If you’ve been around these here parts for two years, you may recall that Ava’s two-part birth story posts were titled “Evicted – a birth story” because, well, she was. I considered titling Owen’s birth story something like, “Textbook – a birth story,” because, well, it was. My doctor said so. I clearly have opted for the simple, straightforward title of “Owen’s birth story” and am instead building anticipation with this basically pointless commentary.
But now, on to the main event.
Okay, so on Monday, October 2 we had our 38 week prenatal appointment at 8:15 AM. I hadn’t really planned to have the doctor check me because I’ve never really thought that it mattered too much how dilated one is if one isn’t in clear labor, but ultimately I decided in the moment, what the heck, and had him check. I was at a 3 and 80% effaced. This was exciting because it meant I was 3 cm further along than when Ava’s induction started.
Kevin, my doctor, and I started to talk timelines. I’d given Owen explicit instructions to NOT come between October 4 and October 8, because Ava’s cast removal and move to the brace was scheduled for October 6 and I wanted to be there with her for that and for the first couple of days in the brace. So basically Owen needed to come THAT day (the 2nd) or wait a week. The doctor explained my options – based on how dilated I was and how I was describing the contractions I was already having, my body was moving on its own toward labor but of course, there was no way to know what that meant or how long it would take. He could scrape the membranes and, based on my current dilation, there was a 70% chance I’d have the baby in the next 24 to 48 hours. Or it could have no effect. Ah, labor and delivery crystal ball, where art thee?
The doctor left Kevin and I to talk it over for a few minutes. Ultimately we decided to go for it and get those membranes scraped because: a) it wasn’t going to hurt anything (besides, you know, ME, but alas that would only be the beginning of the pain, so…) – either it would move us into labor or it wouldn’t; b) my blood pressure reading that day was a tiny bit high and, based on my experience with Ava, I knew that could lead to bed rest if it continued to be elevated and bed rest really didn’t fit well into my plans for the week; and c) it seemed more appealing to me to have a lighter weight baby and Owen wasn’t getting any smaller in there, soooo yes, let’s increase the chance of a 38 week weight baby versus 39+.
We headed home around 9:00 (we stopped at Einstein’s and split a six-cheese bagel with garden veggie cream cheese – we were both so distracted that Kevin pulled past the drive-thru ordering menu and it wasn’t until we were one car away from the window that we realized we’d skipped a step). Kevin dropped me off at home and then went to the office. His plan was to put serious effort into cleaning up his desk and inbox so he could be out for a few days if needed. Ava was at our house with Sue (Kevin’s mom) so I headed upstairs to work myself. I was definitely having contractions and they seemed to be increasing in frequency and duration, but it wasn’t anything too distracting.
At noon, I went downstairs to make Ava’s lunch, Sue left, and Ava and I ate. Kevin joined us around 12:20, and when we were all done eating, he took Ava upstairs to put her down for a nap. By now I was definitely having regular contractions and I decided to start timing them. I alternated between resting on the couch and walking around it in circles. Kevin headed back to work. Ava woke up mid-afternoon and we had a nice time playing in the chair-chair and watching Cat (Daniel Tiger). She was just being so sweet and adorable and I soaked up my time with her as my only baby, because I had a feeling that afternoon could be it.
Kevin called at 5:15 to say he was headed home and make sure we didn’t need anything. I told him that I would definitely want to go to the hospital that evening. My contractions were around 4.5 minutes apart on average at this point. When Kevin got home, he sat down next to Ava to watch Cat and I stepped outside to call the hospital and get advice from the midwife on duty. She recommended guzzling a bunch of water and taking a warm bath to ensure that labor continued until the contractions were 3 minutes apart like clockwork. I downed 20 ounces of water and Kevin started a bath for me when he went upstairs to change out of his work clothes (and pack his hospital bag – such a procrastinating, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy, my husband). When he came downstairs, I went up to get in the bath and he started to cook our dinner (salmon, rice, and roasted asparagus and tomatoes). The bath felt really good and the contractions didn’t slow down.
I went back downstairs around 6:05 and we started eating. The roasted tomatoes were really hitting the spot and I picked at the asparagus, rice, and salmon. Contractions were consistently 3.5 minutes apart and at 6:15, I told Kevin I’d want to leave for the hospital after he put Ava to bed. He texted his parents and told them to come over around 7:15. Within minutes of him doing that, I knew I wouldn’t make it that long. He texted his parents and asked them to come over right away. They arrived by 6:35, we gathered up our things, kissed Ava goodbye and told her we loved her (provided this wasn’t some fluke fake labor thing and we weren’t sent home, this was going to be the first night I’d ever been away from her. It took having another baby to leave my baby!), and hit the road.
The hospital is about a 30 minute drive and fortunately traffic was light so we made good time. My contractions were coming steadily at 2.5 minutes apart. We arrived at around 7:15 and since we had done the pre-admission paperwork, we went right to triage. Immediately, the triage nurse did not inspire a lot of confidence. She had a soft, mumbling voice, and she didn’t seem especially organized. I put on the hospital gown and she started fumbling around, hooking me up to monitors. She checked me and I was at a 4 or a 5, which I found really disappointing since I felt so much worse than I had when I was at a 3 earlier that day. The baby had moved down a station since my morning appointment though, which showed great progress.
It was around 8:10 by this point and the nurse recommended that we go walk around the hospital for a few hours and then come back to triage to get checked again, just to be sure this was “the real thing” before being admitted to labor and delivery. I must have looked at Kevin with a wild, desperate look in my eyes because he told the nurse that we wanted to be admitted now and we’d walk the halls of labor and delivery if we needed to, but this was the real thing and please, for the love, start the fluids so the epidural can come soon. Nurse obeyed. Soon she was admiring my pretty veins and continuing to fail to inspire confidence with a “now watch me miss this nice vein,” comment. Come on, Nancy – think positive thoughts.
She did fine, the IV started pumping, and I contracted in triage until the labor and delivery nurse (Jean Marie, who proved to be awesome) came to collect us and move us down the hall. The nurse anesthetist came at 8:45 and started the epidural. He did great and soon I was in a lovely place of being able to feel the pressure of a contraction without any pain. Kevin and I chatted with Jean Marie and with each other and when she checked me at 9:30, I was at 9.5 cm. Woo hoo! Around 5 cm in 2 hours. Not too shabby. Jean Marie said she’d be back in an hour.
Kevin and I relaxed and checked in on Ava, who had gone to bed great for Grandma and Grandpa. Jean Marie came back at 10:30 and said I was complete and ready to start practice pushing. We did that until 10:45 and then she called in the doctor and the baby nurse. The doctor on call was one I’d never met but I instantly liked him – he was calm and laid back. I started pushing around 10:55 and Owen was born at 11:06 PM on Monday, October 2, 2017. He immediately showed off a powerful set of lungs as they put him on my chest. Kevin cut the cord and the nurses worked to remove the liquid and gunk from his mouth. He started nursing pretty easily and quickly. They left us alone for an hour and a half while the epidural wore off and we enjoyed some time with our son (feels so strange to say son!).
My doctor checked in on us when he was working on Wednesday (the physician’s office building is adjacent to the hospital) and said we’d had a “textbook” membrane scraping experience. :) It was definitely a preferable labor and delivery to the one we had with Ava! 4 hours between check in and baby being born versus 36 hours with the first experience. Between that, Owen coming on an approved date from my perspective, and him coming as a Bronco’s bye week was beginning, like his dad jokingly requested, he is proving to be a considerate and accommodating little guy. :) In all seriousness though, he is sweet and adorable and such a perfect addition to our family. We love him like crazy and feel so blessed to call him ours.