William's birth story - February 25, 2008

William Joseph
born 2/25/2008 (36w3d), 10:42pm CST
6lbs, 4.5oz, 19"

William, about an hour or two after his birth

Saturday, February 23:

After feeling trickles of what I thought was urine most of the night, I woke up around 8am and headed for the bathroom. When I sat down on the toilet seat, I looked down at my underwear and realized, to my horror, that they were soaked in bright red blood, as were my pajama pants (I later found blood on one of the king-size pillows I had between my legs, too.)

We went into Urgent Care right away, and I was sent up to the Birthing Center for observation. I was monitored the whole morning, and my midwife came in to do a speculum exam and to check for dilation. I was 1cm dilated, not effaced at all, and baby was very high up. My midwife's diagnosis was burst blood vessels around the cervix (Collin and I had had intercourse the day before, so she thought that might have been a cause.) Baby's movements and heart rate looked great on the monitor. I was having sporadic contractions, but they were painless. We were sent home about 1pm; I was put on pelvic rest for the next few weeks and told to take it easy.

Sunday, February 24:

Sometime that afternoon, I think around 3pmish, I noticed that my BH contractions (which I'd been having for a week or so) seemed to be coming in fairly regular intervals. On the way home from Mass, around 6pm, I told Collin about them and we starting timing them. They were coming about 10 min. apart. We called the birthing center, and they suggested drinking a lot of water and taking a bath to see if they'd stopped. They didn't, and we called again; this time they said to come in only if they became 5 minutes apart or less. Around 3am the contractions (which stayed about 10 min apart) petered out and I was able to get some sleep.

Monday, February 25:

Monday morning, when I woke up, I noticed some bloody/mucousy discharge, and my contractions started up again too. I called the Birthing Center to see if my midwife would want me to come in and get checked, but she said that I should just plan on coming to my next appointment (which was scheduled for the next day, at 10:30am) and she'd check me then (unless the contractions got five minutes apart or less, in which case I was supposed to go in). I timed the contractions throughout my workday; at times they would be 10 minutes apart; sometimes they'd be five minutes apart and then go back to ten minutes. By 5pm, when I got off of work, they were coming pretty consistently at 7-8 minutes apart.

As soon as I got home, the contractions became markedly more uncomfortable, to the point where I was having to stop what I was doing and breathe through them. I was still hesitant to go into the birthing center, though, because I was terrified I'd be sent home. I tried taking a hot bath and drinking as much water as possible just in case it was false labor. I was caring for Elanor, though, which made it tough. Around 8pm, I finally called the Birthing Center and let them know that my contractions were coming about five minutes apart and had been for an hour or so. They told me to come in, so I called Collin at work and let him know it was time. He came home and got Elanor ready to go while I threw a bag of stuff together (I didn't have anything prepared). We dropped Elanor off at my FIL's on our way to the hospital, and we arrived at the Birthing Center at about 9:30pm.

By this time my contractions were VERY uncomfortable. I was put in a triage room to get checked. I was nearly sobbing because I was so scared I'd be sent home, but the nurse announced that I was 6-7cm and 100% effaced! At that point I started crying because I didn't know if I could get through labor without pain relief. Yup, you guessed it: transition.

Once we got to our birthing room, I asked the nurse to fill the tub and asked Collin to call my mom, who lived about 20 miles away. I hadn't called her before because I didn't want her to have to make the drive if it was a false alarm.

While waiting for the tub to fill, I got the shakes – another sign of transition. I got in the tub (which felt HEAVENLY) and breathed through three or four contractions. Suddenly, I felt the urge to push, and Collin helped me out of the tub (to my dismay; I didn't want to get out!) and over to the bed.

The midwife, Christa, arrived at this juncture, and I met her for the first time. (There are three CNMs at the birthing center, and she was the only midwife I hadn't yet met. I was disappointed that my midwife wasn't on call that night, but Christa was fantastic.) She checked me and announced that I was fully dilated; in fact, she could feel my amniotic fluid bag bulging out of the birth canal. She asked Collin and I if we wanted her to break it, and we consented.

Once she did so, the contractions were MUCH more painful; however, I could feel the baby descending into the birth canal. My mother arrived just as I started pushing. She held one leg and Collin held the other, with the midwife (as well as Collin) reminding me to breathe deeply and not to panic (because I was seriously freaking out at how fast things were going).

Ten minutes later, at 10:42pm, William Joseph was born! We hadn't found out the baby's gender beforehand, so I started asking, “What is it? What is it?” Collin didn't say anything at first because he couldn't see – the umbilical cord was in the way. Finally the nurse moved it and he said, “It's a boy!” My mom said my eyes nearly bugged out of my head (I'd thought I was having a girl.)

I couldn't believe it'd barely been an hour since we arrived at the Birthing Center. My mom was thankful she'd gotten there in time and hadn't missed his birth! I had a tiny tear that didn't require stitches, thanks in part to my midwife using lydocaine (sp?) gel and gently coaxing the baby out as I pushed.

There was also a true knot in his umbilical cord, so we're thankful that it never posed a problem – in fact, it may be a good thing that he came early; the knot could have caused problems as he grew bigger.

William weighed in at 6 lbs, 4.9 oz., 20.5 inches long. He was nursing like a champ ten minutes after birth! We have no clue why he decided to come early, or if the bleeding I had on Saturday was in any way related.

The story behind William's name: he is named after Collin's maternal grandfather, who is also William (but goes by Bill or Billy). Collin's middle name is William as well. Joseph was a last-minute decision on our part -- we'd originally picked out William James, but then my brother gave his second son, born about nine months before William, the middle name of James. It wouldn't have been a big deal to have two cousins with the same middle name, but I had started thinking seriously about Joseph as a way to honor both St. Joseph as well as Pope Benedict XVI (who was born Joseph Ratzinger). A few minutes after William was born, I asked my mother if we should use James or Joseph as his middle name, and she promptly replied, "Joseph, after you." So he became William Joseph.

Mommy, Daddy, and William

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