Wednesday I had another OB appointment, so before leaving I squeezed in a brisk walk with the girls and got some good contractions going. At the appointment Dr Tsuang said she could stretch me to 4cm and I thought, it's going to happen soon!! Wednesday afternoon I took another walk and really pushed myself. Wednesday night around 7 I started having contractions that were pretty close together, and although they started out not too painful, quickly became the type I couldn't talk or walk through. I began timing them and they were 5 minutes or less apart. I wanted to make sure it was the real thing because I didn't want to get sent home again, so I timed them for at least an hour and then told Bill we should probably go into the hospital. We left for the hospital around 9:30. I could tell this was more the real thing than on Monday night, the contractions were definitely hard to ignore and I had a lot of back pain.
We got to Evergreen and checked into to triage. Got all settled in and she checked my cervix and said I was only 3cm! I was really mad, frustrated and disappointed. I knew what would happen next, and it just made me cry. So I walked the halls for an hour. The contractions were frequent, and getting to be very painful, lots and lots of back labor. As I was walking I saw a nurse I recognized, Becca, who was in Campus Crusade at UW when I was there. She gave me a hug and assured me it's less about the centimeters and more about there being change. I went back to triage and got checked again around midnight--no change. It was so frustrating. It felt like he just didn't ever want to come out but he was giving me so much pain in my back I couldn't believe the nurse. I don't think I was very friendly to the nurses. Especially with my OB telling me I was "ready" and nearly 4cm it made me question who was right and who was lying to me.
The nurse, Joni, was actually really nice and patient with my tired, frustrated, hormonal self and explained that I was having so much pain because he was probably turned posterior. We had Joni as our nurse when I labored with Amelia, although she wasn't there for the delivery. She sent us home with Vistaril, a drug that is basically Benadryl and would make me sleep but not knock out my contractions. She suggested I sleep in a way that would help him turn. She also suggested I call my OB in the morning if I'm still having contractions and maybe she could order an induction or break my water. I asked, angrily, "Why can't you do that now?!" and she replied because they don't induce in the middle of the night and my doctor isn't on call, it was someone else. So we went back home. I was really tired and frustrated, but able to sleep about 6 hours.
In the morning I still had contractions, although they weren't as painful in my back, but still close together. I was also not in a good mood, all I felt I could do was cry and feel sorry for myself. I checked my email and my friend Karina sent me some scripture, which also made me cry because it reminded me how much my friends love me and, moreover, how much God loves me. I also checked Facebook, which I wish I hadn't done actually, and saw that my friend Ande had had her baby boy Magnus around 3am. I was so happy for her, but at that moment it just felt like salt in the wound. Where's my baby? Why doesn't he want to come out? Why? So many emotions and thoughts, most probably not rational.
I called my OB and didn't hear back for an hour, so being the persistent pregnant one, called again and got right through. The nurse said we should come in. So I, again, told Bill that we needed to go back to Evergreen (3rd time!). He was actually getting ready to go to work, but probably the look of desperation on my face convinced him to instead drive me back to the hospital. The kids stayed home with Adam (thank you!). When we got to Dr Tsuang's office, she checked me again and said I am progressing, just slowly, and she could tell I was done with the contractions, they were kicking my butt. She also said when women come into triage the 3rd time, it's like, "Okay let's get things going." She told me she'd make some calls and I would get admitted to triage and get an IV for the antibiotic to protect the baby from Group B Strep (I have the joy of being a carrier, with all three pregnancies) then she'd come break my water. With my other labors, once the water broke it went pretty fast, so she felt confident from there it would be a quick show.
We went to the maternity center and checked into triage and got the IV. The whole time I was so scared they would say again, "You're not progressing, go home." Even after the IV was in and Dr Tsuang told me she'd come back in an hour and get things going, I felt the fear that I'd have to go home. Which is really illogical, why would they send me home after pumping me full of antibiotic? So I got the meds and waited and walked for 4 hours in the maternity ward. Bill waited in the waiting area and made lots of calls. When I was walking I'd have contractions, but when I was sitting or laying on the monitors, they'd seemingly disappear. The nurse, Lisa, who was really a sweet lady, even said to me, "Your contractions go away when you're sitting, you're not in active labor." Not something a girl wants to hear. I felt like saying to her, "I don't care if that's true, I'm not leaving here without my baby in my arms, not in my belly." It was a long, long day.
Around 4 my antibiotic was done and Dr Tsuang came to check up. She told me she'd be back at 430-5 to break my water. Around 415 we got moved into a room (actually got admitted!!) and settled in. Once in the room, I felt I could finally relax. "They won't send me home now" is how I felt.
Dr Tsuang broke my water at 5pm, which was such a weird feeling. It was like an internal exam and then a gush and continual leak of warm fluid. I thought, "I can't believe my baby is going to be here." She said she tried to make a big break that wouldn't close up and stall my labor. I walked through the halls one last round, this time with an IV and monitor cables, and the contractions got stronger and harder. Going back in the room I sat on the birthing ball to encourage his head to descend, the contractions were very painful during, but it was nice to rest between them. I tried sitting in the tub, which was not helpful at all because it leaked and the noise was just too annoying. Plus seriously, a laboring pregnant woman in a little tub that seems to have been designed by a skinny old man? No thanks. When I was in the tub though the contractions got a lot more painful and when I got back out things started to kick into a higher gear.
I think after that I laid in the bed on my side. Bill put on some Mars Hill worship music, I think Northern Conspiracy and E-Pop. This is where things got really painful. I was monitored occasionally and the nurse, still Lisa, checked me and I was about 6-7cm. It was hard to get comfortable, I think I changed positions a few times and got out of bed to labor standing up and taking advantage of gravity. Lisa suggested laboring in the bed with the head of the bed raised and me leaning over the back. At this point the contractions felt back to back and I was starting to feel the urge to push. I think it was about 715pm. It felt like there was a lot going on in the room but I was facing the wall. I think they brought in the delivery equipment and Dr Tsuang was on her way. Suddenly on my right a lady put her arm around me and asked, "Can I be your labor nurse?" and it was Becca, my friend from UW. I think I started crying and said, "I'm so glad I know you!" Dr Tsuang arrived and checked me, I was nearly 10cm and "a lip" which means it's almost time to push. During each contraction, which felt like all the time, I almost cried in pain, but also cried because of the whole experience. My son is being born! I was hearing the music in the background and it just reminded me how wonderful and amazing God is! I can't believe this is my life! This is so much more than I deserve--a husband who loves me and my first son will be here any moment!
I think around 730-35 I started to push. That was "fun." I'm one of those crazies who opts out of pain meds. But the pain during pushing is actually productive and I didn't mind it, I guess. I pushed and his head came out and his cord was wrapped around his neck twice. I pushed again and Dr Tsuang pulled him while the nurse pushed on my belly to help him come out. It felt all bumpy because of his shoulders and limbs. He was born at 7:49pm. Bill cut his cord and they wiped him all down and put him on my chest. Looking at this little baby, it was so surreal. He looked perfect, although a little strange because his face was blue but his body was pink. He'd had a lot of bruising on his face. He looked so much like the girls when they were firstborn, but definitely with a "boy" look. Bill kissed me and I just had to cry because I still couldn't believe this was happening.
My labor with Wesley was very different than I expected. It was a long, drawn-out process. It made me think about running. Wesley's labor was like the half marathon I ran in March. It took a long time to train and a long time to run the race. I had to have endurance. I had to keep my eye on the finish line, not just quit because I was tired. In the last mile of the half marathon on Mercer Island there was a huge hill that nearly killed me. That was like the time after my water broke, it was the most painful but also the most productive and satisfying because I knew it would all be over soon. The 12 miles before the huge hill were just long, long miles like the week before he was born was just long, long, waiting and hoping things would pick up soon.
As I write this Wesley is laying on my lap all swaddled up and sleeping. He has changed so much in the last 11 days and much of his bruising is gone, but he has a good shiner on his left eye. His hair is in a perpetual mohawk. He really only cries if he has gas or is getting his diaper changed. He's a champ nurser although we have had to overcome mastitis. Thank goodness for antibiotics. He's an excellent sleeper for being 11 days old, sleeping about 3-4 hours at night and off and on during the day. His eyes are beautiful and I love when he opens them.
God has been so gracious with us in giving us Wesley. I can't wait to see what kind of man he grows up to be.