On Monday, May 3 I had what I dismissed as a passing thought – “I bet I go to the doctor tomorrow and she tells me I’m going to have a baby that day.” I’d had no consistent contractions and really nothing to base this thought on except the fact that at over 39 weeks I was certainly ready to not be pregnant anymore. So, I went about my day. But I made sure to really enjoy my time with Sydney since it was going to be our last Monday together as just us. Tuesday started off well enough. I got observed at work and then walked to the hospital for my 10:00 doctor appointment. I got on the non stress test machine (because at 37, I am “advanced maternal age” and have these tests as a precaution every week from 36 weeks on) and normally baby shows off for these tests, moving like crazy, heart rate doing what it’s supposed to do, just generally being an awesome baby. Well, Tuesday was the exception – he barely moved and his heart rate stayed steady instead of spiking like it should. They called it a non responsive non stress test and sent me upstairs for an ultrasound to check fluid, movement, and baby’s practice breathing. I had noticed some decreased movement in the previous days (he always moved the required amount, but it wasn’t like he normally moved) and I mentioned that to the doctor, along with the fact that I was nauseous and throwing up the past few days. The ultrasound came back fine. He did what he was supposed to do, so when the tech said, “Let me see if the doctor wants to talk to you.” I figured I’d be scheduling an induction for Sunday (his due date) and going home to see if spontaneous labor started prior to then. But she didn’t say that, she came in and told me it wasn’t an immediate concern, but, essentially, because of the non responsive NST and the decreased movement, she recommended inducing that day because the risks of that were close to zero while the risks of waiting increased the chance of complications.

That was a shock. It took me a minute to process before I asked my questions of “are you sure?” And “what’s the next step?” And (probably most importantly) “can I eat lunch before I come back?” (The answer to that was thankfully yes since I wasn’t having a c section.) I walked back to work and called Nick. I told him we were having a baby today, so he should pack that bag that I’d been telling him to pack for weeks now. I called my mom and made sure she would pick up Vinny from school. I went into my principal’s office and said, “I’m having a baby today!” Then I found both boys and explained to them what was going on and what they would be doing for the next few days while I was in the hospital. Then I went home and talked to Sydney, explained everything, and waited until my mom came over to get Sydney before going to pick up Vinny. Nick and I drove up to the hospital, and I’m pretty sure I was still in shock. For some reason, we started off in triage, but I got hooked up to the monitors and was there for a bit before heading to labor and delivery.

In labor and delivery, they started me off with a medicine called cytotec to soften my cervix and start contractions. Thankfully, I was still able to move around, even with the IV fluids and other monitors for baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. They actually encouraged me moving around, sitting on the birthing ball. Unfortunately, because of Covid (which I tested negative for – woo vaccines!) I wasn’t able to leave my room, but at least I could move around the room. Nick was hoping for a May 4th Star Wars birth, but baby wasn’t having that – soon enough I got another dose of cytotec before they started pitocin.

I had FANTASTIC nurses, including a friend of mine who picked up a shift, so she could be my nurse. It was wonderful getting to catch up with her, and she made sure I had the best care. I’m beyond grateful. I was quite uncomfortable as contractions started getting more regular and more painful, and I decided to get an epidural around 3:30 in the morning. With Sydney, I had a really awful epidural experience – it didn’t work on my left side, and I threw up a bunch. I was worried about the same thing happening which is why I was hesitant to get one in the first place. Well, when my nurse came around to check on me (as I was attempting to rest with the peanut ball between my legs) I told her I wanted the epidural, but I had to go to the bathroom first. So, she unhooked me from the machine, I stood up and said “Well, I think my water just broke…either that or I peed on the floor.” She laughed and told me it was most likely my water, so I went to the bathroom, came back, and waited for the anesthesiologist to come. By this point, I was pretty dilated and contractions were very regular. They sent Nick out of the room, and tried the epidural, and, guess what? The same thing happened as before – it didn’t work on my left side. He kept trying to adjust it (in between me throwing up) but at that point, I was too dilated and he said it just might be how my spine is or the shape of my back or whatever. All I know is that I was feeling everything. When it was almost time to push, I instinctively got on all fours, and I remember saying “I don’t know why I just did that.” I also said, “This hurts a lot on my left side” a bunch. Better than the three hours I spent saying, “get this baby out!” when I was delivering Sydney.

The doctor on call (not my OB) came into the room along with some other nurses. It was time to push. Nick got lightheaded and needed to sit down. My nurse told me keep pushing and not to scream, so I focused and kept on pushing. I only pushed for 15 minutes, and he was here. The doctor told me I could tell people I had an unmedicated delivery since essentially I did with the epidural not working on one side. Jokes were made about margaritas since Anthony (Tony) Carter was born at 5:05 AM on 5/5. My newest baby boy was here.

Since his birth he’s just been perfect. I was worried during the pregnancy about how a baby would change the dynamic of our family, and now I barely remember life without him. Sydney is a natural – she’s a little mama – helping, wanting to hold Tony, and even trying to nurse him. Vinny has been more apprehensive, but he has been warming up, asking to hold him more and wanting to play with him. Zack is good with babies, one day he even LEFT HIS SCREENS to hold Tony when I was trying to get a bath ready and helping Vinny and Sydney with whatever else they needed, so Tony was crying, and I couldn’t get to him.

It is an adjustment for everyone, but it’s going well overall. I physically and mentally feel better than I did after Sydney was born, no signs of PPD. Normal weepy hormone stuff, but it’s been nice to be able to get outside and go for daily walks. Plus, I think the fact that I was in such good shape prior to getting pregnant has helped with recovery also.

Tony is the blessing I never knew I needed, and I intend to cherish every minute.