OK, here it is...the labor story in full, for those who are interested! It was a long ordeal, so I may have forgotten some of the details--but I don't want to wait to do this any longer or else I'll forget even more!
It all started early Thursday morning, around 3:30 a.m., about the time the last false labor had happened. The contractions were enough to wake me up, but I didn't even bother to start timing them. Been there, done that, to no avail! By the time I was awake for my quiet time, Ted had already decided he would stay home based on what was going on, just in case. (Really, he was happy for an excuse to miss work, ha!) The day progressed in a similar fashion to our last labor "scare" on March 16--I'd try to rest, contractions would intensify while I was lying down, then things would slow down for a bit, then start up again. Over and over, all throughout the day, but this time the contractions seemed to be much more noticeable than the previous sessions, so I was hopeful that we were finally getting somewhere.
By dinnertime they were indeed coming quite regularly, about 4-7 minutes apart, and were definitely getting more painful. We prepped the kids for a night at our neighbors' house, our brave neighbors Carmen and Joe, who were willing to keep all 4 kiddos (even Kenna!!) overnight. I do believe the kids were more excited about getting to spend the night with friends than they were about the fact that their baby brother was trying to make an appearance! (Of course, for all they knew, we'd be right back from the hospital with another false alarm!)
We left for base around 7:30 p.m. and got re-routed when we realized they had shut down the 215. As we parked and were walking inside the hospital, I suddenly realized just how long I had been awake dealing with these contractions...and I made the decision then that I would most likely get an epidural, because I was just so exhausted already, I didn't think I'd be able to make it through a natural childbirth, particularly if it was going to be prolonged. As it turned out, I was very thankful that I made that decision early!
I was 4 cm when we got in, and an hour later I was at 7. At that point I asked for an epidural--the pain was much more intense than I remembered with Kenna (my one and only natural childbirth), and I was just so tired. Ted, bless his heart, kept falling asleep in the chair next to my bed--I didn't wake him because I figured at least one of us was resting!! Getting the epidural wasn't fun; I had the shakes like crazy, and thankfully Ted was awake during that process to support me. I found much relief after it was in place and was actually able to relax and rest for a bit. It took about an hour longer to get to 8 cm.
I THINK that at that point is when the doctor broke my water. (I've never had my water break before labor--the first three times the doc broke it, and with Kenna it broke during my first push.) The next hour was spent waiting (with Ted sleeping) and feeling generally tired and uncomfortable (never a fun feeling with the liquid seeping out of your body). I was just starting to doze off when I suddenly felt the urge to push. This was approximately 11:30 p.m. I paged the nurses' station to tell them, Ted awoke with a start, and immediately things started happening around us.
The team got in place, the doctor breezed in, and she announced, "Get ready--she's a multiple--she'll sneeze and this baby will come flying out." I was all set for a quick delivery, figuring Lucan's birthday would be March 26. I started pushing when everyone was ready (somewhat difficult, since I was having trouble feeling any sensation, ha!)...but after a few pushes it was evident that something wasn't quite right. After getting nowhere, the doctor checked and found out that Lucan was face up. I guess the decision at that point was to wait and see if he would flip on his own (this is one of those parts I don't really remember), because everyone left except for one of the nurses and Ted. For a looooong time the three of us worked, me pushing during contractions and trying to vary positions to see if we could get anywhere. The nurse was very kind and encouraging, but really, it didn't seem as if anything was changing. At some point during this process the anesthesiologist had to come back, because I started feeling everything on my left side again, and it was HURTING!! My right side stayed totally numb (dead leg) throughout the whole ordeal.
Finally the doctor came in and asked if it would be OK for her to try to turn him manually. She jacked up the pain meds (she is definitely a pro-pain-medication person!!) to the point that I was totally relaxed, and then she made the attempt. She succeeded in getting him turned sideways, but he promptly turned himself back to the starting position. Sigh.
More pushing, and still nothing was happening, other than me getting more and more tired. Finally the doc asked if we would consider having her use the vacuum. Ted and I were very leery of this, but since it was quickly becoming apparent that we were running out of options, we decided to try it. By this point it was about 4:15 a.m. I asked Ted to call my parents (it was 6:15 their time) and ask them to pray--I just felt I needed some back-up! I was so exhausted, having been up for over 25 hours at this point, that I started to cry. The doc had said that if the vacuum didn't work, they were going to have to do a C-section. The thought of having to go through that after well over 4 hours of pushing was just too much. Of course I had been praying all through the night, but I began pleading with the Lord to let the whole ordeal end soon.
As more and more people came into the room, I was introduced to a new nurse, a male named Kirby. I couldn't help but laugh as I asked, "Isn't that the brand of a vacuum?!" I don't know if he was as amused as I was, but I needed a little laugh right about then! Two pushes later, and Lucan was born--why didn't anyone think of using the vacuum 4 hours earlier?!
For enduring such an ordeal, Lucan's Apgar scores were quite good--8 and 9. He was covered in blood and had a pubic-bone-shaped bruise on his head (poor li'l guy was slammed up against my bone how many times!). Ted was able to cut the cord and give Lucan his first bath while the doctor was stitching me up. I was content to lie quietly and watch my wonderful husband in his starring role as Daddy. Once we were both cleaned up, I got to hold Lucan and nurse him for the first time. He latched on like a champ, and we have had no feeding problems ever since (unlike the whole nursing strike Kenna went on when she was 4 days old!!).
So--thus arrived Lucan Thaniel, after many long hours of labor--but he's very much worth it!! With a nice head of dark hair, he resembles big brother Arden. After losing 13 ounces in the first 2 days, he is gaining weight again and doing quite well. He had a little bit of jaundice but not much, and his color looks great now.
As for me, it's been a week and I am still healing! I had a second-degree tear, which is what I think I had with Charis, but it's very jagged and so seems to be taking a lot longer to heal. I'm so thankful Ted has been on paternity leave, a nice change to Air Force policy. I truly don't know how we would have gotten through this week without him here. My mom comes in on Tuesday, which is perfect, since Ted has to go back to work next Wednesday. We're looking forward to having Grandma K here for 2 weeks.
And that, my dear friends, is the story! I'm off for a hot bath and then a nap! :-) Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support over the last few weeks as we geared up not once, not twice, but three times for Lucan's delivery!! I surely felt the prayers of everyone and am so thankful that God gave me the strength to deliver such a precious little bundle.