Ok, so this brings us to Luke's birth two weeks ago today.
I was MISERABLE on Saturday, Sept 19th. My mom and I took the kids to the park since it was such a beautiful fall day. Unfortunately, I could hardly get in and out of the car so it wasn't as much fun for me as it could have been. (Looking back now, it's probably a good thing our computer was down for the last few days of my pregnancy because my posts would have most likely been nothing but a stream of obscenities!)
By that evening, I was TRULY in pain. Contractions were getting strong, but still not regular. I made some peanut butter cookies to cheer me up (which actually kinda worked!) and went to bed around 10pm. At 11pm, I woke up to what I knew was real labor and just toughed it out myself while everyone slept. My plan was to get up at 5:30am, which was the time Chris would normally get up for work anyway. (He works at the hospital where I would be delivering, in case I hadn't mentioned that.) I didn't last quite that long: at 4:45am I got into the longest, hottest shower of my life. So it was probably around 5:15am that Chris heard me in the kitchen getting some water and breathing heavily. I told him I needed to hitch a ride with him to the hospital (ha ha) and he immediately called his supervisor to let her know what was going on.
We got to the hospital at 6:30am and I was immediately struck by the differences between how they treated me compared with my first two births, that were at a hospital in MI. They put me right into the birthing room - at the other hospital, I was in an evaluation room until they checked dilation and decided to keep me. I asked them what I needed to do and they offered me a gown to change into, but only if I wanted to. Did they need to check me? They said they can if I want them to, but it's totally up to me. "This is YOUR birth" was something I heard several times. WOW! The only thing they did that they didn't clear with me first was checking the baby's heartrate with a monitor. Of course I didn't object to that.
I did end up having the nurse check me and I was at 7cm with a bulging bag of water. They had called my midwife and she got to the hospital at 7am. When she came in, she asked me if I wanted her to break the water and have the baby. What a tough decision! Of course I wanted to get things over with, but at the same time I knew that the big pain was yet to come and I was dealing with labor really well so I was in no real hurry. She left to check on other patients and said she'd be back. In the 45 minutes she was gone, I breathed through the contractions and ultimately decided that when she got back, I would just suck it up and have her break my water. So she came back at around 8am and I told her to go ahead and do it.
When she broke my water, I immediately went to 9 cm but was kinda stuck there for a few minutes and my body wasn't trying to push at all. So she suggested I lay on my side and see if that helped get me to 10 cm. Well, she certainly knew what she was talking about because no sooner did I just LEAN to my right side than I IMMEDIATELY felt him coming! I swear, it was only 30 seconds of leaning and then they were trying to lean me back but he just came right out. I didn't even really push, just yelled in pain and then there he was - all 9 lbs of him!- at 8:26am on Sunday, September 20th.
No stitches and no tears this time at all which was FABULOUS! And the best thing this time around is how they left me ALONE after the birth. With all the other births, they got me right up to get cleaned up and use the bathroom. Even with my homebirth, the midwife was anxious to get home so she had to make sure I was all set before she could go. But this time the nurse did what she needed to do as far as getting vitals on the baby and then left Chris and I alone to admire our new baby boy for about an hour. That was such a wonderful time for us that I will never forget!
I definitely preferred my homebirth recovery because it was in the comfort of my own home. The hospital accomodations were just ok - the bed was NOT comfortable AT ALL and I felt very isolated as my cell phone didn't work and I couldn't call out on the phone in the room. I was initially offered to stay just a couple of hours after the birth and then leave, but when I found out Luke was a boy so therefore would need to be circumcised I agreed to stay 24 hours so that he could have the procedure done the following morning before we were discharged. (For anyone who wishes to comment on how unnecessary circumcision is, it will be falling on deaf ears. I left that decision for my 1st son 100% up to my husband, just as if we'd had a girl he would have had to defer to me as to when to get her ears pierced. Once we got to the 4th boy, it was a foregone conclusion it would have to be done otherwise family bathtime could be awkward!)
So there's the story of how Luke came into the world. I feel very lucky to have had all the birth experiences I did because there are parts of each of them I really liked and, of course, they all had happy endings. Although I am LOVING having a newborn again, I am also loving the fact that Luke is my last baby. We are done having children and now will focus on raising these children.