Friday September 13th, Michael David, my son, made a very fast and very surprising entrance into the world!
It all started on Thursday around three in the afternoon. Tim and I were getting ready to pick up Charlotte from daycare when I noticed I was experiencing some uterus pressure. It wasn’t intense and was very irregular, so I passed it off as the ever-loving Braxton-Hicks. However, while picking up Charlotte, I noticed the pressure wasn’t stopping. Instead, it was becoming more regular and lasting longer each time – which was unlike my normal Braxton-Hicks experiences. They still were not intense or painful at all, but they were making their presence known.
Tim and I had plans to go to a fun park with Charlotte after picking her up, but I knew I had to call it off. I wanted to go home and prepare bags in the off-chance it was actually labour and we were going to have to go to the hospital.
The next few hours were pretty uneventful – we played, ate dinner, and did laundry. I kept experiencing the pressure so I decided to download a contraction timer app to measure how regular it was. Still, I wasn’t convinced they were real contractions given how pain-free and far-apart they were, but having the app tell me exactly how regular they were was a big help. (The app had the added bonus that you could measure the pain level each contraction to see if they are getting more intense!)
Around 6pm, I called my Mom and asked her to take Charlotte for the night. Given that it was three hours of pressure, we figured active labour was on its way and didn’t want to risk Charlotte’s sleep by keeping her with us. My Mom showed up at 7pm, hung out for a little, and then went on her way with Charlotte. Because I am sentimental as heck, I immediately regretted not getting a “Last Family Photo of Three” photo. Note to all other Moms: Take the photo!
After Charlotte and my Mom left, Tim and I sat around doing a puzzle and counting contractions/Braxton-Hicks. At this point, they were about 7.5 minutes apart lasting roughly 40 seconds each but with very low pain or discomfort. As regular as the contractions were, I still wasn’t convinced it was the start of labour given that I was experiencing little pain and could feel relief just by moving (something that Google says is a symptom of Braxton-Hicks). Tim kept laughing at me being so confused – “I can’t tell if these are real contractions or not?” – as I had just given birth 18 months prior so he figured I should have some sort of memory.
It wasn’t until 10:30pm that I finally felt like active labour had started. I could no longer feel relief just by moving and was having a hard time talking during them as well. They were measuring at 6.5 minutes apart but still for less than a minute. I knew I wanted to labour at home for as long as possible so Tim and I decided to head upstair for a nap while the pain levels were still moderately low.
At 2am, I was awoken with some pretty bad contractions. They were lasting over a minute long but were still 6.5 minutes apart. I woke up Tim and we discussed when we would leave for the hospital. They recommend not going until either 1) your water breaks, 2) your contractions are 1 minute long and 5 minutes apart for an hour, or 3) you need pain relief medications.
My water still hadn’t broken, my contractions were still not under 5 minutes apart, and I wanted a natural birth, so it didn’t look like we were needing to leave yet. However, at 3:15am, I decided I wanted to head to the hospital for some sort of pain relief. (Spoiler Alert: I never got it and I’m quite proud of myself considering I am usually such a weakling!)
We arrived at the hospital at 3:45am and this is when things become a rushed movie montage in my head!
We show up to the hospital, and find our way to the labour and delivery unit. When we enter, we are immediately greeted by a nurse who directs us to the sign-in room. We sign in – Tim does most of the talking as I am having consistent contractions – and are directed to “Bed #3” in a triage room. (The bed number becomes very important later.)
A nurse comes to check all my vitals and hooks me up to the machines so she can monitor baby. The whole process takes three times longer than it should have because my contractions were getting so consistent and long.
The same nurse checks to see how progressed I am – I measured at 2.5cm and 50% effaced. I remember being completely livid at those numbers because they were the same as my 39-week OBGYN appointment two days before. Here I had thought I had laboured at home long enough to AT LEAST be at 4cm and yet I hadn’t progressed at all.
Someone comes to take my blood. This is always the worst part for me as every doctor ever has struggled with finding my veins and this time was no different. The person tried twice on my right arm and then once on my left before being successful. She actually hit a nerve on the right arm causing what felt like a bolt of electricity to run from my shoulder to my arm. That part was not fun.
My nurse came to ask what my plans for pain relief are. I tell her I absolutely do not want an epidural (nothing against people who get them – I did with Charlotte – but found the risks and after-symptoms outweigh the benefits). I told my nurse I wanted to go as natural as possible but asked what some options were.
Because I was only 2.5cm dilated, my nurse didn’t want to give me anything that would slow down labour quite yet. Instead, she suggested I drink some juice (to spike baby’s heartrate) and walk around for an hour or two to speed up the process. She then left to get me some juice.
My nurse came back with some juice and I started “chugging” (my contractions at this point were so constant that any drinking was difficult). I don’t even know what juice it was – I just wanted to get it down fast so I could start walking. All I remember was thinking it was delicious.
Halfway through my juice, I asked Tim to please get the nurse as I had to pee. I needed her to unhook me from the monitor and for Tim to grab me my packed gown.
The nurse comes, unhooks me, and leaves again. Tim tries to help me stand up. I get to my feet and immediately fall back onto the bed as another contraction starts. Because my contractions were all in my back, standing was just impossible.
During yet another contraction, my water breaks … everywhere. All I remember thinking was “goddammit, if they make me stand so they can change the sheets, I’m going to fall again”. Tim runs to tell the nurse, who says she is going to start preparing a delivery room for me.
I tell Tim that I need to start pushing. He, again, runs off to find a nurse.
A (new) nurse arrives and asks me how I am doing. I tell her I need to start pushing. However, the nurse doubted it was time yet giventhat I was only 2.5cm an hour prior. She then proceeds to check me and immediately says, “oh my god”. She runs off to the other side of the room and starts yelling for assistance – “I need help at Bed #3 NOW” – while grabbing a blanket. At this point, my contractions are just a constant that I barely even notice what is going on (Tim had to fill me in).
The nurse covers me with the blanket and tells me we need to move to the delivery room. A second nurse arrives and together, they run my bed down the hall while Tim follows with our bags. They kept yelling things among each other and to the other nurses, but the only words I recall are “Bed #3” and “Room 26”.
We get to the delivery room that is still being set up by my original nurse and I am instructed to move from the triage bed to the delivery bed. But I couldn’t. The nurses were telling me that once a contraction was “managable”, to move quickly, but that wasn’t happening. I felt paralyzed from my contractions and the need to push.
Tim, seeing that I could not move at all, grabbed my legs and pulled me over. The other nurses followed suit and got me onto the bed. I was helped into the sitting position and immediately started pushing. They didn’t even have time to put the bed into the delivery position – it was still completely flat when I got onto it. The four nurses and Tim surrounded me as I worked on getting my baby earthside. They were all saying things but honestly, I don’t remember any of it.
Our sweet Michael David made his grand debut into the world! The first words out of my mouth were, “Already? Yay!” – I knew I had to push but I didn’t realize how ready Michael was to join us!
Measuring at 6lbs 14oz and 21cm, Michael David was perfect! He let out the cutest newborn cries until he was placed on my chest for skin-to-skin. One of the nurses stayed extra to make sure his breathing was ok. She was worried his lungs were having trouble given how purple Michael was, but a quick exam showed they were perfectly fine. She concluded the colour must be from such a quick arrival.
After everything was cleaned up, I immediately texted of the arrival of Michael in my family’s group chat and called my Mom. My Mom, in her half-asleep daze, almost hung up on me because she thought I was lying! Tim told her to check the group chat, and then we ended up FaceTiming so she could see him!
The First Meeting of Michael and Charlotte
Around 1pm on September 13th, roughly seven hours after his birth, Michael met his big sister. While he was asleep for the majority of the meeting, it was love at first sight for Charlotte. She was immediately taken aback by “Baby Cocoa”, as she calls him, and offered up plenty of kisses! Charlotte followed whichever family member was holding Michael, only to point and say “brother”. We still aren’t sure she knows what brother means, but she does know that Michael is that to her!
Want to see more of my family of four?