~ Welcome Levi!
Well to say that I am a little surprised to be posting a birth story instead of week 37 is a bit of an understatement. I had my weekly doctor visit on Monday like usual. She did not check me for any progress this time. We did listen to baby's heart beat though and everything was good. Like I had written about in my week 36 entry, we did talk to my doctor about the Group B Strep results. Our plan was to try and treat it naturally and test weekly so that we could try to avoid going in early for the minimum of four hours antibiotics when labor actually got started.
She informed us that she could do that if we really wanted her to. But as far as the hospital and the pediatrician were concerned, if there had been any positive results at all in the third trimester, it really did not matter, since those are the results they would be going with. So we asked her then if it was better to have a few false alarms and go in early than to miss out on the antibiotics. She thought that it was. We felt a little bummed that we could not do anything from our side of things to work on it, but didn't have really any other options.
After the appointment, we went home and Jeremy went to work for the remainder of the day. Well, around 2:00 p.m. that afternoon, I was noticing some contractions that were very consistent and not super painful, but definitely coming regularly. I timed them for a little over an hour and decided to call Jeremy since they had been coming every 5-8 minutes. He was about to head home anyway, so that worked well. When he got home, they were still very consistent, not having had any that had been further than 10 minutes apart, and they were holding my attention pretty good. We decided with the advice from my doctor that we should probably go in and just see if things picked up. We arrived at the hospital a little before 5:00 p.m.
When I checked into the obstetrics floor, it was almost embarrassing since I did not know for sure if it was the real thing. I knew it could very easily pick up quickly for me, and it could also just go away like it had many times before. They took me to triage, which was incredibly lame with not much privacy and very loud and annoying people in one of the curtains near by. The nurse told me to put on one of those dumb gowns that do not close in the back and had me give a urine sample. Then they hooked me up to the contraction monitor and also one to listen to baby's heart beat. They had me sit there for about twenty minutes monitoring me. After everything looked okay, they checked me to see that I was still about 2-3 cm dilated. They told me I could get up and walk or sit if I preferred, and they would check me again in about an hour. I decided to get dressed and walk.
We ended up walking for about an hour, during which time contractions were coming pretty consistently at about 3-4 minutes apart and getting more uncomfortable. After the hour was up they hooked me all up again and checked my cervix again and found I was probably more like between 3-4 cm dilated. After all of the checking, they pretty much determined that there was nothing to do except let me go walk more, or just let me go home until it was more serious. It was also during this time that they informed me that since I am allergic to Penicillin, which is the antibiotic of choice for the Group B Strep, the other antibiotic they would be giving me instead would need to be given more like 8 hours ahead of time to get in two doses. WHAT?? I found this only slightly irritating. Then what the heck was I doing there?? There was no way in the world that once labor started getting serious for me that it was going to take 8 hours. My labors are much faster than that. Sigh! So pretty much I was in there for no reason and we should plan on staying for observation after baby was born instead of trying to get in early when labor started for the antibiotics.
We finally left the hospital around 8:00 p.m. and went to have a light dinner and see if things picked up more. Well, they were still coming but not increasing in intensity really, so we just went home. I think around 11:00 p.m. that night my contractions finally tapered off. It was very weird that things kept up so consistent for that long. I didn't have one contraction that was further than 10 minutes apart during that whole time of about 9 hours. It was also very disappointing leaving the hospital, without a baby in our arms.
Fast forward two days. I was in major nesting mode and doing all kinds of things on Wednesday to try and get things together for whenever it happened. I had been having a few contractions during the day, but nothing very consistent, and nothing at all like Monday. I figured we could still be a couple of weeks away quite easily. After the kids were in bed, which had been pretty late that night, Jeremy and I were sitting up in the kitchen talking about the next day and whether not he should go do some work out of the area, only a couple hours away, but out of phone service. I had told him that it made me a little nervous and wasn't sure if he should or not.
Well, I got up from the table to go to the restroom a little after 10:00 p.m. and thought I must be having some bladder control issues thinking, "Fantastic, just what I need at the end of the pregnancy!" When I went to the bathroom, things just did not seem right though, and after coming back out I realized there was some definite gushing going on. I have never had my water break with any of my other pregnancies, so this was all very new to me. With Isabelle, my doctor broke it right before I started pushing. With Michael, I was about 5 cm dilated when she broke it and he came in a very fast 2 hours later, and with Titus, she also broke it right as I started pushing. So this was very unfamiliar territory for me. It did not take very long however to realize that is what had to have happened. Every time I moved from that point on, I would feel small gushes. It was never all at once though.
I told Jeremy that my water broke and we did our best to be very quick in getting things together to head in. We figured at the very least if labor went very slow, we might have time to get the antibiotics. We thought the more likely possibility was that things were going to pick up rather quickly and I would not want to be in the car for any of that. By the time we headed in, I was definitely starting to feel pretty crampy and they were holding my attention quite well. We checked into the hospital at around 11:30 p.m. and they took us to the birthing center room, which was thankfully available.
Our mothers were unfortunately not able to join us this time, which made me a little sad. My mom ended up leaving the day before we went in, so that was a little frustrating. Thankfully though, my two younger sisters did join us and it was very nice to have them there. They were a big help overall, but also to take some pictures and have a record of the birth that way is wonderful! We got into the room and got situated. The contractions were definitely uncomfortable, but still fairly mild at this point. The first nurse we had came in and started getting things hooked up. They gave me this pathetic thing for a gown, the only one they could find, that they said was one of the birthing center gowns. It was not. I have been to the birthing center three times and never had a gown this short. At least it closed in the back I guess. I ended up just putting on one of the hospital gowns over the top just to feel a little warmer and more decent. The nurse checked baby's heart rate, which was good.
After she made sure everything was good with our little one, she went ahead and got the IV port started in my hand so they could start the antibiotics after a little while. Getting it started was a little uncomfortable, but having it in my hand the whole time was really annoying and actually hurt. When I am having a contraction, I like to lean over the bed a little with my hands on the bed while Jeremy rubs my back. Well, putting my hand out on the bed like that really interfered with the IV, so I had to prop up pillows to rest my arm on. It was dumb. After they got that all ready in my hand, the nurse was ready to check me for progress.
I cannot tell you how bad this hurt. I have never experienced so much pain being checked before. She tried her best to be careful, and she even had me put my fists together under my hips to try and get things to tilt a little better for her. No such luck. She realized that it was just not going to work for her and went to get someone who had smaller hands. We did not ever end up getting the nurse we were hoping for from the birthing center nurses either, which was very frustrating. She would have been much more gentle, I'm sure. The new nurse may have had smaller hands, but she was much more of a moose. I'm pretty sure she was trying to reach my head. It hurt like the devil. When she was done I went to the restroom and there was no bleeding, but definite stinging after going to the bathroom. Apparently there was some minor tearing. Good grief! That is not supposed to happen.
They said baby's head was really low and that was why there was so much trouble trying to check me. They determined at this point, around 12:30 a.m., I was about 4 cm dilated. After checking me, they went ahead and hooked up the IV. Frankly, with all the rush of trying to quick get the antibiotics, I'm not sure why it took them that long. During the first hour or so, things did not progress nearly as fast as I was expecting. Contractions were coming anywhere from 3 minutes clear up to 8 or 9 minutes apart for a couple of them. But by about 2:00 a.m., things were substantially picking up. During this time, I was also hooked up to that stupid IV where I could not move around much at all in between contractions and it made going to the restroom very challenging. I hated being tied down to it. I did have my wonderful husband there with me though, which was very helpful. He was very diligent in rubbing my lower back every time I had a contraction. He's my hero!
A little before 2:00 a.m., I had finished the antibiotics and they went ahead and unhooked me from the leash . . . finally. My doctor showed up shortly after 2:00 a.m. and by about 2:15 a.m., she went ahead and checked me for progress. It was not quite as horrible, since she was a bit more gentle, but it still hurt a lot. I'm sure it had everything to do with already being very sore down there. She found that I was at about 7 cm dilated at that time. Lying on the bed during contractions was not exactly pleasant either. As soon as she finished, I stood back up by the bed, and during this time had some of the worst contractions I think I've ever had. They were very intense and lasting in the two minute range . . . which seems like forever when it's happening. Well come to find out, just before 2:30 a.m., I was ready to push.
They went ahead and told the nurses and it was obvious they did not believe I could be ready yet, since I had just been at 7 cm. Thankfully, my doctor being the kind lady that she is, knew from past experience that she could trust me. Crazy enough, I was actually fully dilated . . . imagine that. That would certainly explain the insane pain I experienced going from a 7 to a10 in about 10 minutes. They quick got everything set up while I started pushing. The way it started, I felt like I was not making much progress, but in about 4 or so contractions, and lots of pushing during that time, our sweet little baby was born right at 2:39 a.m. Nine minutes of pushing! I was very surprised, and still can hardly believe it. I guess it was my reward for having paid my dues with Isabelle and it taking 1 1/2 hours.
Just like all the rest of our little ones, our sweet little baby was born into his daddy's arms. Yep that's right, we had another little boy! There were definitely some surprised people, my husband and doctor to name a few. They were sure we were having a girl. Levi Jeremy Wayne was born at 2:39 a.m. on December 15th, and weighed in at 7 lbs even, 19 1/2 inches long, making him our smallest baby. Isabelle was the same weight but half an inch longer. For our babies, he has a very full head of dark hair. I was surprised how much he has. He is the sweetest little thing. They did the regular Vitamin K shot and eye ointment for him. My older sister and her family came, just after he was born. They are troopers! She said she wanted to be called when I was about to start pushing and they would come and maybe be there for the birth. Well, they didn't even get to the hospital since it went so crazy fast.
Shortly after they left, I went ahead and nursed Levi and he nursed very well. A little later when the nurse was making her rounds, they checked his temperature and found it to be a little low. So they took him to the nursery to put him under the warmer for a little while, with Jeremy tagging along. It was really hard for me to not be able to go down there with them, but I was not in any condition to walk that far yet. Knowing Jeremy was there did help though. After a little while they brought him back and I tried to nurse him again. He was so sleepy though that he wanted nothing to do with it. During this time they also took some blood to do a CBC to make sure he was doing okay with me having had the Group B Strep. The results came back great.
A little while later they did find his temperature to be low again and wanted him to stay a while to observe him. They put him under the warmer and wanted to do another blood test 6 hours later than the first to see if there was any sort of trend towards the Group B Strep, since he was having a little trouble keeping his temperature up. We decided to go ahead and wait for these results and make sure everything was ok. During this time, we also had a few more checks on Levi's temperature and it had been good every time. Finally, we did receive the results from the pediatrician and he said that everything looked good, but he felt it would be good if we went ahead and stayed for another 24 hours. What? His temperature is up and his CBC looks good, but you want us to stay? Am I missing something here?
I realize we are used to staying in the 6 to 8 hour time range after baby is born, but common sense tells me that if he is doing well, we can go home. If something changes when he is home, of course we will bring him back in. Trying to rest in a hospital is nearly impossible for me. Not only is the bed not comfortable, but they won't leave you alone and someone is always coming in . . . just as you nod off. Since we felt like things were going well, we decided to go ahead and leave. To say they were not thrilled with this is a bit of an understatement. It was very frustrating. They seem to forget that we are paying them and if for some reason we do not want part of their services, so what. As a person, we have that right. Sigh! Well, I suppose I should quit the ranting, but we really left feeling very violated and let down. We felt the services we were expecting to be given, as patients of the birthing center, were not at all what we were promised or given. If for some reason we ever have any more children, they can guarantee we will not be going there.
We ended up being at the hospital for a total of about 18 hours when it was all said and done. We got home around 8:30 p.m. Levi has been doing great ever since. Imagine that! The first couple of nights he did not sleep real great, but that is to be expected. He would eat and eat and then eat some more. It seemed like he would just finish and would start acting hungry again. After my milk came in though, it is obvious he is feeling much more satisfied. We are going to have to start calling him porky before long. I'm very pleased with how well he is eating now. We also had his first visit with our pediatrician, not the hospital's, and he said Levi was doing great. His weight was down to 6lbs 12oz, but with the way he is eating, I'm sure he'll be gaining it back very quickly.
The first couple of days for me were a little bit rough. For the most part it was due to the after pains. They were very painful this time. Thankfully, after about 3 to 4 days they started to ease up some. I did end up taking some ibuprofen a couple of times to try and keep them from being too intense. Every time Levi would nurse, I felt like I was having contractions again and very painful ones. I felt like I just had to clench my teeth together every time to try and get through them. It's a little rough holding a newborn and trying to get through that pain. I'm just very glad it's over with.
His siblings are also very thrilled that he is finally here. I wondered how Isabelle would do with how often she would say she was hoping to have a sister. I don't even think it fazed her though. She has been loving on that boy ever since and she always asks to hold him. The first time Michael saw Levi in the hospital, he asked, "Did we get the boy baby?" It was very sweet. Michael also loves to hold him any chance he gets and comes to check on him lots, asking how baby Levi is. Titus likes to check on him frequently too and likes to give him lots of hugs, which we have to watch and make sure they are not too rough. Titus is doing better with having Levi here than I thought he would. He does feel a little left out, but we are trying our best to make sure we give him some one on one attention too.
Well, I'm sorry this has turned into a novel. I wish things had gone better at the hospital and this could have been a little more short and sweet. Oh well, I guess. We are just very thankful to have this sweet little boy Levi in our lives and that he is doing so well. I want to thank Maribeth for letting me write this, and also to all of you who have taken the time to follow along with my journal. I really appreciate it, and again thank you to all of those who have had such sweet comments. It really means a lot to me. We are looking forward to the next chapter in our lives!