* We didn’t do a good job of recording times for this birth, so I hope these details are mostly accurate. When you are in labor, the minutes kind of blur together! I’ll also try to add pictures when I get them all gathered together.
I woke up at 2:30am on Monday, February 17th with some mildly painful contractions. I’d been having contractions off and on since I was 24 weeks pregnant, but these ones were different. They were coming every 15 minutes. This went on for about 3 hours before I finally was able to fall back to sleep. When I woke up they were gone. As the day went on, though, they came back sporadically. I had a feeling labor would be coming soon. About mid-day, I had a little bit of “bloody show”, which for me always means the baby will be born within 24 hours. I told my family that I thought he would be coming that night or the next day. I started preparing, which means of course that I painted my toenails. 🙂 I also got my hospital bag packed, ran some laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and set out the boys’ clothes for the next day.
The contractions became more painful and closer together around dinnertime. We put the boys to bed at 9pm and I tried to go to sleep. I laid there for a few hours until they became too painful to lay down any longer. I showered and woke Raphael up around midnight. We called my step-dad (who is always so awesome about volunteering to be our babysitter for the boys, even if he loses sleep- which he always does because my babies only come in the middle of the night- and doesn’t get to come to the hospital with the rest of the family) and he came over around 1am.
Raphael and I arrived at the hospital shortly after 1am and were sent up to the OB department fairly quickly. I settled in to triage and spent much more time there than I had anticipated. The nurse (Crystal) checked me and determined I was 4cm dilated. Since I do not dilate at all until labor begins, 4cm is pretty good for me. She seemed unsure, though, and told me I needed to walk the hospital for an hour and then she’d check me again. I did laps with Raphael and my mom and sister. The contractions were definitely stronger and more regular when I walked. After my hour was up, I needed to use the restroom (#2 of course…it’s good to get it out before you are pushing!) and she checked me again. I was still only 4cm dilated! She monitored me again for 20 minutes and then made me hit the halls again for 45 more minutes.
I have to admit I was feeling a little put-out about the whole walking thing. I wanted a room and had already decided I was going to get the epidural, so I didn’t understand what all this walking nonsense was about! If I was planning to get the epidural anyways, why couldn’t I just get it now and be comfortable longer?! The second hall adventure really did the trick, though. I could tell the contractions were intensifying. She checked me and I was 5-6cm dilated. Yayy! Now I had my ticket into a room.
She started my IV quickly because I needed one full bag of fluids before they could do my epidural. They got me a room at about 5am and made sure the anesthesiologist was ready. When they told me the name of the anesthesiologist (Dr. Church), I was so excited because I remembered he was the guy who did my sister’s second epidural (yeah, her first one didn’t work) and he was great!
I got my epidural, which went very smoothly (He even commented when he was done that I had the best and easiest back presentation and epidural administration of any patient he’d ever had…I’ll be adding that to my resume!). They put in my catheter and I settled in for a nice little relaxing labor experience. After the epidural was done, I could feel it taking the edge off of my contractions, but there was still some pain in the front and I could move my legs pretty easily still. I told the anesthesiologist that I could manage this pain, but I’d rather not. He insisted that I was not going to have any pain and gave me an extra dosage. This one worked like magic and I could no longer feel anything from the torso down. I dosed off for a short time while my family chatted around me. My mom was there, along with my sister and her baby Cody (she didn’t have a sitter for him, so the nurses said she could bring him to the hospital for the delivery!)…and Raphael was there, of course…and my grandparents came, along with my dad. My step-mom came for a little while after she sent my niece off to school. And eventually my other little sister would come.
When I woke up about an hour later, I could tell things were changing. My labors usually go very fast at the end, which I had already mentioned to my new nurse, Angie (they changed shifts shortly before I fell asleep), and my pain always comes back when I’m complete and ready to push. I’m not sure why some women feel nothing all the way through to the end and some women have pain that comes back, but my pain comes back. Anyways, when I woke up, I could feel the pain returning. I knew I was close to the end. The nurse checked me and I was 9cm dilated. She said she would come back in a little while and see if I was ready. This made me nervous. I knew it would only be a matter of minutes before I was ready to push and I wanted her to call my doctor soon. I explained to her that my doctor missed my last delivery because it went so fast in the end. Either way, she left and my pain intensified. My mom also left to pick up my little sister, thinking she could leave and be back in 10 minutes. Something told me she was going to miss it.
Almost immediately I felt the urge to vomit and my pain was almost unbearable. I told the nurse I was ready and needed to push. She checked me and verified that I was fully dilated and the baby was right there. She asked me to do some practice pushes, but not give it my all. I told her my doctor had better hurry because I intended to get the baby out ASAP. Pushing was the only relief I had from the misery. She rolled me on to my back and I grabbed my legs and pushed. She got a funny look on her face and told me to hold back a little bit. I pushed harder…I wasn’t trying to be a pain, but seriously, when you are in that much misery they just shouldn’t expect such things! (I don’t mean to make the nurses sound bad because they were both actually great. These were just the dramatic highlights!) She turned away for a second to get somebody from the hallway and when I looked down his head was out. I was wondering if I was going to have to reach down and deliver him myself. Nobody was there to grab him! My grandma, sister, and Raphael were the only people in the room at this point and they all shouted “His head is out!” The nurse turned back around and saw that he was almost out and shouted for backup. Then she told me to push hard and get him out. I pushed once more as nurses came running in the room and the rest of his body was delivered. My doctor ran in out of breath and apologized for missing it AGAIN! He finished delivering the placenta and stitched me up (2nd degree tear). My mom and little sister also came running in right after he was born.
They put Dalton on my chest and I could see his hair was very dark! Everybody was commenting on his features and size but I hadn’t really even seen him yet, except for the top of his head. They all thought he looked smaller than they expected and they could see features of my other boys in his face. We all finally agreed that he has Logan’s eyes, Barrett’s nose, and Conner’s mouth. We could tell that his head wasn’t as big as some of my boys (Conner and Barrett), so I guess that explains why he came out so quickly!
They finally weighed him about an hour after he was born (this hospital is implementing some new techniques that are more “baby friendly”, so they let mom and baby snuggle skin-to-skin for a while before getting stats). He weighed 8lbs 6oz. My second smallest baby. He was 20 3/4 inches long (my second shortest). And his head was 14 inches (also the second smallest head!). He’s just perfect!
February 18, 2014