The word STORY seems a bit of a stretch for something that took less than two hours but nothing about this child's arrival fit the mold so we'll just go with it.
Let's begin at the beginning. Both of my other births began in the morning after a nice full night's rest. Not this one! I woke up around 12:35 am with a hard belly. I thought maybe I just had to pee but knew it was odd because I almost never have Braxton Hicks contractions in the middle of the night. On the walk back from the bathroom, I realized the hard belly was accompanied by the slightest bit of cramping.
So, I laid down and waited to see if I would have another one. Sure enough, a few minutes later the hard belly made another appearance - this time with WAY more cramping. I decided to download a contraction counter app and call my midwife.
"I can't get out of my driveway," she replied when I told her I was in labor.
Oh, right! I forgot to mention. Our entire area had received historic snowfall the day before and looked like this!
I told her that was fine and that we'd just go to the hospital. For a lot of reasons, I really wasn't that upset about not having a third home birth. I love my doctor who took amazing care of me during the loss of our baby. Also, due to that loss, there was a much bigger fear factor going in to this pregnancy - probably bigger than I had even admitted to myself. Not big enough that I would have volunteered for a hospital birth mind you but big enough I hadn't constructed a complete mental block to one either. Plus, with all the snow, I knew it was a real possibility and had been mentally preparing for a trip to labor and delivery.
ACTUALLY preparing, however, was another story.
Once I realized I had absolutely no clue what to do before you go to the hospital to give birth, I called one of my best friends who has had four natural hospital births. Alas, she didn't answer. So, I called my friend Annie, who had planned to come to town for the birth. She DID answer but was snowed in as well.
She asked if she should just text with Nicholas the rest of the time.
"Well, I haven't actually woken him up yet," I responded.
I think I knew once I got up and started moving around things were going to get REAL real fast. (Spoiler: I was right!) So, I laid there a few minutes more and searched Pinterest for hospital bag packing lists. Yes, I'm serious.
Finally, around 1 am, I went into the den where Nicholas was sleeping on the couch and said in a soft voice.
"Nicholas Holland. Guess who has two thumbs and is in labor?!?"
He sat up startled and guessed correctly!
I told him we needed to pack a bag and call my parents. Both of our cars were still snowed in and we would need my stepfather to drive us to the hospital. Luckily, we remembered our other two children sleeping peacefully and called my neighbor (shout out to MVP neighbors Kate and Tish who answered middle of the night calls for help!!!) to come sit with them.
I called my doctor and told her I was in labor. I also politely accused her witchcraft since she had predicted the baby would be born at 39 weeks and 2 days and I woke up at 12:30 am at 39 weeks and 2 days IN LABOR! She told me she'd meet me at the hospital but she had surgery at 7:45 am. I told her not to worry we'd be done by then.
We got our bag packed (After Nicholas exclaimed "I need a list!" and I offered up my previous Pinterest search.) and headed out the door.
By this time, my contractions were basically doubling in intensity and the breaks in between were shortening dramatically. As a result, everyone was getting on my damn nerves. My family chatted in car on the way to the hospital like we were going to a stinking cocktail party.
I finally screamed (lovingly) NO TALKING.
We got to the hospital and went to the wrong entrance (because HELLO! we had no idea where we were going!). They offered me a wheelchair but I walked to labor and delivery, which I'm sure helped things progress even faster than they already were. We walked through the doors and they had me sign a paper. Nicholas told them this was our first time at the hospital but that we had had two home births. Then, I had to go to the room by myself and assure the nurses I was not being domestically abused, using hard drugs, or had suffered any miscarriages.
Once Nicholas and my mom got back in the room, I relaxed a small amount and had the fleeting thought that I could actually get an epidural if I wanted one. I couldn't seem to get in front of the contractions and I couldn't get comfortable and I wasn't sure how long I would last like this.
About that time my water broke and I realized I was going to have this baby in a manner of minutes - not hours as I had originally thought.
There was meconium in my fluid so they had to call in a NICU team to make sure the baby didn't aspirate any of the fluid. Then, they said they wanted to hook me up to a fetal monitor. I politely declined.
They checked the baby's heart rate and then checked me.
I was 8/9 cm dilated and fully effaced.
For those of you not versed in labor lingo, that translates roughly to PARTY TIME!
The nurses then told me my doctor was still 10 minutes away and to breathe through any desire to push. If I'd had the strength, I would have laughed in their faces. There is no stopping the barreling train that is a 9 pound baby, y'all. It's that simple.
So, I started to push, which is the exact moment I realized that one of the nurses WAS TRYING TO INSERT AN IV IN TO MY ARM AS MY BABY'S HEAD WAS CROWNING.
I started yelling, "Please stop! I cannot handle that right now you have to stop!"
I had the IV (and a lot of bruising) so I can only assume she did not. Fortunately, there's really only one thing you can focus on as your baby is exiting your body and it ain't a pushy nurse with an IV.
Two pushes later and Felix Robert Holland arrived at 3:02 am - approximately 17 minutes after we arrived at the hospital. He weighed 9 lbs and 6 oz and was 21.25 inches long.
They immediately assured us that he didn't aspirate any meconium and was doing great as he cried his little heart out.
My doctor arrived minutes later pointing to her shoes and exclaiming, "I didn't even lace my shoes!"
I delivered my placenta (after refusing help from my doctor and a nurse offering pitocin) and then asked my doctor when I could go home. She said after the baby was cleared by the pediatrician we were free to go and she'd tell the nurses to start prepping all the Against Medical Advice waivers I'd have to sign to bust out of the joint.
My main nurse Emily was really lovely - although thrown a little by many of my requests. First, I refused to let the baby leave the room and asked that his little baby checkups be done while I was holding him.
Then, I asked to take a shower to which she responded, "I don't know if it even works! Most people can't walk because of the epidural!" I told her I felt gross and could walk and needed a shower. She asked a ton of questions about my previous home births and midwife. I also asked for the head nurse who actually delivered Felix to come back so I could thank her. It just felt strange after treating my midwife like part of the family for years to not have had at least a conversation with her.
Around 7 am the pediatrician finally arrived. He is one of the longest practicing pediatricians in our area and has great - if not a bit stern - reputation. He advised me that while he didn't recommend leaving the hospital, the baby looked healthy and it was fine to do so as long as we saw my pediatrician within 24 hours.
So, around 8 am, we loaded up our beautiful baby boy and headed for my mother's house where we spent the next week snowed in (good timing after all, Felix!) and recovering.