He came 8 days early. 38 weeks + 6. Thank GOD. I knew it was coming. I was sitting at work on Friday morning and I told the girls, “Give me 18 hours, there’ll be a baby.” I was close.
So a week ago today, on October 10, I saw Dr. Simmons for my 38 week appointment. She said she was on call Friday night and Sunday, “Do you want me to strip your membranes next week?” I was like, “I guess. When are you on call next week?” “I’m not, after this week, I’m not on call until the 24th. Do you want me to strip them now?”
I told her it has never worked. Sweeping, stripping, whatever you wanna call it. She said, “Oh, I love a challenge. I’m determined now.”
Owen was with me. He gave Dr. Simmons some really funny looks as she was all up in my mix. Ouch, but whatever. BRING. IT. ON.
I went home and spotted. And bled and spotted and bled some more. Yes, I think she stirred up trouble.
Thursday night I was awake from 1:30-3:30 just feeling generally AWFUL and having TONS and TONS of Braxton Hicks.
I got up and put on my happy face and went to work. I didn’t feel good AT ALL. It was a professional development day and we had training on Pearson Inform – a new way to collect student data and analyze, etc. My mind was elsewhere. Contractions, pain, pressure, feeling sick. The girls insisted that I go home. I’m not usually a complainer, but I was not right. So I listened and I went home. When I got home I decided to call the Dr and they asked me to come in to antenatal to be evaluated. Really? Really. I left the kids with Michelle, Chris came home from work and we threw last minute things into the bags. We headed off to the hospital.
We got there around noon and I was STILL just 2-3 cm dilated and 50% effaced, but definitely having contractions that were sporadic, yet 5 mins. apart. Dr. Simmons sent me home and I was feeling deflated, sad, stupid. What the hell is wrong with me? Why do I feel like this? Why so much pressure and why so much bleeding? She told me I’d probably have the baby this weekend, but I had heard that before. No one knows when baby’s come, Annie – imagine how rich I’d be if I could figure that one out for all of us ladies? I seriously felt like a fool. So we drove home.
Friday night was worse. I thought I was dying. Stomach bug? No appetite whatsoever. I didn’t want anyone in my bed for snuggles or stories because I thought I’d puke on them. I even went as far as asking Chris for a bucket just in case. I had a piece of toast at 8:30pm and felt a little better and went to sleep. I slept pretty good until 4:30am.
I got up to go to the bathroom and I thought I had seen blood in the two days prior. OH NO, this was the brunt of it. I stood up and got my first contraction that definitely took my breath away. I climbed back in bed and told Chris I think I’m having contractions. At this point he was probably like, “So what!?” But I started to time them and they were regular. Once they start it all comes flooding back – OH YA, THIS is what it feels like. I DO remember now. Shit! Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Moaning and groaning. Seven minutes apart.
I took a quick shower, got out and told Chris he’d better get up and we better call someone. I was doubled over on the bathroom counter moaning. I think this is it.
Chris got up, showered and I called Michelle at 5:15am. She arrived by 5:30am. I called my Dr. and talked to the on-call nurse and told them we were on our way. Fourth kid – rapid labor, see you soon.
I continued to contract and moan and groan. As I was leaving, I told Michelle, “They’re not sending me home this time!”
Chris drove fast. We left the house at 5:37am. I told him to drive fast and get to the hospital by 6am. He did it. I moaned. Contractions SUCK in the car. You can’t get comfortable. I was twisting from side to side in pain, flexing my feet and moaning. I kept visualizing the wave, the peak, the let down – until the next one came. Getting closer and closer together. Five minutes apart, four minutes apart. Stupid clock. I kept telling myself that I’d make it in time for an epidural. My body is doing the right thing. I’ll have time.
Chris pulled up to EMERGENCY and I hobbled out as fast as I could and a kind lady quickly put me into a wheelchair and got me to sign some quick papers. By the time I was being wheeled up to L&D, Chris was right behind us with the bags.
My nurses were waiting. I arrived to L&D Room 1 at 6:15, where they officially admitted me. No time for antenatal. I told them, “EPIDURAL. I really want an epidural and that is all I care about right now.” I went pee, stripped down as fast as I could and put on my pretty Active Labor Gown. Got in the bed and got on the monitors. Everything was right in the world – almost.
Fastest line was put in and it was beautifully done. Fluids dripping, epidural ordered at 6:30am.
Christmas came early and all was right in the world when in walked Dr. Kyle Byrne, anesthesiologist. I told him how much I loved him and how grateful I was that this was happening. Epidural in at 6:44am. Immediate relief. Nurses changed over at 7am and I had to say goodbye to the sweetie with all the cool bling and sparkles around her neck (her name escapes me) who easily found my hellish veins without a problem. Bless her. In came the best nurse I’ve ever known – Julie Quinn. Let the party begin. Contractions were 2-3 mins apart and my toes were numb, my legs were gone and I felt on top of the world. We talked about my labor gown, which led to the blog, which led to some pretty great laughs.
At 6:50am Dr. Simmons came in and said, “I told you I could do it!” Yup. I’m a membrane stripping success story.
She checked me and I was 6-7 cm, 100% effaced with bulging membranes. She told me to let her know when I wanted her to break my water. Whenever we did that, I knew it’d go fast. So I decided I’d rest for a bit. She came in again at 7:30 to break my water. HOT GUSH.
Dr. Simmons wasn’t feeling good – end of her shift, fighting a cold, and I think she was torn about what to do. First she was staying, but then she came to the decision that Dr. McKinnon would deliver – she wanted someone awake and refreshed to be there for me. I was OK with that and I told her no problem. The only sad part was that Dr. Simmons was totally OK with the video camera and Dr. McKinnon was not. Just photos. Bummer, since we had already decided with Dr. Simmons that I would help deliver my own baby.
“Do you want to have your husband pull the baby out once the head is out?” I said, “You’re serious?” “Ya, why not!? Or you could do it?”
“Me? YES!!!! How do I do it?”
“Once the head is out Dr. McKinnon will let you reach down and grab him and pull the rest right out up on top of you. Your husband can cut the cord.”
Game on. I’m going to help deliver my own baby. This is it, might as well, right? Boy? Girl? Names? Julie was still making me laugh. So much so that I thought I’d laugh the baby right out.
8:08am Fully dilated. Let’s try to figure out how to remove the bottom of this God forsaken new bed. Funny stuff.
Legs in place, bed gone, Julie told me I was going underwater. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as I could and PUSH. Let the fun begin. I knew it’d be fast. I read online that fourth babies slide right out. Especially with all my other labors – I was determined to just get it done quickly. Boy or girl? Oh the excitement. With that first big push (one set of 3), they told me I did great. Kid is right there. They could see hair. He’s coming down. Do it again.
OK. I did it again.
Another set. Head is sitting right there. They asked me if I wanted to feel the head, so I did. OH MY GOD. Head. Warm, warm soft, tiny head. Let’s do this, Annie.
I curled up one last time and looked down and pushed with all my might. That head popped out pretty easily and the screams of joy followed! GAAAAAAAAAHHH! My baby! I reached down and grabbed under the armpits as Dr. McKinnon twisted him up toward the ceiling and got the cord out from around his neck. Wet, warm, squishy baby slid right out of me and I’ll NEVER EVER forget that moment as long as I live. Right as I pulled him out and up, there was no mistaken this kid had a penis – “BOY!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s a BOY!” I yelled as I loved on him with every ounce of me. My baby is here. BOY! The new found love for this kid was here to stay from that very moment. LOVE like no other. More to love. Mother of 4!!!!! I did it. I thought my heart would just burst.
Oh, shut up Anne. Just show the photos.
Andrew James Stow
9 lbs 4 oz