The morning of July 4th, 2013 I woke up around 5:45 having real labor contractions but they wouldn't regulate or stay constant. I timed them all morning before deciding they were probably just going to fizzle and went about my day. We fed the kids lunch, put them down for naps and I took a nap myself. When I woke up, the contractions were back and a little more consistent but still not in any sort of pattern. We watched some TV together as a family before getting ready to go to my parents' BBQ. We packed all our bags in the car just in case. Once we got to my parents' house, we did a little more walking and the contractions were sticking around. After a couple of hours, the contractions were about 7-8 minutes apart. We ate dinner and I sent Jason outside with the kids to do some fireworks since I figured we would be going to the hospital later. Minutes after sending them outside to play, my contractions went to about 3-4 minutes apart. Since we had an hour drive to the hospital, we had to leave as soon as possible. We unpacked the kids' stuff and headed to the hospital.
We finally made it to the hospital and my contractions were still about three minutes apart. We got admitted and I was hooked up to the monitors which meant I had to stay in bed. I was 6cm dilated, 90% effaced and it was about 10:00 pm. I asked the nurse if I could get in the birth tub which she had to get orders for. I worked through the contractions which were miserable when I couldn't get out of the bed. 20 minutes went by before she got the orders approved for me to get in the tub. By that time, I had no desire for the tub. I was focusing on getting through the contractions one at a time. The nurse was busy getting the room ready when I told her I needed to push. She had to check me again and I was complete. I said out loud "I KNOW! That's why I'm going to push NOW!" She called the on call doctor to let him know I was ready to push. I did a practice push which made the baby crown and she called the doctor back again and told him to hurry but I couldn't wait. I pushed on the next contraction and his head was out. The nurse got on her phone AGAIN and called for "back up". Jason sprung right into action and helped me deliver the baby while the nurse fumbled with her phone and tried to get gloves on. I felt the next contraction start, waited for the urge to push and he was born. Henrik Alexander was born at 11:39pm on July 4th. He weighed 7lbs 15oz and is 21 1/4" long. His birth was a beautiful, unmedicated birth and Jason got to deliver the baby like we had hoped he would.
The resident, OB, and three different nurses all confirmed that our son's palate was intact! I was in complete shock and so thankful. He latched on and started breastfeeding right away - he was a better breastfeeder than my other two, non-cleft babies were. I was exhausted but just kept looking at him in amazement - he really was perfect. His lip was absolutely beautiful! I looked at his face and felt as if I had known him my whole life - this was my Henrik : ) I immediately started dreading the day when he would no longer have his sweet lip. We finally got settled into our recovery room around 2:30 am. I let the nursery take Henrik for a bit so I could get some sleep because I was absolutely exhausted. It was so hard for me to fall asleep because I just kept thinking about my sweet little boy. I finally drifted off around 3 and woke up around 5:30 unable to sleep so I called the nursery and had them bring my little boy in. He kept me company while my husband slept. I felt ready to sleep again around 7 before being woken up by the pediatrician at 8. He was seen by just about every member of our cleft team between 8 and noon and also had his pictures taken and his hearing tested - it was a busy morning!
I was so happy when my parents came in with our two oldest. My two year old daughter ran over for big hugs. My four year old was a bit more hesitant but so happy to finally meet his little brother. Our oldest immediately asked about his brother's lip. We had tried to prepare him to see the cleft but seeing pictures is different than seeing it in person. We just re-explained that his lip didn't grow together but that the doctor would repair it in a few months. That seemed to answer his curiosity and he went on with his day, snuggling his little brother.