to shake.
At that point I realized that, once again – for the fourth time – we had not called our family fast enough to get them here before I needed to get to the hospital. I may not have any patterns of when I go into labor (except that I like to have babies in the evening, we realized), but there are some consistencies such as this that bond my babies’ arrivals quite well.
Thank goodness for good friends who have always been willing and able to come to our house to help until the grandparents can arrive! After I made contact with my back up, B and I continued to work around the house for about another hour, at which point the contractions started coming faster and harder and it occurred to me that if we didn’t get someone to the house sooner than later, I would end up having the baby in the kitchen instead.
At 7:45 we left the house to make the long journey six blocks to the hospital (sometimes I wonder if we let the proximity of our house to our birthing location fool us). When I got up in a room and the nurses checked me, I was at 7 cm. I will sing the praises of the L&D nurses at Mary Lanning all my days because they have always been so good to me, and true to that, they instantly called my doc, who instantly knew she should head our way because once my water broke, that kiddo was going to – instantly – come out (my only other labor pattern).
(Fair warning – full-on birth story details coming next, so you know, you get what you get if you keep reading!)
Also true to form, was a slight slow down in belly activity upon arriving at the hospital; I think this always stems from the flood of relief from not having to deliver in my kitchen or car. I didn’t feel like walking laps in the halls, but hung out on the bed instead in a kneeling position with my arms draped over a big exercise ball. B’s job was to make sure the ball didn’t roll off the bed. I don’t know how long I went before they checked me again, but when they did, I was only at 8 and a little bummed because really?! Only 8? My doc offered to break my water when I wanted, but I knew I needed to do some more of the work first, so we got the ball down to the floor and bed raised up so I could sit/sway on it while resting my arms/head on the bed.
That right there did the trick. The contractions picked up again and lasted really long/were really intense, to the point that I could tell I was transitioning and was ready for another check/breaking the water (Ben’s hands that I was squeezing the bejezzsus out of would probably agree). Sure enough (and thank goodness), I was a full 10 – ready go. For me/my body, at this point, breaking the water is always another wave of relief, but it is not without some trepidation because I know the most intense part is about to come.
Right after rupturing the waters, my doctor asked if I wanted to try the Labor Bar (the what?!), and then explained that it would allow me to be in more of a squat position, which I had seemed to be more comfortable in during the whole labor, instead of flat on my back w/ my knees to my shoulders like I’ve always done in the past. As fast as I said yes, they grabbed this flat-bottomed-u-shapped attachment, stuck it on the bed, lowered the bottom-half of the mattress to the floor, and had me sliding to the edge/standing there, all before the next contraction came.
Good thing, because with that next contraction out came the whole baby, too! Just 4 hrs., 13 mins. after the first real labor pain, and in just one contraction, we met our fourth sweet bundle – who – surprise! turned out to be our third sweet boy!
In all fairness, yes, it hurt like hell. And yes, the whole thing was shocking (from speediness to gender), but the birth was also so incredibly healing and peaceful.
For one, I was blessed to have my fourth natural birth experience and with this one, I felt very much in control of both my breath and the process. I loved all the support and props I got from the L&D staff/my doc, as they let me go for whatever positions I wanted during labor (and birth) (and hello – one push and out and for the first-time-ever no tear?! Thank you, Labor Bar and Gravity!!) and were encouraging me the whole way through (brag moment: having one nurse tell another as I labored, “Not everyone can make 7 cm look that easy!”). Thanks to all of my yoga training in the last two years, I was able to really hone in on the mind/body/breath connection, which allowed me to go inside and focus/remind myself that yes, I could do this. I even knew when I was holding back from the pain and needed to let go/surrender to the process, which helped me make that last transition and get ready to greet Mr. Truman.
And what a love he is! With his large 14 cm-circumfrence head, and his grumpy-old-man furrowed brow, and nose just like his big brother, Harrison, and long fingers, and squished up arms/legs, he is a complete sweet bundle of I-could-stare-at-you-all-day.
I’ll do more posts in the coming days that are all about getting to know our newest little man and what his siblings think of him (Hint: he’s a keeper, even if he isn’t a girl!). For now – this is just to say, in a very long and very wordy post, that we are so happy and so relieved to (finally) be on this side of the whole process and so grateful for a safe, empowering delivery and our healthy and happy sweet babe.