This begins Chapter 1 in the Story of Us… I suppose everything leading up til now was just the prologue. And boy, it is quite the story to tell! The day after I last wrote, I had my weekly checkup with the OB-GYN… unfortunately my blood pressure was elevated and there was protein in my urine, so they ordered more tests (one of which required me to collect all my pee in a jug for 24 hours, yuck). The midwife had warned us that, depending on the results of the test, we may need to go ahead & induce labor early to make sure you were safe. Dad & I spent most of the week anxiously awaiting the results of those tests. On Thursday afternoon around 2pm, the midwife called and said “Pack your bags, you’re going to have a baby!” Dad & I got to the hospital as soon as we could. Needless to say we were both terribly excited and ridiculously scared at the same time.
Once we got settled in at the hospital, the midwife came to check on me and go over options for induction. Apparently I was already dilated 1cm, 40% effaced and -2 station… meaning that my body had already started to prepare a bit for labor but still had a long way to go. Further discussions with the midwife and we came up with a plan– I would go on a couple medications to efface the cervix overnight, then they would induce contractions using pitocin around noon the next day. Grandma and Nanna arrived later that evening and we filled them in on the game plan; Unfortunately the hospital only allowed us to have 2 visitors for the duration of our stay due to the widespread flu epidemic going on right now, so Papa and Grump were not allowed to be in the hospital with us at all. I think this drove them absolutely crazy!
The midwife came back the next morning around 11:30am to see what progress I had made overnight. I had gone to 2cm dilated, 65% effaced and still -1 station. However, she also noted that my bag of water was bulging out. She said that was great news because we could go ahead and break my water to get things moving along more quickly. They did so (it wasn’t a big gush like I expected, more of a gradual trickle) and told me to go take a shower and try nipple stimulation to get the contractions going. Within 5 minutes of being in the shower, a whole lot of things started happening at once: the contractions began to hit like a ton of bricks, fluid and bloody show leaked out at increasing rates, and my body began emptying all the contents of its digestive system… both ways. It was quite the miserable experience! Poor Dad had to clean my vomit up and do the best he could to help me through the contractions while I was more or less confined to the bathroom during this point. Exteme nausea continued to be a problem for me throughout the day actually… I ended up receiving medication for it a three different points along the way, and this was the first.
Eventually I was able to get out and labor a bit more freely, the contractions continued to intensify and it became clear early on that I was going to have a lot of “back labor” — intense pain in the back that accompanies the pains you typically get in the front. This is likely because you were not facing the correct way in utero (in your defense, you thought you had more time to flip!), so rather than facing my back you were facing “sunny side up.” I continued to labor this way for a couple of hours– Dad was really great about coaching me through all the pain management techniques we learned in Lamaze class, particularly the positions that were supposed to help with back labor. However, between the back labor and the fact that I was thrown into full-blown contractions without any of the gradual buildup/preparation you’d get in a non-induced labor… the pain became too much for me. I knew that if I was even considering an epidural at this point, I’d be begging for one later… and after a lot of talk and tears with the dad and labor nurse (who was very sweet and supportive the entire time), I decided to go ahead and get the epidural. I’d lost track of time at this point, but this was somewhere around 3-4pm.
At the time, I felt like such a failure for not being able to stick with my original plan for a “natural” birth, but when you think about it that plan had really gone out the window from the moment those test results came back. So in hindsight, I’m really glad I got the medicine I needed to have a positive birth experience. Once the epidural was administered I was able to rest for awhile. Unfortunately it began to wear off a few hours later, and they had to come give me a “booster.” The grandmas and Dad were joking about how often I was pushing the button for another dose (which only lets you get a dose every 15 minutes, no matter how many times you push it. LOL). Around this same time they also began the pitocin to increase amount & intensity of the contractions. I labored this way for a few more hours, and around 10pm my midwife came to check on me. She brought the ultrasound machine with her to check your position, which confirmed that you were sunny side up. She suggested that I try laying on my stomach for awhile to see if that would get to you flip, and althought it made me extremely nauseous (nausea med application #2 of the day) it did seem to help a bit because when she came to check again it was time to push!
I pushed for what I estimate to be about an hour & a half to 2 hours total. Things were slowly progressing, but not as quickly as they would’ve been because of you being sunny side up. Towards the end the OB-GYN came in and said that your heart rate was dropping with every push, and it was clear that you were not tolerating the birth very well. She told me she could give me another 10-15 minutes to try and push naturally, but after that we would need to consider other optoins. I did so and was unable to get you out in the time. The OB-GYN said that they could either use a vacuum extractor to birth you vaginally, or we could get you out via c-section. The idea of the vacuum extractor scares me to death… I have heard a lot of horror stories about them. So after quickly talking it over with Dad, we decided the safest course for everyone was to move forward with the c-section. They began getting everything ready for that– this was somewhere around midnight.
I should mention that just before the pushing started, I’d begun to notice the epidural wearing off again. I decided not to have them “boost” it again because I wanted to be able to feel the pushing in order to make it as effective as possible. I now REALLY regretted that decision! It didn’t take them long to get everything else ready for the c-section, but the anesthesiologist was tied up with another patient and it took him quite some time to come and get me numb for the procedure. During this time I was in the most excruciating pain of my life… I had gone most of the afternoon without feeling the pitocin-induced contractions (and they’d been upping the pitocin dose all afternoon), and now I was feeling everything. That 30 minutes or however long it took to get the anesthesiologist there were hands down the toughest of the whole thing.
The anesthesioloigst was actually a really cool guy though. He talked me through everything from start to finish– not just numbing me up but was right next to me in the OR and was attentive to my every need the entire time. Because I had already pushed you so far down the birth canal, they had quite a time getting you out. Dad of course was with me through all of this (although by now I was pretty out of it and didn’t say much to him, we just held hands and communicated via squeezes), he saw everything and said later that it was pretty gruesome! I’ll leave it at that for your sake, haha. Anyway, the procedure itself went fairly quickly but made me EXTREMELY nauseous (nausea med application #3), probably because they had to push & pull around so much in there to get you out.
And the next thing I knew, you were out & I heard you crying! From that moment on, none of the craziness I’d gone through since Thursday mattered. You were here and you were healthy! I immediately lost it and was bawling on the operating table, watching them weigh and check you. Dad was crying too. I think we can both agree that it was the happiest moment of our lives. I didn’t really get to see much of you in the OR, they held you up briefly and I saw you had dark hair but that was it. It wasn’t until we got back to the labor room and the anesthesia began to wear off that I was really able to meet you for the first time:
And from that moment all I was completely smitten. Dad is too. We love you so much! And so you were born at 12:51am on Saturday, January 19th 2013 at exactly 39 weeks gestation, weighing 8 lbs 2.6 oz and were 20 inches long. You have a head full of brown hair (although not quite as dark as Dad’s) and light eyes. We are unsure what color your eyes will eventually turn out to be, most babies have light gray eyes like yours and develop their true color after a few months. We spent the next few days recovering in the hospital (I had to stay longer than is typical because of the c-section). Here we are the next day, after they moved us from the labor room to the post-partum room:
As I write this in the wee hours of the morning, you are just over 4 days old. We’ve had you home for about a day & a half. So far being a mom has been the most challenging, exhausting, and amazing thing I’ve ever done. That is enough writing for one day, but I will be sure to share more with you about these first few weeks of your life as soon as I can… needless to say I am pretty busy these days! I will say this: even now absolutely NOTHING has gone according to “plan,” but you are here, you are healthy, and you are the most perfect & amazing little baby I’ve ever seen (although I might be biased)… so I wouldn’t have things any other way. 🙂 We and your grandparents have taken eons of pictures over the last few days, but here are some of my favorites:
Here you are just a few hours after you were born! Dad had you all swaddled up & cozy.
I took this one as you were laying in my arms just after an early morning feeding. You look so cute & content! Already you are so very handsome, I think you’re going to be a major heartbreaker someday. 🙂
Proud Daddy, just after you were born!
Snuggles with Grandma 🙂
Daddy, Grandma (and Nanna in the background… she hates getting her pic taken) changing your diaper not long after you were circumcised. Clearly a tough task!
Just after you came home, meeting Papa for the first time!
Daddy introducing you to Grump 🙂
Baby meets Corgi! He is VERY interested in you, haha
This pacifier was a gift from Auntie Christin… the grandparents got a huge kick out of it & have dubbed it “The Luigi” LOL
All my love,