I should probably begin with a few facts.
First of all, on November 12 I was technically 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant. One stinkin' day short of earning the "full term" title and still 3 weeks and 1 day before of my due date.
Secondly, as you may remember, 2 1/2 weeks prior my dad suffered a heart attack and required emergency open heart surgery. His recovery, at that point, was slow and exhausting for both he and my mom. My dad (and J's too!) has always been a very "hands-on" grandpa. He is a huge help to us and never hesitates to keep one (or all) of the kids when needed. But, at this point in his recovery he was still spending his days laying low and healing. He was in no shape to be caring for my
Secondly, J's parents had just returned from vacation and a week off of work. This day, as
Lastly, the stomach bug had invaded our house. J was recovered, Addi was mending, and Eli appeared to have graduated from puking to pooping. Lots and lots of pooping.
See where I'm going with this? Our little early-arriver apparently had her own agenda.
Ok, back to the story.
I had gone to bed as usual on November 11th. If I remember correctly, J and I sat in bed for a while discussing baby names and with no agreement in sight, I rolled over and closed my eyes, feeling a little defeated.
No, J, I will NOT name a sweet, innocent baby boy Zedekiah. Or Carlos. Or Achilles.
From approximately 11:00pm until 4:00am was spent up and down comforting my sick little man. At about 4:00 am I crawled back into our bed and while trying to get comfortable I was stabbed with a butter knife in the right side of my belly. Ok, obviously, I wasn't stabbed, but that sure as heck is what it felt like. I jumped out of bed, clutching my side, and groaned out loud. At no point in time did I even consider that I might be having some type of labor pain. This was like NO contraction I had ever experienced. It was only on my right side, was very localized, and felt much like a cramp you'd get in your calf. Now, for the record, I'm no wuss. Just ask the girl that hit a line-drive at my head during my freshman year of college softball. Anyway, I was basically doubled over in pain. J awoke from his peacefull slumber with a little coaxing and called his mom. On her reccomendation (she's a super smart nurse, ya know) we decided a trip to the hospital was in order. She graciously offered to come stay with Addi and Eli and off we went.
In the car (err, minivan -- you need one of those when you're going to have 3 children 3 years and under) is when I noticed that my "cramps" were moving a little lower and were coming and going every 3 minutes or so. Still, I wasn't convinced they were contractions.
Once at the hospital we were checked in, escorted to a room, hooked up to the monitors and "checked" by our nurse, Ronnie. Per her exam, I was 3-4 cm dilated, which is exactly what I had been the week before at my appointment. Grrreat. However, the monitors were showing contractions and I was still in some serious pain. Ronnie called report to the doctor, who told her that we'd just wait to see how/if I progressed, but that they would not do anything to augment or stop my labor since I was still considered "preterm." At this point, it was getting late enough in the morning that J needed to make a decision as to whether or not he'd be going to school that day. I very kindly informed him that he would not be going anywhere and even if I were to be sent home without having a baby, I would need him there to take care of the kids and to wait on me hand and foot.
The next couple hours were pretty uneventful and kind of a blur. My contractions continued. We waited on a doctor to see us and determine if I'd be staying. Mainly, we were frantically trying to arrange care for the kids.
As a recap -- my mom was caring for my dad and working. Terri was with Addison and Elijah, but needed to get to work. Randy was supposed to be working after a week of vacation. Our siblings were all working or at school. J's grandma had a doctor's appointment. And all of my friends who don't work were busy or had sick kids.
Finally, after much stress, the arrangements were made. Terri would stay with the kids until 10:30 or so, then my mom would take over and feed them lunch until J's grandma arrived after her doctor's appointment. (At which point, my mom would come to the hospital to be with me -- because I still need my mommy when I'm throwing up, in pain, or pushing a watermelon out of a straw.) Then, Randy would leave work early to stay with the kids.
We have so many family and friends around who are soooo supportive and helpful that we never imagined we'd be scrambling for childcare while in labor.
Anyhoo, from 7:00 - 11:00 I was still having contractions, but they had slowed. Our nurse maintained that she wasn't sure if we'd be staying and was waiting for the doctor to round, check my cervix again and make the decision. At approximately noon Dr. T came back, surveyed the monitor strips, and did a cervical check. "A good 5 cm" was the verdict. Good enough to break my water and reserve me a room in postpartum. We were having a baby!
Shortly thereafter I decided it was time for drugs. Let me just tell you about this epidural: it was heaven! By far my best epidural yet! First off, the anesthesiologist only took 20 minutes and one attempt to get it in (as compared to the 1 hour and 2 attempts it took while in labor with Elijah). Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the epidural had superb coverage! My legs weren't "dead" and I could still feel my contractions, but they were soooo much more manageable. Also, after a couple blood pressure scares following my epidurals with the other two, Ronnie had me adequately hydrated, with the rescue meds on hand. Luckily, the blood pressure stayed up and the nausea remained under control for the most part.
Unfortunately, my contractions had slowed and I was still just 6 cm by 12:30. At this point, it was evident that I could benefit from a little pitocin. With the epidural and pitocin on board I was finally able to relax.
Around 1:00 or so is when my mom arrived. J, of course, was somehow
snoring loudly sleeping peacefully while my mind was going a million miles an hour with "to-do's." When he woke I bombarded him with my list. At 2:30 J was anxious to get started with his "jobs" and decided to head to the gift shop to buy a couple things for the soon-to-be big brother and sister (this is something I had intended on doing myself...like in a week or two).
Of note, the gift shop is on the same floor as labor and delivery. At no time was it my intention for the father of my child and my birthing coach to leave the floor. Leave it to my husband, however, to throw all common sense out the window the minute his stomach rumbles or a craving hits. You may remember from his "version" of this story that he decided to head to McDonalds...all the way in the other wing of the hospital, on the bottom floor, and about as far from labor and delivery as possible.
Pretty much the minute J walked out the door is when I started feeling pressure. For a couple minutes I did my best to ignore it. But, for those who have ever experienced this, there is no ignoring it. At about 2:45, I succombed to the pressure (pun intended), called for Ronnie and told my mom to call J (who was supposed to be just down the hall!). Ronnie checked me and confirmed that I was fully dilated and that they baby was very low. Then the rush was on. I asked my mom to call J again, she did and reported that he was on his way. Within minutes I felt the need to push, Dr. T was in the room, and I was prepped for delivery...and J still wasn't back. Again, my mom called him and within seconds he was in the room (with a McDonalds bag in hand) and at my side.
The pushing began and the rest, as they say, is history. Within minutes our baby was out.
I'll never forget Dr. T placing "it" on my belly and J and I both scrambling to see if "it" was a boy or girl. For the record, she's a girl.
Our little princess made her arrival 3 weeks and 1 day early, at 3:04 pm, weighing in at 7 lbs. 1 oz. and, like the others, is perfect from head to toe.
And, there you have it, folks...the birth story of Camden Shea.
Congrats if you made it all the way through that novel!
Fresh out of the "oven"