Like most women in their final weeks of pregnancy, I was not a particularly happy camper. My feet and hands were swollen, it was tough to get comfortable to sleep (even with my giant pillow, at that point), and I had no shirt left that covered my whole belly. That belly was heavy. I'd been telling my doctor since about 24 weeks that I thought this was going to be a big baby—everything just felt bigger, heavier than it had before. I would go to appointments and have gained weight far beyond whatever food I'd ingested over the previous month (I ate normally the entire time!). I was definitely not feeling in the drivers seat—the baby definitely was.
I mean…look at this:
(This is at 38 weeks and 4 days or something crazy!)
We'd scheduled an induction for May 5—Cinco de Mayo. I'd be 39 weeks and 2 days at that point, and with this being my third baby and being dilated a bit already, my doctor was comfortable with any day past 39 weeks. Since I'd been telling her for most of the pregnancy how big the baby felt, they did an ultrasound the week before, at 38 weeks, and guessed 8 lb 7 oz at that point. I was pretty confident we'd hit the 9 lb mark...
Jonathan's brother Stephen, wife Amanda and their boys were here the weekend before the 5th. When Princess Charlotte was born early AM on May 2, I was hopeful our baby would share her birthday. We did some photos with Stephen and the girls (more on this later!) but as the afternoon waned, so did my hope of hitting that date. And once I made it past Saturday, I was mentally geared up to stick with our original plan of Cinco de Mayo. My brother arrived from sunny CA Saturday night, so there were just two days more to get through. Jonathan worked that weekend, which was a drag, but my sweet in-laws took the girls to church with them Sunday morning so I had some quiet/rest time at home alone that morning, which was really nice.
Monday, I had the loveliest day with my brother Scott while the girls were at school. We went to lunch with my mom and then hit the matinee showing of Cinderella at noon (my second time to see it, actually! I love that movie). We picked up the girls from school after and went to my parents' for dinner/playtime before the girls would sleep over there. It was some great family time, but I wasn't sorry it was my last night toting around that giant belly (though it was bittersweet helping tuck in Molly on her last night as the baby).
Luckily, I was able to sleep some that night (I didn't sleep a wink the night before being induced with Molly!)—got up at 3:30 AM to get a shower and we were ready to go by 4:30 (on the way, stopped by Walgreens for an extra memory card for the camera, ever prepared).
With the surprise of the baby's arrival date removed, it was nice still having the mystery of gender waiting for us on the other side! And it was fun to see how excited all of the nurses got about that too, as we were checking in and getting things going.
My least favorite part (seriously!) has to be getting that IV in my hand. Oh man, it hurts so bad! My sweet nurse knew it too, and she had told me as a former pediatric nurse she was fairly adept at adult sized hands since the veins were larger/easier to find. My hands were SO swollen that morning though, it took her two tries, one in each hand, to get it in! Oh man, I told Jonathan that it had to be downhill from there, it hurt so much (and I'm really not terrible about needles).
The IV was in and Pitocin was going by about 6:30, and I was still 2-ish cm at this point (that I'd been for a few weeks). Jonathan and I kind of dozed and hung out, and my doctor came by around 8:20 to break my water. She said I was probably 3 cm at this point. I went ahead and got on the list for epidural then, and the CRNA showed up a little after 9 to start on it. I was definitely feeling contractions by this time, but nothing too debilitating. I also told him how, last time with Molly, I got a "hot spot" on my left side that just wouldn't get numb, and he basically said, we'll do the best we can, but it's not something I can prevent if that's how your body is made. Jonathan said something about how if my spine isn't completely even, it's just an anatomical issue. Weird.
I'd told the nurse with my last epidural that my blood pressure had dropped and they'd had to make some adjustments, and sure enough, the same thing happened, I think around 11 AM. Man I forgot how bad that feeling is, like you're totally void of any type of energy, with a sprinkle of nausea. I told Jonathan afterward that (I don't know why either because I've never even been in this situation) my mental image during this was being strapped on the deck of a sailboat during a storm, being tossed back and forth in the pouring rain, how draining and powerless it felt. (The closest I've come to that situation is reading about it in a book though, ha.)
They put in a few bags of fluid (or boluses?) to help me feel better, and I did perk up a little bit before getting to 10 cm around 12:30. My doctor showed up a little before 1 PM and it was time to push! It's weird how we were getting ready to find out boy or girl but I was still mainly focused on getting the baby out versus solving the mystery. Even though I could still feel my left leg and move it around, and had that same "hot spot" as last time, I wasn't hurting too bad, but for the first time I did feel the sensation of wanting to push. It wasn't overbearing or painful, but it was new for me and kind of awesome.
I pushed through one contraction and my doctor said the baby's head was really big and things got a little intense for a second. Then it was time to push again, and she said the shoulders were big too and had to really do some maneuvering, and right as the second contraction was ending, at 1:02 PM, the baby was born and she said, "it's a boy!" I started crying immediately, it was so emotional! Even though it took about four minutes to push him out, it was still so intense and felt like such work (and teamwork with everyone there in the room too). They laid him on my chest and I looked at our son! Jonathan was elated—everyone keeps asking me if he's just "over the moon" to have a boy, but I can tell you honestly that in the hard work and emotion of those moments, I think we both would have felt just as elated if it were another girl. Our baby was HERE!
He was so swollen and bruised from his size and quick delivery, his face was purple right at first! (I'd not experienced that with the girls before.) He was on my chest for a few minutes, but everyone in the room was buzzing, "that's a big baby" and "did you see that baby? that's a big baby" — the nurses were all sort of hovering/clamoring to get him on the scale. Martha was in the room with us and I heard her say that he peed on the nurse's arm right before they put him on the scale—he was 9 lb 15 oz! They said he would've been an even 10 if he hadn't peed right before! I got him back soon after and just held him, enjoying those moments while Jonathan and Martha went out to the waiting room to tell our families he had arrived (if you'd like a peek, here's
It's a Boy from Leslie Jerkins on Vimeo. of Jonathan telling them it's a boy!).
Since he was so big, they had to do a heel stick to check his blood sugar before I could nurse him. He did great though, and has been a champ ever since!
The girls meeting him for the first time:
It was fun because they didn't find out he was a boy until they got in the room. Juliette was performing for her grandparents and saying completely ridiculous things, but they were excited to see the baby (and see that he was no longer in my belly).
We didn't give him a name until after 4 PM, right before the girls were coming to see him. It had been so hard to talk about it, especially for Jonathan, not knowing the gender.
George has long been the frontrunner for me (probably for the past 10 years), as it was my grandfather's name, and four generations before him. He died when my dad was in his early twenties, so my mom nor any of us kids ever got to meet him. My granny spent the rest of her life missing him, a widow for 50-something years. (I love thinking of them reunited in heaven now!) It was so sweet telling my dad the name we'd chosen.
Raymond is Jonathan's grandfather's name (the only living grandfather we have between us), and we were really excited to be able to honor him too. It was such a great part of the day to call and tell Granddaddy George's full name. I hope they get to meet each other some day soon.
Look at this little one filling up his car seat! Straight to size 1 diapers, that guy!
He is such a sweet baby, I have been enjoying him so much! It's so interesting how it already feels like it was always going to be a boy! (though I still don't really know if it's sunken in that we have a boy). I'm so thankful to God that George and I both made it safely through his birth. What a gracious gift!
More to come!