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This is long, sorry! All my birth stories end up being novels, LOL.
Raymond, this is your birth story. It begins 9 months earlier when we found out we were expecting you and I went online to calculate your due date. To my surprise, it was my birthday! My due date has always changed after seeing the doctor, but after two ultrasounds and my first OB visit it remained as December 1st. Most babies do not come on their due dates, but you are our prompt little boy! The morning before, on Tuesday November 30th, I woke up having some pain and pressure. Then I began having contractions. Something just didn’t feel quite right so I called your Daddy, who was on his way to Confession downtown before going into work. He told me his day was “wide open”, something I have never heard him say before about work! So I asked him to come home. I called Grandma Sandy and told her what was going on. Neither of us were sure whether or not she should come quite yet, as the original plan had been to wait until December 1st and then drive up to be here. She decided to come, and when my contractions fizzled out later that morning I felt guilty having her drive the seven hours when you could very likely still be baking four days later. That day I got a lot of rest while Daddy did some work from home and watched your brother and sister, and around 6pm Grandma arrived. Just after she went to bed, around 11pm, I started having contractions again. Daddy forced himself to stay awake to help me time them, and I jumped in the shower to try to relax. After my shower I got into bed and you seemed to squirm and move a lot, and my stomach changed shape a bit. I was too tired to take any serious note of it, and soon the contractions eased up to cramping and we both went to sleep. I woke around 4am and was in and out of sleep for a bit, contracting again, and they were coming a bit stronger now. At 5:30 I got up to use the bathroom and crawled back into bed. Just then, I felt a strange and slightly painful pop, and a minute later, my bag of waters started leaking out. I yelled for Daddy to grab a towel and ran to the bathroom. As I sat there I realized that you were actually going to come on Mommy’s birthday!! Daddy went downstairs to tell Grandma what had happened and around then Nathaniel woke up too and crawled into our bed. I was very nervous at this point, because my water had only ever broken at the hospital. Also, the fluid looked dark and I worried it was meconium. I knew that could be a problem. I didn’t know how many contractions I had actually had while sleeping, or how much time we had before your arrival, since your sister Mary had come so quickly the last time! It was still dark out and we had gotten some snow so I knew the roads were going to be a little treacherous. It seemed like ages before Daddy was all set with our things and we headed out. Thank goodness Grandma was there already!
We left the house at 6:10am and just like last time, Daddy tried to turn the wrong way at first, so he must have been a little nervous too! We were about halfway to the hospital when I remembered we should call to let them know we were coming. Daddy got on the phone with St. Joe’s and when he hung up he said, “You’re not going to like this!” They didn’t have enough nurses so they diverted us to St. John’s in Maplewood. It felt like it took forever, with me contracting every 2 minutes, but we finally arrived at St. John’s at 6:40 and checked in. I immediately started asking for an epidural because even though I wasn’t in a lot of pain things had progressed so quickly with Mary that I hadn’t been able to get one. I told the nurse, I want my first birthday present to be an epidural! There was some difficulty checking us in because all of our information was recorded over at St. Joe’s, but after what seemed like an eternity the nurse checked me, I was at 4-5cm, and she called the anesthesiologist. While waiting for him my contractions started getting more painful and I had to do my breathing techniques to get through them. I was happy to have the IV in because I started feeling light headed and nauseous. The nurse told me my blood pressure was low and I was dehydrated, so the IV fluids really helped me feel better. Another thing that helped was that the sun came up and we could see some beautiful flurries out the window! Such a different experience from the summer deliveries I had had before. I asked the nurse about the meconium and she agreed that’s what it was and warned us that we shouldn’t expect the baby to cry right away. They would have to do some suctioning before the baby would be able to. I figured that would just feel normal because neither Nathaniel nor Mary had cried right away after birth, something that had worried me both times. I got my epidural around 8:10 and met the resident doctor, who had a very calming and confident presence. My labor stalled at 6cm and I worried it was due to the epidural. When pregnant I always go back and forth with myself as to whether I should get an epidural, because one intervention can lead to others, and my biggest fear is putting my baby in danger or needing a c-section when otherwise I wouldn’t have had to get one. I reluctantly allowed the nurses to give me pitocin at 10:10. They checked me again at 11:15 and I was already complete!! I started to feel some pain at this point, and the urge to push. We had to wait about 20 minutes for Dr. Mary but finally I heard her cheery voice around the curtain and she was there! Things were set up quickly and I began to push. After a few pushes we realized you were sunny side up, which was probably why I was feeling pain even with the epidural, and probably why my labor had stalled. I remembered then how late the night before you seemed to have flipped, and wondered if that’s when you turned posterior. Pushing seemed really difficult, and I hoped it wouldn’t take too long a time because I really wanted to meet you! My blood pressure started to go down again and your heart rate was dipping down a bit so they gave me oxygen. Finally Dr. Mary performed an episiotomy to help you through, and then at 11:56 you were out! I was so concerned about the meconium issue that I forgot we were waiting to find out if you were a boy or a girl! The funny thing was that I knew right away you were okay because you did cry right away! Dr. Mary asked, “Is it a boy or a girl, Daddy?” and he said, “A boy!” They lifted you up to show me your beautiful face, and then put you on my chest. The first thought when I saw you was that you had your Daddy’s mouth, and I thought I could see dimples! I was so excited that you were here, and Dr. Mary asked your name and, after looking over at Daddy for confirmation, we announced, “Raymond John”. What a special treat that you were born on my 32nd birthday, as well as your Great Grandfather’s 84th birthday, whom you are named after!