So, I had another kid. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted here so if you’ve lost track, that’s number three. Baby Kate made her appearance earlier this month, and I figured I better pop in and document her birth story. After all, I did with my first two and I don’t want her to be that third kid who always complains that her parents don’t love her as much or whatever. (I’m an oldest child – can you tell?) In case she ever does feel that way, I’d like to state for the record that I’ve already forgotten most details of both Elisabeth and James’ births, as well as their major milestones; I’m equally neglectful toward all my children.*
Anyway! After an interminable pregnancy that felt SO MUCH HARDER than the first two on account of I’m old now, I was induced at 39 weeks + 1 day to put me out of my misery.
I kid, I kid. Here’s the backstory:
Damon is currently in the middle of work-ups. Basically that means that he’s not deployed, but he’s gone all the time training for deployment. If you were a reader five years ago, you may remember that Damon missed James’ birth by a couple of days due to deployment. I was very against a non-medical induction at the time, and so Damon Skyped into the delivery room from Japan. Not ideal, but this is how it goes in the Navy sometimes.
This time we knew Damon would be gone on my due date again, and after talking to my OB we planned on a scheduled induction so he could arrange to be home for the birth. The practice was very understanding and accommodating – serving a military community, they deal with these situations all the time.
I’ll be honest – this was a stressful process. I won’t go into all the boring details but trying to plan Damon getting off the aircraft carrier and then across the country to perfectly time with my induction was a challenge. Not a good challenge. Several factors outside our control could have thwarted Damon’s travel plans, not to mention the baby could have come early.
I was scheduled to go into the hospital on Monday evening for “cervical ripening,” to be followed by the actual induction on Tuesday morning. In a rare display of good judgment, I did not Google, “cervical ripening.”
The stars aligned and Damon arrived Monday morning after a redeye. (As an aside, I would not recommend taking a redeye the day before you are going to have a baby.) Then, at my Monday morning checkup, the NP said that I didn’t actually need to go in for the mysterious cervical ripening. I was 2cm dilated and my cervix was already… ripe? As this was my third baby, the Pitocin would be enough. Good news! I would get one more night of terrible, uncomfortable sleep in my own instead of the hospital bed!
Tuesday morning Damon and I went to the hospital. A little after 9am, my nurse hooked me up to a Pitocin drip, Damon settled in with the owner’s manual to our new Honda Odyssey, and I… waited. I had no idea what to expect with an induction, and the nurse explained that it’s different for everyone. Some people deliver quickly, some take all day. My contractions came on slow, and I feared I would be in the latter camp. A little after 11am my OB checked in. As I had only progressed to 3cm, she broke my water to speed things along. My contractions became stronger and more frequent. Meanwhile, Damon was making great progress with the Honda owner’s manual.
My nurse had offered to get me an epidural whenever I wanted it. Even though I was 100% going to get an epidural, I felt like I had to wait until I was in legit pain. Like I had to earn it. I don’t know why. That was stupid. Sometime after 12:00pm – after my contractions had reached Extremely Uncomfortable but weren’t quite Unbearable, I stopped being stupid and requested the epidural. What was I trying to prove?
A little while later the nurse anesthetist strolled in… with his student, Jesse, who would be doing the procedure. Did I mind? Um, did I mind that a newbie would be sticking a very large needle in my spine? Yes, yes I did mind, but I tried to be magnanimous. “Jesse, I have to ask. How many of these have you done?” “300,” he replied. That seemed like a high enough number that he probably wouldn’t paralyze me, so I allowed it. As far as I know, nothing disastrous happened while he administered the epidural – though it did seem to take longer than I remembered from before.
As sweet, sweet numbness overcame my lower half, I prepared to settle in for a nap until it was go time. Except my pesky heart rate monitor kept going off. What the heck? The nurse checked in on me and assured me all was well – I have a low resting heart rate to begin with, so the occasional dip was nothing of concern. Except it kept happening, and my chest felt a bit constricted. The doc came by around 2:30/2:45 to check on my progress. At that point I was about 5cm dilated, and I figured I had a few more hours to go. By that point, I was feeling really off. I told the nurse about my shortness of breath and general wooziness. She gave me oxygen, watched my heart rate for a couple minutes, and decided to call for an EKG.
Um, what? I’ve blocked out most of my past labor and delivery experiences but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to need an EKG.
About 20 minutes later the doctor came back with the EKG – but wait! There was no time for it because baby was ready to be delivered. Like, immediately. Well that was unexpected! Four minutes of pushing later, Kate was born at 3:19pm. (And thankfully, my heart rate immediately returned to normal and all my weird symptoms disappeared.)
It all happened so fast that frankly, I was caught a little off guard. I certainly didn’t anticipate going from 5cm to having a baby in a half-hour. (Luckily, Damon had finished the owner’s manual by then. Phew!) My sweet nurse stayed on past her shift change for the delivery, which I deeply appreciated. Unfortunately, my brain is shot and I can’t remember her name. But she, and her replacement who walked in right as I was about to deliver, were both great. I’ve been very fortunate to have wonderful nurses for all three of my deliveries.
So yeah, it happened super fast and Kate was definitely my most squished and purple-y baby. I was a tad alarmed at first, but the doctor and nurses assured me it was normal. Apparently when a baby comes out that fast they don’t have time to get all the gunk squeezed out of them so Kate had to cry quite a bit to clear her lungs. But you know what – she hasn’t really cried since. She is an incredibly sweet, chill baby (knock on wood – it’s only been 2 weeks).
She’s also my littlest! At 7lbs, 1oz (rounded up!), she was a full pound lighter than Elisabeth’s birth weight. That pound is a big difference on a newborn! She’s gaining weight well but she still looks and feels tiny to me.
We stayed in the hospital two nights, returning home Thursday afternoon. Damon had to leave that Saturday morning at 4am, which of course was too soon, but he’ll be back in a few weeks. My mom has been here the entire time holding down the fort and managing the big kids.
Speaking of the big kids– they are adjusting fairly well. They are both smitten with Kate, but not so smitten with all the attention she is receiving from me. Nothing unexpected there. The first few days we were home, sweet James would only whisper around her and gently pat her head. That has passed. He is back to being a loud, rambunctious 5-year-old boy with no regard for sleeping baby (or sleeping mother.) Elisabeth, who was initially a little disinterested in the baby, now loves to hold and sing to her, but has a hard time with boundaries. Thus far, miraculously, Kate has survived both older siblings unscathed.
*This post was written four weeks before I published it. As of today, I have already forgotten most of the details of Kate’s birth, and only remembered them after re-reading this. Sleep deprivation is a bitch.