Man—what a week we’ve had! Someone decided to show up four weeks early:
Lila was born at 41 weeks, so you can imagine the loop that this has thrown us for—a big one, haha. No hospital bag packed, no carseats installed, no firm plan set in place for who would take Lila…you get the idea. Because Lila’s birth came late in the pregnancy and was basically totally uneventful, I had assumed Charlie’s would be the same way and that, at 35 weeks, we still had all the time in the world to finish prepping for his arrival. Boy was I wrong.
But, let me back up—here’s how things went down.
Last Saturday was just…normal. We went on a hike, attended a church silent auction, and were turning out our lights to go to bed by 10. Looking back on it, I guess maybe I felt a *little* off—I was having some light contractions, but it’s not like that’s abnormal for almost 36 weeks pregnant.
But. About ten minutes after we turned out our lights to go to sleep, I felt a gush of warm liquid run down my leg. I turned the light on and told Ryan, “I think my water just broke!!” I ran to the bathroom to check it out and saw blood. Lots and lots of blood. We both just kind of stared at each other in shock.
Ryan, luckily, kept very calm and immediately called 911—they told him to have me lay down and that they’d send an ambulance. I laid down in bed in shock as Ryan moved into action—he called our friend who lives down the street from us to come stay with Lila, packed a few things in a bag, and by then the medics were at the house, asking me questions and strapping me into a gurney. Our new house is literally 3 minutes from the hospital, so before I even had time to really think about what was happening, I found myself up in labor and delivery. They immediately strapped me to a monitor and checked on Charlie who, thank god, was doing absolutely fine. This bit of reassurance calmed me down a little—although I also think it pulled me out of my shocked state, and at this point I began crying uncontrollably. Even though I finally had confirmation that Charlie was okay, I think it finally hit me at this point how scared I was.
The nurse asked question after question about the pregnancy, my medical history, etc. All the while, they were checking on the bleeding, which had slowed a bit, but definitely not stopped. Anytime they would move me or sit me up, I’d feel another gush.
Finally, the on-call doctor came in and talked to me; at this point, I had no idea what she was going to go with for our plan of action—emergency c-section? Or more of a “wait and see” situation?
Because Charlie was doing so well on the monitor and because I was still slightly pre-term (it was Sunday, and I’d be 36 weeks on Wednesday) she ended up going with the latter—she recommended that I stay in the hospital until at least Monday, when my regular doctor would be able to see me and decide further how to proceed.
As far as what caused the bleeding, the doctor said that her best guess was a partial abruption of the placenta—when it tears away from the uterus. A full abruption can be really dangerous (obviously), but she said that if that were the case, I’d be doubled over in pain and the bleeding wouldn’t slow. So, I guess that was the good news—that it was only partial. But, the bad news was that a full abruption was much more likely to happen eventually, now that there was a small one. She basically said that if they let me go home, there was a chance that at any point, the placenta would abrupt fully and then we’d really be in a bad place. So, a long hospital stay seemed to be in the cards. I wasn’t happy about that, but I obviously also didn’t want to do anything that would put Charlie (or me) in danger.
So…I’ll try to be brief about what happened next. My regular doctor saw me, a specialist saw me, and they came up with a plan: go ahead with delivery. I’d been having regular contractions since checking in on Saturday night—not strong ones, but regular ones. I was also 1 cm dilated, and my cervix was soft. So, my doctor basically said that my body was starting to go into labor anyway, and helping it along made the most sense, even though it was earlier than ideal. They also did a complete ultrasound on Charlie and estimated him at 6 pounds 10 ounces, which gave me reassurance—if he was coming this early, at least he seemed to be a pretty good size, and they said that he looked absolutely perfect, development-wise.
All of this was reassuring, but I was still really scared. And, on top of all that, there was just the general stress of the fact that we’d planned on having another month before Charlie’s arrival—my head was constantly streaming with a list of all the things I still needed to get done—plus Lila’s schedule, my own classes…ack. Luckily, my parents came to Huntsville from Louisiana on Sunday and planned on staying all week to help us out—and boy, did they. They basically had Lila all week while I was in the hospital—they took her to school and her activities, and slept with her at the house so that there was at least some sense of normalcy maintained in her routine. They were lifesavers, truly.
We called my doula and filled her in on the plan—induction with pitocin at 5:30 am, followed by a manual breaking of my water. It’s funny—I think my doctor (who also delivered Lila) thought I’d be *way* more disappointed with the idea of being induced. Last time, I’d been so set on trying to do it naturally—which worked out really well. But at this point, it really didn’t matter to me at all—whatever we needed to do to get Charlie here safely, I was totally willing to do. And although I was willing to try going the natural route again with pain management, I knew that pitocin would make the odds of that much, much less likely—and honestly, that was fine.
They came and got me at 4:30 am and wheeled me into labor and delivery, and started me on a flow of pitocin around 5. At 6, my doula arrived and started coaching me through the contractions. At 7:30, my doctor checked my progress—I was at a 4, and she said that she’d be back to break my water around 8. The contractions at this point were laughably weak—which wasn’t good, since I knew that meant that they’d probably dial up the pitocin to get them stronger. But, they didn’t have to do that after all—after my doctor broke my water, they picked up—BIG TIME. They felt much stronger this time around—again, something my doula attributed to the pitocin. With Lila’s birth, I remember them being painful (obviously), but not unmanageable. These contractions were starting to feel…well, unmanageable. One would start as soon as the previous would end—they seemed to come in waves that I just couldn’t get on top of, couldn’t breathe through. About thirty minutes after they broke my water, I was in big, big pain—I asked them to check me again, expecting (hoping) to be at around an eight or nine. Nope—I was at a six.
That’s when I asked for the epidural.
And let me just say, it was a damn lifesaver. They got it to me within thirty minutes, around 9:30. And my body basically just exhaled into one long, relaxed, “Ahhhhhhhhh.” That’s what it felt like, anyway. And, that relaxation allowed me to stop fighting the contractions—I went from 6 to ready to push in 45 minutes, and Charlie was born with three big pushes at 10:25 am:
He weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces, and was amazingly healthy—they had warned us that there was a good chance he’d be taken to the NICU, at least for a while just to be observed. But, he was doing so well that he was able to just stay with us—no trip to the NICU needed! Lila was so excited to meet him—and very excited about the Princess Celestia he’d decided to bring her as a big sister gift.
We can’t believe how well everything has turned out, despite the scare that the early delivery put us through. I feel unbelievably—well, there’s no other word for for it—blessed. My recovery has been remarkably easy, and Charlie is still doing great—they released us from the hospital at 48 hours, and we’ve been settling in as a family of four since Thursday.
More details to come, but thank you for all of your kind messages and comments!