Here's the story of Caroline's delivery - a short story about a very short delivery! I went into labor at 11:30 p.m. when my water broke. We rushed to the hospital while a friend came to the house to stay with the boys. We arrived around 12:15 a.m. and when the nurse checked me I was already at 9 cm. Only a few minutes later I had the overwhelming urge to push and about four great pushes later, at 12:39 a.m., Caroline was born! Thank goodness we got there so quickly!
For more invested folks, like my sisters (oh, wait, they've already heard it!), here are the little details. I'd been dilated to 3 cm for a week, so all week I'd been physically preparing for labor. You know, the important things like getting my bags packed, picking out an outfit for me and the baby, and giving myself a nice pedicure and shaving my legs (easier said than done!). I went to my OB for a regular checkup Tuesday morning, and having my cervix checked immediately started up some contractions - nothing strong or regular, but definitely crampy and uncomfortable. I remained crampy and uncomfortable for about 4 hours before deciding this was stupid; I knew just a little nudge would gets things moving from unproductive to full-blown labor, so the boys and I hit up Walgreens for some castor oil. Worked last time, worked this time (if you couldn't guess the end of this story)! I took some about 4:00 and remained crampy and uncomfortable the rest of the evening before going to bed at 8:00, figuring things would get kicked off in the morning, much like Eli's delivery. I caught a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, but at 11:30 woke up to some strong, regular contractions. During about the 4th contraction I heard/felt a "POP!" and it immediately turned into the most intense contraction ever - like night and day! From that moment on contractions were SUPER hard, right on top of each other. Judging from my very wet lap, I rolled to the slide, smacked Joe and said "my water broke! call Kathy!" and then ran to the bathroom where the fun began (or is being in labor NOT fun? I forget...) Luckily my friend Kathy must have played sports because she put in some serious hustle and got here faster than I knew it was possible from her house, a solid 10+ minute drive; she stayed the night with the boys while Joe and I threw ourselves into the car (OK, I may have had help getting thrown) for the 15 minute drive to the hospital. Joe was a controlled speeder (15 over isn't bad, right? The 3 cops he saw on the way didn't think so, or didn't want to mess with the lady screaming in the front seat [yes, I get very loud during labor]) and the lights were all flashing yellow (except the red turn light he blew, which I thanked him for during labor, it's THAT BAD of a turn to wait for) so we got there in record time.
Admission was pretty quick, considering, but I had registered at the hospital that morning (procrastinator that I am!) and the person entering my records put down January 22nd as my due date, saying if I went over my due date I would get kicked out of the system and then have to fill out all the info again, only during labor. Whatever, I didn't care if she changed the date so long as I was registered, but the NURSES cared because they thought I was delivering a baby 6 weeks prematurely! So they were scampering for a preemie tent and all kinds of high-tech gear before I caught on to the error and assured them I would be delivering a healthy full-term baby. All in all, I'm kind of impressed I caught on EVER because as soon as I got into the delivery room I the nurse checked me and I was already at 9 cm and within 4 or 5 contractions I was feeling the urge to push, so by golly I was PUSHING! The doctor hadn't even arrived! I guess the doctor played sports, too, because she hustled and was scrubbed up by the time the baby was crowning, about 2 pushes later, and she delivered the shoulders, about 1 push later. Also, it must have been a contact sport because Joe said she was punching me in the leg and throwing elbows trying to get my attention to tell me to STOP SCREAMING and PUSH. I was unaware of her agressiveness, being preoccupied with pushing, and she was unaware of my auditory intensity; that is, the more intense things get, the louder I get. I'm not screaming in lieu of pushing, I'm actually AIDING my push because there is more energy in me than I can simply push out my hoo-ha at one time. Anyway, 4 great pushes and I'd had a baby within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital! Ahhhhh, it was SO GREAT to be done! My recovery has been amazingly quick, even quicker than recovering from Eli (assuming I don't act retarded and try to conquer the world and end up hurting myself), and right now the most sore part of my is my TAILBONE from SITTING and doing NOTHING in the hospital for 2 days - ahhhh, sweet relaxation!
Now I have had three VERY different birth stories so I feel like I can throw in my 2 cents on things. Actually, it's my blog so I can throw my 2 cents around wherever and whenever I want to, but experience maybe buys me FOUR cents of authority... so for naysayers who have only had short labors and assume that long labors must be less painful and intense, you are mistaken! Even long labors end up painful and intense, only by the end you have SUFFERED through hours of extremely painful contractions and you are physically and mentally exhausted. At least with this labor I was well-rested and just kinda skipped first, second, and third base and headed straight for home! Even without the epidural I was hoping for (I've already earned me medal of honor with one drug-free labor, I was hoping for some medical relief this time) I would say it is hands-down WAY better to just get it done. There. 2 cents.
For my 2 days in the hospital the boys visited 3 times and are IN LOVE with their baby sister. Patrick takes great pride in his ability to be gentle and to help out. Here he is helping keep her quiet by patting her while he watched a little TV :) And here he is helping give her pats while she was freaking out wanting to nurse - she's already a hungry little monster! He kept apologizing, "I sorry," possibly thinking it was his pats that were making her cry. Or apologizing that mom wasn't feeding her, I'm not really sure.
The nurse helped out by taking a quick photo of the whole family. I am still in shock that we have three kids - Heaven help us, and pass the advice!