And now for a more detailed account. Birth stories are most interesting to the future mom. I can't tell you how many times I've poured over Ike's birth story in the last few weeks, hoping that it would give me any indication as to when this baby would arrive or if things would be similar. Nope, every birth story is different. So here goes, future Margaret (who is pregnant with a girl), Asher's birth story...
At my last doctor's appointment, I agreed to schedule an induction. You're probably wondering why the heck I would do that? VBAC or not, inducing labor will increase your odds of having a c-section. For a VBAC, it takes your chances of having a vaginal birth from about 80% to about 60%. Also, it doubles your risk of uterine rupture from 1% to 2%. Still, that's a 98% chance that my uterus would be fine.
So why would I do that? To be honest, part of me just wanted the baby out. That factored in a little bit. Mostly though, I agreed to an induction because I have a lot of faith in my doctor and I wanted him to be the one on call. He had sent an email out to his colleagues to give them a heads up about my situation in case they were on call when I went into labor. Some of them weren't too thrilled with the prospect of delivering me. One of them (ironically the one who delivered my last VBAC) wanted my operative report from my c-section which has been difficult to track down ever since Banner Mesa closed down. There was no time to track it down. Anyways, my doctor wanted to be the one to deliver me so he scheduled an induction for Tuesday at 3 p.m. when he would be on call. At my appointment, I was 3.5 cm dilated, 50% effaced and at a -2 station. He was pretty confident that things would go well. And honestly, I had a feeling that I would be in labor soon anyways.
I was still pretty uneasy about it. I figured I could schedule it and then cancel later. I let it sink in. I thought about it. I worried about it. And then I prayed about it and got a good impression that things would go well and it would be the right decision. I made arrangements for the boys to stay overnight at a friend's house. I got my laundry done. I mopped my floors. Installed the carseat. Bought a People magazine. I was set.
Tuesday rolls around and I drop the boys off. Clark comes home from work and we head out to the hospital. As we're unloading our bags in the parking lot of the hospital, I get a call. They're too busy right now, there are no beds and not enough staff. Ladies in active labor are the priority, not elective inductions. I understand, but I'm still pretty upset. They want us to call back in a few hours to see if they can take me. Clark and I head over to the Foothills Mall to see a movie, Source Code. I try to enjoy the movie, but I'm too distracted. We walk around and shop a little bit and I'm miserable. I'm kid-free and shopping at a mall, I should be in heaven but I'm on the verge of tears. The anticipation is killing me.
A few hours later, we decide to just show up at the hospital. If I was going to be rejected again, I wanted to be turned away in person and not over the phone. The head nurse comes out and very apologetically tells me they still can't take me and to call back in a few hours. She says I'm the first on the list and she's confident that I will get in that night around 9 or 10. Clark and I head over to Sauce for dinner and Frost for gelato. I'm eating Sauce and Frost and CRYING. It's just not right. I can't relax. And I feel horribly guilty that my friend Cherise has been watching my kids for HOURS now and I'm having a mini-vacation with my husband. I should be enjoying myself but I just can't. After another few hours, we call the hospital again.
A new head nurse is on call and she is not very apologetic. She says she has no idea when I can come in but they'll call me. She tells me to go home and take a bath. You know, just relax. We head home and I'm crushed. I'm an emotional wreck. It's about 8 o'clock and we try to watch some TV. We head to bed and try to sleep. My sister arrives from Prescott around 11. I sit in front of the TV and cry hysterically while watching episodes of Human Planet. I clutch my phone and beg for it to ring. I sleep fitfully for a few hours. Around 4:30 in the morning, I finally get a call and they say I can come in. I grab something light for breakfast and we're on our way!
We get to the hospital around 5. By 6, they start me on the pitocin. I'm about 4 cm, 75% effaced and -1 station. My sister shows up around 7. My contractions are uncomfortable and somewhat irregular. The nurses change their shift and I get two young nurses, one of which was a student doing her clinical work. She was green. Very, very green. Let's just say, she did a cervical check in the wrong place. Needless to say, I wasn't making any progress over there. I didn't mention anything because I didn't want to embarrass her. But that was unpleasant.
At 6:30, Dr. C comes in and breaks my water. Fluid looks nice and clear. Dr. C thinks we'll have a baby by lunch. I hate it when doctors are overly optimistic and I brush this off. I'm prepared to labor for hours. Maybe even for 24 hours (with 2 hours of pushing) like my poor sister-in-law had the day before. They up my pitocin and things get painful. I started at 2 ML/per unit and I was at 14 ML/per unit when I delivered. They would have capped me off at 20 ML/per unit had I needed it.
At 9 am and 5 cm, my contractions are strong and regular. I was pretty uncomfortable and wanted an epidural. The anesthesiologist comes in and starts my epidural. It takes awhile to kick in and when it does, only my feet and legs are partially numb. I'm still feeling my contractions and things are getting really painful. At 10 am, I'm nauseous and throw up from the pain. I only throw up once during the whole ordeal- pretty good for me! The nurses are concerned that my epidural hasn't fully kicked in and they call the anesthesiologist back in. They check me and I'm 7 cm. By 7 cm, I DID NOT want to be feeling anything. I could still feel my mid-section, you know, the part where the contractions are happening! My butt, legs and feet are numb but I can still move around a little bit.
The anesthesiologist has me lie on my left side and tries to back the catheter out of my spine to adjust the medicine. I'm starting to panic. My epidural with Ike worked so well and it never occurred to me that I might have to deliver a baby and feel the pain of it. And by this point, the pain was awful. I remember thinking that I couldn't do this, that I'd rather be knocked out and have a c-section. Clark, my sister, two nurses and the anesthesiologist are all gathered around, watching me sweat and moan and writhe in pain. The anesthesiologist tries adjusting things and keeps asking how my legs feel. With each contraction, they ask me different questions and try adjusting things. Nothing is working. He floods me with medicine. He's about to remove the epidural and do another one in a different spot on my spine. Before he can do that, the nurses check me and I'm complete. They page Dr. C.
I seriously panic. I told everyone I didn't want to push until I had a new epidural. They all spew some garbage about how great I was doing and I would be just fine. I wanted to punch them all in their faces. Plus, it was too late, they said. His head was right there. It was time to push and I couldn't wait for an epidural. Dr. C comes in and the anesthesiologist heads out. I was not happy. This was not how I envisioned things.
Things get a little blurry here. With Clark and Marie holding my legs, I start pushing. I had absolutely no break between pushes. I could hardly catch my breath between them. I think I pushed a total of 8-10 times. It took just a few minutes and his head was out. I could feel his head pop out and then his body coming out, but it wasn't painful or at least I wasn't noticing any pain. I had a 2nd tear, not bad. Dr. C delivers the placenta and starts to sew me up.
Asher's apgar scores were 9 and 9. He was very pink right off the bat. He cried right away and didn't stop for 30 minutes. His forehead, nose and cheeks were bruised up pretty good from coming out so fast. His fingernails and toenails are freakishly long. At 8 pounds, 3 ounces he is my largest baby. I'm glad he didn't stay in another week, getting even bigger. Unlike Booker and Ike, he has blond hair. He has a light dusting of hair all over his face and some pretty awesome ear hair. I love it.He has a face like I've never seen before. It's full of fat, pockets of fat, just fat, fat, fat. Just like his older brothers, he has a funny looking old man face. He can barely open his eyes because his eyelids and eyebrows are too fat. I think he looks like Ike did with Booker's very round head shape. He is just so odd looking, but I love that about him.
After delivery, the flood of epidural medicine kicks in and my legs remain numb for the next 8 hours, which means I'm stuck in bed. And since everything happened so fast, they never had time to put a catheter in. It's miracle I don't pee all over myself during those 8 hours. When I finally pee, with the help of the nurses, I pee 2 liters! Once I can empty my bladder, the nurses finally take out my IV and quit bugging me so often. It felt so good to walk around and take a shower. There is nothing as good as a postpartum shower. That night, the three of us sleep fitfully. Poor Clark has a sore throat and his couch/bed does not look comfortable. The nurses come in every two hours to check mine and Asher's vitals. Super annoying. Everything checks out well and we are discharged at 3 pm the next day.
Overall, it was such a positive (and fast) birthing experience. I'm glad we got to come back home quickly. We were really beginning to miss Booker and Ike. I'm so thankful for Cherise and Marie for taking care of them while we were gone. I'm in complete awe that my body is capable of doing that. I feel pretty sore today and it hurts to sit but other than that I feel good. It's amazing how quickly some of those awful pregnancy symptoms disappear. My heartburn and backache are gone, gone gone! Replaced with a delirious lack of sleep and a very sore bum.
Asher is nursing well and sleeping a ton (during the day- grrrr). His brothers adore him, especially Booker. Last night Ike threw up all over his crib and it was a two parent clean up job. With both of us busy in Ike's room, Booker snuck out of bed to let us know that Asher was crying. We sat Booker down and asked him to hold Asher while we cleaned up. Booker took this responsibility very seriously and felt so proud that he could be such a helpful big brother. And the best part was, he actually was being a great help to us. It was a special moment.
Today, I feel like we were hit with the reality of being the parents to three kids and not just two. Ike has been leaving piles of vomit all over the house. Booker is begging to take Asher to the zoo, to the park, to the mall. Asher is wanting to eat around the clock. Clark is sick with a cold and I'm just plain exhausted and wiped out. And to top it all off, Fergus just chased a mouse under our dishwasher. I'm looking forward to welcoming parents and in-laws into our home next week. It's times like these that my heart is full of gratitude for our friends, family and ward family. Having a new baby is hard.
As far as the name goes, it's one I wanted to use with Booker and then again with Teichert but we decided not to. I think that's why Heavenly Father sent me a third boy. He knew we were supposed to have an Asher in our lives. Given that he's named after a literary figure with significant father issues, we thought it would be mildly ironic to also name him after his dad. Additionally, I wanted to semi-honor my little brother Christian, who is also a third boy named after his dad.
There you have it. My camera is full of photos taken by my sister. Good ones too. Ones of Booker and Ike full of excitement as they meet Asher for the first time. Ones of Asher curled up on Clark's chest while he reads Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Ones of me looking bewildered but content with my new baby. And many, many shots of Asher's gigantic, chubby face filling the frame. But they will have to wait until we have a better grasp on these little boys. Until then, we love you Asher and we're so glad you're finally here!