Two weeks ago, we finally welcomed our third baby into the world.
My entire pregnancy I left a pregnancy test on the bathroom counter. In the beginning, I was in such a state of shock that I kind of needed it there to remind me “girl, this is NOT punk’d.” But as time went on it served as a sweet little nudge every morning, helping me to bring the little life growing in me to the center of my daily experience.
A few nights before we found ourselves in the hospital delivering our sweet girl, my husband walked out of the bathroom and asked if I noticed the pregnancy test. I hadn’t looked at it since the morning, so I had no idea that during the course of the day the test had turned blank. “Maybe it’s a sign tonight’s the night” he joked. It wasn’t. By the time I reached my 40 weeks appointment I had spent a full week dealing with excruciating pelvic pain, contractions that would keep me up until 2 or 3am, and of course the ever popular “you’re STILL pregnant?!” comments in the girls school drop off lines.
On the day of our final appointment, we ended up waiting for the doctor for over an hour past our appointment time. “Another lesson in patience” I said. When he finally came in he got straight to the point and asked if I wanted him to check my cervix and do a membrane sweep. (For those who don’t know what that is: a membrane sweep is when the doctor or midwife uses a finger to reach your cervix and makes a circular or sweeping motion- this helps separate the bag of water from the uterus and naturally releases hormones that often times gets labor moving).
Doing a membrane sweep would be our last ditch effort in getting the baby to come on their own, since our appointment that day was also the one where we set our induction date. And considering this was the thing that had helped me go into labor with my other two… Why not?
“Oh, wow! You’re already at 4 cm!” – there are few times you want to hear your doctor say “oh wow” in any capacity, but hearing the sentence that followed was like a tiny miracle. All of those labor games my body had been playing proved to be worth it in that moment. He did the sweep, told us that we should expect to deliver within 24 hours, set our induction date for the following Sunday just in case, and sent us on our way.
As we left the doctors office and dropped our soon to be middle child off at preschool I was already starting to feel a little crampy. By the time 3pm hit, I was picking my kids up from school and had already sent a text to my husband that I wanted to pick him up from work.
I wasn’t in full blown labor, but I worried that my water might break with any of the next strong contractions and once that happens I typically have minutes before it’s time for me to start pushing. I didn’t want to be alone with the girls pushing a baby out in the bathroom waiting for paramedics and my husband to make it to the house.
As soon as he got in the car he looked at me and said “oh yeah. You’re definitely having her today. You smell different.” I laughed and asked if he was joking. “No, I’m serious.” I marveled at the idea of my husband being able to consciously remember how I smell when I am about to birth one of his children.
Turns out, it wasn’t until about 2am, a full 15 hours after my doctors appointment, that I would find myself standing in the shower feeling that urge to head into the hospital, but not being completely sure. Just like with my second born, my contractions never came at a regular pace, but I could tell by the strength of them that it might be better to be at the hospital than to not be. After about four of those intense contractions during my 20 minute shower I knew.
I got out of the shower, woke up the guy, who started to get the girls up and ready. Yep. You read that right. Our girls went with us. Which made the car ride infinitely more entertaining: instead of simply wallowing in my pain, I had two chatty Cathy’s distracting me (mildly) as they went nuts over the way the city looked at night, and the fact that there were no cars on the road with us.
This is where things start getting a little blurry thanks to the power of the drugs I was given via IV.
I can remember getting to the hospital, going into the triage room with my family and the nurses. I can remember feeling completely disappointed when they told me I was dilated to 5cm. A doctor came in and got my consent for emergency care, and then they admitted me and moved me to a labor room. By this point I had been laboring for what felt like forever, I hadn’t slept, and I was tired. Hearing I was only halfway there was not what I expected, and I wondered how much longer we had to go. So when they asked me what I wanted to do for the pain, instead of saying “nothing” like I had for my past two, I asked what my options outside of an epidural were. I just wanted to be able to relax even if just a little bit.
Just as a side note: I did not expect myself to go this route. When creating my birth plan I had hoped to spend my time laboring in the water, but for whatever reason when we actually got to the hospital I didn’t even remember to ask them to set up the tub. The strength of the contractions were so much worse than what I experienced in my other two births. Or at least they were worse than I remembered. So when we got there all I knew, for sure, was that we wanted their dad to deliver the baby and announce the sex, and that I didn’t want an epidural (no shade to those who live for that particular method). I also knew that I didn’t want to stay in that amount of pain. I wanted a happy medium, and luckily that’s what I got.
One of the nurses told me that they had something that would take the edge off and allow me to rest. It wouldn’t take the pain away, but it would “make me feel a little drunk” and help me to “not care so much.” Perfect.
Unfortunately for me I’m a hard stick so getting an IV going was more of a hassle than we bargained for. About three nurses, two blown veins, and 30 minutes later I finally was on my way to as close to drunk as a pregnant chick could get. The drug did exactly what the nurse described. I was very aware of my contractions and would wake up for each one, but once they passed I would knock out (according to my husband I would sleep so hard that I was actually snoring).
Edited to add: While I don’t remember all of the details of what occurred after the drugs hit, I do remember this: my husbands eyes meeting mine the moment I opened them for each contraction. His hand being a steady source of comfort, always in mine, and his voice telling me I was doing so good. I couldn’t have made it through any of it, without him.
As I rode the highs and lows between my naps, our girls sat on the couch and played on their tablets. Suddenly, during one of the contractions I felt the baby kick and experienced what felt like I was peeing.
“I think I’m peeing on myself” I said to my husband. He looked under the sheet and said he couldn’t tell and asked what I wanted him to do. I told him to get a nurse. When she came in and looked she too gave me the “I honestly can’t tell” bit, and asked if I wanted her to get the doctor to check if my water had broken. With my second birth I could remember a feeling of such intense relief when my water broke that I genuinely wasn’t convinced that’s what had happened. “Well if your water didn’t break do you want the doctor to break it for you?”
Before all of that though, she wanted me to try to go pee in the bathroom. As soon as I stood up I could feel the baby drop down. Still, I walked into the bathroom, sat on the toilet for a contraction and got up when I got the undeniable urge to push. I made my way back to the bed, and sometime in the next few contractions I remember the doctor checking me, telling me my water had broken and that I was 10 cm dilated. She asked if I wanted to do a “practice push” to which I agreed. They counted me down and I pushed.
“Okay… That was definitely not a practice push. You’re ready to go!”
This is where I completely blacked out. But according to my husband, at 5:30am, only two hours after being admitted to the hospital, I pushed our beautiful daughter out into his arms in a matter of 20 minutes.
“Another girl, babe!”
Another perfect and (already) sassy little girl. But this time a seemingly perfect mix of her parents, with her mom’s dark hair and her dad’s blue eyes. We couldn’t be more proud to have her be our last baby.
On 10/10 our girl was born at 5:30am, weighing 7lbs 6oz, 20 inches long.