The end of the first year of Axel's birth is approaching. This means we get to have a big First Birthday Party. Upon this milestone approaching I realized that I failed to write down his birth story. This is something I did after the twins were born and I am so grateful that I did that for them and specifically for me to remember that day. I began to write down the things I remembered soon after he was born, but then I left it alone and never went back to finish it. Today I went back and wrote his birth-story. Forgive me because it is long...
The Anticipated Day
I had a new determination Saturday, February 2nd to get this baby born. My husband’s alarm when off that morning at 5:00am. He planned to wake up and go swimming, but I had other plans. He once joked that the “baby-getter-outter” was the same as the “baby-getter-inner” and while that hadn’t worked yet I was desperate and figured I’d try and try again. I got up with him and needless to say he never made it to his swim class. I noticed a few contractions right away that morning that were pretty intense, but I wasn’t able to time them yet. Later that day, we took the kids to Costco to stock up on some food and stopped at the bike shop. The bike shop owner asked me if I was going to have the baby in his shop. It had been asked that question a lot lately and was getting tired of people telling me how big I was, or I looked like I was going to pop or was I going to have that baby there. Frankly, I knew I made people uncomfortable, especially men. They saw how big I was chasing three little ones around and all they could think was that I might drop a baby out in front of them! I smiled and said “It is possible considering his due date was yesterday, but I doubt it.” He gave a little laugh and said, “Yeah, after having 3 you probably would know if he was coming.” If he only knew that I actually did know he was coming that day. And as I hid the intense contractions I was having during my conversation with him, I thought it was surely possible my water might break on his shop floor. We got home and put the kids down for their nap. While intense, my contractions seemed to be slowing down so I decided to see if Paul was up for round two and since he rarely says no to an opportunity he agreed. We were now one day past this baby’s due date and about two weeks past the date I thought he would be born, so I was serious about getting this baby out.
At 2:00pm I was having hard contractions. They were spread out but regular. I was however, not ready to acknowledge them just yet nor tell anyone about them. After having timed contractions two nights earlier that never intensified and then dissolved after four hours I was not about to jinx myself. I left the house just after 3:00 to pick up my mom from the airport. I had several contraction now that seemed to be getting closer together but again, deep down I was worried they were going to go away as they had 2 days prior so I didn’t want to get anyone excited, including myself. I hid them and ignored them the best I could. I think I mentioned to my mom that I was having a few contractions, and that today could be the day, but I left it at that. Even though I knew it was the day.
On our way back to the house I decided I’d run some errands with my mom. I thought if I kept moving the contractions would keep coming. And it was easier to handle the contractions if I was busy doing other things rather than concentrating on the pain.
We stopped at Hobby Lobby to pick up a photo I had framed and then headed to Target for some grocery shopping. I saw a friend as we pulled into the parking lot and we chatted through the car windows and right through a piercing contraction. I was in no hurry to get home. We took our time in the grocery store. This was probably my third or fourth trip “stocking up” for when the baby comes since I had been thinking he would come weeks ago. We saw more friends inside Target and chatted. I felt rude, but I abruptly left a conversation with one of Lucia’s friends dad because my contraction was way too strong for me to be talking and I didn’t want to tell him so I quickly said, “nice talking to you” as he was still talking and turned and walked the other way.
As we walked in the door all the kids greeted Nanna with pure joy and excitement. I began putting groceries away and then started on making dinner. I began heating up some lasagna I had already made and boiled some water for broccoli. It was probably close to 5:30 and as I sat everyone down and began to serve their plates, I realized that I just couldn’t hide my contractions any longer. They had been strong all day, but not they were getting closer together. So while Paul was getting ready to go work out downstairs in the garage, I asked him to stay with the kids for a minute while I showed my mom where everything was. My mom watched my stop in my steps, hold on to things and she knew this baby was coming. She got very excited. I began to worry that there was just no time to show her everything before this baby came. I quickly called my Doula who said she would get in her car and meet us at the house. I called the hospital to tell them I was coming and for them to warn my doctor. They said they couldn’t call me doctor until I got there; I begged them saying I had been in labor all day and he was coming, but they refused. I frantically called our babysitter to see if she could come over and help my mom since she already knew where everything was and thankfully she was available and rushed over.
Paul and I got in the car where I phoned my Doula and said not to come to our house but to just meet us at the hospital. I hung up the phone and began to cry. I cried because I was in so much pain. I cried because I had been in so much pain all day and was holding it in, hiding it from everyone and I finally felt that I could release it. I felt free to be in pain and for the first time that day show someone I was in pain and show myself it was OK to be in pain. I cried because I knew in the next minutes or hours I was going to meet this baby.
We got to the hospital and I made Paul park far out so I could walk in and carry my own bags figuring this would only help push this baby down more and keep things moving along. I got a room and got dressed and my doula was there in minutes with her exercise ball, hair ties, her soothing voice and her magic massaging hands. She reminded me to stay focused, to keep my moaning tones low and the continued to rub the wrinkles out of my forehead telling me to relax and let my body do the work.
I was thrilled to see that the nurse on duty was D’nel. He was my nurse when Lucia was born and he was fabulous. I wanted to hug and kiss him. But then I was disappointed when they said my doctor was not on duty that weekend and a different nurse would be filling in. At that point I wanted to cry. But my doula assured me the doctor on duty was a really good and she would be great. So I felt a little relieved but still disappointed. Then the front desk came in the room and said they got my doctor on the phone and he would be there to deliver Axel. And then I felt a huge relief and was ready to get this baby out.
I had assumed with having three previous children in the last three years and with all the hard contractions I had all day I would be around 8 cm dilated. That was my prediction. D’nel went ahead to check me to see what our starting point was and wouldn’t you know, I was barely 5 cm dilated. I just couldn’t believe it. My contractions were strong and timed minutes, sometimes seconds apart so I knew this was it, but I knew I had a lot of work to do. I’m pretty sure I checked into the hospital at 6:30. Axel was born at 8:53. Here’s what happened in the next two hours.
I squatted. I yelled. I pushed.I walked. I laid down. I cried. I squatted more, walked more, pushed more, yelled more and cried more. I took a lot of deep breaths and I was reminded many times by my doula and husband to focus and keep myself together. I was ready to be checked again. D’nel checked me and he looked disappointed. He said, “you are an 8 and I might be able to stretch you to a 9, but I’d have to keep my fingers in here during your next contraction.” He shrugged and said it in a tone as if he knew I would say no to that. But I didn’t, in fact with more enthusiasm than anything, I shouted, keep your fingers there. Please, please, please get me to a 9, I want this baby out. And just like that, my next contraction did not just bring me to a 9, but brought me to a 10 which brought a panic in the room and a nursing staff who frantically tried to get my doctor on the phone. They brought in an assistant for D’nel and began prepping the room for the baby because they frankly did not think Dr. C would make it. They said they had finally gotten a hold of him and he was out on a run and would get there as soon as he could get to his car.
I didn’t care if he was there. I didn’t care who the assistant was. I didn’t care if D’nel delivered my baby or if the baby just fell out and someone caught him. I just knew I needed this baby out. He was coming. D’nell put my legs in the stirrups and kept telling me NOT to push yet. This is the same thing that happened in my last deliveries. It is horrible to tell a woman in the 3rd stages of labor not to push. But I tried to wait. As soon as I gave up and told D’nell I had to start pushing he got his gloves on and sat down and just at that moment Dr. C walked in the room. He put on his skin tight colored gloves, I made a few jokes like it was nice of him to show up and he said down and told me I could push.
I pushed. With my previous births I only had to push once or twice and the baby was born. I was expecting the same thing with Axel. So when I pushed the first time and Dr. C said to me, “great job Jenny, his head is out, now I need you to push again to get his shoulders out.” I was shocked. In my previous births, when the head was out that was all it took. So I pushed again and Dr. C said, “great job Jenny, his head is out and one of his shoulders is out. I need you to push again to get the other shoulder out” I was almost mad at the baby. So I pushed again and that when Dr. C guided me to hold Axel under his shoulders and pull the rest of him out of me. I was overjoyed. I brought him to my chest and kissed him over and over. I delivered the placenta and while Dr. C made sure I didn’t need any stitches, I thanked him, made a few more jokes and then spent the next two hours holding him and feeding him before they took him for his vitals. I did, however let them take him for a few quick seconds to be weighed before I fed him. He was 9lbs and 4 oz. No one could believe it. They weighed him twice, then checked the scale and weighed him again. He didn't look like a 9 lb baby, until they measured him. He was 22". Apparently they couldn't remember the last time they had a 22" baby born there. Lots of 21.5" babies, but not 22". This just reassured my feelings that his due date was off by a few weeks. I'm pretty certain he was born around 42 weeks, not 40.
Paul asked our babysitter to stay a little longer so he could bring my mom over to meet Axel. Axel was only minutes old when my mom got to see him. He was finally here. My “Father of Peace” my “Axel”.