I have four children. They are 7, 3 and 15 months (times two). I have three girls and one boy. While they have many similarities, they have their unique differences too. My son is blonde and blue eyed. The girls are all brown eyed (cue Van Morrison) and with varying shades of brown hair. And each of their birth stories is unique.
I went into labor with Meg on Super Bowl Sunday, 2001. I remember running into my parents at the grocery store and telling them I was having contractions. I was so excited. And nervous. We hit my brother-in-law’s Super Bowl party, but left partway through because I was feeling awful. Lots of contractions, and a horrible backache. So we went home, watched the rest of the Super Bowl (my husband can tell you who played and who won but I don’t remember), and went to bed. Never slept. Contractions were 4-5 minutes apart. I didn’t know what to expect, so we went into the hospital. They sent me home. Nothing happening. Never slept. Contractions started up again the next day, so we went to the doctor. She told me I was 4 cm dilated and was going to admit me to the hospital. That was a Monday around 2pm. I spent the next many hours trying to get things going. I had my membranes stripped (i.e. my water broken) to which the doctor said “hmm, I expected more” but nothing was really happening. I tried the hot tub but it completely stopped my contractions. I wandered the halls of the hospital for hours. But, I had tested positive for Group B Strep and had to be hooked up to an IV, so I wasn’t going anywhere. Sometime in the night the contractions got tougher to manage, so I first had a Nubane shot. It worked enough to allow me to wander the halls some more trying to get that baby out. But when it wore off, I was in serious pain. I hadn’t slept since Saturday night, it was early Tuesday morning, and I had had enough. I requested an epidural. It was a nightmare for me while they tried to thread the needle. I kept having contractions, the tech trying to thread the needle was nervous that he was hurting me, and they ended up getting a supervisor or someone to get the job done. The epidural allowed me a couple hours of sleep. I was awakened by the nurse at 6 to hear that while I slept my contractions ceased, AGAIN, so they were going to give me some Pitocin. Two hours later I was ready to rock and roll. But, I asked for a bit of time to wrap my head around the fact that I was about to become a mother. She took two solid hours of pushing before she was born, but she was well worth the wait! And of course, she likes to be punctual, as she was born on her due date.
Drew was a completely different story. He started testing my patience in utero. I had several weeks of false labor with Drew. I would go for hours with contractions four minutes apart, then not have them for days. It was so frustrating. We went to the doctor on Christmas Eve Day to be checked out because of the holiday weekend, and I was only 1 cm. Nothing doing, again. Christmas Day 2004 I thought for sure he was ready to make his appearance. We ran all over creation visiting family and I had contraction upon contraction. But nothing came from it, and the day after Christmas, no contractions at all. A day later, nothing. Then, on the 27th of December, the contractions started up again, every 4 mintues, for several hours. Called the hospital and they told me to come in, just to be checked. Called my parents, had them come to the house since we had an almost 4 year old who couldn’t just stay home alone. NOTHING. Go home and rest they said. My husband did some work, I watched some tv, and went to bed. About 3 hours later I woke screaming in pain. I had really painful, couldn’t breathe thru them, contractions. See, having an epidurual with Meg spared me these kind of contractions, so I had no real idea what was going on. I hung around for a little bit longer, called my parents again (luckily they lived 2 minutes away at the time) and off we went. I was still only 1cm when we arrived at the hospital (which was exactly 2 contractions from home-8 minutes) and they wouldn’t give me anything even though I was in obvious pain. Why don’t you try the hot tub to ease the pain, they suggested. Yes, the SAME hot tub that stopped my labor with Meg. I got in the hot tub at about 5:10 am. At 5:15 am I told Doug that I was pretty sure that the baby was RIGHT THERE and to get help ASAP. He pulled the emergency chain, and I swear to you, it was like paratroopers invaded our little hot tub room. Nurses and doctors came from every corner of the hospital it seemed, and they dragged me out of the hot tub. The nurses doubted my statement that the baby was RIGHT THERE, but once the doctor got in the room, he said I was 10 cm plus 2 and to push on the next contraction. Drew was born at 5:23 with 3 pushes. It was the wildest ride!
Until the twins were born, that is. At our hospital, twins are delivered in an operating room, just in case there are complications, but you labor in a birthing room. I had a scheduled induction at 38 1/2 weeks, and again had my water broken at noon (I can tell you that having that done twice, either I had no amniotic fluid with Meg, or they did a bad job with her, because my water BROKE with the girls). Then we waited. I tried walking around a bit, but I was already 4 cm and huge, and uncomfortable, so I spent most of my time in the birthing room. We had two nurses all to ourselves; they had no other patients that day. We even had a male nurse, and I must say, I loved him. He was truly wonderful to us that day. I digress. We didn’t wait long though. Wait, let me go back and explain something funny. We told our nurses about our two previous deliveries while we were waiting for them to break my water. The resident who was going to be helping the doctor from our practice overheard us talking, and REMEMBERED US from 2004. She was there when Drew was almost born in the hot tub. The doctors and nurses had a pow wow, and decided to hold off inducing me until a scheduled c-section was complete in the operating room, in case things got out of hand again. Glad they opted for that plan. The broke my water at noon, and by 2 I was have some major contractions. I was hooked up to every machine known to man~fetal monitor, IV, you name it. I tried the Nubane again, but this time it didn’t help. So, again, I asked for an epidural. This time while they were threading it, I kept getting stabbing pains in my hip, along with horribly painful contractions. I politely (nah, I yelled) told the doctor that he was KILLING MY HIP, and then something strange happened. Annie decided that it was time. I went thru two contractions feeling like she was coming right then and there and then again politely (nope, nope, nope, lots of yelling in pain) told them I had to push and NOW. Upon examination they agreed that she was coming right then and I had to get thee to the operating room post haste. My poor husband was hanking cords out of monitors, grabbing the IV and down the hall we raced. I barely made it in the room and they got the bed pulled apart before Annie was born. They whisked her to the table to examine her and she wasn’t crying, or doing anything. I was freaking out because I couldn’t see her, the room was swarming with people (there had to have been at least 10 people there; so much for any vanity) and she was quiet. I finally politely (you see the pattern now, right?) asked ordered my husband to let me see the baby. She was fine, just surprised by her quick entrance into the world. The portable ultrasound machine was brought back in to see if Izzie stayed head down, which of course she didn’t. The doctors spent 11 long minutes trying to manipulate her from all kinds of angles and positions (internal and external) before she was head down and I could push her out. I never did get my epidural, but I got two beautiful babies.
So my point is that if you’re thinking of having a child, you never know what’s going to happen. I was terrified of laboring with Meg, and with Drew and the twins, I barely had time to think about it, and those final two births were without any epidurals. You can’t have any preconceived notions about how it’s all going to work, because basically the babies are in charge and you’ll need to do what works best for them. Be prepared, but don’t be disappointed if things don’t go the way you planned. I know that I am grateful for healthy children, and that is the best I could hope for.