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Mr.McHunky had been joking for weeks that I would be in labor on Labor Day. He thought it was hilarious….until it happened. Ha! I woke up feeling fine on Monday, the 6th of September, aka Labor Day. But by mid-morning I was having some…ahem, intestinal disturbances. The contractions didn’t seem any worse than they had been for the past few weeks so I thought maybe I had some kind of stomach virus. I talked Mr.McHunky into taking a walk around the neighborhood with me, despite the fact it was well over 90 degrees. I just felt the need to move and walk around, which in hindsight should have been my first clue that labor was a comin’. We walked a couple of miles and probably sweated off 5 pounds in the process, not necessarily a bad thing in my case. Ha!

The contractions definitely picked up as we walked and didn’t slow down at all when we got home. It was around 1pm or so and I started thinking that maybe I was in early labor, which sent me straight into a panic because we had no food in the house and no toilet paper. Don’t ask how I discovered there was no toilet paper. It is not a pretty story and I am banishing the memory from my mind. I had a lot of little things left on my to do list and it was all stuff that actually needed to get done- lay out clothes for the kids for school for the week, send money to their online school lunch account, a couple of loads of laundry, grocery shopping…..important things. So we headed out to Target to grab some essentials, just in case. I was feeling like crap by that point, the contractions were pretty steady and getting stronger at 4-5 minutes apart. I think Mr.McHunky asked me at least 100 times if I needed to go to the hospital and I kept putting it off. I knew I had only been a loose 2, almost 3cm dilated at my last appointment and I didn’t want to get sent home. I still wasn’t convinced that it was real labor. Ha! We strolled around Target for an hour or so and by the time we got home, I knew that I was in early labor.

We spent the next 5 or 6 hours getting things prepared. I really thought I would be in early labor through the night and possibly be 4cm by the time my regularly scheduled OB appointment rolled around in the morning and then I would just get sent to the hospital. I could still talk through the contractions, they were not that bad, just consistent. Mr.McHunky and I straightened up the house, got all the kids things prepared for the week, wrote out instructions for my mom….all the stuff we left until the last minute, of course. It wasn’t until around 9pm that the contractions really started picking up and getting stronger. I could no longer sit still, I had to be moving. I think I wore a rut in the hardwoods, that’s how many times I walked the same path around the couches. Around 10pm, I gave my sister a call to let her know that I might have to head up to L&D to at least get checked out. She had to work the next morning at 8am so I called my mom as well to let her know that she might need to head on down to our house. Not even 10 minutes after I called my sister, I had one major contraction that sealed the deal. We were heading for the hospital.

I called my OB’s on call line and thanked my lucky stars that a doctor I really liked was on call that night. I was so worried that I would get the one OB that I seriously dislike and I would have to kill her in the middle of my labor. She told me to head on in to L&D to be checked out. I was able to take a shower and gather my stuff while we waited for my sister to arrive. The kids were all asleep so they didn’t even know that we were leaving, we decided not to wake them up since they had school the next morning. Mase woke up about 5 minutes before my sister arrived and went absolutely stark raving crazy at the mere thought of staying home without us. We figured we might as well take him with us and then Mr.McHunky could bring him home later on if he needed to. So I packed him a little bag full of toys and snacks to take with us. By the time my sister got there, I was ready to go. I could no longer sit down at all, the contractions were about every 2-2.5 minutes apart and I was definitely breathing through them. Time to GO! Luckily we are only 10 minutes from the hospital but I swear we hit every single traffic light on the way. Naughty words were said. It was 10:58pm on Labor Day Monday when we arrived at the hospital.

When we got to L&D, it was deserted. When I had Mase, the whole floor was packed and we ended up in a triage room for hours waiting for a real L&D room to open up. I guess that’s the difference in showing up at 11am before the daily discharges are done and showing up at 11pm at night. If there were going to be a number 6 in our house I would remember that, but there will not be a number 6. No really. There will not be a number 6. Keep reading and you’ll know why. Ha! We were taken straight into a triage room by a nurse that I swear must have been all of 12 years old. When did they get so young….or when did I get so old? She was super nice though and did not have an issue with Mase being present. I was nervous that I would get some grief for bringing a 2 1/2 year old with me to L&D, but there was no way I was leaving him at home, screaming hysterically. Not in my overly hormonal state. He was so good. He sat on the chair beside Mr.McHunky with his little MobiGo game and we didn’t hear a peep out of him the entire time we were in triage.

The nurse hooked me up to the monitors for 45 minutes so they could see my contraction pattern before checking my cervix. I contracted every 2-2.5 minutes the entire time and these were not little irritable contractions, they were BIG contractions- some reaching up into the 80’s and lasting upwards of a minute each. The nurse kept saying that the OB on call from my office was trying to determine whether she wanted to try and stop the contractions and try to buy me another few days of pregnancy or if she should just go ahead and let me deliver. I was fully prepared to be sent home after a night of meds, I was trying to think positively about it. Another few days would be good for the baby. I could handle another few days of contractions. I was lying to myself. If she had tried to send me home, I think I would have reached up there and dragged the baby out myself!

After 45 minutes, the nurse came in and checked my cervix. I was a very loose and stretchy 4cm dilated. And the contractions were still steady at 2-2.5 minutes. I still had not actually seen the OB at this point but the nurse said that based on my dilation and contractions pattern, she would be shocked if I was sent home. Especially considering Maia was born at 35 weeks, 3 days and Mase was born right at 37 weeks. She asked about pain relief. Hello, Epidural! I remember telling her that I was not one of those mama’s who felt the need to have a natural birth. I wanted drugs and lots of them. This comment will come back to haunt me later on, I should have known better. The nurse was right, my OB admitted me for delivery about 20 minutes later. Mr.McHunky jumped on the phone to let my mom know to go ahead and come down to stay with the kids so my sister could get to work in the morning. We had 3 back up plans and every single one of them fell through. My first back up person was out of town. The second one had a child with chicken pox and the third one was not answering her phone. So while I thought I had all my bases covered, things were much more stressful than they should have been. My mom was packed and ready to go and she left immediately to make the 2 hour drive to our house even though it was after midnight. What would I do without my mom? Mom’s are the best. Meanwhile, Mase had been tucked in on the oh-so-comfortable couch/daybed/torture board and was fast asleep.

The triage nurse became my L&D nurse and came in to talk to me about antibiotics. I was scheduled to have my Group B Strep test that very day at my OB appointment. Of course. This would not normally be a big issue but for me, it was a big deal. I’m allergic to just about every damn antibiotic that is safe in pregnancy. And not just allergic like hives and itching, allergic like Anaphylactic shock and Epi pens. The few that I’m not allergic to are not ones that they would use to treat Group B Strep. Sigh. After multiple conversations and discussions among the medical team, they decided on an antibiotic- Vancomycin. They started the first dose around 1:30am. It took maybe 30 minutes for the itching to start. And I don’t mean a little itch here and there. I mean OH MY EFFIN WORD, MY WHOLE EFFIN BODY IS ON FIRE itching. I was on the phone with my mom when the itching started on the top of my head and WHOOSH, it spread all the way down my body. I was literally scratching the skin off my body trying to make the itching stop. I pulled a clump of hair out of my head in my efforts to alleviate the itching. Mr.McHunky called for a nurse, who came running. A nurse coming into your room in a full sprint is never a comforting sign and this nurse looked panicked. My lips were starting to tingle and I felt dizzy. It took her all of 30 seconds to stop the Vancomycin, start flushing my IV lines and administer some Benadryl. 3 more nurses poured in right behind her. Again, not comforting. Mr.McHunky was in the corner, muttering something about how I have to make everything exciting and I can’t just have a nice, easy, calm labor. Ha!

It took a good 10 minutes for the itching and tingling to stop and I was so relieved to hear that the full dose did manage to go in the IV so I did not have to repeat the experience again later on. So I guess we add Vancomyin to the long list of antibiotics that I will not be taking again. The Benadryl made me so sleepy and the nurse suggested I take a nap. Sure, it’s so easy to take a nap with contractions wracking your body every 2 minutes. I may or may not have said that out loud. She checked my cervix again and I was still a loose 4cm. The contractions were starting to change, I was feeling them in my lower back- just like with Maia. I had 34 hours of horrifying back labor with Maia- 30 of them with no epidural. Not an experience I wanted to repeat. But I also do not really like the thought of a gigantic needle in my back so the pain of the contractions must be worse than the apprehension of the big needle. Mr.McHunky calls me a contradiction. Ha! Mr.McHunky was fast asleep on the couch with Mase but there was no way I was going to fall asleep. The contractions plus the excitement of knowing we would be meeting our new daughter were just too much to let me fall asleep. So I just settled back to watch some middle of the night television….and let me tell you, the selection was not great. Four episodes of Everybody loves Raymond later, the OB finally came in to check my progress.

It was 6am when he checked me and I was a solid 6cm dilated, fully effaced and finally at a zero station. I was disappointed that I wasn’t further along because the contractions were really painful by this point and it went much faster with Mase (although in hindsight, his labor went faster because the OB broke my water immediately and I had Pitocin). The OB went ahead and broke my water since the baby was much lower and engaged. Turns out the water was bloody. No meconium, thank goodness, but quite a bit of blood. She was concerned but not overly so since baby looked great on the monitors. I went ahead and asked for the epidural, knowing that I was about to get much more uncomfortable. I was fully prepared to deliver quickly, like with Mase. Should have known better. Zoey had her own agenda and wanted to do it her own way. Just like Maia. I got the epidural about 30 minutes later. Mr.McHunky and Mase slept through the whole thing. Ha! Probably good since big needles being inserted into his wife’s back tend to make Mr.McHunky uneasy. The anesthesiologist was in and out quickly and while it took the pain of the contractions away, I could still move and feel my legs. I knew that I could not move or feel my legs with either Maia or Mase but my nurse kept assuring me that it was normal and fine. Since I wasn’t feeling pain, I let it go. If there were going to be a next time, which there is not, I would listen to my gut feeling.

The next 2 hours passed quickly. I thought I would be ready to push a lot sooner since that happened in both my previous deliveries. But I was stuck at 8cm for-evah! The OB who had just come on service ordered some Pitocin to get me to 10cm but I started feeling pressure before the nurse could even get the bag hung and hooked up to my IV. After 2 augmented deliveries, the threat of Pitocin was enough to kick my body into gear. Ha! Finally, I felt a huge surge of pressure and then excruciating pain. Like someone was cutting me in half with a chainsaw, kind of pain. PAIN. I hit that stupid epidural bolus button so many times that it cut me off. Bastard. The nurse checked me and said I was a 9 and I should breathe like I was blowing out birthday candles. I’m going to tell you right now, that shit don’t work. Birthday candles my ass. I kept telling her that I HAVE TO PUSH RIGHT NOW. And she kept telling me to blow through the pressure. Two more contractions later and I was done blowing out birthday candles. I told the nurse that I CANNOT STOP PUSHING. She obviously got the message because she started moving fast, breaking down the bed and calling for the OB. Mr.McHunky said it was my demon voice that got her ass moving. I tend to think he’s right. She checked me one last time and I was fully dilated and the baby’s head was right there. Literally, right there. And she was sunny side up, just like her stubborn big sister. That’s apparently why my progression was slower than expected. Mase was still sleeping on the couch at this point. I thought he was going to sleep through the entire delivery, I really hoped he would. But of course, that’s not how things work in our family. He woke up about a minute before Zoey was born, he took one look around at all the people in the room and promptly hid under the sheet.

The OB showed up a couple of minutes later and got there just in time because I only pushed five times through 2 contractions before Zoey Jayne was born. She came out with her arm up beside her head, again just like her big sister. She was crying right away and got to be placed right on my chest, unlike Mase who was whisked away by a NICU nurse immediately. I remember looking down at her beautiful little face and being overwhelmed by a sense of Deja Vu. It was like being transported back in time 5 years ago and seeing Maia for the first time. Zoey is identical to Maia. She got to remain on my chest for a good half an hour while the OB did the rest of his job.

I was so enthralled with my new daughter that it took me a few minutes to realize that I was feeling every single stitch he made and with the epidural, I should not have been feeling them. He looked puzzled when I told him that but shot me up with Lidocaine before finishing. I didn’t tear as badly as I did with the other kids, only a 2nd degree tear this time which is a welcome change from the 3rd and 4th degree tears I had before. I had more bleeding than what is expected so I got to enjoy a lovely fundal massage. Note the sarcasm. My abdomen was sore for 2 weeks from the massaging. The OB who delivered me said that my placenta was starting to separate, which explains the bloody amniotic fluid, and also makes it a very good thing that she was delivered that day. The progressive care nurse took her over to get her weight and apgars (8 and 9, thank you).

Zoey Jayne weighed in at 6 pounds 9 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. A perfect sized little peanut, especially for only 36 weeks, 2 days along. She was given a clean bill of health and handed off to Mr.McHunky for some bonding time while the nurse and OB finished up with me. I ended up with the Pitocin after all, to help stop the bleeding, and also a nice shot of something starting with a M in my leg to further stop the bleeding. Apparently, I’m a bleeder. My mom finally made it to the room less than 10 minutes after Zoey was born. Even though she wasn’t intending to be there in time for the birth, she was a little disappointed to have missed it by only a few minutes. She was there for Mase’s birth so at least she got to see one of her grandchildren come into the world. Mr.McHunky finally coaxed Mase out from under the sheet and scared the heck out of the OB who delivered me, he hadn’t even known Mase was there. We all got a good laugh out of the look on the doctor’s face.

That’s the story of Zoey Jayne’s birth.  My last labor and delivery. She’s so sweet, she almost makes me want another.  Almost. This post got really long so I’ll continue the story of her first few days meeting her new family in another post.

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