I look at this beautiful, beautiful baby and I think- was he really inside of me 48 hours ago?
Childbirth is such a surreal experience. You think that the never ending pregnancy will take you to your grave when all of a sudden you're in the grips of the worst pain imaginable that you fear will never cease when magically a baby appears. And it's all over. The miracle of life has occurred.
Like I said. Surreal. (warning, I might overuse that word in this post)
As I contemplate Carter's birth story, I am leery of how much to publish on a public blog. Obviously a lot of the pertinent details to his arrival cross way over the line into TMI- which especially if you've never experienced child birth can be more than a bit disturbing...but I want to write it all out before I forget. So I will write, and then publish an edited version- which still might be dicier than usual, but hey, we're talking about birthing a child. If you still believe in the operation of Stork Delivery, perhaps you should stop reading now.
Thusly- Carter Henry's birth story.
This story starts on Wednesday, August 31st- the day before I reached week 39 of this pregnancy. I went to my doctor's appointment and learned that I was 80% effaced and 3cm dilated. Good progress. I went home and ate an entire pineapple and then took Addison for a long walk. (perhaps the pineapple is an old wives tales, but when it comes to getting that baby to finally want to come out, you try just about anything)
Around 4:00, I started having very regular contractions. They weren't super painful, but definitely not Braxton Hicks. I timed them throughout the evening. They were 6 minutes apart but not getting any more intense.
(k, I'm back. I went to investigate a suspicious gurgling from the burritos diaper and was anointed with the "welcome to mothering a son" baptism.)
So where was I? Oh right, Wednesday night. I told Aaron that I was having consistent contractions and that we should get some sleep because we might be going in to the hospital in the middle of the night or early the next morning. He didn't say much.
The next morning I woke up and realized that my contractions had completely stopped during the night. When I mentioned that to Aaron, he said "Phew. I prayed that they would stop. I just have too much to do today."
Operation kill husband unfortunately had to be put on hold, even as necessary as it seemed in that moment. (Who in their right mind prays for a 9 month pregnant lady's contractions to stop...and who has the nerve to actually admit it to her???)
So Thursday I was miserable all day- contractions on and all. Painful- definitely not Braxton Hicks.I kept waiting for a sign that things were progressing from prelabor to actual active labor, but it just seemed to go nowhere. So, I finally called my doctor in frustration around 5. She thought that we should go up to L&D to check the baby's position.
We dropped Addison off at her grandparent's and headed in. I was extremely cranky. I was convinced that they would just tell me that I was going to have to go home and wait for it to change to something "real". I was exhausted from the contractions and feeling like the pregnancy would never, ever end.
On the way there, I sweetly asked Aaron to stop and get me ice cream. OK, fine. Not sweetly at all. As he headed into McDonalds to get my fudge sundae, for some reason I stopped him and said that it HAD to have two layers of fudge. Not sure why that was so important, but being the wise man that he is, he didn't question it, just brought the requested ice cream.
Once we got to the hospital, they put us in a tiny little room, obviously not taking us seriously. The nurse giving me most of the doubtful looks was the one who moved me down to the mom and baby floor 12 hours later, so the joke's on her.
I explained what was going on to ten million different people before my doctor got there. She checked and discovered that I was 5cm dilated and 90% effaced. She said that we could go home if we wanted to, but we might as well just stay because we would be back in full blown labor in a couple of hours.
We opted to stay. We chilled in the tiny room, waiting for a bigger one to open up. During the wait, I got to 6. As soon as we moved, she broke my water and I was immediately at 7. It all seemed to be going so fast.
The only thing was, the contractions were ALL in my back, and I was determined to do it drug free. From midnight to 7 am I worked to get to 10, and even though it was "short" it was very difficult and required many Castle episodes and long showers (my back rubber fell asleep for a few hours...no judgment here...but I do plan on using that for future argument fuel "remember when you fell asleep during Carter's labor?" I foresee it giving me the upper hand in many, many arguments to come))
By the time I finally reached 10, I was extremely exhausted from the long day of contractions before and the painful back labor. I told my doctor that I couldn't push as long as I did for Addison (2 hr 40 min). She said not to worry, that would probably be cut in half.
I knew that I didn't even have that left in me. Combine that with extreme stubbornness and what do you get?
A baby that is pushed out in less than 3 minutes.
He came out so, so blue. Aaron cut the cord, looking stunned that it had happened so fast this time.
I got to hold him right away and the whole thing was just so, so surreal.
They took him to clean him up while I ate breakfast. I was gulping down my yogurt when the Pediatrician came in to examine him. She looked him over extremely careful and within a few minutes said "He's perfect"
I seriously started bawling. The surreal emotion departed and the whole thing became very real. I couldn't believe it. After my last experience where everything possible seemed to go wrong, I was afraid to hope for an "easy" baby (and by "easy" I mean no oxygen at home, no g tube, no surgeries, no leukemia scares)
So, we were at the hospital by 8:45pm and Carter Henry Smith was born at 6:47am the next morning. Considering Addison's labor was 31 hours of induced hell (I don't use that word lightly), it was a welcome change. Definitely not easy, as labor never is, but shorter, with the reward of holding my baby at the end.
I am so, so thankful. But you know what? Even if I would have had a repeat Addison experience, I still would be so thankful. Because obviously the Lord knew what he was doing in giving me the most perfect daughter imaginable and if I had to go through all of that to give her life and then sustain it with the many medical procedures- I would do it all again. It was all worth it. Every heartache.
Carter and Addison. I love the sound of that. Pretty sure my life is about to spin out of control, but I am so excited about the new crazy...
*I started to write this last night in the hospital, but just now got a chance to finish it. We came home this afternoon and everything is going well.
*it is amazing to me the difference in recovery from first baby to second. For Addison, I couldn't walk for 3 weeks. Right now I'm feeling great. Marathon training starts tomorrow...(j/k, but it is going to be a challenge to not overdo it here)
And in conclusion, the first of many, many sibling shots. Love these two. (-:
Addison's not very well disguised opinion of this new addition to her life:
Does anyone see ANY sibling resemblance???
First reading time that Addison had to share. Other than trying to bite his foot, she did well with it.
I. love. this. picture.