I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he's here and was so early.
I fully expected to have him in three weeks, since Annabelle and Luke were both born two weeks early--- apparently Malcolm had other plans. This past week, I spent the time getting ready for a Relief Society dinner that I helped plan. I figured once that was out of the way, I could start prepping for Malcolm. I was literally going to pack my bag for the hospital the very next day.
Usually for RS Meetings, Greg stays home with the kids, but this time, he was planning to be one of the Child-care supervisors, which meant I came ahead of him and the kids to the meeting--- instead of him playing single Dad at home. Since it was a dinner and presentation, I had lots of other things in the car, as well. So, I got to the church at 545 and started unpacking the car. There was a fair amount this time, but I was being really good and not helping with heavy stuff or doing too much. I even sat down to rest a few times while we were setting the tables.
A little after six rolls around and I wanted to double-check the child-care just before Greg showed up. The other gentleman was there and I wanted to see if the bag I brought with movies, crafts, and treats had made it into the right room. As I was leaving the room, I felt the same 'pop' that I've felt twice before and knew then and there what had happen. Luckily, I happened to be just outside of the bathroom, so I beelined for it. My friend, Becca, saw me go into the bathroom and followed me. She asked me what was wrong and I told her: "my water just broke." Her response: "are you sure?" Yes, I'm pretty sure.
She went to grab another friend, Lori, while I sat there and tried to keep it together. Mentally, I was trying so hard to keep it together. I instantly had so many worries for Malcolm. I was only 35 weeks THAT day... was he going to be okay? I then had to call Greg to tell him the news.
G: Hey, did you forget something? We're on our way. (I usually forget to bring something to the church on those nights)
A: No... my water broke.
G: What?! Are you sure?! (what is it with people asking me that question)
A: Yes, I'm sure.
G: I guess we're having a baby. Everything is going to be okay.
A: I know.
G: You better give your folks a call. We'll be there in a minute.
Looking back, it was that conversation that was the first peaceful prompting from the Holy Ghost reminding me that everything, and everyone, would be okay. Lori came in and further talked me off of my mental breakdown ledge, so I could sound okay when I called my Mom. The conversation with her ended up pretty much the same as Greg's, except they would come to the church to pick up the kids after they met us at our house to give me a blessing--- because we had to go to the house to pack a bag. Being fourth-time parents-- and all--- we were super prepared. We said goodbye to the kids (surprise we're changing your lives a little earlier than planned) and got a lot of well-wishes from friends as we left (seriously helped me to stay calm).
About an hour after my water broke, Greg and my Dad gave me (and Mal) a blessing of strength and comfort. He blessed us to be strong, to endure what was ahead and promised that everyone would be fine in the end. We finally got to the hospital around 730 pm; the triage nurse was the nicest lady and pretty much told me they trust all of my instincts because this was my 'first rodeo'. She also told me that one of her kids was born at 35 weeks and was perfectly happy and healthy college student (I don't think it was a coincidence that she was my first nurse). At 745, we were admitted because my water was really broken and we were really going to have the baby; it was actually the same room that Luke was born in.
At 815, I had my first check and the nurse said I was a 1 and it felt like Mal was breach. Now-a-days, breach equals c-section--- so the good feelings I had worked so hard to build up for the last two hours instantly went away. Not because I didn't think either of us would have been in danger; it was the fear of the unknown. I had three babies before this one, so I thought I had a fairly good grasp at what to expect during labor--- I just figured this one would go a little faster. Since, they weren't sure, they ordered an ultrasound to double-check. When the on-call doctor came in to do the ultrasound at 845, it showed that Malcolm was NOT breach, just high and small, so he felt breach.
Since I wasn't breach, she ordered Pitocin. After Jared, I've tried to make sure I get my epidural first before Pitocin comes, but the other doctor was busy, so I got Pit first--- at 930--- on a very little dose. I progressed slowly (not surprised) until right before the epidural at 1045. The pain started to get bad, so once everything was set up, it felt as though it didn't work on one side--- impatient Amber didn't give it enough time TO work--- so I pressed the button at 1115.
With the pitocin going and the epidural in, we were in a holding pattern. So, we tried to rest as much as we could. At 1215, the nurse came to rotate and check me and I was only at a 4. I was actually pretty shocked that I wasn't further--- because my previous birth patterns showed me that I would labor faster with this one. Well, sometime in the next hour, I went from a 4 to a 10--- however, I didn't realize it because I pushed the button and was completely numb. So, when the nurse went to check me at 120, I was complete (and probably was for a while) and Mal was crowning.
So--- what happened next? The typical labor room panic induced by all-of-the-sudden ready-to-push Amber. Four for Four. At least I was right about that. A bunch of nurses, including NICU ones, came in to prep the room--- while my nurse tried to hold Mal in until they were ready.
At 138 everyone was ready, and I half-way pushed Malcolm Aaron out into the land of the air breathers. When he came out, they only kept him on my chest for a few seconds and took him away to make sure everything was okay. And, as my blessing said earlier, everything was okay. He passed all of his newborn screening, was breathing on his own, and because he was just at 5 lbs, he didn't have to go to the NICU.
This whole hospital stay has been a little surreal. He's so early, but they haven't been treating him like a preemie. Right now, he's doing a carseat study and if he passes that, we can go home today.
At some point during the whole ordeal, Greg turned to me and said, "he just wanted to be like his siblings and have a 1 and 0 on his birthday--- plus he wanted to be an airbreather for Christmas".
Merry early Christmas to us... and our family of six.