Now, for the long story. Please feel free to skim these next paragraphs because they will probably be long and wordy. I just want to remember every blessing of the day, so I am writing it out here. God just truly blessed us in so many unexpected ways and I believe it is such an awesome birth story!
Now, I will just begin by stating (for like the millionth time) that Dan and I are planners. Especially me. We like to know how, when, where, what, etc etc all before things happen and we like to be prepared. Having just turned our lives upside-down by moving during my 37th week, I was extremely grateful to still have about 2 weeks until Sawyer's scheduled c-section on Friday November 11th. I had a (LONG) list of things I wanted to accomplish in those 2 weeks. When I was pregnant with Greyson, I had tons of painful contractions starting at about 37 weeks, and lasting until he was born at nearly 41 weeks. This time around, I hadn't had any excessive contractions and I was actually feeling pretty good. SO, I assumed I had plenty of time. On the evening of October 30th, we were hanging out with some friends and were all talking about how great and stress-free it was that we knew exactly when Sawyer was coming and how to prepare for his arrival.
THEN, the very next morning I woke up at about 6am feeling some pretty painful contractions. I didn't think much of it, as this was pretty normal for me. I went to the bathroom at about 7 and noticed that I was bleeding a little. That was when I started to get nervous. I didn't have blood with Greyson until the morning I went into labor. I waited a bit and called the doctor to see what they thought. The nurse in triage said that since I was scheduled to have a repeat c-section they didn't really want me to go into labor so I needed to go to the hospital OB unit and have them check me for dilation. UGH. I did that several times before having Greyson, and was always told it was a false alarm. So, I put off going in until about 10am or so. All the while, I was still having consistent contractions and definitely feeling "off." At the hospital, the nurse (Joanie) checked me and told me I was already 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced. WHAT?! I was shocked. That was not what I was expecting to hear! She told me she was pretty sure I was having a baby "today." We also talked about a possible VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian) which was something I hadn't even considered. More on that later. She had me walk the halls for an hour and then come back to be re-checked for progress. During this hour, I frantically called Dan and told him the news. We didn't have ANYTHING ready. I gave him lists over the phone and he packed bags for us and for Greyson, installed the carseat, and did any other odds and ends left to do. I went back to triage to be checked again. No progress, still a 3. Contractions were still consistently coming every 6 minutes and lasting about a minute each. Joanie sent me home and told me to come back when contractions were getting a lot worse, which would probably just be in a few hours. I left the hospital at 1:00.
By 2:00 at home, I knew we were going back. They were getting BAD. I did the dishes and put some laundry away so at least we wouldn't have to come home to that. Contractions were now about 3-4 min apart and I couldn't do anything through them except stand and lean against the wall. Dan kept asking me, "Was that a bad one?" Haha, at one point I just looked at him and said, "Stop asking me that! Just know that they are ALL bad!!" We dropped Greyson off at Mike & Cindy's house and headed to the hospital. Joanie was happy to see me again! At that point I was at 4 1/2 cm and 90% effaced. Progress!
Now, for a little side note. While I was at home, Dan and I talked through the option of having a VBAC. I was so nervous. My birthing experience with Greyson was FULL of really terrible experiences and I just didn't want to experience those again. But, with Sawyer coming a full 3 weeks before Greyson did, chances were great that he was significantly smaller. Meaning, I could probably birth him. And, chances of me having 3 failed epidurals again were pretty slim. In the back of my mind, I had always really wished I could deliver vaginally, I was just pretty freaked out by it all. So, we decided to talk to the Dr at the hospital, but to go for it.
Ok, back to labor. Once I was admitted and in a room (maybe around 5:00), we were able to discuss a VBAC with Dr Peatross and she was very reassuring that it would most likely go well. Joanie was all for it too, so I felt like we were in good hands. Then, I got to talk to the anesthesiologist who was also very reassuring! He told me that basically what had happened with Greyson was a fluke that is so rare the chances were extremely slim of it happening again. So, I said we should go for it and got the epidural at about 5 cm. Finally, RELIEF! Here's me in my hospital bed, with the blessed epidural pump behind me:
They laid me in the bed on my side with a giant peanut-shaped inflatable "ball" between my knees. That thing was awesome. They would have me flip every hour or so, which definitely helped labor progress. At about 7:30pm, I was 7cm dilated so the Dr decided to break my water. I didn't seem to have a problem dilating, but Sawyer was still sitting pretty high. Waiting for him to descend took quite awhile. By 9:00 I was already 10 cm, but he needed to come down more. The new nurse (Susan) had me push a couple of times at that point, but it was still too early.
By 10:00 or 10:30, I started pushing again. I pushed for a good 45 min+ and got him really low. At about 11:15 I said, "Man, we are so close to November, maybe he won't have to be a Halloween baby!" Sweet Susan then asked me if we wanted to hold off on pushing until just before midnight so he could be born November 1st. I felt so silly, but Dan and I looked at each other and said, "Yes!" Susan said I could push one more time and he would be on his way out, or we could wait about 30 min and try again. We decided to wait :) At about 11:45 I started pushing again and got him low enough that it was time to call Dr Peatross in. She came in, along with the nursery nurses and they got all prepped for Sawyer's arrival. I pushed a couple more times and Dr Peatross asked me if I wanted to touch my baby's head. That was incredible!! I was so pumped because these were all experiences I totally missed with Greyson's birth. His head was half way out at 11:58. Susan told Dr Peatross to wait a minute so he would be born on the 1st. So we waited. And Susan watched the clock for what seemed like the longest minute of all time. Then, at 12:00 on the dot I pushed a couple more big pushes and there was our sweet baby Sawyer! I can't even describe to you the intense feelings of joy, peace, accomplishment, and just gratitude that overflowed at that moment. He was here! He was healthy, beautiful, perfect, and his birth was successful!! There are no words.
I held him on my chest with all the blood, goop, and slime and just fell in love. Dan got to cut the cord and they wiped him off and brought him right back to me. Then, the most amazing thing happened. He nursed! I was so relieved, as this was one more thing that never worked with Greyson. It was awesome.
I just kept saying, "I did it! It worked! I can't believe how great it went!" I was so beyond happy. What a sweet angel baby we had.
In the moments following his birth, Dr Peatross just sat "down there" and stared at me with a very concerned look on her face. Not really what I wanted to see. She was very thoughtful and concentrating. "How bad?" I asked. "I'm trying to decide if its a 3rd or 4th degree tear," She replied. GULP. Not really what any girl wants to hear. I will spare you dear readers the details, but she did spend about an hour stitching me up. And we will just leave it at that.
Back to the cute pictures :)
I LOVE this one of his inked foot, and love how it looks in b&w:
Dan was amazing through it all. He held my leg and coached me through pushing. He told me I was beautiful. He stayed with Sawyer through everything and was such a great daddy all over again. I love my husband.
Later Tuesday morning Dan picked Greyson up from the Brantons and brought him back to meet his little brother. He knew he was going to see baby Sawyer, so when he came into the room, he pointed to my stomach and said, "Baby Sawyer." So then I picked up Sawyer from his bed and we explained to Greyson that now Sawyer was outside mommy's tummy and he was going to live with us. He wasn't super excited, and then discovered the remote on my bed that made it go up and down. That was way more awesome than a sleeping baby. Greyson got to stay in the hospital with us until about 4pm that day, which was so great. We watched movies, took naps, and just enjoyed our first hours together as a family of four. Greyson loves talking about Sawyer and always wants to know where he is, but still won't touch him or hold him. All in due time :)
Wednesday morning we had Sawyer circumcised and then started getting ready to go home. I was still in a lot of pain, but being home definitely seemed more desirable.
Here we are, all dressed and ready for our new life with sweet Sawyer!
God was able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine! What a huge lesson in letting go and letting Him, and his perfect will, take over. Here are some specific worries/desires/prayers that were answered that day:
-That Sawyer would be smaller than Greyson's 9+ lbs --> He was 7-12!
-That his birth would be uneventful --> It was perfect!
-That somehow, someday I would get to experience a vaginal delivery -->if Sawyer hadn't come early, he would've been too big and we would've gone with the c/section as scheduled.
-That the epidural would work (I had 3 separate ones that all failed with Greyson) --> It was beautiful!
-That Sawyer would breastfeed without issue --> Check!
Thank you to all our friends and family who have been praying for items on the above list. Your diligence has made a difference, and we are so grateful. And thank you so much Brantons and Roberts who so willingly took Greyson into your homes with hardly any notice. You are true friends.
Welcome to the world, sweet baby Sawyer! You are loved more than you'll ever know!