It's only taken me three months to get around to writing out Fletcher’s Birth Story. It's been on my to do list for weeks so I'm excited to share it with you. I realize not everyone loves reading these, but I do and it's important to me to record all these memories. I debated whether or not to divide this post up into two parts, but decided to just include everything in one big post. So thanks for reading this long post - story first and pictures second :)
We headed to the hospital on Monday, March 28th. We had to be there around 4:00pm and it was a wild day. I took our cat to the vet for a procedure, waited at our new house for a sofa delivery that barely fit in the house and waited for my MIL to arrive in town. We were all running around a little crazy all day long trying to get everything done. Olive took a late nap so I rocked her to sleep with teary eyes knowing it would be the last time I’d rock her to sleep as an only child. I was worried about saying goodbye to her when we had to go, but thankfully she was asleep when we left.
We arrived at the hospital and had that feeling of nervous anticipation. We felt experienced on one hand since we’d done this before, but still anxious because Olive’s delivery in Utah felt like so many years ago. We got checked in, snapped a few pictures and then they took us to our room.
The room was huge and we got settled in. They had me change into a gown and put on 3 or 4 hospital bracelets. My nurse was young and seemed nice enough. I got in bed and they started getting everything hooked up. She put the monitors on my belly and could not find Fletcher’s heartbeat. She was making conversation and acting like everything was fine, but I was feeling nervous. I’d been monitored a lot during my pregnancy and Fletcher was always active with zero problems of finding his heart beat. She continued to move the monitors from side to side and NOTHING. I began to sweat and ask her if she thought everything was okay. She thought it was fine, but I was panicking a bit and prayed that everything was okay. It took her a solid TEN minutes to find his heartbeat. Kevin could tell I was getting nervous so he came and stood by the bed. She FINALLY found his heart beat and it was the best sound ever. She acted like it was no big deal and there was nothing to worry about. Later she told me that she was new and was still learning how to do things. That would have been nice to know ahead of time.
The plan was to start the medicine to be induced, but I was already dilated to a 3 or 4 on my own. I was having contractions and so they just skipped one medicine and started my Pitocin. Kevin ran home to check on Olive since she was asleep when we left and we live ten minutes from the hospital. He got her settled and had a quick dinner with them. Things were moving along faster than I was thinking so I called him and told him not to take too long. My nurse thought I’d have the baby during her shift and before midnight. I’d mentally planned for a delivery the next day so my brain was spinning. I texted a few people and got excited. I knew that I definitely wanted an epidural so I was making plans to get that ordered.
Contractions kept coming and Kevin rushed back to the hospital after dinner. I told him we were probably going to have a baby tonight! We were both excited to meet Fletcher and just tried to get comfy. Kevin asked the nurse for the remote so he could turn on Monday Night Wrestling. Insert eye roll. Not my favorite type of TV to watch anytime, but definitely not during labor. We watched for a bit and did some channel surfing. A little before midnight the doctor came in to do my epidural. He was nice and chatty. I followed his directions, got the epidural and it was really good. I was numb pretty quickly and more comfortable.
My doctor stopped in to say hello and tell me that he’d love to deliver the baby before midnight so he could get a good nights sleep. He said I’d owe him a box of cigars for a middle of the night delivery. We laughed and he broke my water. When I had my water broken with Olive I remember everyone commenting on how much fluid I had so I warned my doctor of that. He was like yeah yeah it’ll be fine. Then he broke my water and it made a giant mess. There weren’t enough towels and he said that I had an impressive amount of water. “You could water all the plants in Terre Haute with all that water,” says the doctor and I just made an awkward face. I tried to tell him… so I got a whole new bedding, outfit, towel change. I was making progress and having contractions, but midnight came and went with no baby.
A new nurse came in on a new shift and I told her this was my 2nd baby. Olive was 7lbs11oz and my labor was 6 hours with her when I was induced. The nurse said what I’d always heard that 2nd babies come faster than 1st babies so I should be having a baby soon. I was excited and was ready to meet Fletcher. I was still having contractions, but not making tons of progress. They changed medicines and told me to rest. Yeah right… rest while we’re in and out of your room, all these machines are beeping and you’re about to have a baby. The nurse prepped everything for the baby, brought in the warming beds and baby cart.
Kevin was snoring beside me and enjoying his rest. The nurse came into the room in the middle of the night to check on me. Same ole same ole and then Kevin let out a whimper in his sleep. It was so loud that the nurse hurried to my side to ask if I was okay. Kevin piped up and said, “Oh that was me.” Insert another eye roll. Sorry that life is so tough as you are SNOOZING on the recliner. The nurse and I both laughed at him.
I was still having contractions with slow and steady progress. They kept telling me to rest and try to sleep. I dozed off and on all night. 6:00am rolled around and still no baby so time for a new nurse. She was super bossy and I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of her being my delivery nurse. She was kind of dismissive and would say things like, “Well you are having a baby!” when I’d complain of pain or discomfort. So I quickly realized I’d have to be bossy back with her. I pressed my button when I’d start feeling uncomfortable and stay on top of having her check me.
I was making good progress at this point, but actually delivering a baby seemed a long ways away. So much for a speedy delivery. She continued to check me, continued to tell me to rest and then brought out all these things for me to roll over and lay on trying to get the baby to drop down enough to push. He was doing fine and I was doing fine, but we weren’t making any big strides to having a baby. I spent 30 minutes on one side, 30 on the next, time to check and still slow & steady progress. She’d make me pee, check me and do a few more things to help move things along. My doctor came back in to check and said he would have thought I would have had by baby by now. Me too Doc.
Kevin asked if we were getting close to time to push. My nurse said I could start pushing and push for several hours to have a baby or I could wait for him to drop down and then push a few times. Obviously pushing a few times was the way to go so we waited. Notice a theme here… lots of waiting. I was having stronger contractions and was having a hard time getting comfortable. I was still feeling pretty numb, but had to keep getting medicine through my epidural.
I was starting to get discouraged. I really expected this labor experience to go faster than Olive’s at 6 hours and I really was expecting to be holding our baby at this point. I tried not to be disappointed and know that we were both doing just fine, but it was hard. Kevin was dozing off and on and I tried to rest. My nurse okayed me to eat ice chips and hard candies so Kevin made a candy run to find me something to eat. I hadn’t eaten since the day before when I wolfed down a last minute granola bar before they admitted me.
I wasn’t feeling any pain (hallelujah epidural!), but then the pressure started getting more intense. I could tell something was different so I buzzed my nurse back in hoping she’d say things had changed. I said that I felt like he’d moved and that I was feeling the urge to push. She checked me, stretched some things and said she agreed that it was time to have a baby! I could hardly believe my ears. I felt like we’d waiting for so long to meet Fletcher.
Tears welled up in my eyes because the whole night had been more exhausting than I was expecting and I was nervous I’d end up having a c-section since things weren’t moving as quickly as I’d hoped. A rush of nurses, doctors, and staff were suddenly in my room and it was go time. The nurse asked me to push once to see how close I was since she’d already called the doctor and then she said STOP PUSHING. Apparently Fletcher was just a push or two away and the doctor wasn’t there yet. They all joked that they might have to deliver him without the doctor there. We were both ready for his delivery!
My doctor walked into the room, told Kevin to get his gown on so he could help catch this baby and it was go time. Kevin was snapping pictures, nurses were being super helpful and I pushed once, twice and three times Fletcher was here!! I was a boo hooing mess! I couldn’t believe I only pushed a few times and he was there. As soon as he came out the nurses said, Whoa he’s a BIG boy! They put him right on my chest and he looked so much like Olive to me. Insert more tears and me saying hello little man. The nurse grabbed my phone and started taking pictures for us. I was still crying at this point and couldn’t wait for them to get him cleaned up. Time seemed to stand still for a minute and I tried to soak in all of the chaos, fun, excitement and joy.
I was trying to pay attention to all the cute things they were doing with Fletcher – measuring, weighing and assessing him. I sent Kevin to the other side of the room to be with Fletcher and to take pictures. I stayed put (obviously) and finished up with the worst part… stitches, placenta delivery, epidural wearing off. The nurses announced that Fletcher weighed 9lbs 7oz!! He was nearly 2lbs more than his sister so that would explain the longer, harder delivery process. My doctor had guessed he’d be around 8lbs… wrong! While they were checking him out he peed all over his nurse. He was 22 inches long and ended up being born at 11:47am. I was in labor for 12 hours and delivered him almost 12 hours after my water was broken. He was doing great so they cleaned him up and handed him back to me. We did skin to skin for an hour and he nursed.
I was feeling good, STARVING and already planning a way to get my first meal. We held Fletcher, took some more pictures and just enjoyed checking him out. We texted family and friends and started to make a game plan for Olive to come to the hospital to meet him. My nurse came in and I thanked her for being so bossy and not letting me push for hours. She totally knew what she was talking about and my delivery was so easy. It was 100% worth all the waiting until Fletcher was ready.
Kevin left to get Olive and my nurse was helping me get situated to be moved upstairs to my room. I was feeling so good, but couldn’t walk around yet. We finished up downstairs and rode the elevator up to our new room. The nurses were super sweet and Fletcher was really snuggly. We did skin to skin, worked on nursing him since he was starving too and got settled in.
My knight and shining armor arrived with Jimmy Johns and Olive a little bit later. Olive instantly looked YEARS older to me and I cried when she walked into my room. She was wearing a backpack and I couldn’t believe how big she looked to me. She was SO EXCITED to see me and hopped right up on my bed. I read somewhere that it was best to greet the older siblings before you introduce them to the baby so Fletcher was hanging out in his bassinet. I gushed over Olive for a bit and then told her I had someone for her to meet. She was thrilled and wanted to check him out from head to toe. She wanted to check him out, but was more interested in talking to and snuggling me. I loved it because I really missed her. I’d never been away from her overnight before so it was new territory for both of us.
We had a picnic and wolfed down our food. My MIL came to meet Fletcher, we gave Olive her big sister gifts, we texted and snapped lots of pictures and then just tried to take it easy. We gave her a doctor dress up set so she put it on and immediately wanted to do a check up on Fletcher. It was really sweet. They stayed for a bit and then decided to head home when Olive pulled the emergency help cord in the bathroom. There were so many things for toddlers to touch in that hospital room.
It was nice to have a quiet room to rest and it wasn’t long before I started asking about going home early. I felt great and was anxious to break out of the hospital. Turns out the pediatrician on call was super strict and really didn’t want me to leave. Fletcher and I were both doing great so it was frustrating not to be able to go home. So I stayed until Thursday evening which felt like forever and was hard on everyone – Kevin was still finishing out his semester, Olive was not used to being away from me, our cat was sick and needing medicine and we were trying to make plans for family to be up taking care of Olive. Everything took a long time to get done and nothing was super efficient which was frustrating for me. Kevin spent the first two nights with me at the hospital and then he headed home to make life easier for Olive. We were great patients, Olive came back to visit and we had a variety of family come to the hospital. Fletcher go his newborn pictures taken and we actually enjoyed eating hospital food. I may have shed a few tears over being held captive, but now it doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal.
Kevin and Olive showed up to get us on Thursday the 31st. We packed up our room and nearly ran out to the car. The nurse let Olive help push the stroller out to our car and Olive told every person we encountered, “Dis is my baby brudder, Fletcher. He’s a boy!” It was really sweet and I was so thankful to be going HOME!
And now for a hospital picture overload :)