I had a feeling on Friday, March 11, that I would be going into labor soon. I remember telling Sean on the phone that I wasn't going to make it through the next week! He thought I was referring to taking care of Alice. Ha! Nope, my dear, this baby will be here soon.
Of course, he thought I was just tired and cranky, but I could tell. How? I had a tingly sensation in my head (hormones-I got them a few days before Alice was born, and get them from time to time before I ovulate or start my period) and I felt like being left completely alone. Alice was driving me nuts that evening, and she was just watching a movie! My sister called too, and I just didn't want to talk. I told her I wasn't feeling well and (I think) wanted to be left alone. So not like me.
So Saturday rolls around, and I got sick that morning. I decided to still go to my prenatal massage because nothing would make me go into labor, unless it was time. I remember having some cramps in the drive there. I relaxed and enjoyed my massage. As soon as it was over and I got up to get dressed, the cramps returned but were stronger and a bit painful.
I got home and took a nap. When I got up, the cramps returned. I needed to go pick up some prescriptions, so Alice and I headed into town. We didn't make it before the pharmacy closed (missed by four minutes!). I realized on the drive there, that my "cramps" were getting stronger, and I had three (it is a 10 minute drive). So I opened up Contraction Master on my phone and started timing. Sure enough, they were contractions! We got home, and I threw something together for dinner and went to sit down. The contractions were irregular, lasting around 30 seconds and anywhere from four to twenty minutes apart. I called my brother and let him know that he was on-call for the night.
After dinner and Alice's bath, I had Sean get her settled for bed, and I went outside to walk. I didn't want to have days of prodromal labor like I had with Alice. Days of painful contractions, no more than twenty minutes apart, really take a toll on you! I walked up and down the driveway, and even through the yard. The contractions slowed down and spaced out. So I went inside and took a hot shower. I was hoping they would pick back up, but they didn't. So I went to bed.
I got up several times, still having minor contractions, but was able to go back to sleep. About 7 am, they were getting uncomfortable and I couldn't sleep anymore. So I got up and started walking around. I called the after hours number and left my number for the ob to call. I had Sean go into town to get prescriptions and a few things. That was around 8:30. I told him to hurry back because I was having trouble coping through some of them. Alice woke up and I fixed her breakfast.
I hopped into the shower, while she was eating, and this time they didn't stop or slow down. Sean called and told me the pharmacy didn't open until 10 am, and he'd be home right afterwards. So I called my brother and let him know what was going on. That we would be going to the hospital at some point, and I'd keep him informed.
I went to the bathroom where I noticed I lost a large portion of my mucus plug and had some bleeding. Sean called and said he was on his way home. I told him what was going on, and I guess he over reacted a bit because I noticed him flying down the road with hazard lights on, going about 80!
He ran in and started rushing around. What a contrast to being in labor with Alice. I had to threaten to kill him for hours before he agreed to go to the hospital! I told him to calm down. We had awhile left. I finished packing a few things for the hospital, and then packed a bag for Alice, along with snacks, juice, and books. Sean packed up the car, and I finally talked to my doctor. I told her I had been having contractions regularly since 7 (it was after 11 at this point). They were lasting 30-50 seconds, and 1:30-3 minutes apart. She told me to head to the hospital. I went to the bathroom before we left, and noticed a lot more mucus plug and bloody show. So we headed to the hospital. I called my brother en route, and he was to meet us there.
Sean took a different route to the hospital, an asked if we had time to grab some food. I was starving, so we pulled into a McDonald's. We got our food, and headed towards the hospital. We got there around 1 pm, and headed up to Labor & Delivery. They got me in a triage room and had me put on a gown. The nurse checked me, and I was 3 cm and about 50% effaced. Normally, you have to be 4 cm to be admitted, but my ob came in and said to admit me. So they moved us to a huge delivery room (it was for twins). After hooking me up to the monitors and starting an IV line, I was able to walk around for 40 minutes every hour, with 20 minutes of monitoring.
My dad, brother, and Alice were still at the hospital and they came back to visit for a bit. I will never forget the look on Alice's face. She looked confused and concerned...and yet, in awe of everything! Alice, my dad, and I did a few laps while they were there. I had to stop with every contraction, and Alice kept rubbing my leg. It was so sweet! They left about 3 to get her a nap.
My walking laps and being monitored continued for a few more hours. My contractions were getting increasingly painful, and if I wasn't up walking around (actually bending over, kind of squatting) through them, I had a really hard time getting through them!
At six, my new nurse came in and offered me an epidural. I told her I wanted to see where I was at, and then decide. I was STILL 3 cm and about 80% effaced. So in four hours of walking, it did nothing. I told her I'd wait a bit longer, but they were starting pitocin, so I didn't know how long I'd be able to hang on.
They started pitocin about 7pm, and I was pretty confined to the bed (or bathroom) at that point. I hung in there for several hours before I couldn't take it anymore. I asked for an epidural, and at 10:30 the anesthesiologist came in. This was the worst experience of my life! She used the lidocaine shot, but didn't wait for it to start working before starting to put the epidural in. So I'm bent over the table, holding on to my nurse's hands and I can feel the whole thing. At some point it just felt like pressure, so the lidocaine had started working. Of course, during this I'm having the longest and strongest contraction yet. So I'm breathing (barely), tears were streaming down my face, and the nurse was trying to help me cope. She kept apologizing under her breath for the dr not waiting for everything to numb. The epi was finally in, and was started. Of course, it didn't take very well. My right side was numb, but I could feel hot points on my left side. Which didn't surprise me, since I felt the epi go in and it was more on the right side of my spine. Plus she put it up a bit higher than normal. So what does the dr do? Just keeps giving me more drugs in the line. Which eventually makes my left side numb too. Of course, it was too much and having to lie almost flat didn't help. It soon traveled up to my chest, and I started having an anxiety attack. Do you know what it feels like to have to cough, but not be able to because everything is numb? Scary! So I elevated the bed and after an hour or so, I could start to feel my chest.
I was checked a little after midnight, and I was almost 4 cm and 80%. I was getting frustrated. I just tried to relax and played some games on my phone. Sometime between 1:15-1:20, I heard a "pop" and what "felt" like there was fluid by my legs (I was still really numb, so to feel anything was weird). My nurse came in a few minutes later, and I asked her to check me because I thought my water had broken. I was right, my water had broken and she said there was some meconium. Great. Now if I had been anxious before, that was nothing compared to how I felt now! She did an internal and I was now 7cm! Woo hoo! I woke Sean up a little after this time and told him the party was going to be starting soon, and to give him a heads up about the meconium.
She went off to notify the Nicu that they would need to be there at delivery, and to call my ob. A little after 2 am, Stacy (my nurse-who was the best ever!) came in to check me (I was almost complete) and let me know it wouldn't be an "intimate" delivery, as a lot of people would be there, in case he had any complications. My epidural was wearing off on my left side and I was getting hot spots, so they gave me another bolus. Great more numbness!
Around 2:30 am, I started feeling pressure and let Stacy know. I was almost complete, but had a bit of cervical lip left (had this with Alice too-they just flipped it). So we waited for my doctor.
She got there about 2:45 and checked me. I told her she would probably have to flip the lip, and she smiled and did. Then we had to wait for the Nicu team. They came in right before 3 am, set up, and got called to another room! My doctor and Stacy were a bit peeved! Couldn't it wait? His head was literally right there! My contractions were moving him down and at this rate he would just slide out!
So they came right back. I started pushing at 3:05. Two contractions later, Harold Jack was born at 3:08 am, weighing 9 pounds (actually 8lbs15.6oz), 22 inches, and head circumference of 14cm.
It felt like minutes before I heard him cry, but Sean said it was almost immediate. Sean cut the cord, and followed him to get suctioned. Then they brought him to me. He was absolutely beautiful! Dark hair, chubby cheeks...just perfect! After a few minutes, they whisked him off to get cleaned up and then brought him back to me. I started nursing him, and he went to town!
We had to wait about two hours before they moved us, as I still couldn't feel or move my legs from that last bolus (which I don't think I needed, but who knew it would be so soon after?!).
Once we got to our room, I immediately was given some pain medicine along with a turkey sandwich and some other stuff. I'm pretty sure it was an awful sandwich, but it tasted amazing! Funny how hunger is the best seasoning!
About 7 am, I managed to get a bit of a nap in. I'm glad I did because visitors started pouring in around 10 am. Did they think that I slept six hours and was well rested? Luckily, I managed a shower before that, and Sean went home to get cleaned up and feed the animals.
When my brother and SIL brought Alice, I just started bawling! I had missed her terribly. She and I had never spent that much time apart, let alone an overnight! Plus the look on her face! Excitement, happiness, and concern. She was glad to see me, wondering why I was in this totally awesome bed with buttons, and wait...what is that? A BABY! "Beebee!" And the tears started flowing again! I got her in bed with me and hugged and kissed her, and introduced her brother to her.
I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get family time with Alice before everyone came. That was my original plan. To introduce her, and the four of us have a little time together. It all worked out. We had all evening together and the next day!
Harold Jack was unnamed until the last hour (or less) that we were at the hospital. We had a name picked out that second day (Charles Walker), but when I told my sister she said "Chuck Norris, Walker Texas Ranger" and I immediately nixed it. I have always loved the name Harold Jack (how could you not like the way it flows!), plus my grandfather was named Harold and my other grandfather was John (nickname for Jack). I had given up on the name long before we knew HJ was a boy. So when Sean came in and suggested it that last day, I was surprised to say the least! So that is how HJ became Harold Jack!