I had a lot of contractions in my final trimester. They came often and they were hard. Because of this, our doctor had said that Spencer might (safely) arrive as early as 36-37 weeks. That'll make a family anxious! We were open to having Spencer any time as Giftmas approached. Then we hoped to wait a week. Our doctor was on vacation from December 25th - 30th.
At 11 o'clock on December 25th (11:04 actually, if I recall correctly), I decided I'd better go tell Tyler (13yo) to get to bed. Sasha (2yo) was still up with me. As I walked to the other end of the house, I noticed I was wet... really wet. I went to the bathroom to check myself and found some slight tinge of pink.
I got very shaky. I called my Jenni (my doula) and explained what was going on, including feeling like I was having a major adrenaline rush from the excitement of it. She reassured me that the shaking was normal anyway, but that we should get to the hospital. I didn't feel a need to rush, but I woke Elmo and we started getting ready. He carried the numerous bags out to the truck. We (Sasha, Elmo and I) were loaded up into the truck by 11:30. I called Jenni again to let her know we were on our way. Tyler was staying up at home, waiting for updates.
We got to the hospital at about midnight. It was a chilly night with a hint of rain in the air. I had forgotten to call ahead! I called from the parking lot while Elmo had a quick cigarette (it might be his last for who knew how many hours). Jenni met us in the parking lot. We went straight into our room and our nurse (Andi) stood there and read every-single-detail of our Birth Plan. She let us know any bits that might not fit hospital policy or might depend on the doctor we had. I was terribly impressed with her attitude and thoroughness. She did a test and confirmed: amniotic fluid. She did check my cervix and found I was dilated to 4. She tried to place my heplock in my left arm. After much digging around in my arm, she moved to my right arm. She immediately blew that vein. She called for another nurse to come place the heplock. Some digging was still required, but the second nurse did manage to get it started. Andi let me stay on the external monitors intermittently and otherwise just left us alone to labor in peace!
I managed to nurse Sasha to sleep in labor and get her nestled down into a makeshift bed on the floor (you can see the bed in that shot above, too). I had to time moving her between contractions and was quite impressed with myself!
After the way things went with Sasha's birth, I made sure to shift into different positions. I still preferred sitting up in the bed (leaning back). I relaxed and breathed through each contraction as they came, watching movies and chatting with my personal birth team between contractions.
Elmo tried to get a little more sleep, until Sasha woke back up. I tried to nurse her back to sleep. I finally asked Elmo to take her for a walk for a snack, to the bathroom, anything. He seemed reluctant, until I told him I didn't think I could nurse her anymore. It was just getting to be too much. (I later realized it was because nursing had ramped up my labor!) Sasha fussed at being removed from Mommy, so Elmo took her to get a snack.
My contractions had been very manageable, but were increasing in intensity. I had managed to avoid having my dilation checked, but finally caved. I was ready for a progress report. Andi said I was dilated to a 7 and the remaining 3cm were all on the right side. She suggested I lay on my right side to help speed dilation along and said she'd page the doctor to let her know. I was perfectly happy to comply.
Folks, this is where it gets exciting! Before Andi got out the door of our room, I felt pressure! All I could say was "pressure!" Jenni thought I wanted pressure, as in my tailbone. "No, no, PRESSURE! The Baby - Pressure!" or something to that effect. Jenni asked if I had an urge to push. I'm not sure it was so much an urge as my body just pushing on its own! I started getting loud. I think Jenni paged the nurse. Andi returned to find that Spencer was coming and the doctor wasn't going to make it. The next thing I knew, there were about 5 nurses in our room, gloving up! I was still lying on my right side and was clutching the side rail.
There was so much pressure and I felt like I was pushing - only I knew *I* wasn't pushing! Apparently Jenni tried telling me to pant, but I didn't hear her. She quickly realized it was too late to slow things down anyway! Jenni and Andi would occasionally tell me or ask me something, but I couldn't hear them over my own noises. I tried to tell them that in between contractions. Jenni later explained that she asked me if I wanted to catch Spencer (I had asked her to help me remember this). It all happened so fast, though. Spencer's head was coming out as Elmo and Sasha reentered the room.
Jenni was holding my top leg up and I explained that it hurt my hip, so she tried moving my leg in either direction, but moving it was worse. Elmo held Sasha and stood next to Jenni (sitting on the bed with me). The nurses had me push Spencer's shoulders out. Andi put him on my belly immediately and suctioned out his nose. He was covered in vernix! They tried to move him up to my chest, but the cord was so short it hurt (my vulva) as it tugged against me.
Sasha was not quite sure what to think of all the people, commotion, and her new baby brother. Jenni took her back over to her pallet and bag of toys to play.
Andi helped get Spencer latched on to nurse. Our doctor arrived and joked about checking the time when she received the page, called back, then got the call that I'd delivered already. It was 6 minutes. From 7cm dilation to birth in 6 minutes! Spencer was born at 4:04 am.
Spencer was taken to the warming bed and earned an 8 APGAR score! The medical staff let me nurse Spencer as long as I wanted before sending him to be checked over ("transition"). Elmo went with him. It turned out that Spencer's blood sugar was dangerously low and his oxygen saturation dipped too low as well. He was later admitted to the NICU.
I was on a total birth high! I was excited, energized, and hungry! While Spencer and Elmo were gone, Sasha and I shared some quiet time and her snack. Jenni helped get our room packed and we took a walk to my postpartum room. Elmo left Spencer's side because they were doing some difficult things with Spencer. Sasha and Jenni played in the room while Elmo and I went to see Spencer through the NICU window. It would be 12 hours before I was by Spencer's side again. He spent 1 long week in the NICU.
Having Spencer in the NICU was hard, but otherwise I enjoyed every second of having my last newborn!
Jorje (pronounced George) is a slightly crunchy momma (and wife!) sliding down the slippery slope to full-on hippydom. She stays busy with 3 children and is passionate about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby signing, elimination communication, and general attachment parenting.
Jorje blogs at Momma Jorje where she also advocates for Down Syndrome Awareness. Jorje dreams of hitting the road full time to unschool with her family, celebrated her first dreadiversary last Summer, and is personally interested in tarantulas, macro photography and minimalism.