Starting on Tuesday (April 29th) I started noticing that I was having a lot of contractions. They didn't hurt and I figured they were just Braxton Hicks contractions. Certainly nothing to worry about. With the first three pregnacies I pretty much had Braxton Hicks contractions from about 16-20 weeks until I delivered. This time around I seldom had any contractions of this sort which had me even further convinced that Anthony wasn't in any rush to make an entrance. So Tuesday and Wednesday were just filled with lots of contractions most of which were relatively close. Tuesday night I had a few hours late at night where I thought I was close to being in labor, but it was late and I WAS NOT going to be delivering a baby in the middle of the night when I was already feeling pretty tired so I stopped my crazy nesting and decided to lay on the couch and catch some sleep. I was also determined to not have a baby on Wednesday since it was my brother's birthday. Wednesday was the day when I decided that maybe, just maybe, it might be a good idea to set up the pack and plays in the family room and our bedroom. I figured it would be a good idea if I made sure I had some things ready in the event that I had the baby sooner rather than later. Let's just say it was a really good thing that I decided to get things set up on Wednesday. But, I still hadn't finished packing that bag for the hospital. I wasn't that convinced that labor was imminent.
I fell asleep on the couch on Wednesday night and when I woke up it was a bit past midnight. I was pretty excited that it was now May since I've wanted to have a May baby since Bryan and I got married. And then it occured to me that today [May 1st] was the feast of St. Joseph the worker so I asked for his intercession for a speedy labor and safe delivery of the baby. All I can say is St. Joseph works fast. I woke up about 3:15AM and had this crampy feeling that reminded me of when labor began with Katie. Within minutes I noticed another sign that I was likely in labor, but I didn't want to wake Bryan until I was sure, otherwise he'd be carting me off to the hospital before I could straighten up the house and finish packing my bag for the hospital.
After a few minutes of cleaning up the kitchen as quitely as I could, I noticed that the contractions seemed like they were close. I've never been the one to time contractions so I wasn't sure what to do so I grabbed my phone, a pen and a pad of post-it notes and started writing down the time each contraction began. After had about six of them I took a look to see how often they were happening. They were all between 2-4 minutes apart. Hmm....the week before my doctor told me to call them when they were 5-7 minutes apart and to head into the hospital at that point. I was beyond that so I did what any laboring woman who really wasn't in much pain would do, I ran around cleaning the house, packing my bag, going up and down the stairs all while logging contractions with my pad of post-it notes. A little before 4:30 I had everything done that I felt had to be done so I woke Bryan and told him that I was in labor and thought we might want to head out to the hospital soon.
Our neighbor who said she'd come over to stay with the girls if I went into labor in the middle of the night didn't answer her phone, so we woke Madeline and told her that she needed to hang out in the family room and stay awake until my father-in-law got to the house. Then Bryan called the answering service for the doctor. The on-call doctor didn't call back which had us a little worried. Bryan called a second time while we were on our way to the hospital and we didn't hear from him until we were checking in at the triage.
The ride over to the hosptial wasn't too bad. There were a few times where I had to tell Bryan to drive slow over the stretches of the road that I knew had potholes and anytime a light was near I was telling him that he better not stop short since I was convinced that stopping short might mean that the baby would be born in the car. I will say this was the least stressful ride I ever had while in labor.
We got to the hospital at 5:00AM. The woman who handled the registration or whatever the check in process was at the OB triage was painfully slow and apparently oblivious to the fact that I was having contractions. She kept asking me questions that Bryan was fully capable of answering and I was bewildered as to why she wasn't just talking to him but I was too focused on riding out the contractions to say anything to her. At 5:05 the on-call doctor called Bryan and he let him know that we were at the hospital already. Less than a minute after I got buzzed into the triage floor the midwife who was observing me from behind the counter while we checked in insisted on checking to see how much I was dilated since she was pretty sure I was close to delivering. I was at 8CM and the refused to let me walk up to the labor and delivery unit. They said something about not liking to have babies born in the elevator. Since my doctor hadn't arrived yet, the midwife was sticking around in case the baby was born before he got there.
Once I got up to the labor and delivery unit they got me set up with a birthing ball since that seemed to help me a lot when I was in labor with Katie. I wasn't sure how long I'd be laboring and I kept thinking that sooner or later the contractions were going to become very painful. I had a few that were pretty uncomfortable but hadn't had too many where I started to get that panicked feeling that I've had with some of the more painful ones in the past. I was up in the labor and delivery room for less than half an hour when I told them that I needed to push. They hadn't even gotten through all of the questions they ask when you've been admitted and I don't even think I had been hooked up to the monitors for very long. I was really surprised at how quickly they sprung into action. With Katie they actually doubted me when I told them it was time, but these nurses and my doctor who had literally just shown up didn't second guess me at all. I guess when it's baby number four they don't second guess you when you tell them it's time. They confirmed that I was fully dilated and told me to push whenever I was ready. I did let them break my water just before I started pushing and we found out there was meconium in the water which meant they need to get a special team of pediatric nurses in the room in case the baby didn't cry right away. After three minutes of pushing Anthony was born. At one point I actually had to ask if his head was delivered because I had no idea how much longer this was going to take. It may have only been a few minutes, but it felt longer than that. Once the baby was out he cried right away so the special team of nurses that were brought in for him were satisfied that he was ok.
Anthony weighed in at 7lbs 8oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. He's my second biggest baby. This was my fastest labor and delivery. I was in labor for under three hours. I'm still amazed at how quickly everything happened. I had been hoping and praying that this would be a quick labor but I never dreamed it would be this quick or as easy as it was. I think just staying as relaxed as I did helped tremendously. Everytime I got hit with a contraction I just tried to relax and pray my way through it.
Anthony's face was pretty bruised up from the delivery. He actually looked a bit blue when he was born. It was bad enough that the nurses placed a sign on his bassinet stating that his face was bruised. They told us that if we were to take him out into the hallway that nurses who might see him would think that he was blue from lack of oxygen if they didn't know he was bruised from the delivery. The poor little guy was very puffy and swollen the first day. The doctors and the nurses all told me that the bruising was attributed to his rapid delivery.
Bryan told me after the fact that he pretty much was freaking out on the inside that I gave him so little time to work with in getting me to the hospital on time. I think he should be happy that I decided to wake him when I did because I had contemplated waiting until after 5 to wake him, but I decided after having a few contractions that were a bit strong that I should wake him. I suspect if I had waited that the baby might not have been born at the hospital.
Because he was born on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and I had asked for his intercession, I told Bryan that I wanted to add a second middle name for Anthony. Despite all our trouble deciding on just the right name for our son, he was good with my last minute name change. And that's the short and sweet story of how he came to be named Anthony William Joseph.