So, quick refresher: I was induced with Eli at 38 weeks because of high blood pressure and Grace randomly came just shy of 36 weeks. Because Grace was technically pre-term, my doctor put me on weekly progesterone butt shots with Lyla to make sure she cooked for long enough. Which, sure, it was nice to know I wouldn't have a scary, way-too-early birth. But I was also didn't want to go all the way to a 39 week induction, because I'm spoiled. And also my babies are enormous. And nothing about a toddler-sized human firing out my baby cannon sounded appealing.
I was supposed to take the shots up until 36 weeks. I pretended that that meant stopping them at 35 weeks, since technically the drug would stay in my system for another 7-10ish days. Also, I was pretty tired of listening to my doctor tell me to watch my weight and not eat carbs so my baby wouldn't be enormous. So if I could just make it to 36 weeks without giving birth - which is when my baby wouldn't require a mandatory visit to the NICU - that would have been ideal.
My 37 week appointment was on Halloween. (My doctor had asked what we were going to dress up as for Halloween, when I showed her our "Whip Nae Nae" picture, she about died. And then left me, bare-assed on the table, to go show the picture to all the other doctors.)
I digress. Up until this point, my belly had been measuring 3-4 weeks ahead - even though it totally didn't feel like that. (Or I was just heavily in denial.) But even my doctor had commented that she never would have guessed I was measuring that far ahead by looking at me. Which made me feel a little better, but mostly didn't. Between my apparently huge belly and my other babies being pretty big for when they were born, I had my doctor just absolutely convinced I was going to give birth to a 13 pound baby. (She was mostly concerned about her getting stuck from being too big, since Eli had had a shoulder dystocia when he was born.) Because of that, she had wanted me to go get a growth scan that same day. The growth scan had estimated that baby girl was about 7 pounds and 9 ounces, which they told me was "above average, but normal." So, basically just like my other kids have been size-wise literally their entire lives.
My doctor got all up in there and let me know that I was 3+ dilated and 60% effaced. I was never that dilated with Eli - probably because he was my first. And I never had gotten that far with Grace. So hearing that I was a 3+ gave me a little unfounded hope that maybe I wouldn't have to go to 39 weeks after all. But also had me a little paranoid that when I did start going into labor, it would be fast. Even though it really basically meant nothing. Other than my cervix was dilated to the size of a banana slice. My doctor decided to do me a solid and strip my membranes to encourage an eviction. She set an induction date of 11/13, if baby hadn't come before then. She made sure to let me know she really hoped that that wouldn't be the case though and that I was welcome to do whatever I wanted to make the baby come out. She sent me out the door with a, "PROTEIN PROTEIN PROTEIN. NO CARBS."
I went home and started having contractions that weren't very timetable, but were strong enough to make me Google all the ridiculous ways women supposedly put themselves into labor. I spent the rest of the night bouncing on a ball, banging, trying to find all the magical pressure points in my feet, and doing step ups while simultaneously rubbing my nipples. It was a sight to behold, I'll tell you what. A sight to behold that resulted in no baby. I'm convinced that all the things the internet tells you to do to go into labor is just a bunch of horse crap. Unless your body is already gearing up for labor anyways. But knowing that still didn't stop me from getting a pedicure, walking on curbs, and stimulating the hell out of my nipples for the next week.
November 7th rolled around. I was 38 weeks and 1 day. Officially more pregnant than I had ever been. And I was done. And I know I'm getting some eye rolls from my homegirls who have been pregnant for a lot longer than that - multiple times, even. But it was a special kind of torture knowing my other two babies had both already been born by that point. And I couldn't help but be nervous that my baby was already 23 pounds. I felt like I spent the entire day pooping. Seriously. I knew it could be a sign of impending labor. But I also knew that it could just be the glory of pregnancy and probably having eaten something that gave me the poops. Regardless, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom.
Later that afternoon I finally had my checkup with the doctor. I gave the nurse crap for always weighing me before taking my blood pressure. (I mean, seriously. What the hell is that about? Oh, my blood pressure is high? After the scale just shot way past the number I would have been comfortable with? WEIRD.) I sat there, pantsless, waiting for my doctor for what felt like 18 pregnancies. I wondered if maybe she could "accidentally" break my water while she was digging around my honey pot. She finally came in and checked me. I was "almost a 4" and 80% effaced. Which was a tiny bit more progressed than where I was a week earlier, but not enough to be remotely satisfied. She did a membrane sweep again and mentioned that she wouldn't be working the next day. I told her, "We're supposed to close on our house tomorrow, I've said all along that that'll be the day she decides to come. So now that you won't be working, that just seals the deal."
Later that night I started having very light, manageable contractions. But they were timeable. They averaged about 10ish minutes apart and were about a minute long. I figured they would just subside like they had last week - especially since they weren't super uncomfortable. But just in case, I bounced on my ball, rubbed my feet, and had some sex. Because surely it couldn't hurt to try. Even though giving birth the next day would totally throw a wrench in having to do our final walkthrough and closing on our house.
I woke up early that morning with contractions that were a little more intense than they had been the night before. I sat in bed and timed them and they were about 4-5 minutes apart. I nudged Shawn in bed and told him that there was a solid chance we wouldn't be closing on our house today. I figured that since I had spent a whole night laboring with Grace with contractions that I remembered being much worse than what I was having now, that we still had plenty of time. I told Shawn he was fine to go drop some ladders off for the guys at work and then he was just planning to come back home so we could go to the final walkthrough of our house that morning. I figured I had the time to shower and make myself presentable - so this time I wouldn't look like I just rolled out of bed. Vain and unnecessary? Probably. But if I was going to look like a whale in pictures regardless, at the very least I'd look like a whale who hasn't totally given up.
As I was showering, the contractions were getting much closer together and a lot more intense. Again, I figured that's how they had been with Grace for an entire night, and I was only at a 5 when I had finally gotten to the hospital with her - so, I was probably okay. I got out of the shower and started getting ready. That's when the contractions started to stop me in my tracks and make me catch my breath. Also when I realized my intentions of looking presentable were quickly being shot to crap. I was going to get Grace out of her crib when my sister-in-law, bless her heart, came downstairs and took Eli and Grace upstairs with her. (Oh, we lived with my brother and sister in law for about a month when we were in between houses. Because, oh, we moved.) By this point the contractions were straight up painful and right on top of each other, it felt like. I had maybe a minute between each one. I realized that this was going to go much quicker than Grace's labor had. Shawn had been on the phone on speaker, to make sure I wasn't having a baby in our kitchen. He was on his way back home but, of course, was stuck in morning traffic. He grew more panicked every time I had a contraction and was swearing into the phone and asking how close he was.
He finally got home and we immediately threw all our stuff into the car and left for the hospital. And it was the longest. 25. minute. drive. of. my. entire. life. We still managed to get stuck in morning traffic. So we couldn't even swerve around people or run red lights, because there was no where to go. I literally have never said so many swear words in my whole entire life. It was a rated R car ride for sure. I was sure we were going to have to pull over and give birth on the side of the road. In the spare minutes I had between contractions, I literally Googled if getting a police escort was a thing, because the traffic was royally pissing me off. Shawn ran a few red lights and later told me that the roll of roofing felt (which is basically like a long ass tarp) had come unrolled on the freeway and was dragging about 20 feet off the back of our truck and just flapping in the wind like freakin' Batman - but he just left it because he didn't dare stop to fix it. Because he's smart. And was probably a little scared for his life.
We finally got to the hospital at around 8:45am, after the most excruciatingly terrible car ride of my life. I managed to get myself into a wheelchair and we went to the front desk. The woman at the desk asked me what was going on, and as I was having a contraction I blurted out, "I NEED TO HAVE A BABY." She got my information and went to take my picture right as I was having another contraction, a nurse who was standing right there commented how that wasn't cool - and she was correct. Not that I even gave two flying farts about it at the time, but surely that couldn't have been a cute picture.
We finally got to a room and as I was putting on the hospital gown, I suddenly got the most intense urge to barf. And I do not barf. I told Shawn that I needed a garbage can and just barely made it to one in time to puke 3 times. That was new. They came back in to check my lady down under and let me know that I was dilated to an 8. I immediately asked if I could still have drugs. I wanted drugs. I needed drugs. GIVE ME DRUGS. They said yes, and I've never been so relieved. Well, no. I take that back. I've never been more relieved than when the anesthesiologist showed up and I no longer felt the contractions. Bless that man and his holy modern technology.
I would just like to take this moment to inform everyone that, up until this point, this post has been sitting in my drafts for 5 months and so help me, I'm going to finish it right. now. I probably won't finish it with quite the detail I would have 5 months ago, because failing memory. (Sorry, future Lyla. I know you're bummed about not getting to read more details about mom's crotch adventures.)
So, anyways. I get my drugs and relax enough to realize that BALLS, WE FORGOT THE HORSE HEAD. We had left it in the trunk of our other car. Shawn and I were talking about it as the nurses were doing their thing. We realized one of the nurses had been there for Eli's birth as well - you know, this:
And when she heard us talking about the horse head she was like, "YES! I REMEMBER THAT! YOU'RE THE HORSE HEAD PEOPLE!" And I felt probably way more proud than I should have. We showed the horse head pictures to the other nurse, and relieved, she said, "Oh my gosh. I thought you guys were talking about like, a stuffed horse head. This makes way more sense." And yeah, we may be weird, but we're not bring a MFing stuffed horse face to our birth weird. Anyways, my little sister cut class to go grab the mask, because priorities.
Things slowed down for a bit once I had my epidural. My mom and dad came to hang out with us and my friend, Julia, was able to make it to take pictures - even though I gave her about 2 seconds notice. We had a chance to FaceTime the kids, who didn't have a clue what was going on.
She said that Lyla was still posterior but that we could try pushing to see if she'd flip. I pushed once and like magic, she flipped right around. I pushed a second time (and maybe third time?) and she slid right on out. I could go back and look at the video to see exactly how it went down, buuuuut, I'm determined to finish this post. So, sufficeth to say that it all happened pretty quickly and, gratefully, without any issues. But not so quick that we didn't get a few action shots. (That I'm pretty sure are crotch-shot free. I made Shawn double check. So, uh, sorry if we were wrong.)
At 20 inches tall and 8lbs 6oz, she was beautiful and absolutely perfect in every way.
And good news, the horse head finally showed up.
The kids got to the hospital and were just enamored with Lyla, and it was the sweetest thing ever.
When Eli saw me, he said, "Mom, what's in your belly? Do you have another baby in there?"
But overall, everything went well. We got moved in and eventually situated. Postpartum adventures were about as expected. Plenty of meltdowns. First postpartum poop was as terrifying as ever, but was a success. (Wiping, on the other hand, was a different story. I spent the better part of 10 minutes trying to figure out if I still had a dangling turd. Hint: Just get in the freakin' shower and hose off. Also you're welcome for that mental image.) Breastfeeding was a success - although, between the cramps and Lyla absolutely destroying my nips, hurt like a big ol' fat B word. The postpartum gushing every time I stood up was just as gross as ever. Made it through my first postpartum sneeze without ripping my vagina back open. Man, childbirth is glorious, isn't it?
That said, I still feel so incredibly lucky that we had the chance to bring this darling little angel into our family. I've felt really strongly with each of my kids that, although they may not have come how or when I wanted them to, they've all come exactly how and when they were supposed to. Lyla is no exception. She may not have picked the most convenient day to make her entrance - but it was the perfect time to join our family and I'm forever grateful to my Heavenly Father for sending me such a beautiful, squishy, perfect little girl.
Six and a half months late, but DONE. You're welcome, internet and future posterity.
(Also, sorry you got gipped on the cheesy birth video compilation, Lyla. It's okay though, I'll make it up to you by giving you a later curfew than the other kids.)