I really wanted to make sure I wrote about Gavin's birth story before I forgot. Which is bound to happen sooner than later these days. My brain just isn't what it used to be.
I guess maybe I'll start from a couple weeks prior to the big day. We'd all gone as a family to my 34 week ultrasound. I was hoping to get a good look at baby's face as we hadn't really gotten one yet. While we didn't get to see his face very well, the ultrasound did show my cervix was shortened... enough so that they had us come back a couple hours later to see my doctor. I was shocked when he immediately put me on bed rest. Here I was with 6 weeks left and I was supposed to stay in bed more or less for the remaining duration of my pregnancy. I wasn't ready for it.
My next steps involved calling my boss to give him a heads up. This was Friday afternoon and I promised I'd be in for a couple hours on Monday to meet with him to transfer all my projects. After the longest weekend in history, that's what I did. I'd planned this official send off and a last lunch with all my work friends and what it turned out to be was a couple minutes of "I'm leaving and this is my last day. See ya later." Not quite what I would have liked, but it was better than the alternative of a baby that was 6 weeks early.
So there I was each night with my mom and sister Annie coming over to help with Sylvie and make dinners while I sheepishly lounged on the couch. There's nothing more humbling that being forced to accept help, especially when you feel just fine. They were truly lifesavers during that time. I will be forever grateful for the extra hours they put in for the benefit of me and my family.
Seth's parents were in town on Valentine's Day weekend and stayed over at our house. Seth and his dad planned to go out fishing on Valentine's Day and left with all their gear in the late morning to hit up the local river. I'd been having steady contractions all night and into the morning, but nothing regular or increasing in intensity. Just after they left I noticed I was bleeding a bit. I called the on-call midwife who told me to go get checked out at the doctor. So, I called Seth and had him come home. Poor guys didn't even get a chance to get their lines wet.
We went in to Labor and Delivery where they checked me out. I hadn't dilated at all and of course my contractions had all but stopped. They gave me some antibiotics in case the bleeding was a UTI and sent me home.
Fast forward to early morning on February 16th. I'd had steady contractions since about midnight... getting closer and closer together and strong enough that I couldn't sleep. About 4 o'clock in the morning I called my dad and told him it was time. My mom was out of town in Arizona visiting my sister so he got passed the torch of coming up to take care of Sylvie. Of course this was still 4 weeks away from my due date so none of us thought baby would come while Mom was gone. Little did we know. Dad got to the house an hour or so later to take care of Sylvie and Seth and I headed to the hospital.
We got to the hospital just before 6am and got all checked in. I was happy to hear that I was dilated to 4 cm. Things steadily progressed from there. I wasn't sure yet if I was in for another c-section or if I'd be able to do a VBAC. Both options freaked me out so I just decided to go with whatever happened. I got an epidural and was happy to find that I wasn't completely numb as I'd been with Sylvie.
A couple hours went by and I was progressing steadily. I got to about an 8 or 9cm when I tapered off so they decided to push me over the edge with a little Pitocin. Everything was going smoothly so I'd guess around 12:30 pm or so they let me start pushing. I think by this time the epidural was wearing off again so there wasn't much in the way of relief.
Let me tell you, a vaginal delivery is not for the shy or weak of heart. It takes hard work, 2 people holding your legs, a room full of people staring at your junk, and a lot of pushing to get that baby out. They told me to push during each contraction which wouldn't have been so bad if they'd been farther apart. After each bout of pushing everyone would tell me how good I was doing and how the baby was almost there and I just kept thinking what a bunch of liars they all were. And then after about 10 seconds break I'd have to do it all over again. You get to a point half way through where you're so exhausted and just want to quit but you know you can't and you have to keep going even though there's no resting and to you it feels like nothing is changing.
Finally that baby did come out. It was the most relieved I've ever felt. I'd only had to push a few times but it felt like forever. I was super exhausted and cold and shivering and just wanted to be done. But then comes the delivery of the placenta and lucky me... stitching up a 3rd degree tear. Which all still hurt like hell. After all was said and done I was too weak and tired to hold my new baby... and that was okay with me. They weighed him and cleaned him up and ran all the tests and brought him back to me. It was finally over and I had a new healthy baby. Gavin James Hanson, 7 lbs. 3 oz., 20 inches long born at 1:01pm on President's Day 2015. Hardest, most rewarding day of my life. It was amazing how different his birth was compared to Sylvie's. But two completely different experiences led to two beautiful, healthy babies and that is all I've ever wanted.