Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bennett's Birth Story: Part 1

Yes, there are parts to this story. I am a very detail-oriented person, and I'm writing this story for myself and for my family to remember the time surrounding Bennett's birth.  So pardon the lengthy and detailed account.  Our birth story isn't a quick one...  And, yes, it is a birth story so I may refer to things like dilation and placentas...maybe ;-)  

 I had a Shirodkar cerclage placed at 11 weeks of pregnancy to hopefully keep me off of bed rest this time around.  It worked perfectly!  The only issue was, it had to be removed before the baby was born (unless I had a c-section, in which case they could have left it in permanently--weird!).  I was scheduled to have the cerclage removed on November 15 which put me at 37.5 weeks pregnant.  My awesome OB told us that once the cerclage was out, there was a small chance I would immediately go into labor OR I could continue on to full term.  I love a concrete plan ;-)  In any case, Brian and I had been treating the 15th as our deadline for getting everything ready.  I wanted to make sure bags were packed, arrangements were made for the big kids, and, hopefully the nursery was finished.  

On the 15th, Brian and I went to Reid's Thanksgiving parade and feast at his preschool then Brian accompanied me to my doctor's appointment and procedure "just in case". After the procedure was complete the doctor said, I think you may have a baby by this weekend (it was Thursday). I wasn't dilated but I was 50% effaced.  I didn't feel like I was in labor or anything so home we went.

We spent the weekend waiting, being productive and spending quality family time.  With my parent's help, I took the kids to a play date with the Loyds at Chick Fil A on Friday.  Friday night we hit Ikea as a family for a finishing touch for the nursery.  Saturday morning we went to breakfast at Cafe Brazil with the kids and then played at Central Market's playground. Saturday evening we hit Lowe's and Starbucks as a family. Sunday I waddled around and did my church nursery coordinator job, we went to church and we had lunch with Brian's parents at Jason's Deli after church. After lunch, I got some good quality time with Reid. We went to Target to get him a new hat and mittens then to Tom Thumb for some grocery shopping.  That evening we went to our church small group's Thanksgiving celebration.  I was on my feet all day long.  You'd think it would be enough to get labor started!  Sunday night, while I was putting Camille in bed, I started having regular contractions for a couple of hours, and then they stopped.  Basically, as long as I was sitting up, or on my feet, contractions were happening regularly. Then, when I was able to spend time lying down, they would dissipate.

This same pattern of contractions starting and stopping occurred ALL day Monday.  Brian worked from home for part of the day, my parents came over and kept the kids occupied, everyone watched me.  Nothing happened.

Tuesday Brian stayed at home long enough to help me and the kids get ready and in the car, then I took the kids to his parents house and went to my regularly scheduled doctor's appointment for that week.  Driving myself to the doctor's appointment, I started contracting so much that I was sure I was going to end up in "real" labor.  I was calculating how long it would take for Brian to meet me at the hospital and kicking myself for not having brought my hospital bag in the car with me.  I saw the doctor, and he said I was 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. By that time, contractions had died down again, and the doctor didn't feel I was in active labor since the contractions kept stalling out.  So, home I went to rest and relax.  That night, after Brian asked me what the plan was for dinner, and I almost hit him, we ended up taking the kids to Chick Fil A so they could eat and burn some energy.  That night the contractions and cramping were so intense that I told Brian at one point that I wasn't sure we were going to make it through the night without going to the hospital. Alas, things died down, and we made it through the night.

By Wednesday, I had decided that none of these contractions meant anything, and that this baby would probably arrive after his due date just like his sister.  The issue I was having is that it was nearly impossible to go about daily life.  The contractions I was having weren't exactly painful, but they were very uncomfortable and made it difficult to physically care for a 2 year old and 3 year old. I felt like I was so close to giving birth, but I kept reminding myself that I was only 38 weeks pregnant and that I could still stay pregnant for another 2-3 weeks. The thought terrified me because I was just SO uncomfortable.

 Brian was taking Wednesday off since it was the day before Thanksgiving, and we made plans to meet my parents at a park near our houses to have a picnic, let the kids play and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.  We had tons of fun, and I spent time swinging on the swing set with the kids--trying to convince the baby to fly out or something. We finalized our plans for Thanksgiving dinner since by this point it seemed I'd actually make it to celebrate Turkey Day with our families. 

Wednesday night, we randomly had company.  Brian's best friend from high school, Noel, was passing through town on his way to a BMX competition in Tulsa. We teased him  that I would go into labor that night and he'd have to take care of this kids for us while we went to the hospital.  He got to sleep in the freshly finished nursery/guest bed room.  We had Chipotle take-out for dinner, the kids watched Cars 2, we read books as a family of 4 up in Camille's room and tucked the kids into bed.  By this time, it was about 8:30 pm, I was exhausted and still contracting, so I was the world's worst hostess and excused myself and went and crawled into bed. 

I slept fairly well until about 4:30 or 5:00 am.  At that point, I woke up and realized I was very crampy.  Reid woke up crying, and Brian went up to put him back in bed, and when he came back, I think I told him again that I thought I might be getting closer to real labor.  He went back to sleep :-)  I started realizing that the "cramps" were occurring at regular intervals, but they weren't overly painful.  Between 6:15-6:30 am on Thanksgiving morning, I started to suspect that these were "real" contractions. I got out of bed and took a warm bath and started timing my contractions.  After a few minutes, I realized that my contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute.  They were definitely getting stronger and more painful! So 3 1/2 days after semi-regular contractions began, I was pretty sure I was finally in active labor!