I don’t know if I will ever have a spare second to blog again, but tonight I’m determined to get this boys birth story written. The big boys are camping with Ryan, and Mathew and I have the house to ourselves. I have peace and quiet for the first time in 3 1/2 weeks. Lately, life has turned to chaos. I must admit that I honestly thought three kids would be a breeze. Or at least a lot easier than this. I mean, I’ve done the baby thing twice before and I know what I’m doing when it comes to feeding, calming, sleeping, holding, burping, changing. It’s not hard. I can do it on autopilot… and wash rinse repeat. The trouble is, I’ve never had a kindergartener before. I’ve never had a homeschooling kindergartener and a preschooler at the same time as a little newborn baby. And I’ve never had this baby before. This baby, who is such a sweet guy but cries during most of his waking hours if he is not being held in what he considers the proper position (which requires two hands i must say and makes it impossible to do anything else). His newborn-ness is disappearing so fast and I want to memorize every single moment with him. Everything about his face, his hands, his cry, the rolls of skin that practically fold up when he curls into a little ball. We call him Archie, because of the way he arches his body when he is not getting what he wants. When it’s really bad we call him Archibald McGrumps. He is the cutest grumpy baby I’ve ever seen. On his two week birthday I got out my camera and his favorite soft blanket and we did a little photo shoot. He was in a pretty good mood at the time but was only half way awake so I got some interesting little eyes in the shots. I love his expressions. I love him!
So here goes. My third birth story.
Mathew Ryan arrived on August 13th at 8:08 pm. He was 8 lbs 4 oz and 21 inches long.
I had been in labor for what felt like three weeks. Twice we went to the hospital only to go home after hours of monitoring and no progress. I had been at 3 centimeters for weeks, with contractions 2-5 minutes apart for hours at a time. I did not know what was real and what wasn’t. After the first false alarm I was determined not to go in unless it was the real thing. So the next time it we waited and waited for about 8 hours and the contractions had not stopped… so we went to the hospital and they monitored me and we walked up and down the halls until 3am, and went home again. At 39 weeks I begged my doctor for help and he graciously obliged. I went to Labor and Delivery the next day.
We dropped our boys off with their grandparents about 9am on tuesday morning. We stopped at coffee bean on our way to the hospital. We checked in and then spent the next three hours waiting for my doctor to come and give approval for me to be admitted and induced with pitocin. They started the pitocin around 2:30 pm, and my contractions started to get more regular and stronger. But Mathew was still a happy camper and wouldn’t drop into position. So we waited. And waited. We watched stupid tv shows, family came in and out. I nervously watched the monitor that recorded Mathew’s heart rate and the contractions. Ryan drank at least three Iced Caramel Lattes. My doctor came back at 5pm to check me and he still was not in position, so we kept on waiting for another two hours. The nurse kept asking me if I wanted the epidural. I kept saying no. Every time I had visualized Mathew’s birth over the last nine months, it was drug free. Partly out of fear that it would cause complications, and partly out of the desire to finally have the birth experience I had planned with my first pregnancy six years ago. At that point, I was not in excruciating pain, the contractions were bearable, and I wasn’t ready to let go of my hope for natural childbirth. Every time I said no, I got a little more scared and a little more confident though. About 7:30pm my doctor came back. I was about 4 cm and baby had dropped so she broke my water. As she walked out of the room she joked “See you in a half hour”. Little did we all know Mathew would be in my arms within 30 minutes.
I got up to use the bathroom, figuring it might be my last chance before things got more painful, and by the time I had walked across the room and closed the bathroom door I was in the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life. I barely made it back to the hospital bed, grabbed Ryan’s hand and told him not to leave my side. Our family came back in and I was already in tears. The pain was indescribable. Within minutes I was feeling pressure so we called the nurse back in and I was at 7 cm, and squeezing the life out of whoevers hands I was holding. I asked the nurse about the epidural and she told me there was not enough time. She asked me what I wanted her to do, so I just said “ok, then I’m just going to do this”. Eyes closed, I went into some sort of crazy mama birth zone. It was like an out of body experience. I could hear the voices around me. My mom telling me to breathe. Ryan comforting me. And all of a sudden I swear the baby was trying to climb his way out. I remember saying “He’s trying to come out, I feel him trying to push out”. Someone called the nurse back in and I don’t think she believed me since it had been only a few minutes since the last check. They checked me and I was at 10 cm. All of a sudden my doctor was back and I was pushing. This part is really blurry because it went so very fast, and all I really remember is screaming and crying and pushing, everyone around me encouraging me and reminding me to breathe. Baby’s head got stuck for a minute and his heart rate dropped, they would have had to use the vacuum if I could not get him out. But I did it. I pushed him out and it was the most amazing and painful experience of my life but I did it. For myself, and for Mathew.
The doctor held him up and I reached out and touched his head. They put him on my chest and Ryan got to cut the cord. He cried and cried and I held him on my chest while they stitched me up. I held him for at least an hour, he nursed right away, and when it was time to change rooms I stood up on my own two feet and walked to the wheel chair. No numb legs this time around. I felt such a strong sensation of strength, of empowerment. I was high on hormones and could not stop smiling.
Every birth I’ve gone through has given me some kind of gift – something new to add to my sense of self. Every birth has taught me something invaluable. This time I learned how strong I really am. I am thankful to have this body that is capable of creating beautiful babies. I am filled with confidence that I have everything I need to love and care for this little boy and our whole family. Mathew has been an amazing blessing to us. This first month has gone by so fast and I feel so lucky and so fortunate to be able to be his mommy, to have three sweet sons and a wonderful husband. These boys are everything to me. I hope to be mindful over this next year and I want to notice and appreciate every little step of Mathew’s babyhood. He has already grown and changed so much.
Our family is finally complete. I can’t wait to see what this little guy brings to our lives. Our big boys are so similar and so different at the same time. I can’t imagine what Mathew is going to be like. But he can take his time. He is my last baby and I’m going to soak up every minute I can with his tiny little self. Be a baby as long as you can buddy. You don’t have to hurry up and crawl or walk or eat big boy food. You can be a baby as long as you want. Your mommy will be right here enjoying every second.