RYAN JOSEPH, MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT (born 2/22/02, and I was born 2/22/65)

After being sent our direction by God to arrive almost 8 years younger than our daughter, Ryan Joseph also decided to wait 9 days past his due date. We were so eager to meet him and to have him meet his siblings "Owen," 11, and "Renee," 7.

My OB and everyone else seemed to think I would be early, so I ended up starting my maternity leave in mid-January (I do legal transcription in my home). Little did we all know that Ryan would not arrive for another month! But the time was greatly appreciated to get ready, and my concentration was shot anyway!

My 40 and 41 week check ups showed me to be 2 cm dilated and the 41 week showed me 50% effaced. At the 41 week check up (Wed Feb 20th) I had a nonstress test, and it showed Ryan's heartbeat to be great, so Dr. G. was content to have me wait a little longer for our little guy. I didn't really want to be induced if I could help it. But would have done it at 42 weeks to avoid any complications from being postdue.

On the table though doing the nonstress test, I felt a lot of pain in my back, which I had been feeling on and off for a few days. But nothing really developed that day.

The next day, Thursday the 21st, I woke up to my "Bloody show" -- yippee! Though that doesn't always mean birth is imminent, it did with my daughter 7 years ago -- it was less than 24 hours later.

I had back pain on and off all morning and early afternoon, but nothing seemed imminent, still. I wasn't sure if the back pains meant anything, because nothing went "around to the front."

While watching the Baby Story, I had my first contraction at 2:15 p.m. I thought that was pretty ironic! I had four that hour, two that went around the front (the first and fourth) and two that were just in back. Then -- nothing!

So went about my business, but still had continuous on and off back pain. Took my daughter to her Y class after getting all of her homework together (she has TONS on Thursday) and watched over son. DH was home and helped with him too. Felt really strange at the Y though -- got another contraction before I went there, and felt like I was falling out when I walked up the stairs to get her, etc.

So, we got the kids in bed and in the middle of that (while kids were still up) I had such bad back pains I had to get on my hands and knees and rock. But no more "contractions" -- the back to front kind. I only had six of those from 3 p.m. until then (around 9:00 p.m.). Ironically, our older son, Owen, who is autistic, and who was often staying up until 12, 1, 2 a.m., went to sleep about 10 or 11 that night!

I just rested on the couch then and watched the ladies figure skating. I love figure skating, and we were just enjoying seeing all the talent -- Sarah Hughes, Michelle Kwan, and so on. I took a shower and we prepared to go to bed -- obviously this baby wasn't coming out yet!

I got up to go brush my teeth and noticed that the back of my pants was all wet! I hadn't noticed anything coming out while laying there -- like the usual incontinence I'd had throughout the pregnancy. So I called the dr., after going to the bathroom and discovering that it was even pinkish like I'd heard described. Okay. Show time!!

We called MIL and she came over about 1:00 a.m. Here we go again -- I went to the hospital at 1:30 with my other two babies! Another 1:30 a.m. admission 

I'd been packed for days -- we were in the car and ready very quickly, and in no time at all I was in the birthing room with my gown on. I was checked for leakage and the nurse (Kelly) said yes, bright blue color! Something was finally happening; I was having a baby!

I was hooked to the monitor for a while during which I continued to have back pain. I think I had a few contractions, the back to front kind, maybe 2-3 times in a half hour period? Very mild ones. I discovered then that all those back pains registered as contractions!! So, I'd actually been in labor mildly for a few days, with that back pain… didn't know it!

I was checked about 4:30 a.m. and was found to still be at 2cm and 50% effaced, same as the day before. Was a little disappointed, as I felt much more progress had been made, but, oh well, thought I'd sleep a bit. I sent DH to go to sleep on the comfy reclining chair, and he did. I tried to, they left me alone, but couldn't really sleep well as every so often I'd get a contraction and I was starting to have to use my breathing by about 3 or 4 a.m. And they were getting closer together (maybe 5 minutes apart?) but I snoozed as I was able!!

5 a.m. arrived, and I was given the word that if my contractions weren't stronger by 8 a.m. I was going to be induced. That put me into action! Sleep is for the birds, I'm having a baby, and I don't WANT to be induced!! I let dh sleep and I set out to walk the halls. I was really not very uncomfortable yet, just using deep breathing, and I actually felt much better walking. I walked from 5:00 to 5:30 or so. Then I got in the rocker for a while, then I took a shower. So 6:30 arrived, and I had to go back on the monitor again, and be reexamined. Slight progress -- 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. I was disappointed and getting worried about being induced!! Another nurse came in right after that and checked me again (not sure why) but she said she could feel that I had a bag of water high up and that she would request that that be broken. I said okay, and can I walk more? I got up and walked more -- think dh was up by then and walked with me. It was sort of neat just walking with him, and we did a lot of it!! He got a pop and it looked really good to me  and then the nurse brought me a popsicle!

So things pretty much progressed in the same manner after this -- walking, rocking, then monitor, and so on. From 5:00 a.m. until about 11:30 maybe? Close to 11:30 while I was walking I started to feel extreme pressure on my tailbone area -- like the baby was sitting on my bum! I was to the point where I had to stop walking during a contraction. I remember nurse telling me that dr. would be there to break my water and check me at 12:00 noon and that she wanted me on the monitor for a half hour before. So I went on the monitor at 11:30. Contractions were fairly strong but I was still using my level 1 breathing.

My dh was watching on the monitor and they were up to like 40 or 50 he said. He teased me and said they were wimpy contractions ;) -- good thing they weren't bad or he'd have been sorry he said that ;).

So I just kept breathing through them and was going to walk again after my water was broken, if necessary! But dr. didn't come at 12, and I started to feel like they were getting a little worse, but still bearable. There were still lots of periods of time where there was 5, 6, even 8 minutes between contractions and I just rested. I tried to stay on left side as the back labor hurt more on my back.

About 1:00 or so I asked to sit up for a while, just to change positions and get some downward motion again on that baby  . They didn't want me to get up and walk right then because the dr. was due anytime and I needed to be on the monitor for him to see reading.

I think sitting up helped, because only about maybe a half hour later the contractions DRASTICALLY changed. Instead of the deep breathing (which I'd used the entire time since arrival) I had to start breathing faster and also moaning to deal with the sudden extreme pain!! And because I was practically leaning over now, sitting, the monitor was all messed up so that the contractions nor the baby's heartbeat were even registering!! I told dh and also called the nurse, come in and check this!! And I couldn't stop moaning!

Then I got tingly all over my hands and face. I said, why am I all tingly and numb? I started breathing with my hands over my face because I thought I was hyperventilating. Nurse said, yes, you're breathing too fast so I forced myself to slow down. It was hard though!

She checked me then, and here I am at NINE! How exciting!! I was SO happy even though pretty much in excruciating pain by then! And no doctor yet!

I was only there for seconds I'll bet because the next minute I definitely felt like I had to push!! Nurse had run out to see if the dr. had arrived yet and Rog looked down there and saw something! He said "The heads coming!" They (two nurses now) ran back in and said, "No, it's the bag of waters, but it's bulging and the head is right behind it!"

Then they said the relieving words -- you can push now! I only had to pant for like a minute or so and I used it, the hee hee breathing, to the hilt! So then I started to push and I told them, tell me what to do, it's been 7 1/2 years since I did this! Sometime then either right then or after I started pushing they poured this cold stuff there and it felt SO good! I don't know what it was but it took some of the pain away! Like a liquid ice…

It was only like two or three pushes to expel the bag of waters and then the head! The water bag felt SO weird, like I was pooping! I guess I kept saying I'm pooping over and over again and they kept reassuring me that it was all right. But I wasn't pooping ;) Rog said I was babbling on a bit ;)

Of course the head hurt REALLY bad and I screamed as usual :P and then I pushed again and then the rest of our precious Ryan was born! That part feels so funny -- I'll never forget it -- like this slithering feeling through me -- his beautiful shoulders, tummy, hips, legs, feet, all coming out. Our boy (our third and last child!) was born.

An interesting note -- I didn't eat anything since 9:00 p.m. the night before and I did NOT throw up during labor!? I had thrown up in my other labors…

I remember saying "Thank you Lord Jesus above" several times, and just looking at our little Ryan Joseph! Daddy cut the cord -- the first time he'd done that! He didn't feel up to it with the other kids. I was so glad he did with this his third and last, and a son.

So our Ryan then went to be cleaned up and I had to be stitched up. I can't recall what level tear it was, but don't think it was really bad (I'm 8 days post now and it's hardly bothering me at all). But the stitches felt weird! I kept saying ouch, ouch, how ironic with all that had just gone on down there!

By the way, the doctor did not make it to the delivery -- no one thought I was ready yet ;) -- same thing happened with my daughter -- she was born 3 hours after my arrival at the hospital. So an in-house dr. delivered her, and she did a great job. My ob arrived shortly and congratulated us and apologized for not making it, etc.

Just about the time they finished with all that they brought our precious Ryan to me. He weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces, which is only 2 oz. more than I was. And he was 21 inches long, as I was! AND he was born at 1:53, where I was born at 1:56, per my mom's record. We were all tickled that he was born with such close statistics to mine!

Right before that Rog was over by the warmer taking pictures and admiring his new son! I just kept looking over at him and thanking God that he was all right, and born, and that I was done with the ordeal of birth :} and ready to hold our son!

We looked into his eyes and delighted in him and then I managed to have him nurse on one side. He fell asleep and wouldn't do the other, but we let him sleep a bit :}

I just held him in my arms a long time and Rog did too, and called some immediate family from the hospital, and then he left to go home and get cleaned up and let others know about the birth! I then showered after a while and Rog came back and we moved to a post partum room.

Because Ryan was 8 lbs. 9 oz, he had to have blood sugar tests for the first day or so. He passed them all, thank goodness, but during the time I was nervous to make sure to feed him enough that he'd pass! So we nursed every 2-3 hours round the clock, in the night too. So Ryan never got his 5 hour nap the first day like my other kids did (that newborn heavy sleep!!). It was rough waking him up to feed like that but we did it!

We were in the hospital for two more full days after his birthday -- actually 3 full days in the hospital. It was nice! And reassuring to know he was all right, all his tests were normal. We refused the hepatitis shot at this time because our oldest son is autistic and we need to find out more about all the shots before we start vaccinating. We plan to follow a revised, broken down, vaccination schedule.

Eight days old now (and two hours :) ) Ryan is sleeping VERY well -- ie last night nursed at 8:30 p.m., slept from 9:30 until 3 a.m., then nursed and slept from 4:15 until 7:15. He was then up and nursed 2-3 times between 7:15 and 11:00, where he went back to sleep. Then up for bath (I woke him ;) ) at 1:30 and feeding at 1:45. Then he went off to snoozeland again and it's now 4:00. So I'll feed him shortly -- about 4:45 -- they said to make sure he eats every 2-3 hours in the daytime and it seems to be working to help him sleep at night! So we're off to a VERY good start!

Our other children Owen and Renee are in love with him -- Renee has been home with him for almost a week, and Owen saw him yesterday for a little while. Owen will be coming home from grandma's soon, and our family will be all together. It may be a bit of a transition, as we'll have to watch Owen carefully with the baby -- he loves him but may not know how delicate a newborn is! I'll have to be on my toes. It also may be challenging as Owen is often up until 12 to 3 a.m. in the morning and that will not be easy with a nursing newborn that gets up at 3 a.m. So Rog and I will have to share the care there… and we're going to be checking with the neurologist for Owen soon to see if there's anything that can be done there….

Ahhh, so we are in love with our little Ryan and just love his awake times and looking at his little face and eyes and all… what a miracle! And we are treasuring it doubly because he's our last.

dori, who is REALLY glad not to be pregnant anymore, and seeing our miracle, and also happy to have SO FAR lost 27 pounds!