My due date with Cohen was September 7, 2015 and I was told our baby boy was measuring very large. When I had Avynlee, my first epidural wore off after two hours, my second one didn't work at all, my third one broke after being inserted, and my fourth was a different medication and made me feel very odd but didn't help at all with the pain. Because I didn't feel I could trust epidurals, I decided to take a hypnobirthing class this time around. In class we learned that having a baby can be pain free. That may be true for some people but was certainly not the case for me, but I am super glad I took the class this time around because I learned coping methods that helped me handle labor and delivery so much better.
I started noticing random contractions throughout the day on August 31st. I woke up with painful contractions every now and then through the night. On September 1st, I had contractions about ten minutes about all day long. I texted Adam and Mary Jo to have them on alert thinking baby time would be any minute but they never got closer together. Some were more painful than others and I pretty much didn't get anything done all day. On Wednesday the 2nd, Adam was working from home and I continued having regular contractions between 5 and 8 minutes apart almost all day long. I was okay for the most part but extra tired because contractions had kept me up two nights in a row. We went to the doctor that afternoon thinking I would be admitted but found out I hadn't progressed much after all. We went to Mary Jo's house where I continued having regular and very painful contractions. A couple even made me cry, which could have had to do with the fatigue and frustration as well. We ate dinner at my parent's house (more contractions and crying) before driving home (much more contractions and crying).
We got home around 7 or 8 pm. I kept trying to cope with my contractions. I listened to my hypnobirthing stuff and scored about 30 minutes of sleep. We got Av in bed and I kept finding different ways to cope with my contractions. I learned that the birthing ball made them so much worse. Standing, swaying, and arching my back while on my tip toes seemed to help the most. I was induced with Avynlee so never had any experience with any of this. Around 10 pm, my contractions jumped to 3 minutes apart. We woke Av up and asked Kim and Mary Jo to meet us at Riverton hospital. Being in labor in car is not my favorite but I handled it for the most part.
We got all checked in and the charge nurse, Vicki, said I was dilated to a 4 and admitted me. I was a little bummed to only be at a 4 but at least I got to stay. Vicki said that with how strong and close my contractions were, it wouldn't be too long. I was in active labor with Avynlee for 13 hours so I really hoped Vicki was right. Because other nurses were busy and Vicki wasn't too busy, she stuck with us for most the time which I was really grateful for. She was amazing. Adam help me cope handle my contractions with coaching and counterpressure for a few hours
At 2 am I was dilated to a 7 but my water was still intact. Vicki asked if I wanted my water broken which would surely make my contractions more difficult but would likely lead to a baby quickly. I went back and forth for a while about having my water broken and possible trying an epidural again. Adam really thought I could continue naturally and do just fine. I was so tired and scared our baby was enormous and was nervous I would struggle.
I decided to have an epidural and have my water broken. They also started me on a low dosage of Pitocin. The anesthesiologist was great and I had almost instant relief with my epidural. I couldn't feel any contractions for about half and hour and then it started wearing off. I could feel my contractions and had to breathe through them but wasn't in significant pain. The anesthesiologist was surprised I could feel my contractions and kept increasing the meds while adding nausea meds because the epidural made me super nauseous and dizzy and caused my blood pressure to drop really low. It wasn't great but not too bad. I was nauseous and threw up several times but never on myself which is better than before!
A little before 4 am Dr. Merrill, the on call doctor, came in and we got ready for pushing. Cohen was transverse so he had to be manually rotated. Because my epidural had nearly worn off I felt that and it was pretty uncomfortable but I wasn't miserable and I was glad I could feel each contraction because I knew when to push without being told to. It was really the best of both worlds. It took a few cycles of pushing to get Cohen moved and in position and then a few more cycles to get him here but it wasn't too bad. I wasn't crying or miserable, just nauseous. I actually felt very alert and energized. Those pregnancy hormones can do crazy things for a person.
Cohen was born at 4:15 am on Thursday, September 3, 2015. Dr. Merrill quickly cut the cord and handed Cohen off to the respiratory therapist right away to be suctioned out. Cohen drank and inhaled a bunch of amniotic fluid that had a bit of meconium in it. I watched and waited for my baby while delivering the placenta and getting stitched up (I tore). At 5 am, I finally got to hold my baby. He weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. It turns out he wasn't as big as predicted. I really wish I hadn't let his potential size freak me out so much. We got to stay in the labor and delivery room until around 8 am which was terrific. Even though I hadn't slept for three nights in a row, I was wide awake and just wanted to hold, feed, and love on my baby. Our boy was immediately a fan of eating and would try to gobble up the air like he would the amniotic fluid while still in my belly. He kept forgetting he was out now I guess! The nurse asked if he could have a pacifier because he was pretty much always rooting and trying to each (not much has changed...this baby loves food). Pretty much nothing went according to our birth plan but it all still was perfect.
Avynlee was our first little visitor and she was immediately smitten with her brother. She held him and said, "I have a little song for you!" And started sweetly singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I almost cried. That moment was magical and perfect. Mary Jo, Taylor, Sarah, my mom, and my dad all visited us in the hospital. We spent the whole day just enjoying our baby and our visitors. I like to stay at the hospital as short as possible but having a baby in the middle of the night kind of prolongs that a little. We weren't going to be allowed to leave until around noon the next day.
The next day we had the task of naming our baby. We had an even harder time this time! Adam's top choices were Conrad and Orion. I liked Jude and Atticus. We decided to go down the list until we had one in common and Cohen was the winner! It was neither of our top favorite names but it is a terrific name and it seems to suit him. Cohen's middle name is Howard. After Adam's parents divorced, his mom married Kim Howard. So Adam's mom, stepdad, and three brothers (two step brothers and a half brother) all have the last name Howard. I made the distinction for posterity's sake but the members of the family don't seem to. There are no steps or halves really. Just parents and brothers. I love that and I am glad our little guy gets a little piece of that in his name.