On January 12, 2011, I got one of the biggest surprises of my life when I realized I was pregnant!! I mean, I had seriously just. thrown. away. my last few baby-hoodie-towels over the Christmas break, thinking that it was nuts that I still had them because Lauren and Tucker are so big, "and its not like we're going to have any more babies..." (cue evil laughter here)
Here is what I wrote in my journal that day (funny, haven't journaled at all since)
"I have not really ever truly believed that things happen for a reason. I am reconsidering...No way to tell the end result of how this will turn out, but currently I am sitting here with 2 positive pregnancy tests. This is a complete and total surprise. I am truly in shock. Will be buying a third, more expensive test on the way home. This is really surreal."
Well, ladies and gentlemen, here is the end result:
Merritt Ashcraft O'Neal, born Wednesday September 21, 2011 2:27 p.m. 9 pounds 12 ounces (!) 21 inches long
I had a pretty great pregnancy and a wonderful birth. Along the way we took Lauren and Tucker to Disney World and I spent the majority of the summer in the pool. I started to get pretty swollen and uncomfortable round about the beginning of September, but I was determined to go the distance with the pregnancy. I had so much going on what with work and Lauren & Tucker in school, that I needed the baby to stay in as long as possible.
I went to the doctor on September 19 (a Monday) after a pretty grouchy weekend, and since I was into my 39th week, I finally called it. We settled on Wednesday and I was pumped. That way, I was certain that my doctor would deliver, I didn't have to worry about the logistics of going in to labor (especially in the middle of the night) and what to do with L & T, my mom would assuredly be there with plenty of time, etc.
I woke up around 3:00 a.m. on the 21st and stayed in bed until Tucker came in around 3:30. After getting in some last minute email checking and facebooking (before the crappy changes), I got to work. Made sure to blow my hair out really nice, and put on my favorite maternity dress. Kissed the kids good-bye and drove myself to the hospital!! (Andy had to take the kids to school) I left the house around 6:15 and it was fairly dark for my drive. I was probably funny to look at--a hugely pregnant woman wheeling her suitcase into Labor & Delivery all by herself. I presented myself to the nurses station and was taken to the room where I would meet my baby!!
My lovely, lovely nurse came in (I remembered her from when Lauren was born) and got things rolling. I had pitocin started and my water broken before mom or Andy got to the hospital. My dad also came a little later in the morning. I was having contractions, and they were getting stronger. At 10:00 we all had a discussion and I decided to proceed with getting the epidural. I think that was in place by 10:30. (For the record, I could have gone without it.:)) (Also for the record, so glad I got it!) Around 10:45, the doctor checked me and I was about 5 cm dilated. Got checked again around noon and was a '6.5 to 7.' My nurse went to lunch and when she checked me again around 1:15, she announced that there was no cervix and I was complete!! I was truly shocked. I think, because it took Tucker until 6:30 p.m. to be born, I was really expecting to be laboring all day. So, we started to push...
Fast forward an hour. And bless my sweet doctor's heart, he is such the champion of the soft sell. He starts talking about how the baby's head is having a difficult time getting under the bone (pubic? pelvic?) and that we may need to use the vacuum. It took me a few seconds to realize that we were talking about making this decision NOW, not in a while from now. So, I turned to mom and Andy and said, 'is anyone here opposed to having a baby now? Let's have a baby!' And then it all started happening sooooo fast. The suction worked like a charm, and true to what Dr. S said, as soon as she got under the bone, she was coming out!! It was amazing and to anyone who will ever birth a baby, I really really urge you to get the mirror. What an unbelievable experience. (side note here: I feel really blessed to have been very mentally present during this whole laboring experience. I was well rested, had an excellent epidural, and was able to really enjoy the whole thing)
Anywho...earlier in the morning, the doctor speculated that this baby would be as big as Tucker (8lbs, 6oz). When Merritt came out, he said 'I may have been wrong earlier...this may be a 10 pound baby!' And she damn near was!!
Merritt has been such a wonderful baby thus far. Lauren and Tucker are in love with her. Tucker has nicknamed her 'enchilada' and Lauren is constantly pronouncing that 'she is so cute when she ________.' (fill in the blank) I seem to be coming out of my post-partum fog a little quicker than with the first two.
And we thought we were done...who knew?!