Apparently I started writing this birth story one week after Will's birth and only got up to the part where the first contractions started. Then I stopped writing it. My guess is, either the baby had woken up, another kid needed something, or I decided to catch some z's. Either way, I've verbally shared the story with enough people (or texted it out to curious friends), that I think we'll be able to fill in the gaps!
Here's the no-holds bar story of Will's birth:
|September 9 with pretty much ZILCH activity to speak of|
My estimated due date was September 9, 2015. Based on my other two children’s arrival times, I anticipated having this baby anywhere from the end of August up through the due date, but definitely not after!! However, I should have known babies have their own plans. :)
The weekend leading up to his birth was not necessarily ideal. Gabe, age 3 at the time, unfortunately came down with a really tight case of croup, which wouldn’t let up after a couple of nights. On Saturday, we took him to Urgent Care to be assessed and it was determined he needed some breathing treatments and some steroids (not our favorite, but it was bad enough to merit some medical help for croup for the first time ever). The steroids made him a little crazy, and he ended up not even taking a nap that day. That Saturday night, Greg and I had a chat about some last-minute fears related to welcoming another baby into our family (like, will it mess up the good flow we have already with our 6 and 3 year olds? was this a big, colossal mistake?!) and kind of just reviewed where we were at. I know sometimes babies don't come if they sense momma's not in a good mental spot.
|We took a very HOT walk around the neighborhood|
Friday afternoon to try and get things going &
get Gabe some Vitamin D
A little while later after that chat, Gabe woke up in an all-out (what I believe, drug-induced) tantrum. It took nearly an hour to calm him down. He was completely out of his mind and not in control at all. Trying to calm him down only made my belly tighten up, and was very emotionally draining, so Greg finally got him back into his bed and lay down with him. I decided by that point (well past 1am) to lay down and try to sleep...finally Greg returned and he laid down too. A few minutes later, around 2:30am, I started sensing real contractions, after I had probably been asleep about 30 minutes. Greg was finally asleep too, and I didn’t want to wake him up yet, because it had already been such a short night of sleep. With my other two labors, I was blessed to have gone into labor after having had a better night’s sleep, and I had been really hoping for that this time around as well, but when the baby is overdue, and you’re READY to give birth, what are you going to do? I digress…
Denial isn't just a river in Egypt...
I was somewhat in denial these contractions were real but laying down was not making them go away, and they only proceeded to get more uncomfortable. I got up and started swaying my hips around, and woke Greg up around 3am. Bless my mom -- she had come down to stay with us, almost two weeks beforehand because I was just sure this baby was going to come earlier like Mia & Gabe had, and no, the baby decided to stay in longer -- but Greg knocked on her door to let her know what was going on as we were about to leave the house. Greg and I gathered what we could for the hospital bag (that was mostly already packed), while I stopped every few minutes to slow down and breathe through a contraction. Greg called our backup doula, and we got in the car around 4:15am. Right before we got in the car, I grabbed a towel, a big bowl, a cup of ice water, and I ate a banana and a granola bar. I wasn’t sure how much time I’d have before actual delivery, and I wanted some energy since it was the middle of the night and I hadn’t eaten in hours, and I grabbed the bowl and towel because I have a history of puking mid-labor and especially while driving! :(
Our hospital for delivery is about 30 minutes away, but in the middle of the night, when you get to cruise on the expressway, we were able to get there super quick! We spotted a couple of deer as we exited our neighborhood and while we drove down the interstate and I remember wondering if/what that meant and how that was kind of cool to see... Right before I began throwing up that banana I had just eaten and the water I just chugged. Greg was a very good sport to not start throwing up himself. That only happened a couple of more times and I very adeptly dumped the waste at a stoplight about 2 blocks away from the hospital. Woohoo!
When we pulled up to the hospital (around 4:45am), which has valet for pregnant women going into labor & delivery, the valet was SOUND asleep. Like, out. Greg slammed the doors on our car a couple of times to get his attention, and he finally stumbled awake and sprung into action like “Oh hey! I’m here, ready to go! Was totally not sleeping!” Except he was. We were wheeled up to L&D where we met our backup doula, Holli, for the very first time. I had talked to her on the phone the Wednesday night prior and she had my birth plan printed out and was ready to go immediately attending to me, even while I was sitting uncomfortably in the wheelchair in triage working through a contraction.
|one word: LABOR|
It's gettin' REAL
We were wheeled into our triage room, I changed into even a less attractive hospital gown than I wore with Gabe, if that’s possible, and kept working through contractions. I believe they were at least every 4 minutes at this point, if not even faster. We were waiting for a midwife to come check me before we moved me to a room, but the midwife from my practice was in the middle of a delivery. So, instead, I just hung out in the triage room, either on the bed, or on the side of the bed, going through different laboring positions while they did some quick monitoring of the baby too. Holli, our doula, was giving suggestions for different ways to sit, stand or move, and reminding me to breathe baby down and relax my face. I didn’t know it at the time either, but she was snapping some pictures on her camera as well, which I really appreciated after the fact (I think birth photography is awesome!). After probably 45 minutes of hard labor and waiting for a midwife, one of the nurses came back in and said, “She’s still stuck in a delivery; I’ll just go ahead and check you.” She checked and said I was complete with a bulging bag of waters! I’ll never forget the surprise, shock, and delight I feel when I hear the words, “You’re complete.” Knowing it’s go-time is exhilarating and butterfly-inducing all at once. They asked me if I had the urge to push and I said, “Not yet,” but after the next contraction I immediately felt that sensation. They put my saline lock in and were ready to move me to my labor and delivery room. It was around 5:45 or 5:50am at this point.
It's GO time
Because my midwife was still in a delivery, the nurses were trying to figure out who would be able to help me deliver. There was another midwife from another practice available at the hospital that night so they decided to wheel me into one of her rooms. I literally met her for the first time as they wheeled me in and I was about to have another contraction. Her name was Sandy and she asked me how I wanted to push. I had a moment of complete indecision as I had pushed on my back with my legs up with the other kids but I had been basically on all fours this time around, smushing my face into the pillow on the bed. My doula asked if I wanted to squat for pushing, but since I was in a position I couldn’t imagine physically switching myself from, we stayed on all fours and my NEW-to-me midwife told me to push my butt into her hands. For a first meeting, that was a pretty brazen request! She told me to do it again, as I had been a little apprehensive, but after about half a contraction of pushing that way, I finally pushed past the awkward, and started pushing intuitively and aggressively, in my mental zone. It all happened pretty quickly at this point, but after I started really pushing, the baby descended, then in the next contraction, my water broke (which has never happened without intervention/assistance in the past!), which kind of freaked me out!, and then in the next contraction the baby’s head emerged, and finally during the next contraction, the baby was born!!! If you read that fast, just imagine it happening in your body that quickly, because that’s about how it felt. There was such a flurry of activity around me, but I basically had my eyes closed the entire time as I gripped the pillow on my bed for dear life and was utilizing all my other senses to figure out what was going on. Because I was on all fours, I didn’t visually take in my baby until I heard the midwife ask Greg to announce the sex, and Greg checked and said, “It’s a boy!” all excitedly and cheerfully, and they helped me flipped over and gave me the baby immediately. I was still in shock, but so so so relieved and so happy he was here and looked healthy and good :). The time was 6:04am.
|Three Words: Newborn Baby Bliss|
Our own kids wouldn’t have even been up for the day yet, and we had just had another baby.
They cut the cord after a little while of letting it pulse, and he was on my chest doing skin-to-skin immediately. Because it all happened so quickly, I felt like I was in a whirlwind and my body had a little bit of a hard time calming down. All the hormones rushing through my body gave me the chills/shakes, so the nurses were bringing tons of warm blankets to wrap around me, which felt wonderful as I snuggled our newest little one, who was yet to be officially named.
After about an hour and a half, they weighed him and he was 6lbs, 12oz, and 19 inches long. He’s our biggest baby and stayed in the longest too: 40 weeks and 4 days. Once he was weighed, I was good to go for a transfer to our postpartum recovery room, and take a nice little morning nap. Mia was born on a Sunday too, like this kid, and it was nice to rest and have some peace and quiet while the rest of the world was waking up or readying themselves for church activities!
The history behind the name
We discussed his name options on and off throughout the morning--despite having announced his birth and healthy arrival to family and friends--he didn’t have a name yet! “William” had been on our list throughout the pregnancy as a potential boy name, but had also been taken off the list once or twice just due to how popular a name it is. However, it’s a classic name, and a family name (it’s interwoven multiple times on both sides of the family), and most directly, is my dad’s middle name and my brother’s middle name, so, William it was! And Thomas was chosen as a biblical name after one of Jesus’ apostles who believed in the resurrected Christ after having been able to examine Jesus’ resurrected body and exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Additionally, Thomas is also a family name as well, after Greg’s deceased grandfather. So, Will’s name is rich with family and biblical history and we announced his name to family and friends in the early afternoon. Thankfully, no one balked at it ;)
A couple of interesting notes about the delivery…
This was my 3rd birth, and my 2nd hospital birth. It went so quickly and even though I didn't have much windup time in terms of labor, I was really thankful for the supportive people involved: Greg, my doula, who handed out copies of my birth plan, my stand-in midwife and my group's midwife who came in later to congratulate me (she had a delivery with a retained placenta)! They all helped things flow quite smoothly.
The doula also used some essential oils during labor to help me not be too nauseated as I had thrown up on the way to the hospital in the car, and she used peppermint on Greg when he got a little light-headed right before I began pushing. He said he recognized the sounds I was making from the other 2 labors and knew pushing and birth were imminent and it was gettin' REAL and he had to go lay down! (Yes, on the floor of the delivery room.) Thankfully the nurses were on it right away and pointed a fan at him, gave him some juice, my doula popped open the peppermint oil and some honey sticks, and he was able to not totally pass out and miss the birth! His favorite part was getting to announce the sex since it had been a surprise. We both got to do skin to skin as well afterward, which is not something he'd done before but we knew we wanted to incorporate. The hospital honored ALL of our wishes and is considered "baby-friendly," and never tried to take away, bathe the baby or push any interventions or procedures we didn't want. In fact, when they wheeled us to our postpartum room I was happy to hear that they only expected baby to feed 4-6x in the first 24 hours and that he'd likely be sleepy (yes, mom and baby both)!! We were able to be discharged after 36 hours, which was also my fastest turn around time too!
Despite the “waiting” for Will, he was worth the wait and be it due to this being our third time around doing this newborn thing, or his nature in general, has been a very easy-going baby! We are so blessed by him and the older kids began loving on him immediately. My mom was able to stay a few more days to help things be in good order before heading back home, and Gabe eventually got over his sad, pitiful croupy cough and life began as a family of five.
|Photo by Aubree Clark Photography|