...well, let's begin BEFORE Luke was born with a few maternity photos that were taken by my dear friend and co-blogger Sarah Matthews:
...she does such a beautiful job, doesn't she?
....now, to the birth story...
October 30th, 2015
41 weeks 3 days
Luke's birth began exactly as Suzie's did, and even on a Friday - just like Suzie's...
I woke up in the wee hours and had to pee, and instinctively knew that labor was starting.. I lost my mucus plug and had a few contractions. As an experienced laborer, I knew I should rest. I woke Brad and told him he didn't have to work that day and I texted KK to let her know that she should plan to be with me.. and NOT working.. she was VERY excited to hear it!
As I tried to rest and sleep, I realized quickly that I was too excited and that I wasn't going back to sleep.. so I showered at 4am - finished packing my bag and then started texting Courtney at 5am. Praise the Lord for a friend who wakes early (or was at least willing to wake early) because Courtney and I texted from 5-6am. I was at least staying in bed because when I got up to move around, my contractions picked up... so I needed to stay put until my kids were situated! I was so thankful to be sharing my excitement with Courtney and that someone was "journeying with me".
By 8:15am sweet Jordan had taken all 3 of my children and I was ready to GO!
-Sarah (friend/co-blogger/photographer) was on her way
-KK had arrived with breakfast
-Brad was up & moving and ready to get the show on the road
Once Sarah arrived (around 9:30? details are fuzzy when you don't write the story out immediately) I decided that I wanted to go for a walk.. just like we did with Suzie.. to get the contractions moving.
KK was not a fan of this idea.
See, this time around we planned to have little Luke at Lakeland Regional Hospital and KK didn't want us having the baby before we arrived there..
she agreed to do one loop around the block & then reevaluate
In the time it took to walk the block one time, I had had 8 or so contractions and I had to pause for maybe 3 or 4 of them..
I of course wanted to go again but Brad, Sarah, and KK all conspired against me and got me to agree to drive to Lakeland and find a place to walk there so that we would be closer to the hospital, as Lakeland is 30 minutes away.
My contractions were around every 8-10 minutes at this point, but because I had labored a few times before.. I could tell that I still had some time as my mood and my attitude were still happy...
we arrived at the hospital around 11/11:15ish (again, fuzzy, should have composed sooner.. life with 4 kids is #nojoke)
and by this time I had spoken with Courtney and she had mentioned that she could be present, she had lined up childcare for HER 4 kids and I was over the moon that she could be present AGAIN, as she had been for Suzie's birth...
I of course was NOT ready to check in.. and told the gang that we were going to do laps around the outside of the hospital (as it was a BEAUTIFUL day!) and so that's what we did:
Sarah, KK, Brad and I did a lap or two and I realized it was lunch time.. granted, my contractions were 4-8 minutes apart, I knew that if we had a long day ahead of us - we'd all get HUNGRY! So, I suggested that we stop in to the Indian Restaurant that's right across from the hospital (thank you Sadler's for introducing us!) for lunch! I assured my crew that we would be fine, the service is fast.. and plus, let's be real - I was HUNGRY and I know those silly hospital rules about not eating, and so.. off to Indian food we went!
We ate the most delicious and filling lunch and I had to pause every 3-5 minutes for a contraction.. at one point I even went to use the potty and KK stalked me and knocked on the door... I think she was VERY nervous that I was going to have an out-of-hospital birth, despite our close proximity to the hospital.. hehe
After lunch I had connected with Courtney and we were going to meet her in the downstairs lobby... so that's where we headed, pausing for contractions along the way. When I saw her I gave her a hug and she later told me that she evaluated my smile and general attitude and figured we still had some time, as I was still pretty perky.
...it was around this time that I had been texting my midwife who had done all of my prenatal care...because I wasn't really sure what to do.. of my previous 3 births - though two of them ended up being at the hospital.. I had never "checked-in" or labored at the hospital, so it all felt very foreign to me.. I didn't want to get up there and be strapped down, or only be 4cm, etc... so I kept dragging my little posse around and at this point, in the hospital lobby I wasn't really sure things were progressing - though I do remember finally sitting down and having a contraction and I looked at Court and said, "wow, that one hurt ... I think that was a productive one!"
Courtney later told me that those few contractions in the lobby changed my mood... she said she saw my "annoyed" face and that my fists were clenching, etc..
I was finally coerced to go to the car and get all of the STUFF.. the birthing ball, the oils, etc so that we could check in and labor in the room. My little team of birthing partners assured me that once I got checked in, I could walk around, sit on the ball, diffuse my oils and still have things "my way"... and that it was time to check in.. so.. we headed that way..
I even texted my midwife at this point telling her that I was nervous.. I didn't want to check in and that I was fearing a long day of laboring in the hospital.. I didn't want to be checked, I didn't want to be strapped down.. I started feeling a little nervous.
We got upstairs and checked in and the first stop, of course, is the triage room.. I could only have one person go back with me to triage - and so of course Bradley came with me and the security guard assured me (repeatedly) that my 3 friends/family could go back there once I was in my room... there was DEFINITE hesitancy at this point on my part because I did not want to be separated from my mother in law, and my 2 doulas and photographer.. I wanted them PRESENT through it all..
but, rules are rules
...so to triage we went..
Things shifted at this point for me (I realized in hindsight) because once we walked into the triage room this sweet young nurse handed me a hospital gown and very sweetly said, "okay hun, just put this on and we'll get you checked and on the monitor"
(I'm sure most of you mommas out there have heard this before, and it's no big deal right?)
well, it was for me.. I lost it. completely lost it..
..I started bawling my eyes out and blubbering..
"but, but, but.. I've only labored at home.. I don't want to, I can't lay down.. please don't check me.. I can't.. I don't wanna..."
at this point Brad is looking to the nurse, and then to me.. trying to apologize with his eyes to this sweet nurse for the crazy laboring lady who is LOSING HER MIND...
I went into the bathroom and I think it LITERALLY took me 10 minutes to get the gown on.. I couldn't see through my tears and it just hit me that.. SHOOT, what if I'm not really in labor!? What if this isn't it!? Did I even have any contractions on the walk down the hallway to triage?! Was I having any now!?
I came out of the bathroom, grabbed my phone and immediately texted Courtney.. "I'm so sad, I want you in here.. please help, I'm so so sad.."
We entered the triage room at 1:51pm
that text was sent at 1:58pm-ish
I laid down, got strapped.. and there are intake questions. I had just answered all of these questions 2 days before at my NST (non-stress test) appointment.
it didn't help that I was in labor.. because I was annoyed.
"how much do you weigh?" (probably the same as I did Weds)
"how tall are you?" (5'4, just like I was on Weds)
"when did you last eat?" (hmm, 45 min ago!?!)
First contraction while laying down hit. (mind you, I haven't had MANY contractions laying down because for all of my previous labors I was either at home, or a birthing center and therefore could be in any position I felt was most comfortable... laying down is definitely THE LEAST COMFORTABLE for me)
I looked at Brad in desperation and said, "OH BABE! I don't want to labor laying down!!" I looked to the nurse, PLEASE CAN I GET UP!?
"sweetie, your room is ready, let's just finish these questions and get you there"
"some other question from the nurse"
another sucky contraction.. ignoring said question because I cannot concentrate
Brad notices me losing control and says, "relax and breath"
he says this a few times over the next few minutes.
2:01pm "another stupid question"
my water breaks.
"ummmmm, Brad, sweet nurse, my water just broke"
nurse looks to see, fluid is clear, looks good.. she puts bed rails down and calls to someone to get me moved to my room, meanwhile she tries to ask the next question.. and during that next contraction I start to grunt.
brad knows that this means I'm starting to push..
nurse asks to check me..
I tell her, yes.. but PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME.. you can tell my husband, but I do not want to know.
2:05pm she checks me.. any guesses as to where I was?
next contraction I'm grunting more and brad says, babe.. relax and breath and I yell at him, "SHUT UP! I CAN'T! I need to PUSH!"
**first time in 4 labors that I was mean to my poor sweet husband.
at this point, I'm pretty depressed because I want KK, Court and Sarah. I'm very very sad/depressed mentally and definitely losing control..
the nurse realizes I'm pushing and she starts to yell for the doctor who was apparently doing a consult down the hall.. I hear the nurse say to another nurse, no - we need her NOW.. then there's a flurry of action, and brad says that like 11 people came into the room (that may have been an exaggeration, but at this point my eyes were closed. He also said I flicked his hand away and took the nurses hand.. I had NO IDEA of this.. and feel terrible.. I totally assumed I was holding my husbands hand)
the bed rails go back up and nurses are yelling for a birth kit and warm blankets.
Doctor arrives and sits in front of me and says, "we may have a baby in this next contraction"..
...now, I'm pretty in tune with my body during labor and I knew that this wasn't true.. but I'm sure she was trying to be encouraging and at this point I realized. OH.. we're having a baby. I prayed that he would come quickly. and he is. so. okay. I need to focus. kk's going to miss it. wow. that sucks. okay.. well. focus. here we go. let's get this baby out.
at 2:05pm I was 5-6 centimeters (you see why I wouldn't want to know this!?)
because my Luke was born at 2:27pm
ok.. back to the story.. so .. mentally I am coming back to center.. and realizing that I need to stop freaking out because my baby is coming.
I continued pushing and the nurses were putting my feet in stirrups and bless their sweet hearts I was fighting them..
finally I surrendered and after about 3 or 4 pushes Brad can see the head and he is super encouraging. There was a nurse to my left who was coaching me and her voice was the only one I heard, I was tuning everyone else out..
at some point someone had asked how big my previous baby was (Suzie was 9 pounds 2 ounces)
Luke's head came out.. and on the next contraction I felt his shoulders come out and then...
...flashbacks of Suzie..
this baby was stuck. and I knew it. I REALLY wanted to flip over on my hands & knees (see Suzie's birth story.. this is what I did)
but of course.. I couldn't do that in this moment.
brad and the coaching nurse are very intently telling me to push.. I have to use this contraction, I have to get this baby out NOW..
Brad later told me that the doc had hooked her fingers under Luke's armpits and was standing up pulling with her full body weight to get my baby out.
mind you - he's also seen all of my babies come out.. and though it's not his favorite thing, he's never been grossed out.
he later said that when Luke came out.. it was like a fire hydrant GUSHED water out all over the doc & nurses (who weren't fully gowned, who didn't have booties on, because well.. we were in triage.. and things moved quickly.. oops!)..and that grossed him out
thankfully my stuck baby got unstuck and came flying out and as the doc put him on my belly she said, I think this one may be bigger than your last.
(in my head I thought) WHAT!!?
I heard a nurse say that she was going to go get a scale.. and some diapers, since neither were in the triage room ...
I looked at my precious Luke and held him.. and woah. he was a BIG baby. I was stunned.
I kept yelling "don't cut the cord, please don't cut the cord" and oh my word.. poor Brad.. he says, "babe, they heard you the first 20 times you said it... they aren't cutting the cord"
the nurse came back with the scale.. and though I didn't want to hand him over that soon, I too was curious about his weight.
9 pounds. 3 ounces. 21.5in BIGGER than Suzie.
they are only getting bigger...
...I turned to Brad and told him to make THE appointment. I'm done.. I do NOT want to do that again...
my sweet boy was handed back to me:
and then I finally asked: can my people come back here? ...even though it's triage??
the sweet coach nurse was quick to say yes... and THEN FINALLY I got to have my people:
I was super sad to miss out on those super fantastic birth photos that Sarah would have taken.. but apparently Luke is shy.. he only wanted mom & dad present at his big debut!
..but he was quick to have his first visitors:
...when Courtney walked into the room she was carrying my big birthing ball and asked, "so, do you still need this!?" ...
During my stay at the hospital, several of the nurses said, "wow! we heard he came quick, fast, and in a hurry! you arrived just in time!" ...but truly.. I think there was a shift, a panic.. something crazy happened.. if we had still been in the lobby at 2:27pm I'm not sure I would have had him.. it was something about that room and the anticipation and fear.. who knows? but.. I did specifically ask people to pray that he would come quickly..
Fun Fact: 3 of my 4 babies were born in the 2 o'clock hour!
It was a beautiful day and one I will always remember.
Let me end with some sweet newborn photos taken by the fantastic Rebecca Tarquino of Mesmerizing Memories
**please note that Suzie is missing from the photos below... she decided to take the LONGEST NAP OF HER LIFE that day.. slept right through it all...