Monday, January 30, 2017

And Finally...Henry Mitchell!!

I fully intended for my last post on this blog to be about Kabo, over 2 years ago. And then 18 days after he died I had Penelope and realized that I needed to add her birth story here, just like I had her sisters. And now that we have had our fourth (!) child, our family is complete and I feel I need to add Henry's birth story here as well. You can't say that the youngest always gets the shaft!

My due date was 9/9/16. It was the Friday after Labor Day weekend. I was sure that there was no way, considering this was my fourth child, that I would make it through that weekend. Our cottage is up a hill from the lake so I knew there would be a fair amount of walking up and down that hill. Surely that alone would put me into labor! Workaholic and I spent the entire weekend in a state of wait. Everyone wanted to know when I was due and when was that baby coming out? Great question!

We compared the wait to being on vacation (not that my pregnancies are vacation...anything but!) and it is the last day and you are waiting on your flight. The fun is over. It is time to head back to the real world. Only our real world was about to be flipped upside down.

We chose not to find out (again) the gender of our baby. We realized after we had Penelope that it is just more fun that way. Sure, it is an agonizing 28 week wait. But it is the last chance for a true surprise in our lifetime. So we waited. And waited.

I went to the doctor on Tuesday after Labor Day. I was mildly annoyed I had to keep that appointment. I was supposed to have had a baby by now. I was dilated to a whopping 2 to 3. But the baby was high. I believe the words "I'd have to reach for your tonsils to break your water" were spoken by my OB. However, he was open to inducing me seeing as how I was DONE. I no longer wanted to be pregnant. I even tried to get into the hospital that night, but the earliest he could get me in was Thursday night. Which meant that unless the baby decided to come out on his own, my fourth child's birthday would be 9/9, the same as his due date. I thought that was cool so we scheduled it. As if I had any other option. (Waiting to go into labor was not an option. The closer I got to my due date the more stories I heard of women who had gone TWO WEEKS late with their fourth child. As I realized later, it is because the fourth child is a genius who knows better than to want to come into the insanity that is household with three older siblings. I'm not sure what that says about me, seeing as how I am #4 and I was 10 days early.)

I spent the days leading up to the induction lying to everyone about if I was in labor or if I was going to be induced and finishing up work at my job. The five business days of the month are our busiest and I figured might as well finish up what I had to do rather than try to hand off mostly completed work. I also had a weird thing about not wanting people to know I was having the baby on Friday. I guess I just like the calm before the storm. Once you have a baby everyone is so excited for you. Which is SO GREAT. It is also pretty exhausting. So I finished my month end at work, packed a bag, kissed my kids good night for the last time as a family of five and headed out the door. We were told to be at the hospital at 10pm and of course we were late. 

I would be remiss if I didn't detail what Workaholic was doing all this time. He was working. As usual he was trying to finish up jobs and odds and ends so he would be able to relax while we were in the hospital and if possible, the first few days after the baby was born. I'm pretty sure three of my kids all planned on being born on Friday (Sam was on Thursday) just so they could spend their first weekend with daddy. As in the past, he also finished up all of his work and dropped me off at the ER entrance so I could head on up to the 7th floor. I wasn't expecting to not be taken by wheelchair this time. I also wasn't expecting that the intake process would be so much shorter since I WASN'T in labor. If you are in labor and go through the ER once the front doors of the hospital are locked it takes FOR-EV-ER for you to get up to the baby floor. This time I was basically waved on and I actually had to go back outside to get Workaholic to join me on the walk upstairs. Which, as it turns out, isn't nearly as long a journey on foot when you aren't writhing in pain and in a wheelchair. 

We got upstairs and were taken to the room I would deliver in. This was also different from the past because they always want to check you before putting you in this special room. I was happy I wouldn't have to switch rooms, that was always a figurative and literal pain. Once settled in (code for undressed and in bed) the nurse came in to check me and see where we were at. My beloved doctor was on call, so he just needed to know where the baby was (high or low) and how much I was dilated. As it turned out the baby was still super high and they felt generous in saying I was dilated to 1. I hate how you can go backwards when you aren't actually in labor. It's just not fair. Due to these conditions it was determined that I be given a pill to "get things moving". I would maybe be given another pill a few hours later, but we were basically told to go to sleep and more would happen in the morning.

When they tell you to go to sleep in the hospital they mean it. But that doesn't mean that they won't wake you up 3 hours later in the middle of a REM cycle to check you again. At that point it was determined to give me another pill...and to go back to sleep. Which I did. I didn't sleep as well this time but time still flew by and the next thing I knew my doctor was standing there. He is a friendly face to wake up to. Again I was checked and again it was determined that things just weren't moving along much so he decided to start Pitocin. At which time I began asking for an epidural. He smiled at me and I said I was serious. Then shift change happened and the best thing ever walked into my room, my nurse Peggy.

Peggy was there with us when Sam was born. She had been called in because they were so busy that day. She was only supposed to stay until 11 but decided to stay with us until the baby was born because she liked us. I think it was because we do whatever we are told and don't argue. While I was in labor with Sam her heart rate kept fluctuating because the cord was wrapped around her shoulder and was compressed every time I had a contraction. Peggy was cool, calm and collected the whole time. When it was time for me to push but we had to wait on my doctor to get back to the hospital from his office she assured us that she could deliver the baby, no problem. But we should wait for the doctor because that is why we pay him the big bucks. She had a point.

So at 8am I was dilated to maybe a 3. Pitocin had been started. Somewhere along the line they had broken my water which was VERY uncomfortable. They had to reach WAY UP THERE. I was feeling fine, not much pain, but I knew it was coming. We hung out with Peggy and joked around and talked about her brother a bit. She was monitoring the baby's vitals and didn't like what she saw. She didn't say exactly, but she started to get jumpy. Saline was started so when it came time to call for the epidural I would be ready. (They make you have a liter of saline in you before they will give the needle.) I texted with my family and let them know I was in the hospital and baby #4 would be coming that day. Around 8:45 Peggy wanted to check me again and he mouth dropped open. "You are at an 8." WHAT? Seriously? (I actually said "seriously?" because I hadn't been in that much pain.) At this point Peggy kicked it into high gear. She called her buddy Amy in to start doing nurse stuff and called the anesthesiologist who she knew was the quickest. She made the comment that she didn't know if we would have time to get the epidural but I think she saw the look on my face and started dialing her phone before I could say anything. She also called my doctor at his office. His response was the same as mine..."are you sure?" She said "Of course I'm sure!" And so he came back.

Fortunately the liter of saline had been administered because the knight in shining armor doctor (aka the anesthesiologist) arrived shortly. He made quick work of prepping my back and even though the contractions were starting to get worse I was able to hold still long enough for him to make the magic happen. After a few minutes I could lay back and say that I was comfortable enough that he could leave. I do love me my epidurals. My doctor popped in to see how I was doing and asked if I had been checked since I got my epidural. Nope, so that was the next order of business. Down she went and the look of horror on Nurse Peggy's face was quickly explained...I didn't even have time to panic. "This hasn't happened to me in 10 years. I reached past your cervix the last time. That can happen when you have a woman who has had multiple pregnancies. You are actually a 3."

"Wait, what? So I'm not going to have this baby in the next few minutes? Oh my. That is weird."

Those were my first thoughts. Peggy was so horrified that I felt bad for her. And to be honest, I had my epidural. I was comfortable. I knew that since I had it I would be progressing quickly. I didn't care that it might take an hour longer than we anticipated. Poor Peggy ran out of the room to shamefully tell my doctor. He came in and smiled and laughed and said he was headed back to the office because we would be here for a while. I told him he might want to think twice because I progress pretty quickly once I get my epidural. He told me to put on my waiting pants. HA! Put pants on. That's funny.

All of this happened before 10am. Doc left and Peggy continued to be unhappy with the results of the baby's monitoring. She put a fetal heartrate monitor on his head so we could get accurate readings. At this point she declared that the baby was being difficult and so she thought it was a boy. The incident with my cervix had clearly left her rattled, but her buddy Amy kept her grounded and another nurse cohort continued to flutter in and out of the room and I continued to chill out in bed. We chatted and I texted a few people. To be honest, knowing that this was the last baby I really wanted everything to be as quiet and peaceful as possible. I put down my phone.

Around 11 I was checked again. Sure enough, I was at a 9. I knew it wouldn't take long. I couldn't wait to tell my doc I told you so. Peggy had Amy check me too just to be sure. There was no doubt. The pressure was starting to get quite noticeable and I couldn't wait for my doc to get there. Once he did I was checked again and we were all set. Five pushes and he was out.

Here is where the surprise came. We didn't know the sex of the baby. Peggy made the announcement that the dad should say what if it was a boy or a girl when he/she made their appearance. So I push away and when you push you are looking down between your legs. The baby is born face up so as soon as he came out I The penis. Wowie-wow-wow. I look at Matt and he isn't saying anything, I am not sure if he even saw. So I say, "Oh my God it's a boy." Matt continued to not say anything. Everyone ooh'd and aah'd. They plop the little guy on my chest and I look up at Matt and say, "Now we have to get a girl cat." (He had promised Charlie that if we had a boy she could get a girl kitten and if we had a girl we would get a boy kitten. He was SO SURE that we were having a girl he figured it wouldn't be an issue because Charlie only wanted a kitten if it was a girl.) And that was one of the first things I thought of when I saw that we'd had a boy. The way my mind works is strange at times.

I think Matt still hadn't said two words. He was totally shocked. His eyes teared up a bit. I hold the little boy on my chest for a long time while I got sewed up. They didn't take him to be weighed and measured, they just wiped him down the best they could and lay him close to me while I was worked on...I always tear a little. It was probably an hour before I said, "Matt, do you want to hold your son?" Even then he declined because the little baby boy just looked so happy and content laying there. I finally made him take him so I could see his face. Such a cute face. At 7 lbs 1 ounce and 19 inches long he was a perfect little guy.  

I know that I should have written this a long time ago because there are so many little details that I have already forgotten. What I do know is that it was a great birthing experience. And while yes, we "got our boy", what we really got was a healthy little baby. That is all that matters.