I believe when I last updated this blog before Mason's birth, I was walking. And walking. And walking. I ran two miles and walked 16 miles from Monday through Friday of that week, bringing me to a grand total of 18 miles in five days. Not bad!
I had my 40-week appointment (well, 40 weeks and two days) that Friday morning, September 16th. My doctor said that everything looked good, and I had made a tiny bit of progress since the prior week's appointment, but I felt disappointed that my 18 miles didn't result in more noticeable progress. She said I could walk all I wanted to, but it was impossible to know what would send me into labor and when it would happen.
After my appointment, I drove to the grocery store to buy ingredients to make an eggplant parmigiana dish famous for sending women into labor. Supposedly, over 300 pregnant women have delivered babies within 48 hours of eating this Atlanta restaurant's eggplant parmigiana. A friend sent me the link and I figured, "Why not?"
I cut the recipe in half because I knew I'd be the only one eating it (Brad hates eggplant parmigiana), but it still took me 2.5 hours to make the dish. Now I know why women who make this recipe go into labor soon afterward--it's cumbersome and it takes forever! (Side note: It's too bad I had already completed September's recipe challenge because otherwise this eggplant parmigiana would have counted. Spending 2.5 hours making any meal when you're over 40 weeks pregnant classifies as a challenge in my book.)
I wasn't feeling great on Friday morning, but I blamed my tiredness and sore back on making the eggplant parmigiana. I ate a huge piece of it for lunch, and didn't feel well at all. I had planned to go out for another long walk on Friday afternoon, but soon decided that lounging on the couch was a better idea. My tummy felt crampy and my lower back ached. I couldn't even read my book because the words swam before my eyes, so I laid on the couch for three hours and watched TV instead--something I NEVER do. I should have known that something was up.
I tried to nap between 4-5 PM, but it was a wasted effort because my belly pains kept waking me. Brad came home from work and we began timing my "aches" and were startled to discover they were coming regularly every 5-6 minutes.
Brad and I launched into productive mode. In between contractions, we finished packing our hospital bags, ate dinner, ran the dishwasher, threw a load of towels in the washer and then the dryer, collected and took out the garbage, and finished writing a few thank you notes. Well, Brad actually did most of these tasks while I gave plenty of instructions from bed. Our little baby had already been so accommodating in allowing me to finish work and Brad to get through his Congressional hearing and finish out the work week, we were delighted that he let us get our chores around the house done before we left for the hospital. I'll say it again: what an obedient baby!
We left for the hospital just after midnight on Saturday, September 17th, and paused for a moment to take this picture with the timer on our camera. I'm so glad we did--it's the last picture we have before Mason arrived and took over our house!
|Do I look like I'm in pain here? I was. Very much so.|
We arrived at Sibley, thankfully, during a lull and were able to get a labor, delivery, and recovery room. Apparently, that evening had resulted in a crazy birth explosion and the hospital had run out of rooms, so women had to labor in the waiting room. We also heard that the rest of the weekend in labor and delivery was just crazy, so we're thankful that the Lord and our little guy timed things just right!
Brad and I walked the halls of Sibley as I labored, hoping to move things along a bit. At 3 AM, the nurse checked me and said I could have the epidural, which arrived around 4 AM. It was like pure magic coursing through my veins! Kudos to those of you who have a high threshold for pain and can birth babies without drugs. I could never do it, and now having had the epidural and experiencing its magic, I never want to try.
One other beautiful aspect of the epidural is that Brad and I were able to go to sleep pretty quickly and we rested until 7 AM, when they woke me to break my water, and then we slept again until 9 AM. I believe those five hours of sleep gave me the necessary energy to push, which took much more concentration and energy than I ever could have imagined.
Breaking my water moved things along fairly quickly, and I began pushing at 11:19 AM and Mason was born at 12:10 PM. I was so relieved that Mason, being a heavy, chubby baby with a big head, fit through my pelvis and I was able to push him out in under an hour. Praise God for that. As one of my friends reminded me a few weeks ago, after I told her what the ultrasounds were predicting in terms of the baby's size, "God made that baby for your pelvis." She was right!
My epidural began to wear off before pushing began, and a second dose of it didn't relieve my pain. But, amazingly enough, pushing did. I ended up doing a couple of things that I never imagined agreeing to pre-labor, such as checking Mason's arrival progress in a mirror and touching his head as it began to emerge. When these tips were suggested in our childbirth class, I squirmed and swore that I wasn't interested. And I'm not sure what changed my mind during labor, but I'm so glad that I did both of these things. It was incredibly motivating to see and feel progress. It made me push better and harder. And it made me more anxious and excited to get our baby out and to meet him.
The actual delivery is such a blur in my mind. I vaguely remember the nurse telling me to look down to see the baby coming out. Then I remember her calmly saying, "Wrapped cord. Wrapped cord." I remember hearing Brad exclaim, "It's a boy!" right as I looked down and saw that the baby was, in fact, a boy. Then the doctor whisked the baby away, presumably to unwrap the cord from around his neck and make sure he was okay. Then Mason cried, and I sobbed. Then they plopped this wet, writhing baby with fuzzy hair on my chest, and I wept with joy and gratitude. Brad was standing behind Mason, over my left shoulder, and Mason heard his daddy's voice, and looked back up at him. Our hearts have not been the same since that moment.
I wept throughout much of labor, especially the pushing stage, but it wasn't because of the pain. It was because I couldn't believe it was really happening. We were having a baby! It really could work out for us. God had answered our prayers. He does that, you know.
|Mason's very first picture, moments after he was born|
|Mason's first picture with daddy|