It all started on Sunday, December 28th. It was my third day off bedrest and I was ready to get out of this house. We started the day at church. All I was able to do for 18 weeks was listen to the service online. It was nice to have that option but it is not quite the same as being there. It was great to be amongst the masses and to participate in worship once again. There were a few Christmas songs sung which made it feel like Christmas! Because I didn't know how my strength would hold up, we sat in the back near an exit...just in case. I know, your thinking, "all you had to do was sit in a pew!!??!" But let me tell you, sitting upright was quite the feat for the muscles in my back! And we did have to sit, stand, sit, stand a few times!! Anyway, I did fine and made it through the entire service without issue.
I did so well, that I talked Blake into taking me to Target to pick up a few things I needed for my hospital bag. I had been trying to get to Target for weeks. It was thrilling to walk through those doors once again. Ahhh, the smell of Target. (It does have it's own smell you know...) I managed to spend 15-20 minutes wandering the isles before I headed to checkout. Blake just let me browse all I wanted just because he was glad for me to be on my feet. As we were heading to the car, we got a call from his parents, who just happened to be in the area. Would we like to have lunch? Sure, we would. I am off bedrest and I am going to live this up.
We headed to Guido's in Cool Springs for a little Italian cuisine. We selected a spicy barbecue chicken. Key word spicy!! By this point, it had been 6 hours since I had lain on a flat surface and my back was starting to feel it. So we headed home. I finally sat on the couch and propped my feet up. It felt good to be down again. There it was. The familiar tightening going on with my uterus. It was no more intense than before. Yet, after paying attention, I noticed they were coming nearly 3 minutes apart. Hummm? Most people would remain in a reclined position, drink water and rest for the day. After an hour of the same ole same ole, I decided we should take the dog on a short walk. I hadn't done that in ages and it sounded fun. Not to mention I had looked into Nugget's sad eyes for weeks, yearning for me to take him outdoors. He didn't understand why all I ever did was lay on the couch!! While we walked, I continued to notice the contractions...close, but no change in intensity. As we approached the house, I suggested we take down the Christmas decorations from around the door. Better yet, why don't we just take down the tree and everything??? So we did just that. I sat while Blake had the painstaking chore of removing the lights. The contractions seemed to be a little less frequent at this point, so I stopped timing them.
Once the task was complete and all decorations were put away, we sat down for dinner. Sure enough, the contractions were still there and still about 3 minutes apart. And the intensity seemed to be picking up a bit. But is this really worth calling about? Nah. We piddled around a bit more and I became a little more uncomfortable. Knowing it would have to get a lot worse before I could truly be in labor, I just gave it more time. By 10:45, things seemed to progress a bit. I will leave out details but another symptom caught my attention. Blake convinced me to call for Dr. B's sake. We didn't want to wake him in the middle of the night! After discussing the situation, he wanted me to head to the hospital.
Blake and I gathered the bags that had been packed, unpacked, and packed again. We drove to Baptist as we had many times before. No stress. Just wondering if this would be another false alarm. Or would we meet or son this trip? Once we arrived and I was registered, we were taken to a labor and delivery room. I felt good. Contractions were consistent but nothing I couldn't manage. Dr. B wanted the nurse to check to see if I was dilated. Sure enough, 3-4 cm!! This WAS it!! I would not be going home. We were going to have a baby!!! Our little boy would be with us very soon!! Although he would be early, 4 weeks and 2 days to be exact, we were not worried. There was a peace in our room that night. God knew he would be born this day. This was no surprise to Him and we were ready to meet the child He had so graciously given to us.
I was hooked up to monitors and an IV was started. The nurse asked if I was planning to have an epidural. There was no question in my mind. My deliveries with Finley and Caroline were difficult and painful. I wanted this time to be different. My prayer was that I would be able to enjoy every moment of this baby's birth. No pain. No heartache. I wanted an epidural. It was placed around 2:30 and left me feeling...nothing!! Praise the Lord! I was only dilated to 5 cm at that point so the nurse suggested Blake and I try to get a little sleep. I closed my eyes to "rest" but there was no sleep for me. I was too excited to finally meet the sweet baby I had been carrying for so long.
We kept waiting for things to progress before we called family and friends to let them know the time was near. When Dr. B checked in around 6:30, I was only 5-6 cm. We decided to go ahead and make the calls anyway. Blake's dad, along with several of our friends, had "requested" I not go into labor until Monday. They got their wish and their call bright and early Monday morning! Our parents were at the hospital within the hour. Friends started making their way to the waiting room, as well. Around 8:30, Dr. B found me to be 6 cm dilated and decided to break my water. He also added a little pitocin about an hour later. However, our little man's heartrate decided to drop when it was started. So it had to be stopped soon thereafter. It didn't matter because things were progressing anyway!
Dr. B came back to check on me within 2 hours. Our parents and friends had to clear the room at that point, leaving me Blake, Dr. B and a nurse. He checked to see where things stood and much to our surprise, I was 10 cm dilated. We were ready to have our baby.
The delivery could not have gone any better for me. Sweet Crosby was "sunny side up" making things a little more difficult on him and supposedly on me but I sure couldn't tell! 40 minutes later, Dr. B was holding our little boy and Blake was cutting the cord. All I remember is the most precious cry coming from that sweet baby's lungs and I was at peace. The tears began to fall as I thanked the Lord for a new story, for this new life. Crosby was quickly swept away to be assessed by the NICU team, including a nurse who happens to be a client at the vet clinic. She stayed past her shift to be with our sweet boy. What a precious gift. It was then they noticed his "grunting" and decided it best he be taken to the transitional nursery for further observation. Blake was able to bring Crosby to me for 30 seconds or so before he walked him back to the nursery. I was left with Dr. B and the nurses while Blake was with Crosby. Once Dr. B was finished with me, he stripped off his gown and gloves, came to the bedside, reached over and gave me the biggest hug. He commented that he had been praying for this day for me and Blake. He was so happy to be a part of the moment. All I could do was thank him through my tears. It was such a special time for us all.
I was left in the room alone until Blake returned with a huge smile on his face. He gave me the latest update on Crosby and showed me all the pictures he had taken. I asked if he had seen our families and he looked a bit shocked. He hadn't even walked out to tell them the news! The next thing I know, he was out the door again, going to fill everyone in!
I think you know the rest. As I stated, I could not have asked for a better delivery. Sure, it would have been great to have Crosby place on my chest and cleaned up like all the deliveries on TLC. But beggers can't be choosers!! I had zero pain when he was born which was such a relief. But more than anything, I delivered a healthy baby boy, who was alive and breathing on his own. I can handle a little grunting...and a little jaundice...and lack of body temp regulation. It all worked out in the end. Here I sit, on his due date, with him in my arms. I could not have asked for a better story...