It's nap time in the Krotser household. A coveted, short-lived, quiet time.
I decided against my better judgement to fill you in on the birth of our third instead of napping myself.
I may regret this later...
First, a picture of our precious newborn...
...but his birth story followed suit, true to the pregnancy...a BIT rocky (with a wonderful outcome).
It all started out with an eviction notice set for 2 weeks post-due-date. I was to be induced on Monday, February 24th, 2014. Now if you look back at my other two births, I am no stranger to post-due-dates...and no stranger to threats of eviction either!
I had been doing everything under the sun to get baby Declan to come out naturally: acupuncture with small jumper cables to shock the baby out, raspberry leaf tea by the gallon, sweeping my membranes a gazillion times like a $^$#ing chimney (you can tell I loved that process), using my pump....you get the idea, everything.
Anyway, I was starting to feel a bit hopeless. It was inevitable. I was going to be induced.
On the Friday before induction day, I wasn't feeling so hot. The typical nausea. My mom had spent the night after helping out with the kids the day before (just in case I went into labor). In the morning, she waited around until after traffic passed, leaving around 10 a.m. Shortly after, around 10:20, I began to feel sick. Chills added to my nausea. Ugh, I thought perhaps I was getting sick.
The chills continued all morning, I was literally shaking. Kieran came home from school and we immediately ate lunch and I put the kids down for an early nap. I passed out on the couch, convinced that my ill feelings were due to lack of sleep.
The children slept wonderfully, and about two hours later, they woke me up out of my deep slumber. I was still shivering. Something was wrong. I called my husband. For the first time ever, I asked him to come home from work to take care of the kids. I just didn't feel right. I took my temp. No fever. I called my midwife. "Strange, but doesn't seem related to your pregnancy," was her comment.
So around 1:45 pm, when Paul came home, I headed upstairs for a bath to hopefully warm myself up and feel better.
About 10 minutes into my bath, I started having light contractions. Strange again. I was still cold, but the part of my body underneath the water felt good. Contractions continued. Hmmmm. They were not strong at all, but seemed pretty close together.
I called Paul up to the bathroom. I told him what was going on. I felt like perhaps we should go to the hospital, but I was uncertain. Luckily, Paul agreed. I sent him to pack up the kids and some snacks and I called my mom, my midwife, and got dressed. "We're headed into the hospital," was the message sent to all.
We left the house at 2:20ish.
It was NOT a comfortable ride.
My contractions continued to pick up, harder and faster. We hit traffic (of course). I pleaded with Paul to take side streets and go around cars. Although I was trying to listen to my hypno-birthing music, I was starting to get nervous. Baby music played for the kids in the background while I took deep calculating breaths through some hard labor contractions.
The hospital was an hour away in no traffic.
We HAD to get there.
When we finally got to Oak Park, the town where the hospital is, we began getting stuck in school traffic -- schools were just getting out.
I was certain I was hitting transition phase at this point and asked Paul to flag down a cop to get us to the hospital quickly.
This was too surreal.
Finally, Paul agreed and found a police officer who was willing to escort us to the hospital. Kieran was thrilled!
3:40 p.m. we arrived. Phew.
We went into the ER and made our way up to labor and delivery as a family of four. My mom was on her way from Milwaukee, my sister was on her way from Racine, and my sister in law was coming from Chicago. The plan was that the kids would be there for the delivery, but with at least two support people from the family. I was uncertain as to whether or not anyone would make it...this was happening WAY TOO FAST.
In triage we learned that I was not going to be able to deliver in the alternative birthing room with the tub...I was running a 101 fever and Declan's heart rate was in the 180's. Yikes. I was nervous.
While the nurse assured me that I was "only at 5 cm," I assured her that this was not my first birth and that we should probably move to the delivery room quickly unless they wanted the baby to arrive in triage. Thankfully, my midwife arrived and agreed.
My sister-in-law arrived, thank God, and took the two kids off Paul's hands. We all moved into the delivery room and the kids set up with iPads and other electronics sent from God to keep them busy :) Shortly after, my mom walked in as well.
What felt like minutes later, I was feeling the urge to start pushing. My water broke while on my hands and knees and out gushed about 6 gallons of meconium (ok, maybe less than 6 gallons, but that's how it appeared!). It was disgusting, to say the least. "Thick meconium," I heard my midwife tell the other nurse. I went into fierce mama-mode. I needed that baby out, and now.
Three easy pushes later (yes, this was my easiest pushing out of all my labors...barely felt like a push at all), the baby was delivered. The midwife later told me it was only 3 minutes from my water breaking to holding the baby. 10 pounds, 5 ounces, 21 inches...2 1/2 hours of labor....born on Friday, February 21st at 4:36 p.m. Declan Joseph Krotser.
His cord was cut quickly and an entire team of pediatricians rushed in to suction him and get him moving. I didn't see him at first and the next hour or so is still very blurry in my mind. I remember feeling panicked...was he ok? I couldn't hear him cry. I needed to hear my baby. The team surrounded him. I heard arguments about Apgar scores. A four to start. Yikes. A nine for the second score. Ok...that's good.
I got to hold my dear little Declan and we took a couple of family pictures before he was again taken away to the nursery...an IV line for antibiotics, a glucose water drip for his low low glucose level, and constant watching. This was NOT the natural, peaceful birth I had anticipated.
Declan ended up being just fine. Our stay in the hospital was extended to four days due to the glucose at first and jaundice later. He stayed 24 hours under bili lights (which he hated) and remained in the nursery the entire time. I lugged myself back and forth every couple of hours to feed him and spend time before they sent him back under his light therapy.
The hospital stay was hard on so many levels. I missed and ached for my other two children. Thankfully, my parents brought them each day to visit. While the hospital wasn't a good place for them, it was a blessing for me to check in with my babies. I also ached for the fact that Declan couldn't be with me in the room. He and I both hated the nursery and being separated...
but all in all, he left healthy and that's what counts.
Later on, Kieran would ask why Declan pooped all over me in the delivery room...this was a puzzling thing for him. He and Hazel would also later talk about how they got to be there when Declan was born. Pretty amazing.
Since being home, the children caught croup and have since recovered. They adore their little brother and surround him at any chance possible. They are excited and eager to help. We are all so blessed.
This little baby has had so many many people praying for him since day one. We are so lucky and thankful that he is with us. I keep thinking back to week 6 - 12 of our pregnancy...of the multiple medical professionals who told us that the "standard of care" would be to "discontinue the pregnancy"...and I know deep down that God and Declan have been fighting for our family since the very start.
We are so so very happy to welcome our new blessing into our family. He's our little miracle.