As I never did finish my “Journey to Motherhood” series, and I want to keep all of my children in order, I am now going to share with you the story behind my third son, C~. To read everything up to this point, click here.
After W’s birth, we were curious if something had changed with our fertility status. After all, if the problem had improved, we wanted to be aware of it and plan accordingly. So, we had the appropriate tests done. A few days later, I received a call from one of the nurses at my OB’s office. She told me that the results were in, and that the diagnosis was still grim. The problem still existed, and it was still very severe.
“Basically,” she told me, “we aren’t going to say that it could never happen again since it did happen once, but don’t hold your breath. This pregnancy was truly a miracle and it shouldn’t happen again.”
OK, simple enough. Between that and the fact that I was nursing W, we really didn’t worry about being careful. Really, you feel pretty stupid worrying about birth control when you’ve been told you can’t have kids.
Time went on, and W~ started eating more real food and nursing less frequently. I figured that I was getting to the point that all of the lovely “girly” stuff would start going back to normal. Honestly, I was surprised that I had gone so long already. When W~ was about nine months old, I started feeling kind of dizzy and queasy on a regular basis. At one point, right around when it first started, I had a moment of concern and bought a pregnancy test, which came back negative. But the queasiness didn’t go away. I remember asking several other women who had nursed if they had felt “off” when their hormones were starting to shift back to normal. I mean, I had never heard of any type of “return-to-menstruation morning sickness,” but, well, if hormones could make you sick heading in one direction, maybe they could do it in the other direction, too. The answer I received (from each and every one) was “no.”
After a month or so of feeling increasingly sick, Sean and I decided it was time to take another pregnancy test. I remember getting two tests since the store I was at had a “buy one, get one free” deal going. I woke up the next morning and gave it a shot.
Literally, nothing happened. The stupid test was defective. It was a Saturday, so I went about with different activities–cleaning, working out, making something for a BBQ my friend was having that day. I finally decided to take a shower. Before jumping in, I went for the second test.
This time, the results were instant. Positive. Despite all we had been told, I managed to get pregnant, literally, the first time I possibly could have.
I came out and told Sean. He responded by sitting on our couch and stonily staring out our bay window (which overlooks our wooded back yard). After several minutes, he said, “Well, I guess you can call the family and tell everyone.” In a nutshell, he just wasn’t excited, pleased, or feeling remotely positive about this pregnancy. (When I confirmed that fact with him, he told me that he knew he would be excited by the time the baby was born, but it would just take him a bit to adjust to the idea. And he was right.)
The pregnancy itself was pretty uneventful. I had already been through it all once (recently), so it wasn’t a huge deal. I did have some issues with high blood pressure near the end (it amazes me, since I am getting BP readings around 110/65 right now), but even that didn’t end up being a major issue. We knew it was another boy, settled on a name (ironically, Sean suggested C’s name, which had been the name that I wanted to use for W~, but Sean had vetoed as a “trouble maker’s name”), and waited.
Right around my due date, I woke up in the middle of the night with contractions. I didn’t want to wake Sean up until I knew it was the real thing, so I put on my headphones and zoned out to U2’s Joshua Tree. Throughout the night, I dozed and woke to uncomfortable contractions. When morning came, we skipped church and I went walking around the neighborhood, trying to get the contractions to pick up. Instead, they petered out.
That night, I repeated the same scenario. And the night after that.
I was pretty tired and frustrated by the time I went in for my weekly appointment. My midwife checked me, declared me two centimeters dilated (I was ecstatic since I didn’t start dilating at all before the pitocin with W~), and sent me home with instructions to have sex (you know, what got the baby in gets the baby out). I took a nap that afternoon. The midwife’s instructions must have been on my mind because, well, let’s just say I had a pleasant dream. A dream that was rudely interrupted by my water breaking in real life. It may not have been exactly what the midwife had meant but, well, it worked.
I was told to head straight to the hospital (even though I wasn’t having regular contractions) since my water had broken and I was Strep B positive. I was lucky to have a doctor on duty who would allow the midwives to “augment” my labor with pitocin since I had been having contractions for the past few days (technically speaking, you aren’t supposed to be induced once you have had a c-section). They gave me the lowest dose of pitocin, and things took off. They never increased the amount (actually, I think they may have even taken me off of it).
The contractions this time around were definitely different than what I had experienced with W~. From the very beginning, I felt a lot of pressure. Honestly, the contractions themselves didn’t bother me all that much, but the pressure was something else. Between the difference in contractions and the fact that I started the pitocin around 5:30 pm (the same time as with W~) and was afraid that I would end up repeating my last labor and be too tired to enjoy my new baby, I got scared and went for the epidural. If I had only known.
It only took me about four hours or so to be completely dilated. I tried pushing, but was so numb from the epidural that I asked them to turn it off and leave me alone for a little while so I could get some sensation. I don’t remember how long I ended up pushing, but it was a decent while. I remember getting discouraged and thinking that I wouldn’t make it. The midwife had me doing tug-of-war with one of the nurses using a bed sheet to try and help push him out (I still remember being amused at the fact that the nurse, at one point, said she might need help because I was a lot stronger than she anticipated and she was afraid that I would succeed in fulfilling my instructions to pull her on top of me). C~ was born shortly after 12:30 am on Sean’s father’s birthday. From the start of pitocin to birth was just around seven hours. I had literally shaved just about an entire day off of my last labor time (thank heavens!).
After the labor, I remember telling Sean that I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t get out a mirror for me to see the birth. “Don’t you remember?” he asked me. “They offered to get a mirror so you could see and you told them, ‘I don’t need to see that!'” Um, yeah. I have no recollection AT ALL.
Without going into graphic detail, getting C~ out was not the easiest thing. He weighed in at nine pounds, even, and was about 22 inches long. The really funny thing is that I looked at him and thought, “This can’t be our kid–he looks like me!” Seriously, it took me about a whole day to adjust to the fact that he didn’t look like Sean. W~ is almost an exact replica of Sean, so I just assumed my genes didn’t have a shot. C~ has my eyes and my father’s expressions. The only thing on him that is really identifiable as his father’s are his ears (especially the lobes).
I did the standard two-day stay in the hospital, then returned home. This time, I was greeted by the joys and challenges of being the mother of three.