Hi, friends! I want to pick up where I last left off after check-in to the hospital…while the story is still fresh on my mind! I kept a little timeline on my phone so that I wouldn’t forget the specifics, and I’m glad I did because even only 10 days later, it’s already a little fuzzy!
My appointment with Dr. Brannon was at 10 a.m. on Friday the 21st, and after being sent straight to the hospital, we got all checked in and I got into my gown and into bed at around 11:15 a.m. Jon left as soon as I was settled to take Hadley to my brother and sister-in-law’s house until his Mom could get there to pick her up (THANK YOU, Zack and Kelley, for letting her come play with y’all, I know she had a blast!), and while I waited for the nurse to get my pitocin started, I sent texts to family/friends to let them know that that was THE day that we would meet our boy! :)
The nurse started the pitocin at 11:45 a.m., and from there it was just a waiting game for my contractions to get stronger and closer together. Around 12:30, the nurse came in and asked me how I was doing; I told her I was fine and still really wasn’t feeling anything. She laughed and said “well then you are TOUGH because your contractions are getting really strong and are 2-3 minutes apart already. I had no idea! I literally felt nothing. She told me Dr. B would be coming shortly to check me, so I just waited. Jon got back around 1:00 with our bag and lunch for himself (I was thanking my lucky stars that I had Jon pick me up Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, which I ate at the doctor’s office while hooked to the monitor…thank goodness, because I would have been starving since I couldn’t eat anything while in labor!).
There wasn’t a whole lot to report between then and 1:15 p.m., when Dr. B got there and went ahead and broke my water. Dr. B said I was 3-4 cm, and shortly after my water was broken, I started to feel the contractions. They were certainly nothing too painful, but definitely uncomfortable. Dr. B told me to go ahead and call for the epidural and get it as soon as possible (umm, yes please). I also have to mention that when he was there, Dr. B told me that he had a speaking engagement in Wilmington at 7:00 p.m. (which meant he needed to leave Raleigh by 5:00), but that he would definitely miss the engagement before he would miss delivering my baby. He told me that since he had started his campaign for US Senate about a year ago, he had only missed delivering 7 babies, and that mine would certainly not be the 8th. I love that man! He did guess that I have a baby between 3:00-4:00, which was only a couple of hours away, ahhh!
The nurse pumped me with the necessary fluids before getting the epi and went ahead and called the anesthesiologist who came pretty quickly to administer the epidural. I got the epidural right around 1:40 p.m. I will say that it hurt MUCH worse than I remembered it hurting with H… it was more than just an uncomfortable pinch/sting/burn like I remembered with her. But maybe I just blocked it out?! Anyway, the pain only lasted a few minutes (10 minutes, maybe) before I could start feeling my legs tingling a little. I would say it probably took 45 minutes to an hour before it actually really kicked in, but once it did, I felt very little at all and was actually feeling a little loopy. I had plenty of people keeping me company (my parents, Jennifer, Heather and Bekah were all there by this point—they jumped in the car as soon as I called them and were there in no time!).
It really was a waiting game from that point on. Dr. B kept calling and asking the nurse to check me, and she checked me three times between 2:00-3:30 and I was still just 4 cm, even with really strong contractions that were 2 minutes apart. She checked me again at 3:45 and I had progressed to 5 cm, then at 4:45 I was 6 cm. The nurse said she expected things to progress really quickly, and she was right. I was 9 cm by 5:20 at which point she called Dr. B to come, and I was 10 cm at 5:30—time to PUSH!!
Dr. B got there a few minutes after 5:30 in full suit and tie, ready for his speaking engagement. He was into his scrubs in no time and told me that he had a driver and two financial advisors in the car with him, about to leave for Wilmington, and that he had informed them that he had to make a pit stop at the hospital to deliver a baby. He said they said “for real??” (HA!) and he said he assured them that he’d only be 10-15 minutes. I told him I appreciated his confidence in a quick labor and hoped he was right!
I digress. It was go time, and I was READY. I didn’t feel any pain per se, but I did feel quite a bit of pressure and felt like I needed to push. (This was completely different than my labor with H where I literally felt nothing and couldn’t even tell if I was pushing.) I started pushing at 5:36 p.m.
7 (yes, seven) short minutes later, Stephen was born. I am not sure how many times I pushed, but it couldn’t have been through more than three contractions. The only slight hiccup in the process was that his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck (like Hadley’s was), but also around his body, so after his head was out and Dr. B had removed the cord from around his neck, it was almost like Stephen was getting stuck each time I pushed because it was making the cord wrap tighter around his body. Dr. B used the vacuum for one quick second until he was out far enough for him to unwrap the cord (we heard Dr. B say, “got it!’), and then he was out. He was a little bit purple when he came out, but he quickly turned pink and started to cry.
He was perfect, and Jon and I were both so overcome with emotion that we didn’t say a whole lot to each other, we just couldn’t stop smiling and saying how perfect he was (and we couldn’t get over all his HAIR!).
Jon did the honors and cut the umbilical cord and then the nurses took S to weigh, measure and clean him.
I literally could not BELIEVE it when they told me that he was 7 lbs, 9 oz and 21 inches long (and his head was 14 inches)— he was much bigger than I expected, especially since it was 10 days before my due date!
When it was all said and done, I felt great. I felt no pain or discomfort at all through the whole delivery, much like with H…I’m not sure how I lucked out with not one but two easy deliveries—I felt sure I was doomed for a 24 hour labor with this one after how easy it was with H. ;)
They brought Stephen back to me for some skin to skin time, and Jon and I just stared at him some more and talked to each other about how we couldn’t believe we had a BOY and how it was crazy how much we already loved him. People told us when I was pregnant that your heart grows immediately when you have a second child and that you automatically love them as much as you do your first, but to be completely honest, I really was skeptical that my heart would be able to grow that much. But, it did. I was head over heels for this little boy from the moment I first held him.
My nurse, Kathy, was amazing through the entire experience. Also, randomly, the same nurse I had when I delivered H, Kimberly, was the charge nurse that day, so she was in and out of the delivery room the whole time. Having another familiar face there definitely helped to put me more at ease!
It was finally Daddy’s turn to hold him. I don’t think he could have been more proud of or in love with his boy.
One thing I will never forget is Jon talking to him while he held him; he was telling him how he loved him and telling him about his big sister…and then he said, “Well buddy, I wish I could tell you that I’l teach you all about how to play basketball and football and baseball…but I’m probably not your guy for that. However, if you want to learn how to play darts or corn hole, you’re in luck!”. I couldn’t stop laughing… I love him.
NC State happened to be playing baseball when S was born, so he and Jon had their first NC State athletics father/son bonding moment when S was less than a half hour old. :) (State won, by the way!)
I think I will stop here for now and finish up with a post about the rest of our hospital stay in the next day or two…so stay tuned. Overall, I couldn’t have had a more positive birth experience, and it ended with such a precious gift—our Stephen Andrew. :)