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Ben’s Birth Story

It’s taken a few days of adjusting to the idea that we are parents since Ben’s birth happened so quickly! Maybe if I had a marathon 28 hour labor, we wouldn’t have been so shocked!

I started having different contractions than normal around 1:30 pm on Wednesday, September 19. My BH contractions were strong and effective since I had already been dilated to 5 cm for a week without active labor contractions but these contractions were noticeably different. They wrapped around my lower back and shot pain through my hips. I immediately started sweating like a pig. Since my OB’s policy was that I had to be having labor contractions for an hour before going into L&D, I figured it was perfect since my next OB appointment was at 2:30 and the doctor there could give me the news and send my records ahead to the hospital at the same time.

B had a meeting until 2 and was then going to drive me to my 39 week OB appointment across town. We had arranged it that way since I wasn’t too confident in my ability to drive there and back since I had felt for several days that something was going to happen. He got home and I let him know that we needed to throw the last few things in our hospital bag and put it and the car seat in the car. This had become common practice for us in the last few weeks if both of us were out of the house together since we knew that if my water broke, we’d have a one way ticket to L&D. The contractions were definitely stronger but I was having problems timing them since I had just reformatted my phone and lost my tracking app plus the back pain was riding through from contraction to contraction so I couldn’t figure out when they stopped or started. All I knew was that they hurt a ton!

About halfway to the OB’s office, I got a phone call from their receptionist telling me that the doctor I was supposed to see that afternoon had gotten called out for a delivery and wasn’t going to be able to see me. I informed them that we were coming anyway since we were most of the way there and I was pretty certain I was in labor (but fully expecting to be sent home after being told that I was wrong). They agreed that I should come in and they would pull one of the docs working GYN in for the exam.

Because the doctor was gone, we had to wait an extra long time in the waiting room. I think we sat there for 40 minutes so I didn’t get into the exam room with a doctor until 3:15. I couldn’t sit down because the pain in my hips was so bad. I explained to the doctor what I had been feeling but since I couldn’t tell him how often and long the contractions were, he wasn’t too sure L&D would want to keep me. My water hadn’t broken yet and I was dilated to “about 6” so he figured I could take the chance that they’d admit me and break my water there to get things moving.

We were glad to take that chance but didn’t want to tell anyone we were headed to the hospital, just in case they sent us home. We got to the hospital at 3:45, walked to L&D (9th floor, way far away from the parking garage) and explained the situation to the triage nurse. The OB I was supposed to see had just finished delivering a baby and was close to the desk when we walked in. She was very excited to see that I had made progress (she was the one who I saw at my 38 week appointment). We were walked to a delivery room and I was left to strip down to nothing and put on the most awkwardly shaped hospital gown ever invented. My contractions were strong enough and frequent enough that I wasn’t able to completely strip before the nurse came in to start asking questions and figuring out what the action plan was going to be. She did a quick cervical check and decided to call in the resident OB to take a peek. He decided we could go ahead with an epidural if that is what I wanted (it was) and then they would break my water. My OB okayed the decision and we starting moving forward!

I had to get a certain amount of fluids via IV before getting the epidural and all the while, the contractions were getting much, much stronger. I felt like I was going to crush B’s arm every time I squeezed during the contractions! He told me later that I was barely squeezing at all and I must have been imagining this. Finally, around 5:15 I had gotten enough from the IV for the anesthesiologist to come in. By that point, when she had sterilized my back and numbed the area for the epi cath, she had to tell me to stay still but I couldn’t because my contractions were too close together and there wasn’t enough time in between. It occurred to me at that point that I was making real progress, probably faster than the OB that saw me in the office thought. B, for the sake of his consciousness, took the time for getting the epidural to make a run to the car for the hospital bag and his camera gear. Getting the epidural didn’t hurt at all, which surprised me.

I am very thankful for the epidural for many reasons but the first is that our stress level went from 10 to about a 2 once the meds kicked in. B and I were both able to relax and enjoy being in the hospital and having our baby before the day was over. I could still feel intense amounts of pressure during the contractions but the pain had relaxed a great deal. I wasn’t so numb that I couldn’t feel my legs though. The resident OB checked my cervix again and in the amount of time that it had taken to get the IV fluids and epi, I had dilated from 6 to 9+! I was amazed and kept thinking THAT was why the contractions hurt more and more every time. The doctor broke my water (a very odd experience when you have very little feeling in that area) and was told to relax, maybe even nap, while I could since at some point, I would feel the need to start pushing.

B and I had just settled in with our mobile devices to spread the word that the baby was on his way when the nurse popped in to check why the fetal heart monitor stuck to my belly wasn’t getting a good signal. She couldn’t make it any better so she started looking at other vital signs and decided it was time to call in the resident OB, my OB, the baby’s nurse and her assistant. In a matter of 2 minutes, our room filled with people and the doctor was coaching me on how to push. I pushed through 2 contractions in sets of three (push, push, push, rest and repeat) and kept hearing that I was doing great. Between the first and second contractions, the team told me they could see his head and started guessing if he would have blond or red hair (B is blonde, I am very red). I am still thrilled that our choices for this birth gave us the opportunity to laugh and joke around while trying to birth a small being into the world. I pushed once for the third contraction and on the second push, Benjamin Alfred arrived at 7:48 pm! We had been in the hospital a total of 4 hours and now had a baby!

I didn’t cry then; I was too amazed at what had just happened, but I’m tearing up now just thinking about how cool of an experience it was. I came through the labor with a level 2 vaginal tear (tissue and muscle) so I required sutures that are still quite painful but not impossible to live with. Other than the fact that my belly is round and squishy and am feeling pain from the healing sutures, I’d have a hard time believing I had a baby only a few days ago.

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38.5 Weeks

I thought a quick update was in order since my life has changed quite a bit since I last posted this week.

I went in for another OB appointment on Wednesday morning. I saw a doctor I’ve only ever seen once but she was awesome and also had very small hands, which any woman who has experienced a cervical check will recommend. I did get the cervical check I wanted and am (was) dilated to 5 cm that morning! Holy freaking cow! No wonder BBQ feels like he is about to fall out. Most women I’ve talked to have never been dilated that far and not in active labor in the hospital! It makes we wonder if I’ve missed some sign of active labor but even several days later, my contractions are still all over the place, albiet quite strong, and my water definitely hasn’t broken yet. We’ll be chatting about this at my 39 week checkup next week. Maybe I’ll be able to talk the doc into stripping my membranes to convince BBQ it really is time.

The other significant update is that since BBQ is carrying so low, he’s pushing my pelvis in places it doesn’t want to be and is grinding against my hip bones. I’m having a very difficult time walking, which honestly makes work very difficult. I mentioned that to the doc and she offered to take me off work early, if that was really what I wanted. YES! That’s what I want! She was concerned about taking away time at home with BBQ after he is born but after I told her that I am not planning on returning to work, she was completely on board as long as I make sure to be as active as possible but at whatever pace I am comfortable with. So, I’ve been home from work for two days already now and it has been pretty wonderful. B loves having me around; he keeps telling me that I am now “retired.” I’ve accomplished a lot and hope to feel better prepared by the time the baby arrives (soon, BBQ!).

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38 Weeks

No lie, every week that I post an update I hope is the last week until the birth announcement and big name reveal. So far, no dice.

B and I finished caulking the kitchen trim this weekend. Not something I expected to do at 38 weeks but hey, it’s done now! Our kitchen remodel project is officially finished! It only took 9 months 🙂

I had another shower on Sunday. It was the last one. It was with my mother-in-laws friends and a few relatives from B’s side of the family in his hometown. It was a little awkward since I’ve only ever met most of the guests once or twice in my life. Even though I didn’t know them, I know they are excited for my in-laws and B. Most of these ladies have known B since he was a wee little thing himself.

Not surprisingly, I received tons of clothes we don’t really need since most everything was sized for 3 months but we did get enough gift receipts to pare down the amount of unnecessary clothes and gear we didn’t need nor did we register for (baby monitor when we already have one). After all 3 showers, I had gotten exactly 1 bottle. Even if breastfeeding works out marvelously, I’m hoping to pump enough that I’ll be able to leave the house and baby with a sitter once in a while. Bottles are important, folks! The amount of necessary things to buy didn’t surprise me much since many of those super important items were on the Amazon registry and I have long thought that would be the least used list.

I went back to the OB yesterday, not for a regular check up, but because I woke up early Monday morning feeling woozy, had a headache and significant upper abdominal pain. All of those signs pointed to preeclamsia and while I was fairly certain I was ok, I’d rather not push it since we’ve had our eyes on my extremely swollen feet and ankles for about a month now. The urine screen was fine and my blood pressure was perfectly normal so we could rule out the most severe issues. The OB thinks that it is probably a virus that I caught from someone else, probably at the office. Since at least 1 of my coworkers left early due to illness yesterday, that wouldn’t be too surprising.

Yesterday was the first time any of the docs had guessed how big BBQ really is. He called BBQ a “nice little package, about the 5 lb range.” It’s nice to know that I probably won’t be giving birth to a giant 10 lb baby, even if I go a week overdue.

My regular 38 week checkup is tomorrow morning, unless I go into labor first (I can’t help but hope!). I really, really hope that I’ll get a cervical check so I’ll know if I made progress in the last week. My contractions are becoming more frequent and definitely stronger and BBQ is carrying really, really low. He makes my back hurt. At some point, this kid might just fall out on his own!

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37 Weeks

37 weeks! Only 21 days to go from Tuesday (19 more today). I feel like updating you on how I feel would just make me sound whiney. My pelvis hurts, my feet are swollen and hurt, my back hurts, I’m having stronger and stronger Braxton Hicks contractions daily. This baby just hasn’t come yet!

I had another check up on Tuesday. Apparently, my doctor’s office doesn’t believe in doing cervical checks unless you’ve had significant contractions in the past week. I went into the appointment all excited for an update of some kind and walked out with no new numbers or any idea if I was closer to labor than I was at 36 weeks. I spent most of Tuesday in tears. Goodness, I am a hormonal mess!

It hurts to walk and work but unfortunately my OB won’t sign my FMLA paperwork for a date any earlier than my due date so I’m stuck working until the very end. We keep praying BBQ comes earlier than that because I don’t know if I will be able to physically sit at a desk by that point.

I am pretty darn huge but BBQ has dropped a ton. Most days, he feels like he’s laying in my pelvis between my hips like a hammock. His head is down so we know that’s in place.

B and I installed the curtains in the nursery last weekend. The room looks so much more finished now! Since the curtains went in, I was also able to hang the artwork and start cleaning off surfaces in anticipation of the little one getting here and actually needing to use the changing table to change a baby. I spent the weekend doing tons of laundry in order to strip all the oils out of our new diapers. Those are all set now so I just need to find the energy to put them away.

The hospital bag is almost completely packed. B has to add his toiletries when the time comes and grab my pillow. There is no way I’m spending several days in a hospital bed without my headache-reducing ergonomic pillow!

We went to the fire station in our city to have our car seat installation inspected by a certified professional last Friday evening. B was pleased with himself that he got it in right the first time. We were not sure if it was since it wiggled side to side a little more than expected but it was a productive and educational trip.

So, in summary, we’re ready for our bundle of energy/joy/poo to get here!