Dear, darling Owen, my beautiful fourth child who finds his first blog mention in his birth story post. Get used to it, kiddo. You have joined a wild and wonderful circus of a family and as our caboose, this sort of thing is bound to happen often. I promise that despite our being busy and scattered, we will love you just as much as we love ALL of our children, and that infinite amount of love for each of you is something you will never understand until you have children of your own.
My pregnancy with you was overall delightful with a few bumps along the way. The first was morning sickness, which once again reared its ugly head and turned me into a useless lump of nausea huddling on the couch for weeks on end. Dada completely took over as Super Dad, driving kids to and from school, feeding and bathing everyone and generally being amazing while I read about 20 books and tried not to die. I lost 11 pounds, slightly less than with Rory, but I think only because I managed to force myself to eat something: namely Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese TV dinners and pastina, after which I always felt slightly better than having eaten nothing at all. It was miserable though, and I only got through it by repeating “never again” many, many times in my head. But get over it, I did, and at 13 weeks I started feeling like a human again.
The next bump was some bleeding around 15 weeks pregnant. It was nothing heavy, but it was constant enough to completely terrify me and of course it happened over the weekend when my doctor’s office was closed so I couldn’t go in to get checked out. I spent the weekend an emotional wreck convinced I was miscarrying, but then I was able to get into the office on Monday morning and the sound of your heartbeat on the doppler was the most amazing sound to hear. My cervix was just being “cranky” and extra sensitive after I’d been sick that week and everything appeared to be fine. The bleeding continued for a while, but finally went away, and at that point I finally accepted that everything was going to be fine.
The remainder of your pregnancy was spent feeling mostly great with only a few aches and pains worth mentioning. I have been so lucky with all of my pregnancies to bypass most of the common pregnancy complaints: no blood pressure issues or swelling, no heartburn, varicose veins, stretch marks or gestational diabetes. Aside from sore legs at night and the signature pregnancy waddle, I was pretty textbook. I gained about 25 pounds, same as with all of the other kiddos, and I carried everything right in my belly without gaining weight anywhere else.
I should mention that there was one thing that was VERY different with your pregnancy: we didn’t find out your gender! You were our one and only surprise baby, which is so special! You were due on Thanksgiving day so I called you my “surprise turkey” for the whole pregnancy. Because of my crazy medical history of hemorrhaging and retained placenta with Collin and Rory, we scheduled an induction for 11/18/16 and had everything planned out perfectly for your delivery day. But in my heart I knew as soon as it was all planned that it was a plan we’d never use…you, sweet Owen, would show me who was boss!
Your birth story starts a few weeks before you were born, on your big sister Rory’s first day of school. We took Carter to school, then took Collin and Rory in later than normal so she didn’t go to chapel on her first day in case she was an emotional mess. I dropped her off and made it out to the car before I completely lost it and boo-hoo’ed all the way home. I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize and didn’t answer because I was crying, and it turns out it was Carter’s school asking for me to come pick him up because he was sick.
So on my first day with NO kids home with me, I went and picked one of them up. Carter’s tummy hurt and his head hurt and he’d started running a fever. We spent the day with him resting on the couch, then spent the rest of the week with everyone else getting some variation of the virus. For me it was a nasty cold, which is always awful when you are pregnant and can’t take anything to ease the symptoms.
We thought we were done with it until Saturday night, when Collin, who was sleeping in the “nest” in our room, started making gurgly sounds and we got him up into the bathroom before he puked, then puked again later. The next night it was Rory’s turn. Thankfully after two pukes each they appeared to be done and completely fine. Not sure if it was the same virus Carter had since he never did puke or if it was a new one, but they were better and we thought we were good.
Good, that is, until Thursday night. We ate dinner and went to bed and my stomach kept waking me up all night until 5am when I, the Mama who rarely gets sick, threw up. I was MISERABLE and threw up every few hours until the next evening along with other tummy problems. Eating wasn’t even a possibility, but I drank a ton of Gatorade to try and stay hydrated at least. It seemed to be working until Friday night, when regular contractions started. They were about 10 minutes apart that first night and HURT badly enough to wake me up every 10 minutes. I tracked them on my contraction app to keep tabs and make sure they weren’t getting closer together.
The next day they slowed down but never lessened in intensity or stopped. We called my OB to see what they thought and at that point I realized my doctor, my first SOLO PRACTICE DOCTOR after having a large practice with my previous three pregnancies, WAS OUT OF TOWN! I talked to the on-call doctor, who told me if I was only 35 weeks pregnant and having regular contractions I should go in to the hospital to get checked out. We hadn’t even packed our bags yet! So we got everything packed (in an extrememly half-assed fashion to put it nicely), I had a complete meltdown about getting delivered by some random doctor I’d never met, we took the kiddos over to my parents’ house, and went in for our extremely unofficial “hospital tour.” Since Dr. Walter was out of town, I saw Dr. Addaye from the hospitalist group at Mease Countryside. He gave me an exam and I thankfully hadn’t dilated or effaced, so after monitoring the baby (looked great!), hydrating me and giving me some Zofran for the nausea, they sent us home after 4 hours in hopes that it was only dehydration causing the contractions (which were about 40 minutes apart the whole time I was there). Phew! Crisis averted!
But Saturday night they kept coming and kept waking me up about every hour. I continued timing them, peeing, and drinking water (I should also mention that I got HORRIBLE heartburn along with this virus, and it turns out it was from drinking too much Gatorade! I slept sitting up Friday and Saturday nights!). I spent all day Sunday resting on the couch. Instead of going to our neighborhood’s fall festival, we dressed the boys up in their Minion costumes and they went with our wonderful neighbors. Thankfully my stomach was at least feeling mostly better at this point so I could eat a little bit and start to get my strength back up. Contractions just kept on coming. At this point I assumed I would just have them for the rest of my pregnancy!
Monday it was time to get back to normal life as much as possible, and what a morning it was! We were running late, and I had a complete meltdown getting Carter and Rory in the car since the sprinklers were on and I had to drag my big pregnant body into the other side of the car than usual to get Rory buckled. “Why are you crying, Mama?!” Carter asked, and I explained to him that sometimes when mommies have babies in their tummies they get a little crazy. We thankfully got him in to school at the last possible second without having to walk him in, and I made an OB appointment for a little bit later that morning as we were driving from school to speech. I took Rory to her speech therapy session, dropped her off at my mom’s house, then barely made it over to Collin’s school where his class was singing in chapel that morning. Of course during this hectic morning my contractions slowed way down and I only had a handful all morning, a good thing since I don’t think I would have been able to drive through them. I headed to my doctor’s appointment next and gave them the summary of what had happened over the weekend. I saw Amy, the nurse practitioner, and she checked my cervix to find that I had NOT dilated at all or effaced, but “wow the head is low!” (something I have heard during every cervical exam I’ve ever had) so I would go fast when labor did start. I had one wimpy contraction while I was there, and I’m pretty sure they all thought I was a total drama queen and completely overreacting! I also found out Dr. Walter would be out of town AGAIN the next weekend (which apparently never happens!), but we planned for me to possibly come in on Friday morning for a cervix check just to reassure me that everything was fine. I asked how much I needed to be taking it easy since we had no food in our house and our cats were starving and Amy told me to take it easy but not starve the cats, so I went to Publix next and got our groceries, then picked up Rory and got Collin from school and went home to ride the couch.
The rest of the day was relatively uneventful with contractions coming and going but never establishing a pattern, and Glenn took Collin to t-ball for practice around 5:30pm while Rory, Carter and I stayed home. This is when it got real. And this is where we will end part one! To be continued!