I went into my OB office for my 38 week appointment on Thursday morning at 9am. My doctor talked about having a plan in place for when Kellen decided to arrive, because we knew he’d come fast – with Damien, I labored for three hours after my water broke, and with Rowen it was less than two hours. We arranged for an induction Monday morning (when I’d be 39 weeks 2 days,) discovered I was 4cm dilated (“you’re two good contractions away from going into labor on your own!”), and she stripped my membranes. The rest of the day I felt uncomfortable and even felt one or two of my always-present Braxton-Hicks contractions. In my way home I stopped to pick up a few last-minute baby necessities – I guess that now that there was an official date in place I should be ready. Never having gone into labor on my own, I assumed we’d be doing the induction Monday despite what my doctor said.
At 38 weeks, you no longer have toes… Also note the ginormous belly in the mirror
My husband got home early from work and I had him help me do all the things we’ve been putting off to get ready for baby, like moving some furniture, setting up the cosleeper, and putting our hospital bags in the car. We ate dinner and got the kids ready for bed like normal – Dan got Damien to sleep, but as I was laying down with Rowen I noticed I was having painful, semi-regular contractions. I pulled up a counter app on my phone and found they were 2-6 minutes apart and 40 seconds each. I wasn’t sure I actually was in labor but I had Kassi call my mom to come home just in case. I called the hospital and they said to come in, so my mom cuddled up with a still-awake Rowen while Dan and I headed to the hospital, which is thankfully only nine minutes away. (Sad/cute story: while I was saying goodbye to Rowen, he could tell I was in pain and kept trying to give me the various medicines – cough drops, Tums – from the bedside table, so I would feel better. It definitely made me cry.)
On the drive over my contractions got more painful and every bump the car went over was awful. (Random: “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” was playing the radio, which is sweet and all but at that point I very much did want to close my eyes and fall asleep.) We got to the parking lot and found the night entrance, since it was now after ten. An orderly put me in a wheelchair and whisked me to the Labor & Delivery wing. After checking in I had to be assessed in a room, where my contractions got worse and worse. I was now five cm dilated and allowed to stay. I kept telling everyone I would go really fast, and that I was ready for the epidural five minutes ago!
Once Dan and I were in a delivery room the next trial began – starting an IV. I had to get fluid before my epidural, plus I needed penicillin for being group B strep positive, so the IV was important – the problem was, the veins in my hands kept slipping away. It took four jabs in each hand by two nurses plus the nurse anesthetist (in the midst of contractions I was moaning/screaming through) before they gave up and put the IV in my inner elbow vein, aka my one good vein. Then I could finally get my epidural, which was super hard to sit still for in between contractions but oh so beautiful when it started to work.
Delivery room selfie – Dan was sick so he had to wear a mask
Now that I could breathe again, I met the doctor who would be delivering Kellen and really liked her. She advised that I get some rest (and get at least one dose of penicillin) before I had to push. I was able to rest for about an hour, but then I noticed the epidural was pooling in my left leg (which was completely numb) and I could now feel contractions in my right hip and running down my thighs (why?? The nurse theorized it was ligament pain.) I also felt a ton of pressure from my intact bag of water every time I had a contraction. A nurse checked me and I was 9cm dilated. A few minutes later, I was screaming from pain again, I needed to push, and my epidural was still only numbing my darn leg. I did NOT want to give birth and feel it – I’ve done that before and once was enough! – but I had no choice.
Happier times, with a working epidural…
The birth team assembled quickly – to their immense credit, they totally believed me when I said I’d go fast – and the doctor broke my water, which proceeded to burst like a water balloon all over everything and everyone (and would have probably been funny if I hadn’t been, you know, in mostly-unmedicated labor.) Right away I needed to push, but the doctor tried to slow me down to keep me from tearing (which didn’t work, but at that point I didn’t care at all – I wanted him OUT.) The first push brought his head down, the second push got his head out, and the third push brought out his shoulders – Kellen was out at 1:35am!
They put a very vernix-covered Kellen straight on me for skin to skin, and he cried right away, demonstrating an impressive set of lungs. I was still feeling contractions and couldn’t focus until the placenta was out. Then I felt okay again…until my doctor started stitching my tear, without the epidural’s benefit. Luckily Kellen was a great distraction – we discovered his umbilical cord was twisted around his ankle somehow, which was weird but interesting, and Dan cut his cord.
Cord around the ankle
After I was finally done with stitches, I was able to breastfeed Kellen for over an hour while the nurse gave him all necessary meds. Then she weighed, measured, and bathed him – we learned he was 9 lbs 0.3 oz and 21.5″, securing his record as Biggest Baby Brother. 🙂 We also noticed Kellen has lots of dark brown hair, looks like Dan as a baby but also like his brothers, and has this same teeny birth defect as me – a dimple/hole in the top of each ear. (For some reason I love this! It’s purely cosmetic and just unique.)
Mama snuggles (once we were in our regular room)
Looking so tiny!
Lots of other stuff happened in the next few days (which will be another post), but the most exciting thing was definitely introducing Kellen to his big brothers.
They were both SO EXCITED and for Damien in particular, we were surprised at how long he stayed mesmerized just by holding and staring at Kellen. It just about made my heart explode.
And now we’re a happy, crazy, COMPLETE family of five. 🙂