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I suppose it really started on Monday, April 8th. Day care called me to tell me that Katie had pink eye and needed picked up so I sent Mark to do that and call the doctor to get an appointment for her. However, pink eye is one of the "24-hour" things that she couldn't go back for at least 24 hours, and Mark couldn't get her into the doctor until the next morning. So, I went and told my boss that I would need to take Tuesday off because of Katie's possible pink eye, and she said, "You know what everyone is going to think when they see your door closed tomorrow." I assured her that yes, I did know, but I wasn't too concerned. I texted my family and also let them know that I was not working the next day, but that the baby was not coming. I had a completely normal dinner (if anything, larger than normal because I was starving!) and went to bed with plans of just hanging out at home with Katie, other than the doctor's appointment.
I woke up around 3 in the morning on Tuesday, April 9th to use the restroom. That, in itself, was a little odd for me because there have not been many times since the beginning of the pregnancy that I needed to get up in the middle of the night. I remember thinking it was odd, but thought nothing more of it. Then, around 7 am, I was laying in bed just relaxing when I felt like my water might be leaking. It was just a small amount, but somehow I just knew that was what it was. Mark was getting up and getting ready for work, and I sent him on his way.
Right after he left, I decided to go ahead and get my shower. I figured if my water had broken, then I would still want my shower, and while in there, I thought I should probably go ahead and shave my legs, just in case. During my shower, my water continued to leak so I knew this was it. At this point, I wasn't having any contractions at all. I called my husband and told him that I had good news and bad news, but I wasn't sure which he'd view as what. I then told him that I wasn't having any contractions, but that my water had broken. He told me he was turning around. He was only about 20 minutes away from work at that point. I then texted my family and told them maybe I had been incorrect the day before, and it looked like we would, indeed, be having a baby that day, or the next.
I went about finishing getting ready and putting all of my toiletries in my bag. Fortunately, I had all of my clothes and the baby's clothes packed from the Thursday before when we were going to attempt a version. I also packed up my electronics bag. Katie's appointment wasn't scheduled until 11 that morning, and I had every intention of taking her, but once my husband got home, he said he would go. He called the doctor's office and explained that my water had broken, and they told us we could bring her in whenever we were ready. I had started having some mild contractions, but they didn't feel consistent to me. Mark finally said to tell him when I was ready to leave. I thought he was taking Katie by himself to the doctor, but he said he wasn't leaving me at home alone, just in case.
We took Katie to the doctor (where she did NOT have pink eye). The doctor (who is also my family doctor) was concerned that we weren't going to tell them when my water broke. I assured her that we would, but by now, we knew the routine, and we knew I would end up needing pitocin to get me going. We then picked up Kirsten from school so that she could stay with Katie. We also called the hospital and the midwife's office to let them know of our intent. I had to wait for the office to call me back to say that the midwife DID want me to come in. Yes, I figured since it had now been about 4 hours since my water broke.
We arrived at the hospital around noon. They got me checked into triage, and I had the same nurse that I had the week before for the possible version. I reminded her that one of the first things we wanted to check was that he was still head down. She said she would be sure to let the doctor know. The doctor in the hospital that day was the same one who had delivered Katie, and I opted to have her care for me, instead of the midwife who was in that day, and who I had never met. A little while later, the doctor came in and said it definitely looked like I was leaking fluid. She took a sample, but she didn't see any ferning. She also checked me, and I was 3 cm. She did a quick ultrasound and confirmed that the baby was still head down. She had a c-section to perform so she asked the nurse to try to get a better sample because she really didn't want to have to do a speculum exam, and she would be back when she was finished in the operating room.
While the doctor was gone, I ended up with a new nurse, who decided she would follow her own procedure to try to get a better sample of fluid. When the doctor came back, I explained that the nurse tried something different, and I could see that the doctor was irritated by that. I told her to go ahead and do a speculum exam, and that it didn't bother me at all. This time, she definitely saw ferning. So, they prepared to get me ready to go to a room. She explained that she would really like to start pitocin since my contractions still weren't regular, and the longer my water was broken, the greater the risk of infection. I told her that was fine, and it was what we fully expected anyhow.
Mark and I spent the time in triage discussing names since we hadn't made any effort to name our son yet. He was set on something starting with an X, Z, Q, or J. I'm not sure why, but as I expected, he didn't like the only name that I had picked for him. During that time, we decided on Xavier, but we were undecided on a middle name.
It was after 3 pm before I got to a room. At this point, I still didn't have an IV or anything. The nurse started making preparations for that. By the time the IV was finally in, the monitoring back on for contractions and baby, and the pitocin started, it was about 4:15. I assume I was still at a 3 at that point, but I wasn't checked. They started the pitocin and planned to increase it every 1/2 hour. The nurse asked my initial pain level, and I said maybe a 2. I told them I was undecided completely about an epidural, but that I would like to walk around in labor for as long as possible. Apparently, I had to be on the monitors for at least 1/2 hour after the first dose of pitocin before they would let me be mobile. The nurse was struggling to get the mobile monitors to work and had to call several different nurses and even maintenance in to try to fix the plug. They couldn't get them to work.
At around 5:45, she asked me my pain level, and I told her it was about a 5. She said 5 usually means ready to rip your head off, but I told her that for me, ready to rip my head off would be about a 9-10. To me, it seemed that the contractions were starting a regular pattern, but she told me they wanted to see them about 2-3 minutes apart. It really seemed to me like that's where they were already, but okay. I was still managing the pain really well, but they were definitely starting to get more than a little uncomfortable. The doctor came in to check me, and she said I was about 4 1/2 - 5 cm. I think this was just before or right around 6.
Immediately after that, the contractions really seemed to pick up. They were lasting about 30 seconds (by count in my head) so I'm guessing they were closer to 45 seconds, and I only was having 1 - 1 1/2 minutes between them. And they were really getting painful. At this point, I asked for my husband's hand. He knows the routine so he obliged. I told the nurse I wanted the epidural before they got too bad. They paged anesthesia. We waited maybe 10 minutes, and they didn't come. Meanwhile, the contractions just kept getting stronger and stronger. I think this was also the baby moving into the birth canal, as I had still been really high up when they started the pitocin. I stayed fairly calm, but I was having difficulty focusing during the contractions, and it was getting harder and harder to breathe through them. I asked at least twice more for anesthesia. I was sweating so bad at this point, and Mark kept using wash cloths dipped in ice cubes to cool me down. They told me they had called multiple times, but that they must be tied up with something. The doctor asked me if I wanted anything in the IV, and I told her that had made me a little out of it with other pregnancies so I tried to hold off. Eventually, I agreed to fentanyl, and she gave me 100 (the nurse seemed to think 50 would be enough, but the doctor said she wanted 100). She also paged anesthesia again. Mark told the doctor that I was starting to lose it (which I think was scary for him because he thought I was headed down the same path as I had been with Katie). Very shortly after that, anesthesia got there.
The epidural was placed quickly, through a series of maybe 3 contractions, and my poor husband's sides suffered because those were the only things I could grab onto while he was holding onto me to get the epidural. About 5-10 minutes after the epidural was placed, I started feeling better. At that point, I was only feeling pressure in my pelvis. Mark said my color had returned. The anesthesiologist was joking that he had kind of liked the gray color. It was probably about 6:45 at this point.
Shifts changed at 7. Mark asked me if it was okay if he ran out to get the camera that he had left in his car. I told him to go ahead, but not to take too long. While he was gone, the midwife that I had used my entire last pregnancy came on duty. I told her I wanted her to be the one to deliver and that I was so happy to see her! She asked me if she could check me, and I told her that was fine. She said she felt no cervix and that I was complete, and the head was right there. I told her I was still feeling pressure, but no pain, and she told me that she would suggest I take 20-30 minutes to rest a bit, and then we could let her know when I was ready to push. Mark came back in, and we finalized names. He said we should wait to see the size of him, and then we would decide which dad's name we wanted to use a portion of as the middle name. A bigger baby would have my dad's first name as his middle name. A smaller baby would have his dad's middle name as his middle name. I was in agreement with that.
At about 7:40, Mark went to get the midwife. He was explaining to her how he was only about a month away from being done with paramedic school, etc. She said that she should probably ask me first, but wanted to know if he would like to deliver the baby. I was totally fine with that! They got him some gloves, and we were ready to start. I pushed through 3 contractions. On the 4th contraction, his head was delivered. He was crying right away so they said they didn't need to suction him. On the 5th contraction, I delivered his shoulders. And my husband got to do it all!! Mark said he was a big baby so he was getting my dad's name for his middle name. Xavier Robert was born at 8:01 pm.
They left his cord attached to finish pulsing and put him skin to skin with me immediately. This is the first baby I have been able to have skin to skin right away, and I just felt this wave of happiness as I delivered him and then held him. Once his cord was done pulsing, Mark clamped and cut it. Xavier scored 9 and 9 on his Apgars. Mark called his mom to tell her, and then he Facetimed with our girls, who were kind enough to tell me I looked like crap. They finally took him to measure him, and he was 9 pounds, 5 ounces and 21 inches long. A big boy, indeed!! He nursed twice right away, and I talked to my mom at one point while he was nursing because she was on her way to visit us after finding out I was in labor. I ended up with a small tear and some superficial tearing to the sides.
He has been great at breastfeeding and sleeping so far - usually 3-4 hours between each feeding. And the girls are all getting used to having him around!! Here are several pictures: