Not surprisingly, more than two weeks have passed since your birth and I am just now getting around to writing your birth story. I have also hauled myself up in the bedroom, alone, with the laptop in the hopes that I can get it typed in one quick bout rather than stretched over several days (which is what will happen if your big brother has anything to do with it!). In fact, there are so many details of my pregnancy with you and first few days that I want to document and like most second children (and remember, I’m one two!) they are going to slip away before I get them down. But… your birth story is important Curtis. And deserves to be told.
You were due tomorrow, Monday, January 28. All along I had said that my biggest goal, besides having a healthy baby of course, was to have you pick your own birthday. I didn’t want to be induced as I was with Wesley. I also strongly felt that you were going to be late. I think I guessed Feb. 2 when someone asked. The morning of January 12 (which was a Saturday) I told several people that as of Monday I would be more pregnant than I had ever been before (since we induced your brother at exactly 38 weeks and I was then 37 weeks, 5 days)… not to be outdone, apparently, you chose January 12 as your birthday. But I get ahead of myself.
Because it was a Saturday, your father was home and so Grandma and I went to Walmart on our own, in part to shop for birthday presents for your big brother. We walked around the store for over an hour and at one point I told Grandma, “I could not put my knees together if I sat down,” because I felt like your head was so low! We then called Daddy and decided that we were going to go see The Hobbit at the movie theatre. From the very first Surround Sound, you jumped inside my belly… and jumped several times during the movie as well. Only time will tell if that means that you are an extreme Tolkien fan or if you despise fantasy! By the end of the three hours in the somewhat hard movie seat, my tailbone and you were done!
We came home, ate dinner, and watched the end of the Denver Broncos first play-off game. Mommy is not a football fan but Grandma is and since it’s our “home team” we watched… the Broncos lost in overtime to the Ravens, which was not supposed to happen. Literally two minutes after they lost (about 7pm) I felt a sharp downward pressure/pain and thought to myself, “I just peed my pants!” I got up and went to the bathroom where it felt like I was continuing to pee… since I couldn’t tell for sure what was happening I went back to the living room (thinking to myself I KNOW I can control my bladder standing in the living room) and yet I continued to “pee.” At that point it was clear to me… my water had broken and I was leaking! That was definitely NOT the way I had thought I would go into labor.
The last "belly" photo taken jst before we left the house
Last photo of a family of three
Daddy and I hurried around the house gathering the last few items that needed packed (luckily I had packed most of our bags earlier that week) and kissing your big brother goodbye, telling him that by tomorrow he might get to meet you. By the time we got in the car (about 7:30pm) I was starting to cramp but didn’t feel like I was having contractions yet.
I think we almost literally skipped into the hospital, up to the maternity ward where I happily chirped “I think I’m having a baby. My water broke.” I’m sure the nurses looked at me and the way I approached the desk and thought, ‘Yeah, and you’re a long way off of having a baby!” But, they put me in a room where I changed into a gown and got checked by the nurse. We listened to your heartbeat (good and steady!). She confirmed that your water was indeed “ruptured” and she took my blood pressure several times… and it was consistently too high. All through my pregnancy this had been our fear and it hadn’t been the case. I was worried about what this would mean for my plans of a natural labor and delivery, since I knew I couldn’t labor laying on only one side or another when the contractions got intense. It had definitely not been possible for me in my labor with Wesley. Luckily, after having me lay on my left side for about twenty minutes and realizing that my BP was not going down, the nurse told me that I could lay any way I wanted and they’d just keep an eye on it. Hooray!
For the next hour and a half the contractions got more regular and more intense. In between them I watched a good portion of the Vivien Leigh version of Streetcar Named Desire on tv… I turned it off shortly after Brando yelled “STELLA!” up the stairs, as I was starting to need to focus on what I was doing and the contractions were getting stronger and closer together.
About 9:45 the nurse came in and I told her that I was having downward pressure. She commented that via the monitoring she could tell that the contractions were, as she put it, “Not giving me any down time.” I didn’t need a monitor to tell her that! She checked me at 10pm. When we checked in I was 3 cm. I was now 5, but she said several times that your head was “right there” and that all that had to happen was my cervix needed to engage and you would “be here.” She called Jayne, my midwife, and asked her to please come as I seemed to be moving along quickly.
Shortly afterwards I felt that I needed to push. I told Reid to get me a cold washcloth and a basin to throw up in because I was in transition. He got me both and I could tell the nurse knew it was time. About 10:20 Jayne showed up, took one look, stepped into the hallway and called out “We need everything in here now!” I opened my eyes a little, looked and saw there was no one standing at the end of the bed to do the proverbial catching of the baby, and said very loudly “He’s coming!” followed by a few utterances of “I can’t do this!” I was very surprised the next morning that your daddy didn’t have a bruised hand from how hard I was squeezing it with each contraction. But he stood there stoically and helped me through each one of them.
And luckily I was surrounded by strong, capable women who know that I could do it and told me so. The nurse continually reminded me at the start of each contraction to slow my breathing (and myself) down. Jayne used helpful comments like “Curl yourself around the baby to push” and “Use low guttural noises” when I was getting high and whimpery. Both of these suggestions actually helped a great deal. I pushed for, at most, four contractions and you were born. The “ring of fire” that women talk about for natural births is a really accurate description and I actually thought of it as I was going through your crowning. But it didn’t last for long and you were out lying on my chest. My first words when I saw you were “He’s so tiny.” Jayne assured me that you weren’t and in fact that you were “perfect.” The truth is you were only a few ounces less than your brother at birth but we forget how tiny baby’s look when they are first born.
Getting checked out... perfect!
You were born at exactly 10:30pm… three and a half hours from your water breaking to you being born! Both Jayne and the nurse, who have undoubtedly seen hundreds if not thousands of births, agreed it went faster than they had anticipated it going. The nurse kept saying “5 centimeters at 10pm!” As I was delivering the placenta, getting my one tiny stitch, and they were checking your vitals, the nurse even told me “It’s a good thing I don’t smoke any more or I’d be outside! My adrenaline is just now coming down.” Jayne asked jokingly if we were planning to have more children because if so I would need to come to the hospital at the first sign of discomfort! After all, Wesley’s labor took 5 ½ hours. Yours took 3 ½!
My BP stayed up through my time in the hospital (though came down slightly when I was laying on my left side) but they let us go home Monday morning anyhow. And just like that… we were forever a family of four!