Four. That was the number my husband and I had always talked about. Four children would complete our family. There were a few conversations through our marriage that made it feel like our number would likely be three instead of four, or at least that baby number four would still be years away. But like everything else that has happened in our lives, everything happens for a reason.
When we found out that baby number four was on the way, it was honestly a shock. We weren’t prepared. I wasn’t in the right mindset for a new baby. There was a long list of things that I wanted before I was pregnant and getting pregnant before the list was done felt like the worst thing that could happen. Obviously, life went on and we welcomed our sweet baby Lucas.
The days before Lucas’s birth felt crazy. As a typical pregnant woman, I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. The beginning and middle of my pregnancy felt like it flew by but the end felt like eternity. I was pregnant in the summer, again, and I was miserable. And of course, Ohio decided to have a heat wave and stay super hot into September. Because I had been dilating and contracting since mid-August, we started trying to walk baby out Labor Day weekend. Perfect time to have a baby, right? Well, Lucas didn’t think so.
The girls started school the day after Labor day, and Jackson wasn’t handling it so well. Two year old’s don’t do well with changes and he went from having his sisters around all day to them both being at school again full-time. It was a rough transition. The following day, I had a midwife appointment and I had to take him with me. I was 37 weeks and 5 days so we were also doing an ultrasound just to see how the little guy was growing and check my fluid levels. I had done a pretty good job at keeping my blood pressure at a reasonable place without medication and I was very against going on the meds. Now picture a mad 2 year old at the midwife’s office while you’re largely pregnant and just guess at where my blood pressure was when they checked it…. You guessed it. Through. The. Roof. My midwife encouraged induction that weekend so we scheduled it.
Here’s where I feel a little selfish. With three other kids, the logistics of scheduling an induction and scheduling where my kids would go was amazing. I wasn’t as stressed out about making sure they were where they needed to be. We also lived 45 minutes away from the hospital that I would be delivering at so we had a bit of a drive. Jackson’s labor was so quick (also an induction from high blood pressure) so I was a little concerned with having a baby in the car. But then I was also selfish on the other side of it…. I wanted to experience going into labor naturally. I wanted to contract without the evil pitocin. I had hoped and prayed that Lucas would come on his own before Saturday morning, but little guy was just cozy in there, I guess.
Saturday morning, we headed to the hospital. The kids had stayed with family the night before so it was an easy-going morning. My husband drove and I just kept thinking to myself, “What if this baby is so tiny?” I was convinced that he was going to be barely 6 lbs, if not smaller than that. Aubrey was the largest at 6 lbs 14 oz and she was born at 39 weeks 6 day. Jackson was born at 39 weeks and was 6 lbs 5 oz. We arrived a little late, but it appeared that we were the only ones in the labor and delivery section. All of the nurses were sitting around and greeted us by name when we arrived- I seriously LOVE my hospital. We got settled into our room and started the induction process.
At 9:30am, I was finally all hooked up to the monitors and pitocin. The nurses were absolutely wonderful and really got to know me and my husband. I learned from my previous births to make that room MY room. When given the hospital gown, I let them know that I stay in my own clothes. I could tell that wasn’t something they’ve seen a lot of because they definitely asked me why and warned me that my clothes would get messy. It was fine to me- the skirt I wore was the same skirt I wore when I gave birth to Jackson and to my surprise with that birth, nothing got on it. Labor was starting but not fast and furious like I had hoped. Roger and I watched Friends on the laptop, scrolled through Pinterest and made plans for the new house, and I was on the B/S/T groups on Facebook.
At noon, my midwife came in and broke my water. I expected things to take a turn at this point and boy was I right. Contractions came on hot and heavy. I remember being completely uncomfortable and just couldn’t figure out how to position myself. I tried all the positions that helped when I was pregnant with Jackson- but even those weren’t working. I found that I really liked sitting and rocking in the rocking chair. My fear being in the rocking chair was that I wasn’t letting gravity help me. Evidently that didn’t really matter with this birth….
The waves of the contractions were coming so regularly. My midwife came in as soon as she could tell I was vocalizing differently. Heck, even I could tell things were progressing just by how my moans had changed. It felt like they changed in an instant. I remember being so hot- I was thirsty from breathing and my mouth was so dry. I kept reminding myself, “open mouth, open cervix.” Sure, it helped my mind set looking back on it but damn my mouth was so dry. I had a few contractions where counter pressure was EVERYTHING and then all of a sudden I was yelling at everyone to ge their hands off of me.
When it was time to push, it felt like i had only been in this hard-core stage of labor for a few minutes. Literally speaking, I had been having consistent, progressing contractions for about an hour and a half. My midwife told me to get into whatever position felt comfortable but nothing felt comfortable. I tried all the positions she told me to try and at the end of it, I made them put me like I was “used to” when it came to pushing out a baby. I needed the familiar position of the stir-ups to be able to push effectively.
In the moment, I felt like it was so hard. Pushing this baby out was the hardest thing I have ever done. I definitely yelled at my midwife, “Why is this so hard? It wasn’t this hard last time. I just know it wasn’t this hard before.” I’m not quite sure how long I pushed for since time just goes out the window when you’re in labor, and especially when pushing. I felt like it lasted forever but my husband tells me it was literally just minutes.
The moment that sweet baby was placed on my chest was pure joy. The two hours of hard labor was all worth it and I would have done it all over in that moment. It still amazes me the oxytocin that rages through your body and pure happiness that is in the air when a tiny human comes earthside. I still thought he was so tiny and even questioned my midwife when she guessed he was 7 lbs. Why I questioned the lady that handles tiny babies everyday, I have no clue…. Little Lucas ended up being the biggest baby at 7 lbs 8 oz and 20 inches long.
Six months later, and this little one is still the light of our lives. His siblings absolutely adore him and he is starting to become fascinated with them. Within the past two weeks, he’s become mobile and rolls and scoots all over the living room floor. He’s the piece of our family puzzle that we never knew we needed.