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A funny thing happened on the way to my due date

June 11, 2017

My due date which just happens to be today.  It’s June 10 and I should be 40 weeks along. Instead I have a 5-week-old baby!

Oh, hi there!


Instead of going to the grocery store, which was the only thing I had on my calendar on Monday, May 8, I found myself in labor at St. Mark’s Hospital.  I was staying true to form, I mean, I’ve only actually made it to 40 weeks pregnant once.  (With E, who still lives life adhering to his own very unique sense of timing.)  Now I can say my babies have come 1 week early, 2 weeks early, 7 weeks early!, 1 day late, 11 days early, and now 5 weeks early.

After D, I always check the 7-week-early mark on my calendar and whew, sigh of relief, we made it through that day without going into labor! 6 weeks early however, things . . . happened.

I don’t know if that’s exactly where this story begins, but it sure is a story!  So I’m telling it.

DH was in Las Vegas that weekend with C (in another, completely different, story) and I had my final symphony concert of the year.  I was slightly nervous about agreeing to play that one, because I had had a baby at that point once before.  But I really really wanted to play Shostakovich and Brahms and was feeling confident about it.

Usually DH drives me in to rehearsals and drops me off right at the door, but since he was out of town, I had to drive myself and walk.  I chose to park up the hill in the parking garage (annoyingly there is no parking close to Gardner Hall) so it would be a downhill walk to rehearsal and I could do the slow uphill climb and get all out of breath after the rehearsal was over instead of just in time for the downbeat if I had parked in my usual spot down the hill from the hall.

It had been rainy all afternoon and as I was walking down the hill, I stepped in a hole and fell flat on my face.  One minute I’m walking along, getting to know a violinist in my orchestra, and the next I’m falling and can’t do a thing about it.  I just kept falling.  The hole wasn’t that deep, but it was filled with really muddy rainwater and it didn’t even register in my brain that it was a hole. I’m sure it was quite the show for the two people walking behind me, who kindly helped me get up, and one even carried my cello all the way to the concert hall for me.

I skinned my knees pretty bad, wrenched my foot, cut my finger, and scraped my chin.  I’m sure it was only my belly that saved my nose and probably glasses.  But it was probably also my belly that helped me fall since my center of balance was more forward than usual.  My hands and arms weren’t hurt at all, save for a small cut, which was probably a miracle because I was perfectly able to play my cello for the next two hours and again the next night for the concert.  In fact by the next night, they were about the only part of my body that didn’t hurt!

I worried about the baby a bit, but he was kicking just like normal, and I wasn’t bleeding or leaking fluid or anything.  Everything sounded good at my doctor’s appointment on Monday, and I’d even gained enough weight!  That had been the worry of the previous two weeks when I’d been commanded to consume as many calories as possible and urge that baby to grow after having lost weight at the previous appointment.

The next week was busy with a family wedding, cello lessons, the normal homeschool routine, a bagpipe performance for C, and DH working Friday night, most of Saturday, and all of Sunday to make up for being gone the previous weekend.  I was still so sore from falling; it just hurt to move. Then on Wednesday I started losing mucus and started having more contractions.  Now I have Braxton-Hicks contractions from about 20 weeks on, but these felt different.  They felt . . . productive and they hurt!  There were actually a few that took my breath away and that’s when I started worrying that I’d end up in the hospital that night, but finally they calmed down and I was able to go to bed.

For the next four days my thoughts alternated between, “I just have to get through the weekend until DH is not at work,” and “Wait a minute, I’m still more than a month away from my due date!”  We made it through the weekend.  Just barely.  DH came home at 12:45 a.m. after being gone all day Sunday and we went to bed.  A short time later I woke up when I felt a little “pop!” and realized my water had just broken.  It was 2:19.  I felt really bad about waking up DH after so little sleep, but really, what were my options?! He woke up and sprang into action, getting dressed, and getting everything I needed. I hadn’t even packed a bag yet or anything.  We made it out to the car around 2:50 a.m. and I was really thankful that we weren’t doing this in the dead of winter like the previous two times.  It was really quite balmy outside.

We hadn’t wanted to wake up the boys before we left, but two blocks from home we wondered what would happen if Little A woke up and came looking for us and we weren’t there. So we called C and told him to come upstairs just in case.  He then got to tell the rest of his brothers that we were at the hospital when they woke up in the morning.  A was especially glad DH had been home to drive me in to the hospital as A had not been relishing having to do it himself just in case. (He’s a very good driver and does not like to speed at all.)  (May it ever be so.)

DH on the other hand did speed.  He was not relishing the idea of delivering a baby on the side of the road and one of our concerns with this baby was that we now lived a good 45-minute drive from St. Mark’s.

We made it in quite a bit less than 45 minutes.  Hmmm.

Contractions were strong, but manageable.  We got checked in and of course had to fill out paperwork.  I always think, “Really?  I’m sitting here still leaking amniotic fluid everywhere and you want me to fill out all this paperwork?”  Because I had fallen in the past three weeks, I got the lovely yellow bracelet to add to all the others.  Little A kept wanting to know what they all were.  I don’t even know what the green one was for.  I told her it was a barcode–maybe I was for sale.

We all seem to think I have super fast labors, and I do, when they actually get going.  But this was like it was with Little A (and Big A too, come to think of it).  Labor starts, or my water breaks, and we head to the hospital, and then . . . everything slows down and goes nowhere fast.  But because, “She has fast labors,” the doctor won’t let me leave.  So I labored and labored.  And labored, though it wasn’t bad at all.  And the nurse was really sad when her shift ended at 7 a.m. that she didn’t get to meet this cute baby.  I thought for sure he’d have gotten here by then too.  When my water broke with E, he practically slid out of me with no warning a mere two hours later.  But this day?  No such luck.

Contractions continued to get stronger, but not close together enough to progress much.  But with each strong contraction, baby’s heartrate was dipping way down which was troublesome.  He seemed to be in distress.  I was also having a bit of an emotional time realizing that this baby really wasn’t due yet and we were looking at another NICU baby, just like D.  We knew what that was like and really didn’t want to repeat that experience, but had no choice.  If the baby was distressed, then I wanted to get him into this world as quickly as possible before anything else could go wrong.

My doctor had clinic hours that morning, so at 8:30 or 9:00 he said he was heading over to his office across the street with strict instructions to page him back if anything changed.  We did at one point.  The nurse thought I was dilated to 9.5 already.  Dr. N came back over in about 2 minutes, but then we decided I was only dilated 7 or so.  It was a good trial run.

At 9:30 he came back over to check on me and convinced me to take a teeny bit of Pitocin, which I hadn’t really wanted.  But he’s firmly in the camp of “Why labor along slowly all day wearing yourself out?  Why not get it over with?”  And at that point I was ready to agree with him.  And it really was just a whiff of Pitocin when my body said, “Oh, we remember how to do this.”

The details are already a little hazy, but I still had a bit of hard laboring to do (the kind where you’re thinking, “Tell me again why I’m doing this without drugs?) and I was beginning to wonder if I would ever feel the need to push. But finally it was time and once again, it really only took two contractions to push this baby out, although it seemed harder than that, probably because my body wasn’t quite ready to give birth.  (I still think that’s why E was my easiest delivery: at 40 weeks, my body was completely ready to expel a child.)

At 10:34 a.m. I delivered a healthy, but tiny, baby boy.  It was such a feeling of relief.

Dr. N had guesstimated baby would weigh about 4 lbs. 12 oz., so we were pleased to see him weigh 5 lbs. 1 oz.  He was 18 inches long, which wasn’t really preemie size.  He just hadn’t had a chance to put on any fat.

I remember being so surprised at how many people were in the delivery room.  There was a whole NICU team for baby, and I think three nurses and my doctor working with me.

DH got to cut the cord.

The nurse asked DH if I wanted to hold Little S before they took him into the NICU.  He said, “Yes!” rather emphatically, for which I was so grateful.  One of the most traumatic things about D’s premature birth was not being able to hold him at all in the delivery room before they whisked him away.  I was so happy that this time, we got to spend 10 or 15 minutes getting to know our new little son.

Later I found out that there were concerns about his breathing at first.  It was too rapid and too shallow, but they stabilized that.  His blood sugar was also extremely low, so he got an IV inserted.  A blood test ruled out an infection, and everything else looked perfect.  He was a healthy baby, simply undercooked!
We telephoned all of our parents to give them the good, but surprising news, and it was a bit of a shock.  Mom and Dad came up later that afternoon and took turns going into the NICU to hold S.  After dinner DH brought all the big brothers and now big sister to the hospital.  A and C were able to go in the NICU and meet their new little brother for the first time.

Finally, I got to see him with his eyes open.

The NICU was surprisingly not very full and there was an open space near one of the windows, so S’s nurse helped C carry him over with his IV cart trailing so D, E, and Little A could all see him through the window.  Little A wanted to climb right through the window and hold him and mother him.  She has fallen in love with “NewBaby” as she calls him more often than not.  We’ve had our moments of not such bliss, but I’ll save those for another post, as this is already novel length.  

We’re all so in love with this new little sweet soul who has joined our family, and already can’t imagine life without him!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Nana permalink
    June 11, 2017 5:16 am

    I enjoyed reading the details behind little S’ birth and so grateful he is healthy and a part of the family. Glad you’re doing well too. Love ya.

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