For just over 38 weeks, I frequently thought and speculated about when and how my third baby was going to enter our lives. I worried if his labor would go on for days, like McLain and his 39 hour arrival. With significant anxiety, I wondered if his delivery would be unintentionally natural or after his due date, like Keaton’s birth. To my surprise, my third baby boy ended my speculation eleven days before his due date.
On Saturday, April 16th, I woke with the determination to finish getting ready for my new little man, even though I was not due until April 28th. As I sat at the computer with my morning coffee, I updated my Facebook status with “Today’s agenda: Nesting. Clay is so thrilled. J” I was set on finishing up my baby “to do” list, so that my mind could finally be at peace.
That morning, I finished hot gluing ribbons to the letters of Collin’s and Keaton’s names and had Clay hang them on the wall of the little boys’ room. I also cleaned out our filing cabinet, which I had never done before, but suddenly I couldn’t wait another day to do it. Piles of old, useless stuff from it had to immediately go.
After that, I went to Target and bought a car seat. We had one for Clay’s car, but I also needed one for mine. While wandering Target’s aisles, I tossed baby shampoo, lotion, and desitin in the cart, because I was worried that I didn’t have any at home. As I was standing in the check out line, an old coworker, who was also pregnant, greeted me and asked when I was due. I told her that my due date was twelve days away, but I was completely ready to be finished with this pregnancy. She laughed and said, “Well, maybe you’ll be lucky and have him today. You never know.” Who knew her words would be so foreshadowing?
When I got back from my shopping trip, Clay and I picked up around the house as I crabbily complained of how tired I was of being pregnant. That afternoon and evening I lay in my bed with the company of my DVR. Occasionally, I would have a random contraction, but none got my hopes up that Collin would make his debut anytime soon. As the evening wore on, my favorite reality shows held my attention until my mom called around . We chatted for about half an hour, and at I got out of my bed while still on the phone. As I stood up, I felt a small, warm liquid gush and thought, “Oh great. My bladder has stopped working.”
What I initially thought was my faulty bladder continued to leak with every turn I made and with every movement that the baby made. The thought crossed my mind that it could be amniotic fluid, but I didn’t want to be too hopeful because my due date was still twelve days away. I did mention it to my mom and cautiously relayed the information to Clay. My mom said that she had a slow dribble with my brother and that I should pay attention to it and for contractions. I lay back down and obsessed over every twinge in my uterus.
Even though contractions had not started, Clay called his parents about to put them on alert. They had offered to watch the older boys when we went to the hospital, so we wanted to let them know they might need to sleep over at our house.
After talking again to my mom and to Clay, I decided to call my doctor’s office to see what they recommended. Fluid was continuing to increasingly leak after almost two hours, and I was no longer convinced that my bladder was the culprit. At , I spoke with Dr. Morrell and described what I had been experiencing. He asked if this was my first child, and when I said it was my third, he told me to come to the Women’s Center immediately.
Clay called his parents, and his dad said that he would come over and spend the night with the boys. I double checked my hospital bags and made sure I had our cameras, Ziploc bag of change, and my make up. While we waited, I swept the kitchen floor, made McLain and Keaton chocolate chip muffins for breakfast, and left them a note to read in the morning that said I was going to the hospital to have their new brother, and that they could come see him when they woke up.
When Clay’s dad arrived at , Clay helped me waddle to the car and we left for the hospital. This drive was noticeably different from our last car trip when I was in labor—no screaming, no cursing, and no contractions. Clay dropped me off at the women’s center entrance, and I walked by myself to the admission desk. Clay joined me just as I started to sign my paperwork. The admission clerk looked at me skeptically and asked if this was my first child. When I shared that this was number three, she said, “No wonder you’re so calm.”
Thankfully, there were no other people ahead of me, so I was able to head straight for triage at . With some embarrassment, I explained to the nurse that either my bladder had finally stopped working or that my water had broken. The nurse checked me and confirmed that my water had definitely broken and that I was at 3 centimeters. Clay and I were completely shocked to learn that I was already dilated. That was the easiest three centimeters I had ever experienced!
Because I had dilated so fast with Keaton, I shared with the triage nurse that I didn’t want to miss my epidural opportunity again and had absolutely no interest in another natural childbirth. She assured me that the order for an epidural would be immediately placed. My epidural would be available as soon as my contractions began. I was surprised at this point that I was not having any yet.
I texted my mom who was already on her way with my dad, brothers, and my brother’s girlfriend. She was thrilled and as shocked as Clay and I were about my progression. I also texted quite a few of my friends as I lay on the triage bed, listening to my baby’s sweet heartbeat, and waiting for my delivery room to be ready.
My mom beat me to my private delivery room and was waiting on Clay and me when a delivery nurse pushed me inside in my wheelchair. It was just midnight, a little over three hours after my water had broken. I was starting to get excited, even though I knew it was going to be a long night.
After settling me in my bed, my nurse started my IV. She told me that my order for an epidural was already in place and that I just had to wait for contractions to start. We were all closely watching the monitor for contraction activity, but there was none yet. I was so fearful of missing my epidural, because my dilation with Keaton happened so fast.
After I was completely settled, my dad came up to visit while the rest of my immediate family stayed downstairs in the waiting room. My mom acted as the official text communicator between them and the happenings with my labor, which had been uneventful so far.
At about , my first contraction crept around my huge belly and held it captive for close to thirty seconds. It wasn’t too painful, but it made me uneasy that the intense ones would quickly follow. Several more mild ones soon did. We paged the nurse who checked me after my father stepped outside of the room. I was still at three centimeters, and the nurse encouraged me to wait until my contractions grew more intense and closer together before I got my epidural. Very reluctantly, I agreed to wait. She assured me that if I wanted an epidural, I could immediately have it. I clung to that promise.
A few minutes later, my parents went in search of some much needed coffee and to relay the labor news in person to my family downstairs. While they were gone, Clay sat on the bed, holding my hand, and tracked my contractions on my contraction iPhone app. At , I had a ferocious contraction that lasted 2 ½ minutes. It sent absolute terror through me that I was about to go through another natural childbirth. I was no longer willing to wait for my contractions to progress further and sent Clay to tell my nurse that I wanted my epidural immediately.
Without trying to convince me to wait again, the nurse paged the anesthesiologist who arrived by . My mom walked back in my room as I was sitting on the edge of my bed, clasping Clay’s hands, and the doctor was inserting the needle into my spine. She had no idea how quickly my contractions had gone from mildly annoying to inescapably terrible.
As soon as the medicine in the epidural entered me and started to alleviate my pain, I felt suddenly exhausted, as if I had just run a marathon. Talking was difficult, and I was too overwhelmed with this immediate exhaustion to explain how odd I felt. Even though I wanted to, I couldn’t lay myself down, and Clay and my nurse had to do it for me. I could see that my nurse was concerned by how she was watching my monitor, but I was too tired to really care about what was happening to me.
My nurse noted that my blood pressure had plummeted after receiving my epidural. Quickly, she gave me a bolus of ephedrine in an attempt to bring it back up. I watched her, knowing something was wrong with me, but I couldn’t physically bring myself to question her about it. After taking my blood pressure again, my nurse said that my blood pressure was still too low and gave me an additional ephedrine bolus. Finally, my blood pressure crept back up to normal and the anxiety clearly felt in my room subsided.
Later, my mother asked what happened, and my nurse explained that sometimes when women receive an epidural, it affects their blood pressure by causing it to drop. When my mother asked what mine was, my nurse said it was pretty low. Being persistent, my mother asked specifically how low, and the nurse hesitantly shared that my blood pressure had dropped to 45/22.
For the next three hours, I lay in my bed and was plagued by an annoying side effect of my epidural: constant itchiness! While Clay slept in a hospital chair and was oblivious to my distress, my mother stayed up all night and rubbed my feet, which was the only thing that distracted me from my unrelenting itching! I cannot imagine a delivery without my mother to take care of me.
At , Dr. Morell came in to check me and discovered that I had progressed to 6 centimeters. He noted that my contractions had become irregular and infrequent since I received my epidural, so he placed an order for pitocin to be added to my IV, which sounded like an excellent plan to me. By then, I was ridiculously sleepy but couldn’t stop itching long enough to take a nap.
Around , I started to feel some pain during my contractions, and I fussed at Clay to wake up. My epidural had stopped working well, so I used the self-pump twice; however, the medication that was added was not strong enough to stop me from feeling my contractions. My mom paged my new nurse (there had been a shift change) and explained the situation to her. My nurse paged the anesthesiologist that had just begun the morning shift. When he came to check my epidural, he asked me if I was really feeling pain. I felt like punching him in the face and asking him if he was feeling any discomfort, but I controlled my sarcasm. Thankfully, he kept any further questions to himself and administered a bolus to my epidural that soon provided me with relief.
Unlike earlier when I did not feel my contractions, I could still move my legs. With this added bolus, I could not make my legs move an inch; however, I was too exhausted to care as it was nearing and I had been awake for over twenty four hours.
Because I was still at 6 centimeters, my nurse suggested propping my legs up with a pillow to allow the baby more space to move completely down. At this point, I didn’t care what she did to me as long as I could sleep. As I was finally feeling comfortable again and the itchiness was not too severe, I snuggled down in my pillows to attempt to finally nap.
At , Dr. Morrell came in to check me, which I grumpily allowed him to do. He discovered that “just a lip” of my cervix was left. Apparently, my nurse’s pillow trick had worked well. My doctor instructed me to try to push once, and then I was completely dilated. Instead of being overjoyed, I was a mixture of anger and annoyance. All I wanted to do was sleep!
The labor and delivery and pediatric nurses began to ready my room and break down my bed while my mom engaged in a long conversation with Dr. Morrell. They discussed how he had delivered my youngest brother and how I was in the room when he did. They found it ironic that nineteen years later he was delivering my baby.
At , I started pushing. After having a completely natural delivery with Keaton, I was taken aback by how different this experience was, because I had no urge to push. Although I didn’t want to feel the pain of pushing, I wanted to know that what I was doing was effective. I was too sleepy to spend over an hour pushing like I did when I labored with McLain. After my first push I questioned the doctor if the baby was really coming down. I was assured that he was but was skeptical that I was being told what I wanted to hear.
Despite being able to feel no sensation as I contracted, I pushed with a vengeance. After nine minutes, I saw a slimy, little head start to emerge. I reached out and stroked my baby’s wet cheek as he took his first glimpse of this world. The doctor quickly delivered my slippery boy and placed him on my chest.
For the third time in my life, I fell in love with a little man as soon as I laid my eyes on his beautiful face. Baby Collin Xavier stole my heart Sunday, April 17th at . I cannot imagine my world without him and am so grateful that God chose me to be his mommy.
~Shared by Ashley B.