Like everything else in this anxiety-ridden high risk pregnancy, our little guy decided that he was going to do things his way - and his birth was no different.
Starting from 25 weeks he had been in a frank breech position - his butt was down, and his legs and feet were up by his face. Most of the time we didn't worry or even care what position he was in, as long as he was still cookin' in there and doing okay we didn't give his position any thought or mind. I guess you could say we had more important things on the brain.
Once we hit 37 weeks with the bun still in the oven we celebrated - it was a HUGE milestone for us. There was a 50% chance that he wouldn't make it that far, so for 37 weeks - full term - to come and go, was a big deal and we could finally breathe easy knowing that he made it to term! No NICU stay for him, thankyouverymuch!
My doctor expected him to come at any time, so I was prepared - I put in my maternity leave notice at work and toted around my hospital bag and "emergency" bag with extra clothes and towels in my car - just in case.
Honestly, we were surprised when I hit the 38 week mark - I mean, wasn't this baby supposed to come at any time? He almost arrived at 21 weeks and it took a whole surgery to keep him in there, not to mention the weeks of bedrest and anxious waiting and hoping for him NOT to come and to keep baking afterwards - and finally now he's term with nothing holding him back, and he still wasn't coming! Ironic, isn't it?
At my 38 week checkup with my doctor, I asked her if he was still breech.
"Wait - what? He's not breech... is he? I thought he was head down?"
"No.. I'm pretty sure he's breech - he's been breech since 25 weeks."
"Oh my... I thought for sure he was head down. Well, we'll just check real quick."
So she wheeled in the portable ultrasound machine, and sure enough the little guy was sitting butt-down - just like he'd been for the past 13 weeks.
"You're right - he is breech. Well, this changes things!"
And so she scheduled me for a c-section in just over a week, on Tuesday November 8th.
Tom and I were scared (and I was freaking out a little bit), but we were both excited to finally have a concrete date that the little guy would be arriving. All that waiting on pins and needles for weeks and weeks for him to arrive had really been wearing on us! While we were super-excited, we were also a little sad that we'd be missing out on the excitement of rushing to the hospital while I'm in labor.
The weekend before the c-section found us excited and giddy while frightened at the same time. We were going to be parents in just a few days! We couldn't believe it. That Saturday we spent getting things ready around the house for the little man, and that night we had dinner with Tom's parents before collapsing into bed. I woke up a couple times throughout the night with contractions, but chalked it up to braxton-hicks (which I'd been having everyday for awhile by that point) and just fell back asleep.
Sunday morning we woke up and had breakfast before heading off to church. I'd had a few more contractions during breakfast, but they weren't painful at all - just my belly tightening up, so I figured they were more braxton-hicks and just ignored them.
We were in the car driving to church when it finally dawned on me that I'd been having fairly regular contractions for awhile.
I asked Tom, "Hey honey, did you bring your iPod?"
Gives me a weird look like I've lost my mind, "No. Why?"
"Oh, for the contraction timer app."
"What?! Are you having contractions?!"
"Yeah, I've been having them since last night, and they seem to be pretty frequent."
"You've been contracting since last night and you didn't tell me?!"
So that's sorta how our little conversation in the car on the way to church went! Tom was all for calling the doctor or racing to the hospital, but I didn't want to be that-pregnant-lady-who-shows-up-at-the-hospital-thinking-she's-in-labor-when-she's-really-not, so I wanted to be positive that they were real before calling or heading down there.
So I insisted that we just continue and go to church.
Once we got there, we found seats in the back and Tom grabbed a flyer and found a pen and we started keeping track of my contractions the old-fashioned way - with a regular wristwatch. To my utter astonishment, we found that I was having contractions 6 minutes apart! They definitely didn't seem that close together, and still weren't painful at all.
40 minutes into the sermon my contractions were consistent and coming 4 minutes apart, and were finally starting to get a little painful. It was at this point that we looked at each other and decided that it was time to take some action - I could really be in labor!
So we got up and left in the middle of the sermon (we felt super-bad about it!), and I called my doctor on our way to our house (thankfully she was on call that weekend). She told me to head up the hospital to be evaluated.
We rushed home and gathered up our hospital bags and packed a few last-minute items. We threw everything into the car and headed down to the hospital. Tom was speeding like crazy, and I laughed and told him that the doctor said we didn't need to rush, that we had some time. But he said that he had really been wanting to speed to the hospital when I go into labor, so I let him have his way. I gotta admit - it was kinda fun! And we almost (almost- but not quite!) wanted to get pulled over by a cop so I could yell and scream that I was in labor like in the movies! But of course that didn't happen - it was probably a good thing, anyways!
On our way to the hospital I called my parents, who were currently driving up from Florida so they could be here for the birth of their grandson. When she answered, my mom said, "Now Chelsea, you're not having that baby yet are you?", which is what she'd been asking me for weeks. And instead of the usual "No, Mom, he's still in the oven", this time I said, "Well actually, I think I'm in labor." "What?! You're kidding right?!" "Hahaha, nope! We're on our way to the hospital right now!". Unfortunately, my parents were still hours out of Omaha, and wouldn't get in until that evening. I'm pretty sure they started speeding after getting that phone call, though!
Once we arrived at the hospital and checked into Labor and Delivery, I changed into one of those beautiful hospital gowns and the nurses hooked me up to some contraction monitors. Sure enough, it was official - I was in labor!
At this point it was about 1pm on Sunday, and my contractions were still about 4 minutes apart but had progressively gotten more painful, but not too bad. They were like mild menstrual cramps, and weren't bad at all.
My doctor came in and told me that when she got my phone call she just knew that it was the real deal, and that this baby wasn't going to wait until Tuesday! She told me that I was scheduled for a c-section at 3:00 that day. We were going to be parents in just 2 hours!
I don't remember much of those 2 hours - my contractions continued getting more painful, but thankfully my friend texted me and reminded me about birthing balls. I asked a nurse for one, and let me tell you it made a huge difference - all of a sudden it was much easier to deal with the contractions. So we spent those couple hours just anxiously hanging out in the room and halfway watching Extreme Trucking (how intense is that show? I'll never look at truckers the same again!) while I bounced through the contractions.
Finally, it was time! Tom and I scrubbed in and walked to the Operating Room (I opted to walk since moving helped with the pain). Once in the OR they told me that they would be giving me a spinal, which really scared me - I'm not a fan of needles, especially big ones that will be going into my spine! The spinal was one of the things I was really nervous about, but thankfully I had a good support group with me - my husband, nurse, and doctor were all there holding my hands, rubbing my back and talking me through it. It took longer than I expected to get it in, but once it was done I could feel the effects of the spinal almost immediately - my legs started tingling. The OR nurses quickly helped me lay down on the table as my legs and belly (and even some of my arms) became completely numb. All of a sudden I was really thankful for the spinal, because since I couldn't feel half of my body I couldn't feel the contractions anymore, either!
For the first part of the surgery I just focused on breathing and looking at Tom's face - I was a Nervous Nelly and scared out of my wits, and it helped to focus on something. As a rule, I tend to freak out if I'm awake during some sort of medical procedure, so I always prefer to be knocked out with some general anesthesia. However, there was no way I was going to miss the birth of our son, so I just had to deal. And I'm so glad I did!
All of a sudden I heard my doctor saying, "I see a foot! And here comes a leg! And... ahhhh! He's peeing... oooh and pooping, too!"
Apparently as soon as the little guy was out, he just let loose! Tom was laughing as the nurses carried Connor over to the warming station. I was a nervous wreck as I anxiously waited to hear his cry.
The nurses seemed concerned because he wasn't breathing right away as they hovered over him with a oxygen mask, but just as they were about to put it on him he started crying.
It was the most beautiful sound.
I asked Tom if he was healthy, and when he said yes I started bawling. I couldn't even see much of Connor because I was crying so hard. All that anxious worrying that I'd been carrying on my shoulders was gone. He was full-term and healthy! All our prayers for the past months had been answered.
He scored a 7 and a 9 on his Apgar tests, and weighed in at 6 pounds 14 ounces and 20.5 inches long.
Afterwards they wheeled us into a recovery room for a bit, and then into our own hospital room. About 10 minutes after we were finally ready for visitors, who walks in but my parents - who managed to make it to the hospital just in time. The timing couldn't have been more perfect!
As soon as I saw them I smiled and said, "Hey there! Meet Connor Steven Magruder." We had kept Connor's name a secret from everyone, and Steven is my father's name, so they were completely surprised. I know I'll never forget the look on their faces when I told them.
Soon after, Tom's family showed up to welcome and meet our son, too.
After such a worrisome and risky pregnancy, we couldn't be happier that Connor is finally here and - most importantly, is perfectly healthy.
Welcome to the world, Connor. We love you.
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