A few minutes later, I had another contraction. And then I felt a little...gushy. (This is a labor story, y'all. There's going to be TMI.) I hopped out of bed (as much as a 9-month pregnant lady can hop) and found woo-hoo! bloody show! I was sooooo excited, especially since this meant that soon I would no longer be pregnant. I hadn't been driving since the public fainting at 34 weeks and I was still having faintness/dizzying to the point that Dh had started his leave when I was almost 37 weeks. Also the aforementioned severe hip pain.
Okay, so the gushiness made me think perhaps my water had broken (it's never broken on its own) so I elected to go sit on an old blanket on the sofa because I figured there was no way I'd be able to fall asleep. I texted my mom because by this point it was 5 am and it was 8 am in NY and I knew she'd be up getting ready for church. Dh saw the light on when he got up for a bathroom trip, so I told him that I thought I was in labor and he went back to bed. I had one thumb left to knit on my very first pair of mittens, so I finished that as I timed my contractions. Around 6 they had started to get painful, so I decided to pack my hospital bag. I woke Dh up as I packed so he could shower & get ready. I curled my hair. Interestingly, that is the last time I curled my hair. Twenty-one days ago. Ha ha I was delaying leaving because I didn't want to wake EK up (she was my childcare). When Dh pointed out that my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and that surely that merited leaving for the hospital, I called EK around 6:20. Dh went to wake the kids up (the one day they slept in, of course!) and they were soooooo excited. Almost as excited as I was!
We dropped the kids off at EK's around 7 am I think and then it was off to the hospital. My primary fear was that my epidural wouldn't work, like when I had Miss E (the reason I KNOW I never want to have natural childbirth). However, it worked like a charm. When I checked in I was at a 5 and the contractions were every 3-4 minutes, moderately painful. By 11 I was at a stretchy 7. By 1 I was still at a 7. The doctor broke my water. By 3 I was still at a 7. And really frustrated. Also, my epidural was starting to wear off, and I was having significant back labor. The nurses deduced that the baby was posterior which was 1) causing the back labor and 2) causing me to stall at a 7 because the baby's head wasn't putting enough pressure on my cervix. The anesthesiologist returned and discovered that no medicine was going into my epidural tube. Thus the PAIN. So he flushed the tube and got it going again and gave me an extra dose too, to get me comfortable. The nurse had me lay on my side and put my leg up on a giant ball. Apparently this uses gravity to let the baby kind of flip over. The nurse said she'd seen it work a million times. It ended up being good the epidural messed up because it enabled us to figure out the baby needed to shift. The nurses & doctor hadn't been able to tell via touch.
As the epi kicked back in, I was able to doze a little. After an hour the nurse returned to flip me to the other side. "Oh let's check you first." I was fully dilated! Huzzah! It only took seven hundred hours. Okay, it was a little after 5:30 pm by this time, but I had spent the entire afternoon getting more and more frustrated (not to mention more and more hungry!) so I was really stoked. The nurse left to get the doctor and I confessed to Dh that I was scared. He is the best person to have around when in labor, he always says the right things!
The only downside was the extra dose of epi meds had completely removed all sensation to my legs. So I had to be put in those full stirrups. But that's okay, because it didn't affect my ability to push! With my very first push the baby started to crown. The nurses said slow down. I said, "Oh right, I don't want to tear." One of them said, "Well, and the doctor is still putting on his gloves." I didn't say anything, but in my head I was thinking, "yeah, like I care about that!"
Oh I'm sorry doctor, am I inconveniencing you with this delivery? Whatever! Put your gloves on faster, man!
Seven or eight pushes and she was born! The actual birth was so fast my head took an hour to catch up to the fact that I was done! Her apgars were 9 & 9. The doctor said it was a textbook delivery *patting myself on the back* and I only needed a few stitches.
Baby C weighed 8lbs2oz and was 20 inches long. She is really beautiful. She has very light brown hair; when she was born she was pretty much bald on top with a fringe in the back, like a monk. Now it's starting to grow in on the top. Not sure of the eye color yet, but since Dh has blue eyes and I have green, it's a safe bet it'll be one of those two colors.
Excited child faces and really pregnant mama. This is moments before we left for the hospital.
Blogger, why did you change the order of the photos I uploaded?? This was supposed to be at the top, and I have no inclination to reload it to fix its spot.
Here is a picture of us as a family of five! The babysitter snapped this pic when we got home from the hospital. Sometimes I can't believe I have three children. But I think my family is complete now.
Baby C is a pretty standard baby - neither hard nor easy. Sometimes she sleeps well, sometimes we have to hold her for hours until we are quite sure the kinks in our backs and necks are permanent. She is different from her siblings as babies because she is pretty fond of the swing, and she sleeps really well in the car. In the past few days I have noticed a new awareness in her eyes - I have a feeling smiles aren't too far away!
Miss E and Ace adore her. They think everything she does is cute. At first Ace was having some trouble - nighttime wakings and fighting bedtime. That lasted a couple of weeks and now he's fine. However, now that it's been a few weeks, Miss E is seeing the downside (as far as she is concerned) to this baby - Mama never seems to be able to play or help her because she is always taking care of Baby C. Today at the park I purposefully walked off with Miss E when I knew Baby C was poopy and about to start crying. Miss E and I got some alone time and Dh got to bond with the baby! Ha ha (Ace was riding his bike in circles, in his own world.)
Recovery has frankly been a breeze this time around. I barely tore (1st degree) and the hospital was free with the Percocet. (First time taking that stuff - took the edge off my pain, and made me sleepy - a bonus when you are recovering from labor). With Miss E I had a 3rd degree (OUCH) and lousy ibuprofen. With Ace I had a 2nd degree and again ibuprofen. After less than a week I was off all pain meds and feeling pretty good. Of course, that's when the happy hormones wore off and the fatigue started to catch up to me. The past couple of weeks have been a bit rough, but Dh is home and lets me sleep more. He's finally realized I really meant it all those times I told him I need more sleep than he does.
My stomach is almost flat again. I kid you not - it's like a Christmas miracle. I love it. All I can figure is it is snapping back in place because I've had a longer recovery from my last pregnancy. My first two pregnancies were only 14 months apart, whereas Ace was 2 1/2 when I got pregnant with Baby C. I'm still a size up from my regular size, which I figure will last til I wean (my body always holds the last 7-10 pounds while I'm nursing), but it's truly delightful to be able to access even half my closet again, after those hateful maternity clothes. I can't wait to bid them adieu.
It's taken me a couple of days to get this all down, and most has been typed one-handed whilst also holding C. I'm so tired. I don't really like the newborn phase. Sure there are nice things about it, and I am able to enjoy those things more with my third baby, because I know the ropes by now, so my anxiety is almost nil. But I do NOT do well with sleep deprivation. At all.
As I mentioned earlier, Dh has been on medical/paternity leave since I was about 36.5 weeks pregnant. He's been home all month. It's been marvelous. He has been able to declutter a few closets and the attic. He even went to the cannery and came home with 60 cans of wheat for our food storage. And he's been enabling me to sleep in and/or nap whenever possible. He goes back to work next Monday (wah - okay I know I am completely SPOILED). My mom arrives Saturday to stay for a month! (See how neatly I arranged their times to overlap?) Dh has to work swing each fall, which sucked last year when I just had Miss E & Ace to care for, much less a newborn, so I asked my mom to stay an extra-long time. Hopefully we don't kill each other!