On June 27th, 2009, my two boys awoke with the sun…at 5 am. Hubz rolled over, told me to keep sleeping, and took Jake and Tate downstairs to give me a little extra rest. I mumbled a thank you, heaved my burgeoning belly over, and tried to fall back asleep. It was no use. Despite having gotten to bed at midnight the night before (after a night out in Chicago with my mom and sisters), I just couldn’t sleep. Plus, the baby was pressing on my bladder. At 6 am, I threw my feet over the edge of the bed, propped myself up on one arm, and then launched myself onto the floor. My belly felt tight. I felt ginormous.
I had a huge glass of water with my breakfast, and like all women in their third trimester, I had to use the facilities, again. I hobbled over to the bathroom, and did what all hugely pregnant women do. Except that I noticed that something was not quite right. I came out and was greeted by the sight of my 3 guys getting their groove on to some Black Eyed Peas (the kid-friendly version). I caught Hubz’s eye and said, “Not to alarm you, but…..I am concerned and will be calling the ob when office hours begin.” He said ok, and gave me a hug. We went down to the basement to chill out…and I felt it. A contraction. Oh. No.
Now, it’s not that I wasn’t ready for our third child to join us. Not at all. The nursery was done, some of the baby clothes had been pulled out. We had finally gotten Tate into the toddler bed. No, my main concern was that I was experiencing early signs of labor….at 33 weeks and 3 days. Do the math.
I called my OB and gave the office the low-down. I needed to come in when I could get there…they opened at 9. I told them that I had to wait for someone to come watch my other 2 children, but that I could be there by 10. She said that was fine. I then called my mom at 8:00 in the morning..praying she’d be awake. Thankfully, she was there for me, and was able to be at my house by 9:30.
The doctor’s office was empty, except for a receptionist, a few nurses, and the OB on call for the weekend. We were ushered back to a room fairly quickly, and I was hooked up to the fetal monitor. The doctor did a quick exam, and thankfully I was not dilated or effaced. That was a good start. The not so great part was watching the monitor spike every now and then, as I’d feel my belly tighten. The baby’s heartrate was doing some crazy stuff, too. That bought us a one-way ticket to the L&D floor at our hospital. I called my mom. We were going to be a couple more hours. She said she’d feed the boys lunch, and get Tate down for a nap.
Once we were at the hospital, I became a human pincushion and they hooked me up to an IV to hydrate me, STAT. I was also hooked up to the monitor. Contractions were still coming. I was given some anti-labor meds. I wasn’t allowed to have the high-powered stuff, because I’m asthmatic and it could have thrown me into a bad situation. The milder drug was doing nothing. I begged to eat, but they wouldn’t let me, since I was still contracting. After a few hours, several vials of blood, an ultra-sound, and 2 IV’s of fluid, the doctor came in and checked me. I had dilated to a 1. Not much, but enough to have them admit me for the night. Hubz left to go have dinner with the boys and take a break. He’d be back later.
About an hour after that, while Hubz was hanging out with our boys, the doctor came to check on me again, before she took her dinner break. We made small talk and she got to business. She got a serious look on her face. I knew it couldn’t be good. In the past hour, I had gone from a 1 to a 3, and I was almost 80% effaced. My contractions weren’t stopping. I was in labor. They weren’t going to stop it any more. I asked if I should call my husband. The ob was very frank and said yes, I’d likely be having my baby by morning.
I was bombarded by a perinatologist, a neonatologist, and a plebotomist. A nurse also came and administered a steroid shot for my baby’s lungs. Everything was a blur. Hubz came back, frazzled as ever. I was pouring over literature on premature babies. The upside was that they were going to try to let me deliver on my own, without a c-section.
They moved me to one of the labor and delivery rooms. They had everyone on call. At 8 pm my contractions got intense. I was having trouble talking through them. I secured my epidural, and was able to relax. Then, nothing…The doctor woke me at midnight to break my water. It is believed that the reason for my pre-term labor was that I had excessive amniotic fluid. And the baby was measuring big. You know you’ve got a lot when the doctor and nurse, who see this all of the time, were going, “oh my GOD, that’s a lot of fluid.” I was able to rest a bit more. And then it happened….my contractions stopped. Nothing. Nada.
They hooked me up to a pitocin drip. That started those contractions up really quickly. However, as we went on into the wee hours of the morning, I was only up to an 8, and the baby’s heartrate was getting goofy again. The OB suggested a c-section. I agreed.
At ten to eight I went into the OR. We were told that if he came out screaming, we would be able to see him before he was taken to the NICU. If he didn’t come out screaming, which was a possibility, we would have to wait. The doctor did her test to see if I was numb, and I was, so she made the incision, and shortly after, Cole came screaming into the world. That was truly the best sound I’ve EVER heard in my life. We got to have a little looksie at our baby boy, and he was whisked away…all 5 pounds and 2 ounces of him. Which really was a very respectable weight for a baby born at 33 weeks 4 days.
He came off of the oxygen the day after he was born. He was a fighter. He was strong. He was going to make it.
The next 3 weeks were a blur of NICU visits, doctors, tests, and worry. But thankfully Cole was born healthy and robust, so he came home 21 days after he was born. That little bundle of energy has always been ahead of the curve, even with his adjusted age for milestones. We were so very worried, considering how early he was, combined with our history with Tate. Yet, he has proven to be our most neurotypical kid. To this day, I say that he’s convinced he’s capable of things that even his oldest brother cannot yet do. He’s just a competitive, and strong-willed little man.
Happy Birthday, Cole. We love you and are blessed to have you in our family.