First off, apologies that I haven’t been able to get to this yet. As you can imagine, things around here have been fairly hectic. I did want to get this written down though before the “short-term memory loss that ensures continued procreation” kicks in. It’s gonna be a long read, so grab a cup of coffee (or whiskey), sit back and enjoy (or skim it!).
Saturday was fairly eventful, Carter had been fighting a fever in the afternoon and hadn’t been sleeping well at all here lately. (We later figured out he was getting two more teeth in). So when I woke up around 3am with some back pain (seems like both my labors begin in back pain!), it was a moment of “FINALLY” and “oh no – Carter is sick.”
Since I had been having on-again, off-again contractions the past few days, I wasn’t very optimistic and tried to go back to sleep. But about 7 minutes later, I felt the pain again and for the next half hour or so, I played the, “If it happens one more time I will wake Jeremy” game in my head – it seemed kinda cruel to wake him up unless it was necessary because he had been up and down with Carter for the past few hours.
But the pressure came with consistency and I woke him up and we started timing things. I was having a lot of contractions with regularity, but not a ton of strength. Given Carter was sunny-side up and REALLY painful, I wasn’t sure if this was just the difference between normal labor and back labor. Around 5am we called and woke up Grandma just in case things quickly picked up and we had to leave right away. But …. it didn’t. We gave it until 7am before calling up Auntie Kimmy to come pick up Carter and headed to the hospital at 8am.
The contractions were different – I would have one really strong one, then two or three lighter ones, then one really strong one. When we got to the hospital, I joked with the triage nurses that I felt like I was faking it because it was so different. When they did the exam, I was 2-3cm dilated and 90% effaced and now worried they were going to send me home! (When I got to the hospital with Carter, I was already 6cm dilated). Thankfully since I only pushed for 20 minutes with Carter and had labor onset preeclampsia, they wanted to keep me and test me to make sure that I wasn’t going to have to deal with that again.
We got admitted to our room quickly, they ran a battery of tests and thank goodness the preeclampsia did not make a reappearance! So we hung out as the contractions got a bit stronger, debating on when to get the epidural. The decision sort of made itself for us when the anesthesiologist had a quick opening and my nurse grabbed it.
So, this is where things went a little downhill… When I was getting the epidural tapped into my back, I could actually feel it going into my spine and down and off to the side. While it was a bit painful, it was the most disconcerting thing I have ever experienced. I am usually a “suck it up and take it” person with things like this and I actually stopped the anesthesiologist twice because I thought there was something wrong, that was how strange it was.
I am glad I got it though, as the contractions were picking up in intensity and I was comfortable again. And the waiting game began … long story short, it took me forever to dilate to 4cm, but then all the sudden I was at 7cm, then at 10. My water ruptured on its own at 7cm (basically it sprang a leak) and as I got to 10cm, I needed more medication (of course), so I ended up feeling the strongest contractions VERY well.
So when the anesthesiologist got there, I ended up getting a double dose of medication because the first one wasn’t kicking in. Once it did kick in, my legs were dead weight. I couldn’t lift them no matter how hard I tried. And not to mention the meds make you want to sleep. It was at that point that my doctor thought it would be a good idea to push. Uhhhh, say what?? Oh, and it also looked like he is sunny side up, but this doctor said it was fine to push him out that way (which was contrary to what we heard with Carter from the nurse).
In the meantime, I had given the same instructions as I had last time, “I don’t want to see anything, I don’t want to touch anything, and the same applies for my husband.” Wellll – since I couldn’t move my legs, poor Jeremy got suckered into helping hold one of my legs while I pushed. I won’t go into anymore detail than that, but lets just say he respectfully watched my eyes or the wall.
Fourteen minutes later, probably 5-6 sets of 3 pushes in terms of pushing and Gavin Charles Halbert was born. Pushing was WAY harder this time, even though it took less time than with Carter. Not only was my entire lower half completely numb (which I am thankful for), they had me hold my breath for counts of 10-12 with each push, gasp for air, and do it again until I completed the set of three. Where Carter was engaged in position so it only took like three, maybe four pushes to get him out, I had to push Gavin into position and then completely out. Thankfully he turned on his way into position, so I didn’t have to deliver him sunny side up.
Doesn’t sound that bad on paper, but OH MY GOD it was hard. I can’t imagine women who do this for hours on end. Only way I could see that happening is if they only pushed with every sixth contraction instead of with pretty much every one like I was.
Of course overjoyed doesn’t do the feelings justice when they placed the little guy on my chest. He looks SO different from Carter – the dark hair, darker skin. His poor little nose was completely mushed flat from the ordeal. He latched immediately and is a champ with eating and seemed to be a pretty good sleeper (of course it is early).
The delivery was so different from Carter too – where with Carter I had a magnesium drip to counteract the preeclampsia, it really made me messed up. The best way to describe it was that the whole thing was super surreal because I was so doped up. And the recovery was tough – I had to keep a catheter in for an extra day and stay on the meds longer, so I was pretty much bedridden for 24 hours following Carters birth. With Gavin, I was acutely aware of all the details because I only had the epidural. I was walking within probably two hours following labor (when the feeling came back to my legs) and I don’t think I even broke a sweat during the entire delivery.
We enjoyed lots of visitors – Grandma and Grandpa, Nana and Papa, Chip, Sandy & the kids, Ian, Keegan, and Todd, and Denise all stopped by at the hospital to meet Gavin. The next day, the doctor that was supposed to perform Gavin’s circumcision kept getting called into surgeries, so we finally made the call to bail out and make an appointment in the clinic instead of wait – we were anxious to get home to see Carter.
During the release process, one of the hospital pediatricians came to do a check on Gavin and found that his left clavicle was broken. Jeremy and I were both completely shocked – it was a full day later and we were just learning about this? We got an x-ray to confirm it and found out there was nothing we could do. Thankfully baby bones heal very quickly and within the next four weeks or so it should heal up all on its own. In the meantime we have to keep his left arm pinned to his body (lifting it above his head is painful) and just be super careful with pressure and movement. He is doing well, just gets fussy when he tries to move too much.
Okay, I think that is the full Arrival Story. More to come in the next few days on Carter’s reaction to having a little brother and all the funny things we forgot about with infants!