Spoiler alert: Relax, this story has a happy ending; it just takes a few hiccups and 11 days to get all the way there. It also takes several paragraphs, since having a second kid has made me no less long-winded. I promise many pictures though!
Our family is complete. Peter Finn was the final piece. This is how he got here…
On Thursday, November 9th, 2017, I was three days past my due date. My Mum texted me that morning with orders to go get induced so that our two kids would be born on 9/11 and 11/9. I laughed and told her it was a nice thought but I suspected I would still be waiting a few more days. Oops, I was wrong!
Fast forward a few hours, Thea is at daycare, and Luke and I are at a scheduled OB appointment. They noticed Finn’s heart was skipping the occasional beat (like, one every 1-3 minutes). Apparently this is not particularly uncommon, and usually clears up once baby is born. Since I was overdue anyway, our doctor recommended immediate induction as the safest path forward. An unexpected twist, and rather overwhelming as the first blemish on an otherwise perfectly healthy pregnancy. So, after a brief cry (reminder: at nine months pregnant, even a slightly-above-average plate of nachos was enough to make me tear up), we obviously agreed that induction was the way to go.
They started by breaking my water at 2 pm and gave me four hours to see if labour would come on naturally. I was hella motivated to move things along because otherwise the next step would be oxytocin, which I’ve only heard of anecdotally as causing contractions to escalate way too fast with indescribable pain. Yes, the oxy scared the crap out of me. So I basically spent four hours walking laps around the ward to encourage things along. But, although contractions were getting fairly strong, I was still less than five centimetres dilated at the end of the four hours (10 centimetres is the goal).
The oxytocin was recommended. I begged for more time. They gave me until 8 pm, two more hours before oxytocin became necessary. Finn arrived at 7:40 pm. Boom.
(Side note: When I was in labour with Thea, my OB told me that if I didn’t deliver by 7 am, she would have to leave as she had an appointment that she couldn’t miss. Thea was born at 6:44 am. In summary – Give me a deadline and I will meet it.)
Finn arrived so fast (five minutes of pushing as compared to a full hour with Thea) that I was slightly shocked when they put him on my chest. I just remember thinking, “That’s it, that’s our two kids, I never have to do that again!”
Luke was a rock solid support during and after Finn’s delivery. With Thea, I laboured for 10 hours overnight, during which time Luke didn’t eat, drink, or sleep. So he was completely dehydrated and ill by the time she was born. In the lead-up to Finn’s due date, we made a deal that he would take better care of himself this time and, in exchange, I would go into labour mid-morning instead of mid-evening. You know, because that’s something I totally have control over. The decision to induce me was made at 11 am, and Luke was amazing, so I’m pretty sure that means we get to brag for the rest of our lives that we each held up our ends of the deal.
Anyway, back to the delivery room. Finn came out at 8 pounds 10 ounces, 19.5 inches long. Absolutely perfect and identical to his sister, whom he got to meet the next day (while we were at the hospital, she was busy having a blast with Uncle Mitchell and Auntie Andrea at home). This was her face when she saw him for the first time:
She’s an amazing big sister already, but this is Finn’s story, so more on that in another post.
Time to explain why a happy-ending spoiler alert was necessary. As expected, the skipping heart beat cleared up once my water was broken. However, to be on the safe side, the pediatrician ordered an electrocardiogram (ECG) a few hours after he was born. Non-invasive procedure that will presumably give us an all-clear rubber stamp before we go home? Sure! …Except, while there was no skipping beats found, the results suggested he might have a long QT, which can, in some cases, be fatal. Thanks, Google. Long QT is extremely unusual without family history and, as we weren’t aware of any history, we were allowed to bring Finn home and wait for a one-week follow-up ECG appointment.
Waiting sucks. Staring at your baby, thinking he looks perfect but there is a chance, however remote, that he has life-shortening diagnosis sucks. Watching your husband’s thought spirals and stress-induced Googling on the subject sucks.
But, hey, a happy ending was promised: On Friday, we had the follow-up ECG. We had to wait until Monday to get the results (weekends also suck sometimes). Those results were, and I quote. “QT has normalized.” Our son, and his heart, are perfect.
Aside from that worrying cloud, the first week and a half has been exceptional. The confidence that comes with Baby #2 is lovely, it’s meant less crying (for him and me), and more peaceful snuggles (like right now, as I write this whole post with a baby on my chest and laptop on my lap). Everyone at the hospital involved with my delivery were amazing, and special shout out to my mother-in-law for being my second support person during labour. She’s awesome.
The only other thing some of you might be wondering is why, since we’ve chatted numerous times in the past week and a half, didn’t I mention his heart until now. Please forgive me, there are a couple answers to that. First, I don’t like questions to which I don’t have answers, and there were far more questions than answers available for the first 11 days of his life. Second, I’m an optimist, and I sincerely expected this was all incidental to that initial skipping heart beat and the second ECG would come back clear. In the meantime, I straight-up didn’t feel like explaining everything multiple times and then listening to others’ worries or well-meaning but empty reassurances. Selfish, yes, but I’m way too sleep-deprived to care.
So there it is, our happy ending. Or, more accurately, our happy beginning to life as a family-of-four. Now, to update the “About us” page of this website…