Seven weeks ago we welcomed Harrison Michael Weeks into our family. Better late than never to finally publish his birth story!
I was originally due on January 21st, but due to my gestational diabetes, my doctor wanted to induce me around 39 weeks to make sure he wasn’t getting too big. So, we set the induction date for January 12th.
About two weeks before my induction date, I started having more severe Braxton hicks contractions. They would come throughout the day and last about a minute apiece and then go away. A couple of times I’d have 2-3 hours straight of contractions that were 15-20 minutes apart and then they’d just stop. Talk about false alarms. Several times I thought my water had leaked, and the week of NYE (the day before new year’s) I actually went into the triage unit at the hospital to be checked because I could have sworn I felt a little pop and water trickle. The nurses at the hospital did their checks and I was sent home.
My doctor started checking me for dilation at my 36-week appointment. I was very surprised to hear that I was already dilated to a 2 and 50-70% effaced. During my 38-week doctor’s appointment, my OB did a membrane sweep and told me I was at 3cm dilated. I could definitely feel the increased pressure. I lost my mucous plug about two days after the membrane sweep.
Friday, January 9th started like any other day. I woke up feeling fine, albeit very large, and feeling tons of pressure. I sat on the couch working on my laptop while Abbey played. I kept having to get up to use the bathroom and had to change my underwear at least 5 times throughout the day. I wasn’t sure if I was just peeing myself (an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy), or if my water had broken. I was having light contractions all day, but nothing timeable. I called my doctor and she advised that we go on in and get checked to make sure my water didn’t break. In case you didn’t know — once your water breaks, you have about 24 hours to deliver the baby before complications can happen. I called my mother-in-law and had them come over to watch Abbey while Nick and I headed to the hospital. We brought our bags just in case.
We left the house around 5:30pm and got to our room in labor and delivery around 6:30pm. A nurse checked me, and I was still only 3cm dilated and the baby was very high. They did the litmus paper and the swab check to see if my water had broken, and apparently, it had not! I was surprised to hear that. I guess I had been peeing myself all day, haha. After the nurse checked me, I started having pretty regular contractions that were getting closer together and more intense. I didn’t know this, but getting your cervix checked can actually bring on labor if your body is ready. Since I began having contractions, the doctor decided to keep me for observation for two hours to see if anything else would happen. The nurse gave me an exercise ball to bounce on and came back in two hours.
At 8:00pm, the nurse came back to check me and I had dilated to 5cm! She called the doctor and they decided to admit me. Baby was on his way! The nurses began their process of admitting me– putting in an IV, drawing blood for labs, etc. I had to wait an hour for my labs to come back in order to get the epidural. By this point, it was almost midnight and the contractions were getting pretty intense. I kept asking when the anesthesiologist would get there. By 1am, they finally put the epidural in. I remember with Abbey being totally chill while getting the epidural, this time, I had a vasovagal response and almost threw up — I got the chills, nausea, dizzy. But once they were done and the medicine started to kick in, I felt much better.
At this point, we both tried to go to sleep and rest. I couldn’t sleep the entire night and just laid there trying to rest. The nurse kept coming in every couple of hours and rearranging me into all sorts of odd positions with a peanut ball to get the baby to move down further. At 8am, the doctor came and checked me and I was at 6cm. She decided to start me on pitocin to get things moving along quicker. Things definitely started progressing after that.
My water still hadn’t broken at this point, so the doctor broke it around 10am. By noon, I was 7cm dilated and the baby had moved down some. The pitocin was causing some heart rate decelerations with baby, so they decided to turn it off and let my body do the rest of the work. Around 1:15pm, the nurse came by to check me again and was surprised to find that I was fully dilated and effaced and ready to push! The doctor and nurses came in and set up their delivery table. They coached me through pushes — breath in deep, then push for 10 seconds, then repeat. I think I pushed for about four minutes before Harrison was born! I felt such a deep sense of relief that it was over.
We did some skin-to-skin and latching practice for about an hour, then the nursing staff took him for his vitals. He weighed 7lb 10oz, so it was great that he decided to come two weeks early before he grew any larger. Because of my gestational diabetes, they checked his blood sugar and found it to be very low. We supplemented with formula every four hours to bring his blood sugar back up and did lots of skin to skin which also helped.
We were in the hospital for less than 48 hours — checked in Friday night, and were home Sunday night. Thank goodness we only had to spend two nights in the hospital — the beds were extremely uncomfortable and the food sub-par. It was so nice to be home, shower, and sleep in our own bed.
My in-laws stayed with Abbey at our house, and she was still awake when we came home Sunday night. We brought Harrison inside in his car seat and he was sleeping. I went to get him out of the car seat and he started screaming, which caused Abbey to start crying. She was very apprehensive of him at first, but she is growing used to him. She calls him “Baby Cry” and likes to help mommy by pushing his paci in when it pops out, and helping hold bottles. It’s really cute to see her interact with him and I can’t wait until he’s older and they can actually play together!
As far as how he’s doing seven weeks later, let’s just say the newborn phase is kicking our butts. It’s been much more difficult this time around, and I definitely feel more sleep-deprived. We tried breastfeeding for about three weeks with no luck. We met with a lactation consultant a handful of times and she actually told me that he was the hardest baby she’s seen in months. I think he stumped her on why he couldn’t latch. Anyway, after weeks of him not really latching, being lazy and not sucking, getting his lip and tongue tie clipped, trying nipple shields, and all sorts of tricks, I switched to exclusive pumping.
We did that for a few weeks until Harrison developed a nasty rash all over his face, mucousy stools, blocked nose, and he was extremely gassy and fussy. Wouldn’t sleep more than an hour straight at night. After lots of research and talking with his pediatrician, we decided to trial hypoallergenic formula for a cow’s milk protein intolerance. Within three days his rash and blocked nose was gone, and within a week his stools were better. He’s less fussy and is sleeping longer stretches at night — in fact last night he slept for 5 hours straight for the first time (let’s see if that happens again…).
He’s still having problems choking on the bottle nipples. We’ve tried four different brands of bottles and nipple flow rates etc and finally settled on Dr. Brown bottles with level one nipple. He still chokes often and gets the hiccups after nearly every feed so we’re doing a swallow study this week with a speech therapist to try to get to the bottom of his feeding issues. He struggles with pretty bad reflux as well and we started medication for that too.
It’s been a pretty big adjustment for all of us. Nick got four weeks off work which was amazing, but he went back to work two weeks ago and I’ve been on my own during the day. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, managing two kids during the day (so far… lol…). It’ll be nice when he’s a little older and has a more routine nap and feeding schedule. We’re getting there :)
Anyway, that’s all for now!
Click here to read Abbey’s birth story.