April 1, 2016 – 7:58 AM
8 lb & 20 inches
Everything about my pregnancy with Oliver was pretty standard. I was sick in the first trimester, sailed through the second, and was ready for the end by the third. His due date fell right in with the rest of “birthday season” at our house. I slowly said goodbye to the girl name we had chosen because I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get to use it. So I wasn’t surprised in the least when the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy.
But there were lots of new things this time around too. All I have ever known is girls. So expecting a boy was a new concept. Having a third kid was a new concept. Finding out our baby’s gender before arrival was a new concept. We may have been on baby #3, but there were some aspects that were like starting at square one!
Oliver’s Birth Story.
Since the beginning of the pregnancy when talking about my due date (April 9), I have told everyone I was pretty sure he would arrive on April 1. My girls were both about a week early, and April 1 was a Friday. Everyone in my family was born on Fridays (except Adelynn, who was evicted). My mom, my dad, my brother, Dave, Ava and I were all born on Fridays. (Statistically, that has got to be rare!)
I just had a feeling. So much so that I mentally planned for this date. And if nothing else, having a day to focus on would be good for me 🙂 This whole plan was working well until I went to the doctor on March 25, at nearly 38 weeks, and was dilated to between a 5-6. My doctor said she had never had anyone that far dilated and walking around not in labor! I found out later she told the hospital staff to expect me that weekend and to expect it to be fast because of my labor with Ava. The next several days seemed to drag on. On March 30 I went back to the doctor and was still dilated to a 6… at least I was 90% effaced at that appointment, which was more than the 60% I was 5 days earlier!
I felt like a ticking time bomb for days, just knowing he was ready to come and that it probably wouldn’t be a long labor and delivery. I felt like I needed to be prepared to rush to the hospital at a moment’s notice in case my date intuition was wrong. Plus, I was getting several texts a day from people checking in on me, so I thought about it multiple times each day. At my appointment on the 30th, my doctor told me she would be out of town the coming weekend. I was pretty disappointed by that. She told me that the doctor on call was expecting me to be a very fast VBAC situation. She assured me he could get to the hospital quickly. I asked if she liked him and she said she did, but that he was inconvenienced by having to stay at the hospital with laboring VBAC moms. Great.
Thursday night I took a shower and mentally prepared for the following day. I had more confidence as the day drew near because my mom had also thought April 1 was the date from the very beginning. She predicted Ava’s birth date as well, which was originally a scheduled c-section, and she guessed a day 6 days prior to the planned day, which is even crazier, AND she was RIGHT! She has a hidden talent 🙂
On Friday, April 1, I woke up at 1:45 AM with pretty mild, yet consistent, contractions. I can’t say I was surprised at all. I timed them for 25 minutes before waking Dave. They were 5 minutes apart. I packed my bag (slacker, I know), and then about 2:45, I woke Dave, who also wasn’t really surprised. Because when we went to bed at 11:45, I said “See you in a few hours!”. So Dave called my Dad who came over to stay with the girls, and we went to the hospital. We got there about 3 AM. I was very calm. I felt like we were ahead of the game and I had a confidence that things were going to go well. When checking in at the ER, she didn’t believe I was actually in labor because of my demeanor.
They got me upstairs and the best.nurse.ever checked me and said I was dilated to a 6. I felt like my eyes were going to pop out of my skull! Oh. The same thing I have been for the last full week. I wanted to go back home and go to sleep! She wanted to make sure I knew about the doctor on call, and informed me that he doesn’t do VBACs. “Well, I’m having one.” I told her. “OK!” she responded. I knew from that moment that she was on my side. At that time, my blood pressure was pretty high. She decided that she would wait to call him until it went down, or more than likely he would look at the situation as there was a previous c-section mom who had high blood pressure and therefore needed to deliver via “emergency” c-section. Which wasn’t happening. We hung out with that nurse until my blood pressure went down and she called him.
Dave and I rested for a couple of hours. Meaning that Dave slept and I laid there and listened to the baby’s heartbeat and felt contractions. It was a bittersweet time knowing we were so near the end. We were so near the last baby we are planning and we were so near meeting our son. I was so near a new birthing situation. I was flooded with thoughts and emotions as I laid there. I knew we would leave that place with our baby. I knew it was up to us to be a light to these doctors and nurses. I knew we would have to find a balance between being confident and firm to get what we wanted, yet to show them Who we represent. Before I knew it, and without a wink of sleep, the doctor came in at 6 AM and introduced himself. We talked a little bit and he said he was going to have the best.nurse.ever check me again and we would go from there. She did and she told me if I wasn’t to 7 cm, she would stretch me so she could tell him I was. Because if I wasn’t… well, I’m not sure if he would have sent me home or wanted to do a c-section or what. So she went and told him I was at a 7 and therefore making progress. He wanted to admit me and she started an IV.
At 6:45, he came in and broke my water (that was my choice). At 7:00 I was still at a 7. I was pretty sure I was not going to make it to delivery without pain meds because things were getting real. I knew I had done it before, but I was hoping this time would be just as fast, and so far it had not been anything like my last experience. It was not long at all, but it felt long because it felt like no progress was being made whatsoever. In that time the anesthesia guy came in. I told Dave that I wanted pain meds. He told me he believed in me and I could do it without them, (knowing that is what I truly wanted – which is the only reason he said that, he wouldn’t have cared either way) and that I would have to be able to sit still. I told Dave I could sit still, but in retrospect, I couldn’t. Anesthesia guy started setting up and by 7:15 I started feeling a strong urge to push. They checked me again and said I was at a 9. FINALLY. Something that went quickly! That’s when I changed my mind and he left.
By 7:30 I was beyond ready to push. It was then that I noticed something cold and wet by my left hand. Turns out, my IV fell out. The nurses started scrambling to get a new one in. They stuck me 6 different places in both arms and couldn’t get anything. They didn’t want me to push yet because I didn’t have an IV in. Well, like every other woman delivering without pain meds, not pushing when your body says to is like not throwing up when your body says to. It is out of your control. So I pretty much ignored the nurses. Finally, this not-pro-VBAC doctor became the voice of reason when he said “If she has to push, let her push and if she bleeds, we will get it later.” Ah. Show time. I pushed once and they said “One more push and he will be here!” One more push and sure enough! There he was! That long week of waiting and waiting ended in 2 minutes time. At 7:58 they laid him on my chest and I was instantly in love!
(Photo credit for these stunning photos goes to Blue Muse Photography!)
The girls brought flowers that they most definitely didn’t pick from our garden.
What I loved.
On giving-birth-days, there are moments that are important. There are moments that are bound to change your life. Knowing Dave was right there to be my advocate was everything. There was one point he moved out of someone’s way and took his hand off me. I might have been in the transition part of labor but there’s no doubt I noticed! I opened my eyes and turned my head to find him. He came right back to me. I don’t know how women labored in the past with their husbands in the waiting rooms. That would have been hard!
There are no feelings like the feelings you have after having a brand new baby. These big emotions that are being pulled in every direction. You wonder if you chose the right name. You hope your baby passes every hospital test and screening they are given. You try to remember everyone in your life that you should contact about your new bundle of joy. You light up each time they say they love his name or how happy they are for you. Each text that comes in that says how cute he is, it never gets old. There’s even mentally managing a visitor schedule to keep track of who is coming when. It means the world to watch people put down their lives to invest in yours.
Those quiet moments in the hospital where there’s no one but you and baby. Where they sleep so soundly, they make big dramatic sighs and with each breath their tiny exhaled breath hits your neck. They sleep so hard and put all of their trust in you.
Those moments of silence where reality sinks in. This is our child. This is the little person I have been carrying for 9 months. This is who God entrusted us to raise.
Since we are home.
Oliver was born on a Friday, so we went home Saturday. Dave was off the following week, and the following Monday. That gave us a chance to adjust some. Having Dave home to get Adelynn to school was awesome. During his time off, Adelynn and I both had birthdays, and we got to take treats to school for Adelynn that week. (Oliver was born on the 1st, my birthday is the 3rd and Adelynn’s is the 8th). So we had lots of well-wishes, cards in the mail, gifts and meals coming in. Things were supposed to be normal, but things weren’t our normal yet.
Last week was my first week alone (minus Monday). I got out of the house with the kids once! We only went through the Starbucks drive thru, but the Moms all over Facebook rejoiced with me in these small victories!
Sickness kicked in during the week for both girls and myself, so I felt like I had an honest introduction to doing it on my own.
Oliver doesn’t have a long stretch at night yet, so there’s not much sleep happening over here lately. (He’s 2 weeks old and not a unicorn like Ava, so I wasn’t expecting one). Overall he is a pretty easy baby. He only gets upset if we are shuffling him between people/places or when he has gas. He does well with baths and diaper/clothes changes and even hiccups don’t upset him. He actually enjoyed his 2 week doctor visit. He’s pretty patient with us! It’s a good thing, too because being the third kid, he will have other schedules to adjust to. He has such a calm demeanor. He has big blue eyes and just looks around when he is awake. He looks a lot like his sisters. He can make himself loud, but he has the softest, sweetest little cry that I hope I never forget the sound of. He’s so stinking sweet. However, he has peed on me several more times than he has peed on Dave! Once Dave started gloating about that, Oliver made sure he had a turn. Well played, son.
The girls are still adjusting too. Adelynn is an old pro and is helpful with holding him, talking to him and noticing him and his needs. Mostly she is busy playing ponies with her sister, who has needed some time. This week is better than last week for Ava, so she is getting used to it too. We had a rough week last week with sickness (none shared or contagious, just crummy timing!) and so we had been cooped up with all kinds of changes and no one felt 100%. We are enjoying some adjustment to our new normal this week!
As for me, my brain is mush. Like, mush that has been smashed and fried and then re-mashed. I have zero memory. I seem to be about 3 steps behind in each conversation I am in. I spend a lot of time trying to think of words or asking “Did I already tell you this?”
New mom brain is a very tired one. A brain where the world doesn’t stop, yet you need it to stop for a minute to catch up with it. It is full of all of the regular thoughts but it is also full of all the parent emotions. All of the worries, all of the remembering a newborn’s needs, one more person’s schedule, giving extra to the other kiddos, and also all of the love. I have two wonderful friends who offered to take the girls this week for an afternoon each. That is a win all around!
Speaking of my friends, can I tell you about our village? This village we have… this village wants to take my girls and give them some normal play time with friends. To give me some time to myself to enjoy our baby because this time goes by so quickly. To take the time to set up a meal schedule. To have too many people that wanted to be on the meal schedule that it filled up before they could sign up. To even more villagers who brought meals even without ever seeing the schedule. To the amazing friends who asked me my coffee order before they came over to meet Oliver. To everyone who made special trips to meet him. To everyone who said kind words about him (and bonus points to the ones who said nice things about me too!) To multiple families bringing large tubs filled to the brim with their pre-loved boy clothes. To those who gave gifts. Those who threw us the best Surprise Sprinkle ever. To those who would text at any time for no reason other than just to check on us, both before and after he was born. That is our village. Those are the people we are raising our kids around. I’m so thankful for our village and that our kids won’t know life any other way.
Our baby boy is here and healthy and we are surrounded by such a loving village. I couldn’t ask for more.