Trying to finish up some of my freelance contracts, I was ignoring what felt like some minor contractions. I asked Captain Dad to time them and he said they were less than 7 minutes apart. I told him that was not possible, because they were pretty weak. I kept working and then decided if it was not labor, I could always finish tomorrow and if it were labor, I ought to get some rest.
I tried to sleep but couldn’t, so I hopped into the shower. While I was in the shower, the contractions deepened. Captain Dad timed them to about 3-4 minutes apart. Again, they still felt too weak to be labor and it was almost midnight and I was reluctant to wake my in-laws to come over for the toddler in case it was false labor. Finally, though, I told Captain Dad, “Call your parents, now.”
By the time they arrived, I was sure I was in labor. And thinking this was going to be a long labor (my first was 24 hours), I was sure I was going to want more than my hypnobirthing tapes. If only I had known how quick this would be.
My father in law drove my husband and I to the hospital so my husband could help me stay calm in the back seat. By the time we got to the hospital, around 1:30 AM, my contractions were 3 minutes apart and I was 4 cm dilated.
I opted for the epidural so I could concentrate on the task ahead–we were concerned about the size of Junior and the possibility of shoulder dyslocia. I asked the midwife about her largest vaginal delivery and she said, “almost 10 lbs.” I told her this may be a new record for her.
I settled in and the midwife checked the contractions, “There must be something wrong with the monitor, these look way too strong.”
“I don’t know…they felt pretty strong before the epidural.”
“Yeah, but if they were this strong…you’d be…well…let’s check. Oh…wow. You’re fully dilated.”
We tried pushing but I really wasn’t feeling it and he only moved a little bit. Even though I’d only been in active labor for a few hours, and she said I had “plenty of room,” she was concerned because he was stubbornly stuck behind a bone. I don’t really believe in “pushing” so hard–but I knew time was not on our side with this one. With his high weight, the compression was causing his scalp to swell up. What I did not realize at the time, is that he was also “sunny side up” (posterior) which was adding to the difficulty of delivering him.
DH was a great coach, rubbing where I said to rub, even when I seemed to need help in five different spots at once, and echoing the midwife’s encouraging words but with more love, confidence, and conviction. After, I told him that it was almost comical–he clearly had no idea whether or not I was doing a “good job” but just wanted to say something that wouldn’t result in a look of undying contempt.
The midwife called in pediatrics (due to his size and position, he was at risk for certain conditions) and an obstetrics doctor in case he did get stuck halfway out and more complicated maneuvers were necessary.
After the birth, Captain Dad remarked that he could see why I prefer midwives. Seconds after she walked in the room, the doctor was whispering to the midwife (as if I was some insensate beast) about how soon they could prep me for c-section.
We took a break and then I was ready to try to move him again. Just like last time, after some convincing that the epidural was wearing off, the midwife agreed to help me move into another position. Finally, I persuaded her to bring out the bar. She told me she was not willing to let this go on much longer and she’d give me one more good push. I told her “two more,” thinking that there was no way I was giving up yet but that I needed her on my side. She agreed, although I think she was pretty sure I would not even manage to get to the bar.
I sat up and reached for the bar and got onto my legs. I started to move him out and I could feel him sliding out. The midwife shouted, “Oh, my God!” and I saw her lunge forward. Between the gravity and the change of position, he shot out like greased pig.
And, after some brief checking, he was placed, huge and hungry, on me.
There would be some sewing up of a fourth degree tear (I believe Catherine used the phrase, “tore his own exit” for her son’s precipitous descent but I could not locate the exact post), and some wrangling with various staff over the hospital’s not so breastfeeding friendly policies (but I’ll save that for another post)…but mostly there was us. Our family. Our new baby boy.
Welcome to the world Junior the Jotunn, mommy’s little giant.