Only in our wildest imagination could Biju and I have thought that our baby would join the world the way he did.
So how far back should I begin? (Grab yourself a cold drink and maybe a bucket of popcorn, cuz this is a long one! Anyone who knows me knows I can't just tell a story, let alone tell a short one.)
A couple of weeks ago my body started teasing me with false labor. I would have contractions coming on a fairly regular basis but then they would fizzle out. Each false labor episode brought on contractions that were more intense. Each time I would comment, with a sense of hope "well, these are more painful than last time.." but I was still able to walk and talk through them so I never ended up going to the hospital (after my initial visit at 34 weeks, that is). I was up until 1am or so on more than one occasion. The only good that I felt was coming out of this was that at each OB appointment my doctor would tell me I was progressing. I had decided, and told everyone that would listen, that it was official: I would not know when I was going into real labor and would ignore it for too long.
Wednesday the 18th was Ajay's Field Day at school. It was supposed to be held in the morning but rain pushed it to the afternoon. I was feeling quite under the weather that day. I had either caught a cold or my allergies were bothering me. We're talking runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and an overall feeling of "ugghhhh." I managed to squeeze in two 20-30 minute naps that morning. Alex and I went to the school to join Ajay at 1pm and I was assigned 3 additional children to walk around with. We trekked all over the playground while the boys participated in many different activities and I "enjoyed" a few Braxton-Hicks contractions. A few times Alex decided he wanted to go in the opposite direction and tugged hard at my hand usually timing it smack dab in the middle of a contraction.
Once we got home we took it pretty easy. Biju got home around 3:45pm (a few minutes earlier than usual) and told me I should go get another little nap in before I went to get Ajay from the bus-stop. Aside from dealing with the nasty cold symptoms I was feeling decent - no more contractions than "normal." Throughout the evening, they picked up, though, and I was getting frustrated knowing I was going to have to deal with more false labor. The contractions were close enough to realize they were close but I didn't have the desire to time them because I knew they would still be too sporadic to mean anything. And again, they didn't hurt too badly.
After dinner I ran myself a bath and let the boys watch "Frankie" (aka "The Middle" - for some reason the boys adore this show.) The contractions calmed down a little but didn't disappear completely. We got the boys down to bed and put on a movie (a movie that left me a sobbing mess by the end). Every 8-10 minutes while watching the movie I would stand up to make a contraction more comfortable. And even though I didn't think the contractions were actually going to lead anywhere, I was hoping that gravity would help the contraction and at least at my OB appt. on Friday I would be even further progressed.
After the movie (11:30pm) we went to bed. I was surprised when the contractions I had been having through the movie continued and woke me up. I finally got out of bed around 12:20 and started timing them. They were still around 8-10 min. apart and lasted 45 seconds-ish. I read birth stories on the internet to keep myself occupied but I was getting bored with sitting still and waiting for another contraction. So I got up and started cleaning my house. I figured just in case these turned real the house needed to look decent for whoever came over to watch the boys. Also, switching activities is good to see if the contractions change. They did - they got closer. Like every 2-3 minutes closer and only lasting 20-30 seconds. Blah. Major clue that I was enduring more false labor. I sat back down to see what would happen. They went back to coming every 4-7 minutes but lasted more like 30-45 seconds again. I got back up to do more cleaning and they stayed around 3-4 minutes. Finally around 2am I just couldn't take the waiting anymore. I went to bed with the thought that if it was false I would be able to sleep through them.
I woke up 2 hours later to use the restroom. It took me a minute to remember that I had been hoping I would be in labor by now. Since I slept a solid two hours and didn't wake up once with a contraction I was bummed. Then (cue intense music) I heard a pop. I wondered what it was and vaguely thought it could've been my water breaking. I never had a big gush, though. I finally went back to bed (20 min. after waking) and just in case grabbed myself a cloth diaper (a trick I learned from my mom!). I laid in bed and the contractions picked up in intensity. I mean really. These bad boys hurt. Biju woke up and asked me if we needed to go to the hospital. Do you know that despite thinking my water could've broken and having intense contractions, I STILL told him "I'm not sure if this is it." - Darn all that false labor for making me so unsure of the real thing!!!
We talked a bit and decided this was probably "it" since it was getting to the point of "I can't lay here through the next contraction, I need to walk!" We laid out a plan, which included calling my parents at 5am to catch my dad before he headed off to work (I think he leaves at 6am) and waiting until 6am to call someone to come be with the boys. We didn't want to wake anyone too early. However, we quickly realized that we shouldn't wait to wake anyone (due to the intensity of the contractions and realizing it was, indeed, my water that had broken.) Biju jumped in the shower while I called my parents. My mom laughed and predicted (for the 20th time, probably) that the baby would be here before they made it down (they have a 3 hour drive). I told her the contractions were coming about every 3 minutes, but that was a guess. She told me it sounded like they were a lot closer than every three minutes.
Biju got out of the shower and I jumped in with the hopes that the shower would help ease the pain of the contractions. (Funny how easy it is to forget how truly painful contractions can be!!) After I got out of the shower Biju went to wake our neighbor. I put on my clothes but could do nothing else but lean against a dresser and rotate my hips. I had to focus so hard on making my body relax. Biju came back with our neighbor, I gave her the list I had written up (a couple of weeks ago) that explained what the boys' morning routine was. She looked at me with pity in her eyes and made a comment about how she was glad she was done with having children!
We walked out the door to get into the car, Biju locked the house, then I realized we'd forgotten our hospital bag and the camera. He ran back inside while I leaned up against the trunk of the car to avoid being overwhelmed with pain. He came back out, tossed the stuff in the back of the car and we got in. I sat down and was unable to shut the door, so he had to get back out of the car to come around and shut my door. Looking back, it all seems like a scene from a movie that you think "well its funny but it couldn't happen in real life."
We started driving (at 5:50am) and hit every.red.light.possible on the way to the birthing center. At one point I remember mustering enough energy to weakly yell "run-it RUN-IT I DON'T CARE, JUST RUN IT!!!" and he explained "There's traffic coming" - ahhh man! (BTW - his car is a stick-shift and I felt every little jerk caused by shifting even though he was trying to be super gentle.)
He kept trying to reassure me that we would be there soon. I was still trying to relax. I was not looking forward to the checking in process and I was really dreading having to sit in the bed while they monitored my contractions. I knew I would need to be up and moving.
We pulled up in the circle drive and he got out of the car. He left his door open while he came around to open mine. I walked in the doors (at 5:57am) and leaned over their counters. The woman started asking questions and I just looked at Biju to do the answering. I had probably 3 contractions in the 5 minutes it took to get us checked in. I know he had to sign some papers in lieu of me. I was really focusing on letting every muscle release so I could make it through each contraction.
All of the sudden I was hit with a contraction that started to overtake me. I had been doing quite well with not being too vocal with my labor but this one forced me to let out not just a moan but a yell. Then all of the sudden I couldn't stop yelling. And just as I couldn't stop myself from yelling, I felt the urge to PUSH. (I had never felt this feeling with Ajay or Alex, despite both of their births being without medications.) My body started pushing and I couldn't stop it. Then I felt it. The ring of fire. Holy moly this baby was coming. Now. I remember thinking "I'm in the lobby, wearing jeans!" and this baby was coming. All I could do was yell "HE'S COMING! I CAN'T STOP HIM!" and other phrases along those lines.
Nurses started running in from all directions and Biju says he was grabbing me from both sides to try to hold him in (didn't want his neck to break by being born into my jeans!). The nurses got me over to the couch, Biju got my shoes, someone else got my jeans and they asked me to get my legs up onto the couch. Within two more pushes (one for his head, one for his shoulders), there he was. 6:03am. 6 full minutes after we walked through the doors of the birthing center.
They got me onto a wheel chair and took me back to a room so we could finish things up (placenta, stitches, etc). They weighed and measured him (7lb 3.8oz, 19in) and let Daddy hold him. As soon as I got the go ahead, I offered him some breakfast. He latched right on. It was as if he were made for nursing :)
I know there was a woman in the lobby when I started yelling but by the time I was wheeled out, she wasn't there anymore. Biju says she spoke to him later in the day, to see how things were. There was also a couple detained outside the building while I was in on the couch giving birth. Imagine the story they now get to tell.
We shudder to think where this child would've been born if any number of things would've detained us. What if we had needed to wait for someone to drive across town to come watch the boys? What if we had chosen to go to the hospital instead of the birthing center? Sure, the hospital is just across the street, but we would've had to park and go up to the L&D floor - perhaps we would've had an elevator baby instead of our little "couch potato" as my BIL so lovingly referred to him.
Biju called my parents to let them know that, yes, the baby arrived before they did. They got to town around 8:30am. They hung out with us through the day and we searched the internet trying to make a final decision on a name for this child. My sister, Shelly, got the boys from our neighbor and brought them up to meet their new baby brother, then Shelly took Alex back home with her and Biju took Ajay to school.
We came home Friday afternoon and we're all doing well. Actually, Biju is sick again - possibly a cold, or allergies, or, we're hoping not, another round of Strep. I'm still not 100% - very tired, and if I miss a dose of my pain meds I can really tell it. Overall, though, we're adjusting well. The boys are absolutely in love with Aren. They can't keep away from him and when they wake up in the mornings, its like Christmas when you forget its Christmas. Does that make sense? You wake up then suddenly remember Santa brought presents and you're all excited. That's the way it is with the boys - they suddenly remember there is a new member of the family to love on.
And to make this post even longer - the photos!
Holding Aren immediately after his birth on the couch and the nurses trying to get everything sorted out.
Daddios with his new son
Taking a little snooze
Getting a peek at their new brother
Getting to hold Aren for the first time
Checking out his new world