Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Birth of Jack

As I type this, my baby is four minutes away from being one week old.  In some ways, I still can't believe he's here and not still in my belly.  In others, it feels like he's been with us for ever.  But that could just be the sleepless nights talking.

I woke up early Tuesday morning and noticed some unusual pains.  Now it's important to remember that I had been having contractions for a whole month by this point so I was an old pro at not getting my hopes up about anything.  But this was different.  So at 3:44 I woke Lewis up to tell him what I thought and that I was going to get in the shower to see if that slowed things down.  The pains were coming about every two minutes.

As I showered, Lewis pulled out his computer to write some hurried sub plans in case he wasn't going to make it to school that day.  I found that the shower did nothing to slow down the pains and they kept coming at the same pace.  I'm using the term "pain" here loosely.  Yes, it hurt, but not very much.  Again, no hopes were to be gotten up by me.

As I was getting dressed after my shower I pulled out my last pair of clean underwear.  Shoot.  I can't come home from the hospital and have no clean underwear!  So I put a load of laundry in the washer.  Lewis thought I was nuts.  Our washer takes about an hour to do a load so I told a mildly annoyed Lewis that if I was still contracting by the time the washer was done, then we could go to the hospital.  I couldn't leave wet clothes in the washer for so long, after all.  The contractions were still coming every two minutes and were maybe slightly more painful.

I decided to go wake up my mom (she's staying with us and is heaven sent) to tell her that things might be happening.  She seemed thoroughly uninterested.  Whatevs.  It's only her first grandson and all.

The contractions continued and while I was finishing packing my bad I found myself getting tentatively more excited.  Could this actually be it?  I was already almost a week overdue and was scheduled to be induced on Thursday.  I knew I would love it if my body would do it on its own.

The washer finished and I rotated the laundry to the dryer.  Then I agreed to let Lewis take me to the hospital, convinced they were going to send us right back home.  I could still easily talk through the contractions after all.  As we hauled everything downstairs, Mom came out of her room to ask how frequent the contractions were.  When I told her two minutes she flipped.  I suppose that would have been useful information.  I told her to not worry, we would call from the hospital if they let us stay.

On the way there, I called Lewis' mom to tell her what was going on.  She laughed and told me that Monica (Lewis' sister) was just getting an epidural.  Her baby wasn't due for two more weeks, so thank goodness he decided to come the same day as Jack and not before - I would have been so mad.  This was just awesome, though.

At the hospital a nurse checked me and declared I was 4+ centimeters dilated.  We would be staying.  Hallelujah.  The contractions were getting markedly more painful, although they were still only two minutes apart.  In the delivery room they hooked me up to an IV and put monitors on my belly to keep track of Jack's heartbeat and my contractions.  Jack was very fond of kicking them out of place.  They told me I could have an epidural right then and there but I declined - for the time being.  Another nurse came in as I was giving my response and said that it's a good thing I didn't want one then because the anesthesiologist had just been called in to a c-section.

Now the epidural was a tricky subject for me.  I spent much of my pregnancy tentatively determined to not have one, but also knowing that I am a total wuss when it comes to pain.  It wasn't some moral or philosophical reason that I didn't want to get one - I just wanted to see if I could do it without one.  I wanted to try hypno birthing, but we couldn't afford the classes, so I really was not well prepared to do this natural.  My reasoning for ending up getting the epidural is this: the first labor a woman goes through is supposed to be the longest.  If I am ever to do it without pain meds, why not do it on a shorter labor?

While we waited for the anesthesiologist, my doctor came in an offered to break my water.  I decided we should wait until after the epidural because I'd heard labor gets worse after the water breaks.  My contractions were still two minutes apart but were hurting like crazy.  Poor Lewis was having his fingers squished during each one.  At some point during all this my mom showed up.  We listened to Bill Cosby talk about labor and delivery on her iPod.  Good times.  At some other point Lewis' mom also showed up, with the announcement that Monica had given birth to a healthy baby boy.

After I had gotten the epidural (bliss) and my doctor had broken my water, there was nothing to do but wait.  I was hooked up to about a million things:

-The IV to keep my hydrated
-The fetal heartbeat monitor around my middle
-An internal contraction monitor
-The epidural
-A catheter
-Some kind of fluid that was flushing out my uterus (there was meconium in the water and this was to clean it out)
-A blood pressure cuff that went off every three minutes

When they broke my water (10:00) they checked my progress.  I was at a 5.  Crap, crap, crap.  This was going to take forever!  My nurse (Judy - she was amazing) told me if I felt the urge to push then I should let her know.  She described it as feeling like "the biggest bowel movement you've ever had."  Awesome.  Yeah, I'll call you back in a million hours.

Not too long after she left I felt something that might have been the urge to push (looking back, I'm positive it was).  But I thought for sure that I was mistaken cause, you know.  I'd never done this before. Judy came in and out occasionally.  Once after watching my contractions on the monitor for a few minutes (they were still two minutes apart) she said I was in "active, active labor."

This is me in active labor.  On my iPad.  Facebooking and chatting.  I'm awesome.
Finally at around 11:30 she checked my progress again.  Instead of a number I heard her say, "Oh there's the head" and announce that we would begin pushing soon, after she had spoken with my doctor.  She came back at noon and we began.

Pushing sucked.  I think the epidural was wearing off, cause it hurt pretty bad.  Mostly, though, it was just so tiring.  I always wondered what the ice chips were for.  Now I know.  They were heaven.

With the help of Lewis, Mom, Lewis' mom, and Judy I pushed for about an hour and a half.  Actually Judy left a couple of times to page the doctor and other stuff and we pushed without her.  That was cool that she let us do that.  My doctor arrived for the last half hour of it or so (okay, I have no idea how long he was there).  He was pulled out of a meeting to come and was delighted about that fact.  Shortly after him came a respiratory specialist and a NICU nurse, because of the meconium.  They'd have to make sure Jack didn't have any meconium in his mouth and nose right quick when he was born.

And then all of the sudden, he was here.  He came out all at once; once his head was finally all the way out, the rest of him just followed.  The doctor flipped him around and clamped the cord in no time flat and let Lewis cut it.  Then Jack was whisked off and soon he was crying loud and healthy.  He was perfect.  Soon he stopped crying, but the rest of us continued.  I was so grateful to have him here.

You'd be screaming too.
Jack weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.  He was measured to be 20 1/2 inches long, although the nurses joked that he'd probably be shorter once his cone head went away (I don't know if this is the case - his length hasn't been measured since, but he seems really long, everyone says so).  After stubbornly refusing to eat for the first twelve hours of his life he now wants to do little else (except pee: see previous post).  Seriously, he's already back up to his birth weight and most babies don't make it back to that until their two week doctor's appointment.

Don't you just want to cuddle him?
He's a heartbreaker.  Just look at that hair!
As for me, I feel fantastic.  There was an abundance of soreness for the first several days, but that's mostly gone.  I'm so grateful we finally have our little baby with us.  Lewis is the best dad ever, srsly.  And we both just love him to pieces.  Even when he's a stinker and doesn't fall asleep when I want him to.  Like at 4 am.  But he's just so cute, I forgive him every time.

I love my Jack.
My boys.

1 comment:

Janet Young said...

Jack will thank you for this splendid account of his arrival on earth. As in everything you do--you have written his story with grace. Thanks for being my grandson's mom.

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