Still I hoped for a natural start to labor to know the baby was ready and just the excitement that comes with not knowing when or where. We kept joking that the baby would come on its own at the 11th hour. Hubby’s parents were in town that week, anticipating their first grandchild’s birth. DH and I left them at home that night to run up to our church quickly for Fr. Reggie’s goodbye reception. We saw many we knew there and they all, including Father, and they all said they would say prayers for a healthy baby and God willing, a natural start to labor.
At 10pm I got ready for bed. I went to the bathroom, as usual, and had to laugh. I told DH through the cracked door, "this is why it is so unclear when your water breaks. I just keep peeing and peeing!" He laughed. I crawled into bed, and set some bread out and my alarm to wake me at 11:55pm. I am always thinking ahead to food, and knew it would be awhile before I could eat again. My last thought before I dozed off was “is this a smart idea to leave food out with the dog in the room?” But then I thought, oh well, he is asleep. And then so was I.
However, about 11:30pm I woke with a start because someone (the dog, Max!) was eating my bread! As I sat up, I felt a little liquid, and wondered if my water had really broken early in the bathroom, just a slow leak. I fretted about it to myself, looked online, finally woke DH in that “honey?” quiet call that means I don’t want to wake you but I do. I didn’t think it was safe to go back to bad, had my water broke. However, I didn’t want to cry wolf again. I had thought my water had broke before and was wrong. Slightly embarrassing, but worth it! Hubby’s response was clear-let’s find out now, at this reasonable hour, then wait until 2am to find out. Better safe than sorry. However, when I paged the doctor on call his tune was not so thrilled. I found out, regardless, I would be staying the night in the hospital.
So off we went. We didn’t want the in laws to get excited for nothing, so we waited to find out if this was a false alarm or not. However, it was the real deal! A natural start to labor afterall! And I was not feeling contractions so I was pretty elated. The only downer was...I was still dilated to only a 2. This, and the lack of feeling anything, week overdue, etc led them to give me Pitocin. Man, I should have enjoyed more that lack of feeling anything. I went from 0 to 100 when I started feeling contractions at 3am and I didn't even realize it was the Pitocin. I just kept saying I felt dumb because I didn't expect it to hurt that bad, I really thought I would "ease into it" and instead I was miserable, vomiting and shaking and not letting DH anywhere near. If I had my head about me I would have demanded the epidural, but instead I asked nicely and got declined (I was told I could have it when I went to a 3 by the labor and delivery nurse). Silly me thought she labor nurse had consulted the doc (who had told me I could get it anytime). However, she hadn't, so if I would have pressured her to talk to him I probably could have gotten it. But instead I shook and vomited and was completely tense for the next 3 hrs.
The nurse finally acknowledged that the contractions I was having should be making me feel that bad given there was a double peak and a 2 min contraction, etc. She also finally did encourage me to relax and helped me to do so. She offered me staydol, something I had decided ahead of time not to take...however I felt desperate. She said it wouldn't ease the pain, but it would make me not care about it. That was such crap! There is a reason I never did drugs, I don't like that crazy out of my mind feeling! When I closed my eyes there were literally pink elephants dancing and so I forced myself back to the delivery room and back to the pain to get away from it. But now the delivery room was spinning and I couldn't concentrate on any words, everything was just so blurry. Needless to say, I continued to vomit.
When I finally go to a 3, I got the most kind anesthiologist who was just going to prep me and go for a C-section and return, but decided instead to give the epidural to me then. I remember asking if we could wait until I got through a contraction and he said no, there was no time, but I managed to stay still and DH was big help and didn't faint or anything and once it was in, it was GLORIOUS! Some feel pressure, but not pain, but I felt NOTHING! And that was fine with me!
DH was actually able to sleep and I rested, but my mind was racing, and couldn't think about sleep! So I called my folks to come up and wait with me.
I got checked about 40 min after the epidural and the nurse was surprised to announce that, though it took 3 hrs to go from 2 to 3, now that I had relaxed (thank you epi!) I had gone from a 3 to a 9! So it was about 6:40am then. DH heard the 9 pronounced and jumped up to his feet from his sleep. He thought he misheard or had been sleeping too long! He called his mom and stepdad up immediately. Stepdad didn't quite realize what his mom did-it was go time! No time to slowly get ready. This baby was coming!!!!
The nurse came back in to sheepishly say that she hadn't anticipated me dilating so quickly and that she had updated the doc and told him he could go to another hospital to do a c-section right before checking me. So I told her no problem, I could wait, I was completely comfortable. Seriously. Crazy right?!
Two hours later (I told you I was comfortable!) at 9 the doc arrived. 6 or so pushes and 25 min later, our baby was born. When DH looked to announce the gender, he could hardly believe his eyes; it was more like a question than a pronouncement. We had a son. Charles Raph.ael, 19 inches and 7 lbs 8 oz. (Charles is the name of DH's dad; he passed away when DH was 12). DH cried tears of joy-said a healthy baby was all he wanted, but a boy was, well, icing on the cake! Charlie had a perfectly round head from the short birth and we were told over and over again how very alert he was. It was also clear that he knew and recognized his daddy’s voice from the first moment, which was so awesome to see! Daddy did an excellent job with the first bath and was so gentle applying the lotion that it made everyone's heart melt. The nurse told me she knew he was a boy from the second she saw his face, but didn't want to announce early on the off chance it was a girl. We couldn’t have been happier! He had big eyes and a little dark hair and he was just so alert; he hung on our every word.
DH reminds me that someone mentioned something about the name, and I said I liked our girl name too, so we would just have to have another to use it. The medical professionals in the room (now there were, like 10 or something crazy!) looked at me like I was nuts and one of them mentioned that it was rare to hear someone talk about #2 after just going through labor. What can I say? Children are a blessing, there was no time to waste, and I am sure the epidural working so well was partially responsible.
Charlie wasn't interested in nursing at first, and then we tried about 2 hrs later and probably waited too long, by then he was tired. So we tried later and eventually got the hang of it (mom and baby) with lots of latch help from nurses and the lactation consultants!
Two more moments that stand out in mind. First, DH's folks coming in and MIL announcing that they were doing some math in the waiting room and that 9 months ago to the day was DH's birthday. Well, they knew how we were celebrating! Well, let's say I don't normally get embarrassed easily, but they were exactly right and it resulted in me turning just a little pink! Second, God love her, but my mother calling my out of town sis JC from IN to bring her in on the crazy moment (and it was. there was tons of family in my room including sis JB and her 3 kids 4 and under...that I loved!) But my mom shoves the phone in my face and I spend the next several minutes trying to relatively politely remove myself (I can be honest with her, but she was really homesick just then) from the phone so I could enjoy the moment! Totally had to watch DH give baby a bath on video later-grrr! But so my mom, well intentioned, sometimes comes off a little...well, off!
When we left the hospital, after lots of great visits from friends and family (which continued), we just waited for someone to stop us at the door and say it was all a mistake or something. We couldn't believe he was ours.
Everyday I remind myself that even though he is ours, he is a gift. Enjoy everyday, there are no guarentees, unfortunately, how long he will be with us. I know it is easier said than done, but I try to think of Mary and her braveness towards her son's greater mission. We will see what God has in store for you, little one!