Our due date for our third baby was October 29. I am not so sure why I was so surprised to see that date come and go. And then the next day and the next, with pretty much no baby action. Though, it was a busy week for the kids. Henry had some cool events at school. We had some trick or treating plans. I had my final OB appointment on Halloween, as it turned out, wherein I asked my doctor to get me the soonest possible date for induction. She told me that if I didn’t have a baby then I could go in to be induced the evening of November 4th. B and I were pumped. So we went trick or treating. We made plans for the kids to be watched and well cared for. And then we partied like it was 1999. And by that, I mean we ate a bunch of the kids’ Halloween candy. Or maybe all of it. You can do that sort of thing when you are nine months pregnant.
We headed to the hospital around 7 pm on November 4. We filled out papers. We met our nurse, Andra, who was a total rock star (more on that later). We started the induction process. Our nurse left at 11 and I got a night nurse. Nothing happened. At 7am I got another new nurse. She tried to tell me I wasn’t allowed to eat. I decided right then and there I didn’t like her. And then nothing kept happening.
Let me also point out that through this entire process we heard one thing, over and over, from all the staff who visited us: Oh, it always takes a long time with your first. US: we know. this is our third. People: Oh.
So I walked. We walked. We did laps around the maternity wing, we tired to peek in at the tiny babes in the nursery. We compared the offerings in various snack rooms. We nodded to the same nurses at their stations over and over and over for hours. Thing started to get painful, but nothing was “happening” if you know what I mean. Bryan and I discussed how it seemed that my body was really great at growing babies, but maybe not so good at getting them out. So by late afternoon, I was done with the walking. I was done with the Law & Order: SVU marathon. I had been at it for 19 hours at this point and I was done. And you would never guess who walked into our room shortly before 3pm.
Andra: Why haven’t you had a baby yet?
Me: I don’t know. I’m having contractions but they aren’t going anywhere. But it hurts. Is it too early for an epidural? I’m afraid if I get the epidural and lay down things will come to a hault.
Andra: Let me talk to the doctor and we will make a plan. We will get you and epidural and start your pitocin. If things slow down, we can increase the pitocin. Let’s have a baby before I leave tonight.
And I did.
Things happened pretty much exactly like that. I got an epidural. They started my pitocin. I laid in bed and tried to sleep. It kind of worked and kind of didn’t. Around 9pm, Andra checked me. I was like a 9. But, weirdly, I could feel everything in that area (if you know what I’m saying) but my legs were still numb. By 9:30 it was time to push and the epidural had basically worn off.
Side note: I know a lot of people are anti drugs when it comes to birth and I get that. In a perfect world, where my babies just magically popped out within a 12 hour or less window, I would probably be, too. But I had been “in labor” for over 24 hours. I had hardly slept at the hospital and had been too large to do so comfortably at home for weeks. I was tired. Exhausted. And pushing is hard. Like, really hard. And this is coming from someone who used to work out twice a day, starve myself to make weight and wrestle with guys much stronger and heavier than me. This was without a doubt the most painful thing I had ever experienced. Period. I know why epidurals were invented. And I am so grateful that they were. But then, it wasn’t blissfully numb anymore and, simply stated, it sucked.
So I pushed for what felt like forever, but it wasn’t really that long. After about 20 minutes, everyone was yelling at me that they could see the head and I had to just push harder. Go harder. Be harder. And then they lost the heartbeat and we had a very small window of time where we had to get him out or we would have to do an emergency C section. They tried a suction when I pushed and it wasn’t working. I’m not sure how it happened, because, at that point, I kind of just wanted to throw in the towel and get the C, but I pushed. And he came out. He was giant and purple and beautiful. They told me later that he had been crooked and because of that and his large size, it was harder to push him out.
And so we met our son, Grey Morgan Duxbury. He arrived at 10:02 pm on November 5, 2013. He was 8 lbs and 14 oz and 21 inches long. He looked like one of our kids. He just fit. And then Andra left us for the night again. Bryan went home the next morning to care for Henry and Cora. He brought them to see the baby several times over the rest of our 2 day stay at the hospital. They were very excited about him. Henry was very insistent that Grey and I come home whenever he had to say goodbye. We finally got to returned home on that Thursday, November 7.
Conclusions: When you are pregnant with a baby (at least for me), it is really hard to conceptualize that you have an actual person inside you who will one day be outside you. I could never really “picture” any of my babies, yet after they entered the world and I got to stare down into their amazingly adorable, chubby faces it always felt like I knew them. Like there was never a time that they did not exist. That life without them had been no life at all. It is such a weird shift to go from childless couple to parent of one. Then to two. And now to three. But it is so weird to think there was a time when we had a 10 month old Henry, but no Cora and no Grey. And when I think about that reality, it kind of makes me weepy. It is a hard emotion for me to explain, but it is always overwhelming when we have a new baby.
Having a baby is hard, but for me being pregnant is harder. This last pregnancy wasn’t troubling with illness, but I never felt “good”. I was always tired, exhausted and wore down. I didn’t want to do anything. I couldn’t cook or clean or do much in the afternoon besides sit on the couch while the kids played around me or watched tv or ipads. It feels so good to not be pregnant any more, even though it is weird to not be able to feel all the movement and kicking going on in there. That transition is a hard one for me, too.
Grey is a beautiful baby. He is like Cora is so many ways: he is super smiley, he is not a comfort nurser, and he leans toward looking more like her than like Henry. But he is also so much himself and it is funny to think how much we compare each kid to the others. Some random things about Grey: he loves the swing. When you cover him with a blanket he will always take his hands away. He doesn’t like them covered. He doesn’t love the pacifier like the other kids did. He is way more of a trooper than I would expect a kid to be at his age. We love him to the moon and beyond.