August 29th, 2010. The contractions started around 8:30 that morning. They were instantly very hard and strong. Jackson's parent's church starts at 9:00, so we called them right away so we wouldn't miss them. Michelle came over just after 9:00 and entertained the kids while Jackson and I got things together to go (and while I made sure the contractions weren't going to stop). By 10:00 I was certain that this was it, so we kissed the kids goodbye and headed off to the hospital.
When they checked me around 10:45, I was disappointed to only be dilated 4 cm and resigned myself to a long road still to travel. I wanted to get up and walk around, but my sciatic nerve was really bothering me and sitting on an exercise ball was the only thing that offered relief, so that is what I did for the next hour and a half. Jackson helped me pass the time by playing his cello (our doctor requested he bring it in every time he saw Jackson).
Around 12:45 they checked me and I was only a 6. I was disappointed. The nurse suggested a little walk to help things progress. I tried to stand up and got very lightheaded. That was the turning point. The intensity of the contractions increased to maximum power and I lost all willpower. I told the nurse I wanted an epidural. She left the room to order it. Not 30 seconds after she left the room I realized that it was going to happed too quickly for that and I sent Jackson after her to request whatever they could give me that would take the edge off...NOW. When she came back in, I started saying, "It's time...I'm pushing." She paged the doctor and it was just a lot of pushing and screaming after that. I kept begging for him to at least inject a local anisthetic, because I was sure I was going to rip. There wasn't time. I felt it...rip and all. At least it was quick...I went from 6 cm at 12:45 to delivered baby at 1:14...30 intense minutes.
That was the first time I have done it without ANY pain relief at all. All I have to say is WOW...that was intense! Now that it is a memory I can say I am glad I did it that way, because my recovery has been much easier this time. Also, I think it needed to be that way for Alexander's safety. Let me explain that.
The cord was wrapped around his neck really tight. We didn't know until his head popped out. His heartbeat had been perfect the whole time, so there was no need to do an ultrasound or worry about anything. When his head delivered, though, the doctor slipped the cord off (it was tight enough to leave marks on his face). I delivered him the rest of the way and he was blue and not breathing. They immediately set him on my chest and started rubbing him down. He was just making gurgling type noises. After a bit of rubbing, he gasped once. At that point they cut the cord and quickly moved him over to the warmer. They started giving him oxygen and suctioning out his mouth and nose. Then they paged a NICU nurse and I started to worry. He still hadn't cried and I wasn't sure he was even breathing. Finally the cries came and a relief swept over the room. I don't know for sure, but I think things needed to happen fast for him to be safe. Epidurals really slow me down and also slow the hospital staff down. I feel like things happened the way they did in answer to our many prayers for Alexander to be safe.
Afterward Dr. Robbins explained that they didn't cut the cord until he had taken a breath because he was still getting needed oxygen through it. He assured me that there was absolutely no worry of oxygen deprevation and that he was completely fine. They did, however, keep a close eye on his blood sugar because a traumatic delivery can cause low blood sugar...which Alexander did have. It wasn't coming up as fast as they liked, so we gave him a bit of formula and it came right up. I took pictures of Jackson feeding him the bottle, because none of my other kids have taken bottles, so it was likely the only time Jackson would be able to feed one of our infants.
Jackson's parents brought the other kids to visit soon after the delivery. They were all so excited and happy to meet their new little brother. My mom came that evening and stayed the week (thanks Mom!). Here are pictures from the hospital stay (which was as brief as possible...24 hours).