The Last One: The VBA2C Of Our Gender-Surprise Baby

It is a bittersweet moment when you give birth to your last baby. Even knowing that I'm physically and mentally at my limit with 7 kids, it is sad to know that I will never experience feeling a baby move inside me or see my body grow a life inside it.

On the other hand, it is a relief to know that I will not have to deal with another pregnancy with gestational diabetes. With Rachel, it was easy to control with just diet changes. This time it was much more difficult and I ended up on meds, and a much stricter diet. The psychological toll that takes on me is just too much. The constant worry about what I eat and how much I eat and when I eat and when to test and the extra appointments and risks. I don't think I could handle going through that again.

But back to the birth story, the fun part!

I was due May 13th, but due to the GD knew I would not make it to that date. Because I was on meds they didn't want me passing 39wks and planned to induce me if it got to that point. Luckily I didn't even get to that point.

During my 37th week I started having prodromal labor. For anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's basically torture. I'd have frequent intense contractions for hours and start thinking, "Maybe this is it?!" and then they'd just stop. And of course it was the worst at night, to the point I was only getting maybe 2-3hrs of broken sleep each night. This went on for 5 days. I was sore, exhausted, huge, and so so ready to be done.

On Wednesday April 29th I turned 38wks. I was scheduled for an NST, AFI ultrasound, and regular checkup that afternoon. The night before my prodromal labor had been so intense I was sure I wouldn't even be making it to those appointments, but unfortunately the sun came up and the contractions died down, though this time didn't go away completely, staying 5-10 minutes apart and varying in intensity.

The baby passed the NST just fine, and showed my contractions 5 minutes apart, but the AFI ultrasound showed that I had way more fluid than normal. Normal is 5-25, my level was 32! The nurse immediately said my midwife might be wanting to induce me that day with a level that high. She tried calling my midwife but wasn't able to reach her so I went over to the office to see her for my regular checkup. She measured my belly which was also much more than expected. I measured 45wks! The previous week I'd measured 40. No wonder I'd felt so hugely miserable that week! She then checked me and I was 5cm! With the high AFI my midwife was afraid that if my water broke at home there was a higher chance of cord prolapse, which is very dangerous and not something you want when you are 1/2hr from the nearest hospital. She suggested that because I was already 5cm and contracting regularly that I could come to L&D that evening and she could break my water and I'd probably have a pretty quick labor from that point. Normally I'm against starting labor artificially, but technically I was in labor already, the fluid was just keeping the baby from engaging and progressing. And I was so exhausted the thought of even 1 more night of prodromal labor was enough to make me cry. So I agreed to come back a few hours later to do that. She did a membrane sweep as well to try to help things a bit faster.

On the way home I called my husband and explained the situation to him. Then I called my sister-in-law who would be watching the kids and she said they'd head over in a few hours. Made more calls to my birth team- mom, birth mom, mother-in-law and sister- to let them know the plan so they could come. I got home and finished grabbing some last minute items for my hospital bag. My older boys had pinewood derby that night and we were planning to head to the hospital after that, but my midwife called around 5 and let me know that it would be best if I came in asap because the OBs at that hospital don't really like being their for a vbac when they are on-call (since they have to be at the hospital the whole time) and to avoid the pressure from them to do a c/s it would be better to get things started soon. So I let her know that as soon as my brother and sister-in-law got there I was have my brother bring me and my husband could just meet us there since he was still at work.

Driving to the hospital was surreal. With all my others I was in obvious active labor when we went. Going in for a planned birth day just seemed odd, especially since I was being dropped off alone. As I walked up to L&D holding my bag and looking huge I saw people looking at me excited but seemed confused that I was alone. I got there around 6pm and they took me right back to a room and got me settled in. I got an IV port placed (but no IV, just access) and they put the monitors on. I was still contracting regularly about 5 minutes apart. The nurse went through all the admitting paperwork with me while we waited for everyone to show up. For a while I was all alone, which was odd. Then my mom showed up, then my sister, and my husband. My birth mom showed up a few hours later (and mother-in-law who had to drive the furthest just missed the birth).

My midwife came in at 7:30 (they hadn't notified her I was there earlier) and broke my water. The nurse had to hold the baby in position for a few minutes to make sure the cord wouldn't prolapse as the water drained. I immediately felt so much relief and could breathe better not having all the extra fluid in there. Then they just left us there to labor and chat. I decided to just stay in the bed for a while because I was exhausted from too many nights of very little sleep, and my contractions were still easy to breathe through. We just talked and it was calm and light-hearted.

Around 9:30 the nurse came in and I asked her to check me and told her I'd like to get up to use the restroom then sit on a birth ball. I was 6cm and I think completely effaced. After going to the bathroom I just sat on the ball leaning against the bed while the chatter continued. The contractions were starting to become more intense and as time passed I had to zone out more during each one. I was able to handle it so well though. I had prepared myself by reading a bunch of birth affirmations and during the contractions I would repeat them to myself and focus on relaxing and breathing deep and letting my body do what it was supposed to. What helped the most was repeating over and over, "My body is strong. My contractions are strong because they are part of me. My contractions are not stronger than me because they are me. My body is working to bring my baby out to me. Each contraction is bringing my baby closer to being born." I was even surprised at my own ability to relax through each contraction, even as I felt transition and then my body starting to push. I would smile to myself and just keep repeating my mantra over and over.

I waited a few contractions after I felt my body starting to push before I interrupted the conversation from my family to tell my husband to push the nurse call button so I could let them know it was time to push. This was probably around 10:45. The nurses and my midwife came in and started prepping the bed and my midwife asked if I'd like to push on my hands and knees. I started pushing around 10:50-10:55ish. It was only during pushing that I had a harder time being in control, and actually felt like it hurt instead of just intense. After a few minutes my midwife asked if I wanted to try pushing on my side as she could see that my legs were shaky and tired and I agreed. My pushes were very effective in that position and I could feel my baby moving down more with each push. They brought a mirror over for me to watch but there were too many people for me to see it. My husband got ready to help catch and held the baby's head as it came out.

Quickly things changed. The baby was stuck. Baby's head was out but the shoulders were not passing through. My husband had to step aside while my midwife tried rotating the baby to unstick the shoulders. She had me roll to my back so a nurse could provide fundal pressure to help push him out and I pushed with all my might. Baby was still stuck. I don't know how long but it felt like so long to me, afraid of the complications that I knew could happen from a severe shoulder dystocia. At this point it was extremely painful and I roared through each push, channeling every ounce of my strength to safely get my baby out. I saw the nurse push her call button and say into it, "We need help!" and my heart dropped.

With one more mighty push though, suddenly my baby was out and placed on my belly at 11:05pm. The relief from everyone in the room was palpable. I had planned to let my husband announce the babies gender but I was so relieved to have a baby placed safely on me that I looked and saw what I had felt strongly- it was a boy! I told everyone, "It's a boy! I knew it!" He blinked his eyes and looked very upset about what had just happened and we rubbed him until he gave us a good cry. For 5 minutes he got to lay on me while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing and Nate cut it. I was so thrilled to have him alive in my arms that I didn't care that I had another boy and Rachel would remain our only girl. I talked to him and rubbed his warm sticky body.

We could tell right away that his left arm was not moving like it should and his breathing was a bit fast so they took him to the warmer to have a neonatologist look him over for about 10-15 minutes. We were afraid he may have had a broken collarbone, but besides that he was doing very well. The weighed and measured him. 9lb 6oz and 20.5"- my heaviest baby despite being 2 weeks early! He had very broad shoulders, everyone kept calling him a little linebacker. My midwife stitched up a small tear I had while I waited for him to be brought back.

He was brought back to me and I was able to nurse him and hold him for a while. Then Nate got to hold him and my family held him for a bit while they got us ready to go to our mom and baby room. Because of my gestational diabetes they checked his blood sugar about an hour after he was born. It was low (37) so they told me to nurse him some more and they would check in an hour. Luckily it got up to acceptable levels and all his other checks were normal. We didn't get much sleep that night, I was too full of adrenaline to sleep.

We did not decide what to name him until the next day. We chose Michael Thayne. Michael was the only first name that felt right after much discussion, and Thayne is my dad's middle name. He was very excited to finally have a grandchild named after him.

The following day he had to have an xray done of his arm to check if his collarbone was broken, but it wasn't. He did have quite a bit of bruising on his arm and ribs, and was diagnosed with Erb's palsy. For the first few days he could barely move his left arm at all, but it slowly got better and by his 2 week checkup it was almost to full strength. He also had jaundice and ended up needing a biliblanket for 3 days from 5-8 days old. Besides those issued he has been healthy and gained weight just fine.

I ended up with diabetes that stuck around unfortunately, which has solidified my resolve that he is my last baby. It would not be healthy for me to have any more. But my recovery went very well and he has been so great. A bit serious and grumpy but still a joy.

Since this has taken me almost 3 months to write this birth story I'm going to get it posted now and hopefully get pictures posted with it soon.