Bennett Owen's birth story

While I doubt he'll want to know the details of his birth when he's older, I still feel compelled to write out his birth story like I did for his sisters. I suppose I should start about two weeks before his due date. 

On Wednesday, I went in with the girls along for the ride (almost always, it's just what we do). So far, nothing had been alarming and the appointments were fairly quick. This time, though, my blood pressure was elevated and it wouldn't come down. I also had protein in my urine test which meant I had to do a more intense version, the 24 hour test, at home to make sure there wasn't anything wrong. I spent the next day collecting everything that would normally go into the toilet in a large jug. It was not fun. 

On Friday, two days since my last appointment, I brought my urine jug to the hospital clinic (farther away, much busier, and generally more expensive after going through insurance). I expected to be in and out, but my blood pressure was even higher (around 160/70) and wasn't coming down. My midwife was fairly alarmed by all of this so she admitted me to the OB floor on the hospital side. I had Audrey (4 years old) and Amelia (just barely 2 years old) with me and they were pretty wide eyed the whole time. I'm sure seeing mom suddenly in a hospital gown laying in bed is pretty crazy from their perspective. Thankfully, my parents were coming to town to bring back Josie, so they were able to swing by and pick them up while I waited. Trying to keep them entertained and calm while laying in a bed was not ideal. I had not brought in an extra diaper for Amelia (it was in the car but I couldn't go get it) and only had two books with and no food. 

After they left, I learned that I no longer had protein in my urine and that my resting blood pressure was better than when I had first come in. I was told I could go home as long as I rested as much as possible over the weekend. For sure, baby boy would be induced the following Wednesday (at 39 weeks) if not sooner based on the numbers they'd been seeing. I asked what all of these tests were indicating, and my midwife explained that protein in the urine means that something is stressing my body out. A higher blood pressure could lead to calcium deposits on my placenta. If there were enough of them, it could limit the blood supply going to baby. Spoiler: I asked if there were any visible deposits on my placenta after he was born and there weren't. No wonder he wasn't showing signs of stress even with these higher numbers. 

On Monday, I left the girls with a friend and headed back to the hospital/clinic. I was expecting to see the high BP numbers and be told that I'd be staying to have the baby, but instead I was pleasantly surprised to see a completely normal number. My midwife was happy to see that and said that I could go home and rest until Wednesday morning. This was such an answer to prayer because I had rescheduled my piano recital from Wednesday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon, just barely avoiding canceling it. I really wanted to have it since the kids had worked hard all year and I knew I wouldn't see them again until the Fall.

Wednesday was pretty uneventful. As always, with extra fluid in my body (usually the case when I'm at this point in pregnancy), finding a good vein for the IV was challenging and the fancy nurse with a good reputation for getting IVs set up was able to it going in the worst place (my left arm, I'm left handed, right by the elbow which meant that every time I bent my arm it would set off alarms). My nurse, Amanda, was wonderful and so patient. She kept raising my pitocin levels until they were maxed out but all I felt was some discomfort. My body was basically rejecting the push to go into labor.

The midwife on call came in and said that we could either break my water now and push things along  more forcefully or call it quits until Thursday morning, give my body a chance to rest, and do another step that would soften my cervix a bit more. She ended up going with option two, so I settled in for a boring night sleeping in that uncomfortable hospital bed, most definitely not in labor.

On Thursday, after a somewhat decent night of sleep and some stronger contractions from the meds to get my cervix softer, I was pleased to hear I was a little farther along. Now remember, I  had never progressed quickly until I got an epidural and then I'd go from a 3 or 4 to a 10 in just an hour or two. I was happy going from a 1.5 to a 2.5 overnight. Once the pitocin started, the contractions got intense quickly. My nurse (same one, which was awesome!) showed no mercy on me and said at one point that she wanted to see the pain level in my face. Ha! The midwife chose to break my water just an hour later and she gave me the okay to get an epidural anytime after that. At 11;15, I was more than ready. I had no illusions that it was worth trying to have a natural birth since my body was not picking up the labor on it's own.

With Josie and Audrey, a nerve was hit when the epidural was being put in and it was ridiculously painful. With Amelia, I was so tired and overwhelmed after being in labor for fourteen hours that I sobbed through most of it, fearing and anticipating that horrible pain. This time, I prepped the anesthesiologist with these details. This guy was a character. He was from an Eastern European country and had a strong accent to show it. He meant serious business and came across direct and intimidating. My nurse had warned me that he was just like that, and I actually liked it. He was direct and to the point. This time, like with Josie, Mike got queasy and had to sit down, It ended up being a good distraction for me as I waited for it to be over.

The epidural was a little stronger on one side, but other than that it worked great. He warned me that it takes away pain but not pressure, and again, I preferred that. I wanted to be able to feel progression and know when to push. My nurse checked me often because of my history, but I wasn't progressing very quickly at all. After two hours, it was clear that this was going to go differently than the girls' labors so she told me to call her if I felt like pushing and gave us some time to rest.

I noticed that I felt that urge to push soon after that. It wasn't very strong but it was definitely there. When she checked me, I was only at 6 cm. Why was I feeling that urge to push? She decided to check me through a contraction and realized that he was sliding down really low but then going back up after it was done. Knowing this, I really doubted if I would know when it was time to truly push. Thankfully, after another hour and a half, I was at 9 cm. She said that basically I was there except for the last part of the lip of the cervix. She went to call the midwife since she could manually help with that part, but within seconds of her shutting the door it was very clear that everything was ready to go.

I have never felt an urge to push like that. I imagine that the epidural was not doing much because it was excruciating. The nurse came running in, begging me to wait for the midwife. She was on her way but it seemed to take an hour. I am sure it was less than five minutes, but I was losing it. She came in, got the gloves on, exclaimed about his thick head of hair (yes, he was already crowning, there was no slowing him down) and basically caught him on the next contraction. I remember her telling me to slow down, and I remember screaming that that was impossible. I guess she was turning him a little bit so his shoulders would come out smoother and cause less tearing, but it was intensely painful, the worst ring of fire of all four kids.

Once he was out, he was on my chest immediately and he stayed there while everything else continued on. I did bleed more than normal but thankfully it was nothing compared to Amelia's postpartum hemorrhage. I had so much more energy because labor had only been 8 1/2 hours with only 3 of them without an epidural.

Bennett was born at 4:30 PM weighing 8 lbs 9 oz. He was 20 1/2 inches long with beautiful pink coloring and a solid cry. The girls were very eager to come and meet him so my parents brought them over past their bedtime. It was completely worth it. They came all dressed in pretty dresses with cards for us parents and a present for him. Mike's mom was able to come too (the rest of his family had colds so they didn't come to the hospital). It was perfect.

The next morning, I got the good news that we could be discharged after his 24 hour tests. He didn't have any problems so we left the hospital at around 5:30 with a baby just barely 25 hours old. I still felt great, tired, but not as physically fatigued. I had been able to walk around and bathe the night he was born and the rest of the recovery was much less intense since I hadn't lost as much blood. It was refreshing and a huge relief since we were coming home to a house full with four kids. Four kids! It'll take a while to get used to that.

His official hospital photo, tongue out and all

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