I never have a normal birth story, and I still don't. We like to do things weird, I guess.
On the day Nathanael turned 4, I was puttering around getting ready for his birthday party, collecting his presents into one place to wrap, getting ready to bake his cake, making a list of the last 3 things he wanted at the dollar store, and waiting for Tim to come home with car so I could go buy them.
Regular old birthday.
And then I noticed the contractions. But I brushed them off.
And then I noticed they were pretty regular. Every 5 minutes. Even if I lay down. Even if I stood up. Even if I ate something. Regular.
I kept saying to myself, "Nah. I was going to have a baby on Sunday. It's only Wednesday. Too early. Besides, this is Nathanael's birthday."
Finally I called Tim at work. He didn't answer. Nearly in tears, I left him a message. When he finally called me back, almost an hour later, he was on the way home. "You didn't answer," I said.
"I was teaching," he said.
"I know. You think I would have called you if I didn't need you? What good is saying 'carry your phone' if you don't answer it?"
"Do I need to call a babysitter?"
I burst into tears. "I think so."
He called a babysitter and I got things ready. Babysitter was sick, but her husband was available, and we trust him, too, so he set off from Greeley before Tim got home from Denver, and we got my good friend who also happens to be my visiting teacher right now to come to sit with the kids until our babysitter from Greeley arrived. Turns out he was really fast, and he got to the house just as we were walking out.
So, while the babysitters were coming, I called the doctor, "I have an appointment in an hour, but I think I'm in labor now. Do I come to you first or go straight to labor and delivery?" I asked. They went back and forth and then said, "Come here first."
So we went there. Got to the doctor's office, still having contractions every 5 minutes, and I told them when I checked in that I think I'm in labor, and they nodded and said, "Have a seat." So we sat and watched the fish for 20 minutes. 20 minutes!
Tim told me all about 3-D printing. I said, "They should put fish in labor and delivery rooms. Very soothing." He replied, "I have lots to tell you, but I want to tell you when you will remember what I said." "If I have a baby here in the waiting room, it's their own fault for making me wait," I replied.
We finally got called back to the exam area and the nurse handed me a cup to pee in. I said, "But I think I'm in labor, and we called ahead to tell you and you still made us wait 20 minutes!" The nurse went a shade paler and said something about how the nurse who had answered the phone and talked to me got called home to tend her sick baby, so the message hadn't been passed along. So I went in the bathroom and peed in the stupid cup, and then came out and stood on the scale, and then sat in the exam room on that uncomfortable table. Finally the doctor came in and checked me and said, "Go on down to labor and delivery. But walk around first."
I was only dilated to 3, I think. Maybe 2? Anyway, we went down to the main floor of the hospital (doctor's office is in the same building, more or less), and we walked up and down and up and down and looked at the art and paced some more and I was still having contractions and I told Tim over and over, "We can't be having a baby today. I was going to have a baby on Sunday. It's Nathanael's birthday today." Over and over. We were both really shocked and unsure about things.
Finally we went up to labor and delivery. I was really nervous because a week or two before I'd been in triage to have the baby turned, and they gave me an IV I didn't need because it happened that he had already turned (because Tim gave me a blessing that told him to). But as I was there, I had realized that I hate that room. It's the place where I am forced to lay in the least comfortable position, in labor (and therefore in pain), waiting for someone else to validate that my experience is real enough to stay. I hate the ceiling tiles in that room, with the pretty flower borders embossed into them. I hate the nurses in that room, even though they're different every time I go. Even though I would like the same nurse if she just stepped outside the door. I just hate that room. So I was really really dreading having to go in there and have someone tell me if I was in labor or not. I wasn't sure myself because it felt like labor, but it didn't at the same time.
Besides, weren't we going to have a baby on Sunday? And it was Nathanael' birthday!
But the doctor had called up and admitted me, so they took me right past triage and into room 2012, which was a little confusing because then we were having a baby in 2012 in 2013.
I was so unsure I was really in labor that I think I asked the nurse several times, "are we really staying?" She said yes.
The nurse was a little bit of a miracle. I had convinced the doc to not make me have an IV because the IV sites hurt like crazy for weeks and weeks because of fibro. The unnecessary IV I got for the baby turning that didn't happen still hurt. It made my whole arm hurt. And the doctor went along with it (she's a saint!). And the nurse, when I said, "I have fibromyalgia," stopped me and said, "I do, too." So she understood everything I was saying. She got me. She let me be an intelligent woman with special needs. And she was so gentle and kind and determined to help me do this labor without and IV and without medication.
So we labored for a couple of hours, and then the doctor was getting to a point where she wanted to get home, and we all knew I usually go really fast, so she came in and broke my water to hurry things along, with my permission because I wanted to get done and go home, too, and usually after they break my water I'm done in 15 minutes. That's when I knew I was actually staying at the hospital, that I was really in labor and this was real and I was going to have a baby. That's what happens when they break my water--I have a baby. It was real.
Well, this hadn't been a usual pregnancy by a long shot.
And the unthinkable happened. It baffled the nurses and doctor and me and Tim completely. They broke my water--and my labor STOPPED. Completely. I was no longer in labor at all. Not a hint of a contraction.
The doctor said (the next morning) that she was amazed, that they can break the water of someone not even in labor and she has a baby right away.
But not me. Not this time. We had a nothing.
So the doctor went home.
I had no IV, so they couldn't give me pitocin. And I was dripping large amounts of amniotic fluid and at risk of infection now, so they couldn't let me go home (I even asked). So Tim and I tried everything. We walked. And walked. And walked. We rested. We talked. We ate (don't tell the hospital I brought food in my bag and ate it while I was in labor--it's against the rules!). We laughed. We cried. We prayed. Tim gave me a blessing. We had some of the most intense, heartfelt prayers ever, where Tim voiced every thought of my heart even though I hadn't told him any of them. It was a very spiritual night. But not a very baby-filled night.
Finally, at about 1:00 am, Tim gave up. My water had been broken for 7 hours and we were still just hanging around not in labor. The nurse made the couch into a bed and got him a pillow and blanket, and he went to sleep. I walked more. I tried different positions to sit, stand, crawl. Nothing. So finally I went to bed, too, and slept poorly for about 5 hours. Hospitals are terribly uncomfortable places.
Well, shift changes with the nurses got me my nice fibro nurse back, and she wasn't ready to give up. We had a hot jacuzzi bath that just made me feel nauseated and achy. I tried different positions. My nurse was sure the baby was posterior, and that's why he was stuck. We jokingly told the nurse that our friend was also expecting and that we had joked all along that she would have a baby the same day I did--and mentioned who the couple were, and our nurse said, "She's here!" The computers show several patients' labor monitors all at the same time, so we watched her labor progress in the other room while my labor did NOTHING. Because I wasn't in labor at all. I did get into the positions that are supposed to turn a baby, though, and I guess they worked because when he was born, he came anterior. But he HAD been posterior--that's why I was feeling contractions strongly in my back when I had been in labor (but I wasn't anymore!).
Finally, I cried about it and then told Tim I would have to get some pitocin. The doctor had been really nice, letting me go several hours past the deadline that's considered safe to have your water broken and no baby before risk of infection really sets in, just so I could try everything. And they all left the decision to me. And I finally knew, after 15 hours, that I wasn't going to be in labor any time soon, and they weren't letting me go home. So I agreed to pitocin. And then my doctor and nurse were angels again. They did some research and found that pediatric patients who need IVs get numbing cream first, so they ordered some and held off on everything until the pharmacy got it in and delivered it for me. And then they waited another half hour while both my hands got numb (just on the backs). And then they used the tiniest needle they could find, really trying to minimize the impact on my body. And it worked.
IV was there. But my arm didn't hurt for weeks and weeks after. Well, the right one didn't. The left one, where I had the "normal" IV before (the one we didn't need)--that one hurt for 6 weeks. But the labor IV didn't cause me grief.
They gave me the lowest possible dose of pitocin, and labor started up, but not very strong. So the nurse upped the dose to 8 (a fairly common dose is 30. 30 what I don't know, but she said it was 30). And then I was in labor. Just like that.
I did pretty good. I lasted a long time, and didn't need anything for most of it. And then I got to that point that all my friends said you get to where you just get done. It wasn't that the labor was any worse, although contractions were more frequent. I was just done. I didn't want to do it anymore. I told Tim I wanted an epidural, and he and the nurse looked at each other in a way that said, "too late!" but the nurse agreed to check me. If I was past a 7, no epidural. No time. If not, I could get one. I was at a 6 1/2. And I was pretty unhappy because the baby was in distress, so I had to lay back in that horribly uncomfortable position and wear an oxygen mask. I swear those things have latex in them--they make my face feel weird. But I also have this thing about having things touch my face--it's the reason I refuse to go under water. I don't have a phobia of going under water per se--it's a phobia of having things touch my face. So the oxygen mask was not happy for me--especially since she kept forgetting to turn it on, so I'd get it on my face and not be able to breathe at all, and then I'd panic.
Anyway, the doctor was just down the hall, and he came in and gave me a spinal/epidural, aka a "walking epidural" and it started in 5 minutes (instead of 20), and he talked too much. Tim said it was the same doctor who messed up my epidural last time (so I could feel everything from the knees up), but this time he was brilliant. Quick. And, joy of joys, he numbed ONLY my uterus. I could still move my feet. I could still feel my bladder (which meant I didn't need a catheter, hallelujah!). I could still squirm and shift positions. This is a BIG deal to me because the forced holding still of an epidural makes my fibromyalgia crazy painful for weeks and weeks. He had barely left the room when I said, "ouch!" Turns out he numbed ONLY the uterus. Not the birth canal.
Meanwhile, things got tricky with the staff because my friend down the hall was pretty much done, too. She ended up delivering her baby boy exactly 2 minutes before I had mine. Hers was also posterior, and born with the cord around his neck, and their birthweights were only one ounce different. Pretty astonishing, actually.
Anyway, I knew the baby was coming because I could feel the birth canal, and also that I needed to push (never felt that before!). But it was okay because they got the doctor in there (different doctor than the one I had been working with, but one I like just as much--if not more) and I pushed 3 or 4 times and we got us a baby. He had the cord around his neck twice, tight. Tim refused to let go of my hand to cut the cord (right choice by him) and insisted they get the cord off the baby's neck. And then they put that little screaming baby right on my chest, and I said, "Hi, Jack." and he stopped crying instantly and just looked at me. I've never had that experience before. All six other kids were whisked away to get oxygen the instant they were born, but there was Jack, looking into my eyes, and I recognized him from a dream I'd had a year (or more) before and he seemed to recognize me, and I didn't care what else was going on in the room or with my body. It was pretty intense. I might have let Tim hold him after a while. Maybe.
Anyway, by the time the Anesthesiologist came back in to check on me and make sure the epidural was working fine, and see if I needed more medication or we were good, I was done and everything was cleaned up and put away. He said, "I can't believe you held still through all of that when you were in transition and I was putting it in!" That was the first point where I went, "Oh. Huh. I probably could have done it without." But, I realized, I didn't want to. I wanted exactly what I got--a numb uterus and everything else not numb. It's what I've always wanted, and have asked for six other times only to be told, "We don't do that kind of epidural here." I guess now they do. At least, here they do. I've had babies in four different hospitals, and I can't vouch for the other three. Anyway, he said, "I probably could have just given you a shot." Next time, I'll ask for that. Skip the tubing--just give me the "lasts one hour" shot.
Within an hour I could walk again. Usually it's 12+ hours later because I'm so numb. And I went to the bathroom and the nurse didn't make me go twice. She just quietly took out that pesky IV--didn't even make me keep it overnight like most do. Sue was the best thing that ever happened to me in labor. Seriously. She was a miracle. I've wondered if I didn't stall on the labor just so she could be back on duty for me when I needed her--I was only in labor while she was there, not while any other nurse was.
So the baby came at 1:00-ish, about 24 hours after I got to the hospital in the first place. He was my smallest baby, at 6 lb 13 oz (I think?), but just as long as the others--21 inches. And big, big beautiful eyes that I think he might have gotten from his Great-Grandma Springer. He was sweet in the hospital--hardly squeeked and a good sleeper, but a bad nurser. He's still a pretty bad nurser. He doesn't latch on tight enough, and sometimes chokes and often gets his rhythm off and swallows air, but he's growing nicely so I'm not too worried. We named him Jacob (after Nephi's brother) Bruce (after my dad) Jones (after Tim, of course).
The delivery was really quite bloodless. It every surprised all the doctors and nurses. They said I lost 100 ccs of blood. In a normal delivery, mom loses about 500 ccs of blood. It was a really clean delivery. No tears, no episiotomies, no stitches. I could walk soon after. And I felt great. I've never felt or moved around like that after a baby is born. I hardly hurt at all--so much so that I forgot to ask for even ibuprofen, and I was up walking around, brushing my hair and teeth, fiddling with the TV. It was amazing. Best delivery and best recovery ever.
I think it's because of the long break. I did half of labor, had a long rest and some sleep, and then did the other half of labor a day later. I think my body did some resting and healing in the break, and that was good for me. It also gave Jack a chance to get in the right position. Delivering him posterior without any medication would have been...not fun. To say the least.
Anyway, I felt good enough that I would have gone home right then, but we had to stay 24 hours for the baby because they check jaundice at 25 hours, so we still had to be there. Especially since he was pretty seriously jaundiced--just shy of needing lights, but only just. (Nursed that right out of him, though!).
The nurse we had all day after the delivery made us both glad to get to go home. She was really nice, but she didn't treat me like I knew what I was doing. She kept wanting to give me nursing pointers, for example. That is, until the Lactation Consultant came in. I said, really quickly (because I was tired of everyone telling me how to nurse), "I've nursed six babies successfully. This is my seventh." "I know," said the Lactation consultant, "I came in to get tips from you." Then the nurse left me alone. Really, even the "new nursing hold people have just started doing!" I have been doing since I had a spinal headache with Anda--9 1/2 years ago. Anyway, the nurse backed off on the nursing, but she still wanted to mother me, and I know some women love that, but I don't need it. And I think Tim really resented being treated like an idiot. He knows how to put a onesie and a diaper on a baby! He doesn't need someone to rush over like he's breaking the poor babe and rescue them from each other, to "teach him how." At least they didn't ask us to go to the new mothers class. I didn't have time--too many people coming and going in my room.
I guess the hospital plans for you to stay for 2 days, because they started people coming in at like 5:00 am, after I hadn't slept well because hospital beds are worse than sleeping on the floor. And it was non-stop until it was time to go home. I finally got a break and the baby fell sleep at just after noon, and as I got ready to get in the shower, the massage lady came in. I sent her away, preferring a shower and a get-ready-to-go-home to a massage. I'm always wary of massages because most massages make fibro feel worse, not better, and I'd been sitting on that rock-garden bed for 24 hours already and needed to get off before my fibro killed me. It got so painful to sit there because of the fibro. I couldn't stand it! Anyway, I did have a pleasant visit with my dad (that part was nice) and a friend from my ward (that part was nice), and other than that it felt like Grand Central Station for hospital personnel in there. I needed to go home so I could rest and recover (who decided a woman should give birth and then have to talk to medical people for 6 hours straight after being awake most of the night because who can sleep in a hospital?! That's no way to recover!!!).
Tim and I did get a bit of quiet time. We have watched a Pixar movie in the hospital with almost all our kids (maybe not Caleb, but I think maybe all the rest?). So Tim went out the morning after the baby was born and came in before he had to go to work with "Brave." We've laughed for years and years now that when we were in labor with Caleb, we were watching "Zorro" and just as we got to the climax, Tim turned it off and never turned it back on. I still haven't seen the climax to "Zorro," and Caleb turns 12 this year. (In his defense, he thought I'd seen the movie before, and I didn't protest or ask him to turn it back on, so it's my fault I didn't see the end). So it's a big joke when we're in labor that after the baby comes, Tim can't turn off the Pixar movie at the climax. So we settled in and we're watching "Brave," and we get to the climax, and there's about 10 minutes left in the movie and Tim has 15 minutes until he has to leave for work, and the nurse comes in and starts talking and she talks and talks and talks and talks and asks questions and talks more and asks more questions, and none of it is important stuff as she tells me about her son who is an adult now and the time is slipping away and the movie is paused...and we missed the climax because the nurse was still talking when Tim had to go to work.
(So we brought the DVD home and watched it with the kids that night. And I got to see the climax.)
Anyway, after Tim got back from work, we finally we escaped with the baby. He was so tiny, the carseat seat belts wouldn't tighten enough around him for the nurse to be happy, even at their tightest. I knew we were literally driving around the corner to get home, so I finally gave up and twisted my hand in the belts on the back of the seat, tightening them so that when she checked, they were good. Then I plopped a blanket over baby and belts so she wouldn't see them go slack again, and we took that little bundle home and immediately had a birthday party for Nathanael, 2 days too late. And for the rest of forever, we'll be having birthday parties two days in a row for these guys, Nathie on the 9th, Jack on the 10th. I think that's better than if they shared a birthday, although that would have possibly given them a special bond as brothers. I like them to each have their own special day.
I couldn't be more in love with this baby. And neither could Tim and the kids. Elijah spends a lot of time saying, "Ooooh--Dat is soooo TUTE!" (Jack is so cute). Nathanael held him several times a day for weeks. Caleb likes to look into his eyes, and beep his nose. Anda hops up and gets him whenever he makes a sound, even if he's not really upset yet. Daniel, too, protects and loves and pays attention to him. Even Benji takes time every day to love on this baby. He is very much adored all around. And he spends a lot of time smiling at them--and, inexplicably, at the bookshelves. He loves the kids, loves his daddy, loves bookshelves, and loves music. I guess he fits right in!
He was worth the 9 months of near-hell it took to get him. SO glad we did it!