Starting back about a month ago, we had a feeling that William's birth would be very different from Natalie's. At 34 weeks, I stayed over night at the hospital with contracts (most likely from dehydration since it was about 95 that day). We were all set for an early relieved once I stopped taking the drug to stop the contractions, but weeks went by and nothing happened. We settled into a routine again and it just seemed like we would continue that way forever. Even though I was going to the doctor every week, washing baby clothes, and getting up to pee four times a night, it just didn't really seem like a new family member was really coming soon.
At my doctor's appointment on August 19th, we were told that my cervix was very soft. This was big news because the day before Natalie was born, my cervix was hard and not at all dilated.
Come August 26th, we had a day when all sorts of plans went array. Mike was supposed to go to Boston for a conference, but we were also supposed to have a fridge delievered. Mike and Natalie were getting over colds. Oh, and there was a huge hurricane on the way. Mike stayed home from the conference partly due to his cold and partly to oversee the fridge installation. But, Thursday evening Sears cancelled the fridge delievery due to the hurricane. It was too late to change plans, so Mike stayed home anyway. For some reason I had a feeling about that day. We had said that Friday night would be the best time to go into labor, and I knew my doctor was on call all weekend. I took an extra long shower that morning since Mike was home to watch Natalie.
At 430, I went to my doctor's appointment alone since Natalie could stay home with Mike. Turns out things had been pretty crazy at the office and I had missed a voice mail canceling my appointment. However, since I was already there, they managed to fit me in. My doctor checked me right away, and I was 2 cm dilated! Huge news! She then striped my membranes (which is like a precursor to having your water broken. It gets the hormones going, but isn't messy). By the time I was in the car driving home at 5, I felt that menstrual cramp feeling that was the beginning of Natalie's labor, and the contractions that kept me over night several weeks ago. I was so excited I almost forgot to stop and buy a gallon of milk on the way home.
However, my family was a little concerned. What about the hurricane? How were my parents going to make it up if we had William this weekend? Who would watch Natalie? And Mike was bummed that he still had his cold. He really wanted to feel good for the birth.
As the evening wore on, I felt more and more sure that things were truly happening. I packed a few more items, finished putting away the last of the borrowed baby clothes, and cleaned up little messes around the house. At sometimes, I had pains that felt like contractions, but at others, I felt almost nothing. We went to bed early. I woke up a few times. I believe it was around 2 or 3 in the morning when I had to borrow Mike's phone (couldn't find mine in the dark) and timed contractions for about an hour finding them ten minutes apart. Then, around 5, I timed again and they moved to five minutes apart. I got up soon after that to see what would happen if I moved around. They continued to be five minutes apart. I woke Mike up and we started getting ready.
About 7, I called the doctor's office. As expected, she said to come on in and get checked out. I also called my friend to have her come watch Natalie. I'd spoken to her the evening before. Turns out the hurricane worked in our favor. This friend was supposed to be on a weekend long camping trip on an island, but with the weather, she was home with no plans all weekend. She got to our house within the hour as we finished getting ready. Mike did not floss this time, but he did have to spend time securing all our items out on the deck for the hurricane since he didn't want my parents to have to figure it out. Speaking of my parents, I'd called them as well, and they started their preperations to come up. The hurricane was moving up the coast, so it would hit MA first, but the timing left it so that they could leave well before it was supposed to start storming in their area.
We left the house just before 8 (the same time we left for Natalie's birth). I was monitored right away and checked by my doctor. I was now 3 cm, but she wanted to have me finish being monitored (a test that checks on how William is doing), and then walk around the unit for a while. We did this, and I was very happy about it. Walking around for the earlier part of the labor was really something I had wanted to do with Natalie, but didn't. After some walking, I was now 4 cm, and we were admitted!
We got settled into our room much faster this time, since they weren't under staffed that day. We called the appropriate people and Mike left to go get something to eat and the bags from the car while I stayed and did all the paperwork with a nurse. The contractions were uncomfortable, but I was able to breath through them. I really liked our nurse's idea of "breathing him down" into the birth channel, and often focused on that idea during contractions.
Next, we went and walked for a little longer to keep things going. But after that, I felt I had dealt with the pain long enough. While I felt I probably could survive an unmediated labor, I didn't really see the benefit of being so exhausted. So, we ordered the epidural. The same doctor as we had with Natalie came up and administered it within an hour. Soon after, my doctor broke my water. There was no merconium in the ambiotic fluid and I was now at 5 cm. Since getting the epidural, I had felt pretty much no pain, but we decided for me to lay on my side. After only a little while, I started to feel contractions around my left hip, the one I wasn't laying on. I didn't really want to move back to my back though, because its the least effective labor position, and also because they said William's heart rate was so good on that side.
But, around 230, the doctor came in to check my progress. I was at 7 cm, and we moved me to my other side because my hip was pretty uncomfortable. Kidding, we told her that Mike had predicted that William would be born around 3. She said she'd come back then, even though it was only about 20 minutes later.
Right when she comes back at 3, I get the shakes like crazy. She checks me and says I'm 10 cm and we are ready to go! The shakes are a sign that my body is working hard, even though I could only feel it in one strip by my hip. Mike gets up to go to the bathroom, and the doctor and nurse have me do one push. Then, they tell me to stop right away because things are going to move fast and they haven't set anything up for the delivery.
A couple minutes later, I was pushing. Ten minutes later, they were laying William on my chest! The pushing for me was far easier this time. Not only could I only feel the contractions in one place, but I couldn't really feel the crowning. Plus, the doctor and nurse were so excited that I knew things were moving fast. I got to feel his head crowning right away and then like half way out a few minutes later. They said I did awesome pushing, but I felt like I was doing anything different than I did with Natalie. But, a few times I felt pretty dizzy and nauseous, but there wasn't a problem.
William stayed with me for the next 45 minutes at least. He was wiped off and I passed the afterbirth and had a few stitches. After a little while, we helped him to position to nurse and he did pretty well. I felt like I had no idea how to handle him. Partly it was the angles of everything, what with my legs still up and IVs, but mostly it was him being so small and floppy!
After we got to snuggle and nurse for a while, William had all the regular newborn things done. He was weighed (8lbs) and measured (20.25 inches). He had his eye ointment. His foot prints were taken and he got all his bracelets. I think they did his vaccine then and maybe typed his blood. He got a bath, then got dressed and swaddled. I was ready to nurse him again, but he was too tired and slept right away.
The time in the hospital flew by this time. Each day, the nurses took William for a couple hours so that we could get some sleep, but he stayed with us most of the time. I had a little trouble with nursing, but mostly it was William being sleepy and only eating for a couple minutes. We later determined that he might have been too warm. (Later after we got home I had a some trouble again with nursing due to engorged breasts and sore nipples, but that too passed). Mike would stay with me most of the day, then go home for a bit at night to get Natalie into bed. There was a hurricane the night before we went home, which made some extra stress about how things were going at home, but overall, everything went smoothly. My parents came to visit a couple times, one time bringing Natalie (see another blog about that). I spent a lot of time holding William versus Natalie being in her crib or on the bed when she wasn't nursing. I also did more diapers since I did no diapers in the hospital for Natalie. We both adjusted to do boy diapers rather quickly, though we had lots of leaking the first week or so.