I sat down to write the birth story from start to finish on my own, but quickly realized that it would be so much better for you to read about it the same way you would hear about it if Chris and I were telling it together. Chris and I are very good at telling stories together because it often appears to be bickering but is really coming from a place of love.
So for this entry only, you will be reading the words of me in regular type and Chris in italics...enjoy. And, yes, it will be long.
On Saturday, May 1st, I slept in until about 9:00 because I knew that once the baby was born, there would be little time for sleeping. When I did wake up, I wasn't feeling the greatest. I was having what I called "intestinal cramping." I just felt like I was constipated. A sensation I have had plenty of times throughout the pregnancy. Not comfortable, but nothing extraordinary either.
I got home from work, about 10:30, but was tired since I was up on and off through the previous night. I cleaned the oven - the last thing on my "to-do" list, and then went upstairs for a quick nap. If I had to hear one more complaint about constipation...
Gradually, these intestinal cramps got much worse. And they led to some diarrhea. I thought nothing of them because I would have one and then I go to the bathroom. There was nothing rhythmic about them. They didn't start irregular and then get regular. I just had to go to the bathroom.
But then, at about 3:30, I noticed some blood. Could this be the "bloody show"? I decided to wake Chris up to discuss the possibilities. I also told him that if these were just constipation pains, then I was definitely going to need an epidural for contractions. He then asked me all of the questions that I had been asking myself for the past couple of hours.
"Are they regular? Are the rhythmic? Do you want me to start timing them?"
But they didn't feel like contractions because they weren't radiating throughout my entire stomach--they were only below my belly in my pelvis (as it turns out, that's because the baby was making his way down there very quickly).
I then spent some more time in the bathroom. At about 3:45, my water broke.
That's what she said. Now since there were really no contractions up to this point, I was a little skeptical. You have no idea how many women come in thinking that their water broke when all they did was just pee themselves. Yes. It happens. More than you'd think.
He asked me if I was sure. Ummm...how can you not be sure? But he said that he didn't want to be one of the people who goes into the hospital because their water broke and it turns out to be urine. But I convinced him that it was definitely not urine.
She said she was sure. So I believed her and knew that even without contractions we should go and get checked, etc. So I asked her, "where's the hospital bag?" Just in case we ended up staying.
Hospital bag? Ummm...that was on my to-do list for that day.
You're kidding me, right? We're 2 days away from our due date, you've been off work for an entire week, watching Oprah all day long, and you don't have a bag packed? Nice.
So, he started packing things for me while I was starting to make some noises during these "intestinal cramps." He had the list of items that were supposed to be in the bag and started asking me questions like:"Do you want a book or magazine to read?"
What? Seriously? I'm pretty sure that is for women who spend 36 hours in labor and need something to keep their mind occupied. My mind was pretty well occupied.
Just trying to be considerate.
I then moved to the bed as he packed things around me, mumbling things about how I was off all week and didn't manage to get a hospital bag packed.
She moved to the bed, and after her water broke, the contractions came on. And came on with a vengeance. Every two minutes. We went from nothing to every two minutes. So I started gathering things up faster.
And then, only about 5 minutes after my water broke, I said to Chris, "I feel like I need to push."More like screamed it.
Apparently that isn't a good thing while you are still at home.
So now I was a little worried. Gross as it was, there was some information I needed.
So Chris did the one thing that he swore he wasn't ever going to do--he checked my dilation at home. He told me I was 5 centimeters dilated.
She was eight. But why scare her?
This triggered him to move much faster because he was now scared (but I didn't know that).
Get dressed. Now. In between contractions if you have to.
There were no breaks.
Not an option.
About 15 minutes after my water broke, Chris helped me into a pair of St. Lukes scrubs and got me in the car. He also called the kennel to try to get Scout in there later that night.
I didn't tell Jenny, but I had a shoestring and a pair of trauma shears in my back pocket. In case worst came to worst. After all, we had gone from nothing to 8 cm in 15 minutes. Hospital: 20 minutes away.
After we started driving, Chris told me that he was going to drive carefully but quickly which was fine with me because I was in a lot of pain and was trying to fight the urge to push out a baby in the front seat of the car.
As we were pulling up to the hospital, I told him to take me to the front entrance because it wasn't after hours yet.
Wrong. Emergency Department entrance. I've got connections.
He pulled up and told the security officer to get me in a wheelchair up to the 8th floor right away while he went to park the car. I feel bad for the tech who had to wheel me upstairs because I was having contractions every minute.
She wheeled me up to the nurse's station in Labor and Delivery, and I immediately said, " I feel the urge to push!"
They put me in bed, in a gown, and then checked my cervix. As it turns out, I was full and complete. Chris got up to the room just in time for them to tell me it was okay to start pushing. There were a lot of nurses in there because things were happening so quickly. In fact, the doctor from my office wasn't close enough to deliver the baby so another doctor stepped in for him. I was having a really hard time concentrating because there was so much going on. They had to tell me to breath and not to make noise as I pushed. They put an oxygen mask on me that apparently wasn't working until Chris told them it wasn't connected. They put an IV in my arm because apparently red-heads bleed a lot, so they give pitocin after delivery to prevent that--I don't know.
No one was really telling me what was going on because there was so much going on, but apparently the baby's heart rate dropped down into the 80s, so the doctor told me that on the next contraction, I was going to have a baby. He gave me an episiotomy (ouch!) and then used the vacuum to pull out the baby.
I heard the baby cry, but no one told me what it was until I looked at Chris (who was crying at this point) and asked, "What is it?" And as you already know, it was a red-headed baby boy!
They placed him on my chest for a brief time before taking him to be weighed, cleaned, and checked.
Recap the timeline. Water breaking at 3:45. In the hospital bed at 4:18. Miles born at 4:32.