I know many of you are just itching to know how things "went down" so here's my best recap of the birth of Daniel Brian Santos.
On Thursday, December 13th, I went to the office for my appointment, NST, and ultrasound. Well, long story short, I was scheduled for the appointment but somehow was never scheduled for the rest. I was actually somewhat okay with that because I figured if I didn't have the tests, we couldn't find anything wrong. I could wait a few more days and hope I went into labor on my own before having to do them. After trying to figure out why I was never scheduled, the receptionist accidentally put my paper in the wrong pile and then they forgot about me. Fortunately, I had not even noticed by the time they came out to apologize. So after a funny and delayed start, I was called back for my appointment.
After weighing in (at a grand total of 34 1/2 lbs - my highest!), checking BP and so forth, I was taken back to the room to wait for the midwife. She came in, asking if I was tired of everyone asking when the baby was going to arrive. I laughed and said I was tired of wondering that myself. Before she checked for dilation, she asked, "Do you want me to be easy on you today or no?" I looked at her, slightly confused but just said, "I don't know what I want at this point." Ha. Well, by the end of our appointment, my membranes had been swept and I was told I was 2cm dilated. She said the baby's head was down but turned slightly and that was probably the hold-up. She explained possible symptoms to expect over the next 24 hours and said she expected the baby to be here by the weekend. Keep in mind, at this point, I was officially five days past my due date with baby number four. Crazy.
Following the appointment, James and I went to Panera for lunch. This is actually pertinent to the story because every one of my labors have involved Panera in some form or fashion. I started having some mild cramping that lasted until about nine that night and then subsided. But otherwise, nothing exciting was happening. I made sure I had all of my bags packed, "just in case" and then went to bed.
Fast forward to 3 a.m. I was startled awake feeling suddenly wet. I got out of bed to go to the restroom, thinking my water may have broken but there was nothing else leaking. However, I almost immediately started having extremely strong contractions, very close together. I quickly woke up James and told him we needed to prepare to leave. When I was up and moving around, the contractions continued but as soon as I sat or laid down, they started slowing. So then I began doubting myself and wondering whether I was having false labor again. I texted my doula and asked for her thoughts. She suggested that I sit for about thirty minutes and time my contractions. If they were real, they'd continue. Well, they continued but slowed significantly - to only one every fifteen minutes or so. Frustrated and tired, at around 4:30 or 5 a.m., I decided to sit in my recliner and try to sleep a tad. I dozed off but awoke consistently every twelve minutes or so with a contraction. Then I'd doze off again and the cycle continued. Finally, at about 6 a.m., my water very obviously broke. There was no longer any doubt in my mind, it was time to have a baby!
We made the necessary phone calls, got our belongings and headed to the hospital. Considering it was soon to be rush hour and I was Group B Strep positive, we did not want to waste any time. We arrived in a very easy going fashion. My contractions were slowing down, so getting ready and in a room were pretty uneventful. My doula arrived and the nurse got me started on the antibiotics. The next several hours were pretty funny - quite literally. My contractions were almost nil. Seriously, we were walking the halls, rocking on a ball, swaying by my bedside and NOTHING exciting was happening! The contractions were between 5-10 minutes apart but were not very strong at all. My photographer friend arrived about 9 a.m. and she's one of the funniest people I know. So we basically spent the entire morning cracking jokes, telling stories, putting updates on Facebook, and almost twiddling our thumbs. My second dose of antibiotics had been administered and we were waiting for the excitement to begin.
Around noon, the nurse came in and said she'd spoken to the midwife. The midwife had asked if I'd be opposed to a "whiff" of pitocin, all things considering and that I was still only 4cm dilated. I must have given a nonapproving facial expression because she quickly said we could wait if I wanted. It was still my choice. Considering my midwife is usually not quick to suggest such a route, we knew we needed to get something going somehow. At this point, it was still the general consensus that the baby's head was not yet properly positioned for significant dilation to occur. My doula suggested I lay on each side for 15 minutes and try to get him moving. And then the fun began! I instantly noticed my contractions were much more painful and harder to tolerate.
After I had laid on each side for 15 minutes, it was 2 p.m. I got up off my side and began to labor by "hugging" the back of my bed, sitting on my knees. Things were finally happening! About 30-45 minutes later, I began feeling a great deal of pressure. My doula quickly called the nurse in and I was 7cm dilated. It was about time! But I wasn't convinced there was much time left. I kept telling them, "this kid is coming!" The nurse rushed the necessary staff into the room and began prepping for delivery. Forgetting it was Friday and my midwife's office closes at noon, there was a miscommunication between nurse and the midwife was not able to get there in time. The nurse prepped to deliver the baby herself (and just about did). After hearing what was going on, a random OBGYN in the hallway said she could come in if my midwife didn't make it.
Another contraction later, she asked me to turn around in my bed. I kept telling them the baby was coming but after checking me again, she said I was still not complete and only 7-8cm dilated. Maybe two or three contractions later, that quickly changed. Not even intentionally "pushing", his head came out during a contraction. At that point, they told me to go ahead and push on the next and I'd have him. Sure enough, one push later, he made his entrance at 3:06 p.m. (do that math!).
A very different story from my other births for sure. This was the first time my water has ever broken prior to being in the middle of labor. I'm sure the membrane sweeping could be the reason for that. Though I was technically in labor for about 12 hours, only the last hour or so was even that unpleasant. Of course it makes sense when I went from 4-10cm in just a tad over an hour! THAT hour was certainly difficult. My midwife did show up about five minutes after delivery and was totally apologetic about the miscommunication. Of course by the time I delivered, I didn't care who delivered the baby, as long as he came out! I didn't have to have any stitches - another blessing of small babies. We enjoyed "kangaroo care" for an hour and then found out he weighed a whopping 6lbs, 11.5oz and 19 1/2in - my biggest baby to date!
What an amazing miracle childbirth is. As I write this, Daniel is 12 days old. We've been able to reflect on God's goodness and the sweetness of adding another child to our family. Our hearts are overflowing and we're adjusting well. Thank you for all of the prayers and help over the past 10 months. We are grateful for our amazing friends and family!
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Pregnancy Week-by-Week, Week 40