Our babies were coming closer together somehow… okay, not somehow, we know howobviously.  But the natural space between babies was shrinking.  Number 3 and Number 4 are our closest together, 19 months apart.  Now, I realize there are plenty of ya’ll out there that have babies much closer, like 10 months apart.  And knowing you gals were out there gave me courage that 19 months apart was doable.  Even a piece of cake compared to what you went through.  Right?  Add to that, the fact that while all our babies are wanted, desired and loved… Number 4 was planned more by God than by his parents. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* It’s also what happens when you put off your consultation for the ol “snip, snip”.  All I can say is, God really wanted us to have Number 4.  And let me tell you, I can’t imagine life without him. 

Since we’d had such a great experience withthe midwife who delivered Tiger, we didn’t hesitate to go to her for this next pregnancy and delivery.  I was the only one she had due during my time frame so we were a green light for a home birth again.  I loved being pregnant, again.  I was much more uncomfortable this time around.  I think my age and three previous pregnancies were major influences.  From about 24 weeks on, I had braxtonhicks almost constantly.  I’d always gotten them early and often with the others but this time it was significantly magnified.  Every time I sat down, the weight of my belly resting on my legs would cause braxton hicks.  I had delightful acid reflux from 20 weeks on.  I think the living room recliner has permanent preggo fanny indentations in the seat.  My Relaxin(hormone that causes a pregnant woman’s ligaments to loosen and stretch) kicked in real early again and I waddled like I was part mallard.  I just couldn’t help it.  I had no control over my pelvis area what so ever. It was irritating.  But how much can you complain when you are getting the chance to have the baby you’d resigned yourself to not ever having?!  You can’t basically.  

We went in for an ultrasound (at the mall store again, you can’t beat the price!  Especially when you just want one for gender reasons) at 20 weeks.  I held my breath in anticipation.  Poppett wanted a sister so badly.  And I wanted to come through for her in the worst way.  But alas, we couldn’t see.  Baby decided not to cooperate.  So we had to wait 4 more excruciatingly long weeks before going back in (for free by the way.  Did I mention the fact that you can’t beat the price?! Yep, it’s true).  I can vividly remember Poppett’sface when we came home to tell her she was having another brother.  Her cousins were visiting at the time and they were all splashing around in the kiddie pool.  She froze and her face fell immediately after hearing the news.  She looked down into the water for a moment.  I think she must have been collecting herself because when she looked up, she had a smile back on her face and she resumed the splashing war withher cousins.  I believe she realized it didn’t really matter.  A baby was a baby and she was happy with that.  

A month before my due date, Hubby and I ran off to Vegas for the weekend.  It was our 10thwedding anniversary.  We originally had grand plans for this celebration but given the circumstances that presented themselves, we had to postpone.  And Vegas was great.  I got to lay out and relax by the pool(I was the only beached whale there.  I was a sight to see.  But I didn’t even care.  Well, maybe a little.  But it wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying my moments of peace and quiet by the pool.  Let those skinny little twigs gawk and stare.  They were getting a good taste of what it takes to be a real woman. lol), eat scrumptious food that I didn’t have to prepare or clean up.  It was great.

We knew that this baby would be late.  Just like all the others.  But the slight problem was our midwife had plans to leave town a week after my due date.  She had a back up midwife who would take her place (I was the last one she was waiting to deliver – again!) but I didn’t want a back up.  I wanted my midwife.  So when fabulous SIL, Lyd, came into town for the birth, we had her come just a few days after my due date instead of the usual week or so.  I planned on getting this baby out before my midwife left town.  Even if I had to reach up and yank him out myself!  I also had caught a horrible summer cold and was sooo miserable because of it.  And I was H.U.G.E.  Seriously.  Here see for yourself… keep in mind I still had two more weeks to go at the time these pics were taken.

Now brace yourselves.  I’m going to add a bare-belly picture.  I wasn’t going to but without it, you just don’t get the full grasp of how ginormous I really was.  Besides, after posting fake preggopics of my friends, I figured I owe it to them since I didn’t have any ones of myself to add.   Okay, deep breath…

Please pardon my worn-out, haggard look.  It comes from sleeping in a reclining position for three months and then coming down with a nasty cold.  Oh, and chasing three other munchkins around.

Back to this birth though…

Lyd and I went through the usual rig-a-mo-roo.  Striped membranes (two different times if I remember correctly), herbs, walking, pressure point massages, midnight rendezvouswith Hubby and even a saline laxative.  I was hoping that the laxative would get my innards a little riled up to irritate my uterus into labor.  Well, it was waaayyyto gentle.  It cleaned me out but wasn’t irritating at all.  No labor.  Nothing was working.  I realized I had only one option left if I hoped of delivering with my midwife…

Castor Oil

(dun-dun-duuuunnnnn!)

Both my sister and Lydhad personal experiences with Castor oil and they weren’t encouraging stories let me tell you.  However, it waseffective for them.  So I informed my midwife that if she didn’t hear from me before hand, I would be taking Castor oil on the 30th, one week after my due date and a full four days earlier than any of my babies had ever come.  It was a Saturday and my midwife was leaving the following Monday.  Saturday morning dawned and surprise, surprise, baby hadn’t popped out overnight.  So I started the mental preparation for the Castor oil. 

Since my last labor was only 2 1/2 hours, we planned for me to take the Castor oil in the evening, after the kids were in bed.  That way, we wouldn’t have to call anyone to come watch them or take them out of the house while I labored.  They could just sleep away.  If any of them got up for some reason, either Hubby or Lyd could tend to them and get them back to bed while the other adult stayed with me.

My midwife had a recipe for a Castor oil concoction that involved vanilla ice cream.  But being the brilliant person that I am, I decided to take it with root beer instead.  I knew whatever I took it with would be dead to me for years.  I didn’t want to ruin my relationship with ice cream!  Who was crazy enough to do that?  Well, as soon as I started taking the Castor oil, I realized why ice cream would have worked. 

Castor oil is sludge.  It doesn’t have a strong smell.  It doesn’t even have much of a taste.  It’s just got a horrible, horrible consistency of sludge.  I realized, too late of course, that the ice cream would have disguised the the sludginess.  Probably not completely but much more than the root beer did.  But I was committed at that point to the root beer. 

4oz.  That’s how much I had to get down.  I tried to take half of it and then see how it worked and then take the second half later if I needed it.  But my midwife called right as I finished the first half and when I informed her of my brilliant plan (reader, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed.) she very sternly told me I’d better get the rest of that Castor oil in me pronto or it would all be for naught.  So, I hung up with her and glumly went back to stand in front of the kitchen sink with my root beer and remaining castor oil.  Lyd, being the super supportive sister that she is, stood by me and laughed hysterically through all my gagging and dry heaving.  She also “helped” force it down my throat everytimeI started to chicken out of my next chug.  Honestly.  She was so gleeful because she wasn’t the one doing the chugging.  She’d been there before and was happy to just observe this time.  And she was my stern voice of reason when I wanted to stop because she knew how badly I wanted to have this baby with my midwife present.  So she kept prodding and ordering until I finally finished.  I think I took twice as long as I was supposed to to finish it all but it was the best I could do.

It took about 30 minutes for the Castoroil to work.  And then I couldn’t leave the toilet.  It is violent stuff folks.  And I’ll leave it at that.  After about 30 -45 minutes of bonding with the toilet, my intestines calmed down enough to where I could retreat to my bed in between intestinal cramps.  Lyd had already completed the birth preparations, making up the bed, getting the crock pot going with warm water to be used for compresses during pushing, getting all the towels out and plugging in the receiving blankets (my midwife has you place eight receiving blankets in a unused plastic trash bag with a heating pad placed in the middle of the stack and the cord hanging out.  Then when labor starts up, you just plug in the cord and the blankets get nice and toasty for the baby).

At 10:30pm I felt a strong Braxton Hicks.  Lyd was sitting on the bed watching tv with me and I let her know that I’d had a B/H.  She just looked at me like I was totally crazy.  She told me it was a contraction.  I told her she was wrong.  She said she was never wrong.  I told her there was always a first.  She reminded me of my last labor that started in total denial and ended 2 1/2 hours later with almost a 10 pound baby.  I ordered her to go whip me up a batch of cookies. Okay not really.  But only because I was still running to bathroom every 20 minutes or so because of the Castor oil.  Pure nastiness, that stuff.  So I didn’t fancy putting anything else in my stomach at that moment.

So when I started getting “cold” and “shivery” 2 minutes after my supposed Braxton Hicks, Lyd and Hubby started diving for the phone to call the midwife.  She was a good 30 minutes away and there was no way either of them wanted the responsibility of delivering this baby.  Praise the Lord, she had already gotten her car loaded up and was on her way to pick up her assistant!  Did she know me or what?! 

In those few minutes it took them to make that phone call, I was suddenly in full-blown labor.  THIS, my friends, is the draw back to fast labors.  There is no warm up.  No time for mental preparation for the road that lies ahead.  It’s like your body is flying down the train tracks while you are still at the station, waving for it to stop so you can catch up. 

I was stuck on the toilet – of course.  And where as during Poppett’s labor, the toilet was such a comfy spot, this time it was very uncomfortable.  I had to stretch my body out at an angle so that the back of my head was laying on the tank and my fanny was just barely perched on the lip of seat.  And everything in between was straight as a board with my hands white-knuckling the sides.  I couldn’t wait for the intestinal cramps to stop so I could crawl back to my bed.  I did manage to rest in bed a few minutes before having to visit the bathroom again.  And during that visit was when the midwife and assistant (she was the one who had done all my prenatal visits for both of my pregnancies so I was VERY happy to have her there for this birth) arrived.  I hung out in the bathroom while they brought in all their stuff and finally emerged by the time everything was settled down again.  Once I’d drug myself back into bed (with the help of three other sets of hands.  Good gracious is labor ever humbling!), my midwife checked me.

I was a 9!  I was breaking my previous record as we suspected I might.  This was only about 50 minutes from very first “Braxton Hicks”/contraction!  My midwife said she’d been praying on the way over that I’d be a 9.  I think she was eager to get the show on the road and get going to see her grandkids.  Can’t blame her a bit.

Thankfully, my intestines seemed to have finally settled and I was able to stay in bed the remainder of my labor.  After 20 minutes or so, my midwife checked me again and I was a 10 with a bulging bag.  She asked if I wanted her to break it and I gave her the green light.  I just wanted to be done.  My mind was still freaking out, it wasn’t ready to push yet, but my body was exhausted from my cold and the ravaging Castor oil.  As my midwife proceeded to break my bag of waters, it popped on it’s own as soon as her finger touched it.  No crochet hook necessary.  Water was clear and baby’s heart rate was good.  Phew!

Of course I had the urge to push as soon as the water left my body.  And my ol pal Mr. Ring o’ Fire took up residence in my crotch.  I know I’ve mentioned this before but I really hate Mr. Ring o’ Fire.  He can never leave quick enough.  I will say though, the warm compresses (courtesy of the crock pot) were heavenly during his brief visit-that-felt-like-eternity.  They were very soothing and I immediately felt myself relax more every time she applied a fresh one.  I highly  recommend them.

Two pushes.  That’s all it took.  This boy was eager to arrive!  I usually have to push a few hundredtimes but not this time.  And what a relief that was.  I remember Lyd’s first words were, “his cord wasn’t around his neck! No cord this time!”  What a relief that was.  My boys have a habit of trying to strangle themselves in utero. 

He was born at 11:58pm, just 1 1/2 hours after the first twinge.  Lil Blue didn’t want to cry.  Poor little man went through a LOT of stimulation, just trying to convince him to not only take a breath, but to continue breathing too.  But finally he caught on.  He weighed in at 9lbs 12 ounces and was 21 inches long.  He was one ounce lighter than Tiger had been at birth but Lil Blue was four days earlier.  He would have been over 10 pounds and my biggest for sure had he been allowed the same amount of “cooking” time.

This was my only birth that I truly felt exhausted afterwards.  All I wanted to do was curl up with my baby and go to sleep.  I couldn’t even keep my eyes open long enough to soak him all in.  And I sound like death warmed over on our birth video.  Really.  Catchy, cracking voice and everything.  Poor baby probably was wondering where his mom was because I certainly didn’t sound anything like my normal self.

Poppett woke up right after Lil Blue was born and so Hubby brought her in as soon as things were cleaned up a bit.  We hadn’t even weighed him or showered me yet.  She got her first peek at her newest baby brother:

Lil Blue settled in quickly as our newest member of the family.  It’s amazing to try to imagine our family without him.  He’s the perfect addition, Hubby’s personality and my great looks… just kidding!  He IS a ham though.  Goodness gracious, isn’t there a limit to how many comedians are allowed in one family? 

Monkey and Lil Blue

 

 Tiger checkin him out

Who needs a sister anyway?!

 Lil Raccoon

My all time favorite picture of Lil Blue

 

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