Tuesday, January 18, 2011, my doc measured that I was dilated 2.5 cm and being the serious Harvard doc that he is (meaning he doesn't typically guess on the sex, size, or arrival- the fun stuff), he looked excitedly at us and said, "You won't go into next week. I predict baby will be here by Friday or Saturday at the latest." That was huge for us. Both boys came late. So walking out with a skip in my step I had hope that baby would be arriving at any moment.
Here in the frozen tundra state of Minnesota the temperatures tend to dip a little low this time of year...take this week for instance...our high has been a skimpy 6 degrees...and in the morning it is close to 20-25 below zero. The week before Sydney arrived it too was cold - frigid. What baby in their right mind would want to come early and leave that warm "sack", as Henry would call it, and enter the frigid MN world. So we knew this baby was definitely a smart little cookie. She held off on her arrival ...after hours of walking the mall.
Henry and I spent two mornings lapping the mall, actually we were lapped by the many retired folk booking it around the mall in their leisure suits. Henry held my hand and we strolled. And I will forever remember those last walks we took just he and I. Precious. Makes me tear up just thinking about it. He had no idea why we were walking at the mall when the stores were all dark and the doors were all closed. Someday he will realize.
Because someday, he will possibly walk beside his wife, as she tries to get things rolling. Ed walked the mall with me twice that weekend. Both times we upped the pace and tried to get my heart beat going.
On Saturday I felt a little different - more pressure. But by that point I was getting crabby at the doctor for his prediction. We walked the mall, came home, and I laid down on our bed and was chatting online with my sister telling her that I felt different and I thought tonight would be the night. However, I had said that every night that week. Grandma Charlie was attempting to read to Henry but he was getting sadder, see he likes mama to put him to bed. So he wandered in and she informed me that it was my turn to read Green Eggs and Ham. At that moment I got a good contraction and I said, "I think this is it. I think I am in labor." She retreated downstairs after I insisted that reading Green Eggs and Ham was just the distraction I needed.
And at 6:45 my contractions began.
I laid upstairs timing my contractions.
At 8 Ed thought we should just call and give them an update.
Since I was 2.5 cm on Tuesday and Henry came in a 5 hour period...they said I should come in. So we headed to the hospital around 8:30. I was not hunched over in pain or very uncomfortable. Very different ride to the hospital...compared to the rides when Henry and Charley arrived.
Arriving at the hospital and checking in. By 9:30 they finally checked me and said I was 5.5 cm. Phew! I got to stay. At close to 10 she said I was already 7....if I was going to have the epidural I needed to do it soon. I almost denied it. But I still was not in that much pain. Then I thought, why fear the end pain. Why not enjoy this last birth. So I got the epidural and it was smooooooth sailing from that point on.
It was the best epidural of the three births. With Charley I still had pain but couldn't move my legs. With Henry I could still move my legs and still had a some pain and especially pressure at the end. This time there was no pain and only a little bit of pressure.
Ed and I spent from 10:30 until 2 dozing on and off. Contemplating baby names. And just taking in the fact that we were missing out on a whole night of sleep.
I honestly thought baby was going to come by midnight. But when doc finally came over and checked me he sadly informed me that I was only 4 cm. That since this was baby three getting a measurement can be tricky since things are more stretchy etc. So sadly, things slowed down.
But by 2 I was a good 9.5 cm and doc was called. Unfortunately, he was in an emergency c-section. So I was told to try and hold off on pushing. The epidural was still working full force and I had very little pressure pain still. So we waited the 20 minutes they predicted and finally an hour later the doc was up on our floor. He told the nurse to have me push. So she had me push once but knew baby was right there. So the doc was called in and he got things ready. While he was getting things ready he had me push one time, but immediately told me to stop because baby was right there. They also spotted some meconium and wanted to call the pediatrician in to be there to check baby out right away. So they wanted me to wait. However, Miss Serious Sydney was SERIOUSLY determined to meet us. And out she slid. at 3:17 am. No pain. No pushing. No tearing. She just slid right out and was placed on my chest. And at that moment, in the chaos, I was able to see that I had birthed a little girl.
A neonatal nurse came up and did some serious sucking out of her lungs. Everything ended up coming out clear. So the meconium scare was just that, a scare, but nothing major. Her umbilical cord had a knot in it. The nurse did share that we were very lucky that we didn't lose her during the pregnancy. If the knot had tightened then it would have compromised her nutrition among other things. And if it had tightened on her journey out it could have complicated her breathing. Blessed and so lucky.
Miss Sydney weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces when they finally weighed her. But they said we can't compare that to other babies because she pooped for a good 10 minutes right away - and most babies are weighed before they get that pooping taken care of.
My dear little Miss Sydney was nameless until about 2 pm that day. More on the name soon.
This birth was probably the least painful and the most relaxing but we did loose an entire night of sleep. Henry's birth was the quickest and it took place from 5 am -10:30am...so I only missed breakfast and wasn't exhausted from a night of labor. Charley's was the typical looong labor and had us lacking a night of sleep plus the pushing was physically exhausting.
So this birth was perfect in my mind and heart.
My recovery has been good. I have always left the hospital with my weight very close to being back to normal. Some say that is lucky - it bugs me that I get the weight loss right away and a year from now when the nursing stops BANG it is back and I am back to that weight I can't get under. My bleeding and pain were very manageable. I hadn't read that cramping with your third is immense. And boy oh boy it is. I say it is because I still feel like I have that going on. I don't think I took it as easy as I should have but it is hard to hold back when you finally can move without lugging an extra baby bump.
Sydney's start was exactly that, Sydney's start. And I am honored to have been the mama who got to experience her entrance and start in this world with her. May her life be healthy, long, and full of love.