Thursday I had a headache all day, and I felt like someone had taken all the air out of my tires. Around 4 pm I got up (for pretty much the first time all day) to fold some laundry. Half a load in I felt really bad, so I took my blood pressure. It was 158/92. I laid down and took it again ten minutes later, and it was still high, so I called BJ, my dad, and the midwife's office. The midwife sent me to the hospital for monitoring.
It took us a while to get everyone together. We finally arrived at the hospital around 6 pm. I honestly thought I was being a big dork, and that they'd send me home and tell me to quit bugging them on Thursdays. They got us to the L&D floor and into a labor room, which was a little surprising, since we'd had the tour and we knew that they had monitoring rooms up there. I got gowned, they started the IV and did all the tests, and they put me on monitors and started taking my BP regularly. It stayed high, even though I was laying down and calm and not doing anything it was still in the 150s over 90s. I'll admit that I was a bit relieved that I wasn't just being a hypochondriac, at that point. My midwife came in and we all decided to induce.
At that point BJ and I called my mom and sister and told them to head down. My dad was still with the kids, and he didn't have to work that night, so that worked out nicely. We called his parents and told them what was going on. It was all very surreal. We couldn't quite believe that we were having a baby that night!
They started the Pitocin at 10 pm. If you have the choice between Pitocin and Cytotec, take the Pitocin. The baby did not come shooting out of me like a midget out of a cannon the way Claire did (when I was induced with Cytotec). Things were much more calm and controlled. I was in labor for about 3-1/2 hours, total. The first 2 hours were very easy and manageable. We laughed and talked and joked and made guesses as to when the baby would be born and what his measurements would be. Things started to get real around midnight or so. I kind of went "inside myself," which is the best I can do to describe what it's like to give birth. I kept my eyes shut and concentrated on BJ's voice. I said "ok" a lot. I told everyone that this was a bad idea and we should go home and try again tomorrow. At one point the midwife was wiping off my cheeks, and I said, "I forgot to take off my mascara. I'll bet I look like the guy from KISS," and I stuck out my tongue.
I only pushed for about ten minutes. I distinctly remember pushing, and feeling something emerge, experiencing a great deal of relief, and thinking it was over. Well, I must have just delivered his head at that point, because BJ said, "I can see the head!" and I thought, "WHAT? Where's the rest of him? I thought I was DONE!" It made me so mad that I pushed him the rest of the way out on the next contraction.
My sister said she almost missed the birth because it was so quiet, she didn't realize that it was happening right then. It was very much a calmer birth than my birth with Claire. The midwife stayed with us the entire time, which was really nice. She didn't check me unless I asked to be checked. I asked her if I should push, and she said to do what my body told me to do. Labor makes me shake like crazy (probably from the adrenaline) so I didn't get to try standing up, but I was kind of seated upright in the bed, and they lowered the bottom half of the bed so they could catch the baby. Being upright with my feet on the lower part of the bed below me, as opposed to being on my back with my knees held up, really helped.
Jack weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 20.25 inches long at birth. He's lost a bit of weight, of course. His face is all bruised from coming out so fast, but it's getting better. So far he has a little jaundice, but not much. We expected quite a bit with all the bruising. He's nursing like a champ.
I ended up having to stay in the hospital until today because my blood pressure wouldn't cooperate and come down, but we're home now. The girls are over the moon. I kind of hope the newness wears off a bit this week, because they're a little too enthusiastic - fighting over who gets to help me change dirty diapers and stuff. We're working on "safety tips" for how to take care of the baby. I got the idea from a book we have called "Officer Buckle and Gloria" - Officer Buckle gives safety tip speeches to schools, and Gloria is his police dog. The tips are things like, "Tip #52 - Never stand on a swivel chair!" So ours is "Safety Tip #1 - Never leave toys on the floor where someone could trip and drop baby." We hope that by including the kids in making the rules, and by making it fun, we'll make them more likely to be followed. We'll do some more Safety Tips tomorrow.
We had a little birthday party for Jack at home this afternoon, with cake and balloons. His sisters helped him blow out his little "0" candle. He slept through most of it.
My aunt Julie and her family stopped on their way home for a little while, too. We don't see them often, so that was really nice. They're coming back next week to celebrate Christmas with us, too.
Jack has slept all day, so he'll probably be up all night. I should definitely go rest while I can. I may be light on the text for the next few weeks, but I'll try to keep up with the pictures. Thanks so much for your well wishes on the previous posts, and all the awesome comments on Facebook! They mean so much to me.