Looking back I think I knew in the week leading up to Hutton’s birth that the end was near. For starters in that last week I was miserable. Miserable. On Thursday night Collin walked into our bedroom and I was sitting in the glider crying. When he asked what was wrong I told him – I can’t do this for another six weeks. Secondly, I never had a really strong feeling one way or the other regarding the sex of the baby but the one thing I did feel strongly about (from the very beginning) is that this baby was going to be born in June. I only told a couple of people this because, come on, my due date was August 5th, people would think I was nuts if I told them I expected a June baby. I mentioned before that once the calendar turned to June I felt the pressure looming to get everything done (which, of course, it didn’t) and that was the reason why. But, as June started to draw to a close I wondered if my gut had been wrong for all those months.
Cut to the morning of June 28th….
It’s 4:30 a.m. when I’m awoken with a start. Holy crap, that one was painful, and intense, and longer than normal; these Braxton Hicks have been waking me up for the past week. I close my eyes and drift back to sleep. When the next one hits I look at the clock, it feels like I’ve been sleeping for at least a half hour but the red luminescent numbers tell me it’s only been seven minutes. Damn, I think, that’s pretty close together. I have two or three more, all six to seven minutes apart, before I get out of bed to walk around and try to use the bathroom. When I sit down things become much more intense and something tells me this isn’t just Braxton Hicks and I should maybe call the doctor. Something also tells me I should jump in the shower and shave my legs….but I didn’t listen to that something. Just before 5:30 a.m., after moseying around the house through a few more contractions, still trying to figure out if this is real or just false labor, I wake Collin up and tell him that it’s been an hour and they are still six to seven minutes apart. I asked if I should call the doctor to which his reply is:
Well, you know they are going to make us come in. And then we’ll just be sent home.
I was thinking the exact same thing, I mean, I was only 34.4 weeks, this can’t be real, right? But that little something was still in the back of my mind nagging away and so I listened to it and called the clinic. I talked to the on-call doctor and when she asked if this was my first baby I explained no, it wasn’t, and the reason I was concerned is that my first came four weeks early and fast. When she heard that she said okay then, you need to come in.
I walk back to our bedroom to tell Collin we need to start packing and find him lying in bed.
You’re back in bed??
Yes. I think better here.
Okay, well it’s time to get up; the doctor wants me to come in.
Collin gets up and puts a call into his parents, waking them up from a peaceful night’s sleep.
Hey guys, want to come pick up your grandson?
He explains that we don’t know for sure if this is real, but we need to get it checked out. They tell us they are on their way, which means we have about 20 minutes to finish our packing.
I know what you’re all thinking here, they weren’t packed up yet? Even when they went early last time? No. We weren’t. Didn’t I tell you I have a minor in procrastination?
Oh, but it gets so much better than that. Not only were we not packed, but our gas tank was also on empty. Oh yeah, we frickin’ rock at being prepared for labor.
I spend the next 20 min. packing my clothes and toiletries for the hospital while Collin gets the car seat, computer, and cameras. As I’m up walking around the contractions slow, they are still intense, but I don’t think they are as frequent as they had been.
I get everything packed and still have a couple of minutes before Papa and Busha arrive so I put in a call to each of our siblings and send a text to a couple of friends telling them we’re heading to the hospital. It might be a false alarm but better safe than sorry. We’ll keep them posted. My phone log tells me it was now 5:53 a.m.
Within a couple of minutes Collin’s parents arrive and we hustle a sleeping Keaton out the door. I’m standing in the kitchen talking to Busha when another contraction hits, but I’m still telling her I’m just not sure. This might be a false alarm.
We finally make our way for the car and as Collin opens the door for me I look up at him and ask:
Do you want me to drive? (See, when we are running late to something I always drive because I have sort of a lead foot.)
Collin looks at me in shock and confusion.
No, we need to get gas.
I’m kidding! I’m not driving, dumbass! As I give him a sucker punch to the arm.
Okay, he says, this IS the real thing, because you have your sense of humor back!
It’s now roughly 6 a.m. and we’re finally on the road (heading first for the gas station) and instantly my contractions have become super intense and only 3 min. apart. This is like déjà vu. The exact same thing happened when I went into labor with Keaton and I’m now convinced that this position, sitting in the car, progresses me quickly. I beg Collin not to fill the tank up, just put in enough to get to the hospital and at this point I think we both know we won’t be coming home.
We hit the Interstate and my God, there is a lot of traffic for it being 6 a.m. For each car that pulls into the passing lane, inevitably cutting Collin off with no way to maneuver around them, I grip the handle bar and holler out a friendly “Move it, Mother Fucker!” Collin’s riding their ass and I’m sure they can see me spewing profanities in their rear view mirror. I still wonder what they thought when they looked over to see me he he he hooing through a contraction while we drove past.
Okay, I wasn’t technically he he he hooing, but I was panting like a Labrador and I’m guessing by the grimace on my face they probably knew what was going on.
For the second time I find myself counting down the miles until our exit. We finally make it to the hospital parking lot and after grabbing our small point-and-shoot camera we head for the doors. I have to pause on the way in though because oh shit, these contractions are fierce. As I’m having one Collin looks down at my stomach and asks:
Are you still pregnant?
The baby had dropped so low that when I looked down I replied:
Oh my God, is it still in there?
Labor and Delivery is on the 2nd floor and I swear the wait for that elevator felt like 3 years. When I finally get to the check-in the ladies at the desk are expecting me and after a few moments I’m ushered towards my room. On the way I look at the clock and note that it is now 6:45 am.
Once to my room the nurse hands me the gown and says everything off, snaps in the back. I ask her if it is okay if I go pee and she says yes, that’s fine, but follows it up with:
You don’t feel like you need to have a bowel movement do you?
I lean over the cabinet that houses the flat screen t.v. and brace myself through another contraction and tell her:
Well, actually, yes I do.
I can hear Collin from the other side of the room say, Yeah! She does. Apparently I must have mentioned this a time or two on the drive in. The nurse’s eyes grow big and she says I DO NOT want you to do that.
(If you remember from Keaton’s labor, Nurse Kathy told me to go ahead and try to poop. Minutes later I came waddling out practically in tears saying, I don’t think this is poop!)
So I change into the gown and come back into the room where the on-call doctor is waiting for me. She introduces herself and says lets get you checked out. I hop up on the bed and she asks for the results of my Strep B test. The Strep B test that I have not yet taken. The Strep B test that would have been performed at my next appointment. I explain the situation and she asks the nurse to get the stuff to do it real quick before she examines me, but seconds later the nurse comes back to explain that they don’t have any swabs. The doctor is confused as to how they have no swabs and decides there isn’t time to wait; the monitor is telling her my contractions are about 2 minutes apart.
She gets on her glove and nonchalantly performs the pelvic exam. If I had to guess I would have expected her to tell me I was 7 or 8 cm dilated. I knew that car ride had progressed me but I was not yet feeling the need to push.
So you can imagine our surprise when she finished the exam, looked at the nurse and said:
All right, she’s essentially 100% and ready to go, call Dr. Modi (NICU team) and I’ll get A.J.
The nurse starts to prepare an IV put the doctor tells her to forget it, there isn’t time.
At that Collin called his Mom and I heard him say, Mom? Yup this is the real thing. We’ll call you back soon.
Thankfully the doctors in the clinic had a meeting scheduled for 7 a.m. that morning so as my doctor was walking in the door the on-call doc pulled him aside and explained that he had a patient who was ready to go. She told me when she came back into the room that he was confused saying no one called him and she explained to him, yeah, she just got here!
While we were waiting for the team to be assembled, and team there was, holy cow, everyone introduced themselves, but I kinda lost track as to what was going on as I was too concerned about apologizing for the fact that I hadn’t showered for two days or shaved my legs for…well…longer than two days.
Within a couple of minutes Dr. AJ walks in, says Hi and comes to shake Collin’s hand. I look up at him and tell him:
Sorry, but I had to get in before you left on vacation.
(At my last apt. I asked if he was going to be gone over the 4th of July. He looked at me kind of confused, yes, he said, but you’re not due ‘till August.)
He looks down at me and says:
Or, you could have waited 3 weeks!
With that we review my status: 100%, contractions 2 minutes apart, water hasn’t broken.
The order is given to breakdown the bed as he pulls out the big ‘ol crotchet looking hook. As he breaks my water he tells me on the next contraction he wants me to push. I’m confused by this as I still don’t feel the need to push but he tells me that one is coming and holy fuck, here we go!!!
3, 2, 1 and without time to mentally prepare I’m pushing with all of my might and oh shit, I forgot how incredibly painful this is. My legs are shaking and stuck in this odd suspension over my body. The nurses are yelling at me too tuck my knees to my chest. I hear every word they are saying but I can’t physically move my legs, it’s like I’m knee deep in quicksand. Or a bucket of cement.
I feel something come out and I must have been paranoid that they weren’t going to tell me if this baby was a boy or a girl because as soon as the contraction was over I impatiently asked:
What is it?
To which Collin responded:
It’s a head.
Oh. Okay. I laid my head back and took a moment’s rest between contractions and told the nurses:
I’m having a hard time following directions!
The rest didn’t last long though and before I knew it the next contraction was coming and they were yelling at me to tuck my legs and there I was again pushing.
I knew the moment he came out and I think I threw my head back on the pillow in relief because I missed the part where the doctor held the baby up so we could see what it was. A split second later I opened my eyes and again questioned:
What is it?
And at that moment, even though there were probably 10 people in the room, it was just Collin and I and he looked me in the eyes and said:
It’s a boy.
I didn’t know if we were going to have a boy or a girl, but when he said those three words it felt so right in my heart.
Welcomed into our family at 7:07 a.m. on Monday, June 28th.