Friday, April 17th began like any other day. We woke up, got ready for work, lil Max ready for school and started our days. I had a productive work day with meetings, and finishing up any last minute items ‘just in case’. I still thought I’d be around the next week, as labor didn’t seem to be imminent, and I was feeling great.
After work, I picked up lil Max from school, and we came home and played our outside games like normal. My lower back was hurting a little bit, but I just chalked it up to the fact that my 28 lb “little” boy still likes to be carried, and that I was carrying about 25 extra lbs on the front of my body…
Dinner, bath time and bedtime all went normal. I kept having the nagging back feeling, and every so often I’d feel what I thought was a contraction, but it wasn’t anything intense, and it certainly wasn’t anything regular. I had some false labor with lil Max, so I chalked it up to that and kept on with my plans.
I called my friend Amanda to entice her to coming over and taking a trip to Target with me (I needed some basic staples…diapers, soap, etc.). Amanda had a headache and said she’d think about it, and somehow I managed to convince her that coming with me would be a good idea.
Between the time we hung up and the time she got to my house, I was fairly certain that I was in fact having light contractions. I still wasn’t very concerned because they were still fairly light, and definitely not regular, so we planned to go to Target as planned. We left the house around 7:30pm.
While at Target, we decided to time the contractions because they definitely started to get more intense. They were different contractions than what I had experienced with lil Max in the sense that I was feeling the intenseness of the contraction more in my back (please note that I said different…not necessarily pleasant). The contractions were still pretty irregular (11 mins, 8 mins, 4 mins, 7 mins, etc.), but being certain that they were contractions, I gave my contact list (phone/text) their heads-up just in case; so they could be on stand-by. It was about 8:15 at this point…who knew how long before they started getting regular and we’d have to head to the hospital…
We checked out from Target at 8:30. I know this because I saved the receipt. I saved the receipt mainly because we had one of the most incompetent checkers that Target has to offer. She seriously took like 10 minutes to check my items – and I only had about 10-15. She tried opening a pack of greeting cards I was buying…which made me mad...what was she going to do? Count to make sure that there were, in fact, 50 cards inside? I should have prefaced this by saying that I have had this person as a cashier before, and she was just as irritating all those other times as well. Normally, I try to avoid her if at all possible. In this case, we didn’t notice it was her until we were already up to the counter. I remember turning to Amanda and giving her a pleading look. But, we were trapped. At one point during the checkout process, she irritated me so badly that she LITERALLY STOPPED A CONTRACTION. I told Amanda as we were leaving that I thought this woman had single-handedly stopped my labor. Oh but she didn’t, she may have only merely delayed it.
We drove home (I was driving which, in retrospect probably wasn’t that smart…how many women having contractions at about 7-8 mins apart should be driving?), popped in a movie and I downloaded an app on my Itouch to help me track my contractions. They were still all over the place, but when they started getting closer to 6-7 mins apart and some of them only 3-4 mins apart, I called the OB on call (prob around 10:15). She told me, based on my past history, that I should come in to the hospital. So, we were on our way. Our neighbors came over to watch little Max while my dad made his way over to spend the night, and my mom got in her car to meet us at the hospital. Big Max (in his typical fashion) commented… “Oh come on, I was just about to go to bed to get some sleep…”
We were admitted to the hospital at 10:40 pm, and I was brought immediately to a labor and delivery room (again no triage for me!). They hooked me up to an external fetal monitor – everything looked great with McDuex (no lowered heart rate like with lil Max), they checked my progress – up to a 5.5 already, and asked me if I wanted to have my water broken. At that point, I chose to not have my water broken, and to let my body do what it needed to do. I was, again, planning to do the labor drug-free if possible, and wanted as few interventions as possible. The nurse got out the birthing ball, unplugged me from the monitor and told me to check in about every ½ hr to 45 mins. We began to walk the halls, bounce on the ball and labor! Big Max stayed back in the room while my mom and Amanda walked with me. The contractions were much easier for me to handle standing or sitting rather than lying in the bed. I also found that doing yoga breathing (deep breath in, deep breath out) helped me through the contractions much better than the “hee…hee…ho…” they tell you to use. I think you just have to do what works best for you.
Honestly, the contractions weren’t that bad. I certainly thought they were going to be worse or more intense. Like they were with lil Max – but then again, with him, there was no 5-7 min rest in between – as soon as my water had broken at home, they started coming 3-5 mins apart and very intensely. I walked through most of the contractions, cracked a few jokes in between, checked my email and Facebook (ah the joys of an Itouch and free wireless in the hospital!)
Apparently I did a good job of hiding the pain of the contractions from big Max because he felt confident enough that I would be in labor for a long time that he actually fell asleep in the middle of it all! I knew I was a good actress and all, but really!? It was definitely photo-op worthy!
Around 1:30 I came back for my normal check in and asked the nurse when I was going to be examined again. She said whenever I wanted to, so I asked if she could check me then. I was up to a 7! At that point, with my water still not having broken, I asked if the OB could rupture the membranes. I was fairly confident that if I had progressed that far on my own that rupturing the membranes wouldn’t be a problem. I did warn the nurse to make sure the OB on call was aware that the resident would be breaking my water because I had a distinct feeling that once my water had been broken, things would progress VERY quickly.
My membranes were ruptured at 2:11 AM. Somewhere between 2:45 and 2:50 AM I had completed cervical dilation and felt the urge to push. Max was standing by my side holding my hand, Amanda was operating the video camera (tastefully) to document the birth of McDuex and my mom was standing behind the doctors offering words of encouragement (thankfully no “push like you are at Bally’s comments” were made this time). Enya was playing on my Itouch (thank you Amanda for switching the song when Enya’s version of ‘I Wish You a Merry Xmas’ came on…). I had wanted to watch the delivery with a mirror, and although the mirror was in the room, there just wasn’t space for it. Not that I had my eyes open anyways…I was too busy concentrating on the pushing.
The big difference I noticed in pushing McDuex over lil Max was that I knew WHICH muscles to use and HOW to push more effectively. I actually made a mental note of this in my head as I pushed. At one point the doctor told me to hold my breath to have a more effective push, and I remember stopping pushing and conversing with him “hold it? Oh ok, I thought I shouldn’t hold it” (I think that part is on the video too). How different from my labor with lil Max where I just shut everybody on the outside out and couldn’t even think or make coherent thoughts!
McDuex was formally named Samuel Francis McLaughlin.
He was 7 lbs 5oz and 20 inches at birth, and scored an 8/9 on the APGAR.
They said my labor officially started around 8pm…so that would make this an almost 7 hr labor. But who’s counting? :)
So far, he has been a mostly mellow lil boy with a freakishly strong neck (he’s holding it up already a LOT…), an affinity for sleeping just about anywhere, crying only when he’s hungry or cold (sometimes not even when he’s wet or dirty). Our first night home with him was pretty nice – up only twice and one of those times I woke him to eat. The second night home was not so ideal, but the subsequent nights have just gotten better and better. Last night he pulled a 3.5 hr sleeping stint that made Mommy very happy! Big brother Max has been over the moon excited and elated to have a new baby brother. Every time he sees him he exclaims “Hi, baby brother!” or “Hi Sammy Sammy!” He is also very possessive of him…when the pediatrician was examining Sam in the hospital, lil Max got this look on his face and said to him “That’s MY baby brother! That’s MY Sam!” Ah….it makes mommy proud! He is full of kisses and hugs and all kinds of loving for him…we just have to remind him to be gentle…something still a little hard for a 2.5 yr old to grasp…but he is doing well.
And we are all adjusting well to the new addition to our sweet little family of four. Life is good. We are truly blessed.