And so it went for us this time around. It's not like we didn't know a baby was about to be born and join our family, it's that we were busy doing other things with our little ducklings that we forgot about the whole birth announcement email thing.
SO... here it is. Just shy of 4 weeks late, but who's counting?? And oh yea, if you don't have time to read the enclosed tale, skip to the end for the important details.
Friday morning, April 11th, I got a phone call from my doctor asking where I was and what about that induction we had planned for that day. "Well," I told him, "we have three small children we can't find childcare for, that's what happened." I had been having pre-labor contractions for 3 straight days (and nights) now and was six days past my due date. I was beyond ready to meet this baby and so completely done with being pregnant, it wasn't even funny anymore. But I wasn't about to drag my three little girls to the hospital with me to be traumatized by the birth of their brother or the fact that their beloved momma was screaming in pain. So I was fine waiting till we could get some help with the girls.
My doctor invited me to come see him at the office and get checked to see if I had progressed since I had been in, 3 days prior. As I sat in the exam room, with my two 4 year olds holding my hands, I muttered under my breath, "I seriously doubt there's any change in my cervix." Much to my surprise, I was 4 cm. Three days before that I was at a 2 and had been for almost a month at that point. So to go 2 more cm in that amount of time was progress, people. Dr. Austin told me to come back to the hospital in an hour to get checked into a room and get ready to have this baby. Apparently they were understaffed and needed 60 more minutes to get ready for one more patient. I guess I wasn't the only one about to have a baby.
So we went to Chick-Fil-A where I ate breakfast in between contractions while the girls played on the indoor playground. Did I mention we had all three of our children with us this entire time? My phone rang and it was Dr. Austin, again, this time telling me to not delay and get back to the hospital. They were ready for me. And I was ready for them.
Jake pulled up to the hospital to drop me off, making me promise that I wouldn't have this baby without him there, because he had to drive back to our house to leave our kids with some amazing friends of ours. Before he left, I hauled my huge self into the back of the minivan to hug and kiss my sweet babies. Jake asked the twins if mommy was going to be strong or weak when I had the baby and Piper yelled out, "Weak!!!". We both laughed and then Jake asked it again and once more they called out the same answer, "Weak!!" Oh well, so much for a pep talk from the twins.
I checked myself in to the hospital, signing papers for me and my sweet baby boy. Then they led me off to my room where I got my IV (after three, painful tries), hooked me up to the monitors, and made me pee in a cup. My doula (that's a birthing coach for you non-hippy folks), Kyla, showed up around the time they started digging for a vein in my arm and that was nice to have someone else to talk to while my arms were hurting, not to mention the contractions I was STILL having here.
Then Jake called to ask me where I had put some box or cord to a computer. "I don't know. You'll have to look yourself, I'm in labor!" I spouted off before reminding him to hurry up and get there.
I don't know what time it is at this point, probably sometime around 12. Jake arrived and we set the room up with pretty white christmas lights and a sweet labor blessing flag that was made at my baby shower complete with prayers and verses from my friends.
Dr Austin then waltzes into the room and proceeds to ask if we want my water broken to speed things up. I wanted to avoid any pain meds or drugs that could interfere with labor so we figured we would go with the most natural route. Plus, he had broken my water when I was in labor with Rainey and she was born 68 minutes after that. So I figured it had to be fairly quick since this was my 4th time around the block.
At 1:00 p.m. he broke my water and nothing happened for awhile. I was having contractions still but it didn't feel like it had with Rainey so I was a little nervous. Turns out, I didn't need to be nervous because pretty soon I was feeling everything in my lower back. Good old back labor. I basically had to have both my doula and Jake pressing on my hips and lower spine throughout each contraction. It was so ridiculously painful, I was wondering why I had chosen the natural route but cursing myself for even thinking there was an alternative since I knew I was pretty much committed at this point. No going back, I tried to remind myself.
Around 3:00 p.m. I asked my nurse to check me and see what kind of progress I had made. She told me I was 7 cm and I nearly passed out. I was so close to the end and yet not really close enough. My doctor came in and told me I could push through the final 3 cm and then keep on pushing until the baby was born. Jake looked at me and nearly shouted, "Did you hear that babe?! He said you can push and then we can meet Zeke!!" I looked at him and frantically spewed, "Yes, yes!! I heard him! Uhhhhhhhhhh!!!" as another contraction came over me.
So that's what I did. I pushed harder than I ever thought possible in my life. I leaned into Jake in between pushes and wished for a reprieve. I was exhausted but was unable to rest. My doctor and some of the nurses were all cheering for me and yelling at me to push. At one point I was unable to ignore their coaching and I yelled back, "I AM pushing, people!! I'm doing the best I can!!" I think one nurse got the point and sweetly said back to me, "Oh honey, I know you are, you're doing a great job. Keep it up!" I wanted everyone in the room to zip their lips and be silent.
And then in an instant it was all over. At 3:33 p.m. on that same day, April 11th, our sweet and precious little Zeke was born. Jake cut the cord and I swam in disbelief that I had just given birth to a sweet baby boy. He was perfect in every way. He had so much hair on his little head and his cry melted my heart and made me forget what I had just gone through. Or rather he made it all worth it.
They laid him on my chest and I was sold. He snuggled in and even made his Daddy nervous with how quiet he was. But I knew he was just so happy to be so close to his Momma. I finally relinquished him to get weighed and measured and cleaned up, and then they gave him back to me for more snuggles and oohs and ahhs over his very adorable body.
So there it is. The longer version of his birth. Probably more than you wanted to know. :) But hey, I warned you!
A current update on life with Zeke:
We are loving having him around!! He is really a sweet baby and pretty laid back. He eats well and sleeps a ton. He's already sleeping really well for me at night, only waking up once to eat and go back to sleep. I consider myself utterly blessed by this new life I'm a momma to.
Thankful to God for all these good gifts that are ultimately from Him.
Thanks for reading.
Jake, Rebecca, Piper, Lily, Rainey, and sweet Zeke
Post Script: Oh and I have to brag on our doula, Kyla. She was amazing and so influential in our story of Zeke's birth. We could not have done it without her there. And not only does she provide excellent doula service, she is also a pretty awesome photographer. You can visit her website here. I'll have to share more of her photos in another post. She did prenatal, delivery, and newborn photos for us. So awesome!!