Here is the long promised birth story! I can't believe Andrew is already three weeks old today. Those two+ weeks he was overdue moved a lot slower!!!
Andrew's Birth Story
The morning of my appointment Cheryl came to be with the girls just in case we decided to go ahead and have the membranes stripped and labor kicked in really quickly. When we got there we did the whole ultrasound thing and I was glad that I was somewhat experienced, a first time mom would have been a bit unnerved by the (apparently new) ultrasound technician's hemming and hawing. Andrew had always strongly disliked to have those dopplers put up to my stomach and even in the hospital he kept darting away from the fetal monitor any time they had it around my waist, earning him the nickname of scooter. Well, during those last two ultrasounds they wanted him awake and moving to be able to do the "breathing" test. Wouldn't you know, the little stinker was sound asleep for both of them and wouldn't budge until they finally buzzed him awake with a really loud, um, buzzer. He was perfectly fine and we made our way down to see the midwife, and we were sent to the wrong one. The one I was supposed to see (and had specifically requested at her suggestion!) wasn't even in that day though they had assured me my appointment would be with her when we made it the week before. So, I had to see a new one that I'm really not very comfortable with, less now than ever! She was appalled that I had made it two weeks over and asked me what *I* was going to do about it! As if I had direct control over when I gave birth! I was quite stunned but explained that we had been considering having the membranes stripped and she decided right away that that was the only way to go. I had half a mind to say no simply for the fact she was being really pushy, but she then made it sound that I had absolutely no choice. I either had to go into labor before Monday or I would be induced if I wanted their services, implying that I not even bother seeing them for continued care if I chose otherwise. So, she stripped the membranes, saying afterwards that it should work because she had been "pretty aggressive" about it, and it HURT! Wow, I was not prepared even though I had read that some people found it painful. Some people?! I can't imagine the threshold of pain the rest must have! On our way out she handed me a paper that had me scheduled to "report" to the hospital the following Monday to be induced if nothing came of the membrane stripping and told she me they wouldn't see me in the office anymore, I was to go to the hospital maternity floor for any further care. She was just lovely. Anyway, the contractions started pretty hard as we were leaving the hospital parking lot and kept it up regularly during lunch and as we walked the local Wal Mart. We decided to go home because they weren't picking up very quickly and I had some things I would like to get done if possible. After I got everything done I went and laid down and read my new Hidden Wisdom Magazine that had come in the mail that afternoon, great timing! It was something besides contractions to focus on! About 6:00 that evening they went from every 8 minutes to every 10 and I thought, here we go again! I just knew they were going to stop...again! So, we went walking around the neighborhood. After just ten minutes or so the contractions were coming every four minutes! After about an hour of walking they were definitely "real" and only three minutes apart. We went home, Lee got the girls some supper and put them to bed more quickly than we've ever accomplished before. We were hoping to be able to make it until Cheryl could get there after work so we wouldn't have to bother Doris, who lives next door, so late though she had told us that she would be standing by just in case. After I posted my "we're going, again!" post they fell to every TWO minutes and I was really starting to worry that we wouldn't make it. Cheryl arrived just before I would have pleaded with Lee to get Doris! During the drive to the hospital the pain really picked up another notch and, considering the pain with Bethani, our last baby, was a lot less and the contractions were further apart by the time we got to the hospital and then found to our surprise that I was already at eight centimeters, I just knew that this time most of my work was going to be done by the time I got there, if we made it. You can not believe my dismay when we got there and the nurse told me I was at THREE centimeters!!! I just cried. She actually told me that she was going to fudge the paperwork and say I was at five centimeters because anything less was supposed to be sent home! But, she saw my absolute agony and said I would be at five before anyone else checked me. She was a nurse we had gotten on one of our false trips to the hospital and she hadn't impressed us too much because she kept making "sitcom dad" jokes at Lee that were getting really annoying ;). This time she was really sweet and gave me all kinds of advice that her grandmother had given her which relaxed me. She was at this point a grandmother herself and she had that "comfortable" feel about her. Her name was Marion and by the time it was all over I was sooo glad that we had gotten her, I'll never forget her! The first thing she said when we told her my membranes had been stripped was, "You poor thing, that is so mean. They do that and then half of the time it causes painful contractions that hardly accomplish anything." These were also the initial sentiments of the midwife who delivered me! I learned from the midwife that, contrary to what the other midwife had led me to believe earlier that afternoon, it isn't required practice in their office to force labor at any point unless the baby is in trouble. Labor didn't go so great for the next couple of hours, I was tired and completely overwhelmed. After a while I realized that if I didn't get it pulled together I was gong to have a repeat of my labor with Tori. I spent the rest of my labor in constant prayer (Oh ya, why didn't I think of that sooner?!). Lee was wonderful, as always :). The nurses have been so impressed every time because he knows exactly what to do and not to do and actually does it. My midwife said her husband sat and read the paper while she labored! The nurse told us that we should give childbirth classes but, like my husband said, there is really no way to teach what we do in a class like that. It comes as a part of our overall relationship. Lee can read my mind even when I'm not in labor :).
We had gotten to the hospital at about ten. Around two-fifty'ish (which seemed like an ETERNITY later) I started feeling some really uncomfortable pressure so she checked me again and you wouldn't believe my joy when she told me I was at seven centimeters!!! She started getting the baby warmer and camera, etc. ready. Just about three-twenty I told her I felt I was ready and she agreed, I was right at ten! It took me four weeks to accomplish the first three centimeters and I completed the last three in half an hour, Ha! She called the midwife and I started pushing. I had never pushed with my amniotic bag still intact and it was excruciating. We had to break my water (it's had to be broken every time) and afterwards she told me that my amniotic bag was one of the thickest she's ever come across. I also tried to escape an episiotomy this time, something else I've never gotten to try before. In the end I did tear but it did heal so much better and quicker than any cut they've ever done! I started pushing at about three-twenty with Andrew at 0 station, He was born at 3:48 A.M. My body was so sensitive to everything at this point that I felt her stitch me up no matter how much local anesthesia she tried to give me. But, it was over!!! and I could hear my baby :). They had had to whisk him across the room to check him out because there had been some meconium. After all of the initial stuff the nurses left us alone for awhile. As Lee first handed him to me I told him, "I didn't look, is it really a boy?" :). Nobody had said anything, probably because they knew we "knew" already. He assured me that it was definitely a boy, but I would have known myself had I only looked into his face first. Our girls have all looked so much like girls when they were born that I really wondered what a boy was going to look like, and he looks like a boy :). He's also got broader shoulders and a longer torso in comparison to his legs than the girls have had. We were amazed that they can look so different at birth! He nursed really well right off. Lee eventually took him down to the nursery for his first bath and Marion brought me a sandwich and told me she was really touched by the way Lee and I interacted and by my reliance on God through the "ordeal", she had tears in her eyes. Wow, there is never a time you can't be a witness for Christ! I have to admit that witnessing was the last thing on my mind during labor... I was so sorry to lose Marion when they moved me to recovery but I met a couple of other neat nurses, Emily was my favorite baby nurse. She came in once when the girls were there to meet the baby. After a while she said, "Wow, they are really good girls. Most of the time when I come into a room with children visiting they are bouncing off of the walls!". I told her she should see them at home... ;). Bri hit me with the reality of how mature she's getting when she brought me my Above Rubies magazine because she thought I might "want something to read" :). Bri's first reaction was, "Awww" with a frenzied, "I have to get my hands on that baby" sort of look :). Tori told us he was "Handsome, not pretty, he's not a girl!". And when Lee told Bethani, "There's your baby brother!" she shook her head no, haha :). BUT, her second reaction was, "Awww, baby", and she's been in love ever since ;). We have also found the secret to getting your baby back from the nursery quickly, go with them :). Lee goes with our babies wherever they go and our babies always ends up getting the VIP service and sent back to mommy's room with daddy as soon as possible. I guess it isn't as much fun when dad is standing there critiquing ;). My midwife approved an early discharge, Cheryl and Doris had been tag teaming it with the girls and the girls were loving it, but I was going through Bethi withdrawal!!! I had never been away from her overnight before.
In the end I've learned things from this pregnancy and labor just as I have all of the others. I asked Lee how many he thought we had to go before I could pull together a "perfect" pregnancy and labor. I have learned that, short of danger to the baby, I never want to induce in any way ever again, even naturally!!! My body is just not the sort that can handle interference of any sort well apparently.
When we got home Doris came over to see him and prayed Numbers 6:24-26 over him. It really touched me for many reasons. That is also one of my favorite bible verses, I had never thought of it as a baby's blessing before :).
A few of my favorite pictures:
Just minutes old and not very happy. Can't you just hear him say, "I was comfy in there!".
After bath time.
His first nap...I used to be one of those mothers who obsessively recorded everything...I haven't started his baby book yet...
The proud biggest sister Bri, she's been waiting for this moment :).
Tori and Andrew. I love this picture, aren't they cute ?!
Bethani, Andrew, and one of the moments I've been waiting for...
Yes! She loves him :)!
Oops..now she doesn't want to give him back...
This was one of those moments when I had nothing but a prayer of gratitude in my heart. I know I don't deserve the gifts that God has given me and I am so indescribably grateful. I wish you could see Bethani snuggled up next to Lee, they are all priceless...
This was taken as we were packing up to leave the hospital. Bethani is trying on my shoes, look really closely...I call this one "I Don't Know If I'm Coming Or Going..." ;).
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17