Happy Due Date, baby Declan! I meant to type this out much sooner but your first week of life was a bit more eventful than we anticipated because your big brother Brennan got bit by a tick and basically imploded. Glad it took less than 48 hours of you earth side for us to be kicked out of our comfort zone in terms of living and loving as a family of five!
Since my first night of contractions on April 29th, I had been steadfastly praying that you would wait until May 11th to arrive. The 11th was significant because that is when your Aunt Kiki would be here to watch your brothers. On Monday May 6th, I was dilated to 3cm and 70% effaced. I was getting regular contractions but they weren’t painful. After some deliberation between me, Kiki, and the grandma folk, it was decided that she would come out Wednesday…just in case.
At 2244 Wednesday night, Kiki was a welcome sight for tired eyes (all of ours). The next 36 hours were spent…feeling oddly good. Not a cramp or contraction in sight…I started drinking more Red Raspberry Leaf Tea and used my labor essential oil roller on my inner ankles and uterus. Thursday evening, Liam and I prayed a Rosary together thinking it may be the last one we pray together before you come. Friday morning the midwife swept my membranes and told me confidently that I was 4.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. She was convinced that I would go into labor this weekend even though I would only be 39 weeks on the 11th. Note: Since we move June 6th, insurance requires that I be at least 2 weeks post-partum which is why I elected to have my membranes swept as to avoid a more invasive induction.
That night, I was crampy and extremely grumpy which isn’t quite out of the norm for me (which I’m sure is surprising to you because I am just always the epitome of sweetness and cutes🙄). We went to bed around 2200 but I found that I was contracting pretty regularly (my phone app said every 3-4 minutes) so I decided to take a shower and wait as long as possible at home. By the time I was done with my shower, contractions were every 3 minutes and lasted about a minute. I began to recognize the pain that brought me in to L&D with Winston, where I was already over 8 cm dilated. I yapped at Liam to start the car and let Kieran know we were leaving, and we were off.
We got to the hospital around 2330 where we were greeted by a nurse who saw our last name and said with a frown, “oh, we heard you may be coming in tonight, there really isn’t any room in L&D”. Cue crickets… So they put me in triage and strapped me up to the monitors and told me to sit tight. Well, at this point I really could not sit tight, so I swayed with contractions next to the bed since the monitor leads were pretty short. A new nurse named Lisa comes in and checks my cervix. After possibly the most painful cervical exam I’ve experienced, I stand back up to have Lisa tell me, “you’re barely a 4 and 75% effaced”. Both she and Liam later told me that I went as white as the bedsheet as I croaked out, “how can that be?” She mentioned that my particular midwife was very generous in telling her patients how far along they are and she was more conservative. I would need to stay in triage for another 20 minutes on the monitor and in the room another hour before they could do another cervical check. I had big plans for an unmedicated birth so I began talking with Liam about my game plan (shower, movement, oils, birth ball) …basically nothing I could do tethered to the monitors.
After 20 minutes Lisa comes back in to check on me and tells me that my charts are sporadic so how about I just labor laying down in bed for 20 minutes? I tell her I cannot do that with the amount of pain I’m in. Her response, “well, you can just go home and come back when your labor has progressed.” At this point I’m crying because I feel actually crazy, I tell Liam I cannot do the whole natural thing if this keeps going like it is… Lisa comes back 40 minutes later and tells me they’re willing to hep lock an IV if I’ve made progress…and I’ll go to a delivery room when it’s available. By this time, it’s pushing 1am. She checks my cervix 30 minutes later and I’ve progressed…to 5cm dilated and 80% effaced. Clearly God was laughing at me at this point because I was just so convinced that I would have a 2-hour active labor and it would be pretty easy. Looking back, I’m really not sure what caused me to think that.
We get to the delivery room around 230 and at this point my contractions have 0 chill and are coming every 3 minutes and lasting for 90 seconds. My breath is literally taken with each one, I feel like I’m drowning…until I feel like I’m puking… I hop off my high horse and get another epidural and brace myself for it to majorly slow down labor and just admit total defeat. The epidural is placed at 345 at which point I text my mom and 2 friends. This anesthesiologist hooks me the heck up with an epidural to the point where I’m a little nervous I won’t be able to push. Liam sleeps (lucky duck) and I pray a Rosary. I roll over to my side at 5 to get comfier, and my water breaks at 515. Lisa comes in at 530 and yells for the doctor.
The doctor, bless his heart, stumbles in on his 30th hour on-call (Fort Leonard Wood only has 2 OB’s and the other was on vacation. Midwives are not allowed to work nights and weekends as per their contract). His bloodshot eyes make me a little nervous. We both say nothing. Lisa dresses him up in his little baby catching suit and I’m inwardly freaking out since the last time my cervix was checked I was at a freaking 5. Lisa, who I’ve grown to like more since the epidural invites me to push. Push?! I push three times before sleepy doctor speaks his only sentence to us, “This is a big freaking baby” during my fourth push…and then Declan was on my chest crying his little cries with his fat rolls covered in vernix. So cute. I cried out of sheer surprise because I was woefully unaware that I had progressed so quickly. So much for the crunchy peoples telling you epidurals slow down labor! (In all seriousness, I would still like to one day have an unmedicated birth but will really need to adjust my expectations and coping mechanisms, clearly).
Anyways, being the Fitz Five has been pretty awesome so far. The big boys love the baby and I am blissfully surprised on how easy it is to fit another love into my heart. Liam wrote in my mother’s day card that he’s excited for more [kids] so I’ll end this with my favorite hashtags: #babiesforever , #weaintdoneyet
Declan Matthew, 5/11 5:38am 9lbs 1oz, 21 inches