I am so happy I penned Caroline's birth story last year. I must've referenced it a million times leading up to the days and hours of my labor this time around. So as soon as I got home from the hospital I knew I wanted to write Thomas's birth story in one long post before all the details got blurry! I tend to over share so feel free to skim or skip this post if "birth stories" aren't your thing...
On Wednesday, July 8 we had a routine check up with my doctor. He informed us we were 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced. With a little less than 10 days to go I was happy with that progress and had a sneaky suspicion Thomas would come about a week early all along because I swear he felt at least 9 pounds by 38 weeks. We are pretty much obsessed with our doctor, so when he told us that he'd be the one on call all weekend long we crafted an early delivery game plan which meant he would see us back on Friday morning to have my membranes stripped. Matt was on the fence about having Thomas arrive early but I emphatically agreed to the plan before he could say anything.
So Friday I worked from home before my 11 am membrane stripping. We excitedly got to the doctor's office and I was so hopeful this would work (again)! With Caroline I went into labor the night my membranes got stripped and I suspected it would all happen much faster this time around with baby #2. Everyone thought I was crazy to have elected to have my membranes stripped but I was so ready for labor that I completely forgot how incredibly painful the process is. In fact, it was the most painful part of my entire labor experience. However, once he finished the sweep the pain immediately went away. We said "see ya later" to our doctor and Matt went to court for a hearing while I went to the Ritz for a spa pedicure, ate a few (doctor approved) spicy tuna rolls, took a long shower and blow dried my hair. Around 2 pm I started having mild to moderate contractions so Matt's parents jumped in the car and headed our way to pick up Caroline and stay with us in case we were going to the hospital.
As the afternoon progressed my contractions were picking up in frequency (every 10 minutes or so), duration (~20 seconds long) and intensity (4/10 on the pain scale) so I downloaded the Full Term contraction counter app on my phone and began monitoring things in hopes we would really be having a baby that night. Everyone told me that #2 comes really fast, so while the pain was tolerable I wanted to make sure we didn't miss our epidural window. However, I didn't want to head to the hospital until after Caroline came home from daycare and I got to eat the Panera dinner that Matt's parents brought us. So around 6:30 pm I told Matt we should probably hustle so we loaded the car, said goodbye to our first baby and waddled into the hospital about 6 minutes later. At check-in the nurse asked how she could help us and I calmly told her I was in labor. She gave me a doubtful look and I immediately felt kind of dumb for not being keeled over in pain or breathing heavy. Thankfully she agreed to send me to triage...right before the 7 pm shift change at the hospital. So we waited a long time in the most uncomfortable bed ever before a nurse actually came to check on us, gave me a fancy hospital gown, hooked us up to the monitors and asked us a million questions. Still only 3 cm dilated, I hoped things would progress quickly because I was not going back home. In between contractions I was starting to doubt that this would be "it" but then 10 minutes later a ginormous contraction would hit and the false alarm concerns would disappear. After a few hours the nurse still seemed on the fence as to whether or not we should be admitted and said she'd leave it to my doctor's discretion. Fine by me because I knew he'd come to the rescue. Within a few minutes our doctor arrived to our triage room and declared we were being admitted. Hallelujah - our little membrane stripping plan had worked and we were well on our way to welcoming our second annual baby! We finally left triage at 9:17 pm and 5 cm dilated.Cue a major sigh of relief!
As soon as we got to our labor and delivery room I asked for my pre-epidural fluids because I remembered that it took forever to actually get the epidural once I asked for it with Caroline. The contractions had picked up but I was still tolerating the pain. Simultaneously they had to administer a bag of penicillin (through the biggest needle ever) since I had a UTI during my first trimester. That medication burned so badly as it went through the IV and my arm looked like a war zone with a collapsed vein and lots of blood! Anyway, at 10:15 pm I received an extremely painful epidural. I remembered it being awful with Caroline and it was even worse with Thomas. However, this time my epidural didn't make me completely numb and paralyzed so I could still move my legs, feet, toes, etc. which was perfect! At 11 pm I got checked again - 7 cm dilated. It was at this time I asked Matt for my pillow so I could get a little more comfortable. He looked terrified as he realized he had left them on the kitchen counter and immediately booked it back home to get them. He made the round trip in less than 15 minutes and arrived just as the doctor was breaking my water.
An hour later, at 12:33 pm the nurse came to check on me and declared the baby was already on his way out so she grabbed our doctor quickly, wheeled in a cart with a ton of scary looking tools and readied the room for the baby's arrival. Within a few minutes we were ready to push and again, I asked for the mirror to watch because I'm a weirdo. I started my first push and immediately my doctor told me to stop and exclaimed I would not be pushing this baby out because he was already sliding out! So I guess I did a half push this time around. Everyone told me to look down and slowly my doctor pulled Thomas right out of me, right before my eyes. It was as if time stood still. Matt and I literally watched him quietly enter the world together and immediately he was placed on my chest after Matt proudly cut the cord. Those moments are still indescribable and were totally different than with Caroline. The connection was immediate and all I could say over and over again was "I cannot believe he is mine!" and "HE HAS HAIR!"
Thomas Dean Marcellino
6 pounds, 5 ounces
20.75 inches long
Back to the story, as the doctor did some repair work I continued to stare at my little man in amazement...for the next two hours. The nurse wouldn't bathe him until his body temperature reached 98 degrees so I continued to snuggle, and snuggle and snuggle my gooey new baby. During this time I also fed Thomas and he latched right on like a champ. Once he was nice and warmed up, Thomas was weighed, measured, stamped, etc. I was shocked to find out he was 6 pounds, 5 ounces - a teeny little thing and 6 ounces less than Caroline. We were even more surprised to find out he was 20.75 inches long! Oh, and he looks nothing like me, Matt or Caroline. And the hair. I can't get over the hair. So yes, lots of surprises.
Before we were cleared to move to our post-partum room the nurse wanted me to get up and pee. Matt was so terrified I was going to collapse on the floor again this time but I hopped right out of bed without assistance and made my way to the potty. I couldn't believe how great I felt. Thank goodness for medicated, quick births!
By 10 pm on Saturday night we finally received an exceptional nurse - Jen. I will never forget her because she offered to take Thomas to the nursery (which the hospital strongly discourages) so we could get some much needed sleep. Going on 30 hours of sleep deprivation, we both knew this was the best decision and hopped into bed for 3 hour stretches of sleep at a time. Jen brought Thomas in for feedings and then took him back to the nursery.
Early Sunday afternoon we were finally discharged and sped home to begin our life as a family of four. My recovery has been super speedy this time which I am thankful for as we adjust to two under two. We are so grateful to the Lord for our healthy, happy (and handsome) baby boy!