On Tuesday, November 19th I went to my doctor's appointment at 36 weeks. I was dilated 1/2cm and he said that a lot of softening and thinning was going on. I had been having a lot of contractions so I was glad to know that some of my pain was actually causing change and that I was getting closer to delivery. That day my pelvic pain was so bad that I could hardly walk. Wednesday proved to be just as painful and I began to have more contractions. I thought that if this level of pain continued delivery couldn't be too far off. That night I had my baby shower/girl's night at Orange Leaf and then Brian's dad Keven arrived from Washington.
I woke Thursday morning around 6am feeling very strong, regular contractions for a good hour while I lay in bed. They were painful and I told myself the baby was coming today. I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was excited and relieved that the pains of pregnancy would soon be over and I wasn't worried because my doctor had assured me that if I went at this point the baby would be just fine, in other words I was in the safe zone for delivery. On the other hand I felt bad about the timing. Brian's dad was in town for the BYU vs. Notre Dame football game on Saturday and I didn't want to mess up all of the fun things that were planned. Around 10:30 I took Keven and the kids to Long's Donuts and then to pick Brian up at the dental school. By the time we reached the school I was feeling quite a bit of pain, mostly pressure and pelvic pain, but some contractions too. We drove downtown and Brian, Keven, and the kids took a short walk along the canal. By the time we got home I was really hurting and the contractions had picked up again. Brian forced me to lay down in bed. That afternoon while they were all at the grocery store I woke to hard contractions. After a while I got up to see if they would stop if I walked around. The contractions simply got more intense and closer together. I knew we were going out to dinner in the next two hours and decided I would just wait but probably have to go to the hospital after we ate. But by the time they got back from the store I decided it was time to go now. I was in too much pain to sit through dinner and wouldn't be able to enjoy it at all. Keven was little nervous to take care of the kids by himself, but he assured us everything would be fine and he would just call Marcia (Brian's mom) if he had any questions. I felt bad that he had to get stuck babysitting, but I really didn't have any control over when the baby decided to come.
We arrived at Community South Hospital at 5pm on Thursday, November 21st. The nurse checked my cervix and I was dilated to 4cm. The pain and contractions I felt over the past two days did do something. She left to call the doctor and when she came back she said they were going to admit me and that we were going to have a birthday party that night. I was so relieved that I didn't interrupt the evening for a false alarm. By about 6pm I was all checked in and Dr. Szentes, the on-call doctor, came in to check on me. He remembered talking to me on the phone twice two weeks earlier when I had called with a false alarm. It took so long to get on medicaid that I had only seen my OBGYN, Dr. Perry, twice, so I really didn't have a relationship with him anyway. I really like Dr. Szentes' personality and sense of humor.
The nurses had told me that they probably wouldn't give me pitocin because I was pre-term. I was really hoping that my labor wouldn't take too long without it. When Dr. Szentes went to check me and asked if I minded him breaking my water while he was down there I said, "What? Yes! Thank you!" I was so relieved that he was willing to get things going. Having my water broken was a bit painful, but if it meant speeding up the process, I was on board. About an hour or so later the anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural. I barely felt it. Brian and the nurse said I did awesome, they didn't even see me flinch.The nurses said that though my contractions were picking up a bit they weren't really strong and consistent enough to do a lot. Dr. Szentes came back in to check on my around 9pm. He was surprised the baby wasn't here yet. He checked me and I had barely changed over the past few hours. He suggested giving me pitocin to really get things going. Once again, he was my favorite person! He joked that the nurses love how he just comes in and does his own thing. I for one greatly appreciated that he recognized that the baby was coming so we might as well speed up the process to put me out of my misery. The contractions really picked up and it didn't bother me because the epidural had already kicked in.
Just after 10pm I was texting friends saying that I hoped he would be here before midnight. During this whole process Brian was on the iPad on the couch having a group texting conversation with his family. He loved giving them play-by-plays and hearing their commentary. It made the time more enjoyable for him. At about 10:30pm I started feeling more painful contractions so I gave myself another dose of my epidural. Ten minutes later I told Brian the contractions were uncomfortable and I wondered if I needed another dose. We called the nurse and she said she would check me before deciding to give me more meds. She came up and said, "You're complete. You're at a 10!" I said, "Whoa! Already?!" She said she guessed it was pressure from needing to push that I was feeling. So Dr. Szentes was called in. I had a tickle in my throat that kept making me cough. I felt silly coughing away while Brian, my two nurses, and the doctor surrounded me staring and waiting. I apologized and they said not to because it was pushing the baby out. Afterward Brian told me that they all thought I was going to cough the baby out. I practically did, by the time I stopped coughing and pushed, it only took two pushes and he was out (at 11:04pm). I was actually surprised he was already out when the doctor laid him on my chest. It was hard to see Ezra with his mouth open like he was crying but hear no sound. Brian cut the cord and then they took him away to get cleaned. They had a team of specialists in the room already because he was premature. They immediately began working on him trying to get him breathing. Though this had happened with Maybrie, I felt much more concerned this time around. I wanted to hold my baby. I asked if I could kiss him before they whisked him away to the nursery. They of course granted me that. Ezra was only 5.5 lbs and 18 inches long. I was surprised he was so tiny. I figured he would be smaller than Maybrie and Thomas, but not that much smaller. Dr. Szentes was good at lightening the mood. He showed me my placenta and said it was one of the healthiest, most beautiful ones he'd ever seen! Haha
Brian went down and checked on Ezra after a little bit and brought me back pictures, a video, and an update. They had Ezra hooked up to a C-Pap machine to help him breathe. The next morning Brian went home to help Keven with the kids. We were going to have to break the news to Maybrie that she couldn't hold Ezra yet... kids weren't allowed in the special care nursery. Brian said she was really upset about it. I was finally able to go in the nursery and hold Ezra for the first time, which was wonderful. I hate seeing babies with all of those cords and things though. Brian took the kids to the zoo with his dad and then they came and visited me later in the afternoon. The Kirkwood's came at the same time. The kids had a little party on my bed and had fun looking at Ezra through the window. That evening I got switched to another room in the other wing to make room for more deliveries. Brian went home with the kids. I arranged for Gabby Pena and Alisa Pulham to watch Maybrie and Thomas the next day (Saturday) while Brian and his dad went up to South Bend for the BYU vs. Notre Dame football game. They had planned it for so long, I didn't want them to miss it. There wasn't anything they could do for me and Ezra anyway, and we were well taken care of at the hospital. Brian and his dad nearly froze to death, but still had fun despite BYU losing. I actually got really into the second half of the game in my hospital bed. I was worried someone was going to come in because I was yelling and cheering so loud!
I checked out Saturday night but they allowed me to room in one more night. Alisa was kind enough to come get me and take me to pick up my prescriptions and some snacks at Walgreens. I was so overwhelmed by all of the love that was shown to us by our dear friends here. The fact that I knew I could find someone to watch my kids last minute proves it. I will never forget how much love I felt the days following Ezra's birth. Brian took his dad and the kids to church and then came to get me after sacrament meeting. We visited Ezra in the nursery for a while before we picked up Keven and the kids and headed home. Labor and delivery really did go very smoothly and I had a wonderful hospital experience. The facility, staff, and food were all excellent. Best birth experience yet. However, the two weeks Ezra had to stay in the hospital after delivery were some of the hardest of my life. I loved the nurses who worked with him and am forever grateful for the care we received. I'm so grateful to have Ezra James Naylor as part of our family. I love him to pieces!