Disclaimer: This post may be TMI for some of you. Please continue reading the story of Henry's Birth Day with this in mind...
Back in December my OB (Dr. Davy) and I began discussing a date for my induction. We had tentatively decided on May 3, 2012, and two weeks prior to that date we were able to officially schedule it with the hospital. I was supposed to arrive at 8:00 am. So being the planner that I am, I made all of the necessary arrangements to have Baby #3... My mom had taken two days off of work to come take care of Alexa & Jack. I stocked up on groceries. We finished all the kids' bedrooms. I washed all the newborn clothes and bedding. I mentally prepared myself and the children for what was to come...When I went to bed on May 2nd, I was excited and ready as can be to have a baby the next day!!!
I slept soundly. My alarm went off at 6:00 am. I showered and finished packing my toiletry bag. I was just about to wake up A&J to say goodbye when my phone rang. It was the hospital. They were calling (at 7:00 am, a mere hour before my induction) to postpone because the postpartum floor was full. How did that effect my induction? Since there were no empty beds on PP, patients were 'stuck' on L&D even though they had already given birth and so all the L&D beds were full too (with the exception of the few they save for women who have gone into labor naturally). So until women were discharged from PP, which would then allow women to be transferred from L&D, all elective inductions were postponed. I was angry, devastated, emotional, anxious.... Not exactly the way I had planned or wanted to start off Henry's Birth Day.
At 8:30 am, I called Dr. Davy's office and left a message for the nurse about what was going on. She called me back with three options:
1. Wait and see if St. Ann's would be able to get me in sometime that afternoon. She cautioned me that the doctor thought it was doubtful though, which would then lead to the next choice...
2. Reschedule the induction for Monday.
3. Schedule an induction at Riverside for that afternoon.
So many thoughts went through my mind before I made my decision... I feel comfortable at St. Ann's. I toured there, took childbirth classes there, it's where both Alexa & Jack were born. I know my way around the hospital and where to tell people to park. All I know about Riverside is that it's a maze and you have to pay to park. I pre-registered at St. Ann's. Is Riverside covered under our health insurance? If I decide to wait and then don't get in to St. Ann's today, I'm gonna be pregnant for four more days! And then who would take care of Alexa & Jack since Mom has to go back to work??
I wasn't going to be 100% happy either way because my "plan" was already messed up. An 8:00 am induction (in my mind) had meant an early afternoon birth and then an introduction to Big Sister & Big Brother post-nap. Obviously this was NOT going to happen no matter which choice I made. So then it became a battle between the familiar hospital but unsure date vs. the unknown hospital but guaranteed date. And although I was anxious about going to a different hospital, my desire to have the baby on May 3, 2012 won - mostly because I wanted to make sure my mom was here for Alexa and Jack. So I told Dr. Davy's nurse to go ahead and setup an induction at Riverside Methodist Hospital for that afternoon. It was scheduled for 1:00 pm.
Upon my first internal exam, my nurse (Mindy) said I was only 3 cm dilated (I was 4 cm for Alexa & Jack's inductions) and that my cervix was still really high. Like up-and-behind-Henry's-head high. I had no clue what this meant... So she clarified that it would mean lots of position changes (think sitting on a yoga ball, sitting in a chair, laying in the bed different ways, etc.) and that my labor was probably going to take awhile. Ugh. For those of you who don't know, I was in labor with Alexa for 8 hrs and pushed for 1.5 hrs before she was born at 4:52 pm on October 27, 2008, and I was in labor with Jack for 4 hrs and pushed for 20 min before he was born at 3:55 pm on September 21, 2010. Naturally, I had envisioned my labor and delivery with Henry was going to be a piece of cake, quick and easy, since it was my third in 3.5 years. Being told I was going to have to do all these repositioning things and that it was probably going to be a longer labor than with Jack was completely devastating to me.
My induction had been postponed and then rescheduled at a different hospital. My new induction time was around the time that I thought I would already be holding my newborn. My body was not as ready as it had been in my previous pregnancies to give birth. I felt as though NOTHING WAS GOING MY WAY! So I whined. A lot. All afternoon in fact. I'm pretty sure Dan and Nurse Mindy were daydreaming about strangling me. Can't say I'd blame 'em!
Here is the timeline of how things ended up playing out for my labor & delivery:
1:00 pm - Arrive at hospital. 3 cm
2:00 pm - Pitocin started
5:00 pm - Not quite yet in Active Labor (my contractions were still barely noticeable), but I opted to get my epidural. For some very strange reason the Pharmacy was going to close for 30-45 minutes, and I didn't want to risk going into full blown labor during that time and then be stuck in excruciating pain until they re-opened and the anesthetician could get my meds. I just kept recalling how quickly my contractions went from barely noticeable to horrendous with Jack and I knew that time was approaching with Henry... So despite not having strong contractions yet, I got the epidural.
5:30 pm - Dr. Davy broke my water. 4 cm.
6:30 pm - 6 cm
7:15 pm - 8 cm
8:30 pm - Start to setup for delivery and newborn care. 10 cm.
8:52 pm - It's push time.
8:59 pm - WELCOME, HENRY DANIEL RITCHEY!
Henry weighed 7 lbs 12.7 oz and was 20.5 inches long with a 13 inch head circumference.
Despite my 3 cm and high cervix issue in the beginning, I still labored less than 4 hrs and only pushed for 7 minutes. Pretty darn awesome! I was sad that Alexa and Jack weren't going to meet Henry until the next day, but we were able to FaceTime with Alexa that night and we ended up having a better-than-we-could-have-possibly-imagined introduction on Friday morning with them. And because of the timeline of events, the most special thing occurred... my sister ended up being in the room with us when Henry arrived. Words cannot express how much it meant to me that she wanted to stay, and even as I write this blog, Dan tells me that it was one of the best things about Henry's Birth Day for him too. The look of amazement, wonder, joy, & happiness that was plastered all over Danielle's face was priceless. So although nothing had gone as planned, everything went perfectly.
We ended up really loving Riverside Methodist Hospital. And we are both in agreement that IF we were to have another baby, we would definitely chose to have that child at Riverside.
Things have been going pretty great since we came home. I am recovered (although way fatter than I would like to be). Dan enjoyed two weeks home with us and is now back to work. Alexa & Jack have adjusted quite nicely to being a Big Sister (again) & Big Brother. They both adore Henry! And Henry, well so far it's true what everyone told me about the third baby being perfect :) He eats great. He sleeps awesome. He is super cuddly. I honestly cannot complain. Life is good.
Well, this post took wayyyyy longer to write than I wanted it to (damn, perfectionist in me wanting to recall all events precisely)!!! Hopefully, I will find the time next week to update in further detail what we have been up to since we became a Party of Five and to focus more on stories about Alexa, Jack, and Henry... Until next time. Ciao.