Pregnancy due dates are a funny thing. At best, they are really nothing more than an educated guess, and yet when you are waiting for a baby to arrive all you can do is focus on that ONE DAY and pin all your hopes and plans on it.
Once that date has slipped by and begun to fade in the distance without even so much as a strong contraction to mark it, it almost begins to seem as though labor is LESS likely to happen as time goes by instead of more. I think this is why so many moms who are only even so much as a couple of days “overdue” tend to start making comments about giving birth to toddlers. (Ahem.)
So it was that I woke up Thanksgiving morning, 8 days post-due-date and still pregnant, convinced that I was going to wind up making it all the way to my scheduled induction on December 3rd. I was having contractions, but nothing to write home about and nothing super regular or close together.
Noah and I woke up the kids around 6:30am and trucked everyone down to my monitoring appointment (at a hospital 40 minutes away because the closer offices were closed for the holiday). The nurse said my fluid levels looked good, baby was active and measured my contractions at about 8-10 minutes apart. When she asked to rate the pain or intensity of them, I told her about a 1 or a 2. She said her guess was that I was going to pop any time now (because I hadn’t heard that before from ANYBODY, EVER).
1 or 2 is about where the discomfort level stayed all day long – through Finn’s nap and during dinner with Noah’s mom and nieces. At the end of the evening I started timing them, but they were still 8-10 minutes apart and only between thirty and sixty seconds long.
In retrospect, we probably should have hedged our bets and left the kids with Noah’s mom just in case (especially since there were some other signs of labor present). My mother was texting me anxiously with just such advice, which I unwisely ignored (sorry Mom). However, if precedence was any indication, I would just wake up in the morning still pregnant. So, we packed everybody up and headed home and went to bed. On the way I called the hospital to verify that they didn’t want to see me until things were more exciting. They confirmed.
About 2 hours later, at about 11 PM, I was woken up by a strong contraction. Noah had been awake, listening to me breathe through the other ones while I slept. They hadn’t gotten any closer together, but they were beginning to get a bit more painful – around a 3 or a 4 by that point. After debating it for a bit, we decided we should probably head in and that they were pretty unlikely to refuse us, especially since I was a 4th time mom and also supposed to received 2 doses of antibiotics prior to delivery .
Worst case scenario, I would just wind up with another induction, baby would be here and the wait would be over. Huzzah.
Noah got my bag packed while I hopped in the shower and enjoyed the hot water on my aching back for a while. I told Noah that when we got to the hospital I definitely wanted to keep laboring in the shower until it was time for my epidural. When I got out, I thought that my water might have possibly started leaking a little. Noah got the kids up and we headed off.
We met Noah’s mom in a liquor store parking lot down the hill from his sister’s house and we traded vehicles at around 12:15 am. I said goodbye to the kids – Lily was tired and excited and overwhelmed and crying about everything that was happening – gave hugs and kisses and then doubled over with a strong contraction.
When I stood up, my water broke in a huge gush that splashed through my pajama pants and onto the asphalt.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Noah’s mom told me afterward that she was afraid they were going to have to lay me down right then and there to birth the baby. I was naively unaware of just how different this story could have wound up being!
Things got decidedly more exciting at that point. My contractions got fast and strong as Noah sped toward the hospital. We pulled into the parking garage and a security guard rushed to get us a wheelchair that we didn’t stay around to wait for. We headed toward Labor and Delivery, my moans and wails echoing through the empty hallways.
We rounded a corner and I couldn’t keep going. My body started convulsing with the overwhelming urge to push and I was terrified that I was going to rupture my uterus until I started to feel a burning sensation. I remember clinging to Noah’s shoulders and yelling “The baby is coming!”
Postpartum discussion has since revealed that at this point, Noah didn’t believe what I said. In his brain it was more like “Yes, I know, the baby IS coming… let’s get to a room.” I tried to get my point across more clearly: “The baby is coming RIGHT NOW!”
Eventually some nearby nurses overheard my screaming and brought out a wheelchair. I don’t remember very much from this part, but apparently they kept trying to get me to sit in it and, instead, I laid down with my torso on the seat yelling over and over “This baby is COMING! It’s COMING!”
Somebody got the picture and I was laid down directly on floor. My sopping wet pajamas were removed and I could feel the head of the baby start to push through my underwear. Those came off too and the next thing I knew, Noah was laying an enormous baby on my chest: “We have a boy!” It was 12:45 am.
I wish I could say that in that moment all the pain and shock instantly vanished and all I could do was stare adoringly into my newborn’s eyes while trumpets from heaven sounded all around… but in reality, I was still hurting and shaky and just kept repeating “oh my god” over and over again.
I was lifted onto a gurney and finally made it to a delivery room. The placenta was delivered while the baby was being attended to and I announced its arrival to the room at large. I couldn’t stop violently shaking and the doctor had a hard time doing her post-delivery examination. Eventually they went ahead and gave me a shot of morphine. I think it helped, although I had trouble keeping my eyes open after that. The doctor didn’t find any tears, which is quite amazing considering the baby’s measurements: 9 lbs 14 oz and 22 inches long.
I nursed the baby and calmed down a little. Noah and I kept exchanging wild looks and asking each other if what we thought just happened actually DID happen.
We were moved to a recovery room about an hour later and this was what we found as a sort of proof to mark the scene of all the excitement:
We were discharged the following day.
Thus was Sawyer David Springfield brought into the world: my water broke in a liquor store parking lot, he was birthed on a hospital hallway floor and was brought home to a double-decker school bus.
It’s no wonder social services came to visit during our hospital stay. (That, however, is a story for a different post.)
Right now, we’re all just settling in. Family and friends and neighbors have been bringing us meals, Noah has been phenomenal with the older ones and I am working on making my hipbones remember where they used to be positioned (they’re not listening).
The kids have been adjusting pretty well so far, all things considered. They definitely love their new brother and are thrilled that daddy is home for another few weeks. We’ll see what happens after that!
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers these last few weeks. There is a lot more to share about where things are going with the house, how we’re adjusting to having a newborn in the bus and why the heck social services showed up in my hospital room.
I’m looking forward to telling you all about it.