In order to put A's birth story in perspective, I think I must start with the birth stories of his big brothers. That way you can see the ornery and contrary nature that my boys seem to have from day one...
Almost 6 years ago, towards the end of my pregnancy with C, my OB became concerned that I was measuring too large. A couple of ultrasounds indicated that C looked like he would be 9 1/2 pounds if I made it to 40 weeks. This was plausible because Hubby was over 9lbs when he was born, and big babies seem to run in his side of the family. As the pregnancy progressed, I did not. There were no signs of impending labor, despite the many Braxton Hicks I was having. No dilation, no effacement, and C was still floating high in my belly. As my due date came, my OB recommended a cesarean section to deliver C. As he put it, "I am concerned that there is a reason that he is not dropping down, and I don't want to induce you and try to force him out if he is too big. Because then you two, of all people, will be the ones who end up with a shoulder dystocia." While I wasn't thrilled about the idea of a C section, I wasn't thrilled about trying to force out a humongous, unwilling baby either, so Hubby and I agreed to this plan, and prepared for a C section that Friday morning.
I was a bundle of nerves Thursday night, anxious and excited about finally meeting my baby, but eventually fell asleep. Only to be awoken at 1AM when my water broke. "What?! This isn't what was supposed to happen!!" I thought and immediately started panicking! On the drive into the hospital, I started having real contractions, and when I got to the hospital I had finally started to dilate and was now 2-3cm. My OB said "I'm so glad this happened, because I really didn't want to have to do an elective C section on you. Your OR time isn't until 10AM, so let's see how your labor progresses. If it's not going anywhere, then we can still do the C section then, but hopefully we can avoid it!" And by 10AM, I was 7cm, so the new plan was to try a vaginal delivery. C was born at 1:11pm, only 12 hours after my water had broken. It turned out he was only 8lbs 9oz, and he could fit through my pelvis! Even though I had an uncomfortable recovery, after an episiotomy, 3rd degree tear, postpartum hemorrhage, and a brief fainting episode, I was so happy to have avoided a C section!
From then on, we all joked about how what a stubborn baby C had been. It was as if he had been biding his time until he was about to be evicted, and then said "Oh, you think you're going to come and take me out?? Fine. I'll show you! We're doing things my way!"
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2 years later, when I was pregnant with O, I had gestational diabetes, so I had weekly ultrasounds and growth scans. O was also measuring large, but this time around no one was really that concerned about it since I had previously birthed a large baby. But two weeks before my due date, O seemed to be a little sluggish on the ultrasound. I mentioned to the perinatologist that he'd seemed to have somewhat decreased movements in the last couple days, still moving, but not as vigorously as previously. The perinatologist was very alarmed and recommended that my OB deliver me immediately since I was already 38 weeks. My OB was much less concerned, and just recommended sending me the hospital for monitoring, which O passed with flying colors. But after a few days of anxious kick counting, and another appointment with the perinatologist who asked "Why hasn't your OB delivered you yet???" and reiterated the increased risks of stillbirth with gestational diabetes, Hubby and I met with my OB for my 39 week appt. Hubby told my OB, "You've got to do something. This perinatologist is making us feel like every day that the baby isn't delivered is a mistake, and it's making us nervous wrecks." Since this time around, I was favorable for induction, having been dilated to 3 cm for 3 weeks already, my OB agreed to induce me that Friday if I hadn't already delivered. I was worried about being induced, because I wanted things to happen naturally, but I was more worried that something would go wrong if I didn't deliver soon. Hubby kept joking, "Don't worry! I'm sure you'll go into labor right before you're supposed to be induced. Because that's what you do. Our kids just need an eviction date before they'll make a move." I just rolled my eyes at him, and prepared for an induction at the end of the week.
That Thursday night I was too nervous to sleep well and tossed and turned most of the night. At 3AM I felt a pop and jumped out of bed, just before my water broke all over the floor. "You've got to be kidding me!!!" I thought. "Is this really happening again?!?!" I called the on-call OB and let him know what had happened. I wasn't really contracting at that point, so I asked him if I should just come in and meet my regular OB at 6AM (the previously planned induction time). But since it was my second baby, the on-call OB recommended that I come to the hospital just in case my labor progressed quickly. "No rush, but come on in in the next hour or so" he said. So after taking a shower, getting things together, and waking up Gramma to watch C, we headed off to the hospital, arriving about an hour and a half later. Again, I started contracting on the drive over, and by the time we got to the hospital, I was starting to feel quite uncomfortable. By the time I got through registration and got settled in a labor room about 45 minutes later, I was very anxious. "Something's not right!" I kept telling Hubby. "I'm so uncomfortable and I feel so much pressure!" Hubby, in a misguided attempt to be helpful, said "It can't be that bad..." and pointed to the monitor. "Look! You're not even contracting at all!" If I could have stopped clutching the side of the bed for dear life, I would have punched him in the face. "No, this is so much worse than when I had C! Something is wrong!" I insisted, so Hubby called for the nurse to ask for an epidural. But at that point, the on-call OB arrived, examined me, and announced that there was no time for an epidural, because I was ready to have the baby right now. "WHAT?!?" I thought. "This wasn't the plan!!!" but at that point I no longer cared. I pushed through just one contraction and O was born at 5:55AM with no medications and no tearing. At 6AM my regular OB strolled into the room, saw me holding my baby, and said, "Why didn't you call me?!?" "I figured I'd still be in labor at 6AM, so I thought you might as well get some sleep." I said. "Who knew the whole thing would take less than 3 hours from start to finish?!" We all had a good laugh about that, and again joked about how my babies were so ornery and always overturned our best laid plans for their own better ones.
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But seriously, only about 1 in 10 women have their water break as the first sign of labor, so what were the odds of that happening twice? And for it to happen the night before our scheduled delivery both times?!? It couldn't be just coincidence, could it? Through my whole pregnancy with A, I wondered...would it happen again?