So, with this little guy lying fast asleep on my chest, I'll write about the birth story of our newest little guy: Levi Grant Cranney.
Apparently my body doesn't signal that it's in labor the standard way posted on internet sties to answer queries of anxious soon-to-be-mothers. Nor does it behave the same way with every pregnancy. I thus went into the hospital afraid I had pre-term labor at 36 weeks only to be shown out the door. When Levi continued to still be content within my womb at my 39 week appointment I started to get a little nervous he would come quickly--as did my doctor who told me to not wait for the standard 3-5 minutes apart, but to come at 7-10 minutes since I was already dilated to 3.5. On Sunday some more painful contractions started happening when I walked around, but would practically cease when I sat turning into 20-25 minutes apart. but that kind of hurt. (I know, I know, boring details, but apart of this is for future reference if ever needed for me). Anyway after a day of indecision I finally told Stephen that we were going to the hospital and if they sent us back again, they sent us back, but I needed to know if these contractions were doing anything. Stephen's amazing mom had arrived two days before to help out with him and it was perfect timing. It was so nice to be able to leave the kids with her as we left around 10 at night to the hospital. When I arrived they checked me and said I was a 6.5. Since I had not been admitted with Simeon when my contractions were slow and I was a 6, we were still slightly worried they would send us home--but thankfully they kept us. My contractions continued to be spaced out pretty far and only at one time did they come closer than 10 minutes, though they were also longer. My doctor that I had seen throughout the pregnancy wasn't on call and had surgery the next morning so they told me it would be Dr. Patterson. She had actually seen me before when I was hemorrhaging with a miscarriage a year and a half ago. I had like her then and was happy to have her again.
I had already told my other doctor that I had wanted to go natural, didn't want my water manually broken, only have a heplock (no IV), no pitocin, and that when it came to pushing--I didn't want to overpush. In general I try not to be a demanding person and so even talking with my doctor about this was a little uncomfortable, but I'm glad I did. He communicated all of this to Dr. Patterson who indulged me. When I was 10 cm I really felt the urge to push. I would say that the contractions to this point while definitely more painful than the ones I had with my other boys, were WAY more mild than they are with other women. I've always been able to talk, walk, and even laugh through contractions which makes me always hesitant to say that I do natural births because I realize that there is such a difference of experiences I would hate it if someone were to compare when such a comparison would be utterly ridiculous. Anyway, I just have crazy labors including that every time I give birth I have multiple nurses say they have never seen anyone be so calm and not medicated. I really wish it were a matter of self-discipline, but it's not.
At 10 cm. my water still hadn't broken and I asked if I could just continue to labor and see if I didn't have a "mermaid baby" or "angel baby" with the baby being born with the amniotic sac still in tact (incredibly rare--more common though among pre-term labors). They moved a mirror so I could see (which was a first, and I really liked having one) and I started pushing when I had contractions. At first it felt odd with the nurses and doctor not telling me when to push by looking at the monitor, but after awhile it was nice. My contractions were still several minutes apart which allowed everyone to start up an interesting conversation just in time for me to interrupt with me having to push again. At first I could see the head through the amniotic sac it was incredible! When I started to pushy however, the head receded and the sac started coming out first. It started to make a large balloon of sorts and they handed Stephen a hospital gown in case it exploded on him. The pushing wasn't terrible when it was the sac, until it was getting to the point that the head needed to come out too and then it started really hurting. I have never screamed out when pushing before, but with this one I did. At first I started just the low moaning (which really did help), but when it got really bad I started screaming "Come on baby! Come!" When the sac was the size of a grapefruit it finally popped. In some ways this was a relief and took some pressure off, but then came his head. It had probably been 40 minutes of this off and on pushing, but when the head was there contractions started speeding up. I started to scream that I couldn't do it. Stephen and the nurses and doctor assured me that I could (I know, I know, I had no other choice). Stephen held my leg since he was helping out with my leg cramps and I held the nurses' hands. When I got to that ring of fire I screamed I was never having any more children, but then 3 seconds later his head was out, I only had to do his shoulders quickly and he was out in my arms. It was glorious to hold him! Perhaps the reason this labor was so painful in comparison was due to him being my largest baby at 8 lbs 9 oz. He was born at 5:12 a.m. on Monday the 17th of April (right after Easter and a day before taxes were due).
I'm not sure anything compares with holding your newborn on your chest after giving birth--I really don't. I was in tears, half from the pain and half from the joy of finally having him here. The cushion of the amniotic sac left his head incredibly round according to the nurses and everyone was amazed when there perfectionist NICU nurse gave him a 10 APGAR score since she never gives such high scores.
So there it is, there is Levi's birth story. Everything has gone pretty smoothly. The placenta came out, there was a small superficial tear that she stitched up just in case, but it was a wonderfully unique and uncomplicated birth which I am so grateful for. I so appreciate the nurses and doctor that were so supportive. Stephen was pretty grand and while we both slept as I labored from a 6 to 8 or 9, when it came time to be there for me, he totally was. He got the cramps out of my legs (he's had practice since I've often woken him up in the middle of the night needing help to get them out) and honestly his random conversation starters with the doctor and nurses about their jobs or his research in fertility etc. were a nice diversion between contractions. What's more, he loves and admires motherhood and womanhood and I'm grateful for that. He cut the cord which neither of us could remember if he had done before. All is well still and though he had a little trouble maintaining a high blood sugar level, it has since stabilized and I'm glad it's been good stay. We were going to go home earlier today, but the doctors wanted to keep him just to be sure another day. Alright, I haven't re-read this or edited this so this may be somewhat jumbled, but I'm playing the new-mommy card that let's one be forgiven (hopefully) for what grammatical errors or self-centeredness a post like this must have.
*Stephen just e-mailed me the following corrections:
"First, you weren't screaming "come on baby," you were screaming "come baby, baby come." I just realized it was reminiscent of Christ calling forth Lazarus into life: "Lazarus, come."
Second, it wasn't the size of a grapefruit, it was the size of a melon when it popped.