#6!!!!!! <——— (I still can’t believe it.)
“Can you believe this?!” I asked as my doctor came into the room, grinning and shaking his head. I was there last Monday morning, July 14, for my appointment. Sonogram said 16, LMP date was the 22. Because babies #4 and #5, the only ones he had delivered, arrived about 20 days early, we were both left laughing.
Blood pressure good, weight good, spirits good. I told him we truly feel that after our crazy June and an early July debacle (details still not shared in this space) we felt as if we were gifted an extra week with this pregnancy. Yes, gifted. We discussed a Plan B for the weekend, just in case, since he was headed out of town for a short vacation. He’d be back next Wednesday, so that’s when we made my next appointment. “See you tomorrow!” he said as I walked out the door. I did a double take, and then laughed. Funny guy.
That evening shortly after 5:00, Miss 1 (she’ll be two in just a few weeks!) and I headed to the CSA farm for some fresh tomatoes. They sounded so good with the burgers we were grilling. Burgers, sweet corn on the cob; it was going to be a yummy dinner with friends over.
The guys were manning the grill when we returned, tweens in the kitchen making brownies, boys playing catch. Happy chaos. I left Miss 1 outside and headed in to get the rest of the meal ready. At about 6:00 my husband came running in with a screaming toddler. We need a washcloth. And water. And mommy! Blood everywhere, from her mouth. More details later, but the short version is that we were nearly all in tears, she nearly lost a tooth and now looks like a redneck baby, we almost made a flying trip to the ER, the dentist said there’s nothing we can do but wait it out, and supper was made and eaten in shifts that night, company and all.
My eating shift was at about 7:30. That’s when I turned to my husband, after our friends had left, and told him I’ve been having contractions. Between bites I announced,
“I think this is it.”
It had been seven years and three babies ago that I labored without my water breaking first, so I wasn’t real sure to think, but I knew. I called my parents (who recently moved only 20 minutes away from us, and less than 5 minutes from our hospital, whoop whoop!) to make arrangements, because I really didn’t want to drag five children out of their beds or call someone to come here if this happened overnight. We decided we’d get packed and cleaned up and try to have the kids to their house by 10. I would just labor there until it was time to go to the hospital.
I texted Lance’s assistant coach to have him take the weight room the next morning, and then called the hospital to give them a heads up. That’s important because it’s a small hospital with only 6 mama/baby rooms, and they may be short staffed if no one needs the facility at the time. When I called, I told the nurse that I’m having contractions every 10 or so minutes and I thought I’d likely be in overnight sometime. “What makes you think that?” she asked. I laughed. “Is this your first baby?” she asked. I laughed again.
“Oh! Okay. Keep us posted. Thanks for the heads up.”
We got busy cleaning and packing. Yes, packing that I should probably have accomplished weeks ago. Procrastination, it is my middle name.
My dad called at 10:00 for an update, and I told him the kids were loaded and we were heading out the door. And we did. On our way, I only had one decent contraction, and I started to doubt. We got the kids settled in and sleeping for the night, and told my parents we would just hang out and then leave when we needed to. At 11:30 my contractions completely stopped.
Lovely. I called the hospital and told the nurse I had stopped contracting and was going to bed. I’m sure she thought I was a loon. Thoughts running through my head: 1) I could be sleeping in my own bed. 2) What are we doing?! The kids should be home in their beds. 3) This is my SIXTH baby. You’d think I’d have this figured out by now. How embarrassing. 4) My essential oils order processes at midnight, and I was going to add that one last thing… maybe I still have time. 5) Ugh. I never did get my VA work done today. Should have stayed home to do that. 6) At least my water hasn’t broken.
I told Lance to go to bed and get some sleep, that I would wake him if I needed him. I laid down with the girls, wide awake with all the thoughts, until I felt a big pop and gush. Jumping up from the bed and into my parents’ basement bathroom before leaking all over their new house, new thoughts took over. It was 1:30 a.m and I was suddenly very glad to have the kids at grandma’s and to be laboring close to the hospital in the middle of the night. I went out to the car to get new clothes, and felt the contractions starting up again. And my back hurt. UUUGGGHHH. Again.
For the next two hours I hung out in their basement quietly, assessing contractions, passing the time on my phone. When contractions started picking up, I grabbed a pillow and assumed my favorite labor position: sitting backwards on the toilet, head and arms on a pillow. (Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!)
At 3:30 a.m. I was needing some counter pressure on my back, so I woke Lance up. By 3:45 we were heading out the door. Yes, things were moving along rapidly. And thank goodness we weren’t yanking 5 kiddos out of their beds in the middle of the night!
We reached labor and delivery right around 4:00, pausing to lay over the water fountain for a contraction. Classy.
The nurses could tell we weren’t messing around, so they moved rather quickly. After stripping me down (they did let me keep my shirt on and not bother with the hospital gown, thank you very much) she, of course, needed to check for dilation, and you all know how I feel about that! I told her I’m not expecting to be more than a five, and that I would go from a 5 to a 10 in a couple of hours.
I was at a 7. Yipee! Except, here it comes. The next few hours were going to be torture, and I knew it. And dreaded it. Here we go!
She poked me for the blood work and saline lock, and said a few choice words when she went through my vein. Called in the other nurse for a repeat performance in my other arm. I’m miserable, contracting, shaking, and had to be stuck three different times. What in the world?! That has never happened!
I was too far into the misery to want to walk the halls, so we retreated to the bathroom with our tennis balls. Lance’s job during my ridiculous back labor is to shove tennis balls (or his fists, or thumbs, or whatever works) into my back with his full 240 pounds, to counter the “my spine is splitting in two” pain. Fun times. He’s also in charge of fetching and making me drink water between contractions, and making me stand up every once in a while before my legs go completely numb. I’m in charge of
not dying letting go, breathing, and praying my way through, knowing that the end is near.
When I started to feel a little pushy, I had the nurse check me again. It was 5 a.m. I was at an 8. Meh. That was discouraging. She suggested I try my hands and knees. Did that through one contraction. Horrid. I had no solid surface to brace myself on and it was impossible to get the needed counter pressure. Back to the toilet. More pain. Lots of tears. Maybe a “Why do we do this again?!” or two cried out. Even an “I’m done! I can’t do this anymore!” <———– For the uninitiated, those are all signs of a hard and fast transition. When you get to your breaking point, you’re almost there!
Determined to not have anyone touch me again until this baby was coming out, I labored on that toilet until I was involuntarily pushing. And I tried to hide it from my husband. That worked for a while, but he finally said, “Are you pushing?!”
“I can’t help it,” I groaned.
He grabbed the nurse. I got back into bed. (I HATE that bed. I HATE being checked. I DESPISE being on my back. WHY do we do this again?!)
“Oh! Baby’s come down nicely. You’re ready. Don’t push.” <——— DON’T push?! What the what?! So for 10 years (or 10 minutes, whatever) I only kind of pushed, which kind of appeased everyone.
“Doc’s here,” Lance said. “He has his baseball hat on, but I don’t see a catcher’s glove.” And it was time. (I could skip writing this next part and simply refer you to Baby #5’s Birth Story. Same song, second verse.)
I pushed through 3 or 4 contractions, on my back. I swore after my last labor that I would never deliver a baby on my back again (my poor tailbone!) but I couldn’t think of anything that would be more comfortable and my legs were completely shot which eliminated the squatting option, so on my back I was. Yuck.
Head out. More misery through a couple of contractions. Little Miss had her arm crossed over a shoulder.
Finally. Relief. And it’s a girl! 6:59 a.m. “Oh, she’s big,” said. 6 pounds, 15.9 ounces. (Ha! Maybe she just FELT big!)
Anyone who’s crazy enough to do drug-free labors will feel me here: After the baby is born, I am done with pain. DONE. Don’t touch me, don’t stick me, nothing. Leave me the heck alone. So of course they squished on my tummy for 20 minutes before the placenta gave up the game. Ugh. That was not fun. But I didn’t need stitches, so bonus there.
All the other pain? The contractions after birth. The toe-curling shock every time baby latches on. The hips and groin, torn apart, meshing together again. The muscles I didn’t know I had proving their existence. Well, that’s all worth it.
All in all, it was torture. Nasty back labor with no water cushion. Again. However, it was torture for “only” 2-3 hours. I’ll take it!
PS ~ When my doc checked in later in the day, he laughed. “You know, I really was kidding about that whole ‘See you tomorrow’ thing.”
If you’re interested and you haven’t already read them, here are my other birth stories:
And yes, I’m still in shock. I have half a dozen children!
Coming up… Labor and Delivery with Essential Oils. This was my first oily L&D experience, and it did make a difference! Just in case I don’t get it written right away, I want you to know that 1) Lavender rocks, and 2) It’s 20% off today and tomorrow. Get you some! (Let me know if you have any questions. I’m in the recliner many hours a day with my new little bug. I’ll see your email. firstname.lastname@example.org)