Abel Jude VanHorn
Born March 10, 2016
8lbs 11 oz
In reflecting on the day that Abel was born, which was only two days ago, the main thing that sticks out is that it was nice. Just a really great day, all around.
On March 10, 2016, I woke up at 4:44 a.m. with a really strong contraction. I remember the exact time because it's the kind of time that sticks in your head. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I went downstairs to eat a bowl of cereal (ah, pregnancy eating!) and stopped to use the bathroom on the way. While using the bathroom, I lost my mucus plug, which only means that labor will start sometime in the next couple of weeks ... you know, like all those other late pregnancy symptoms that I had already experienced in the last week, like increasing contractions, harder contractions, groin pressure, the baby dropping ... plus, I still had 8 days until baby was due, so I went and ate my bowl of cereal, then I went back to bed.
By the time Tony's alarm went off at 6, my contractions had been consistently 30 minutes apart since the one that woke me up. (By the way, 3 contractions, 30 minutes apart doesn't even count. The labor book I use as a reference starts at the 10 minute mark. But I had a feeling!) So Tony decided to work from home while we decided what direction things were going in.
About an hour later, I texted my sister Becky, our traditional babysitter while I'm in the hospital, and put her on mild alert. She found somebody to cover her shift at work and waited for my call. Then, I called my parents and told them the same thing, but encouraged them not to drive the 1.5 hours to get here yet. Of course, they finished talking to me, packed their bags, and drove up. :) My family is clearly not very good at "low alert". :) Back at home, Tony and I packed our bags, just in case.
So, by noon, everybody was watching and waiting, and I was having steady, productive contractions that were 15 - 20 minutes apart. Still not close enough to call "labor". My parents brought lunch, Tony took the twins to school, and I figured, if my parents are in town, we might as well do something to pass the time! Like walking! And what better place to walk than an antique mall! So Mom, Becky, and I spent a couple of hours at Willowstone Antique Marketplace. We had so much fun! Mom kept track of my contractions (which I could still walk and talk through, so I really wasn't the crazy laboring lady at the antique mall!), and by the time they were steadily at 10 minutes apart for almost an hour, we decided to head home.
At home, 3:45 pm, I told Tony that it was time to go, but I wanted to wait for a few more contractions, and I wanted to eat before we left anyway. That took enough time to be able to see the twins when Grandpa brought them home from school, too, so it was fun to be able to see how excited they were. Then we drove to the hospital.
At the hospital, we checked in and were taken to triage, where they decide if you're actually in labor. My contractions were 7 - 10 minutes apart and I was dilated to 6, so they admitted me right away, about 4:30 p.m. My nurse walked in and said, "Well, I was wrong about you! I saw you come in, and you were so relaxed that I figured you were a first-time mom who was going to get sent home!" And that relaxed feeling was pretty much the theme of the next two hours. Everybody who came into the room commented on it. During every contraction, I closed my eyes and relaxed my whole body while Tony squeezed my hand very hard, reminding myself that I needed to give all my energy to the uterus so it could do its job. My doctor even checked me again when she arrived, because she didn't believe that somebody could be dilated to 6 and be as calm as I was -- and she was surprised to find that I was almost dilated to 8!
At that point, my doctor offered to break my water -- no pressure, just asking if it was something I wanted -- and I was trying my hardest to remember why my drug-free birth book said not to do it, but I couldn't remember, and I was starting to get tired, so I decided to do it. I do think it sped things up, but that's when it got really hard, too, which is probably why my book suggested not doing it. :) So, she broke my water at about 6:45 p.m., and by 7:15 I was feeling the urge to push. My mom came in from the waiting room for the delivery, and of course Tony was by my side.
With Cecily, I remember transition being awful and pushing being a relief. I didn't have that experience this time. I barely noticed transition this time, and pushing was awful, terrible, and I wanted to quit. I was trying to get away with light little pushes at first, but I quickly realized I was going to have to do better than that. Also, my contractions were SO LONG. At one point I blurted out, "this is a never-ending contraction!" and my doctor said, "you're right, you've had waves for about 7 straight minutes now, but you can do this!" (By the way, I love my doctor. She really felt more like a midwife than a doctor through the whole pregnancy.) It was probably the hardest work I've ever done, but our baby boy was born after 30 minutes of pushing, at 7:45 p.m., weighing 8 lbs 11 oz. He looked just like our other babies, with a head full of dark hair (although not as much as Marlowe!). They gave him directly to me, and Tony said, "Heather, do you want to tell them who this is?" and I said, "Everyone, this is Abel!" I heard the whole room, especially my mom, murmur how much they liked the name, and in that moment, laying there, holding him and announcing his name, I got teary.
Thanks to my doctor's coaching while baby was crowning, I had very minimal tearing this time, and since we had monitored my iron more closely this time, I also didn't faint when I got up to use the restroom like I did last time. Everything after he was born went really well. The hospital staff was great to work with, and we were able to go home on the evening after the day he was born.
And that's Abel's story. A beautiful end to a nice day, filled with family. Just perfect.