The Foo Fighters forced me to have my baby early!
Okay so technically it wasn’t Dave Grohl’s fault that I had my son at 36 weeks, but I do believe that because my husband went out of town to see the Foo Fighters, my son decided it would be an ideal time to arrive.
I was just over 3 weeks from my due date. I hadn’t even had my first pointless cervical check yet. You know, the appointment when they tell you how much you’re dilated or effaced resulting in you walking away feeling like your baby could crown at any minute or that it will take another year and vice grips to get the kid out. While the doctor will explain that these checks are good for them to see if you are “progressing”, they are no indicator of when you may go into labor as everyone’s body labors in a magically unique way. Pretty sure these appointments are just so your doctor can start billing your insurance company for something more than a pee test and you can be distracted from the agonizingly slow pace of the last few weeks. Anyway, I never made it to mine this round.
As was my ritual, I got up around 1:00am to pee and rearrange my sea of pillows. I climbed back into bed and could not get comfortable or settled. I was having some mild Braxton Hicks contractions which had riddled my third trimester and were definitely doing their best to interrupt my night. When my husband got home around 3:30am I was sitting upright in bed, the shadow of fear quickly crossing his face. I explained that all was fine, I was just uncomfortable and couldn’t get back to sleep. Before going to sleep, my husband encouraged me to actually start timing the Braxton Hicks contractions. “Oh, interesting idea.” I wasn’t in any pain so I really thought this was a pregnancy insomnia/Braxton Hicks party.
Around 5am, I felt something wet and decided it warranted getting out of bed to check it out. When I went to the bathroom I saw that it was, hold your gag, a dark, bloody discharge. Literally, red alert!! Now THIS seemed like business. I woke my husband up. He immediately asked if I was still having any contractions and how far apart they were. “Oh yeah those, so I got bored with timing them . . .” (husband eye roll). Once we started timing them, I realized they were about 3 minutes apart. Now comes the big decision. Our 2-year-old is asleep and daycare doesn’t open until 7am. Do we wake her and take her to the hospital with us for what I am still believing is false labor, or do we let her sleep and hang out at the house until a bigger sign . . . like the baby crowning? We finally decide to wake her and load her up to head to the hospital. The moment we pull into the parking lot all belly activities had ceased completely. Since I did have a little blood I felt like it was still worth getting checked out, but now I felt just silly.
After asking me a litany of questions, the night shift nurse smugly said, “yeah, you’re not in labor.” I put on my sweetest bite-me smile and replied, “that’s fine, we just want to make sure everything is okay.” As we waited for shift-change, I started to get annoyed with myself that we were even there. I wasn’t having anything even close to a BH contraction anymore. Our new day-shift nurse came in to check me and make sure nothing else was going on, and low and behold, I was 5 cm dilated!! She said we were definitely in labor and it looked like we were going to have a Wimpy White Boy on our hands. Huh? What did you just call my unborn child? So this is a thing. Pre-term, Caucasian males are often referred to as having Wimpy White Boy Syndrome because they tend to do the worst when born prematurely. Thanks lady for making me feel horrible about something that I have no control over AND hasn’t even happened yet. So far this hospital has no stars for the bedside manner of its nurses. Now that we were pretty confident it was go-time, we had family pick up our toddler and take her to daycare. By now we’d been there for almost 2 hours and my doctor was due any minute for a first check-in. The contractions had ramped back up and had a kick of pain with them now. Nothing unbearable, but enough to feel legit. At my doctor’s check just after 8:00, I was at 7 cm. For the next hour, my contractions kicked it up a notch and started feeling like just one long drop-kick to the gut. As they were getting more and more intense, I saw the anxiety on my husband’s face ignite and he kept asking me if I felt like I needed to push. I definitely wasn’t ready to push but felt that the ball would drop any second. We went ahead and asked the nurse to page my doctor.
The nurse slowly readied the room for the impending mess by rolling in the mop buckets and hanging up the hazmat suits. My husband told her that she would want to hurry as this would go pretty quickly, to which she responded with a sigh and an eye roll that clearly said “you’re an idiot.” With the annoyance still hovering in the air, my doctor came in to give me the old five finger check. I was fully dilated but my waters hadn’t broken yet. I was feeling the intense pressure that can only be created by a watermelon trying to burst through a lemon and so I gave her the wink to go ahead and strip those membranes. The party was officially kicked off at 9:00am. I started to push and was quickly reacquainted with a pain that can be felt from the toes to the earlobes! I looked at my husband and said “man this really hurts.” When I felt the ring of fire (that I had somehow missed with baby #1), I re-committed to myself that this would be the last of the Thacker offspring. I pushed for what I felt like must have been an hour. My son was born at 9:14 am. I now know that I can endure less than 15 minutes of pain. Hats off to the ladies who go on for days on end. To my relief, he weighed 6 lbs 6 oz and looked pink and healthy! Stay tuned for a follow-up post on our stint in the NICU and going home without baby.
I had the hardest time envisioning what having a second baby would be like. All I could see was my daughter AND I couldn’t imagine loving anything more or even equally, but the second baby is easier to fall in love with instantly. I could never relate to those first-time moms who claimed to immediately fall in love with this alien that they just spat out! Nothing could have been more foreign to me when I had my daughter. The first hours after having her were filled with me constantly checking that she had all her parts and my mind being blown that those parts grew in the same vessel that had previously done nothing more than process waffle fries and squeeze cheese in college. With baby #2 you’ve already been trained by #1 so you know how precious those first moments are and how much you are going to love them. I was not only in love with my little man immediately, but I also knew he completed our family. Mostly because I didn’t ever want to push another kid out of my body, but also because he was so darn adorable.