The night before he was born, I got a series of texts from an intuitive friend who said she knew he was coming. She also told me I was pregnant a day before I knew I was - so needless to say, I believed her!
Sunday morning I woke up around 6am to get PJ like I normally do. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions pretty regularly for a few weeks but felt like something was a little different - I went to pee thinking maybe it was that.
Around 6:30am, I started texting family that something was starting and I thought “today would be the day”. My mom and sister asked if they needed to get there to which I said “nah, not yet.” Carmen took hoooooours to come and with PJ I labored all day before 5 hours or so of active labor in the hospital. I thought I still had time!
I also started tracking my contractions in the Full Term app (I’ve used this with both of my girls too) and I texted my doula who mentioned that she, too, woke up thinking “today was my day”.
I also want to mention that Carmen has a series of 5s in her birthday and PJ, 7s. So I had a hunch that G would come 4/14/19 or 4/19/19 so I could remember his birthday, naturally.
Between 7-8am, my contractions went from 4 minutes apart to 1.5 minutes apart. Between 8-9am, they went from 1.5 to 1. I knew something weird was happening...
At 8:45am, I texted my mother in law and a friend to come sooner. But, man, I just really felt like I was going to die at this point! I could barely get dressed, all within 2 hours?! I tried to pack my bag and change in between contractions - and it was super freaking hard because I essentially only had 30 seconds in between each of them. Note to self: actually have bag packed next time. Another note to self: don’t do kids’ laundry. Just get to hospital.
Around 9am, I made it back downstairs and told John to call and see when his mom and Alyssa would be there to watch the girls. Both were 20 minutes out. John said we should get the girls in the car and just go.
So we did. I thought I was coming in for an epidural. I kept thinking - if it’s ALREADY this bad two hours in, there is NO WAY I can do this again without drugs (I’ve had 2 unmedicated births already).
I got in the car at 9:10am.
I got to the lobby of the hospital at 9:20am and my doula was there waiting for me.
She ushered me to the PETU (intake) on the 3rd floor and I just remember her saying “3rd baby. Rectal pressure.” To everyone we came across.
I had to sign paperwork before walking into the PETU. That was hilarious. I was scribbling stuff I don’t even know. In fact, I want to see those papers!!
I got to my room and started to get my gown on but didn’t make it. My water broke pretty much immediately. I finally got up on the bed on all fours but could absolutely not lie down. I kept asking for the epidural - ha! - but no one was giving me an answer on that.
I was checked and could hear them say I was 9.5cm and 0 station. YIKES. Too late for that epidural, Jess!
After maybe two contractions on that stretcher bed, I felt like I had to push. They wanted me to transfer to labor and delivery - I could hear them talking about it - but I could also hear them saying it was too late. At one point they asked me to hold him in - haha, right. I had to start pushing, and could immediately feel his head coming through. Well, shoot - can I just try to push him out in one go?!
I essentially pushed for a big long push. I could feel his head coming out, and I knew I just had to get his shoulders and I was home free. They came next and he was born at 9:31am.
Remember that timing?! Yeah 11 minutes after I got to the hospital lobby, he was born!
I’ve now had TWO PETU babies and one in the birth suite. I’ve never been to Labor and Delivery, LOL.
They told me to turn over to hold him but obviously I was in a serious amount of shock and had no idea what was happening. I finally did and they put him on my chest and asked me what his name was. I wanted to wait for John to arrive first.
Oh yeah - John missed the birth because he went to take the girls home!! Like I said- I thought I was coming for an epidural...
G had meconium in his fluids but seemed to be fine. I wanted to save my placenta as I have with my two girls but they said it was really soiled from the meconium (I didn’t keep it). G latched right away and we eventually made our way up to our post-partum room.
G also had the cord loosely tied around his next one time AND it was tied in a “true knot”. Had my labor been long or had this knot been pulled tightly while exiting - it could have cut off his oxygen supply. ...which is really scary to think about.
I think I was guided to the hospital by angels, looking for an epidural, but really it was to get G out safely.
Once in our post-partum room, the nurses wanted to check his blood sugar because I didn’t have a gestational diabetes test done (I used a glucometer to test my own sugars - which all came back in range of normal). Anyway, his blood sugar was low so they asked me to give him a syringe of donor milk and they would come to check again. It was still low then so they had to take him to the NICU for fluids and sugar. That was unexpected. They said it would be about 12 hours or so until he would be released and that we could visit as much as we wanted.
When he got to the NICU, one of the nurses noticed rapid breathing. I thought it felt like we was panting at times, but he was checked by no fewer than 10 people since he was born and they didn’t seem to find this odd. They did an XRay and found meconium and fluid in his lungs. He was immediately hooked up to an IV, a CPAP for oxygen and air, and a ton of wires...and placed on a warmer bed.
This was Sunday afternoon.
We had a long journey in the NICU since then. Almost 2 weeks!
Apparently the meconium in his lungs was pretty bad and he has done an amazing job at strengthening his breathing.
Over the course of 12 days, he strengthened his lungs and breathing and weaned down to less and less oxygen and airflow. It’s a long process and we were never given a discharge date - because it’s entirely dependent on how he is doing that day.
I have a LOT of thoughts about our NICU experience. I’m going to write a post about this separately because this one is already long enough!
Here are some quick things I journaled to myself during this time:
The most consecutive sleep possible is 3 hours if I skip the 3am feed.
Not taking proper care because I don’t want to bring everything into the bathroom.
There are no postpartum supplies in the NICU bathrooms?! NO PADS?!
Will I get to keep the good chair at his bedside if I leave or will they wheel it away?
Which nurse will I have today?
Where will I sleep tonight?
This literally feels like basic training. I have a schedule, a routine. Up when it’s dark, turning in when it’s dark...
If I were home, I’d be able to sleep when he sleeps during the day but I can’t do that here because I have no place to go.
So awkward getting picked up by Lyft or going down the street to Starbucks...
Do you work here? (At the hospital)
What are you up to today?
Oh you just had a baby? Congrats!
here’s a photo of Carm and little G after we came home! <3