Samuel will be 4 weeks on Monday and I’m so ashamed it has taken me this long to put this story together. You’d think with a husband home for 3 weeks after the birth, I’d have plenty of time to sit down at the computer. However, Mr. Sam-I-Am is proving to be a bit of a fuss butt and one that doesn’t sleep the best at night. So between taking care of the two big kids and handing Sammy off between Jim and I numerous times throughout the day, I barely got a chance to do much other than rest (when I could) and well…survive. But better late than never, right?Let’s do this.
Birth Story – Round Three!
As of my last update I was 4 cm, experiencing contractions for practically a week, had one false alarm hospital trip and was very, very miserable. I had a 38 week appointment set for Monday, August 25th at 2:15 pm and it was at that time that my OB said she would do a membrane sweep on me to hopefully get things moving. Even though the membrane sweep worked with Gabriella (had her the same day), I was still unsure how Monday would go because the end of this pregnancy was just so different than my other two. Regardless, on Sunday night Jim and I decided to both get a good night’s sleep. He slept in our bed and I took the couch in the living room and since sleep was so hard to come by for me, I downed a Unisom before hitting the hay. Besides two bathroom trips, I slept fabulously and woke up shortly before 7 am feeling totally refreshed.
I should rewind a bit and tell you about Sunday evening. Jim had already gone upstairs and while I laid on the couch thinking about things I started to get extremely emotional. I texted back and forth with Julia and Erin a bit about all the feelings running through me and after wrapping things up with them, I called Jim downstairs to sit with me. And that’s when I lost it. I was so emotional thinking about life and how things were about to change. I told Jim it made me so sad to know we were closing in on a chapter of the four of us and how much I hated knowing these days would all be a blur one day. I know at one point Eli was our life and yet those days of just Jim, Eli and I are like a dream…the memories are a bit murky. I was SO tired of being pregnant and yet I was sad it could possibly be my last night as a pregnant lady. I was terrified the sweep wouldn’t work and yet I felt a bit panicky knowing I could be in labor in 24 hours or less. In a nutshell, I was just a mess and every thought running through my mind made me cry. Jim was, of course, completely awesome and talked me through everything. I went to bed feeling much better.
The following morning I woke up shortly before 7 am. As I slowly waked I started thinking about this baby and for some reason I had a “it’s a boy” feeling. Jim and I were set on names but I still felt a bit off about our boy middle name. For those of you wondering, our girl name was Sylvia Teresa and our boy name at that moment was Samuel Joseph. Joseph is Jim’s brother and his dad’s name and while I love it, I just really wanted my family represented somehow. My dad’s middle name is Michael and as I tried out “Samuel Michael” in my head, I rolled over, felt the baby move and then suddenly….POP! I felt it! My water broke and for a second I was like “NO FREAKIN’ WAY!” With Eli and Gabriella the doctor broke my water and I always wished to experience that moment when it broke completely on its own. Even though I had no idea what something like that would feel like, the second it happened I knew. The POP was as clear as day. Since I didn’t want to get anything on the couch and blankets by sitting up, I quickly rolled off the couch and headed to the bathroom. My undies were pretty drenched and as I took them off, I leaked a bit on the floor. It was like I had pee’d my pants – enough to get my clothes wet but not enough to get on the blankets I was laying on (thank goodness). As I sat on the toilet I quickly called Jim and as soon as he answered I was like “Jim…my water just broke!!” Ahhh! How I had dreamt of that moment for weeks and I was so glad I never played a joke on him in the past (believe me…I was tempted to) because it made that moment so awesome and REAL! He hung up and I quickly called my mom as well. “Mom, my water just broke!” and she was on her way to pick up the kiddos, who were still sleeping.
Jim came downstairs and we just smiled at each other like “Holy crap! THIS is happening.” We also joked how crazy it was that Jim always said he wished I’d go into labor right away in the morning after a good night’s sleep. And that’s exactly what happened. (I had said that if I happened to deliver during the day – unlike Eli and Gabby who I delivered at night – I would love for it to be a rainy day. And it was!!) I went upstairs to quickly shower and finish packing my hospital bag. As I showered I started to feel myself get excited and a bit nervous. After my water was broken the other two times, I basically progressed pretty quickly. Since this was my third baby I had no idea just how fast I would go and so I felt myself mentally bracing for strong contractions to hit.
I kept this a secret from basically everyone except a few people but since I was 28 weeks I have been diligently going though the Hypnobabies home study. Every single day since then I’ve sat and gone though the assigned tracks and practiced self hypnosis. I even used the techniques during uncomfortable times (like getting my blood drawn) and can wholeheartedly say it works. I made the mistake of telling someone early on that I started the study and they immediately asked if I was against getting an epidural, which rubbed me the wrong way. Spoiler alert – I did end up getting the epidural this time and have zero regrets. I’ve never been anti-epidural but I’ve always been anti-pain! I just remembered the intense pain I felt with Eli and Gabby’s births and how I wished I had some mental coping skills to get through it. If I could use those skills to manage the pain before the epidural, then the home study was a success to me. And that’s exactly what happened. While in the shower I knew I had to get in the right mental state so I started to relax my body and remind myself how much I prepared for this moment. Thankfully it worked and I was able to calm myself down considerably. After I showered I was texting back and forth with friends while finishing packing up my bag, putting on make-up and hanging out the kids. Never once did I experience a contraction at that time.
After talking to the kids a little in the kitchen and pouring them juice I decided to call into my doctor’s office. Since they weren’t open yet, the on-call doctor had to call me back. I told her my water broke that morning but wasn’t experiencing any contractions yet. After telling her this was my third baby, she advised me to come to the hospital right away since things could happen pretty quickly. By this time my mom had arrived and Jim had finished packing up our car. We said our good-byes and off we went!
While driving to the hospital I started feeling waves of gushes come out of me and each time one came, I would feel some pretty incredible pressure down below (I was wearing a pad and had a huge beach towel folded up underneath me). I still wasn’t experiencing any contractions (or any that I felt) so I was just so confused with the circumstances. We were a few miles from our freeway exit when we hit rush hour traffic. The pressure and gushes of fluid were happening one of top of each other so I told Jim to get in the fire lane and just DRIVE! I did not want to deliver a baby in the van on the freeway! A little before 9 am, we arrived at the hospital and I decided to take advantage of the free valet since I was leaking like crazy. As soon as we pulled up, one man got me a wheelchair while Jim grabbed a bag to bring into the delivery room. That moment of being wheeled into the lobby was so surreal to me. I couldn’t help but smile as people looked at me with that knowing glance. We got into the elevator and I even chatted with a nurse and my nurse practitioner who wished me good luck as we headed to the L&D floor.
As soon as we arrived we were taken straight to a room. Jim and I quickly settled in and I changed into a hospital gown. Our nurse walked in and man, was she AWESOME! She had me get in the bed so she could ask me a few questions and check my progress. I still wasn’t experiencing contractions at this point and I began to wonder if the hypnobabies was working a bit TOO easilyAt one point the nurse asked if I was interested in getting the epidural and I didn’t know how to answer her. I told her I’m not against it but so far I didn’t feel the need to get one. I got the sense that the L&D floor was busy that day so I asked if I should be worried about not getting one in the event of the anesthesiologist being tied up with someone else and she did confirm that a lot of women had already come in for the day, plus they had a few scheduled c-sections going on. But she did assure me not to worry and that I should just go with the flow. That was probably the first point when I let doubt and fear creep into my head which probably wasn’t a good thing. The nurse seemed super supportive of me forgoing the epidural at the moment and even said she would bring in some essential oils in a bit to help me cope with upcoming pain. Like I said, I totally loved her!
I did NOT, however, remotely like the nurse who was assisting her. She had just walked into our room as the other nurse and I were wrapping up our discussion on the epidural when she immediately piped in with some snarky advice with a just as snarky attitude. She told me that if I was slightly interested in getting meds that I should do so right away because they were busy (which the other nurse and I already discussed) and that I better not wait until I was 9 centimeters because in the end I “won’t get any relief and instead just have to deal with a big hospital bill”. Her words exactly. At that moment I immediately did not like her. She went ahead and started inserting a IV into my left hand and I hurt like HECK and because she wasn’t too nice with me, I wasn’t too nice with herI remember asking her very coldly if that pain was necessary. And I even added that I was about to give birth and didn’t need any additional pain on top of that. Totally NOT like me but it just came out and I didn’t care. The veins in my left hand were being uncooperative so she had to move to my right hand and when she was done, I was honestly just done with her. I was so so glad she was not the nurse assisting with my birth!
Side note: Jim knew her! At one point when she was working on me, Jim asked if she used to work with him a long time ago. She was just as cold with Jim as she was with me. She may have asked him a question or two about his job but at that point I blocked her outThis is the second delivery where Jim knew one of the nurses. It’s actually quite humorous. At least there was no flirtation from this one!
Shortly after I settled in Dr. Barr walked into the room and I immediately lit up! She was the doctor who delivered Gabriella and I was crazy about her. She was so laid back and I was on cloud 9 that she would be delivering this baby too. She started to feel my belly and immediately asked how big my other two babies were. When I told her they were pretty small she seemed shocked and said this was probably going to be a big baby. She checked me and informed me I was still 4 centimeters. I remember looking over at Jim and seeing a flicker of disappointment on his face. I suppose I wasn’t too shocked or disappointed since I wasn’t experiencing any contractions yet and I think since my water broke, I knew sooner or later this baby was going to come. Dr. Barr told me I could do whatever I wanted – she offered up the tub and shower but since I hadn’t progressed much I decided to walk the halls a bit. Everyone seemed so laid back and relaxed and it very much helped me feel the same way. I put on a pair of mesh undies with a huge pad and Jim and I set off to walk the halls. At this point I decided to start listening to my Hypnobabies “Easy First Stage” track since this was a good opportunity to get in the right mindset before the pain kicked in. Jim and I walked the halls for about 15 minutes and I was seriously bored out of my mind. I got maybe one contraction the entire time and instead of feeling like I was making any progress, I just felt the need to poop! TMI, Sorry! We walked back to our room and I asked Jim to stand outside while I went to the bathroom. Even in labor I still wanted to maintain some dignity.
Because walking wasn’t doing much for me, I decided to rock a bit in the rocking chair while really focusing on my hypnobabies. This is when time gets fuzzy to me but I do recall going into deep hypnosis with my eyes closed for a long time and feeling SO relaxed and comfortable. I was getting a few more contractions and I felt like I was powering through them with ease. I definitely felt pressure but no pain and as I breathed as deeply as I could, I could literally feel my abdomen melt into mush which was the visual I would use during my weeks of practice. At some point I had asked Jim to inquire about getting an exercise ball to bounce on because I was getting a little impatient with how long things were taking and while I waited I moved back to the bed simply because I was so bored. For some reason my contractions picked up considerably while I was in the bed but when the nurse brought in the ball I quickly moved to it. Jim and I were going a little stir crazy so I told him to turn on the TV and we ended up watching HGTV for a bit. My contractions seemed to slow down a bit while on the ball and even the nurse noted that so I decided to get back into bed and see if they would pick up again.
Again, time is so fuzzy to me but I’d say around 12:30-1:00, the contractions were definitely picking up both in intensity and frequency. At this point I had to close my eyes and really focus on getting through them and I just remember saying over and over again in my head “Just pressure, no pain”. I have no idea where that came from but at the moment that mantra seemed to really help. And looking back I can wholeheartedly say I never really experienced pain in my abdomen during that time. I recall mind numbing, gripping pain all throughout my belly with Eli and Gabby’s birth but this time the contractions were NOTHING like that. I had also turned off my hypnobabies tracks and decided to listen to the relaxation station on Pandora which stayed on for the rest of the delivery. (I don’t remember any of the songs except the instrumental version of “Secrets” by OneRepublic and to this day whenever I hear it I burst into happy tears). Even though I was managing things okay and the music was definitely soothing, there was a small part of me that was scared of what was to come in terms of pain. Up until that point the contractions were manageable but I was starting to experience a lot of pain in my lower back. I didn’t think the baby was posterior but I did have concerns about what I was feeling. After telling the nurse (at this point I had a new one who was just as awesome and nice as my last one) she reassured me it was just the baby descending. Looking back I know that was a game changer for me. I told her I was still uncertain about getting that epidural but asked if she could give me the whereabouts of the anesthesiologist…just in caseShe told me he was doing a c-section at the moment but would be done shortly. I asked Jim what he thought I should do. The contractions were picking up and again, while I was managing them just fine, I was getting so afraid of things taking a turn for the worse. The nurse suggested getting fluids in me in case I decided get the epidural but assured me that didn’t mean I definitely had to get one. I decided that was the best thing to do. I was also checked again and told I had progressed to 6 centimeters and for some reason they started prepping the room for delivery.
Suddenly everything changed – just as I feared!. It was just Jim and I in the room when a contraction hit me so hard I think my eyes bulged out of my head. I had just started on a popsicle and before I could even take a lick I quickly said to Jim, “Just take it! Throw it away! I don’t want it.” I knew it was go time. The pain was radiating through my lower back and right along the top of my pubic bone. Those of you who have done Hypobabies know about the “bubble of peace” and if there was a moment when that bubble popped, this was it! I gripped the side bar on my bed so tight and pleaded with Jim to tell me what to do. All my concentration was lost and I didn’t think I would be able to get it back. Jim kept putting pressure on my forehead between my eyes and reminded me to do my breathing and self hypnosis techniques and I’m pretty sure he was constantly putting a cold wash cloth on my head and neck. I don’t know how much time had passed but it felt like I had to concentrate through 100 contractions. At some point the nurse walked in and I told her I absolutely had to get that epidural because the pain in my back was unbearable. She immediately paged the anesthesiologist and suggested that while I wait, I try to labor on my knees while holding on to the back of the bed. I quickly got into that position and HOLY COW, MORE PAIN! I’ve been taught to relax all my muscles but since I had to support the weight of my body on my thighs I just could not relax. I was moaning and groaning through the pain because being silent felt like I was holding everything in. Being vocal felt like I was releasing something. After that contraction passed I told Jim I needed him to support me through the next one because I HAD to relax every muscle in my body but laying on my back was absolutely not an option! While still kneeling on the bed, I flung my arms around Jim’s neck and as soon as I felt the pressure start to build I warned him that I was about to go limp. If the pain was a 10/10 previously, I’d say it went to down to a 9/10. It still ABSOLUTELY sucked but having my hubby hold me seemed to help a tiny bit. I still had no idea how I would manage another contraction let alone several and I was certain that epidural would never come! Thankfully the anesthesiologist walked in and I was so relieved. I told him I would sign any paper work which got a chuckle out of him. I’m sure he hears that stuff all the time.
Those of you who remember Gabriella’s birth story know that I experienced a pretty nasty epidural. That has been a fear of mine throughout this pregnancy but for some reason I didn’t care much at that moment. Anything would have felt better than the searing pain radiating through my lower back with every contraction. Thankfully I could somehow tell this anesthesiologist was going to be much better. I just remember the last guy being really odd and this guy was super friendly (not that there’s much of a correlation between personality and skill but that’s what was going through my head). Like always, I had to sit on the edge of the bed and at that point the pain was just unbearable. I had no idea how I was going to survive several contractions while sitting absolutely still in a hunched over position. Pure agony. The nurse was standing in front of me holding me still and Jim was sitting behind her. I recall looking at Jim over her shoulder and just crying. And he was looking back at me with so much concern. Even though he kept nodding to me and saying everything was going to be okay, I could tell he was wishing the minutes away just as quickly as I was. The epidural was painless but it took longer than I would have liked. At one point I said out loud to myself “Just one more contraction and then it will be over” but the nurse kindly told me that probably wasn’t true. And she was right. I had to endure a few more contractions and I apologized to the anesthesiologist for sweating so profusely! Labor is no joke, man.
Thankfully, relief was in sight as I felt the anesthesiologist start taping things into place on my back and a warming sensation started to spread up my legs. I slowly sat up, breathed a huge sigh of relief and was just so so happy that I could hopefully enjoy the rest of this delivery. I laid back down in bed and was ready to wait out the rest of this experience. The nurse and anesthesiologist left the room and again it was just Jim and I. Even though the searing back pain was gone I could still very much tell when I was having a contraction which scared me a bit. The pressure down below was CRAZY intense. So intense I didn’t exactly know what to do. I had no choice but to recruit my hypnobabies techniques again and I had to close my eyes and concentrate every time a wave presented itself. After every contraction I would violently shake and my teeth would chatter and then I’d have a moment of relaxation before the entire cycle started up again.
The nurse came back in the room quickly and decided to check me. I was pretty much complete but she wanted me to turn to my other side. I laid that way for about 5 minutes before she got me set up to push. I was a bit hesitant to push so soon but she assured me I was ready. And I was so ready to be done as well. With the next contraction she and Jim supported my legs and I pushed with everything I had. Apparently it was good push because she immediately paged the doctor and the other nurses. I was certain this baby was going to be here within a few minutes. Dr. Barr arrived and quickly got her gear on. I pushed through two (I think) more contractions and she noted how much hair the baby had. Jim and I just looked at each other and smiled. Then Dr. Barr told me I just had to push one more time and the head would be out. And that’s when I gave it my all! With the next push I got the baby’s head out. Once I was told to, I pushed even harder to release his body and that was by far the most painful pushing moment for me. Finally, at 3:04 PM he was out and it was over!! Dr. Barr held up Samuel and I heard her say “Dad?” and Jim said “It’s a boy!” At that moment I looked as well so I knew it was a boy at the same time Jim did. I was so happy! I would have been happy either way but I definitely had that boy feeling this time which I think cemented a stronger relationship immediately.
Samuel was put to my chest and I was in so much awe by how much he looked like Eli! I, of course, started crying and when I looked at Jim he had tears in his eyes too. We both just sat there staring and talking to our new little boy.
I don’t know if the hospital has changed its policy on things but I expected them to take Samuel away to be weighed and checked over but none of the nurses seemed interested in doing that right away. Instead I held him to my chest for almost an hour. During that time I delivered the placenta, my doctor stitched me up and another nurse bathed my girlie parts (what a job, hey?). I tried nursing Sammy but he had zero interest which sort of concerned me. However, being 4 weeks into things I can say that wasn’t problem as Mr. Man is very much addicted to the boob. The room emptied out as quickly as the nurses came in and soon enough it was just Jim, Sammy and I with a new nurse. She quietly did some work on the computer next to me and after that hour she took Samuel to the warming table to be weighed and measured (7 lbs, 14 oz. 20 inches). We also got the footprints in our baby book which I always have a fear of forgetting in the thick of things.
Of course Jim and I made some phone calls and sent out some text messages while we were still in the delivery room. I also ordered a late lunch because I was starving. Around 5 pm, I was taken to the bathroom to get cleaned up some more and then we were taken to our room on the next floor up. Such a crazy experience walking in with a baby in your belly and being wheeled out with him in your arms!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I just love the hospital I deliver at. Besides that one rude nurse, I have had nothing but the nicest, most kind nurses ever. I loved my stay the next two nights and believe it or not, as they wheeled me out on that last day I started crying. The sights, the smells, even the decor of that place will always take me back to those special days of delivering my babies. It was really hard to close that chapter on August 27th as I said my final good-byes.
So there it is. Birth story #3. Very much possibly my last time doing this. If Samuel gives me some time I may share with you my experience with recovery. It was MUCH different and way harder this time around both physically and mentally. But for now I’ll leave you with how we welcomed Samuel Michael into our world