In the days leading up to Daniel?s birthday, I had been feeling OK. Monday, July 9th, I went to OB triage for high blood pressure, and found that I was having contractions again, but I was only dilated to 1 cm.
On Tuesday, July 10th I got home and the air conditioning was out for the second time in two days, meaning that it was definitely totally broken and needed to be replaced. I started to get stressed out as we made plans to have our whole system replaced the next day, and I planned for DS and I to stay the night at my parents? house just in case it went out again, while DH would stay at our house (having temporarily fixed the A/C) doing some work planning, because he had his bosses flying in the next day for a few days of meetings and activities.
I walked around the house quite a bit, gathering things for DS and I to stay the night at my parents?, while the house got hotter and hotter, as the high that day was in the 110s and there was a heat advisory warning. After I finished, I went out to my car and just sat there with the air blowing, and tried to make sense of how we were going to get everything done the next day. I was feeling really overwhelmed and unable to make a plan.
I got to my parents? house and told them I needed to lie down and drink some water right away because I was feeling like I was going to start getting contractions from the heat and the stress of the A/C. The funny thing was that I didn?t really feel any contractions when I said this, and I really only meant the Braxton-Hicks contractions I had been having for over a week. Sure enough, though, I did start having contractions, and I noticed right away that they were slightly different ? the BH had radiated up the right side of my belly and been mostly painless. These stayed low in my uterus, under my belly, and felt more like period cramps.
I started timing my contractions at 6:00, having been told that it was time to go to the hospital when they were 4-5 minutes apart, had been timing them for an hour and a half, and that they increased in intensity. They were 2-3 minutes apart, with an occasional 5 minutes apart, right from the beginning. There was a period around 6:35-6:45 where I had a 7 minute and 9 minute space, so I thought that meant that I started the counter over, restarting the 90 minutes. Around this time, everyone needed to eat, but I decided not to eat, just in case I needed to have an empty stomach for the c-section, even though I really thought this was just a false alarm. So I decided to take a warm bath, hoping the contractions would go away.
The bath didn?t work, and they kept coming 2-3 minutes apart. Finally around 7:45 I had a few that were 5 minutes apart, and I thought ?Oh good, they?re tapering off.? Just before 8:00, the contractions picked up again and were noticeably stronger, finally meeting the last criteria of ?increasing in intensity?. I finally agreed with my mom that it was time to go to the hospital, so I called DH and told him to come get me and to bring the backpack of stuff we needed right away, just in case. I realized that this could be it, so I called upstairs and had DS come down and give me a big hug goodnight. Then I got up and made it halfway to the bathroom when my water broke, right there on my parents? floor! I froze and just stood there crying ? until my water broke, I still really didn?t believe we were going to have the baby. My mom called DH and told him my water had broken, and they agreed that he would meet us at the hospital. I calmed down once we got into the car and realized that the uncertainty of contractions was gone, and that I was definitely having my baby that night!
I arrived at the hospital around 8:30 and DH was right behind us. When they did a cervical check, I was 4 cm dilated. At this point, people started coming in quickly. One nurse to take my history, another nurse to take blood and insert my IV, another nurse who was going to be my nurse through the surgery and postpartum, the anesthesiologist, etc. It got very overwhelming, and I started crying. Despite all my information and preparation for the c/s, I was still scared to actually have the surgery, and all the commotion brought the fear to the surface. It took me a while to pull it together.
Around 10:00 everything was ready but we had to wait for an assistant surgeon to be available. This was a blessing because it gave DH and I some time to ourselves, before the surgery. This time was really special to me, allowing me to calm down and appreciate the wonderful thing that was about to happen, even though I was having lots of painful contractions by this point, and I just wanted to get the show on the road!
Finally around 10:30 they said it was time, and they rolled me out of triage. DH stayed with me until we got to the door of the OR, then I went in by myself. They put me on the table and things kept moving very quickly. I stared up at the ceiling while they prepped me, and everything above my chest was freezing and trembling. My arms were shaking, my teeth were chattering, and I felt freezing. They did give me a warm blanket, which felt great, but really didn?t change the shivering, so I knew it wasn?t actual cold but a side effect. DH was allowed in and he rolled up next to me on a stool. We tried to chat about things but really had nothing to talk about, the kind of inane conversation you make when you both know you aren?t really paying attention to anything other than what was going on behind the drape.
I heard them say that the procedure was beginning at 10:45pm. I didn?t feel anything at first, but as the procedure went on, I felt lots of pressure being applied to my upper right abdomen, as they tried to mimic contractions by squeezing the baby out. It was really wild when I felt them pulling and tugging back and forth, so hard I felt my whole lower body rock back and forth on the table, with the baby kicking me inside at the same time. It seemed like it went on for a while, but it couldn?t have.
Daniel was born at 10:51pm, weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and measuring 19 inches long. They brought him over for me to see, and I craned my neck to get a good look at him. I saw his little face and heard his little newborn cry, and just said ?Awwwww. He?s so little!? They took him away for a bit to get him cleaned up, and DH went with him to take pictures and try to give me a play by play. I must admit that I didn?t love being alone on the table. It was how I wanted it to be and how it needed to be, but I definitely got lonely. And once I was alone and the baby was born healthy, I had time to have a little freakout! I kept feeling the pressure on my upper right and middle abdomen, and couldn?t figure out what they were doing up so high. I decided that they had had to do a vertical incision and got upset until I asked about it. Then the pressure increased and I felt like I couldn?t breathe. It wasn?t very fun, but got better when DH and Daniel came back to me. DH put him right up next to my face and I got to just look at him and be with him. Also, soon after Daniel was born, they gave me Demerol to calm the shakes and I got a lot more comfortable. Right before they sent DH and Daniel to recovery, they let me touch him. After the surgery, we went to recovery where I finally got to hold him and give him a bottle.
He is 8 days old now, and we are home and doing great. I have been off the Percocet for a few days now but I still need ibuprofen for the pain, which is up and down. Daniel has been a little angel. He rarely cries, sleeps a lot, and has skipped a couple of night feedings, which has been really great. DS has been adjusting pretty well. We haven?t noticed any new behaviors, just the same old 4-year-old ups and downs. He LOVES his baby brother and wants to be around him all the time! Overall, the transition from one kid to two has been easier than I anticipated. I know we will have rough times ahead, especially when DH goes back to work, but for now, it?s just wonderful. We?re so happy!
Big Brother is so proud when he meets his baby brother:
Newborn photo from the hospital:
Signature pics are the day he was born, and brothers on day 2.