There are 2 types of people in this world--those who like reading birth stories and those who don't, ha! If you are the later, then you clicked on this post by mistake probably. In my experience, people are either super nosy (ahem, myself) about all the details, or they just want the simple acknowledgement of a baby's birth with a simple "wehodababyeetsaboi".
I love reading birth stories because it's just totally cool to me how a common occurrence is amazingly sooooooo different for each person. I pass no judgments on people, honestly. It is so cool to read how people have different experiences, and each story is unique to a new life!
Okay, so I'm actually starting this post before the baby has arrived. The plan is to write about my past few appointments, and add from there until the full birth story is complete. That way I can add details that are fresh in my mind at the time.
It is currently 12/21 about 1am, ha! The same Braxton-Hicks contractions that have been bothering me for a couple weeks now, are doing their usual thing as I type. My entire stomach gets incredibly tight, like, muscle spasm to the max. Often pretty intense and painful. The past few days, I've had a few real-deal stabbing pain contractions in my lower abdomen. But after a couple, nothing more. Just my body practicing away.
Let's go back to my 36 week apt on 12/9. This is when I started my weekly visits that include an NST (Non-Stress Test), ultrasound, and doctor visit. The reason for the NSTs and ultrasounds is that I have gestational diabetes and they want to monitor the 'safety' of the womb per say. With uncontrolled GD, a big risk is the placenta maturing too rapidly, therefore causing a possible stillbirth. Thankfully, just like in my 1st pregnancy, mine has been maintained with simple diet restrictions without insulin or medicine. My blood sugar counts have never been off the charts, just barely over the line. So I've had to make a few adjustments, but nothing super crazy. Honestly, it's been a blessing for me to have these "extra" measures taken each appointment. I get to lay down and listen to my baby's heartbeat in a dim room for 20-30 minutes (while clicking a button every time I feel it move) during the NST. Then I get to do a very brief ultrasound (maybe 5-10 min) for the purpose of checking fluid levels, but the sonographer always takes a peak at baby's face. I missed having that for Sawyer's pregnancy since I didn't have GD with him. After the NST and ultrasound, I see my doctor, whom I love. At 36 weeks she does 'checks' to see if any dilation or effacement has occurred. I know that some people feel like these checks are unnecessary, especially starting at 36 weeks. But I have a history of dilating early and I feel that it is a good thing for me, personally. At 36 weeks (technically 35w5d), I was already 1-2 cm dilated.
It was also during this appointment that my doctor discovered a very large cyst during the fluid level check ultrasound. All the way up next to my left ribcage she discovered an 11cm (!) cyst outside of the uterus/placenta. My doctor just couldn't believe I hadn't felt any pain or anything out of the ordinary as a red flag. At this point, she and another sonographer have looked at it, and they believe it is a simple fluid-filled cyst. Very large, though. Because it is not causing any pain, and it is not inside where the baby is, and it won't cause any problems with delivery--we are waiting until after I deliver to further treatment on it. I will most likely get a CT scan to see what it is actually made of, and the origin of where it is. Everything is SO squished in there because of baby, they can't see where the cyst is originating from. Most likely my left ovary, but its possible to be growing on my kidney or spleen. I'm just praying so hard that it's just a simple cyst and nothing to worry about.
Now that I know my left side has a giant cyst growing in it, it totally makes sense that the baby has been sitting SOOOO lopsided! Baby is allllllllllways burrowing into my right hip, and is positioned so that my stomach is weirdly shaped to the right. I always just thought that's how baby preferred to hang out, haha!
Okay, so the next appointment was 12/16, my 37 week check (technically 36w5d). Another lovely NST, with great results. Each week I also notice that the contractions are registering stronger and more frequent. Another lovely ultrasound, which measured baby to be about 6lb 7oz; and fluids looked great. My doctor did another dilation check, and I was an "easy 3" with a very soft cervix. So definitely in the early labor stages by definition, and if labor were to progress, my doctor wouldn't stop me.
So that brings us to now, about 4ish days later (12/21). I decided that Friday was going to be my last day at work, and take vacation days until my maternity leave "officially" begins when I deliver. I've really been trying to stay off my feet and relax (as much as you can with a 5 and 2 yr old to care for!). I've had some pretty excruciating lower back pain, and that feeling of the baby being "right there". My next appointment is 12/23 for my 38 week check (technically 37w5d), so we'll see if and/or how things have progressed.
Yep. Still pregnant.
I am SO mega surprised. And a little downhearted, not gonna lie. I am miserable, physically speaking. Ev. Ry. Thing. Hurts. A. Lot.
I truly, truly, truly thought I would have delivered by now. Yes, I still have a week to go until my due date...but I have NEVER gone this long with a pregnancy. My boys were both 2 weeks early, all on their own. And just like Sawyer, I had been progressing and dilating at the same rate. So when I went to my apt on 12/23 I was trying not to get too excited at the prospect of a Christmas baby...but it was hard not to. At my apt, I had not progressed at all since the week before--so still 3cm. Man, I was bummed! But--I tempered my disappointment with knowing that the longer baby can grow in there, the better. Now I'm convinced this baby is a girl--causing so much drama and now being stubborn. :)
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day festivities all went very well, because for once--I was done shopping and cooking early, in preparation of a new baby arriving. So it was all very relaxing and fun. Except for being miserably pregnant, ha! You know--when every move you make is painful and you feel like you can't breathe because your lungs feel squished? Not to mention that I'm rotating between 3 articles of clothing, because that's all I have left that fit.
My 31st birthday arrived on the 27th, and it was a wonnnnnnnderful day. Again, I was trying not to get too excited about the prospect of sharing a birthday with the new baby...but it was in the back of my mind. Robbie and I got the afternoon together without our kiddos, so we did a ton of walking around the Galleria and Crate and Barrel (one of my favorite stores!). We parked far away and took the stairs at every opportunity (which got some crazy looks from passersby--people wondered why my mean husband wasn't dropping me off at the front door, ha!). And for our dinner, I picked the spiciest food possible at a delicious BBQ restaurant. That night my contractions ramped up for sure, but petered out. Boo.
My next apt is tomorrow, on the 30th. I have no idea what to expect as far as progression goes. I guess it's better that way at this point, ha! Last week my doctor discussed wanting to induce sometime between 39 and 40 weeks--so the plan is to go into the hospital 10pm Thursday night (Jan 1) to start an induction. I totally trust her, and know that she doesn't take inductions lightly at all. With that said, I'm going to ask if she can strip my membranes tomorrow. If I'm gonna do an induction, I want to try that first to see if that gets things going.
Happy New Baby, Happy New Year!
Wow, so yeah--new baby is here! And now we all know--it's a BOY! Our 3rd son was born! Here is the rest of the birth story!
During my apt on 12/30 everything still looked about the same, except I had progressed to 4cm, which is technically active labor by definition. I asked my doctor to strip my membranes, and she did. Some people say it is painful, but I didn't think so. With a smile, she said that she would see me Thursday night for the induction unless I went into labor earlier. On my way home I stopped for some fresh pineapple to eat, as I read that it can be a natural labor inducer (if the body is ready).
That afternoon I munched on pineapple and went about business as usual at home, taking care of my kiddos and hubby, and making last minute preparations for baby's arrival (making sure the boys had plenty of clean clothes and food at home, packing for our hospital stay).
While getting the boys ready for bedtime, I noticed some strong cramping. It reminded me of the night before I went into labor with Sawyer, so I was excited that things might be moving along...maybe I wouldn't have to be induced! I made sure to give my boys extra hugs and kisses before they went to bed...jusssssssst in case.
This is me trying to rock Sawyer to sleep while trying not to focus on the increasing pain, ha!
About 9pm, the cramping was really strong and starting to come in regular intervals. All I could do was pace around the house, I was a bundle of nerves. Robbie asked if he should be getting ready to go to the hospital, and I was like, "Nah. I mean, I feel like stuff is happening. But I don't think anything is immanent. I think we're good." Famous last words.
Right then, I felt like I really wanted chili mac from Steak'n'Shake, haha! I don't know why, it's completely absurd. But that's ALL I could think about. ALL I wanted. So I hopped into the car about 10pm, and endured even stronger cramps (at this point I admitted to myself they could be contractions) in the drive thru to satisfy my craving.
It was the most delicious chili mac I've ever had. Spot. On. Satisfying. Although, I ended up never sitting down to eat it. I paced in circles, while eating. I was just TOO anxious to sit. Even in the moment, I was totally oblivious to the fact that I was probably in labor.
At one point, Robbie said to me, "Um, hun. You are breathing really hard over there. Are you sure we shouldn't be getting ready?" Honest to goodness I told him, "No. I think we still have plenty of time. I think the baby is going to come sometime tomorrow. Maybe we'll leave in like 5-6 hours." That was at 10:30pm. I decided to start timing contractions (and decided to start calling them contractions) right about then. Hmmm--according to my phone app, they were coming 1.5 to 2 minutes apart. Maaaaaybe things are moving faster than I thought.
I called my Dad, who was the planned babysitter for the boys for whenever the big moment arrived. I told him that I was having some strong contractions and that we probably needed to get to the hospital soon; but not to rush. We still had some things to pack, and that way my Dad could not be rushed either. I told him, "I just feel like we need to go and get checked out, but I don't even know that we'll stay."
Before we left, just in case, I really wanted to wake Maverick up and tell him what was going on. I knew it would probably be hard for him to wake up to the surprise that we weren't there. So I tried really hard to wake him, but he was konked out. So I whispered in his ear that he might wake up to having a new brother or sister, and gave him one more goodnight kiss. Then I walked over to Sawyer's bed and did the same thing.
By the time my Dad arrived about 11pm, I was having to stop in my tracks and breathe through contractions. It's hard to describe a contraction to someone who has never had them before. Even harder to a guy, because they've never felt the misery of awful menstrual cramps. Contractions are like the MOST painful menstrual cramp you've ever experienced in your existence--multiplied by 1000. So for you fellas--imagine your abdomen being shredded by dull pocket knives. But then the pain goes away for like a minute or so. And when it happens again, the pain is even more intense. I think that covers it?
The drive to the hospital this time was very similar to the drive when I was laboring with Sawyer. It was *insanely* hard to have to sit through contractions, let alone with a seatbelt on. Punching through the windshield with my fist would have brought welcome relief to the contraction pain. And once again, Robbie was driving well over the speed limit "just because it would be fun to tell the cop I have a good reason to speed" (exact quote).
We pulled into the hospital lot and I told Robbie that I wanted to walk, not be dropped off. Walking felt SO good, and was a great distraction to the pain. We got to the sliding doors, and they wouldn't open! I totally forgot that it was very late at night, and that the only entrance open was the ER. But I looked over at the wall and there was a phone with a sign that said, "Between the hours of 9pm and 5am call for entry". So Robbie picked up the phone and told the guy who answered, "Hello. We'd like to have a baby." The guy on the other end said to wait for the doors to open. But they never did! We could see the little red light come on the sensor, but the door was stuck!
I was pacing back and forth, laughing. Only us! So I said, "Let's just walk to the other entrance. No big deal." Apparently there was a security camera, because the guy on the phone said, "Yeah right. You look like you don't need to be walking. We're coming down with a wheelchair."
When a security guard arrived with a wheelchair, I was trying to tell him that it actually felt really good to walk, he still made me take a ride. "Policy" he said. Ha! Whatever. I sat down. Robbie told me that I should do what felt best (and he was right). But I just wanted to get inside.
We wheeled up to the Labor and Delivery floor, to the nurses' station. I was just trying not to focus on the pain, so I was laughing and being as peppy as possible. It's my defense mechanism, I swear, ha! [Side note: An old friend of mine from high school is a nurse on the same floor, and she visited me and the baby the next day. She told me that the nurses who admitted me were in complete shock that I was in such a good mood for how advanced my labor was--even thinking that I wasn't really in labor/probably would go home--except to find out that I was in actual labor...]
I remember glancing at the clock on the wall when we got to my room, it was about 11:30pm. The triage nurses came in to exam me and were like, "Whoah! You are easily at 7cm girl!" I was very shocked! Wow! In just a couple of hours I went from having no pain at all, to being in transitional labor. So crazy how fast the 3rd baby labor was going for me!
I could barely sign papers fast enough while they were bringing in all the delivery equipment. My doctor wasn't on call, but the other doctor from my practice was already on shift there. She actually delivered Sawyer too, for the same reason. She is also super cool, like my doc.
I knew I wanted an epidural. The thought briefly crossed my mind to just try without it, since I was already so far along. About midnight, a half hour later, I was at 8cm. The pain was beyond insane torture of the worst kind. Ladies who don't use an epidural should have a bigger mansion in Heaven than everyone else, seriously. But I wanted it. And it couldn't come fast enough.
The anesthesiologist arrived and prepped me for the epidural. Honestly the worst part is having to sit so still during a contraction. I know they try to time it in-between them, but when they are coming every 30 seconds like mine were, you have to deal. I was clenching my teeth so hard, I thought I would break a couple. Robbie asked for his hand back between contractions because I squeezed all the feeling out of it. Just. A. Few. More. Minutes. was my mantra to get through it (again, the contractions not the epidural being inserted).
Then, my left leg got warm...went numb. Then, my right leg got warm...went numb. And the contractions went away. Ahhhhhhhh. Haha! Although this time, my right side wasn't quite as numb as everything else. It was numb enough to take the edge off, but I was still in some discomfort. Nothing near as bad as before, though. So it wasn't that big of a deal to me.
It was about 1:30-2am, and I thought for sure it was about time to push. With the next exam, I was still at only 8cm. We figured that since I laid down after the epidural, that really put the brakes on the process. So the nurse instructed me to sit straight up and have my legs bent in a Buddha style to let gravity work its magic.
At one point things got a little hairy with the baby's heart rate. His heart rate was either staying constant, or lowering with contractions. It is supposed to go up, as the stress of being squeezed goes up. So they gave me oxygen to make sure the baby was getting enough, too.
A short time later was when things got a little more scary. The external heart rate monitor (the kind that is strapped to your stomach) was not picking up anything. My nurse kept moving it around and couldn't get a read. Then a lady in a different uniform appeared, which really made me think something could be wrong. I just prayed really hard that everything was okay. The new lady (I don't know if she was a nurse or doctor, just that she had a different uniform than everyone else) decided that we needed to try an internal heart rate monitor. Which is when they apply tiny sticky pads connected to a wire, to the baby's head; instead of relying on a doppler signal. As the new lady reached in to apply the wires, she said, "Wow, you are 10cm and then some. Let's get your doc here and deliver!"
Robbie asked if he could step out for like 10 seconds, and they were like, "Only 10 seconds. Seriously that's all you have!"
My doc rushed in and instructed everyone to let Robbie announce the gender since it was a surprise. Robbie asked if I wanted him to say, "It's a girl/boy!" or "Here is Ruby/Rocco!" I decided that I wanted to hear the name. We had been solid on the girl name Ruby Mae for years, literally. We had only settled on a boy's name a few days ago--Rocco James. By the last month of the pregnancy, I was so convinced it was a girl, I didn't even think we needed to decide on a boy's name. Ha!
I think I pushed two, maybe three times...and then I hear, "Here's Rocco!! It's a BOY!"
And then immediately my sweet baby was in my arms! I was in COMPLETE shock that it was a boy. Not a bad shock--just that I was so convinced I would hear "Ruby" it didn't settle in those first milliseconds. He was so beautiful. Hardly covered in any vernix (the white gooey/cheesy stuff), a head full of dark hair, and had great color. He was my biggest of all my babies, too.
My doctor waited for the cord to stop pulsing to have Robbie cut it. And then Rocco and I had lots of skin-to-skin time. He even started rooting to nurse, all on his own! After that he was weighed, measured, and all that good stuff--right there in the room with us.
So that's the birth story of our precious son, Rocco James Clark. He came into this world at 3:07am on December 31st, 2014, weighing 8lbs and 3oz; measuring 20 and 1/2 inches long. It is still often surreal to me that we have 3 kids, let alone 3 boys. I am so stinking excited to have 3 boys. It is going to be a great adventure.
The story behind his name. Well, like I said, it took us forever to decide. We both had a few ideas we liked, but not collectively. It was super hard to come up with a name that went with his brothers' names; but was also fitting individually. Robbie is the one who came up with Rocco, and I immediately loved it. It means "Rest" which is exactly what we need in a third child. Everyone thinks it is Italian, which it is, but it is actually rooted in German. Not that it's a big deal either way, except we get the occasional, "But you're not even Italian" remark, ha! His middle name follows the pattern we have with our other boys--something more traditional and a personal connection. James is a family name in both of our families, and it means "to Supplant". James is also one of Robbie's favorite books in the Bible.
We decided that we would only bring Maverick up to the hospital to visit Rocco. Sawyer would have no idea what was going on and he would just be causing stress. And he would be pulling on cords, getting into cabinets, and causing the usual "Sawyer the Destroyer" trouble, ha! Maverick LOVES his baby brother. Even a few days later, he is constantly saying how much he loves him and wants to hold him all the time. And get this--he asked me tonight when we are going to have more babies!! Say what?! I told him that this is probably the last one and he was so sad! Yeah, well. Sorry kiddo. Ha!
Rocco the New Years Eve Baby!
Going home outfit.
This is like the worst picture of me, ever. But I don't care, it was such a great feeling to be coming home! I convinced them to let me come home early with Sawyer. But this time I stayed the full time due to some tests concerning the cyst. I do have to say, it was nice being able to focus on just Rocco for that whole time; before joining the chaos at home. :)