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Elizabeth and Andrew

October 21, 1999
6:30 AM
7 pounds 10 ounces
21 inches

During the day I noticed that I felt a little more energetic. I decided to finish up things at work just in case, and felt good enough to skip my afternoon nap. It crossed my mind that this could be "nesting", but I dismissed the thought since my due date was more than 2 weeks away. I lost a bit of my mucous plug, and figured I was starting to make some progress.

From 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM I have what feels like Braxton-Hicks contractions. I'm not surprised, because the same thing happened during my last pregnancy at just about the same point, and then they just stopped. I expect the contractions to end at any time, but
they don't. They get stronger and closer together. I figure that if they don't go away by 1AM (when John gets up for work), then I am probably in labor. From 10PM on they are painful enough to keep me from sleeping.

At 11PM, John rolls over so I take the opportunity to wake him ("are you awake?" jab jab) and let him know what is going on. His response is "you're kidding, what's going to happen?" I told him I had no idea, and he goes back to sleep. At 1, he gets up, and we decide that he isn't going to go to work. Neither of us can believe that the baby would be so early! I pack my bag between contractions.

By 1:30, the contractions, which have been completely in my back, are getting stronger and hurt terribly. John and I make a rice sock, and he helps me through the contractions. We call Mary, our labor support doula, and we decide I will take a bath and call her back. The contractions are around 10 minutes apart.

It takes me a while to get into the bath, but it doesn't help anyway. I need to be on all fours, and the bath isn't big enough for my body. By 3AM the contractions are 5-7 minutes apart, and we call Mary to come over. By 4, they are ranging from 3-7 minutes apart, and still varying quite a bit in intensity.

At 5, we call the doctor, and decide to go for a short walk to see if that will get them any more regular. During the walk, they get regular, close (every few minutes), and very intense very quickly. I hang on John's neck and Mary massages my back, but it isn't really helping.They are agony! My back is killing me. I don't know how I am going to make it through the rest of the labor.

At 5:20, we are back home, and decide to go to the hospital. I go to the bathroom, and have a bloody show. We get into our cars and go. The ride is awful, because I have no good way to position myself. I think I am probably going through transition in the car (again). I think that if I get there and I am 3cm, I won't be able to hold out without drugs, even though I hated the epidural during my first birth and am committed to having a second natural birth.

At 6 we are in my LDRP room. I am 8cm with membranes bulging. I get a hep lock and a dose of penicillin (for GBS+). I get on my hands and knees on the bed, facing the raised back of the hospital bed. They do a quick external monitoring of the baby, and I am very reassured to hear the heartbeat. I am extremely vocal, yelling and crying during contractions, as well as saying all the typical things ("I'll never do this again", "I can't do this", etc). I am focused only inward, and turning my back on everyone helps me maintain this focus. After a few more awful contractions, I feel like pushing, but am told to blow instead. The next contraction, I don't feel like pushing, but on the next I have to push, and am given the OK. The nurse keeps trying to get me to turn around, but I ignore her. My doctor isn't there, but the wonderful resident doesn't seem to mind my unconventional position. On the next push (at 6:26, John tells me later), my water breaks. The pushes hurt so much, I donít want to do it. Everyone is giving me instructions, which I ignore and concentrate only on what I am doing, until I hear John's voice saying "he's right there", which gives me the strength I need to push out the head, and then the shoulders, and out came our beautiful little boy at 6:28 (although his birth was recorded as 6:30). His apgars are 9 and 9.

Finally, I am ready to turn around and meet my son. My OB comes in and I can't understand why he missed the birth when we spent more time in the hospital this time than last time (38 minutes). They tell me it's been just under a half hour, and I am amazed. My sense of time was completely distorted. Last time I was very aware of the time and when everything happened, but not this time. Because of the magnitude of the pain, I had to just let everything else go. I have a tear, which gets stitched up, and I deliver the placenta. I need a shot of pitocin to control excessive (but not dangerous) bleeding.

We had non-separation again, and insisted on everything being done in the room. The nurses were much more supportive about it than last time (4.5 years ago). John was great at advocating for what we wanted.

Andrew is very sleepy, but wakes every 1-2 hours to nurse, which is fine because I don't have to worry that he is getting enough milk. My younger daughter asked me if he would be the only one to get mommy's milk now, and I told her that she could still nurse to sleep if she wanted to, but to please wait a couple of days because I was engorged and my nipples were scabbed. Andrew is now a week old, and his latch is much better. I asked my daughter if she wanted to nurse last night, but she declined.

I expected Andrew to be born between 39 and 40 weeks, but he came 16 days early. I expected this, my third birth, to be my easiest, but it was by far my hardest. I always feel labor pains in my back, but this pain was excruciating. After my last birth, I was
exhilarated, this time I was shell-shocked, but I think being so inward-focused for so long made it hard to come back into the world.

I don't think I'll do this again, but I am so happy we decided to have a third child. Andrew is a complete joy. Our family is experiencing some growing pains. The girls love their baby brother, and we are getting better at finding ways to accommodate everyone's needs, but it will be a learning process for us all.

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