Last Wednesday (May 23rd) was the first day that Patrick and I finally felt like we had caught up on things around the house since he had gotten back from deployment. There were several projects around the house that I couldn't do because I was 9 months pregnant (install shelves and organize the garage being the big one) so he took care of all of that, on top of getting readjusted to life here at home. We had pretty much finished the nursery and did a fun little project.
We actually sat on the couch and watched some baseball for the first time since Patrick had gotten home and didn't feel like there was something else we should be doing. We joked about the baby coming the next day because we had put money on it at the baby shower:
We talked to the belly and said that it would be fantastic if he could come Wednesday or Thursday since pretty much everyone that wanted to meet him right away was going to be out of town for the weekend. He's a very accomodating young man already. ;-)
We went to bed around 10:30 feeling relaxed and ready for a good night of sleep without rushing out of bed the next morning to continue tackling the huge to do list. Or so we thought....
Something woke me up at 1:04 am, but I had no idea what it was. I was wide awake but had no clue as to why because that first contraction was already gone by the time I realized what was going on. 20 minutes later....bam, another one. I woke Patrick up and told him I thought I was having contractions, but I wasn't sure. They felt different than I expected...just like *really* bad menstrual cramps. They were a lot lower than I thought they would be. I expected to feel them up higher because my uterus was taking up my entire torso. After that happened a few times, I knew what was going on. We started timing the contractions and tried to call my Mom...about 8,000 times. She wasn't waking up. Ah! I started texting my Dad since he's on the East Coast and my sister sent me the sweetest message that made me cry. We didn't want to wake anyone else up at 2 am because we had no idea how long this could go on, so I just breathed through each one and tried to doze off in between. At 3 am, I was STARVING and wasn't sure at what point I should stop eating so Patrick brought me a PB & J....my last meal until 6pm.
At around 6 am, I told Patrick he should get something to eat because this was going to be a long day. He sent text messages to our families and my Mom finally woke up and called me. Everyone knew this was the day! The contractions were about 12 minutes apart at this point and getting a little stronger, so I decided to get in the shower. I quickly realized that standing through them made it a little bit easier to take and the water felt fantastic. I was in there moaning my way through each one until the water started to get cold. When I got out, I was really drained from the last few hours so I decided to lay back down. Bad idea. They hurt way more that way. I put some sweatpants on and started pacing around the house. I wanted to lay down and get some rest so bad but that just made it worse, so I powered through. At some point, I had to start leaning on the dining room table for support.
Patrick suggested we go for a walk outside around 9am to try and speed things up since I had been stuck at 10ish minutes for a few hours. We walked around outside for about an hour, stopping to lean on a fence or whatever I could grab each time a contraction came. Everyone we passed on the street gave me a sympathetic smile and "good morning"....they knew what was going on. By the time we got back, it was about 10ish (I think...I lost track of time) and things were getting pretty painful. I had the first contraction that actually made me cry and poor Patrick just felt so bad that he couldn't really do much for me.
At about 11am, I asked him to finally call the doctor. I had gotten down to 6-7 minutes and thought we should just call and ask. He talked to the receptionist and told her what had been going on all morning and that I was bleeding a little bit. She said my OB was in a procedure but she would call us right back. 3 minutes later we were told to head to the hospital. That was probably the most painful car ride EVER. Bumps in the road + contractions = not fun. Luckily, it only took us about 15 minutes to get there.
We arrived at about 11:30 am and Tripp was born at 3:58 pm...but that time span seemed to last about 45 minutes to me. It was so fast! We got checked in to L&D triage and they hooked me up to the monitor and the nurse checked my cervix. I was only at 4 cm! WHAT?! I had been at 2 cm since my last doctor's appointment a week ago. Holy crap, this could take forever. I was in pain, but it was still manageable so I just kept breathing and moaning my way through them. My Mom came back to my room for a minute and did not like seeing me like that.
I thought we had only been in triage for half an hour (it was almost 2 hours) when they moved me to our L&D room. They offered me a wheelchair but I wanted to walk. ANYTHING to make this go faster. We got into our room and I was leaning over the side of the bed through my third contraction in there when I felt the strangest feeling. It felt like the baby had moved and then something popped...and then I thought I peed haha. My water finally broke! I apologized for making a mess on the floor. :-)
My amazing nurse came back in and literally didn't leave my side from then on. She asked me to lay down so she could check and see what kind of progress we had made since we arrived. I was at 6 cm. Ugh. Once my water broke, things really picked up though. I had planned to take a shower, turn on the Spa station on Pandora, dim the lights....anything to try and relax. None of that happened. Contractions just started slamming into me, one after the other. They were WAY worse than before and I couldn't catch my breath. What I had felt earlier that morning was literally a belly ache compared to this. We were in the big leagues now. I had been able to breathe and relax my way through each one up until then. Now with each contraction, my body tensed up and I just cried. I couldn't get control of them no matter how hard I tried. My thought process was "It just took me from 1am until now - 3pm? - to go 4 cm?! I can't keep doing this for another 10 hours!" I felt so defeated when I looked at Patrick and begged him to let me get the epidural. He knew how badly I had wanted to do this naturally so he tried so hard to convince me that I could keep going. During one contraction, I remember standing next to the bed leaning over and saying "I don't think I can do this again." After it was over, I looked up at Patrick and said "Don't listen to me...I didn't mean that." At least I was still *sort of* with it.
My nurse was amazing. She had read every word of my birth plan and knew I didn't want a needle in my back. She suggested taking Fentanyl through my IV and said that it would just take the edge off my contractions so maybe I could gain control back. That sounded fantastic to me. She pushed the meds and I immediately felt completely wasted. I mumbled something to Patrick that I knew wasn't making sense and we both just laughed. It was exactly what I needed to relax for a few minutes. Then the next contraction came.....the drugs did nothing for me. The nurse told me that the drugs should work for about 30-45 minutes but that she couldn't give me another dose for 60 minutes. It wasn't working! What do you mean I can't have any more for an hour?! I looked at Patrick, screamed through the next contraction and quickly asked for the Anesthesiologist. I felt so awful. I knew and Patrick knew this wasn't what we had planned....but I couldn't take it any longer. I couldn't tell if I was crying from the pain or the disappointment, but I knew I needed help.
The Anesthesiologist came in what seemed like 30 seconds later. I remember whispering to the nurse that he looked really young. She reassured me that he was actually pretty old and was the best. I said "You're just saying that." I still had my sense of humor so that was good. They kicked Patrick out and he went to go update the family with the latest. Everyone assumed that things would slow down a little and it would be a few more hours. Notsomuch. As I was hunched over a pillow, the nurse kept telling me I needed to be still through the contractions. Did she have any idea what she was asking?! After that was all done, I laid back down and waited for the next one. Still as painful as the last. The doctor came back a few minutes later to ask if my legs felt warm and tingly. Uh...NO. My nurse decided to check me again and see why the epi wasn't working. I was 10 cm and all of a sudden had this ridiculous urge to poop. (I was pissed because I was convinced there would be no pooping on the bed since I had gone like 8 times that morning). She asked me to push with the next contraction so that she could see if the baby was coming down. I did and she picked up the phone and said to whoever was on the other end "Hi, we're pushing in room 7." WHAT?! But I could still FEEL EVERYTHING! Oh no, oh no, oh no.
About a minute later, I saw the familiar face of my OB and a few other people buzzing around the room, ripping packages open and turning lights on. I'm wasn't ready! Patrick sent a text to the family (about 15 minutes after he told them I was at 6cm and getting an epi) that said we were pushing. Everyone was shocked!
My OB and nurse coached me through each contraction on when to push and when to take breaths. It felt SO good to push instead of fighting the pain. The pressure from the baby coming down was the only thing I could feel, so as long as I was pushing I couldn't feel the pain from the contraction. I kept hearing "she's a good pusher, this will be fast." My nurse had multiple containers of mineral oil that she was pouring on me down there while the doctor had his hooks in me trying to stretch me open with each contraction. I remember yelling at him to stop because that hurt worse than the baby! I felt like I had only pushed for about 5 minutes when I felt this really weird sensation that I knew was the baby's head. Patrick and I had specifically discussed him NOT looking, but my doctor was really excited and said "Patrick you gotta come look at this"....and he did. I was mid-push screaming "what are you doing?!" I was focused but that still got my attention haha.
I knew exactly when Tripp's head was coming out and when the contraction was over I could feel his shoulders stretching me on the inside while they told me to rest before the next one. That was the strangest feeling ever and I begged the doctor to just pull him out. He did, and it was such a relief. I didn't end up needing an episiotomy and just tore a little bit. (I'm pretty sure my doctor thought he was hooking me up and gave me an extra stitch or two. Not gonna lie....little nervous about getting the green light in a couple of weeks.)
After 25 minutes of pushing, they placed Tripp on my belly and started wiping him down. It all happened so fast that I honestly didn't have time to process what was going on. Did that just happen?! There was a little man on my stomach and he's our son! He only cried for a minute and I will never forget him looking up at me like he knew my voice. IN. LOVE. Patrick cut the umbilical cord and we just stared at our baby.
We actually didn't know what to name him at first so we let Tripp decide. When Patrick was holding him, he was just looking around the room at everything and taking it all in. We said "okay Baby Anderson, blink once for Colin, twice for Tripp" and looked at each other so shocked when he blinked twice. No joke. (Yes I realize it was pure coincidence but I can still think my child is a genius.)
I was getting cleaned up and started bleeding, but they couldn't figure out what it was from. I had already gotten my stitches and there was no inside tear. Turns out I had 3 huge clots that were stuck on their way out. They needed to be pushed out, so my doctor held me open while the nurse pushed down on my stomach. She apologized and said it was going to feel uncomfortable. Really? After what I just went through, that felt like a massage. They came out pretty easily and everything was fine after that.
Looking back, I know that the 30-40 minute window where I was begging for drugs and actually getting them - I was in transition. I wish I would have recognized that but your head isn't right at that point. I asked Patrick if there was a clear difference and if he would recognize that next time. He said absolutely. All I need him to tell me is that's what is going on and I know I can push through to the end. I was just scared that the pain I was feeling at that point was going to last just as long as I had been doing this already. I've also heard so many horror stories about labor and how awful it is that I just kept thinking it had to get worse. Don't get me wrong, I was in plenty of pain...but it just scared me that I could be in even more pain. Looking back, I know I can get through the next one without the needle - since it never kicked in anyway.
Regardless of how our son came into the world, all I can do is stare at him in complete awe and wonder how I ever lived without him. I never felt like anything was missing before, but he has filled my heart with so much love its disgusting really.
Call me crazy, but I'm already excited to give Tripp brothers and sisters. Having the fantastic birth team that we did made all the difference. It could have been very different and I am so thankful that thinks went as smoothly as they did. I'm also so very grateful for my amazing husband. His love, support, strength and encouragement were exactly what I needed and I am so lucky to have had him by my side on Tripp's birthday.
This pretty much sums it up: