A birth story, kind of.
Last Saturday night, our washing machine broke. Not only did it break but it blessed us with the opportunity to clean the basement floor after it dumped gallons upon gallons of water on it. By Saturday night I had already had my membranes stripped... Twice... (if you don't know what that is you can google it. My friend aptly called it getting kicked in the nuts for girls.). So I made some terrible joke about wishing my water had broken, instead of the washing machines', and we acted like grown ups and went to Sears Outlet to purchase a new one. It was a swell last "date night."
Please note this monumental moment in the Noto household. For the first time in our craigslisting, money saving lives, our time and backs were more valuable than our cash. We paid to have them drop off the new machine and haul away the old one. Dang, it felt good. We also sealed the impending birth of our child when the only available delivery date was Tuesday. Because really, when you finally man up and pay for that delivery, who wouldn't want to scramble to find someone to be at your house and await your beautiful new washing machine since you are stuck in the hospital. I know we did! Side note, thank you to the many willing to help!
Please excuse the obnoxious amount of details to follow. I don't want to forget a single moment, and apparently, "sleepless night" brain is comparable to "pregnancy" brain and I can feel the details slipping away.
Monday morning I went back to the doctor to have my membranes stripped, for the third time. I had to be seen twice a week anyways, and I was trying to avoid my medically necessary induction on my due date. After that fun experience I went to spend the day with my mom. My sister had been awake with my mom all night and my mom had been really sick and puking. Honestly, it just sucked. No obvious reason for what was going on, but it was the worst off I had seen her in a while. As I was laying in bed next to her, I started to notice some contractions that were not as easy to ignore as they once were. I tried to will them away, because I didn't want to be in labor yet. I wanted my mom to be able to come to my delivery and that wasn't going to be an option. As the minutes passed and the contractions increased to the point where I could no longer lay in bed, I started to mentally admit defeat and tried to find someone to come hang out with my mom so I could drive myself home.
Because heaven forbid I didn't go home. A girl needs her stuff, and to only have one car at the hospital. You know you are in labor when you get increasingly illogical. So I spouted off some angry words to God and had someone come be with my mom, "just in case" this was the real thing.
By the time I got home I was on my tip toes during a contraction. My ideal situation would be to labor at home, head into the hospital around 7-8 cm, and have a baby within a couple hours. All this being said, I have never given birth and had the right to change my mind at any point.
I had started contracting around 3:00 p.m. and ended up having our sweet babe at 12:21 a.m. While it's not the fastest labor I have ever heard of, it is pretty quick for a first time. Confession. Jon and I watched "The Fast and the Furious" on our honey moon. We wanted to watch a movie one afternoon and it was one of the only ones in the house we rented. Embarrassing, yes. Maybe it helped our labor cause. Our peanut seemed to be on a mission once they finally made the decision to come. We will pay tribute to Vin Diesel in the days to come and maybe watch the most recent spectacular edition of the movie.
Now Jon had been rooting for this whole labor bit the entire previous week. I didn't want to get his hopes up and then let him down if things pittered out. So, you know, I waited until I had difficulty breathing through a contraction to tell him to come home. If it wasn't legit at that point, I was not at all prepared for what was to come. He asked if he should finish his session. I said yes.
So from about 4:00-6:00 I labored at home. I hung out in the shower and then took a good 30 minutes to apply some make up because I was contracting every minute and a half and only had about 15 seconds of breathe time in between. I also requested to be called off of work. Heaven forbid I call in sick too soon and make a fool out of myself when I am not actually in labor.
Around 6:00 pm my friend, Amy, said she would come over and support Jon and I. While I had originally figured that I wanted to be at home for many more hours to come, by the time 6:00 came around, I had changed my mind. I mentally decided I was only 3 cm and my butt needed an epidural to make it through this crap shoot, or I was moving really fast and my butt needed to get to the hospital. One or the other. So I desperately awaited Amy's arrival, car packed and ready to go.
So, Amy arrived and I was 5-6 cm with a bulging bag and a really low baby. Make my day. Let's go to the hospital. Oh, and my water broke.
Now I wasn't necessarily afraid to deliver in the car, but I had one little problem. I couldn't sit still to save my soul, nor could I really sit. Poor Jon, that had to be a rough car ride. I'm pretty sure I was more of a silent, don't touch me or even look at me, labor kind of girl, but man that car ride brought out some special words. Especially when there was a freight train. I almost got out of the car and labored on the three lane road because my crazy self could not sit without thinking that my pelvis and legs would surely explode.
Can I just say I have a new found respect for my job and my patients. I will no longer tell you to breathe. Screw breathing.
By the time we made it to the hospital I was arguing with Jon about parking. Yup. Because in labor you get really smart and you demand that your husband park the car and refuse to sit your butt in a wheel chair. So our compromise was for Jon to drop me off at the door and go park the car. There will be no emergency entrance valet or flasher lights, because this my friends, was not an emergency and I was still going to be "in control." Sheesh I have some issues.
I bee-lined my butt to my unit, and surprisingly was able to power walk all the way there without making a fool of myself and acting all unruly in the hospital hallways. The girls at work knew I was coming and were all ready to go. I also texted my wonderful doctor to let him know he was not a total failure at membrane stripping and that I was almost sure we would have a baby tonight.
I was a good 6 cm when I got to the hospital and doctor was en route. Unfortunately when he checked me, we were able to confirm, that like that morning, the baby was still facing up. Little stink. No wonder I felt a little bit like death. I had always heard that labors with OP or face up babies were more difficult, and I am hoping it is true, even though I have nothing to compare it too. Because it was beyond intense. My put together, in control self, wanted to curl up in a ball and quit. Only that's not an option, and you can't slow down contractions that are coming every minute and a half, when your body is doing it all on its own. So instead I got in the shower and tried to melt the contractions away. Jon stayed near by and continually offered to help. Unfortunately nothing felt better. No pressure on my back, hot water on my belly, or special position made it any better.
So eventually I got out of the shower and gave my wonderful doctor a whopping seven seconds to check and see if I had made it any further before I again bounced out of the bed, because sitting and laying were surely not options at this point. 7 cm. You've got to be kidding me. I was not able to breathe, or relax due to how quickly the contractions were coming, and honestly I was about to go off the deep end. With Jon's support and my friends, I decided to get an epidural to see if being able to relax would help the process to keep going. While I really wanted to do natural labor, I also really wanted the baby to turn so that we could progress, and I didn't feel that I would be able to relax enough to do that. At this point, an epidural was a good compromise for me.
After getting the epidural we were able to go from 7 to 10 cm in a matter of an hour or so. While I could still feel some of the contractions, I was able to catch my breath and relax. Baby's heart rate took a nice little dip and Jon got to see my friends quickly transition from friend mode to work mode. Jon and I were able to talk and relax. I was able to process a little bit more how sad I was that my mom wasn't there, but that I was so grateful she is still alive and will be able to meet my kiddo to be. My legs never really got numb and the pain never fully went away, but it was beyond tolerable now.
Until I started pushing. Then, no longer tolerable.
For two hours I pushed, because our sweet child did not correctly know his up from his down. For two hours I turned inside and mustered every ounce of strength I didn't know I had. And, for two hours, I'm pretty sure I didn't open my eyes. Because it is hard to open your eyes when you are having a mental battle with yourself. Labor and delivery nurse Jaci knew it was beneficial to have someone try to turn the baby into the correct position because then all the pain could stop and we could meet our sweet babe. Normal human Jaci wanted to scream at her friends and physician to get their hands out of places that they don't belong because it feels like I will surely rip in half. While I know I have an epidural running, I can feel everything and this is really just not the best feeling in the world. I'm not really sure what I ever said out loud, but that was definitely what I was thinking. With every contraction I would want to panic that one was starting, but at the same time dig in to end this crap. What a conundrum. I am so, so thankful for the support and love of Jon and my friends through those moments. Thank you for telling me I could do it when I surely wanted to quit. Thank you for not pulling the kid out with a vacuum, because I am pretty sure I asked for that too. Thank you for staying with me, even after your shifts had ended and for decorating our rooms.
Eventually the doctor was able to get our sweet babe to turn and we were able to meet him. Jon confirmed what we thought was the case all along. We had a son. It was a boy. Surrounded by so many people that care about us at work, we brought Grayson James into the world at 12:21 a.m, weighing 7 lbs and measuring 20 inches long. He was 7 lbs and 20 inches of perfection. Cone headed perfection, but perfection none the less.
I am pretty sure I was in shock. At the time I did not cry at all, but instead scooped up his messy little body and checked him all out. I fell in love with his itty bitty features and is head full of dark hair. I fell in love with my baby that already had eyebrows and eyelashes. I fell in love with the sweet little babe that I had carried around for 10 months, yet could never have imagined how truly captivated I could be by this little person we had created. It took us a little while to pick a name, but I love it and it suits him.
Jon was wonderful. Jumped right in and held a leg as I worked my butt off to bring our son into the world. And it was awesome to see him gaze into his sons eyes and fall in love for the first time as well. I don't know how one is supposed to sleep when you meet your new baby for the first time. I could have stared at him all night. In the next couple hours he got his bath and met his Nana and Aunt Aly. I texted and talked with my mom as she sobbed her face off over her new grandson. While I desperately wanted her to be there, I am trusting that it played out for the best. It would have been so hard for her to be up that long and to want to be able to physically support me, but to not be able to. So instead she was able to come up the next morning and spend a couple really awesome hours with us.
It was wonderful to be able to introduce our sweet babe to our friends and family that stopped by the hospital. It was even more wonderful to bring him home. In the next day I'll write about some of our adventures and also some of the precious moments my mom has been able to have with sweet Grayson.
Thank you for all of your love and support. I'm sorry about any and all TMI. Huge thank you to all my friends and coworkers at work. Everyone went above and beyond. Thank you to my doctor who knew and understood that this was so much more than just another delivery. Thank you for letting us share our story, and thank you for being a part of it.
The labor stance. Thanks for supporting me Amy and finding those heart tones while I danced around like it was a disco party.