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Fear. That’s where we started. My due date, calculated based on my last menstrual cycle, was March 29, 2011. Everyone was calm and relaxed when this day came and went. I had always expected and told everyone else to expect that this baby would follow in big brother’s footsteps and gestate past the average forty weeks...
Friday, April 15th, 2011:
The penalty for getting to forty-two weeks is that you get to have postdates testing to make sure everything is ok with baby. I get an appointment at the clinic at the Women and Children’s Hospital Women’s Clinic and have a non-stress test and a biophysical profile. The non-stress test is super easy and relaxing: they have me sitting with my feet up in a recliner hooked up to a fetal monitor for heartbeat and one to check contractions. In the twenty-minute test, I only had one contraction that was so intense, I wouldn’t have known about it if the nurse hadn’t told me I had had one. Baby’s heartrate is just fine in the 140s and has accelerations and decelerations just like they were hoping to find, especially after big brother Lucius decided to come over and smack “brother or sister” for good measure and check out the belts Mommy is wearing. The biophysical profile is also fine. I mentioned to the ultrasound tech that we do not know and don’t want to know the baby’s sex and she is very respectful of this and doesn’t use the pronouns “he” or “she” when referring to the baby. She also moves quickly over the area to be sure not to give it away, though I am pretty certain we wouldn’t have known if she had dwelt on the genitalia, since it was very hard to tell what we were looking at at any point in the scan. Baby measures in at a non-massive weight of around seven pounds and fourteen ounces, not unhealthy in any way. Placenta is in a good position and not calcified to an unacceptable level. Fluid is fine. Measurements and movement is all fine. Fetal breathing is fine. We are good to commence with the more waiting. The ultrasound tech asks if we would like to have some pictures. I tell her yes and she says that they won’t be that good because they look better when done earlier in pregnancy when you can fit more into the pictures. The pictures aren’t that good, but it’s alright. We’ll have the baby out to take pictures of him/ her soon enough. Looking at the baby’s face on the monitor, it looks like baby will look a lot like big brother Lucius, though.
Monday, April 18th, 2011:
Our forty-third week appointment with Eileen is today. She asks what we want to do with the addition of “I’m going to advise that we go in for induction... today.” Matt asks that I am given a few more days and we wait until Friday to go through with an induction. I know that we can’t wait indefinitely for this little one to make an appearance. All goes well at my appointment. I am not leaking anything in my urine, my blood pressure is the same as it’s always been, the baby is measuring at forty-one weeks. I think this is good news and that the baby must have dropped some because last week, he/ she was measuring at forty-two weeks. I work the induction that I do not want into a schedule that will work best for everyone involved - Friday, April 22, 2011 at 7:00pm. This will allow Matt plenty of time to get home from work, we should have enough time to eat dinner and get Lucius to his grandparents’ house in time to get to the hospital for a seven o’clock appointment. If I must undergo a medical procedure I do not want, it might as well fit as conveniently as possible into Matthew and my inlaws’ working schedule. They all work nine to five on weekdays.
The dread has begun. I am so unhappy and afraid of the idea of having to go in for an induction. Just having to update on the internet about it makes me burst into tears. Eileen tells me that I cannot refuse eye ointment or Vitamin K injections at the hospital when the baby is born. I do not have Chlamydia and find the eye ointment to be basically garbage that they will put into my baby’s eyes for no purpose whatsoever and I also feel that there is a reason that evolution made babies have lower levels of Vitamin K at birth. Just because I don’t necessary know the reason why we have evolved to have this particular phenomenon doesn’t make it any less useful. I figure there must be a reason why newborns have these “low” levels of Vitamin K at birth and don’t feel there is any reason why I should inject my baby with extra Vitamin K unless there is an absolute medical necessity such as blood loss. Otherwise, I’d rather skip the increased risk of childhood leukemia, thank you very much. But, I’m told that you CAN fight these procedures, but Eileen has seen the hospital actually get court orders to force the eye ointment and Vitamin K should the parents really fight and oftentimes CPS gets involved and the parents lose custody of the child because of waging the battle for the “rights” that we are told we have, but actually don’t. This makes me absolutely SICK and disgusted. I fear EVERYTHING about the hospitalized process of birthing. Hospitals are for the sick and everything is fine with me and the baby. I don’t want the hospital to own my baby before I do. I don’t want the risk of unnecessary procedures/ bullying while I’m in labor. Hospitals aren’t particularly known for their fantastic treatment of “homebirths gone wrong” or “overdue mothers” that refuse to revere the doctors and nurses’ every word as gospel truth and they are known to bully/ belittle/ wage court battles and involve CPS over parents disagreeing with what they think should be done in every situation. I fear an “accidental” circumcision. I fear less than stellar care because I wasn’t a client of the hospital and never intended to be. The redeeming factors of a hospital induction are that Eileen would be my primary provider, so she would be advocating for me during the whole procedure. That’s why we chose the hospital that she has privileges at. We can’t let the baby stay inside the womb forever either, though. If we go too long and there is some problem going on that is preventing the baby from being born, we do run a very real risk of problems up to stillbirth. If I have to have an induction, everything I’ve done up until now was in vain. All the birth supplies will be rendered useless. I will have seen a midwife for just about no reason. I will have waited three weeks past due for nothing. I will have spent each day cleaning and making sure everything was prepared for the homebirth as wasted time, since it will make no difference whatsoever. I feel defeated and disappointed. I borrow one of Eileen’s birth balls to sit and bounce on in hopes that it will actually make a difference for me and help get labor started.
Wednesday, April 20th:
This is the day I wanted my baby to be born. I think 4/20 would be a pretty cool birthday to have. I’ve been sitting on the birth ball for two days now and my back, shoulders, hips and pelvis are very sore. I’m still not having more than a few contractions here and there. Eileen calls partway through the day and asks that I have another round of non-stress test and biophysical profiles this evening at the hospital. I tried to get an appointment at the one that is in walking distance, but they were booked up until April 28th, so that would be pointless at that point. Eileen says that the postdates testing is only good for a few days, and is pretty incessant that I go for the testing again. This time it will be at the hospital itself because I can’t make it during business hours and they are doing things differently from usual to compromise for us having one car and an inability to go to the clinic during Matt’s work hours. Matt does not want to go in when he gets home from work. He feels that more testing today is a waste of time, since the same testing just five days ago showed that everything is just fine and we are scheduled for an induction in just two days. Eileen will be at the hospital for the testing too and I asked her to do a membrane sweep while I’m there. I am still wishing that something will kickstart labor for me, yet not at all hopeful that anything will. Matt says that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea to go to the hospital for the testing, but concedes when I burst into tears for fear that Eileen will drop us if we don’t have the testing she recommends. I’m certain that she and her practice are on the line for “allowing” us to continue the pregnancy so far past the due date. I certainly wouldn’t put my livelihood on the line for random nobodies and don’t expect it from her either. We leave for the hospital and eat Mighty Taco for dinner along the way. At the hospital, we don’t have cash to pay to park, so we are instructed to go around to the maternity wing parking spots. We park there with no problem and head up to the labor and delivery floor. After checking in, we have to stand in the waiting room because there is no seating available. The labor and delivery ward could certainly use more space and seating. Some nurse or something slams a door into Matt and Lucius because he was standing by it. She didn’t even bother to slow down or stop forcing the door open when she met the resistance of his body in the way, nor did she offer an apology for hitting him. Oblivious *****! A nurse takes us back to a triage room out of the way fairly quickly. I am handed a cup to pee in and a gown to put on. The cup has a lid that is not screwed on properly in the first place, so no matter how much I try, I can’t open it in the first place. The nurse has disappeared, so I dig a new cup out of the drawer she found the first one and use that one instead. I put on the belly band and the gown and sit on the table. Lucius runs around the room swinging his toy snake and we wait. And we wait. And we wait some more. Eileen shows up and gets me connected to the fetal monitor. She starts giving me doses of Black and Blue Cohosh and massages the acupressure points on my ankles and lower legs. Those spots are extremely tender and sore! In all the time I am on the monitors, I don’t even have one measly contraction. The baby’s heartbeat is good at 140 to 175. Eileen talks with us and we discuss the way the induction will happen on Friday night. We wait and wait and wait some more. Lucius is now grumpy, fussy and upset because he is hungry and we have no food to offer him. I didn’t feed him dinner before we left the house, knowing that he wouldn’t have eaten that early and Matt won’t go get him a snack from the car because he doesn’t think he can find his way back to the room we are in. I would go get something for him, but I’m naked from the waist down and have to stay attached to the monitors. I also didn’t anticipate being at the hospital for the testing for that long because we were in and out of the clinic in less than an hour for these very same tests. Everyone knows things take forever at the hospital, though. I just forgot and was unprepared. Lucius is pouty and fussy, because despite his clear complaint of being hungry and suggestions of what he would like to eat, he is not getting what he needs. A nice nurse stops in and asks if we need anything. I ask for a snack for Lucius and she says they have animal crackers. I tell her, “He would really like that. Thank you very much.” He does enjoy the crackers and eats them all happily. A not-very-polite nurse comes in and asks questions. I fib a bit on both due date and last menstrual date. I am already getting enough flak for being “SOOO overdue” that I’d rather keep it to a minimum, if possible. She ignores Eileen when told that my blood pressure was just taken two minutes prior to her entrance. The nurses tell us that the doctor is in a c-section and “they will try to get someone to do the biophysical profile”. Eileen goes ahead and does the membrane sweep so that she can leave. It’s honestly no more uncomfortable than most pap smears and the leg and ankle massages were FAR more painful... She tells me that my cervix is only one centimeter dilated (with help), mid-position and still pretty hard. This is surprising because the baby’s weight alone at this point should be dilating the cervix more than that. Though I had already grudgingly accepted and resigned myself to the induction, this is discouraging and I feel even more deflated. Eileen checks in with the physician that backs her and updates her on my situation. She then heads out and we continue to wait and wait. Matt and I discuss things and decide not to stay any longer. At 8:30pm, we have already been here longer than necessary for these non-difficult tests and guess that the hospital is keeping us waiting for no reason at all. Matt needs to get home to do his homework and I need to get Lucius into bed for the night. Eileen comes back into the room and tells us that the hospital does not want to do the biophysical profile because “They don’t want to get involved or be held liable.” They are uncomfortable with my being so far overdue and were out there discussing that. Because that isn’t enough, they are talking about some “decelerations they see” on the fetal monitor and are trying to bully and force me to stay for an induction tonight. Matt says we’ll just leave then. I get dressed to go and Lucius is all ready to go bye bye. Eileen comes back in the room saying she’s found the doctor she likes and asks if they can check my fluid levels and it will only take a minute. She shows me the “decelerations” on the readout strip that have everyone so concerned. I agree and the doctor and ultrasound tech come in to do the biophysical profile. The tech zooms the wand around like it’s a race and the testing does not only take a minute. By now, Lucius has gone into full-blown crying fit mode. He is hungry and over-tired because he didn’t take a nap this afternoon. The doctor lists natural induction methods I should try, though none I haven’t heard of before. Still, it beats bullying and playing the “dead baby” card by a long shot. Fluid levels are fine as are the slew of other things they look for. FINALLY we are able to leave and go home. Matt is pissed off and blames me for everything that night from not listening to him when he said he didn’t want to go to me not feeding Lucius dinner before leaving the house/ not having a dinner with me on the go. That does not leave me feeling supported or good in the least bit and I already feel bad enough to start with. I tell him, “It’s just a preview of what it’s going to be like when we get here on Friday. They punish people who don’t do everything the way the doctors and nurses tell them too and won’t treat us or our baby well because we are a failed homebirth and very overdue mother.” He says, “I know and that’s why I didn’t want to get the doctors involved tonight and wanted to wait until Friday.” I’m even more scared of having to go in for the induction now than I was to start with. There is a light pink tinge when I wipe after peeing once we get home. I am a little hopeful that this is a sign of progress, though I know cervix manipulation and membrane sweeps can cause light bleeding and irritation. I give Lucius a dinner, which he does not eat, bathe him and tuck him into bed.
At 10:49pm that night, contractions begin. All night long, they come at around ten minutes apart. I can sleep through some, but find that I’m mostly dozing between them. They are painful enough to notice, but not so bad that I have to make any noise during them. I really really hope that they will continue and get closer together soon.
Thursday, April 21st:
At 1:50am, I have bloody show. Awesome! The contractions are doing their work! I continue to mostly doze between the contractions that are still coming at ten minute intervals. I spend several hours in the bathtub, but all it really does is make me feel hot and sweaty. I go to bed knowing that I need to rest up as much as possible for what lies ahead. Matt decides to go in to work because it is likely that we have some time before the baby is born yet. I agree that this is a good idea. In the morning, I work as I would any other day in preparation for birth that must be impending now. I run the Roomba and Scooba through all the rooms to clean the floors, make sure the dishes are washed and the kitchen is clean, wash Lucius’ diapers so that he won’t run out at a time when I can’t get to them, clean toys off the floor, clean the bathroom, finish up straggling laundry and take care of Lucius. In the morning, the contractions putter out some; but after reading through Lucius’ birth story, I realize that it’s no big deal because my labor with him followed the same pattern: one night of regular contractions followed by a day of no contractions followed by going into hard labor that night. Somewhere in the late morning, the contractions pick back up and they are still at ten minute intervals. They are not horribly painful, but they certainly capture my attention. I spend the day bouncing on the birth ball to make sure that I’m in optimal position to facilitate labor advancing, or at very least make sure the contractions don’t stop. At around 11:00pm, the contractions become more painful and harder to stay silent through. I don’t want to be too loud and bother Lucius or Daddy’s sleeping, but I go to bed to try to sleep and rest because I know that I need to do so because hard labor may not be short and I don’t want to run out of energy. I do not sleep well at all and the contractions are particularly painful while laying down. I continue to time the contractions throughout the night and they have moved to seven/ eight minutes apart.
Friday, April 22nd:
I tell Matt that the contractions have been at seven to eight minutes apart all night long. I would think that he can go to work, but he decides to stay home in case the baby is born during work hours. He also didn’t get a good night’s sleep due to my tossing and turning through labor. He spends the day taking care of all of Lucius’ needs (other than the diapers, which I can manage). I spend the day having contractions and vocalizing through them with moaning, groaning, yelling, hissing and whatever other sounds seem like they may help. I don’t remember being very loud in labor with Lucius, but for some reason I can’t figure out, it seems to help this time. Lucius isn’t too overly concerned with Mommy being so loud or in pain, which is good. I’m not sure I would have been able to tolerate him crying on top of everything. I am still sitting on the birth ball in hopes that it will facilitate labor more effectively than my easy chair. I have to go through three different contraction timing apps on my phone to find one I like. The first one doesn’t average like it’s supposed to, the second one doesn’t shut off contractions when I tell it to and the third one works fine for what I need it to do. I call Eileen around 9:00am to tell her that I’d been having contractions at seven to eight minutes apart all night long. She tells me to call and check back in around 3:00. At 3:00, I’m still at about seven to eight minutes apart. Around 4:45pm, I get in the bathtub to try to alleviate the pain of the contractions that are now getting closer and closer. Lucius finds this interesting and funny that Mommy is in the bath. The water does not alleviate any pain and the contractions aren’t picking up either. I feel like I really have to pee, so I get out of the tub and move to the toilet. Matt calls his mother around 5:00pm and asks her to come get Lucius for the evening. Contractions are moving faster and getting stronger while I sit on the toilet, so I stay there. I call Eileen at 5:02pm and tell her she should come now because I went from contractions averaging six minutes apart to contractions averaging four minutes apart very quickly and they are very intense. She agrees and is on her way. I can’t move from the toilet because every time I try to stand, I have an immediate very hard contraction. I have to bite down on a towel to keep the noise level down so as not to upset Lucius. I don’t want him to be distressed. At 5:30, no one has arrived. Matt asks where everyone is, since we aren’t more than fifteen minutes from downtown or the West Side. I guess that traffic is heavy and slow. Shortly, Matt’s mother arrives. I put a towel over my body so that she doesn’t have to see me naked. Lucius keeps sticking his arms in the bathtub and getting his sleeves all wet. Matt’s mom says hello and asks how I’m doing for a short minute, but fortunately hurries Lucius and his stuff out. Eileen comes up right after that. Matt tells her, “She’s in there,” as Eileen comes in the door; though I’m sure she’d find me with all the yelling and howling that I’m doing. I’ve been lost in the contractions for a long time now. Each contraction seems like the pain is all I’ve ever felt and all that I ever will feel, though rationally I know this isn’t truth. Eileen tells me I’m doing fine and doesn’t mind if I stay on the toilet. I can tell the baby is super low because despite my “extreme need to pee”, I can’t. Contractions are coming on top of each other at this point and I had given up bothering to time them once Eileen walked through the door. She gives me space to labor alone and calls people to find someone to come assist. At one point, I see a need for an easily-available laundry basket, so I ask Matt to put it in the hallway or somewhere easy for Eileen to use. He asks if I want it in the way in the hallway, I point out a less obtrusive place, but end up screaming at him to just put it anywhere when he can’t understand where I’m telling him to put it and can’t come up with an alternative on his own. He asks if I want the candles lit and I tell him that I don’t really care either way. He lights one and sets it near me. Now the bathroom smells like Hawaiian Paradise. Eileen soon asks where I want the birth stool set up. I tell her it doesn’t matter. At first, she goes to set it up in the living room, but chooses to set it up in our bedroom instead because it is closer to the bathroom. We agree that she will help me to the bedroom after my next contraction. I request that Matt bring me a Depends and spend the next few moments turning it back and forth trying to figure out which side is the front and which is the back. I am very focused on this particular dilemma. Eileen says, “Are you trying to find the front? I don’t think they have one.” At 6:05pm, during the next contraction, I feel a pop inside and say, “I think my water just broke!” Eileen says to forget the Depends because baby usually comes right after the water breaks and she takes the Depends from me. We move over to the birth stool which is very high up and really just some bars to sit on. Eileen tells me how to sit on the stool (supporting myself by holding the front) and asks Matt to put a foot on the back of the stool to keep it from tipping forward. She sits in front of me on the floor and prepares receiving blankets to catch the baby. I ask Eileen if she needs a pillow to sit on and she says she is fine and there to assist me. I howl and moan through the contractions as Eileen encourages me and Matt rubs my back. It seems like a very long time to me, yet also such a short moment before I can feel my body pushing with the contractions. Eileen encourages me to yell, blow, or whatever and to allow my body to do the pushing so as to not put pressure on the perineum and cause tearing. Once the baby’s head starts to come out, I have to wait for a next contraction. At 6:19pm, the baby is born with the cord is wrapped twice around the neck. Eileen says, “Hold on. Let me get the cord unwrapped from the neck.” I don’t think I was trying to pull the baby up to my chest at that point, but I might have been. After she gets the cord unwrapped, I lift the baby up to my chest to have a look. “It’s a boy!” I say. Matt says, “Oh good! Another boy!” “Hello, Orion,” I say to the baby. “Happy birthday!” He has a little bit of skidmarks on his nose and upper lip. He did pass meconium in the womb, but doesn’t show any signs of meconium aspiration. Eileen asks if I would like to get up onto the bed and if I’m tired of being on the stool, but I opt to stay on the stool until the placenta is pushed out. I just sit there and hold Orion. His breathing is raspy and he has fluid that he needs to work out of his lungs. Eileen suctions out his nose and mouth, but it only helps minimally. I am not having any contractions and not having any luck pushing the placenta out. Eileen piles blankets and towels on Orion to warm him up. At some point, she clamps and cuts the cord because Matt doesn’t want to and I have no strong desire to do so either. Matt takes Orion for a little while so that I can work on getting the placenta out. I am no longer having contractions, so I try pushing every once in awhile with no success at getting the placenta birthed. I can finally feel it just inside, so I push it out at 6:50pm. I can then move up to the bed, so I do so carefully, trying to make sure there are plenty of chux pads underneath me. I would rather not bleed through onto my mattress, though it is old and stained already. I hold Orion and attempt to breastfeed him, but he doesn’t seem interested in it just yet, so I just snuggle with him. Matt is off calling everyone and their mamas to tell them about the birth. I ask him to bring me something to eat and drink and he brings me a glass of cold Loganberry and a plate of Doritos, Swedish Fish and Starburst jellybeans. I’m having some strong afterpains, so I take some Ibuprofen. Eileen checks me out and says I don’t have any tears, just a skidmark. My icy cold Loganberry is the coldest, most refreshing drink I’ve ever drank and the Doritos and candy are delicious and satisfying. Eileen and her assistant clean up all the mess while Matt, Orion and I lounge on the bed and bond. Orion seems so tiny compared to his big brother. He still isn’t very interested in nursing, so I figure he’s just not hungry at the moment and enjoy just snuggling him. After awhile, I ask Eileen if she would like to hold Orion and get him weighed and measured and checked out. I ask Matt to take pictures as Eileen does the weighing and such and so he does. These are our first pictures of Orion. I had wanted some pictures of me laboring, but told Matt not to take pictures of me on the toilet and that is the only time he tried to take a picture during labor. There really wasn’t anyone with free hands to take pictures right at or following the birth. Eileen weighs Orion in the sling scale. Mommy’s guess is that he’s smaller than his big brother was because he seems so small. He weighs in at exactly the same birth weight as Lucius: eight pounds, two ounces. He is twenty-two inches long, longer and leaner than big brother was. He’s nice and healthy. I let Eileen’s assistant hold Orion for a little bit too. Matt and I discuss a first middle name for Orion. We had never really settled on a final choice before now. We’d always wanted his first name to be Orion and his second middle name to be Fox. My favorite option for a first middle name is Severus. Matt isn’t too keen on this suggestion. After thinking about it awhile, Matt suggests Anthony as the first middle name, after his father. I had thought of that before too, and say so and agree that Orion Anthony Fox is a great name for our second precious son. After looking over the placenta, Eileen asks if I’d like to see it. I say, “Sure! Why not? It’s not every day you get to see a placenta.” She says, “I’m so happy you wanted to see it,” and shows us the “Tree of Life” and how long the cord is. It is usually the length of the baby, but this one is quite a bit longer than the baby is, maybe double. Orion could have been playing jump rope with it in utero. I attempt to pee a few times, but don’t need to and can’t. Eileen says not to worry about it. After awhile, Eileen and her assistant leave and I finally get my lazy baby boy to eat some colostrum and Matt and I lounge in bed bonding with our new son.
So, just forty-one minutes before our scheduled hospital induction, our second beautiful son Orion was born. I don’t know if it was the membrane sweep, the acupressure massage, the Black and Blue Cohoshes, staring down the barrel of the induction or if it was just time; but I am so happy and relieved to have gotten the birth experience I planned for and wanted.
Grammy and Papa finally bring Lucius back after 10:30pm, even though Matt called and told them they could come around 8:00. I try to show him his new baby brother, but he is hardly interested at all. He says, “Baby! Baby!” and smiles, but is more interested in running around and playing with the toys he’s been away from for the majority of the evening. Orion wakes up while being showed off to Grammy and Papa and starts to cry. I sit to nurse him and calm and comfort him. Lucius climbs up into the couch next to my chair and screams, “Ow!” and starts sobbing hysterically. Matt takes him into his arms and says that he’ll take him to bed and do his bedtime story with him, but I insist that he take Orion and I tuck Lucius in and read him his story, as I am the one who has always done this before and I don’t want to foster jealousy or cause Lucius to feel as though he has been replaced and doesn’t get to have his special time with Mommy. I tuck him in and read his bedtime story and he calms right down. He asks for Barney, which had, unfortunately, gotten left at Grammy and Papa’s house, so Grammy and Papa leave and will come back with Barney for Lucius to sleep with. He falls asleep with no problem before Grammy makes it back with his Barney. Matt, Orion and I follow suit and go to bed as well. And so, we now have a perfect family of four with two precious, wonderful, adorable and perfect sons.
Orion Anthony Fox Grigajtis
April 22, 2011
Eight pounds two ounces
Twenty-two inches long
Fourteen inch head and chest circumference
Born at home in Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom
PS: My husband does not like that he is portrayed as "the bad guy" in the events on the Wednesday before Orion's birth. I did not want to cut this out of my story because it is a true part of it. I did not then and never have considered my husband to be the bad guy for his behavior on that day. He is a very good man, husband and father and he is human and has strong opinions on how we do some things. What transpired that day became a disagreement between us and he went along with what I preferred, though as was clear, it was not a pleasant experience.
Last edited by cheezpoofs; June 5th, 2011 at 08:40 PM.