Our 4th child – Benjamin James was born yesterday!
(Note: This a very girl-friendly post, so if you don’t like reading things like ‘dilated’ and ‘cervix’, this would be a good post to skip. No hard feelings! If you like these types of posts, you can also read the birth stories of Phinehas, Stephen and Samuel.)
Tuesday, June 21st
I had been having contractions over the last couple of weeks – even going to Labor & Delivery to get checked out last Saturday. Turns out I was mostly dehydrated and my uterus was irritated, hence the contractions. A couple of big containers of water and they would stop. On Tuesday, I had my scheduled appointments with the perinatologist and my OB. The previous week, I was dilated to a 2 and was the same on Saturday. So I was looking forward to seeing if I had made any move forward.
1:45 AM – Sammy woke up in the middle of the night. That isn’t typical for him, but 1/2 a bottle later, and he was asleep again. I, however, was not. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I went to sleep on the couch.
Eventually, unable to sleep, I turned on the TV to watch Netflix and ate some soup. I was having contractions again, but they felt different – they weren’t “full abdomen” contractions like I’ve had in past labors. The contractions were low. Some were painful, but not majorly so. So I made a conscious effort to drink lots of water in case it was dehydration again.
5:15 AM – I was sitting watching TV and felt a big gush. My water had broken! Luckily I was on the leather sofa, which is easier to ‘clean’ than a bed! It felt like A LOT of water. With Stephen’s birth (my other labor where my water broke before being in the hospital), I don’t think it broke completely – just started leaking, but this time, it seemed like a full break! I rushed to the bathroom, waking up Jeff on the way. Called my mom, who was going to come over to watch the boys. Called my doctor, who was out of town and spoke to his partner and she agreed that I should go to the hospital.
6:00 AM – Got to Labor & Delivery and got signed in. In our room by 6:10. Paperwork done with the nurses around 6:30.
7:00 AM – The nurse checked me because my contractions were not strong. Had my water not broken, I wouldn’t have even been timing them or giving them too much thought. I was still only dilated to a 2, 50% effaced and baby wasn’t descended (at a -3 station).
7:30 AM – Because he had been suspected to be breech before and they couldn’t detect where the head was, they did a quick ultrasound to confirm that he was head down. Not breech! No need for a c-section! They decided to start me on pitocin in hopes of getting the contractions going that would push him down.
8:00 AM – Started the pitocin at a dosage of 1. They increased the dosage every 1/2 hour by 1, so 8:30, I was at a dose of 2 and at 9:00, I was at a dose of 3.
9:10 AM – Contractions started to be painful. They weren’t very close together and they weren’t very long, but they were painful. By 9:30, the pitocin was increased to a 4, which is as high as we ever got. The nurse put in the order for the epidural.
10:15 AM – The anesthesiologist arrived and got the epidural in on the first try! For a couple of my births, it took a few different tries. Contractions were strong and I was crying at this point – somewhat from the pain, somewhat from the pitocin, but also just from the pure emotion of it all. And once a hormonal woman starts crying, you just gotta let her cry!
10:30 AM – The nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 5, 80% effaced and baby had moved head down to a -1 station. Good progress in the right direction. We placed ‘bets’ for when baby would be born. Jeff said: 11:43, I said 12:05 and the nurse predicted 12:15.
11:34 AM – The nurse turned off the pitocin. Baby’s heartbeat had always been tricky to find – meaning it was easy to find and it measured well, but he moved just enough just often enough that they had to keep re-adjusting the monitors. And they didn’t really like the way that his movement was steady – they expected more ups & downs just because of contractions. The doctor was called in to check me. I was dilated to an 8, but was really ‘squishy’ (whatever that means), so they decided to deliver. This was mostly based upon my history that in the last 3 births, I never had to push very long.
11:53 AM – After 4 sets of 3 pushes (maybe 10 minutes worth?), Benjamin was born! Turns out he was posterior (sunny side up), which can be more painful than face down, but since I had an epidural, it wasn’t a big deal for me!
After – He was put on my chest right away and we did skin-to-skin for an hour. They didn’t even really rub him off majorly and didn’t weigh or measure him for about an hour. They did put that little hat on him, but that was it – it was mostly us cuddling on the bed. We tried to breastfeed around 12:30 and got a good latch (a first for me!) He was very awake and alert and has lots of hair (although it’s very light).
Of course, they did eventually weigh him and measure him. His stats:
- Weight: 6 pounds 12 ounces, making him my 3rd smallest baby (which is ‘funny’ because a week before birth an ultrasound estimated him a 7 lbs, 7 ounces, which would’ve made him my biggest baby).
- Length: 20 inches
- Head circumference: 13.5 inches