Now it's time for the fourth and most fantastic labor story of all. Here goes:
When Eamon was 5 months old and being troublesome as could be, we were shocked to discover that baby number four was on its way. How could this be, we wondered, we have a 5 month old people!!! Obviously God had other plans in mind, and we were meant to have this baby right here, right now (well, actually not for 9 months, and at the hospital, but I digress.)
After the initial shock wore off, and the ever-present nausea, we began to plan how we would like this birth to occur. After the epidural scare we had with Eamon, and the not-so-present doctor, we really felt better going with a highly recommended midwife in our area. So we began to see Louise, and we found out that she didn't believe in using epidurals during labor...I had no choice but to go drug-free on this one. I must admit, I was very, very nervous about the upcoming doomsday, oh, I mean labor day. But, we began reading about the husband-coached style of labor (the Bradley Method) and started to get prepared.
We began to think this one would be our 4th boy. I was convinced it was going to be a boy because I felt the same, and I looked the same as I had with the preceding three. However, we decided to once again find out what this baby was, but not tell anyone. So off we went to the ultrasound and I kept repeating in my head "It's a boy, it's a boy" so that I wouldn't be disappointed to hear the ultrasound tech say it was a boy. But she said, "It's a female!" and the tears started streaming down my face. This is why we got pregnant so fast and unexpectedly, because I was meant to have a girl!!! Not just any girl, but this particular girl. Oh, the excitement was too much to contain, and I ran to my sister Maura's house to tell her the news and then straight to my mum's house. We had a double whammy to tell my mum, first that I was having a girly girl, and secondly that she would be named Maggie after her! The tears started flowing again, and we were all so happy!
A few weeks later, I failed my gestational diabetes test and had to go to the hospital to take the 4 hour long test to confirm or deny the first results. I had gone through this while pregnant with Andrew and it had come out negative, but this time I felt different. I was very tired with this pregnancy and I was always thirsty, it was an insatiable thirst that was driving me crazy. The results came in and the midwife told me that I was borderline diabetic. Which was good news because I wouldn't have to test my blood sugar and take insulin, but bad news because I had to cut sweets from my diet and increase the exercise. I was able to control the diabetes that way, thankfully!
So one night, about 5 days before I was due, my sister Maura offered to take the kids so Phil and I could go on a date before Maggie arrived. We ain't no fools, and took her up on that offer as fast as possible. We went out to dinner and then came home and I started feeling a little sick around 11pm, so I went to bed. I woke up at 1 am and felt contractions starting. I went to the bathroom, and tried to time them for a while, but they were coming fast and strong, so I woke Phil up at 1:30 and told him that I thought I was starting labor. Now, my last 3 labors were very long (36 hours, 30 hours, and 24 hours in that order) and these contractions got very intense very quickly so I thought something wasn't right. I decided to jump in the bath to try and relax and Phil called the midwife to say I was starting labor. Of course she wanted to talk to me, but I was mid-contraction and yelling at Phil that I didn't want to talk to her. When I finally got on the phone, she was like "Honey, are they really that bad?" And I, never wanting to sound like a baby when it comes to pain said, "I don't know if I'm even in labor". Ahh, in the craziness of labor pains, I wasn't even making sense. Of course it was labor, what else would it be? So she said for us to come into the hospital right away and she would be there waiting for us. As I did for the other births, I had to take a shower and Phil had to get my brother who lives downstairs to come up and take the monitors of the sleeping kids. Now, my brother is an ER doctor, and he saw me having contractions and kept telling us to hurry up and get to the hospital because there was no way he was gonna deliver this baby. Yes, that would have been very akward for the both of us.
We finally jumped in Phil's car at just after 2 am only to realize there's no gas. (Which was actually my fault because I was the last one to drive his car, and it was at night, and I didn't feel like getting my 9-months-pregnant bum out of the car to pump gas). AAAAHHHHH, this is starting to feel like one of those crazy movie scenes were the woman has just started labor and she's already huffing and puffing like crazy, then the husband can't do anything right in getting her to the hospital. Yup, I guess those scenes are based on reality...my reality! So we pulled into a gas station and Phil jumps up only to see the sign says "No Gas" on the pump. We pull around to another pump and it's also out of gas. As a matter of fact, they're all empty. What the heck is going on? We pull into another station and he starts pumping gas as I'm doubled over in pain having contractions every couple minutes.
Once he's done getting enough gas to get us to the hospital, he starts running every red light we come across in order to get me there faster. In all our crazy rush out the door, I had remembered to bring a bowl in case I had to puke, since I usually puke on Phil at least once during each labor. Well, good thing I had the bowl in the car that night, you get the picture.
So about 2:30 am Phil pulls into the hospital like a crazy man, right where the ambulances are supposed to go, and I get out in the middle of a huge contraction and walk over to the wall to let it finish. Next thing I know, there's a bunch of nurses around me outside of the hospital, asking me if I'm Colleen, and making me sit in a wheelchair. Turns out my midwife let everyone know that I would be arriving in heavy labor. They start wheeling me up to the maternity wing, and I ask to walk there because there's no pain worse than having a contraction, unless you're trying to have a contraction while you're sitting down. They get me to the room, and Phil finds me just as the wonderful midwife tries to get a heartbeat on the baby. They have a lot of trouble finding one, and I can barely sit still, so she checks me and says I'm 7 cm. What?!?! I just felt my first contraction 1.5 hours ago, and I'm already 7 cm!! Phil later said that I told the midwife that I loved her (as if she had anything to do with how fast this labor was progressing) and then made my way over to the jacuzzi tub.
I labored in the tub for about 20 minutes and then told the nurse that I felt pressure and before I knew it, my body just pushed. It was like when you have to sneeze, and you can't control your body, it just comes out. The nurse frantically pushed the emergency button, and the midwife ran in, told me to push her the rest of the way out. Louise then reached under water to grab Maggie, unwrapped the cord from around her neck, and she took her first breath. I had to see her to really believe she was a girl, and she was so beautiful!!
So, all in all, the whole labor only took 2 hours from the time I felt the very first contraction to the time she was born. We were only in the hospital for 37 minutes before she came out. And I finally did it...I had a labor with no drugs, and it was the best one yet!! Maggie (Margaret Rosemary) was such a great nurser and slept lots of chunks during the night right from the start. Now at 4 months old, she is such a good baby, happy and content. And she is my perfect little daughter, my buddy who will always hold a special place in my heart.