Well boys and girls, the tot has arrived! This is their story...
At my 36 week appointment, I was 1 cm dilated. The next night I was up for about 4 hours with contractions that were painful, but not unbearable, and were 7 minutes apart. At my 37 week appointment, the doc said I was 2-3 cm dilated but still very "thick". I was pretty excited about the progress since I didn't get to experience that with Julia at all.
Anyways, Michael and I went on plenty of walks, and yes...I even tried the Labor Cookies (hey, any excuse to eat cookies, right?). At both of my next appointments, despite the sporadic contractions and multiple Braxton Hicks, there was no change. I was ok with that though.
Fast forward to Sunday night, July 3rd. I went to bed around 9:30 pm because I was POOPED. Michael came to bed around 10:00 pm. I had a couple of weak contractions and thought nothing of it. After all, I had been having them randomly for weeks. But then, I had one around 10:30 pm that had me curled up in the fetal position. I told Michael that laying down was going to be no good if they kept up like that. I had another one around 10:34 and got up to head downstairs. Michael asked me what I wanted him to do, and I said "try to get some sleep", and then I sent a text message to my sister that said "don't leave yet, but I think we're going to need you tonight" (she was our "on call" person for babysitting Julia). About 3 minutes after that, I got another contraction. I sent her another message saying "we're going to go ahead and go to the hospital just in case" and told her I was going to jump in the shower real quick. It's about a 25 minute drive from her place to ours, so I knew I had time. She said for me to let her know when I got out of the shower unless I wanted her to come right then. I told her just to come over because the contractions were getting closer together, and I got in the shower.
By the time I got out of the shower, the contractions were a consistent 3 minutes apart and were practically paralyzing. Michael had gotten up by that point, and started loading up the truck to head to the hospital. By the time my sister was about 5 minutes away, Michael went to pull the truck out of the garage so we could just take off when she got here. He knew that these contractions were different from the ones I had that Thursday night because I couldn't really talk through them, and I could barely walk. When he came back in the house, he said "she's pulling into the driveway". He barely got that out of his mouth and I was half way out the door already. I gave my sister a hug, said thank you, we jumped in the truck and took off. It was 11:15 pm.
The hospital is generally 25-30 minutes from the house depending on traffic, but Michael got us there in about 15. He was going 60 almost all the way there when the posted speed limit is only 45 (and on one road 35). Shortly after we left and I realized how fast he was going, we joked about him getting pulled over. He said "I'm not going to stop" and I said "Yes you are, because then we can get a police escort!" The contractions were coming so close and so strong that Michael about lost the "oh shit handle" on the passenger side because I was holding on to it so hard and practically lifting myself out of the seat with each contraction. Once or twice I almost felt like I could have pushed. When we got to the hospital, valet was already closed, and I was NOT going to walk from the parking structure, so we parked the truck right in front of the entrance. The doors that we had to go in locked at 10 pm so we had to have security buzz us in. Michael hit the button and someone came on saying 'can I help you?' Michael just blurted out "my wife is in labor!!!" and they let us in. Once we got in the doors, we made it about 10 feet before I had another contraction. I had to stop Michael and stand there with my hands on my knees trying to breathe through it.
When we got to the registration counter at Labor & Delivery, I tried to answer questions and sign paperwork between contractions. There was a couple that came in just after us and they were standing there watching me. The lady at the counter got someone to come walk us back, and as we walked away I heard the other couple say something along the lines of "she's close!". When we got to triage, the contractions got even more intense. One lady came in to start the standard registration stuff, and another came in with the ultrasound machine to make sure the baby was in the right position and to take a few measurements. Since I didn't know how far along I was, or if my water had broken yet, I asked if it would be possible to get an epidural. A nurse came in to check me and said "your water is still in tact, and you're at 9". I said "I'M WHAT?!?!?!" I couldn't believe I had labored that much already... They didn't even have a chance to hook me up to the fetal monitors or anything before they heard me go through another contraction and they realized that it was TIME. The nurse came in and said "We're just going to take you straight up to a room. I'm just going to see what the baby's size is really quick." She put her hands on my belly, felt the baby, and said "About 7 lbs 6 oz." They then sent me straight up to a delivery room without doing all of the usual registration stuff in triage. We were only there for about 10 minutes.
When we got to the delivery room, I got on the bed and they crammed an iv in me as fast as they could just in case I could get an epidural. 2 contractions later...I needed to push. No epidural...I would get my natural birth after all, and was scared. I even said to Michael "I don't think I can do this..." He and one of the nurses said "YES YOU CAN". By then it was about 12:00 am on the 4th of July. We were waiting for the doctor to show up, but I couldn't wait anymore. I needed to push. My body wouldn't let me wait any more. The next contraction came, and I pushed. I could feel the baby moving down which was such a neat feeling! I could tell when I had a good push rather than relying on the nurses telling me what was good like when Julia was born. Four sets of three pushes later, and my beautiful baby was born at 12:27 am, weighing 7 lbs 10 oz and 19 3/4" long. As the nurses pulled the baby up to lay them on my chest, I looked down, saw his little dinger and said "AAH!!! IT'S A BOY!!!" I didn't quite cry, but I was really close! My doctor came in about 2 minutes after he was born! I was ecstatic both that we had our boy and the fact that I had done it drug free!!! It was so different from when Julia was born.
We had gone through a few boy names - Adam was #1 for quite some time because of my really good friend that had passed away the day after our wedding. Then, we had semi-firmly decided on Andrew. A couple of days before he was born, I looked at Michael and said, "what about Justin?" He said "Not bad..." and we pretty much left it at that. Well...while we were in the delivery room waiting for the baby to get checked out, I said "He doesn't look like an Andrew..." Michael agreed and went over to talk to the baby. He said "Hi there big guy!" - he is VERY excited about having a boy). Then he said "What do you want to be called? Andrew?" and the baby cried. So he said "Ok, not Andrew...how about Justin?" and the baby was quiet. Then he said "Ok! Justin Michael it is!" I was laying in the bed laughing as he was having this conversation with the baby. I even told the nurse that there is never a dull moment in our house because of him. It was pretty funny.
After they got me stitched up (I wound up with a 2nd degree tear), we got moved into our recovery room around 3:00 am. I didn't sleep much that night just because I kept staring at Justin. I was in shock that I had actually delivered him without medication. I was so in love already... He was nursing relatively well, though we still needed to work on his latch a little bit. Later that afternoon, we started asking about when we would be discharged. Since he was born so late (or early depending on how you look at it), we weren't sure what day they would be sending us home. They worked up our papers and we were out of the hospital by 5:00 pm on July 5th!
Here are some pictures of our beautiful baby boy! He has a striking resemblance to his big sister...