Woman's intuition. That's what I'm calling it.
There is no other logical explanation for my actions the night of Tuesday, March 26th. I was feeling pretty tired, but then, so would any other 36 weeks pregnant Mom of a two year old. Tired wasn't anything new but the uneasy feeling I had in my gut was. I announced to Marty, that I wasn't feeling too hot, so I was gonna take a shower. I ended up shaving my legs and trying to clean up everything else below my waist, though I couldn't see a thing. This was something I had been procrastinating doing for a long time as the effort bending over required with my big belly was just too much.
Weird, that I decided to tackle all that bending over that night, out of the blue. Once out of the shower, I wasn't quite ready to go to bed. Sleeping had been difficult for me most of my pregnancy, I was just soo uncomfortable this time around, so I often put off going to bed, but Tuesday night, instead of heading downstairs to watch TV, I decided I should maybe pack a hospital bag. My baby wasn't due for three more weeks, but for some reason, I had this urge to pack just so "it would be done." Once my bag was packed, (ridiculously early) I decided to write instructions for Jamie, the friend we were going to call when I went into labour. I just didn't want to forget anything, so I figured it would be best to write the note now, rather than when I was in true panic mode. I brought the letter downstairs, taped it to the cupboard and crawled into bed. The next day was going to be Wednesday, March 27th, and I had booked the day off for an ultrasound appointment across town. My maternity doc wanted to verify that the baby was head down. I had been to see her Tuesday morning, but she didn't do an internal as I had the ultrasound booked for the very next day.
Though I didn't have to leave my house until noon for my appointment, I chose to get up so I could take Ryder to the Day Home.
I was looking forward to the following week, when I would be on Spring Break and I could keep Ryder home every day. It was gonna be a big bonding week, our last chance to spend all day every day together just the two of us, before Peanut was due to arrive. We just had to make it through three more days of "work" and "day home." I kissed my big boy good-bye and headed back home. I had breakfast with Marty who was preparing for a big meeting at 9am. I told him, I was feeling a little crampy, which was probably just Braxton Hixt contractions, though I wasn't sure as I had never had them before. This was way too early for Peanut to arrive, so "it's probably nothing, but just keep your phone handy, incase."
Marty left for his meeting and I began pacing the house, it was the only thing that I felt like doing. I called my Mom to let her know that I thought I might be having some "practice contractions." I told her I was going to walk Scout to see if that made me feel better. I called Aimee before leashing up Scout to ask her if she knew what Braxton Hixt contractions felt like as I thought I might be having some. She didnt know, but it never crossed either of our minds that I might actually be in labour.
My friend, Andrea, who knew I had the day off for an ultra sound, called. She asked if she could drop by to collect her daughter's snowpants. They had been left here after Ryder's birthday. I told her she could come but that I wasn't feeling too hot. Scout was gonna have to wait.
Just to keep her in the loop, I texted my Doula. My awesome Doula, Leanne who was supportive as always. I was so sure that I wan't in labour that I started to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with baby. Leanne convinced me there wasn't. That these cramps were ok. That I would get confirmation of everything at my ultrasound.....
...but when Andrea walked through my front door, she panicked! She took one look at me and knew I wasn't going to my appointment. Infact, she knew for sure that I was in labour! I was still in major denial. She wanted me to sit down, but I just couldn't. I needed to walk (that is how I got through Ryder's contractions too, but still in my mind, this was NOT labour, not real labour anyway.) She began timing my contractions, though I was finding it hard to believe I was having real, "baby birthing" contractions. I still figured all this fuss was over false labour. Afterall, I wasn't puking or dry heaving yet and with Ryder I did a lot! That was gonna be my guage for how urgently I needed to get get to the hospital. My contractions were two minutes apart though, and still no puking. Andrea was lossing her mind!! She could not convince me that this was "it!" She called Marty, told him about my denial and urged him to get home ASAP!! She made me call my Doula, who asked Andrea if I was talking through my contractions. Andrea informed her that I was not, but that I was not expressing urgent need to head to the hospital. My Doula advised me to meet Marty at the end of the driveway and head to the hospital. I thought everyone was being ridiculous! I was not having a baby. My baby wasn't due for three more weeks!! On the way to the hospital I texted Amanda at the Day Home. (Two years ago, on the way to the hospital, I was hanging backwards over the seat of the truck, dry heaving into a paper bag.) I asked Amanda, in my texts, "if this "happens to be "it," the day I have my baby, would she be able to keep Ryder as long as we needed her too." She was excited, but I felt dumb even texting her, as I really didn't believe it would be necessary for Ryder to stay there since I was sure we'd be sent home from the hospital.
Parking at the hospital was a disaster. We drove around and around, until finally we found a spot a million miles from the front door. I wasn't walking very fast and our Doula passed us on her way to find a parking spot. She later said, that when she saw me walking, she instantly knew I was about to deliver a baby! I had contractions the whole way to the elevator and even in the elevators, but they weren't the kind that caused me to holler or cause a scene...yet. After stopping on the wrong floor (we forgot where labour and delivery was) we finally made it to triage. It was 11am. I explained that I was supposed to go to an ultrasound at noon so we didn't even know if the baby was "head down." The nurse felt my tummy and guessed that the baby was breech. Uh oh!! My initial reaction though, was: "yesss!! I will need a c-section. I can lay down. I can have drugs! Sweet!" Then just as fast as that reaction came, it went. I DID NOT want a c-section. I wanted a natural birth, just like the one I'd had with Ryder. Marty ended up mentioning this was our second baby and everyone's panic buttons were pushed! Instead of waiting for the portable ultrasound machine thing, a doc was paged and an internal exam was performed...baby was head down and heading out! I was 7cm. We were led down the hall to our birthing room and finally Doula Leanne was allowed to join us. Within minutes, she had me naked and in the shower. I had laboured in the shower with Ryder too and she knew it was my happy place. Marty was a pro with the shower head and though he was in his work clothes (dress shirt, dress pants and dress shoes,) he wasn't afraid to get a little wet to make sure I was as comfortable as possible. I have no idea how long i was in the shower. But I did ask, "is there any way, once you hit 7cm, that things shrink back and a baby doesn't come?" Seriously, I was in the shower naked, in a birthing room, still in DENIAL!! The answer was, "Jeanne, you are having a baby...TODAY!"
Finally I had to get out of the shower. It was almost time to push.
Once given the green light, I pushed for 3 minutes (nurses actually time this stuff) and voila, Baby Peanut was born! The Doula, said, Jeanne, look down at your baby. I expected to just see her head, still on it's way out, but there she was the whole entire baby, out already and being placed on my chest!! This time around, the baby got to stay on my skin until the cord stopped pulsating. With Ryder, we hadn't gotten so lucky. His shoulders had gotten stuck so once he was out, they had wanted to assess him right away. Marty hadn't gotten to cut his cord, but he got to cut Peanut's!
I was still in shock that this had actually happened, that I had just had a baby. A baby girl!! It did not seem real, but it was wonderful!
I am so thankful that Leanne and Marty were there by my side for the whole journey! I never could have done this whole natural birth thing without their support and encouragement!!
Unlike with Ryder, we did not have a name picked out for this lil one. We had called her Peanut since our very first ultrasound when the tech handed me the picture, saying, aww, looks like a little Peanut. We continued to refer to her as Peanut until we had to fill out the paperwork to bring her home....actually, who am I kidding? We still
In the end, we agreed to call her Payton Jeanne. Payton was a name we had on our lists for girls both times. One of my first years of teaching, I had the joy of teaching the happiest most unforgettable little girl. She exuded sunshine and had the biggest, brightest smile. Her name was Payton and after teaching her for a year, every time I heard that name, I think of the Payton I once knew and hope that my own children will be just like I remember that little girl, happy and full of light! I have only positive associations with that name (as a teacher it is truly challenging to pick a name with only positive associations,) so Peanut became Payton. Not necessarily after that girl I once knew, but after everything I remember her being, happy, happy, happy!
Marty left Peanut and I at the hospital once we'd settled into our recovery room. I was super lucky as there happened to be a private room available. These rooms are extremely hard to come by and we hadn't even thought to ask for one, as they are never available. Our nurse was awesome and as soon as she found out there was a private room free, she offered it to us!! Yippee!! Marty left us with a mission, to get diapers, some feminin products for me, including nipple cream (things I had planned to pick up over Spring Break) and Ryder James.
.....but he sure loved pushing all the buttons on the hospital bed, coloring on my magaizines and finishing my chocolate pudding!!!