He’s here! Alexander Thomas, born on Friday, February 9 at 10:22 p.m. He was 8lbs 4oz and 20 inches long at birth. He looked a lot like his big brother did when he was born, but now, at four days old, the postpartum swelling has come down a bit and his own individual features have begun to come out. He’s so adorable!
Name: Alexander was our second choice for Zachary’s name and although we had a decent list this time around, it was still the one that we solidly agreed on, the one that felt most “right.” Thomas is Jay’s paternal grandfather’s name.
Birth Story: I had assumed that Alex’s birth story would be fairly straightforward and uneventful. Thankfully, his actual birth itself was normal but man, was it an eventful few days leading up to it. I’ll break up the story by days and you can skip to Friday if you don’t want to hear about Wed. & Thurs. Hosptial part starts where it’s labeled “Hospital Time.”
February 7: It began on Wednesday afternoon, February 7. I left work early to make a bank deposit for work and then get a prenatal massage. Since I had tried everything else to stimulate labor, the massage was my last-ditch “treat yo-self” action that works different pressure points to trigger labor (if your body and the baby are ready, of course). It was also my birthday gift to myself, haha, since Feb. 8 was my 34th birthday and I had really been hoping to not still be pregnant by my birthday, haha.
On Wednesday morning, I had noticed that my car’s battery light was on. Since I had gotten a new battery in July, I thought it was strange and took note to look into it. On my way to the bank, I noticed that my brake light had popped on now, too. That was when I knew something was up, so I actually pulled out my AAA card, thinking perhaps they could meet me at the massage place. As soon as I had the card out, every other light went on. I felt the car stalling out and coasted over to the shoulder of the highway just as it died completely. Needless to say, I was not happy. The massage was non-refundable, I’m 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and it was raining outside.
I called Jay, who thought he could get there in time to pick me up and take me to the massage and then back to my car in time to wait for AAA to tow me ($4/mile, uggghhhh) to our go-to mechanic shop. Poor Jay was not happy. He hadn’t been feeling well all week and had stayed home sick on Tues. & Wed. to try and sleep it off. The last thing he needed was to run all around, dealing with a freaking out wife, haha. Thankfully, he got me to the massage right on time.
The massage was awesome. I left feeling positive that perhaps it would work within the next 24-36 hours. Jay and Zach picked me up and the word on my car came back that I needed a new alternator. Yayyy. Shitty timing and expensive to replace, but not as bad as the worst-case scenarios I had been imagining, like a new transmission or just needing a new car in general, haha.
February 8: Jay had slept downstairs in the guest room to try to get a full night’s sleep and shake off his cold. When he came upstairs on Thursday morning, he was shivering but felt warm and said he hadn’t been able to sleep for most of the night because he hadn’t felt well. His temperature was only a 99.7, but given that I was days away from giving birth one way or another, I insisted that he go to our local urgent care to get a flu test. Zach and I dropped him off at the urgent car and finished that bank run. My suspicions were confirmed: Jay tested positive for flu A. They gave him a prescription for Tamiflu, even though they suspected that he was already on the back end of it, having felt crappy since Monday. They estimated he would be better by Saturday. My ob-gyn’s office prescribed me a preventative dose of Tamiflu and said that Jay’s presence in the delivery room would depend on his symptoms at the time of admittance. Zachy and I dropped Jay off at home, went to fill the prescriptions and get a half dozen birthday donuts for me. At this point, my birthday was put on a brief hold, lol, and we’re going to pick a makeup day to celebrate.
Around 10 a.m., I started having contractions on-and-off.
I ended up not going to work on Thursday and hung out with Zach all day. It was a nice day with my little boy and I’m glad that we had it together.
February 9: I woke up around 1:30 a.m. with contractions. I was able to fall back asleep on and off until around 4, when it was clear that they were getting too uncomfortable to sleep through. Hooray for back labor yet again! I timed them until 4:30, at which point I called my parents to give them a head’s up. On Thursday morning, I had lost the remainder of my mucus plug during the early contractions, so they decided that evening to drive halfway to Raleigh just in case…
My plan was to wait until 7 a.m. before waking Jay up. Around 5 a.m., I couldn’t lay down anymore (again, yay back labor), so I decided to clean the kitchen, two guest bathrooms, door knobs, railings, etc. I basically took Lysol to everything I could. By 6:30 a.m., I couldn’t do that anymore and woke Jay up. We decided to get ready and take Zach to school together before going to the hospital to get checked. By the time we got to there, my contractions were 2-4 minutes apart, but only around a 6 on the pain scale. I was also only dilated 3-4 cm. After an hour, nothing had progressed and my contractions had gone to about 5 minutes apart. They sent me home, telling me that it wasn’t considered “real” labor yet and they’d either see me sometime that weekend if anything changed or else on Tuesday for my induction date.
I burst into tears. I’m a big old baby on a good day, so add in having my hopes of finally having a baby dashed along with exhaustion, frustration, and pain and it wasn’t pretty. We got home around 10 a.m. and I threw myself a pity party on my bed, sobbing inconsolably. By 11 a.m., the contractions were back and getting stronger, but not quite to their specifications of 2.5-3 minutes and a 9 on the pain scale for at least an hour. My parents arrived around noon to deliver Gatorade (by then, I was shaking and feeling like I was going to throw up). Around 1 p.m., I was in so much pain that I was screaming, “HOW IS THIS NOT REAL LABOR?!” We sent my parent on a walk and I tried to take a shower. The shower did help a bit, but the second I turned the water off, they were lasting 2.5 minutes and the pain was at least an 8-9. Around 2:30 p.m., Jay, who had been keeping track of the contractions for over 3 hours, made the call to go back to the hospital.
Hospital Time: This time, I could barely walk and had to take an embarrassing ride in a wheelchair up to the L&D admissions desk. They admitted me immediately, thankfully. I was 5-6cm dilated, so we were off and running.
The bad news came around 5 p.m. My blood platelets, which have always been low, were too low to safely get an epidural. I had been tested at my ob-gyn’s office around 36 weeks and passed with a nice buffer, so them being too low was not on my radar whatsoever. I was shocked. They did the test again and this time, they came back even lower (87). For the entire day, I had been telling myself that I could make it because relief was coming. It was hard to accept that I was going to have to do this without the epidural. They gave me an IV of something to take the edge off, but it wore off after an hour. I could not find a position that gave me any relief from the contractions, so after a few hours of me screaming and begging for them to help make it stop, we tried nitrous oxide. It didn’t work. It only helped in the beginning as a way to distract me by having me focus on breathing into the air mask thingy. A nurse and the doctor both came in to figure out why it wasn’t working, but no one could, so I was on my damn own.
The doctor broke my water after I hit 7cm and then the pain got really, really realz. I’d know that a contraction was going to be particularly bad if fluid would come out before it started, like when the water levels recede before a tsunami hits. I know I let out more than a few primal screams and grunts and begged to be put under general anesthesia and or to sign a waiver to get the epidural several times. I also tore my IV out of my arm at one point and had to have it put in on the other side. It was not my best moment. I’m a little embarrassed when I think back to what I can even remember. At least I didn’t curse anyone out or get really mean. I’m glad about that. Jay said I was writhing around like I was being given an exorcism and that I almost kicked the nurse in the face several times.
It was finally time to start pushing sometime just after 10 p.m. At this point, I was pretty much going out-of-body because I was getting no relief in between contractions, but there were 6 people staring at me and I knew it was time to focus. It took an hour and 23 minutes of pushing to get Zach out and even then, I did a terrible job at it and the doctor had to tear me to get him out because he was blue. I did not want a repeat of that experience.
I’m not sure how long I pushed for, but I know that it wasn’t a very long time. I got Alex out to his shoulders in one push when the doctor told me to wait for the next contraction before I finished. This was a plan that I was not down with. I could feel the pressure and sweet relief was so close and needed to push this child out. I think it was one or two more pushes and out the rest of him came! Woo-hoo, go me. Jay got to cut his umbilical chord twice. 🙂
So that’s how Alexander Thomas came into this world. Some fun Jay/Colleen facts about February 9:
- 2/9 = 29, which is our “number,” as met and married on April 29 and officially started dating on July 29.
- It was the date that Jay originally hoped to propose to me (but Lost got in the way lol).
- It’s the day we were originally supposed to close on our house last year (more on that later this week), but there was a last-minute complication and it didn’t officially become ours until Feb. 13.
- February 9 was my guess for his birthday in the baby pool. I picked the day for all of the reasons above plus I figured I’d go into labor on my birthday and he’d be born sometime in the early morning hours.
I’ll do another follow-up Alex post later this week. I figured a 2,000-word birth story was more than enough to bore anyone reading this for one day. I’ll also probably talk more about it on the next new episode of The Broadcast. Thanks for reading! I’m so happy and blessed to have my little family of 4.