I'd woken up at 4:00am that morning -- just for a minute -- just long enough to stare at the red digital numbers on our bedside clock that told me another morning would soon be dawning with NO baby. I was officially on day four of being overdue.
Every night for the past two weeks I'd gone to bed thinking, "maybe tonight . . ." and every morning I'd woken up disappointed, thinking, "I'm still here." But that disappointment had begun to turn into MAJOR frustration as the mornings past my due date kept dawning.
That morning was a particularly frustrating one because I had actually gone to bed feeling some irregular but pretty uncomfortable contractions -- contractions I was hopeful might lead to the real deal, but after sleeping peacefully til 4:00am, I realized that they must have been simply another round of false labor. I made a small sad little moan to myself -- a pity moan, then drifted back to sleep.
Fifteen minutes later I was up again in a state of excited disbelief. There were no contractions, but was that my imagination, or were the sheets all around me wet? I had never, in four pregnancies, had my water break at the onset of labor. That's how it always starts in the movies, and that's how I wanted to have it start. This had to be it. I giddily hopped up and ran to the bathroom -- only to fill a toilet with blood.
My mind was unable to make sense of this. I knew what blood meant early on. I'd experienced it twice, and both times it meant a miscarriage. But blood now? Four days past due? Babies don't "miscarry" at that point. They are babies. Do they die? Does blood mean they die? Would you bleed? But I shouldn't be bleeding -- my water had broken . . . right? I went back to the bed to look at the sheets. Somehow convinced this was all a mistake and I would see clear amniotic fluid, but no. Bright red blood.
Clearly I should have been flying to the hospital, but I really think my mind was in a strange shockish sort of state. I gently woke Mike and confusedly said how I didn't know what to do. "I'm not in labor," I said, "but I'm bleeding everywhere. I don't know what that means."
Luckily "bleeding everywhere" got someone to action. Mike flew out of bed and had me out the door and rushing to the hospital with in about two minutes. Very nice that we happened to be living at my parents still so we could just wake my mom and tell her we were leaving. Still slightly in shock I began apologizing -- embarrassed -- about the blood all over my sheets I was leaving behind. She, of course, simply pushed me out the door with promises of serious prayers.
I still remember that cold dark car ride. I called my CNM, Guy. He tried to reassure me that some women bleed as they dilate, etc. But I never had before and I knew this was more bleeding than could be so simply explained. Mike and I didn't talk much on the car ride. He asked me once if I'd felt any kicking. I told him I didn't know. Then began anxiously focusing on feeling some movement -- any movement -- and not feeling it.
Mike drove me right to the ER door and sent me in as he went to park. I still, oddly, felt unsure of what I was doing there and began mumbling to the security guard on duty how I didn't know if I should be here or not, how I wasn't in labor but was bleeding. He looked a little uncomfortable as he had someone come put me in a wheelchair and wheel me up to the maternity floor.
During the elevator ride I had a pretty serious contraction or two, but I was so bewildered, I honestly didn't recognize them for what they were.
It was only when I got to the nurses station on the maternity floor and explained for the fifth time how I was past due, not in labor but bleeding that things became less surreal and I finally began to cry.
The nurses were very calm and very nice as they took me in to "take a look" at what was going on. As I changed into the dressing gown I had another contraction or two. I climbed onto the table as Mike arrived. I was very tense, but with out any big to do she found the little heartbeat -- as if she'd never doubted she would. She also commented, "Well, if you weren't in labor, you certainly seem to be now!" as the contraction monitor she'd hooked to me registered a contraction. She didn't have to tell me. I knew now. They were slow, long, and very real contractions. I was only dilated to a four (only one centimeter more than I'd been at my previous appt.) so I knew all that blood probably wasn't from one centimeter of dilation, and the triage nurse didn't speculate -- though she did keep trying to reposition me each time my baby's heart would dip down low.
Not having started contractions until I was in the hospital was actually quite nice because it was only a matter of minutes before I was able to have my epidural. Probably the least amount of pain I'd ever had to have with a labor.
My nurse in labor was very good as well. She guessed that maybe part of my placenta had pulled away and caused the bleeding, but assured me that as long as we could keep the heartbeat doing well there was no reason to worry and that if there was any doubt I'd just get in immediately for a c-section. And, she was very discreet about the fact that she kept having to change padding and wipe up more blood. Knowing my little baby was going to be OK was such a relief. I was able to finally relax and get excited about what was about to happen.
The little heart occasionally dipped low, but it seemed we could fix it by repositioning me. Guy guessed that the contractions were maybe pressing on the cord a little since my baby was still up so high. Ha! And fat chance of me ever really having my water break. My sister once informed me that we have steel amniotic sacs, and I am starting to believe it. Even with my natural labor with Goldie my water didn't break until I was pushing her out, and with this one, I was fully dilated with no water breaking.
Guy had me stay at a ten for about an hour before breaking my water and having me push. I always test positive for Strep B, but am never at the hospital long enough for the full four hours to pass after a penicillin dose to ensure my baby won't catch it traveling down the birth canal. Guy was determined to make me wait out my four hours this round. It made me laugh to know I was sitting there fully dilated and not pushing. With no epidural that would have been impossible. How well I recall crying, "I NEED TO PUSH SOMETHING!" when I was at that point with Goldie. Guy hadn't been there and I could sense a vague panic among the nurses, but I couldn't wait. And yet, here I was, patiently waiting. Ahhhhh epidurals . . . how I love you.
At 9:00 am it was time to push and find out who this baby was. Guy didn't tell me. He simply held my baby right up for me to exclaim, "Oh! It's a boy!" and then begin to laugh and cry as if a boy was of course the only thing it ever could have been.
And that is how my little Jesse Frank made his way into the world -- one year ago today.
And here he is today. Very much a "boy" indeed. It is so funny to me to see how he already seems to feel that he should attack Abe (leaving his sister's out of it) when Abe is trying to sit and do something. His favorite favorite thing in the world is to try and break all our doors and cupboards. He opens them and then begins slamming them repeatedly the way they don't go -- trying to pop their hinges right off. He seriously begins laughing to himself every time he gets a chance to do it. His other favorite thing is to find an open bathroom door. He can unroll an entire toilet paper roll in seconds. All around, he is pure trouble. There is no toy in the world that can hold his attention. He ONLY likes mischief. I know all of my kids have gone through the stage of emptying drawers and cupboards, but I think he might be the most proficient at it. There is not any waking moment that he isn't doing something he shouldn't be. I just don't think it occurred to my other kids to wreak quite as much havoc. The other day we were at my sister-in-laws. She has a kid's dream playroom with every kind of fun toy, slides, etc. Jesse did not get distracted from the task at hand (of causing mischief) for even one second. No toy weakened his resolve or sullied his hands. He simply spent his time finding cups of water and plates of food to overturn -- no matter that we tried to make sure there were none he could get -- he found them and only allowed himself to be fooled by an empty cup for a short while.
We love our little kid who mostly only cries when you hold a cupboard shut so he can't open it or when he sees a bathtub filling with water and him not in it. I love that Penny calls him, "Jessy boy." What a funny and cute little boy. Thank goodness he is part of our family!! Happy birthday Jessy Boy!!!