We grew our family two weeks ago. While it's still fresh in my mind, I'll introduce you to Oliver while also adding his birth story to his siblings' in the archives.
See Brylee's birth story >> here and see Ian's birth story >> here.
Disclaimer: If you're not into birth stories, just don't read this. I'll have other more-simple-living-related content up soon.
First, a little background. Especially as I haven't shared much about this pregnancy here on the blog.
I had Braxton-Hicks contractions from early in second trimester. They gradually got stronger into third trimester, and in the last few weeks frequently felt more like early labor. This pregnancy I read quite a bit more on the natural birth process and put together my own mantras and stretching routine to focus on positive and calm. These were really helpful when "practice" contractions were uncomfortable and when stress of moving and anemia made me feel overwhelmed.
At my 38 week appointment, the doctor did a first cervical check and I was not even 1 cm dilated, cervix was really posterior, and baby was facing forward ("sunny side up"). I was a little surprised (and disappointed) because with my previous two pregnancies I was already quite a bit progressed by this point. I was measuring 38 weeks.
At my 39 week appointment, I was 4 cm (5 after she stripped my membranes), and measuring 40 weeks. I started to feel the pressure to deliver sooner rather than later because of anemia and baby growing. With having delivered an 11 pound baby before, there was some concern of blood loss if I had another large baby. I really wanted to avoid a blood transfusion if possible.
Daniel came with me to my 40-week appointment (which was at 9:40a on Wed Jul 16). I knew I would be talking induction plans with my doctor if baby didn't come soon. We found out I was 7 cm dilated, but baby was still posterior (facing forward). She was going to strip my membranes again and mentioned maybe it'd break my water. Apparently my cervix was still "really posterior" because the exam hurt so I stopped her from stripping my membranes again.
We decided I'd head over and get checked in and induce with breaking water and pitocin if needed to start contractions. She thought he'd likely turn into position once labor started. I wanted to start the epidural right away because of baby being posterior, using pitocin (stronger contractions), already being at 7 cm, and previous deliveries going pretty quick. I felt his position was partly why my contractions had been so uncomfortable (sometimes even painful) for weeks.
Daniel walked with me over to Labor and Delivery to get checked in (it was after 10:00a). He then left to get the kids over to a friend's and pick up my bag from home. Nurses surrounded me with inserting IV port, doing blood draw, asking questions, etc.
The anesthesiologist showed up to put in the epidural before Daniel made it back. Epidurals suck in general, but in comparison to painful contractions it's not so bad. I was nervous getting the epidural when contractions hadn't really begun or at least weren't painful yet. The nurse was super comforting and helpful through that.
After the epidural was all set and everyone cleared out of the room, my contractions were not close enough together so the nurse started me on pitocin. I questioned it, because I wanted the doctor to break my water then wait and see if anything else was necessary. The doctor wouldn't be there to break my water until her lunch break at noon--we had an hour or so to kill.
I also had been having pain around my right rib and right upper back. I felt and could move my legs and feet. Apparently epidurals are starting to be more like that--such that you can feel pressure but not necessarily pain. Although my rib and back felt more like pain.
Daniel got back to the hospital with my bag, gum and a 90s mix CD from work. Sounds strange, but the mix CD and the gum were just what I needed. I was feeling negative about the induction process. It was what I didn't want--starting labor with pitocin. Making labor happen ahead of baby's "schedule," increasing chances of complications.
Freshmen, Rock-a-bye and No Rain were just the calming throwback I needed. The music paired with the dimmed lights were the setting I had been wanting from my Birth Preferences sheet >> here, which helped ease the unknown of being induced.
After a couple uppings of pitocin and the doctor broke my water, we were still sitting and waiting. I felt continuing discomfort and pressure in my rib/upper back when I had contractions. Not knowing for certain what the pain was (the nurse guessed it was the discomfort of baby's spine laying against my spine), and not knowing how this birth would turn out, I felt my thoughts turning more concerned.
I closed my eyes, breathed calm and slow while holding Daniel's hand, and used the Birth Notes >> here I had chosen and been reciting for weeks. Through this difficulty grows a miracle. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He created me and He sustains me. I endure for the joy ahead.
Around 2:00p the nurse checked me and I was still at 7 cm, but she could stretch me to 10. Weird, I know. That meant that if baby was in position and head pressed down, he'd be ready to come out. But he was still facing forward.
She helped me turn to my left side to see if we could get baby to rotate. (I did lots of stretches and positions in the weeks before to try to get baby to rotate, but it didn't happen.) While she was still in the room, we heard (and I felt) baby moving quite a bit. After a little while, I started feeling added pain and pressure, so she came and helped me turn to my right side.
Within 10 minutes or so, the pain/pressure moved low on my right side and got more intense. I had Daniel call the nurse. She checked and sure enough baby had turned into position and I was at 10 cm. She had me push a little and quickly told me to stop so baby didn't come before the doctor got there.
The doctor came over pretty quickly, asked if she had time to change into scrubs and everyone said no. She got into position, and with the next contraction I pushed 3 times and was about to take a break but she urged me to keep going. I pushed a longer fourth push and he came out.
Oliver Daniel was born at 2:41p on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 (2 days before his due date). He was 9 lbs 3 oz and 21" long.
The doctor cut the chord and quickly passed him to a nurse that took him to the heated/lit crib. He was purple/blue from head to toe and not crying. I registered a little bit that I should be concerned, but I just felt an overwhelming sense of relief and gratitude and confidence that he would be okay.
I didn't stop looking over at the crib while the nurse worked to get him breathing--which took 30-45 seconds she mentioned later. She warmed him and monitored him while the doctor repaired my first degree tear. (And apparently putting sutures in added stretch marks from him coming so fast--I don't get it and she seemed surprised like she hadn't seen it before. Not very reassuring.)
I sent Daniel over to see him and take pictures, which he brought over to me to see. Eventually the nurse brought him over for me to cuddle for a minute while they waited for NICU to come check him over. His cry was deep and raspy, his entire head and part of his underarm were bruised purple, and his lungs were retracting a little funny when he breathed. I fell in love with him and his sweet face.
The NICU nurse came and the nurse shared how he was doing. Turning had wrapped the chord under his arm and around his neck and coming out quickly seemed to have cinched it tighter. Minute-by-minute he progressively seemed to be getting a little better with his breathing and his cry. They called one more person from the NICU down to get another set of eyes to look him over and they all decided he'd be fine.
We were able to hold him, and I got him to try nursing. We took some pictures and shared the news before eventually heading to our hospital room. I find out that my hemoglobin levels were back up to a good healthy range, which of course means no blood transfusion necessary. Yay for my combination of prescription and natural-sources of iron supplements working!
My sister brought the kids to see Oliver. Brylee was excited to hold him and is such a sweet big sister. Ian ran around with his cousin and seemed oblivious. When I got him to come over and hold him he looked down and said, "I like baby Oliver," then was quickly ready to let go of Oliver and get back to playing.
Nurses come by to see our purple-faced baby and several think they're original in suggesting we nickname him Rocky.
The next day I spend lots of time cuddling him and just staring at him. I let his toes curl around my finger while he nurses and feel like this is a sort of "never again moment." Because this is our last child, each moment feels more urgent that I slow down to take in the little joys of holding our newborn.
It's special because I love him, but it's also special because it's one last chance to fully remember baby Ian and baby Brylee--discovering how these little beings carry our traits, their sweet smells even if it's spit-up and milk, focusing on their teeny toes wrapping around my finger helping dull the pain of postpartum cramping.
We have visits from friends and Daniel's bosses and my parents. And our leasing agent so we can sign papers and take possession of our new home. I feel lots more cramping and far more uncomfortable than I did with Ian, but I'm still able to slow and enjoy.
Our last day in the hospital, I stay through the afternoon ODing on HGTV and baby while Daniel is gone getting us moved into our new place. Thankfully lots of help shows up and they load and unload the truck in 2 1/2 hours. He picks me up and we stop by our empty apartment. We leave behind three years of memories as a family of four in that apartment. He carries Oliver in his carseat and we're welcomed into our new home as a family of five.
Oliver is so special in every way that Brylee and Ian are, and I feel content knowing our family is now complete.
See Brylee's birth story >> here and see Ian's birth story >> here.