And Then There Were Four

Friday, March 4th, my external version was scheduled for 1 o'clock. I got a phone call at 7 asking if we could change it to 9:30. At that point I hadn't found anyone to watch the girls, so I hopped on the phone immediately. I am so glad my dad is retired now, as he was able to watch them on such short notice.

And so, I rushed the kids out the door and to school, then took Beth to my parent's house. Jeffrey came home fro work so he could come with me, and we headed up to the hospital. On our way there, Jeffrey commented that this was the last time he wanted to go there until the baby was born. I heartily seconded his opinion!

Now, Thursday morning I had had a vivid dream that little baby man had turned. I was so excited! When I sat up, however, it still felt like he was upright, so I kept praying. I told this to my midwife who responded that she has seen stranger things, and I got prepped and ready (bracing myself) for the ordeal that was sure to follow. The doctor walked in who was going to be helping with this, and I was happy to see that he was a different doctor from the previous one. He assured me he would use some gel, so there would be no Indian burn inflicted. He pulled out the ultrasound machine, put it on my belly for a fraction of a second, clapped his hands as if to dust them off after a difficult job, and said "Congratulations, I am a magic doctor." Apparently the baby had turned! He was head down for the first time my entire pregnancy! Everyone in the room was thrilled. Christy and I had a quick chat and decided that she should break my water then and there, rather than risk him turning again. He was very high, and so while it wasn't probable, it was entirely possible for this little dude to do some more swimming and flip upright again. Since she understood my deep aversion to having a c-section birth, and I was far enough along that Baby Man was probably developed all the way, we went ahead and did it. She broke my water at 11 that morning.

And thus followed one of the longest days of my life.

We had expected to be holding our little baby by 2 at the latest, but 2 o'clock came around, and I hadn't progressed a whole lot more. He had descended a bit more, but not enough. And the waiting game continued. Around 4, Christy instructed the nurse, (who was absolutely amazing, by the way. I have never in all my days had a better nurse!) to give me some pitocin to help my body move things along. And then every 30 minutes after that, they increased it by 2 drips a minute. Which means that it was a very low dose, and coming at an incredibly slow speed. I was happily oblivious to the changes my body was making. The monitor said that I was having contractions, I just wasn't feeling them, which left me incredibly happy and hopeful that I would have one of those amazing births where I get dilated to 10 cm and am virtually pain free!

Unfortunately, that is not how things played out. Of all my births, this was the most intense and the most difficult I have ever gone through. It lasted the longest, too! Around 9 is when the contractions began to really get me. I tried everything I could think of to ease the pressure, but to no avail. I had been determined that I was not going to have another baby lying on my back, as I had read so much literature that stated this is the most painful position of all. I tried my hands and knees, walking around, the two different exercise balls they had, and everything else. I found that for me, the most comfortable position was lying on my side. Which is a funny way to say it, because comfortable, I was not!

I slowly, gradually, dilated to 10 cm, but my body still wasn't feeling the urge to push. I pushed anyway. I learned that it hurt far less if I pushed during one of the surges, rather than try to get through it. It seemed to be taking a long time, and I had forgotten that it was possible to feel pain that intensely. I prayed through each and every one for the strength to be able to make it through. I prayed for the power of the Atonement to help me through, and if it was at all possible, for the pain to somehow be lessened. I prayed so much, and I know it is because of those prayers, that I got through it. And then we learned that the baby, my sweet stubborn little boy, was transverse. Which means he was facing the wrong way. This, we deducted, is probably the reason that my body was having a hard time getting him out! Christy asked me to lie on my back, as with his angle, it would probably be easier for me. She was right, and though I didn't want to give up my dream of delivering crouched, or on my knees, I ended up on my back, pushing that little guy out.

At 10:24 my beautiful Vince Orlan was born, and I could breathe again. They placed him in my arms,  all 7 lbs 9 oz of him, and he and I just cuddled and relished the moment. He didn't cry at all. He nestled in, and I quickly wrapped him in a blanket against my chest and loved on him. He is absolutely perfect! He stayed happily in my arms as long as we could, and after about 45 minutes I agreed to have him taken, cleaned off, weighed, measured, and all the other things the nurses do, while Christy checked to make sure everything was well with me. As with all my other natural births, I did get some incredible shivers afterward. I always do. But I was well, and he was well. They gave him back to me, and I got to nurse him, and he nursed like a champ!

Vince is by far my smallest baby, measuring in at 19 inches. He was also, by far, my hardest pregnancy and delivery. I attribute that partially to the fact that he is a boy. I have a harder time in pregnancy with the boys. Also, I think it is partially because I am so much older now than I was when I had Keith. On the other hand, though, this has been above and beyond my easiest recovery. I am actually quite amazed at how quickly and how well I have been recovering. I haven't needed to take very much pain medication, and I am thinking of trying some light yoga today. I know I can't push myself very hard yet, but I figure, if I am going to ease back into exercising, I may as well start with something as gentle on the body as yoga.

So far, he is a delightfully good baby. He mostly only cries when he is cold, which means usually when I am trying to change his diaper. He sleeps a lot, and is slightly jaundice-y, which is something I have to battle. Feedings take a LOT longer than I would like, because he falls asleep. Because of his sleeping habits, they can range anywhere from half an hour, to two hours, which only gives me about an hour break before his is hungry again, and we have to start it all over. The little man is quite the trooper, though. I have had to take him up to the hospital every day since we came home, to have his blood taken so they could monitor the bilirubin count. I am hoping I can get him enough sunlight, and enough food that he can get the count to go down, but up to now, it has slowly been increasing. I am sure he will be fine, though. I just need to keep on doing what I am doing, and things will work out.

Keith hasn't been thrilled about our family increasing. He doesn't have anything against Vince, he just is having a hard time adapting. But he always has been like that, with every new baby. He will come around, I am sure. Faye has had so much energy! More than normal. She is so excited to have a new baby in the house, she just can't contain her joy and excitement. Happily, she is old enough now, to know not to maul the baby. She was scary around Beth when we brought Beth home from the hospital. A little ball of happy energy that couldn't wait to love on the baby, and all that love gave us cause for concern for the baby's safety! Now, she is able to channel it through jumping jacks, or running around the house, or getting that energy out in other ways before she holds the baby. When she holds Vince, she is very careful and sweet with him. And then there is Beth. I never worried about her with him, as she is so gently and caring with her baby dolls. She tucks them in at night, and when she takes her naps. She carries one around in a purse like it is a baby carrier. She feeds them all the time, and she is so conscientious about caring for them. She has been thrilled to have Vince around. She asks so many times a day if she can hold him, and I try to say yes, so that she will feel she has a part with him. She holds him so tenderly, rubbing his face with her cheek, holding his little hands in hers, and singing softly to him. She is such a sweet little mother to him, and it melts my heart. I think they will be good friends.

As for me, I have to pray for patience and understanding with the big kids every day. When I get tired I lose my patience quickly, and obviously, I am very tired every day. I have been much more shouty and frustrated than I would like, and I think Keith has been taking my tired moods much harder than the girls. It is a delicate balancing act, which I am anxious to master very soon. Especially because potty training and brand spankin' new born baby is really going to try my resolve.

What a beautiful family I have been blessed with! I love them so much, and feel so much gratitude to have them all a part of my life.


Lisa said…
Wow! What a tough, miraculous birth! So glad it all ended up with sweet Vince! Hope his jaundice gets better soon. :)
Emmy said…
I love birth stories! So glad it all worked out in the end, maybe not as ideally as you hoped for but worked out. So happy for you!!
Susan Anderson said…
Congratulations to all of you! And I always got the shivers after my natural births, too.

Jenny said…
Oh oh oh!


What a story.

And another baby!

And I'm so proud of you! You are amazing! And brave! And incredible.

And your story warmed my heart for week 17.



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