So...we got to the hospital around 6:15 and started the admitting process. It was taking FOREVER! I was ready to get the show on the road! While we were still being admitted, I received a call on my phone and it was one of the doctors saying that Labor & Delivery was very busy and could we come in at noon instead. She said, "the good news is, we'll still be able to deliver your baby today." Well. I didn't think that was the best news. I almost burst into tears. I didn't want to start the process at noon, I wanted to start as early as possible. I told her we were already being admitted and she said to just come up and "we'll see what we can figure out for you." Not what I wanted to hear. Well, the good news was, they had us in a room right away. The bad news was, they just kind of left us there (very uncomfortable bed!!) until some of the craziness died down. So I had to sit there with the heart monitor on and an IV running for a few hours before they started the pitocin drip. We should've gone out for breakfast instead! But, anyway...
They finally started the drip around 10:30 a.m. I prayed for good IV's and had two in my right arm that were placed very well. I was so thankful! I started feeling contractions right away (like a balloon being filled up with air inside of your belly), although it wasn't that painful at the start. When we arrived, they checked me and I was dilated to 3cm, 50% effaced, so that was a pretty good starting point.
The contractions were picking up and although they still weren't very painful, I knew they would be very soon. I also wanted to get the epidural before they broke my water because that always speeds things up tremendously. So, they called for the epidural and I think it was about 1pm when they came in to do it. After the area was numb and they were placing it in my back/spine (whatever), I felt a tinge of pain when they were putting it in and jumped. The doctor and all of the residents were like, "Whoa! Where did you feel that? Left, right, or middle?" I was trying to think about where I felt it -- don't want to mess up that question and not get the epidural right -- but couldn't really place it, so I just said middle. I don't know if that's where I felt it or not but the epidural set up better on my left side than my right. I kept having to lay on my right side to dump the medicine over so I could feel the numbness there too. Ugh. I also noticed that with this epidural I felt a lot more. Not necessarily in a bad way, but with the other two, my legs were totally numb and I couldn't move them at all. With this one I felt a tad bit more mobile with my legs.
So we just sat there for a while and let the contractions do their work. I was dilated to 4 cm maybe around 2pm or so and thought to myself, "Man. This is going to take forever." A little bit later, my water ruptured by itself (I felt a gush and they determined later that I was correct!) and from that point on, my contractions started to pick up quite a bit. It is amazing that something so crazy can be taking place in your body and Russ and I were just sitting there waiting...not really feeling much at all. I've felt pitocin contractions before and I don't ever want to feel them again, so this was great!
About 3:45 or so, the pain started to increase on my right side and when the nurse came in about a half hour later I told her that I might need to up the epidural. She asked me what it felt like and all I could say was that there was a lot of pressure and it felt like my body was opening. I couldn't describe it better than that. We had a good laugh about this later! I had never felt that with the other births and thought maybe my cervix was dilating more and the contractions were just getting crazy. She said it was about time to empty my bladder, so she would ask the doctors about upping my meds after she cathed me. She lifted the sheets to do my cath and the baby was crowning! She said, "well, that's why you're feeling more pain! The baby is about to come out!" She quickly got on the phone and said, "we need the doctor down here right now. The baby is crowning." A few seconds later, the attending doctor, Dr. Goodier (who we really liked!), 3 of the residents and a few nurses rushed in. There was a crowd in there!! They all got in their places like they knew this was going to happen or something. They put my legs up in the stir ups and told me to push at the next contraction. I couldn't believe it was all happening so fast! I thought the whole process would be much slower! So when the next contraction came, I took a deep breath and pushed. Out came the head. The contraction was still going, so I took another deep breath and pushed. Out came some of the body, I think. They said to push again, so I did and out came the baby. I honestly think I pushed for about 45 seconds. I think one of the neatest things with my vaginal deliveries is the feeling of the baby coming all the way out and your stomach going down. Anyway, it was crazy! He looked huge! Dr. Smith (one of the residents) was the one who caught the baby and as she was pulling him out, what seemed like a few gallons of amniotic fluid shot out of my body and hosed her and our nurse (Kim) down. They were soaked. How gross! That has never happened to me before. The nurses were all getting towels to clean up all the fluid on the floor! They kept saying that I had extra fluid and I guess they were right.
Caleb was cleaned up in the room. It seemed like it took forever for me to get to hold him. I was just laying while he was being measured, weighed, etc. etc. etc. Finally I got to hold him but it was rather awkward as I was still laying down being stitched up because of a 2nd degree tear. (We had prayed that I wouldn't tear horribly and this was the least amount of tearing I've ever had!) I could only hold him one way - kind of like sitting up - and couldn't really snuggle with him or anything. Even so, he was beautiful. I couldn't believe he was out! And I was in love at first sight. What an incredible gift.
Russ got to cut the cord although he was reluctant. It did look kind of gross. Very thick. Ugh. We're just not the type of people that would get all geeked up about that, I guess. Everything with Caleb was fine. They weighed him and asked everyone for their guesses. I guessed 10 lbs. Russ guessed 10 lbs., 3oz. and got it exactly right! Big baby! At 38 weeks! If we let him bake longer, he definitely would've been our biggest. Our nurse, Kim, who had been at MUSC for 8 years and a nurse for longer than that, said that this was the biggest baby she had ever seen birthed vaginally. She had definitely heard stories of others, but never been in the room for a birth like this. Wow. Big babies are so normal to us, but I guess it really is kind of a big deal. Does that mean I have a gigantic pelvis? I hope not. Maybe I do. I seem to handle these big kids well. ;) More than anything though, it means our prayers were answered! There was no shoulder dystocia! This was my number one fear with a VBAC.
The girls didn't make it up to the hospital until the next day because he was born around 4:30 p.m. and by the time we were transferred to postpartum it would've been too late. It was funny to see how they acted when they came up to the room though. The older two were kind of nervous and kept asking questions about why we were there. Poor Noa was genuinely concerned for us and cried when they had to leave. It was really sweet. I think she missed us and didn't understand why we were staying in the hospital and why I had all kinds of IVs, etc. But they LOVED their brother! And they keep on loving him (A LOT) now that we're home.
Here's some pictures from the day. We were going to have a photographer come up and take some professional pictures but honestly, I was just too tired. I can definitely tell this was my 4th baby in a row and unfortunately my body isn't recovering quite as quickly as the first! So, we'll have some better pictures of him within the next few weeks. But, here's the pathetic pictures we got with our little camera or our phones. I still think they're cute. :)
|This was obviously a really hard picture to get. No one was cooperating. Or they were all cooperating at different times. Baby brother looks gigantic!|
|Somebody was soooo proud!|
|The girls kept wanting to ride up and down on the bed. I look horrible! I felt rather horrible, actually, and the roller coaster bed wasn't helping much. :)|
|Look how many people are in our family! I still can't get over it!|