December 31st, 2011
Well, I have to say I really truly never ever expected to have this baby before my due date of January 10th. The possibility was always in the back of my mind of course, haunting me really, giving me nightmares. I was so consumed with Christmas for all of December, I just convinced myself that I would have time after the holidays to check off the million and one things on my baby to-do list.
Ahhh crap, that is just how it goes right? Oh well, honestly the fact that we de-Christmased the house on Friday, took down our tree and got our home partially back into some semblance of order was huge for my sanity. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to come home from the hospital to a dying Christmas tree and holiday clutter on top of everything else (freaking mouse!). So there's that.
On the docket for the next day, of course, was to finish organizing the boys' rooms upstairs. But that would have to wait, because our baby and my uterus had other plans.
Gus woke up, per usual, sometime around 3:00 AM early in the morning of New Year's Eve, so Dan went up to help him fall back asleep and, per usual, fell asleep himself for a few hours. Around 4:00 AM I started waking up every ten minutes to go to the bathroom. I would wake up, look at the clock, and be pissed off that it had been just ten minutes since I had last gotten up. I'd haul my beastly body to the bathroom, not actually "go" once I was in there, then crawl back in bed and fall asleep only to do it all over again ten minutes later. This went on until 6:00 AM when I finally realized that I was actually having contractions and that was the reason I was waking up every ten minutes. At this point Dan was back in bed so I told him what was going on, and said I was getting up to play around on the computer because I was too uncomfortable to stay in bed anymore. He didn't really believe me when I said I was having contractions, and went back to sleep.
Thirty minutes later, on the couch blogging and uploading pictures, I started to notice that the contractions were really starting to get annoying, and a lot closer together. I went to the bathroom again and saw that I had a little bloody show, and new that meant it was game time. Whoa. My first thought... we're going to have this baby in 2011? Seriously?
So I told Dan he really seriously needed to get up, and that I was going to get in the shower and shave my legs, because I was in labor. For real. I told him to call the midwife, let her know this was happening today, then call my dad so he was prepared to come over and get Gus at some point.
I talked to the midwife around 7:30 or so, after I had showered, gotten dressed, and eaten a bagel. She said it sounded like things were progressing just as they should, and asked when I would like her to call again, to check on how I was feeling. We thought an hour, sure, it's as good an estimate as anything. Contractions were still totally manageable, but happening about every 4-5 minutes and lasting for about 30 seconds. Before we hung up she told me that I should try to eat some protein, so I promised I'd have Dan make me some eggs. I went about finishing getting ready and timing my contractions with my phone while Dan pulled all the bags together, including an overnight for Gus, and got the car loaded.
By 8:15 my contractions were getting much more intense, I had to really focus on my breathing and do some rocking to get through them. I wandered the house in between, but with each one I could feel them getting stronger, then after trying to eat the eggs Dan made for me I felt really nauseous, and all of a sudden I was like, NO. We have to get going. This is totally happening soon, and though I was terrified of laboring in the car and not being able to move around, I was more terrified of waiting too long and having our baby at home, by ourselves.
So Dan called the midwife, we didn't make it that hour, which she said didn't really surprise her. Then he called my dad and told him to come over for Gus. Amazingly, that child was still sleeping, and never even woke up before we left for the hospital. So awesome, I am so thankful for how all of that went, because my biggest worry/stress throughout my pregnancy when I thought about going into labor was what would happen with him. (It has been ALL about Gus for 2 years really, right? So why would it be any different here?)
We left in a hurry, I barely said anything to my dad because I was in total CRAZY-EYED FOCUS mode. I climbed in the back seat of the car and got through each contraction by hanging over the back seat and moaning some strange rhythmic chant while staring at a box of cheez-its that I had packed in our hospital bag. Random for sure.
At about a quarter to 9:00, we pulled up to the emergency room entrance at the hospital, because this time around we had decided that we would not be parking in the ramp and wandering all over the hospital causing a scene. Dan found a nurse that was just starting her shift to walk with me while he moved the car. I was moving pretty slowly so we didn't make it that far before he was at my side again. We got up to the 6th floor and headed to the assessment room. This is where there was some confusion.
So my midwives had basically just gotten rights at this hospital, after a political fall-out from the hospital I delivered Gus at, and I actually ended up being the first woman from their practice to deliver at this new hospital. Needless to say, transitions like this are usually rocky. Even though I had pre-registered, with my midwife's name, they didn't seem to understand who my care provider was. In fact, once she showed up, just a few minutes after us, they seemed to have made the assumption that we were a home-birth-gone-wrong couple coming into the hospital with our midwife in tow. I don't really understand what was all happening, but I was being told by some random nurse to lay down so she could check me, then my midwife was arguing that, uh, no thanks, she was my care provider and she could check me. The admitting nurse was being super passive aggressive and patronizing, and my midwife was being her no-nonsense "I don't have time for this b.s." self. They were arguing right there in front of Dan and me, the admitting nurse saying, "I need to check her and assess if she is in labor", and my midwife responding, "If she's in labor? Are you kidding me? I can tell you she's probably about 9 cm without even having to check," and finally I think my midwife told her that if they were going to discuss this any further they would need to go outside the room away from the patient because this was all very unprofessional.
Dan later said he was seconds away from telling them to please figure this crap out somewhere that doesn't involve us. Since, you know, we were busy having a baby.
Whatever. I don't know what transpired, but they came back pretending to be BFFs and had everything worked out, the nursing staff had truly had no idea who she was, because with the craziness of the holidays at the hospital, she hadn't been able to meet the nurses or get her badge or any of that. Anyway, I was checked and found to be fully dilated minus a tiny lip of cervix, and at 0 station.
Yes, I was in active labor, well into it in fact. Totally new information!
We got to the delivery room and it is all truly a blurrrrrrrrr. They were trying to put all these straps and things on me to monitor the baby, asking me to get on the bed and lie down, and I kept trying to, but then another contraction would come on and I just couldn't do it. My midwife just rubbed my shoulders and whispered in my ear how great we were doing and that I should do what my body was telling me to do, if I felt the urge to push, push. If I didn't want to lie down, then I didn't have to lie down. She had this amazing ability to take me out of the room and help me shut out all the annoying things that were going on around me. Dan was doing a great job of rubbing my lower back, which near the end was starting to just kill during contractions. When I was finally able to get on the bed, my midwife encouraged me to get in a kneeling/squatting position and hang over the back. We tried that, I pushed a little, didn't love it, but my water did brake in the middle of one of my pushes.
I had to tell them it broke because I don't think people were really paying attention to whether or not my skirt was suddenly soaking wet. Then everyone was trying to help take off my nasty wet skirt and I think it was either my midwife or Dan who suggested maybe I'd rather lay down and push the "traditional" way. I know I heard Dan tell her that that was how I delivered Gus and I seemed to like pushing that way (like being the totally wrong word here).
And that's what I did. I don't know how long I really pushed, but I can't imagine it was more than like 5 minutes. It really did all go so fast, though during I just wanted it to be over so badly. My instincts were just to push one huge monster push and blow that thing out, but my midwife kept telling me to hold back, she would say, "Ok push... good good, you're doing such a great job! Now take a breath. Push... good good! Now take a breath." She encouraged me to go really slow so as not to tear, and I followed her lead, but was sort of pissed off about it, because taking that breath mid little pushes was just pure, ring of fire, torture.
That's really over-dramatic, I know, but in the moment... goodness, I hated her with all her, "Take a breath!" crap. Amazing though, because it worked, I didn't tear at all, and my recovery, if you can even call it that, was so quick.
At 9:39 AM, on December 31, 2011, Dan helped catch our little (or not so much little at 9 lb, 1 oz) Louie. They placed him on my chest and I was just so elated, and so proud of this little guy, and yes, I admit it, SO HAPPY it was over. It was such a surreal experience, never in a million years did I think I would wake up that day and have a baby. Everyone else we called and texted to let them know he was here were just as shocked. Like Dan's mom, we could have just as easily been calling to talk to her about what to buy our niece for her birthday, which we were celebrating the next day. It was just such a wonderful, unexpected surprise. And with that, we were officially a family of four... parents of two sons.