Our sweet guy is going to be two weeks old tomorrow, I can't believe it. I am clinging on to every minute knowing this is my last chance soaking in those newborn cuddles. I feel like he's already grown so much (not that he started off that small!)
I decided before we even got pregnant that I would highly consider an epidural this time following two med-free births. I went into this labor experience with a much different perspective. Even so, I wondered if by getting an epidural, would my experience be tale worthy? Would I feel as accomplished as my last two? Would I even write a blog about it? In hindsight, I can fully get behind the idea that EVERY birth is special and treasured and something to share.
In my past births, I would have never considered getting induced, but with my knowledge of how my body handles labor, and with having a good start (3cm, 75% effaced) I felt confident that an induction would go well. So at my 40 week appointment I was begging for an induction date knowing I would full well go over my due date by who knows how long, and I was just so over it and uncomfortable. I also had a lot of anxiety over when it would happen knowing I had three people's schedule to work around and childcare to consider for my older two. Thankfully we all agreed upon Thursday, December 13th. I was also sent for a growth ultrasound that day because I was measuring 42 weeks. He was estimated at 9lbs 12 oz at the time but every story I heard about growth scans were always way over estimated, so I wasn't worried and we proceeded with the 13th.
Just as I expected, I did not go into labor naturally by then but I felt a sense of calm knowing exactly when it would happen by. I took my oldest daughter, Lena, to dance the night before, but as she emerged from class, she told me her belly didn't feel good. It was the type of tone she said it in that I knew she was serious and my heart sank. Sure enough, she was vomiting shortly after we got home. UGH! Not what we needed the night before induction. I considered calling and rescheduling, but decided to wait it out and see how she felt in the morning. Her last bout was around 11pm and she slept the rest of the night in my bed with her dad while I camped on the couch hoping to avoid it. I could not sleep, with the anxiety of the next day, coupled with Lena's sickness, and to top it off, my youngest daughter started crying of leg pains somewhere around 3am and I ended up sleeping in her room for the rest of the night. I got a total of 2.5 hours of sleep that night.
Come time to head to the hospital, we felt Lena was on the upside and handed them off to their Aunt. We got to Bronson labor and delivery around 8am and got settled in. We started by administering a bag of fluids, during which we got the text that Lena was sick again. Thankfully that was the last time and she perked up over the day. After the fluids, we started pitocin in hopes of bringing him down a little since he was still a bit high for breaking water. I felt contractions coming but they remained about braxton hicks intensity for most of the time. Once they started getting a little stronger, I was checked (maybe around 1pm) and he indeed did move down, so the plan now was epidural, even though I wasn't in much pain, and then break my water. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous for the epi, not because of the needle, but because of the small epidural space-mess it up and your paralyzed reason, but it went super well, only had minimal discomfort, and we were ready to rock and roll!
The doctor ended up being pulled into the OR, so we had to wait until about 4pm for him to come and break my water. We knew from the growth scan that I had an excess amount of fluid, so once it was broken, I felt like my stomach was already much smaller. Because I couldn't feel my contractions much at all, I was doubting they were doing much to progress me. The whole ordeal felt a little surreal. My body was doing all this hard work and yet here I am sipping ice chips and talking casually with my husband, mom and mother in law.
At some point my dad arrived, I think around 6, he figured I would have delivered by then and stopped to see how we were doing. At that time I started to feel some pain in my lower belly and suddenly felt cold when I had been feeling warm up until then. I defintely was feeling a change of tides. I asked to be checked and everyone left the room. I had a burst of emotions and started to cry, thankfully it was just Dan and I in the room, since I don't like to cry in front of others, hell, I didn't even cry with my med-free births, WHY was I crying now? I started shaking and knew transition was happening. The medical team arrived and I filled them in how I was feeling and they agreed that things were getting busy. I was checked at 8-9 cm, shown how to dose up my epidural, whew, and moved to my hands and knees to help get rid of that last bit of cervix. It was an absolute crazy experience to feel my baby's head descend with each contraction but not have to experience the pain.
Shortly after informing my people via group text it was almost go time, the doctor had me do a practice push, to which she said "yup, get the other doctor, we're gonna have a baby real soon."
Once everybody was in position, my mom on camera, my MIL on video, my husband the witness, ;) We started pushing. I don't think it took more than three contractions to get him out but I felt like on that last push I didn't even need to push, he was just coming out. Let me tell you, not having to feel that ring of fire - woooorthhhh ittt, lol! At 7:20pm, they brought out this cheese covered baby and placed him on my chest. I always underestimate the size of babies but everyone else knew he was no small kid. His first cry was just music to my ears and everything I prayed for. After some skin on skin time, he was taken to be measured and to my surprise he weighed a whopping 10lb 4oz!!!!!! Holy cow, I chose the right kid to have an epidural with!! I did have a little trouble walking after the epidural, but by midnight that night it had completely worn off.
The next morning, Dan told me he didn't feel well and ended up getting the stomach virus Lena had, so he went home to recover and keep his germs away from the baby and myself, but not before we settled on the name Barrett Victor. Both my mom and sister were up to help during the day, and my sister ended up staying the second night with me, which was good because I seemed to check out in between the hours of 3-7am from exhaustion. Dan brought the girls up on the day of discharge and we were lucky enough to have Sara from www.saracombsphotography.com there to capture our family together for the first time. They are photo's I will cherish for a lifetime.
The first couple weeks home have been going well. There's a sense of comfort in doing this for the third time. Not that its easier, but that I know "this too shall pass" and that a crying baby is going to be okay left alone or a couple minutes, that sleep will eventually be a nightly ritual again, and these post partum horomones won't make me feel sad forever.
We greatly appreciate everyone's well wishes and congratulations of our sweet boy, and every one of our family and friends who helped us out when sickness changed up our expectations and plans.
Here's to a future as a family of 5!