dreamy contented sleep smiles

Today is Connor’s official due date is today and yet somehow against all odds he is 6 days old. I had completely given myself over to the fact that he would not arrive even one moment before his due date and I actually thought he would be a week late like his big sister. Once we hit term, I didn’t hold myself back from doing anything because if it brought on labor – OH WELL. So I stripped beds, did countless loads of laundry, organized like a fiend, vacuumed almost daily. I did everything I had been doing with one very big exception; work. My OB practice was not comfortable with me returning to work and really wanted me to remain at home resting for the duration of my pregnancy. It didn’t really make sense for me to go back after being out for a month either because I could have delivered at anytime and it would have been confusing for my clients; “Kerri’s back. Just kidding.”

So how did he arrive?

I woke up on Connor’s birthday feeling a little crampy, slightly uncomfortable, but nothing that struck me as particularly different or requiring any real attention. I slept amazingly well the night before, waking at 5am to those crampy sensations and sleeping on and off until 7. I told Steve I was feeling a little weird, but it didn’t seem like anything to worry about and sent him on his way to work fully expecting to see him again at 5pm. I ate some breakfast, had a glass of juice and suddenly something just felt odd. I suppose I can’t really tell this story without oversharing a bit that I discovered some blood and had a mini freak out. Do you know what the best part of my morning was that day? That Steve’s sister Auntie k happened to be in town visiting. I relayed my news to her, she smiled so widely, and I called the doctor to share what was happening and see what to do next. The bleeding slowed between the time I called and they called me back, but by the time Steve made it home it had started again. The office suggested I come in and get checked. I firmly believed this was very early labor. He’d check me, tell me when to call back, and we’d wait it out at home for a few days. Steve absolutely thought we were going to the hospital. We had great support here in town that I felt so comfortable leaving Caroline with should we have had to bolt to the hospital at a moment’s notice, but there was something so easy about kissing her goodbye at home in auntie’s care. There was no disruption to her day, no confusion aout where Mommy and Daddy were going, no tears. It was in fact quite the opposite; she was pretty stoked to see us go so she could have auntie all to herself.

At the office the doctor did an exam and declared that I was “3, no 4cm” and we should get ourselves to the hospital because we were having a baby. I was slightly teary, a lot overwhelmed and that might sound strange considering we have literally been waiting for Connor to arrive since before Christmas. I think it just seemed so impossible after all we had been through that it was finally happening, that he was coming, that he was big and strong and we were going to finally, FINALLY, meet him. On the way to the hospital I kept telling Steve, “I can’t believe this is happening.” His reply, “You are 39 weeks pregnant, what about this seems so unbelievable?” He was right, but as we crossed the footbridge from the parking garage to the hospital lobby I was overcome and had to stop for a moment to catch myself. I was scared. I was 4cm along and scared.

I got all comfy in my labor room, got an IV going, answered the million admission questions, and still felt like this was impossible. I did not even know the actual date, the date that would become my son’s birthday. The nurse who greeted us was the very same nurse who delivered Caroline. This brought me instant calm because not only was she one heck of a nurse, but she also had been a support group member of mine when I worked at Cancercare. I remember in ‘07 when she greeted me the morning on February 4th and asked me if I would be comfortable with her being my nurse. Having her there for number two was like a present with a big shiny bow. It was like having an old friend there watching out for me and the hug I got as she passed me off to recovery a few hours later was so very sincere. Thank you, Vicki.

I was not calm until there was “a plan” and the OB had a great plan. I think what I was mostly afraid of that I would go along relatively pain free and then WHAM feel like I got hit by a truck when the pain finally kicked in at some ridiculous point in labor when drugs would no longer be an option. I wanted drugs. Her plan: two bags of fluid, an epidural, break my water, and we’d have a baby by the end of the day. I had a slight vasovagal reaction to my first epidural, but they were more than prepared. The anesthesia team stayed close. I bottomed a bit, which is to say my blood pressure went to a more normal level, and as quickly as the lightheadedness came it was gone and I was left with fuzzy feeling legs. The doctor checked me again and I was 4 or 5cm dilated. I was feeling the contractions, but they were not painful, just uncomfortable. I breathed through them with little focus. It was when she broke my water that I looked at Steve and said, “this is going to go fast.” With Caroline that had been the turning point. It was 4 hours from water break to first push. I though perhaps it might be half as long this time. I tried to relax and let my body do the work in the comforting lull of my epidural. It was shortly after 1pm.

We watched Ina make homemade granola bars and when Sandra Lee came on I reached to change the channel only to suddenly not feel all that interested in the television because yikes, that was a whole lotta pressure. I landed on classical music station and left it there. It became much more uncomfortable and I looked to Steve for support, telling him that things were changing and they were changing fast. He watched the monitors and we realized not long thereafter that when I was feeling pressure there were no contractions. In fact, that pressure was kind of constant. We talked about when to call the nurse, should we call the nurse? It was too soon for all this, but the pressure feeling – you just don’t forget it. This was it and I knew it. We waited for one more blood pressure check to go off on the cuff and I buzzed Vicki in. She called the OB who announced I was ready to go and I could push if I wanted to. So we did a practice push to see how far down the baby had moved on the next contraction and her immediate response was “OK, NO more pushing.” It was barely 2pm.

I breathed through several more contractions while they speed readied the room and themselves for Connor’s arrival and at 2:20 I started pushing. Four rounds of pushing later, there he was in the OB’s arms, ashen, shell shocked from the speed of it all she suspected. 2:34PM. They got him to the warmer and he started crying… then peeing like a fountain of baby boy goodness. He was here and I felt amazing.

I waited all day to not feel so good and yet, that feeling never came. I was full of such happiness, such adoration for my little boy, such love for my husband and such joy at watching my little girl hold her baby brother in her arms declaring to all that “he’s waking up!”

So how are we doing? We could not be better. He’s been giving us a bit of a run for our money overnights – wanting more to be held and snuggled than inconsolable. This time around we’re feeling more confident and we are just enjoying every bit of time we get to spend with this tiny little boy. I wrote in ’07 that it felt like Caroline had always been with us and that is exactly how I feel about Connor. Whether our family is complete remains to be seen, though after his birth I did look at Steve and declare – “we could so do this again!” That is honest to God how energized I felt. What we do know is that right now our family of four is pretty close to perfection.

Though Mac/Con/Con Man/Mr. Serious continues to spend most of his time lazing in his Moses basket, we’re seeing glimpses of alertness and his simple gazes take my breath away. I worried like any mother that there would be no way I could ever love another little person as much as I love Caroline. I worried that I would feel immense guilt that I had taken away my little princess’ numero uno status. Instead my heart overflows watching them together, seeing her love and excitement gushing over “baby brother,” and it feels pretty awesome to be a part of something so simple and wonderful.

More to come. The newest chapter is literally just beginning and there is an amazing twist just because we like to keep things super interesting.

Caroline meets Connor



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