What a whirlwind of a week we've had. I am convinced that a woman's patience is never tested more than when she is about to give birth to a child.
Nate was born a few weeks early, so when I began dilating at 32 weeks with Lance, I assumed that I would deliver him early as well. My wonderful mother-in-law came from California on July 8th so she could watch Nate when the time arrived. But the days kept passing and very little changed. My cervix only progressed minimally and at every doctor appointment, I was just told to keep waiting.
So we waited.
None of us thought that we would make it to our due date, July 26th (and mine and Ryan's third anniversary) with this baby still in my belly.
But I woke up on the 26th with a belly full of baby, no contractions (although I had been having many during the previous weeks), and a bad attitude. I was frustrated that I was still pregnant. Desperate to have the baby, I found myself tempted to spring for a bottle of castor oil. But I didn't.
I decided to lay down for a little nap and wallow in my misery. I was so uncomfortable. I felt like I couldn't possibly last another 24 hours feeling so miserable.
And guess what? I was right!
When I got out of bed, content to spend the evening celebrating our anniversary with my super-awesome husband, I started to notice something strange.
Was I leaking? Had my water actually broken? With every step I took, I felt a little more leakage. I began to get excited. I walked into the living room where Ryan was trying out a new massager he had just bought. He began to massage my back when I broke the news to him.
"You're never going to believe this, but I'm pretty sure my water just broke."
And it was on after that. We were all so happy that it was finally going to be the day! The day we'd meet our son, the day we'd add a new member to our family, and the day we'd been not-so-patiently waiting for.
We drove to the hospital, University of Washington Medical Center, where the midwife confirmed that my water had definitely broken. Since I wasn't in any immediate pain from contractions (although I was plenty uncomfortable) she sent us walking. We left the hospital and walked along the Portage Bay Canal, which was a new experience for us.
With every step, I felt like I was peeing. It was definitely an odd walk.
When we got back to the hospital, we were taken to our room. Our room actually overlooked Husky Stadium. Too bad there wasn't a game going on!
I was placed on the monitors to see what was going on. I was definitely contracting, but they weren't painful. We continued to hang out for a while. At 9pm, the midwife asked me if I'd like to start pitocin. She hadn't checked my cervix because she was afraid of infection so I really have no idea what my body was doing on its own.
Anyway, I chose to start the pitocin because the contractions really didn't seem too painful. And then we kept waiting. I started to feel more regular contractions, but they still weren't too intense. Every half hour, they increased the pitocin.
Ryan and I passed the time by playing checkers on his iPad. Even though he won 2 games and I only won 1, I still had fun and it took my mind off of the contractions. Ryan is good at being extremely funny and distracting in hospitals. Maybe I'll convince him to let me share a video of him dancing to the rhythm of the baby's heartbeat.
Around 2am, I was slammed with a contraction that left me reeling. It was much worse than any contraction I ever felt with Nate. Ryan had been laying down but he woke up pretty quickly and called the nurse and told her I needed the epidural. I didn't even have to ask him. He just knew it was time.
Every contraction after that was mind-blowing. I waited about a half hour before the anesthesiologists arrived. There were two of them. One of them actually coached me through the entire process. He held my shoulders and walked me through every contraction. I actually listened to him because I knew there was someone behind me placing very large needles into my back.
He asked the nurse how far along I was. The nurse informed him that my cervix had not been checked since I arrived. He seemed pretty irritated to say the least.
After the epidural was completed, the nurse checked me and found out that I was dilated all the way and that the baby's head had already descended. At this point, I became very shaky and sick to my stomach. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and go to sleep.
When the midwife finally arrived (she had just delivered two other babies), she checked me and said there was no way I was going to be taking a nap. Lance's head was getting ready to crown weather we were ready or not.
I started to get really nervous because I could not feel my legs anymore. When I was delivering Nate, I pushed for 2.5 hours before he was finally born so I definitely had a reason to be nervous. How was I going to push when I couldn't feel what I was doing?
This time it was different though. Ryan requested that the nurse bring in a mirror so I could see what I was doing. While it wasn't a pretty sight, I was able to see exactly what was happening. I wound up delivering him with just 9 minutes of pushing.
The midwife allowed me to reach down and pull Lance onto my chest. He was sticky and gooey but precious in every way. He looked so much like Nate, but there were a few obvious differences.
After about 10 minutes of laying on my chest, Lance started climbing up my stomach and looking to nurse. I was surprised at how persistent he was, so we decided to try and nurse. After just a few attempts, he latched on and nursed for close to a half hour. I loved that the nurses and midwife just let us have our time with Lance before whisking him away to weigh and measure him.
That first hour with Lance is an hour that I know Ryan and I will never forget. While there were things that I wish would have gone differently (like checking my cervix so I could have made more educated decisions), I wouldn't trade that first hour and a half with Lance and Ryan for anything. It was definitely one of the highlights of my life.
Here are some pictures that Ryan took and I edited. I love them and simply cannot get enough of these pictures.