Riley's Birth Story

I'm writing this with a sleeping baby by my side, and once again, I'm struck at the insanity of it all that one day, you're impatiently STILL pregnant. And the next day, your baby is next to you.

I was really hoping to have precious big-siblings-meeting-baby-in-the-hospital photos to share with this post, but instead, I just have those initial OUR BABY IS HERE pictures you take 0.5 seconds after the baby is born that are really appropriate only for sending to your mom and sisters, because maybe your hospital gown is barely on? Anyway, since Aiden and Emma were sick for a whole week after Riley was born, I snapped these photos of me and Riley in the quiet moments we had together while her siblings recovered at their grandparents'.

As I did in Aiden's birth story and in Emma's birth story, I'm going to use chapter titles to help break up this story because helloooo, I am not concise. Grab your favorite snacks (pretzels) and settle in for a lengthy recap of how Riley Kirsten arrived.

Part 1: We have the Bubonic plague! Baby, please don't come now!
In the weeks after New Year's (37-39 weeks), Aiden and Emma caught the flu (strain B) and Devin and I were both sick for a few days. It was a rough two weeks where I just PRAYED that the baby wouldn't come. We were all a gross, fever-ridden, coughing mess, but slowly we all recovered. One night, my Braxton Hicks contractions got to regular and slightly painful that I texted my mom to say that this might be the real thing and could she come over. And then it didn't turn into real labor. The fake-out contractions continued every night leading up to my due date!

Part 2: False Labor, Napping, and Hmm, Maybe this is the real thing?
I woke up at 5 am on January 16, my due date, with fairly painful contractions. The contractions started to get closer together, so I woke Devin up and called my doctor. The OB said I could go into the hospital, so we woke the kids up and drove them to Devin's parents' house (since both his parents are retired). Poor Aiden had had a 104-degree fever the night before, which we warned Mom and Dad Hood about! 

By the time we dropped the kids off and got to the hospital, the contractions were very painful and still about 5 minutes apart. We arrived around 7:30 am and got checked into triage, where they checked me and said I was only 4 cm dilated. ONE CENTIMETER AWAY FROM THE MAGIC NUMBER OF BEING ADMITTED! They checked me again at 9 am and I was still only 4 cm, so they had to send me home. And my contractions completely stopped. Womp wompppppp. 

Devin's amazing parents took Aiden to the doctor and found out he had the flu (again! This time strain A!), and they insisted Aiden and Emma hang out at their place since I might actually deliver the baby that day. So, Devin and I weirdly had a free day of just waiting for our baby to come. I took an afternoon nap, and then we walked through a home goods store and got Chipotle for dinner. I then took ANOTHER nap from 8-9pm, and when I woke up, I started bouncing on my birthing ball + doing a few other things to try and get contractions going again. 

It worked!

By 11 pm, the contractions were every 4 minutes and very strong, so we called the OB and they said to head (back) to the hospital (uhhhhgain). 

Part 3: Lord, please let me be 5 cm!
We did the 5 minute drive to the hospital for the second time that day, and when a giant, not-gentle nurse checked me at triage at midnight, I was STILL. ONLY. 4 CM. (Like howww is that possible?) So Devin and I wandered the hallways and sat in our triage room for a very long hour. In that hour, my contractions went from "very noticable, yes I feel that and it hurts" to "I MUST GROAN AND SWAY AND RUB MY BACK" every 5 minutes. The giant, hulking nurse who should have been named Helga checked me again (tears sprang to my eyes, she was so rough) and confirmed at 1 AM that I was, indeed, the magic 5 centimeters dilated required to be admitted to the hospital!

Part 4: Epidurals are magic and don't argue with me about that
After Helga confirmed I was 5 cm, they wheeled me to a room and asked if I wanted an epidural. OF COURSE, YES PLEASE, HELLO, THIS IS NOT MY FIRST RODEO. My absolutely sweet nurse got one ordered right away, and by 2 AM, the anaesthesiologist was in the room giving me the sweet, sweet stab in the back that makes the whole birthing process totally fine.

Unfortunately, the epidural didn't take away pain on one side of my stomach, so while Devin napped peacefully next to me on a cot, I gritted my teeth and groaned quietly through the almost-bearable pain that came with contractions every 5 minutes. I dozed off between contractions, still. Around 4 or 5 AM, my incredible nurse came in and explained (through a very thick accent so I still don't understand what she was saying) that there was some magical handheld button that adds more pain meds to your IV/epidural? Or something like that. That totally took away all the pain and I took a great nap!

At 5:20 AM, I woke up and felt a veryyy slight pressure in my butt. It was so slight that I wasn't 100% sure that it meant I needed to push, so I replied to a few texts and then called my nurse in to ask if she thought I was ready to push.

She confirmed I was having contractions (without any pitocin!) 1-2 mins apart, so it looked like I was ready to push! The OB was called in, and I started pushing at 5:35 AM. Riley came sliding out with about 4 pushes!

HOWEVER. I did not feel the immense relief of "omg it's all over" that I felt with Aiden's delivery. When the OB held up Riley, she was COMPLETELY BLUE. Like, not the color humans should ever be. I immediately looked at the OB's face and looked at my nurse's face to try and read the room...why was no one panicking?! (Devin and I talked about this afterwards, because he was thinking the same thing: what is wrong and why is our baby BLUE?!)

The doctor started patting her back and rubbing Riley's body to get the birthing-slime off of her body with a blanket, and this made her cough and start to cry. Very quickly, she turned pink and healthy-looking, and after they wiped her off a little more, they laid her on my chest.

Riley Kirsten was born at 5:45 AM, weighing 8 lbs 11 oz and measuring 20 inches. 

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