Friday, August 30th we were officially 40 weeks and 1 day. It was the start of the Labor Day weekend--a few last days before school started. The day before we had made it through Open House at the school--the kids met their teachers, delivered their supplies to the classrooms, ate some Popsicles and played on a playground for an hour and a half. Friday morning dawned and I felt the same as I had for the past few weeks--tired with a lot of contractions. The contractions had gotten a tiny bit more painful as the weeks went on. I did my morning workout and it did not stop the contractions--but it didn't bring them on any heavier either. However, something in my this particular morning was insisting that I "move just a little faster, get a little more done, hurry, hurry!". The kids were eager to help me get my chores done and made things easier by sweeping, helping to vacuum and dust and gather up laundry. Tadd kept calling to see if he should come home. He just had a feeling. Somewhere along the way I called him back and said "yeah, you should. It might be for nothing, but I'd feel better having you here." I also called my mom and let her know that things might be happening and I'd call her back before rush hour to let her know if she should start on her way up. My worst nightmare would be to have Tadd at work and my parents in Gig Harbor during the Friday evening rush hour on Labor Day weekend. We DID NOT want that happening. Kiddos played quietly while I took a shower. They were rewarded with a reading session--the kids on the couch and me sitting on my exercise ball. Suddenly I needed to stop reading every six or so minutes to breathe through the contractions. Hmmmmm.....
Tadd got home and took over reading while I got up to make lunch. I wanted to move around. After lunch I took Nora up to put her down for her nap. Now here is where I must interject just how much the dear Lord Jesus spoiled me during this labor and delivery. He answered prayers before I asked them. He gave me helpers. He put "feelings" into my husband and parents. He spoiled me rotten. So, now we've got Daddy at home playing with two kids. I told Nora that I'd lay down to snuggle with her (possibly the last time with just the two of us and a baby in my belly) but that Mommy might moan a bit or even cry. She said she'd hide her eyes under the covers. However--contractions stopped for the most part for a good half hour and I got to cuddle my girl AND take a nice hard nap. What a joy! When I woke up, my parents were here and my contractions got pretty active. I still wanted to be active, so I did some things around the house. Then it was time to use a "contraction timer" app on Tadd's iphone. I timed contractions while sitting on my exercise ball out in the sunshine, chatting with my mom and my kids in between. The app is great, because it shows not only how often the contractions are, but it averages the time between and the duration. Just like with Nora there was not really a pattern. Sometimes I'd go as much as 6 minutes between and sometimes as little as 2.5-3. They were getting more painful, though. Tadd was pretty gun shy after our last go at this whole birth thing--so when he checked the average and it was 3:45 between, he insisted I at least call the hospital and would prefer it if I would do it from the passenger seat of the van. I called from home while he readied things and the kids ran around yelling "we're having the baby!" and asking me "Mommy, do you think you're going to have it now??????? Do you, do you????"
And just like that (the hospital insisted I come in NOW when they heard me try to talk through a contraction) we were on our way. So many answered prayers already. My folks were with the kids. Tadd was with me. We were going against traffic. The hospital was only 15 minutes away and they were ready for me. Praise the Lord.
I'll stop giving so much detail at this point since it reaches into the "TMI" realm. Suffice it to say that we were ready to have a baby when we got to the hospital 12 minutes later. I was determined NOT to crawl in this time. So, I lay on the curb until the worst of it passed, ran in to the front desk, scribbled on the 4 forms they asked me to sign, lay down on the ground for another "worst of it to pass" and then RAN down the hall to the room they directed me towards. I hollered out that I WOULD be getting an epidural. The nurse was heaven sent. She put my IV in and ordered a rush on my epidural before she even admitted me! She said she had been in my shoes before and knew what it meant to me. So, again, leaving out the knitty gritty details, I got my epidural. They soon determined that our Baby had passed meconium in utero and they brought the neo-natal team into the room. It's never fun to have a NICU doctor and 2 or 3 of his nurses waiting in the room--but it is reassuring to know they are there. He took a while to be born.
As soon as Baby was out he was proclaimed to be a "he" and quickly passed to the NICU doc. He was not allowed to take a breath while they suctioned him out. It was agonizing. They were so reassuring, telling us that he was a major fighter and having us listen to his strong heart rate on the monitor. And then, finally, he cried--howled, really. What a beautiful sound. Life!
They tossed him on the scale and proclaimed him to be 8 pounds, 15 ounces and...
finally, finally, finally he was plopped in my arms. He looked huge. And quite black and blue. He had lots of bruising. But he was alive and healthy and warm and wonderful. His birth APGAR was a 2, but by his 5 minute it was back up (I think an 8, but I don't remember totally).
*I am aware that there are many misspelling and typos in this post. Sorry! I don't even have time for a read through before I hit post. If I don't do it now, it just ain't gonna happen.