About six weeks after Libby's first birthday, in the end of July, I had a strange pain right below my left nostril. I thought it was a zit or some kind of oil bump coming up. It was very painful. Able to endure pain okay, I just figured it would go away. It didn’t. When the pain began to wake me up in the middle of the night and I was having to take Tylenol just to bear it, I knew it must be something besides a pimple. But what?
The pain got so bad over a weekend that I had to go into an urgent care facility. My parents happened to be visiting. My dad went with me.
The doctor almost immediately told me I had a tooth absess. This didn’t make any sense to me. I had no pain in my tooth or when I would bite down on things. I had injured my front two teeth when I was nine years old (almost knocked them out) and we talked about how sometimes these things happen even after a number of years.
She prescribed pain meds (Vicodin- it was that bad) and a strong anti-biotic. I was worried about this because I was nursing Libby still and didn’t want to be forced into weaning her. I kept nursing her regardless after talking to a friend/doctor who said it would be okay.
As I was walking out of the doctor’s office, I realized that I was on day 28 of my cycle and that there was always outside chance that I was pregnant. Did I want to take all this medicine if I was pregnant? I was embarrassed to ask in front of my dad, but I asked anyway. They gave me a pregnancy test. It came back negative. I was good to go.
I tried to take the pain medication but it made me trippy and restless. I only took one dose and then a half dose and I was done. I was glad to know I wasn’t pregnant but I ended up talking another test a few days later and sure enough, baby number three was coming. I was shocked. I remember walking out of the bathroom after viewing the test and falling to my knees in prayer at my bedside. I was a little overwhelmed. I felt as if God revealed to me in that moment that my baby was a boy. I hadn’t planned to have another so soon, but you just go forward. I knew I wanted more children so it wasn’t hard to adjust to the timing.
I ended up having two root canals at the beginning of August and then waited to do some other dental work until I was out of my first trimester. It was a crazy start to a pregnancy.
Again, the typical nausea and blahs, exhaustion, and hard work of the first trimester began. To lighten the load, three of my best friends were also pregnant and we were all due within three months of each other. I even had a couple of friends out of town who were due about the same time. So I had many to commiserate with.
When we found out the sex of the baby, I was not surprised. I was having a boy! The name debate began. Jimmy wanted him to be a junior. (James Turner Alley Jr.) We had gone through this with Jackson. I had not been into it then. My dad’s name is also James. My oldest sister married a James. Two of my nephews had the middle name James. There were enough. I put Jimmy off. I said, “Didn’t you, as the second born, always want to be a junior? Why don’t we do that for our son? If we have another boy, he can be the junior.”
I was thinking, of course, that Jimmy would forget by then, or that we may not even have another son. I thought wrong. Well, not totally wrong. Jimmy did forget. He told me that his mom had reminded him of the deal I had made with him.
I really didn’t want Jimmy’s name. It just didn’t feel right to me. I was pushing for Benjamin but Jimmy didn’t like that. We were on a trip, driving to Georgia to see some friends, and discussing the name. Agreeing upon nothing. Jimmy was still insisting on a namesake/junior. Things were getting heated. We were listening to Johnny Cash. My husband is a fan. I said, “What about Cash? You like Johnny Cash.” And it was like a light came on in his head. From that moment on, he wanted Cash and there was no discussion. I tried to backpedal (I had blurted it out, was just trying to distract, suggest anything but the junior idea...I didn’t even know if I liked it!) but there was no changing his mind. He had completely forgotten about the namesake but I suggested him still being James, just James Cash instead of James Turner. And we could call him Cash.
The entire pregnancy with Cash I would regularly worry about making it to the hospital in time, considering my previous labors. I went into labor three days before my due date, which was fine with me. My parents were there; I knew it was close to time and my dad planned on watching the kids so Mom and Jimmy and I could do our thing (we had a system going now) and get the baby out when the time came.
I was determined to labor at home as long as possible. But when it came down to it, I was getting stressed out at home. The kids were running around, people were making dinner, doing normal household stuff, but I wanted to be in a place where I could focus. When things started to come fast (every five minutes) I decided I better go.
Things were pretty intense on the way there. I was afraid of having the baby in the car so I was freaking out a little. The peak of my contractions were pretty bad. I made it into triage only to be faced with “You’re about five and a half centimeters.” Most would be happy with this but I was pretty bummed out. I had been in a lot of pain to only be five and a half. I geared up for labor.
Three hours later, I was six and a half and my contractions were less intense and further apart. I was tired. I knew it was a good idea to try and walk around, but I couldn’t bring myself to get up. We just kept thinking everything was going to happen so fast, but every delivery is different.
My OB had given me his personal phone numbers. He had been my doctor for all three pregnancies, but hadn’t delivered either so far. He said I could call him and he’d be there. But when it came down to it, I didn’t bother him. For two reasons. Number one, it was a Friday night. Number two, the doctor who was on call told me I was his only patient. I figured I’d probably get pretty good attention.
I wish I had called my doctor. When I got checked at about 8:30 p.m. (when I was 6 and a half cm dilated) this doctor decides, while he’s gloved up and all inside my business (in other words I’m in an extremely vulnerable position) to reach for the big tool that looks like a knitting hook. I said, “What are you doing?” and he said, “Let’s just break your water and get things going.” Did I want to get things going? Yes! Did I want my water broken? I wasn’t sure. Can’t we talk about this? But before I could really do anything, it was done and over whether I wanted it or not.
I did not go from 7 to 10 in thirty minutes, but after my water was broken, things did start to happen. I screamed out for pain medication at about 8 cm. Too late. I could do this. I was ready to push about 2 and a half hours after he broke my water. I had a really green nurse. I told her I was ready to push. She was sitting off to the side and said, “Go ahead.” Did she not know that a third time mom might just shoot the baby right across the floor? I said, “Don’t you think you should call the doctor?” and she came back with, “Let’s just see what happens.” I could have told her what was going to happen but decided she’d see soon enough.
I pushed about twice. Then she says, “Okay, stop pushing, breathe through it. DON’T PUSH,” while she frantically pushes the call button. The nurse answers. She asks them to call the doctor and get in there. I want the baby out. She keeps telling me to wait. I ask, “Can you just do it? Can I please just push it out?” And she says, “I can do it if you want...” in a very non-confident way. (And where is the doctor, by the way, I knew I was his only patient!) But her agreement to catch him was all I needed. One or two pushes and Cash was born. It was the first time that nurse had ever delivered a baby. Luckily a more experienced nurse had come in and was standing over her shoulder. The doctor arrived in time for the after birth. Whatever.
Jimmy had been video taping when things got hectic. He left the tape running and set it down on a table next to a Pepsi can. So I have no video of the birth, just the Pepsi can and part of my leg but I do have the audio and I was groaning and yelling pretty bad. I remember saying pretty soon afterward, “I don’t want to do that again for a REALLY LONG time!” I was so relieved and glad it was over.
Even though Cash was born right before midnight and we could have gotten an extra night in the hospital, we decided to come home at the 48 hour mark, which was around midnight. I had my sweet baby in a bassinet right by my bed. I remember waking up in the middle of the night SO THIRSTY. My milk had come in. It was as if my breastfeeding glands had sucked every bit of moisture from my entire body. I drank a ton of water. I needed fluids!
This was a mark of things to come. Cash grew like crazy. He was a really fat baby. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do a good job nursing him, with two others running around. But he was huge! And such a blessing. He was an extremely laid back baby and super easy. I loved taking care of him. He was my Cashy-boy.