I woke up the morning of the 20th at 1am with regular contractions about 8 minutes apart and started timing them. Around 4 am they were about 7 minutes apart and I went back to sleep for a couple hours. I still woke up with the contractions but I didn’t bother timing them and slept between them. Chris claims he had a terrible night sleep because of this and he was certainly exhausted the next day but I wasn’t super sympathetic.
In the morning Chris went to work and my mom came to help me pack and be available for Helen Jeanette whenever the time came. We went to Elmo’s diner for breakfast and went to Harris teeter to store up on Helen Jeanette snacks for a few days and chocolate for the nurses. At this point things felt early for me but my contractions were less then 5 minutes apart so I went to the hospital to get checked out. They found me at 4-5 cm but by the time I was checked in triage my contractions had slowed to every 10 minutes so they gave me the choice to be admitted or not. The choice was phrased more along the lines of ‘if you really want to stay we’ll keep you…’ so at noon I chose to go get lunch and labor at home. At this point I also decided it was time for Chris to come home so he came to meet me at a burger joint across from the hospital. Having been so close to the hospital and the diet it entails (only clear liquids) I went a little overboard and got us lots of burgers, fries, cokes, and milkshakes. They were delicious and I definitely think the energy was good later on.
The next couple hours we basically just prepared because my contractions started ramping up again as soon as I left the hospital. Chris played with Helen Jeanette some while I packed a few last minute things and then Chris and I headed to target to pick out a gift for Helen Jeanette from Killian. We had a good time selecting way too many toys and books and then narrowing it down to a big stuffed Mickey (thanks to some Christmas books from Uncles Daniel and Rhys she says ‘mickey’ excitedly whenever she sees him) and two books. This was still probably 2 items too many but books are my weakness because they’re educational and when we get new books we don’t have to read the old ones quite as often.
We ended up checking back into the hospital at 4:30 with contractions coming every 4.5 minutes. This was still not very frequent because we were every 3 minutes when we were admitted with Helen Jeanette. This time my contractions stayed regular until I was actually strapped to the monitor at which point they immediately stalled and dropped to every 10-12 minutes. We kicked this around for a few hours, took walks, bounced on the birthing ball, etc. etc. I could make a contraction come but normal behavior they had slowed to intense but not consistent contractions every 10-15 minutes. I was still measuring only 5cms. The doctor was pretty puzzled but gave us two options. 1) go home and wait it out or 2) he breaks my water to get things moving. Even though he gave us the options he clearly thought we should go home and didn’t think 38 weeks + 5 days was the right time to induce labor. We talked about it for a bit but there was really only one decision to be made and Chris finally verbalized that we had to go home because there was less risk to Killian. I cried some just at the thought of having spent the whole day laboring, lined up childcare for Helen Jeanette, started my maternity leave, etc. with nothing to show for it and no clear idea when things would progress. We prayed some and I admit that while I should have prayed for God’s will, I really just prayed that things would get started again before I could be discharged.
At 10:30 we had completed the discharge conversation with the dr, gotten dressed, and were just waiting for the iv to be removed. I had a contraction and tried to roll onto my side when I heard a pop and felt a gush. I was completely thrilled and rushed into the hall to tell the doctor. Things were a little shaky for the next 10 minutes while they considered the possibility I’d just peed myself since all the tests were either inconclusive or invalid because the blood that was present would also give a positive on the test. Within 10 minutes though labor had kicked into high gear and removed all doubt.
So at 10:30 I was planning to go home, at 10:40 I was clearly back in labor with contractions 10x as intense as the previous ones, at 11 I was asking for an epidural, at 11:20 I was hitting Chris and screaming for my epidural, at 11:40 I was demanding some sort of drugs to tie me over to my epidural, at 11:50 they gave me the epidural, at 1 we were pushing, and at 1:21 I had a beautiful boy on my chest.
With Helen Jeanette I had an epidural at 4cms due to a stalled labor so I never felt the pain of the transition stage, and I was clearly not prepared for it. I went into this labor planning on an epidural but never realized how bad the pain would get. However, with Helen Jeanette I pushed for 3 hours and with Killian it only took 15 minutes. I was able to pull him out for skin to skin cuddles while his umbilical cord pulsed out the last of the blood from the placenta and Chris was able to cut the cord.
With both babies I was immediately wide awake as soon as they were born, however this time around I started to crash quickly and I told Chris and the nurse I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed because I couldn’t stay awake. I remember thinking how strange it was that after everything I’d just gone through I couldn’t hold it together enough to breastfeed for 20 minutes. Fortunately the nurse recognized that I wasn’t so much falling asleep as passing out and was able to get me some sugary foods and adjust my iv to help me stay awake. I had some low blood pressure issues this pregnancy that resulted in my passing out some in my second trimester, and this was evidently more of the same. Because my blood pressure was so low they weren’t able to remove us to the recovery room for an extra couple hours so we were able to get a little bit of sleep after he ate.
Yesterday was a pretty uneventful day in the hospital. Killian slept a lot, Chris went home and slept in the morning while my mom came here to hold him, my dad also came by in the morning to see him before he leaves for California, Mary Kyle came and ate dinner with us, and Rane and Molly came by in the evening. I took a nap in the afternoon but mostly can’t sleep here because people are constantly coming in and out. We are expecting to be released this afternoon and are very excited to introduce Killian to Helen Jeanette, but we’re also very nervous about teaching her to be gentle and not touch without mommy and daddy there.