Harrison’s Birth Story
There was no crib put together, the baby clothes weren’t put away, the carseat wasn’t even in the car yet! All those little things were going to take place over the weekend, along with my baby shower.
I was supposed to have three and a half more weeks of being pregnant… but the Universe, and Harrison, decided differently when my water started to break on a Thursday morning, right in the middle of the grocery store…
It really was like any typical Thursday morning, getting Emmett ready for daycare so that I could go pickup groceries before I went home, unpack them, and get logged into work for my first round of morning meetings and emails. It was a real bummer when I dropped him off at school, with huge alligator tears, and not wanting to “go see the boys” at school. I didn’t even get a hug and kiss, which is part of our daily routine at drop off, and the director had to pry him out of his carseat to get him inside. My heart absolutely broke.
But I told myself I would see him in a few hours, and it would be fine. He’s always happy after a day of playing with his friends, who he calls “the boys”, is excited to have a snack and tell me about his day, and count the big trucks on the way home. I carried on with a little lull in my mood, and realized that I needed to go inside the store to pick up a couple of items that I had forgotten on my pick-up order like I always do.
Down another aisle. More. Drip drip. Oh my gawd. Am I peeing? Oh crap, these are light blue shorts. I’m going to look like I peed myself. Is it coming down my leg? Oh. My. Gawd. Okay, new plan. Grab what you need, check out, pick up the groceries, and get home as soon as possible to call the midwives. AND CALL YOUR MOTHER.
My mom was going to come and watch Emmett while we were at the hospital, so I gave her a heads up to what was going on, she was prepped with a bag and ready if needed.
I called the midwives and gave them the lowdown, to which they said “yup, it sounds like your water is breaking. We will call the hospital and let them know you will be coming in. We will call you back in 20 minutes.” And with that it was a mad rush for me to let the dog out, put the groceries away, throw my bag in the car, and the carseat in the trunk, and then start cleaning… just like my mom said not to do. SIT DOWN, she said. I’m not very good at directions.
But when the midwives called back it wasn’t quite what I expected. They asked if I had a different hospital that I wanted to go to. *momentary panic* The hospital I was planning to deliver at was on a divert order with zero room for new patients, even laboring ones. I opted for the same hospital I gave birth to Emmett at, since it was the same distance away (albeit in the opposite direction.), at least it was familiar territory. Another 20 minute call later, they said to come on in. Now it was time to tell Ben!! Because OF COURSE he was at work that day!
I called, I texted, told him I was going in and hoped that he would get one of my messages in between patients that day. I told him he might want to leave work. When I did hear back from him he didn’t sound entirely convinced. With lots of all caps texts going his way, I told him it was time to come home, this was NOT a drill. He told me to put a towel down on the seat of the car. Priorities, HA! So in I went, leaving non-refrigerated groceries on the counter for my mom to deal with, the car seat in the trunk and calling daycare to let them know that I wouldn’t be the one picking up Emmett after school. With each mile down the road I was praying that my water didn’t break completely I drove myself in. (It didn’t.) And I totally broke the carpool rules, figuring even if they caught me I had a legitimate excuse.
After I checked in at the hospital, I went to triage and they said I would be admitted, I called and told him “Yes, I am officially admitted”, he asked if he needed to leave work now? OMG Benjamin, yes! (To be fair, Ben is the charge nurse, so it wasn’t like there was anyone who could just fill in if he needed to leave immediately or come in.)
Even with the change in plans, it was really nice to be back in the same hospital again, and with a much calmer atmosphere going into it. This time around being able to go into labor on my own made all the difference in the WORLD for me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I’m absolutely certain of that.
I was so thankful that the day passed without much chaos, and I could rest and allow my body to do what it was supposed to do on it’s own time. This time I was attended by a nurse and midwife which was exactly what I had hoped for this time around. As we chatted at my bedside, she asked me what I wanted to my labor and delivery. Giving her my history of my first baby, she looked horrified at the story I told. In summation I said “Everything that happened last time? I want it to be the complete opposite this time.” She said that would be no problem. I could have cried tears of joy right then and there. We went through the game plan, how to get my body ready for this baby, pain management plans, and how to stay mobile and on my feet as long as possible. This time I was ready.
At 10 am I was admitted, and by 3pm Ben had arrived to find me perched on the bed just chilling out watching TV. I think he had hoped that if he had left work in such a rush, he would at least arrive to a wife in active labor. Sorry, honey. We were in for a bit of a long night. By the time his end of shift time rolled around at 7:30, he said jokingly, “See? I could have stayed at work the rest of the day.”. The glare I shot him could have bore a hole through the wall, but then I laughed knowing he was mostly kidding.
Like last time, I needed pitocin to keep things moving, and for most of the afternoon and evening I was able to stay up and move around, working with my nurse to get me into new positions to labor differently. By night time though, I was in desperate need of more relief from the pain. Ben helped whenever he could, using the massage ball I packed in my hospital bag – which was a lifesaver and was a big reason I was able to hold off on the epidural as long as possible. But when it was time for the juice, I needed the juice! The only mishap this time around was that my first epidural came OUT! Bless the doctor’s heart, he apologized with every other sentence he spoke, but got the second one secured again and I felt waves of relief. And I got a little sleep here and there, too. Bonus!
Things moved slowly, and as the morning rolled in, my midwife came back at 5am to do another check to see how I was doing and how things had progressed since my epidural. I was shocked when she told me it was time to push! Oh! Having three wonderful people surrounding me, I had encouragement and love around me. When I was having doubts, I was cheered on, when I was shaking and thought I couldn’t do another push, I was given the confidence to do it one more time. Our midwife and nurse were taking bets on when he would arrive (which lightened the mood), and our midwife guessed it would be 6am on the nose. And she was right – well, she was off by 2 seconds but no matter. At 5:59 and 58 seconds Harrison was here!
But there was something just a little different… he was quiet. Not in a worrying way, but he just didn’t come out wailing like his brother did. His APGAR scores were perfect, except one they had to mark him down for since he wasn’t crying. It was just funny how different these boys already were and, now a little over a month later, continue to be. Ben kissed my head and we marveled at this little wrinkly creature, already opening his dark steel blue eyes and resting comfortably on my chest. For being considered a preemie because of his arrival before 37 weeks, he was still big coming in at 7 pounds 5 ounces – the same as Emmett was at 39.5 weeks. Thank goodness I didn’t make it to 40 weeks! ha! Harrison was just perfectly content to chill with mama, and I loved it.
This time around the physical aftermath of my delivery was so uncomplicated that I was up an about the next day, astonishing the nurses and myself. Truthfully I wanted to get home as soon as possible, but because Harrison was considered a preemie, we were required a minimum 48 hour stay after to monitor him. Ben was able to go home each day and see my mom and Emmett, and I got to Facetime him as well, showing him baby brother. His face lit up, and it gave Ben a chance to finish putting together the rest of the baby gear we hadn’t got assembled before our surprise early arrival of Harrison. The extra time in the hospital gave me time to rest and feel confident that Harry and I were both on track with feedings, and ensure he wasn’t losing too much weight. We were released at after we passed the 48 hour assessments, and it was a joy to be back at home with Emmett who doted on Harry. How lucky we have been.
My recovery has been night and day compared to Emmett’s delivery and my recovery, which impacted me so greatly mentally, emotionally, and physically, because of the trauma I sustained. But this time, I am convinced, that going into labor on my own was a huge tipping point in the success of Harrison’s delivery and I am so proud and thrilled that I haven’t had to fight the same mental and emotional battle to recover. Within the week we were going on family walks and I was cooking and gardening again – all crucial to my well being. And we have tried to get daily solo time with Emmett so that he doesn’t feel like we are solely focused on only the baby. There are good days and hard days, but they have all had their own brand of special.
We have been a family of four for five weeks now, and I can’t imagine it any other way.