This is Benjamin's birth story. No, crazy birth pictures or videos are not involved. I just want to recount the events that lead to him joining us in this world because, from what I understand, later down the road many details are forgotten.
It started on April 7th - his due date - my mom and Pablo and I had gone to the local church to listen to a talk about relics of Saints - which involved seeing and touching said relics. Mass ran late, so the talk started late. It was close to 8:00pm and there I was, big as a house, sitting in the pew, tracking my contractions with an app. Before I knew it, contractions went from 20 min to 14 min to 12 min to 8 min. The talk was wrapping up, and it was going to be followed by the showing of the relics, so I was waiting it out... I quietly whispered to Pablo about the contractions, he whispered to my mom. My mom said "what are we doing sitting here??? Didn't the doctor tell you to call him when contractions were 6 - 8 minutes apart?"
So we went home. Had dinner (trigo and rice and steak... yum!). Took a shower and called the doctor. He said to go on in to the hospital. We made it to the hospital at around 11pm - quite tired:
Apparently my contractions weren't strong enough... the doctor gave me the choice to either walk for an hour or go home. Not wanting to risk having to drive back 25 miles into the city in rush hour traffic in the morning, I chose to walk... One hour later there was no progress. We gathered our belongings and went home - as in I got in my bed at 4am.
The next day, April 8th, was dedicated to walking. We went to the Buford market, to the other market, did laps around the back yard in the morning and in the afternoon. When my legs were tired of walking on uneven ground, Norm and I walked up and down our block... When the pollen got out of control, I just did laps around the living room... late into the evening.
The next day, April 9th, I woke up and realized Norm hadn't gone to work. He said he was going in at 10am - great! As I go to pee (some of this story is going to have TMI, being pregnant and giving birth is one big TMI session, come to terms with it and keep reading or just quit now) I realized my water was breaking. Calm as a cucumber I call out to Norm "Love? I think my water has broken". Then the whole house went into a frenzy. Wake up the family, have breakfast, feed the dogs, call the doctor, get the hospital bag, I won't be back to this house without a little one....
Thankfully traffic was non-existent that morning - we had already purchased a Peach Pass just in case we got caught in bad traffic.
I went into triage and they confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid (yes, leaking is an accurate term), they also confirmed the baby was in position ready to go and they also confirmed I was still at 3cm dilated, which I had been since that Monday. So what did the doctor order? Yes! Walking!
So we walked pretty much all day... laps around the maternity center. Walk for 30 minutes, rest and check the baby's heart rate and my vital signs. Then walk again for another 30 minutes, then rest and check both baby and I are still coming along. Don't eat lunch. Drink apple juice and water. Pablo, Norm and my mom all took turns walking with me. Although all four of us (and the IV pole) walked the first lap together... it was a bit obnoxious, so then we decided that it's best for them to take turns.
At around 4pm we had finally made some progress and contractions started to get stronger (as in I had to stop walking and lean on the wall), but we weren't where we needed to be as far as dilation went. Doctor order some meds to speed it up - and for me to keep walking. At about 6pm the pain was getting critical when the strong contractions hit. There was no more smiling going on... they gave me some pain killers with the plan that I'd be able to get up and keep walking (because once you get the epidural you are bed ridden until baby comes out). At one point, I remember the resident doctor asking that I be given oxygen... it seems I had had 3 contractions back to back to back which had caused Benjamin's heart rate to drop to 88 (normal was 140), so he was quite stressed out since he hadn't been able to recover. Thankfully that was all just a scare. The medicine they gave me was supposed to last 4 hours, but at 8pm I woke up from contraction pain. I asked the nurse for the epidural... they called anesthesia. 15 minutes later I asked Norm to go out to the nurse station and let them know anesthesia hadn't come by. So he did... 10 minutes after that I told Norm to go find anesthesia himself and not come back in the room until whoever could make epidural happen was with him. At 9pm finally the doctor showed up and hooked me up.
Before I knew it, it was 1:00am and I was being told I had done a good job and dilating and moving the baby down - the nurse had already called my doctor and he was on his way. Considering I was able to move my legs, toes and feel the pressure of the strong contractions, I immediately asked for anesthesia to come back and increase the drugs. However, we ran out of time...
In the meantime waiting on the doctor to arrive, everyone went into another frenzy. We took pictures:
My mom organized things, Norm and Pablo walked around, I just sat there. Thinking about not getting nervous. Thinking about what my baby was going to look like. Praying to St. Gerard that delivery not get complicated.
Then the doctor got there wearing his button down white shirt and bow tie and things got real. He was telling me how to breathe, I was doing it wrong, so he'd get mad at me when I screwed up my breathing. At one point I told him I've never done this before and it's difficult! He just kept on trecking. We (yes, "we" as in Norm, my mom and I) pushed for 1 hour. I was freezing through the whole process because I was running a fever... at one point earlier in the night my nurse (who was from Jamaica and rather awesome) had already explained to me what would happen with baby if my temperature hit certain thresholds...
Half way through pushing and making little to no progress it dawned on me that since I was feeling the contraction pressure of the strong contractions, I should call it out to the doctor and not wait for him to rely on the monitor (since the monitor had a few seconds of a delay). So that's what we did... until near the end when I was so tired and cold and borderline defeated.
All of a sudden about 15 people showed up in the room - I guess it was show time. My doctor, his resident doctor, the fellow doctor, my nurse, the baby's nurses (yes, there were multiple ones since my fever had spiked close to delivery, they were going to have to keep a closer eye on him once he arrived), the techs... everyone was dressed in those blue gowns. They got everything ready and then we waited and waited and waited on the last contraction for one last push. It seems like we waited 10 minutes.
Before I knew it, Norm and my mom were panting (change in breathing pattern) and telling me to do the same. I heard the resident doctor tell me "look down! look down!" and then she greeted Benjamin "hello little one".