My Little Neilan,
When learning of your due date at six weeks along, I should have known to think it was only an educated guess. You were going to make your debut when you were well and ready.
I started the school year with a new batch of kindergartners in August 2010 at just over 31 weeks. When the middle of September came along I began to look for signs that I’d be holding you in my arms shortly…still no signs except a little cramping which I attributed to being on my feet all day. At 37 weeks I was already dilated to 2 cm and 50% effaced. We were making progress! By my 39 week appointment I was a 3 cm and approximately 90% effaced. Woohoo! Labor could begin anytime and Dr. Ricketts believed you’d be here anytime.
I began to get anxious wondering if you’d decide to make your grand entrance in the middle of the school day with a bunch of wild kids, so I made my last day of work the Friday (September 25, 2010) before your due date (September 27, 2010). I ended up waiting, walking, cleaning, sitting on the exercise ball, sleeping, waiting, walking…oh and waiting. Ha!
At my 40 week appointment, there still was no sign, but I still felt great! I had some minor “contractions” along with some cramping. I continued to express my desire for a natural birth, least invasive as possible. My main wishes being no induction or epidural. Having completed much research, I knew patients with pitocin often had more intense labor leading to more epidurals and possible Ceserean Sections to protect baby from heart rate increase/decrease. Dr. Ricketts said to come back at 41 weeks and we’ll see where to go from there. I was perfectly fine with waiting, except for the people that kept asking when my due date was and I’d have to say “Last Monday…”
On Sunday, October 3, 2010 (Daddy’s birthday) we decided to go to dinner and movie since it was getting closer to your own birthday. During the movie I knew I felt stronger pressure than I had before but assumed they would stop like they had in the past. That night I did not sleep well, but pain levels were no different. We went to my 41 week at 1:30 p.m. appointment and were disappointed to find that I was still at 3 cm. Dr. Ricketts was also concerned that my amniotic fluid level was decreasing. She told us to come back to check in at the hospital at 4:00 p.m. and she was going to break my water to speed things along. I still did not like this idea, wanting you to come on your own, but it was a much better idea than Pitocin! We called Nana and Papaw Carter since they would have to travel from Illinois to be here for your birth.
When we arrived at the hospital, after taking about an hour to get checked in, we found out I’d started to dilate on my own to 4 cm. and then shortly to 5 cm. We walked around the labor and delivery floor a few times and sat on the birthing ball. Dr. Ricketts came back at 8:30 p.m. and broke my water. Before breaking my water, contractions were just a little tightening in my abdomen area, but it was instant pain after my water broke. I quickly moved to 7 cm. at 9:30 p.m. and then to 9 cm at 10:00 p.m. Your Daddy and I had practiced some simple relaxation techniques for me to get through contractions, but none of that really seemed to be necessary. Low moaning/breathing sounds and a quiet room was the way I needed it to be. I was able to get in the shower for a little while, but it was not as helpful as I had hoped.
I began pushing around 10:45 p.m., but looking back now I believe I may not have been all that ready for pushing. Or maybe I was not pushing the right way…because it continued for a LONG time. Around midnight Dr. Ricketts wanted to see if you would turn into a different position so I had to hold off on pushing, which was very intense. How are you suppose to stop pushing when all the power in your body is trying to get a baby out? It took a lot of concentration, but luckily around 12:35 a.m. I was able to start pushing again and you began crowning. At 1:00 a.m. Dr. Ricketts used the vacuum to assist as I was tiring after nearly two and half hours of pushing. I used up all three of my “assisted pushes” and Dr. Ricketts had the OR prepped for a C-section since my pushing efforts did not seem to improve despite the vacuum and time. When she mentioned that, it gave me the boost of confidence I needed to complete delivery in the way that we’d wanted from the beginning. I guess that’s when I learned to really push. There was no way at this point that I was going to give up.
One more push and your head, then shoulders were out! The rest went very quickly. It was amazing how “painless” the actual delivery was to me. I guess at that point my nerves and emotions were high and pain was the last thing on my mind. It was the most amazing moment to have you my sweet son, Neilan, laid upon my chest. Your head was held high as you opened your eyes bright and looked up at me. You were the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. You were born at 1:34 a.m. on Tuesday, October 5, 2010. You weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and were 20.75 inches in length. Your head was fourteen inches in diameter. I carefully checked you over for all your fingers and toes and you were just so alert and perfect in every way!
It was a long night but I do not think your Dad or I got any sleep that night. We, along with Nana and Papaw Carter and MeMa and PaPa Bruce marveled over the sight of your new life. We are so lucky to have you and thank God every day for you, our blessing.