By George!

Well .... it's been over a week of newborn snuggles, sibling adjusting, housekeeping and sleeping every chance I get.  I (might) have a few free minutes here, so it's time to record a birth story.

Slice and I were hoping to have the baby on his birthday, March 13th. My due date was the 11th but Lex was 5 days late, so we thought the 13th would be perfect. I certainly didn't expect to go early.
Also, remember how I always have contractions?  Through my entire pregnancy? And how that makes it hard to determine when I'm actually in labor? Just keep that in mind.

Friday, March 4th, my contractions started getting painful. They weren't frequent, but by nighttime, they were keeping me awake.  I spent the night wondering if it could really be time already.  Saturday I went to a Relief Society meeting and had almost no contractions in almost 2 hours. I figured it had been a false alarm.

That afternoon I made strawberry freezer jam at my mom's, and watched a movie in the evening.  I timed my (increasingly painful!) contractions all day.  When I walked home, around 11:00, they were 10 minutes apart.  I drank water and went to bed, listening to Hypnobabies tracks, hoping to slow them down.  My kids were just getting sick and I didn't want a new baby until they got over whatever illness was setting in.

I was up all night again.  I tried to time contractions, but I'd sleep between them and then forget when the previous one had been.  It was another fitful and exhausting night, and Sunday we woke up to three even sicker kids.

Slice called his mom in Cedar City and asked her to come, although I wasn't sure what was happening with my labor.  I worried that she'd get here and have to wait a few days before I had the baby.  On the other hand, I was still hoping to wait a few days to give us all time to recover.

We stayed home from church and spent the day together.  We basically lounged around the house, giving the kids alternate doses of ibuprofen & tylenol.  My mom, knowing the state of affairs at our house, made dinner for us and brought it over.

By the time Slice's mom came and we had eaten, my contractions were bad enough that I was standing/kneeling/doing whatever I could to get through them.  But STILL they were fairly sporadic.  Slice ran to the store for more children's medicine (we were out), I finished packing my hospital bag and labored wherever I could get some peace and comfort.  I thought we should go to the hospital after we had our family Skype meeting and put the kids to bed.

I sat on the medicine ball through the meeting, kids went to bed, and I came back to the living room to wait for Slice.  By this point I was SO. TIRED. I was curled up on the floor, not caring to move even during the contractions. 
Me to Slice: "I can't do this anymore. I just want some rest. Sleeping pill, anesthesia, I don't care."
He threw our stuff in the car, snapped a horrid photo, and we headed to the hospital.  It was 9:00 p.m.

When we got there, of course we had all the checking in to do.  Front desk registration, long walk back to OB (hard contractions on the way!), questions at the OB nurses' desk. ("Are you having contractions?" "Yes." "How far apart?"  "Well .... 6-7 minutes.") And nurses don't hide their skepticism very well.  They didn't think I was ready to have a baby.

We got into the room, I changed and Slice told the nurse that I go reeeeally fast at the end. I also told her that I wanted some anesthesia, so they started with an IV and some bloodwork for labs first.  Then she checked me and said "You're at an 8!"
Slice and I looked at each other - there would be no time for anesthesia.

The nurse monitored the baby for a bit while I stood through contractions and collapsed on the bed in between.  She left, came back and said the baby's heartrate was low. They put me on oxygen and dripped a bag of fluid through my IV. That kept me pretty much tied to the bed.  
THEN she called the doctor.

(Me to Slice: "She hasn't called the doctor yet??!!" We'd already been at the hospital for 40 minutes.)

Less than 5 minutes later, the doctor walked in. He got the call and, luckily, remembered just how fast my labors go at the end. "Good thing you live so close!" I said.
He checked me and I was at 9cm. We knew there was no time to call the anesthetist, so he broke my water instead. Immediately I had a really hard contraction (still lying on the bed, couldn't really move), and I breathed through it as well as I could. I felt like I'd need to push soon. Still had some cervix left. 

Next contraction, I said "I'm feeling pushy." 
"Let's do another contraction on your side like this." (The Doctor.) 
  ... I wasn't planning on moving anyway.  Too tired. I'd been at it for 48+ hours. They started breaking apart the bed.

Another contraction came quickly, and - I was pushing! There is nothing in the world like that feeling. I had almost no control.  It was a long hard push, and after I screamed (first time ever!) his head was out. They yelled at me to stop pushing, and I tried, but in the split second that they turned his body, the rest of him came right out.

They laid him on my stomach, and he just looked around. I think he was as shocked as I was about everything that had just happened.  The nurse said to me, "You made us earn our keep tonight!" 
The doctor said to Slice, "I better give you the Homebirth course."

It was just after 10:00. Sunday, March 6th. Five days before his due date.  He was only 6 lbs. 12 oz, much smaller than my other babies. Everything about him was a surprise! He really wanted to get here, I guess.  
We were okay with that.


The Waiting

Hey guys.

It's March 2nd, and there's plenty going on here, as I'm sure there is with all of you.  For starters, I look something like this -

 - only bigger, because that was already a couple weeks ago and I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW I CAN KEEP GROWING.  I'm as big (and heavier) than I was full-term with any of my previous babies, and much more uncomfortable, I swear.  Please let that not be a sign of a huge baby boy....or even baby head.

Up until this week I was still teaching history classes and piano lessons multiple days a week. Now that I'm done, I realize just how stressful all of that was.  Good thing I took off a couple weeks early to get all the other things done that I've never gotten to.  Like cooking meals! And cleaning the kitchen cupboards! And taxes! And hanging artwork on the walls in this house that we've lived in for eighteen months!

I'm also sorta-maybe going to do Hypnobabies again with this birth, so I've been trying to practice, but it's not going well. It's a little tricky carving out 45 minutes a day when I am completely uninterrupted.  Imagine that.

We've been sick, and almost better, and sick again, mostly with respiratory issues. I had Strep and a sinus infection myself; Lex had a double ear infection.  Right now Emma's coughing up her little lungs while she tries to take a nap on my bed.  Poor kids!  And I am not the most patient caregiver these days.

Speaking of not being patient ... my pregnant self, you guys. It's just not putting up with anyone's crap. I have little-to-no patience for certain things or people that I can usually cut some slack.  That sounds like I'm having major relationship drama, and I'm not. But I've almost felt bad about my behavior in a situation or two over the last few months. Ha!

Hoping to have (but still not quite comprehending) another tiny human to love in the next two weeks.  Yeah, two weeks.  Less would be nice.