He's here, we're home, and I'm a wee bit tired.
By Monday's midwife appointment I had progressed to 4 cm dilated (with no 'real' contractions, and no braxton-hicks contractions either, just a couple crampy moments). She had reviewed my ultrasound and let me know that my fluid levels were a bit beyond fine, they were about twice as much as is 'normal' for that late stage of pregnancy. Add to that the fact that baby's head was very high and not at all engaged, and we had the makings of a slightly concerned midwife, the risk being that if my water were to break there was a definite cord prolapse possibility, being so 'open' and all... so we discussed inducing.
My options were Tuesday or Thursday, and my husband's work schedule made Tuesday the day (he has a crazy early and long day on Saturday this week, and that wouldn't give me much recovery time if I had a Thursday baby.) That was probably a good thing, because when I went in Tuesday morning I had progressed to 5 cm (again with no noticeable contracting) and baby's head was still high and bobbing around, refusing to engage. In went the pitocin, and I went to lounging around in a rocking chair, waiting for something to happen. It took about an hour to start contracting, mildly and infrequently; another hour until the contractions were a bit firmer; another hour until I started to grimace and said, um, that one was worse than the last one, um that one lasted longer, and there's not so much down time in between anymore. I was at 6 cm.
The midwife mentioned that if I was gonna want to have the ITN that 'now would be a good time' because it could get fast and furious pretty soon. I had already decided that would be my painkiller route, if I felt I needed to have something, and I had expected to want something as I have never made it naturally with pitocin coursing through my veins. He was paged, I had my shot, crawled into bed, and groaned through the next couple contractions while waiting for meds to kick in.
The next contraction brought a marked decrease in baby's heart rate, after which the midwife said 'let's check you again to see where things are at'- she was checking to see if there was cord in front of baby's head. No cord in the way, but I was already at a 9! She had me push a bit to see if we could bring baby's head down some. She let me know that she thought baby was wrapped in the cord a bit and said she would have me push a bit more consistently to try to bring baby out quickly- he'll be okay, try not to worry. (She doesn't know my neurotic family history...)
I was a bit nervous, but was reassured after every contraction by listening to baby's heart rate bounce back- one good thing about the continuous monitoring of inductions. So there I was at 9 cm, I pushed a little to engage the head (and bring me to 10 cm)and then she asked "ready to have a baby?". I shrugged, "Sure, I guess so", she ruptured the membranes and then baby, uterus, and I pushed a handful of times and he was here, all 8 lbs 14 oz of him. I thought for sure he'd be over 9 lbs...
In retrospect, I probably could have made it without painkillers, had I known I only had about 30 or 40 minutes to go... but all in all, it ended up being a beautifully calm and easy birth, even with the pitocin. No crazy bleeding, no tearing, not a stitch needed. The only recovery issue I have is a great need for sleep, sleep, and more sleep, which is okay because that gives me lots of close cuddling time.
Knitting has slowed down, but not for too long, I'm sure. Thanks to everyone for the sweet well wishes, your thoughts and prayers are truly appreciated. I'll update more soon, but for now I've got some more cuddling to do.