I thought it might be fun to share my kids' birth stories here on the blog. It's crazy how we're only just three weeks out and some of the details are already starting to fade. So I figured I'd better jot everything down before I forget too much! (Luckily I have the older two's recorded already that I can look to for the details when I write theirs!)
About 5 or 6 days before Bennett was actually born (so when I was about 38.5 weeks), I began having contractions. These were stronger than Braxton Hicks, but they just wouldn't progress. I could generally still walk or talk through them, but they were strong enough that I wasn't comfortable. By Monday night, March 10, they were consistently 10 minutes apart for a few hours, so we decided to head in to the hospital to get checked out. Well, I should have known. Since they weren't getting closer together or more painful, that meant I wasn't progressing. The doctor checked me and I was only dilated to a 2, so she sent me home. I was pretty devastated.
As many of you know, but that stage of pregnancy, there's not much more that a mama wants than to not be pregnant anymore! I had been going on long walks everyday, doing yard work, and running up and down my stairs trying to get little Benny out! But, after Monday night I was even more determined. I really tried everything to induce labor; long walks, jumping jacks, squats, zumba, drinking raspberry leaf tea every night, and having Peter rub my feet with clary sage essential oil (which is supposed to help contractions get started). Then, on Wednesday night my mom and I went and got pedicures and then went shopping. I think the pampering is what finally did the trick!
I woke up on Thursday morning, the 13th (39 weeks and 4 days), at about 7:20am. I got up and got my kids some breakfast, and while I was doing so, right at 7:45am, my contractions started. This time, I knew it was the real deal and started timing them from the very first one. It was intense, and they were all 3 minutes apart already. So, I called Peter and let him know what was happening. I told him I was going to shower and see if they continued and that if they did, I'd call him back and have him come home from work. Well, they only increased in intensity throughout my shower, so I called Peter back, told him to get home asap and I started getting everything ready to go to the hospital. By the time Peter got home about 30 minutes later, I was hurting and ready to go. From past experience, I knew that my labors go fairly quickly and I was getting pretty nervous that my water was going to break and that we'd be delivering a baby in the car!
Because we're military, we had to deliver at BAMC, the military hospital which is about 35 minutes away on the opposite side of the city. That's a long drive when you're not in labor . . . and when you ARE in labor, it's reeeaaally long! I was in excruciating pain the whole way there. Peter was great though. He knows to not really talk to me while I'm in labor :) and so he just silently drove as fast as he could and we got there without any problems.
Once we arrived at the hospital, Peter ran ahead to get me a wheelchair and I slowly made my way to meet him, just having to stop every minute or so to wait out a contraction. And while I did get many stares and worried looks from passers-by, I only had one old, crazy lady talk to me and tell me that I'd better hurry and get inside because my contractions were really close together. Thanks, lady :)
We got up to the 5th floor to the labor and delivery unit (the elevator smelled soooo bad, I about threw up on the way up!), and checked in at the window. Then we had to WAIT! I can't explain how I was feeling. Had I been able to speak in uninterrupted sentences, I would have done some serious complaining, but all I could do was manage my contractions in a completely full waiting room without screaming or moaning too loudly. I literally had to just sit/stand in the waiting room while I was in very active labor! There was a family there, with three or four young kids and a teenager, that was waiting to see someone who'd just had a baby. I am absolutely positive that watching me labor gave those young kids nightmares! I wasn't really making a scene or anything, but it was very obvious that I was in pain and trying my hardest to remain composed! I think those kids, and their moms, who knew exactly what I was going through, were really worried about me! They kept looking over just hoping I'd make it till I got in the back to have my baby! Luckily, after about 20 minutes, they finally had room for me in the back; I made it without delivering in the waiting room!
I was checked right when we got to the room and the midwife (all of the doctors/residents were in class on Thursday mornings--lucky for me!) told me I was dilated to a 7! However, I was also Strep B positive, which meant I needed 4 hours of antibiotics before I delivered in order to prevent Bennett from having to get the antibiotics after he was born. We just really hoped I could make it that long without my water breaking and having to deliver. By the time the nurse got me hooked up to my IV with antibiotic, it was 10:15am, meaning our goal was to not deliver until 2:15pm.
Once we were set up, I immediately asked for my epidural, however, the anesthesiologist was in the room next door "finishing up" an epidural for that patient. An hour later, the anesthesiologist and her resident finally made it to us. That's thing about BAMC, it's a teaching hospital for all the military medical residents. Which meant I would have a resident giving me my epidural. Well, I soon found out why we had to wait an hour for him to "finish up" next door. I think this was probably his first week on the job. He took about 45 minutes to give me my epidural! A LONG, painful, uncomfortable 45 minutes! Once he finally finished up, only my right side was numb! So, for the next hour or so, I was experiencing all of my labor pains exclusively in my left hip. This was almost worse than feeling the whole contraction everywhere; it was really bad. Luckily, the attending anesthesiologist came back and gave me another dose that finally did the job and I was numb everywhere. I was finally able to relax for a little over an hour or so.
Luckily, my water never broke on its own, so I was able to get my full dosage of antibiotics and at 2:15pm my midwife came in to get everything ready to break my water and deliver me. At 2:26pm, she broke my water. And Bennett was born at 2:40pm--14 minutes later! My midwife was incredible. She coached me really well, and really let my body do most of the work--I hardly even pushed, but rather just let my contractions (it only took 2!) push him out! The delivery itself was a great experience, and I was very grateful that my epidural was working in full effect by that point :)
My mom was able to get Will and Clara to my friend's house in the morning and she made it to the hospital in time for little Bennett's arrival. I was so grateful to have her and Peter there with me. And, I am so grateful for good friends that I was able to turn to last minute to help with my kids! My mom brought them the next day to meet their new baby brother and it was really sweet to see them with him. They've only been loving and caring ever since (although we have to watch Clara like a hawk!). I am truly grateful that everything went well and that Bennett was born healthy and thriving!