Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Birth Story

So, the last few nights Owen has slept wonderfully! And I...have not. I'm not sleepy at all past the first few hours. I lie in bed tossing and turning wishing I could fall back asleep. It's really not the best of situations, as my mind wanders and I tend to get weepy about things.

Since Owen was born, I find myself feeling very sad that it's all over. I know, I know...I said I was DONE being pregnant and ready for him to be here! But looking back, I had an amazingly easy pregnancy. Yes, there was the complete exhaustion in the first trimester, the horrific round ligament pain, the few trips to L&D triage to get fluids, and of course constant need to go to the bathroom. But other than easy.

While delivering, everyone kept saying I was a natural. My body went into labor naturally (water breaking), I was a natural pusher. Ironically, after all we've been through, it's like my body was made for pregnancy and birth. Hard to wrap my once-infertile brain around that.

So in hopes I can finally get this out and move on from these nostalgic, weepy feelings I'm writing the birth story. The best way I can describe my sadness of it being over is the way I feel after major things: like my wedding, or returning from an awesome vacation, or CHRISTMAS (we all know how weepy I get after Christmas)! Just need some time to move on from those awesome experiences that will never happen just that way again.

I wrote about Colt's birth story, you can read it by clicking here. How different our experiences have been in bringing home our children! But I wouldn't have it any other way, and I'm humbled that I was able to experience both births in such a magnificent way. God is SO good and SO amazing.

Just a warning: some things are probably TMI (too much information) for you. If you're my grandparents or family in general, you might want to proceed with caution. I share because I appreciate others who share details and maybe my experience can help better prepare others. But, I don't want to censor too much...

At about 36 weeks, I declared I was done. My ankles/feet/legs were SO swollen I could hardly fit into my slip on shoes. My ankles practically touched the ground. I was in full-on waddle mode. My wedding ring didn't fit. Few of my maternity shirts fit and the ones that did were gigantic and made me feel even more uncomfortable. To adjust a few inches in bed at night took tremendous effort. I was DONE.

At my 36-week check-up I was dilated to a 2 and 90% effaced. We still hadn't finished the nursery, or had my baby shower, or even gone through any of Colt's hand-me-downs. I hadn't made a list or packed a bag. So naturally, I assumed the BABY IS COMING TOMORROW. I went to Target and bought newborn diapers and bottles and a coming home outfit, and pajamas for the hospital. I got my mom to come over in the next few days to help sort and wash clothes. I packed what I could in my bag and made a list for last-minute items. And then I had my amazingly huge baby shower where I received EVERYTHING else I needed or wanted for Owen.

At my 37-week check-up I was dilated to a 2 and almost fully effaced. Frustrating, BUT John had made major progress on the nursery and I still had my bag packed. Mom came over and helped hang and fold clean clothes. That Saturday was February 13th, when most of America was flooding restaurants for Valentine's Day celebrations. John woke up that morning and wanted me to text our babysitter to see if she could come over and stay with Colt so we could go out. Let me repeat: he wanted me to ask our babysitter if she would come over in the next 8 hours on what essentially was Valentine's Day. I laughed and said there was no way but texted her anyway.

She was available at 7:30!! I couldn't believe it! One of the best babysitters at our church and she was available during dinner time. She rushed over, even though Colt was already in bed. And she allowed John and I to go out to eat for what we both assumed would be our final night out alone before the baby came. We ate at Texas Roadhouse and then walked to Starbucks and sipped hot drinks in the corner while making fun of dating couples who were fighting, teenage girls and their fashion, and making up stories about people we figured were on first dates. It was awesome. We kissed a lot that night, John was very attentive and hugged me a lot. You just kind of lose that feeling for a while with a toddler and an exhausted pregnant wife that goes to bed early every night. So I felt wonderfully spoiled, loved, and beautiful.

On Sunday John's parents came over to bring Colt his Valentine's gifts. Before they arrived I did a last-minute pick-up in Owen's room and finally got it "FINISHED". I went to bed that night feeling fine.

Around 2:30am I woke up to go to the bathroom. And I was soaking wet. I know it sounds crazy, but I've heard so many people say they weren't sure if there water broke or if they just peed a little or if they were sweating and I always thought that was ridiculous. How do you NOT know your water broke? Well, those thoughts were swimming in my head. So I changed and laid back down. 30 minutes later I got up to see if any more wetness would occur...and sure enough the gushing started. I woke John up, and I called my mom to come over for Colt.

It was happening! That middle of the night "Honey, it's time" experience was happening to me! No check-in time, no planning, no final goodbyes. Just a call to my mom to come over and we were off. I knew they wouldn't send me home since my water had broken...this was IT.

As we were driving the short distance to the hospital, I mentioned how glad I was it happened like this. I didn't have any contractions at that point, so I hadn't spent hours being uncomfortable or counting minutes. Also, I hadn't spent a weepy evening with Colt thinking "this is my last night with you as my only" that I would have had a c-section or induction been scheduled. I was SO, SO grateful for that. He was fast asleep, none the wiser, and when we'd put him down we'd assumed we'd see him in the morning.

Once we got checked in (after determining my water HAD broken and none of the other mortifying things like just complete loss of bladder control or heavy nether-region sweating was going on), they started me on pitocin to get my non-existent contractions going. This was about 6:00am by the time we were left alone and the medicine began.

Around 6:30 a woman stuck her head in the door and asked if it was ok that a student nurse shadow my main nurse that day. After determining it was only one (instead of a room full) we agreed. Remember becomes important.

Close to 8:00 my mom and stepdad arrived. At this point, I was feeling a few contractions, but there was no pain involved at all. My new nurse Amy had started and John and I were so happy because she was AWESOME. Totally up John's alley and she gave him a run for his money. We also met our student nurse. I don't even remember her name. Amy told me to let her know when I wanted my epidural.

Well, I didn't want to start it until there was reason to. Meaning discomfort. Plus, I'd heard sometimes it can slow your labor down and I wanted to be checked first. Amy checked me and I was at a 2 STILL and not very effaced. WHAT? My doctor had been telling me for 2 weeks that I was almost totally effaced. Apparently not so...still not sure which one was wrong. Anyway, I didn't want to get it started at just a 2, and I was still having no pain.

Then Amy casually mentioned that the anethstesiologist was booked in a c-section from 8 - 9 and that hour would be closed for epidurals. No problem, it was 7:45 and I was fine. Amy left and I began gabbing with my family.

By 8:05 the contractions began to get very uncomfortable. It happened that fast. By 8:15 I was telling John to call and make sure the anethstesiologist would come to my room immediately post surgery. He made the call...I was number 3 on the list. So for the next 2 hours I writhed in pain. Squeezing the life out of John's hand, begging him to tell me when the contractions were going down. He kept telling me I was doing so good and I said "don't tell me I'm doing good, I'm not doing good!".

One thing I thought was so interesting that no one really tells you is that your water doesn't just break and it's over. No, it continues to leak. The baby's head is like a cork, so each time you or the baby changes position, more water comes out. So this whole time I'm writhing in pain, I'm also being flooded with water and that's just uncomfortable. I'll be honest, it's not fun to sit in a wet bed. Amy wouldn't let me stand and walk around because of the water (once you start losing it, there's more chance for the cord to wrap around baby's neck). It was awful.

About 9:45, as I was crying to John "if the doctor isn't coming then just tell me! I just need to know if he's coming and it's fine if he's not but just tell me", Student Nurse came in. She asked how I was doing and I said "not well".

Then she gets right up in my face and says "what's wrong? are you in pain?"

Well, at this point I'm about to lose it. "Yes, lots of pain" I politely, painfully respond. She then proceeds to stand next to me and PAT MY ARM. Pat my arm. Like I'm so sweet and silly and a little pat will make it better. I look over at John with wide eyes and give him a look like "get her the heck out of here"! My mom, stepdad and mother-in-law were all in the room as well, and they were all thinking the same thing.

Before John could ask her to leave and before I could scream at her to leave, the angels descended and brought forth my Savior in the form of the anethstesiologist. I swore I wouldn't forget his name, but 2 weeks later I already have. He babbled something about risks and I nodded and signed and begged for mercy. Contractions were about a minute and a half apart lasting 45 seconds each time.

The procedure was horrible for me, but not the actual needle in the back. No, the sitting up, rolling in a ball while contractions were happening were the worst. It was horrible and I just wanted him to be done. He actually did me a great favor because he decided to quiz Student Nurse on epidural procedures and treatment and she had no freaking clue. At the time, I was annoyed because I thought it was taking longer than it should have but in hindsight it was great to see her get put in her place.

Other really bad part was that the whole time I was gushing water. Everywhere, all over the floor. I kept apologizing because it was getting on Amy's shoes and John was right in front of me, letting me lean on him and I kept thinking he would be grossed out by it getting everywhere. Amy just threw a towel down and said no problem, John didn't even notice much (so he says).

The epidural had one shot that felt like a bee sting (but didn't even hurt as much as drawing blood) and then I couldn't feel anything. Once it was over, almost immediately my lower-half started feeling like warm velvet. It was the most amazing feeling ever. EVER. And just like that, I was back to gabbing and joking with friends and family in the room.

After an hour, Amy checked me again. It's now 11:00 and I've been having contractions for hours. I was at a 3. A THREE! She asked if I could feel her down there and since I couldn't she did something and pronounced "now you're at a 4". Like I said, she was awesome. (I'll pause here to say that all friends and family except John left the room each time I was checked or exposed...just in case you were wondering I did not share my lady parts with everyone).

An hour later, Amy did the same thing as before and pronounced me a 5. She also said she predicted I wouldn't deliver until 8p that night. I was a little discouraged.

An hour after that, I surprised everyone by dilating to 7.5cm! I was moving way faster at this point. Not long after that, another nurse came in and mentioned the baby wasn't tolerating my position very well and she made me lay down (instead of sitting up) and gave me oxygen. Hello nervous!!

Within 30 minutes Amy came in to check and I was now ready to push. It was 4:15p. I couldn't feel pain, but was starting to feel pressure, and she told me to start pushing when she told me to. After my first push she announced I was an "amazing pusher" and that it would go fast. A few more practice pushes and she called in the army.

Soon my room was full of 7 people scrubbed up and ready to go. I pushed until about 4:40 and they called my doctor. He came from his office in the building next door and after 3 pushes with him, Owen's head was out. John watched the whole thing, which I love. I love that he was interested and excited and wanted to see it unfold. Soon the shoulders were out and I had a tiny baby on my chest. It was 4:50 at that moment (even though the birth certificate says 5:20 we know it was 4:50).

He weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 20 inches long. He scored an 8 and 9 on his Apgar scores. He was perfect. I did have a tear (up until the second shoulder came out I'd been fine) and my doc stitched me up and said congrats and headed back to his last patient of the day. He'd been there less than 15 minutes! But Amy stayed with us and she was amazing.

After having so many people there and all this equipment, suddenly we were all alone. It was amazing. Owen was perfect.

The next few hours were all our friends and family coming in to see this new little boy. At one point a nurse tried to get me to go to the bathroom, and I passed out and required a wheelchair to get from the bathroom back to bed! The combination of heavy drugs (for the searing, burning pain caused by my stitches), loss of blood, and no food for over 24 hours didn't work well for me. At that point, everyone left and they transferred us to a new room. Again, I tried to get up to go to the bathroom and passed out cold on the floor before making it there. They took Owen to the nursery for the night and I tried to get comfortable.

One thing we learned from our experience with Colt was that rooming-in makes going home very difficult. I had already decided not to nurse, so we were bottle feeding. And we remembered how exhausted we were after rooming-in with Colt on the first night (which we are so grateful we did, but just remember how tired it made us). So we asked for Owen to be taken care of in the nursery both nights we were in the hospital. It was such a great decision for us because we got great sleep both nights and set us up to be much more rested when we were home.

Tuesday came and went with lots of visitors and bad daytime TV as we loved on our boy. I was in lots and lots of discomfort and pain. My tailbone was so sore, my tear, and several other things caused by delivery just plain hurt. But I was in great spirits - especially when Colt came up to see us and meet Owen.

Wednesday morning we prepared to go home. I felt much better being up and around. We had a stalker photography lady come visit us over and over about ordering pictures (which we ended up doing online at home). We dressed Owen in his coming home outfit, which was gigantic on his tiny body. And they wheeled us out to our car and we headed home.

It's been quite a 2 weeks. I felt so crummy and gross until about Day 8 post-partum. FYI...worst days are not in the hospital, they are days 5-7! But I'm finally feeling like myself again.

Owen and I have had lots of wonderful cuddle days. He's very laid-back, quiet, sleepy, and easy-going. He's already gained almost a pound, so he's eating very well. We've been on just a few trips out to lunch, but I'm trying to avoid major crowds and lots of children for a while longer. He's a cuddlebug, and everytime I look at him I just fall in love all over again. He's delicate and his hair is so light and fine.

I am so very amazed at what my body did to bring him into this world. I always thought that was kind of cheesy when people said that, but I'm obsessed right now with pregnancy and birth because it is an awesome thing. I'm also amazed that Colt is already protective and loving and interested in his brother. We can already tell this was the best gift we could give him...these brothers are going to love growing up together! My heart swells with pride, and I simply could not ask for more.

If you've read this far...thanks for sticking with me! I love my story, and I'm glad the memories won't fade since I wrote it all out. God is good!


Mountain Girl said...

Your story made me weep! What a special story. And so fun to hear how Colt already loves his big brother. I am so very happy for you and your two little boys. I will look forward to more stories and pictures! And I am glad you are feeling better!

Joe said...

Amazing Story! You are gifted with words as well as a wonderful family. Blessings to you as your boys grow and your life is fulfilled! I am proud of you and I love you very much!

Leah said...

What a beautiful story! Thanks so much for sharing. :-D

LacyGee said...

I LOVE your story! It's awesome! I love pregnancy and birth and that's why I became a labor nurse. BUT i LOVE being home with my babies while they are little. Then I will go back to what I love! Now You can try for a girl here in a few years!! hehe!

Michele said...

love this! What an amazing story, thanks for sharing!