I started up a 3-5 minute full strength contraction labor pattern Thanksgiving evening around 11pm. It continued throughout the night, keeping me from sleeping. This continued all the next day as well. I was able to knit some, but mostly stayed on the birthing ball trying to get things going in the hopes that this early labor wouldn’t last as long as it did with Renna’s birth. No such luck. I went to bed around 11pm and the contractions spaced out enough for me to sleep a few hours at a time. I woke up at 6am and couldn’t sleep anymore and the contractions were back to every 3-5 minutes, lasting a minute to a minute and a half. The in-laws were taking Jamie and Renna to the Children’s museum, so I knew I’d have some peace and quiet for a few hours. After everyone was up I went back to bed and stayed in the bedroom. I didn’t really want anyone around me. I kept up drinking and peeing and eating, with Mama bringing me food and drinks and checking in on me regularly, and tried to rest when it felt right and move around when that felt right. I expected to want to go in the shower at some point but I didn’t. After the in-laws came back with the kids, they had some leftovers and then left to drive back to Oregon. The kids resisted going to bed. Renna had wanted to be with me as much as possible and wanted even to sleep in my bed while I labored. The moans didn’t bother her much. She seemed to want to comfort me, but seemed to have an understanding that it was okay and what needed to happen. That is what we told her, but she didn’t need any reassurance about it. But she wanted to help me and was upset when Mama and Michael made her go to bed. Jamie was very upset. He didn’t like the moaning. I don’t think he remembered Renna’s birth at all. He came to see me, but would leave pretty soon after a contraction. He didn’t want me to be in pain. He was excited that it meant Sean was coming, but the labor and me being uncomfortable were just things he didn’t like AT ALL. He was the same way when he saw I was in the hospital for the infection. As soon as he got on video chat and saw a hospital bed behind me, his face crumpled and he left very upset and didn’t talk to me again until I was back at Bridget’s house. It didn’t matter that I told him I was okay. Around midnight the contractions were coming about every 2 minutes and lasting a minute to a minute and a half. So we decided to go to the hospital because I didn’t want to be in transition while driving there. Mama and Michael decided he would go with me and she would stay home with the kids. Renna woke up and climbed into bed with Mama pretty much as soon as we left. We got there and checked in around 12:30am. They checked me around 1:30am and I was 5cm, 80%. Not great. Clearly hospital syndrome in effect. I was starting to lose control and having great difficulty dealing with the pain and intensity. While not transition, it was clearly getting there. There was no back labor, this time, but that didn’t seem to matter much for pain level. The doc checked me around 2am and I was 6cm, 100%, and the head was at +2. They moved me to a room around 3am and I walked all the way there taking like 15 minutes, and Oh My God that was awful. After getting to the room I labored sitting up in the bed. I used to like leaning over the bed, but I didn’t like that this time. The doc checked me again just before 4 am, I think. I was 7cm, 100% (still), and at -2. She said I had a lot of amniotic fluid and that was what keeping Sean from coming down. Yeah, amazingly my water hadn’t broken yet. That was like the first thing to go with my labors with Jamie and Renna so I had been surprised it hadn’t yet. So she broke my water and I swear I must have contained the entire Pacific Ocean in there. With every contraction I soaked the new towels and eventually soaked the bed, too. They started bringing in the warming table and getting everything ready for birth, and that made me feel somewhat hopeful that this wasn’t going to go on for another 6 hours. After 6 contractions that were beyond awful with no rest between them, I couldn’t keep from pushing and said so and was getting a bit desperate. They brought the doc in and she checked me again and said there was a cervical lip all the way around and I couldn’t push yet. I tried my best but even what helped me not push with Renna didn’t work at all. The last half of a contraction and my uterus would contract very hard on it’s own and nothing in this world was ever going to stop it. (Apparently there is some debate about whether or not pushing on a cervical lip is really the wrong thing to do or if it just helps to complete dilation, but that’s a discussion for another time.) After 2 or 3 contractions I knew it wasn’t working and said so and asked for help. Begged might be a better word. She checked me again and I had a lip on two sides and she said she’d just push them back. And then I had to roll over because as Sean was turning down the birth canal they couldn’t get a read on his heartbeat with the monitor, and that took some serious doing and I think in the end they had to help roll me over. I tried moaning through it the way I did with Renna but it wasn’t as productive as pushing without moaning, so I tried to do it without vocalizing and it did feel better. After 4 contractions he was born. It was 4:21am. Less than 4 hours after arriving at the hospital. Less than half an hour after breaking my water. They put him on my chest right away. He was purple and I started talking to him and rubbing him. He was moving and lifting his head and gurgling so he was okay, but they asked to take him to the warmer to help get the fluid out and I said okay. He started crying a minute later, but it was a quiet cry. Every sound he made was quiet, but certain. He pinked up quickly and they brought him back to me and he laid there looking around quietly and making little growly noises. Like a bear. Jamie said Sean should be a bear and he was right. So they were working on delivering the placenta, which took a few pushes and got stuck halfway. Fun stuff. I was bleeding a bit more than she was comfortable with, and she said she wanted to give me pitocin to help it and I said fine. It did make the after contractions a bit more owie and of course them pushing on the uterus to help empty it out and shrink it was not the most fun I’ve ever had. So then she was sewing me up for what seemed like forever. I tore just like I had with Renna, third degree back and first degree front. I think it was at that point that I said, “Can I have some pain killer now?” Haha. They gave me fentanol. Ah, the good stuff. Around 5am Sean started nursing and he nursed for the next 2 hours straight. They wheeled us into a room in the maternity ward around 6am and left us alone. I stayed awake and ordered breakfast around 7am when Sean decided he was done eating and went to sleep for what would be a 4 hour nap. Mama came with Jamie and Renna around 11:30am. Jamie came in smiling and so very happy and relaxed and said, “Hi, Mama! I love you! Where’s baby Sean?” Haha! Renna came in and said, “I want to see baby Sean!” They held him and kissed him then sat with me and snuggled a bit. It was wonderful.
It’s been a week and I’m feeling much better. The OB was appalled that I still had the tube and had me call the urologist that day to try to schedule an appointment to get it out. They couldn’t fit me in until this coming Wednesday, so I’m looking forward to getting rid of this damn thing. I may need to have a stent put in so the stoma will heal but he’ll have to evaluate that when the tube actually comes out. They’ll need to take the gallbladder eventually, too. But that will probably be in a few months. I am so thrilled to be feeling better. And I am. The kidney pain is much better now and the tube is capped off and everything’s working properly the way it should. There was no sediment even two days after the birth, which is how I knew I could cap it off and it’d be fine. I’m gaining strength every day. The tube still bothers me, of course, but it’s better. I’m so hopeful to be healthy and normal soon. Until then I’ll be having a babymoon with my little miracle. We sleep very well together, especially on the couch with him on my chest. He still wants to be in the womb, and that’s as close as he can get. And we both love it.
The birth was intense and I wasn’t as composed as I was with Renna’s birth. In early labor Mama took good care of me, leaving me alone when I wanted it and bringing me drinks and food, and staying with me when I wanted her to. At the end, I was the screaming woman in movies who no one wants to be. Seriously. But for a hospital birth, it was very good. The doctor treated me with respect and was responsive and didn't treat me like I was a difficult patient for being a vbac. Perhaps that's in large part because labor was so advanced and progressing so rapidly, but I appreciated it. Michael was helpful and helped me keep what endurance and focus I had. He didn’t promise that things were almost over, he just told me how well I was doing, how strong I was, how every contraction brought Sean closer to us, and got me to breathe. He could tell when I was nearing transition and his calm and confidence really helped me know that things weren’t going to last forever and that it was okay. Although, to a certain extant, I’m not sure how much I heard him sometimes. I was so busy trying to hang on and find that calm place I had with Renna’s and Charlie’s births. Throughout the labor, I wanted to be holed up away from distractions, dangers, people, etc. I think my endurance and pain tolerance were severely impacted by all the pain I’ve been in for the last 4.5 months. I just didn’t have any more endurance left. I just didn’t have the reserves for handling labor the way I wanted. But in the end, I did it. I gave birth to my son. And he’s amazing. Before leaving for the hospital, I told Mama and Michael that I didn’t want to do this again. No more labors. If I was going to have any more children it would have to be a scheduled cesarean because I was done. My boy is eight days old today. And I’ve already decided he’s should have a little brother or sister.