Our oldest son came on his own at 38 weeks 4/5 days gestation. Since second babies tend to come slightly earlier for a lot of women, my husband was certain I would not make it to my June 6 due date with Baby Brother. This pregnancy was so much more difficult than my first, and I figured at the rate we were going I would probably see my due date come and go and still be pregnant.
At around 12 weeks pregnant I started feeling Braxton Hicks contractions. They were very light, but they were still noticeable. They continued throughout my pregnancy, growing in intensity each month. I spent most of my first trimester exhausted and nauseous. Then I caught a stomach bug and lost several pounds. In January I finally started to get back up to my pre-pregnancy weight when I caught another stomach bug. By the end of my pregnancy I had only gained about 17 pounds.
Right around 36 weeks my Braxton Hicks contractions became much more frequent and intense. I started to feel some light cramping on and off as well, but I knew that didn’t necessarily mean labor was near. Some women experience prodromal labor for weeks before they deliver, so I just focused on getting together everything we would need for the baby.
At 36 weeks 5 days we had our last appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine. One of the things I was concerned about was the thought of going through back labor again, so I asked the ultrasound technician if she could determine if Baby was occiput anterior or posterior. Baby didn’t want to cooperate, so I left the appointment a bit disappointed.
My husband’s parents came into town to spend time with his sister and her family, as they prepared to move across the country. I joked with my husband that it would be kind of ironic if this baby decided to come that weekend, since Big Brother planned his arrival around his grandparents being in town too.
At 37 weeks 2 days I had my weekly prenatal appointment with my OB. All of the appointments with my favorite doctor were booked that morning, so I saw one of the other doctors. She performed an internal exam and told me that I was dilated 1-2 centimeters and 70% effaced, but Baby was still very high. She kind of shrugged and said, “well, maybe next week.” I left that appointment feeling pretty happy that the Braxton Hicks and light cramping I had been experiencing for about a week had actually helped my body start to prepare itself for labor. Progress!
That night we drove to meet up with my husband’s parents and sister. I ran into Target on the way to take advantage of a sale and some coupons I knew were expiring the next day. Since it was such a rainy evening my in-laws decided that after dinner we should just go to the indoor hotel pool instead of the park. We ate at CiCi’s Pizza and then headed to the hotel where my husband and his nieces and nephews played in the pool and I waddled around with my toddler, who wanted to be NEAR the water but not actually IN it. It was a Friday night, so the pool was crowded. And loud. And slippery. I was relieved when we all went back to the hotel room to spend time together. I was mainly just tired at that point.
We eventually said our goodbyes and my husband, toddler, and I headed home. I kept thinking, “what if I go into labor tomorrow morning?” Then I would remind myself, “what are the odds of that actually happening?”
I woke up in pain at 7 the next morning. I didn’t think much of it since I was only 37 weeks 3 days pregnant at that point, so I just took my toddler to the bathroom. He started getting upset and wanted to go see his daddy, so I let him go into my husband’s office. Daddy was still asleep, so I picked up my toddler and carried him back to bed, hoping we would be able to go back to sleep too. When I laid down I felt another wave of pain in my back and tried to get comfortable while involuntarily yelling, “ow!” My toddler grew concerned and my husband heard me and came into the room to check on us. He picked up and consoled our toddler as I got up and went into the bathroom. I was still in denial at this point, but quickly started to realize the pain was coming in waves so I pulled out my phone and started to time the contractions. Once I came to term with the fact that they were already about 3 minutes apart my husband told me to call the doctors office. I told him I had to wait until they were that close together for at least an hour before I called and I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy. He could tell how much pain I was in, but I can be pretty stubborn, and I know I have a very low pain tolerance. At 7:50 I decided my husband could call the after hours line (the office didn’t open until 8:00) since I was already to the point where I couldn’t talk through the contractions. The doctor on call called him back and told him we should head into the hospital, so we started packing our bags and texting family to let them know what was going on.
My contractions were between 2.5 and 3.5 minutes apart from the beginning, but my water hadn’t broken yet so I was sure we would just be sent home. My husband and I were both shocked when the nurse in triage performed an internal exam and told me that Baby hadn’t dropped yet but I was 5 centimeters dilated and completely effaced. I was admitted around 9:00 and moved to a delivery room.
Shortly after that a nurse came in to hook me up to the monitor, insert an IV, and draw labs to verify I was eligible for an epidural. My tiny veins didn’t like the giant needle and two of them popped, one of them leaving a pretty big bruise. A phlebotomist came in to draw my blood at that point, for which I was thankful! (She used a smaller needle.) My husband held my hand as I endured each contraction and my toddler decided he wanted to “help mom mom” too and rested his hand on mine. I love how thoughtful that little boy is.
My platelet count was normal, and the anesthesiologist came in to place the epidural around 10:15. The first time the anesthesiologist placed the needle she drew blood, so she had to reinsert it in a different place. She left around 10:45 and I settled into the bed thinking I had a while before it was time to push. Originally the medicine only worked on the right side of my body, so the nurse had me laying on my left side for a bit. After a few minutes the medicine was evenly distributed, which was a nice relief and change from the epidural I had with my first son.
At 11:15 AM, a half hour after I received the epidural, my nurse performed an internal check and found that Baby was low and I was already dilated to 9.5 centimeters and she went to let my doctor know we were close to delivery. At 12:05 PM my doctor came in and broke my water, and told me he would be back shortly as he wanted to give Baby a little time to progress the rest of the way into the birth canal. My husband put the Cubs game on the TV while we waited.
At 12:44 my doctor came in and I started pushing. During my first delivery we had several nurses, a midwife, and a doctor in the room, but this time it was just my nurse and doctor in addition to me and my husband. The more relaxed environment this time was very welcome. In between pushes my doctor and husband would turn around to check on the game and chat. A couple times my nurse had to let the doctor know I was ready to push, and after one play he asked me if I had seen “that RBI”.
At 1:03 PM our second little boy was born, weighing 7 pounds. He had a full head of blonde hair. His head and feet are so much smaller than his brother’s were! Big brother absolutely adores him.
Oh, and the Cubs went on to lose that first game of the double header.