December 31st: My official due date
December 24th: The earliest possible induction
Name I had picked: Oliver Jay
I wanted this baby out before Christmas. I was done being pregnant. He’s my fourth baby and he felt like he was going to fall out by the time I was 8 months pregnant anyway. Plus the doctor I had been seeing would be gone the week between Christmas and New Years like the rest of the world.
So I ran stairs, and did squats and walked, and I walked and I walked. It got kind of embarrassing. I started hiding when cars drove by because my neighbors thought I was crazy and would shake their heads in sympathy when they passed. They’d offer me a ride and I’d politely decline and keep walking.
I tried everything, I was dilated to a 4, 90 percent effaced, and having regular Braxton Hicks contractions. Finally, with a large amount of trepidation, I gave in and drank a little castor oil (half of what is recommended) and went to our church Christmas party.
By the time we got home I was having contractions every five minutes, although they weren’t particularly strong. But my Mom reminded me of what happened when Max was born (They broke my water and he fell out), so we decided to go in.
When we got to the hospital, Justin told the nurses how fast my labor had gone with Max (no castor oil involved) and they decided to admit us even though I was still only at a 4. At this point I was nervous. What if this is all due to the castor oil? And we’re already admitted and then my labor just stops? That woild be humiliating.
That didn’t happen. We arrived at the hospital a little past 9pm. By the time we got into a room my contractions were getting more intense. By the time I got an epidural I wanted to scream. (I have a very low pain threshold)
And…the epidural only worked on half of my body. I have always had the utmost respect for women who give birth with no medication and now I have even more. In order to go through that amount of pain with any kind of dignity I think that you have to be mentally prepared. I wasn’t, and I couldn’t move half of my body.
Right after the epidural the doctor arrived. He started chatting with Justin – he was catching a flight to Hawaii in a couple of hours.
At that point I did start screaming, and hyperventilating. Like i said, low pain threshold. One nurse tried to give me oxygen. I had a panic attack and pushed her away. The other nurse started pressing on my back to try and relieve some of the pain.
Justin and the doctor jumped into action. Justin grabbed my hand and tried to talk me through it. And the doctor gloved up. A couple minutes later he held a baby boy in his hands. It was 10:35
The baby was pale, no color and he wasn’t crying. All the doctor’s and nurses were quiet as they examined him. I didn’t realize something was wrong until I saw Justin’s face.
After looking the baby over, the doctor calmly told us that he thought I’d had a placental abruption and that the baby was low on blood and needed to go up to the NICU, but that everything would be fine.
I sent Justin with the baby while the nurses cleaned me up and gave me warm blankets to try and stop my uncontrollable shaking. The doctor said he’d come back and check on me in a little bit.
I was alone, my baby gone, my husband with the baby, and I had no idea what was going on. So I did what any girl would do… I called my Mom and poured out an abbreviated account of what had happened.
My parents left my older kids with my brother and were there in under fifteen minutes to sit with me.
Thankfully, the baby was only in the NICU for about an hour. The nurses put me in a wheel chair and took me up to hold him. Poor guy had an IV sticking out of his head in case they decided he needed a blood transfusion. Luckily he never did.
My sweet parents went home to take care of my other three and Justin and I were left to love and admire our new sweet baby.
P.S. I had none of the unpleasant side effects that castor oil can cause – and –
The doctor never came back.
I love being in the hospital with a new baby. It is a sacred experience – despite the unpleastness of recovering from giving birth. Justin always stays in the room the whole time. We get to enjoy our new family member for a couple of days before real life crowds in. I’m incredibly grateful for my parents, who make it so that we can both be there and have that time.
The whole time I was pregnant, I loved the name Oliver. Justin was ok with it as long as his middle name was Jay (in honor of his Grandpa and Jay Moriarty a big wave surfer) but he didn’t love it – OJ would be a terrible nickname and the rest of the kids were never on board.
Two days before we went to the hospital we were driving around looking at Christmas lights and out of the blue Justin says, “What about Adam Jay”. My little brother is named Adam and he is definitely someone to emulate. It felt right.
This last picture is terrible, but I had to include it. Justin’s sweet parents came down for Christmas and to help for about ten days. This was a couple of days in. Christmas and four kids is exhausting. I was the only adult awake and I think my camera skills can attest to how tired I was.
Life is as always, wonderful, beautiful, painful and exhausting.