Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 7th, 2014

The day when life changed forever.

After much anticipation, we welcomed our perfect son, Henryk to the world at 8:57pm, on January 7th.

He was born weighing 8lbs 1oz, and 22" long. Long and skinny, just as I predicted.

(WARNING: Birth story follows and is somewhat graphic in description.)

I was starting to get VERY tired of being pregnant, and had decided to get acupuncture the day before (the 6th) to see if I could encourage him to get the labor train moving. I enjoyed my treatment, and went about  my day per usual, meeting some friends from out of town for a beer (yes I enjoyed a 10oz glass. Like I said, I was over it), and then getting some dinner with the hubby. I complained to him that my lower back was really sore, but didn't think anything of it.

This was my last bump photo, taken two days before Henryk was born
We went to bed on the 6th at our normal time, and I got up around 2am, again as usual, to use the bathroom and let the dog out. Once I laid back down, I felt a small burst of fluid and thought, "well there is no way I peed my pants, I just used the bathroom!"
So I got up, and the gush became gushier. Holy shit, I thought. This is it! I went back to the bathroom and put on a maxi pad, and examined the fluid, which was pinkish in color. This confirmed it, my water had definitely broken.
I wasn't having an contractions yet, so I went into the living room and called my Doctor. She said, yep thats it, come down to the hospital whenever you are ready. I went back into the bedroom to wake James and he was already stirring.
"Is it time?" he said groggily. I responded yes, and started gathering all the final things we would need for the hospital, toothbrushes, champagne glasses, you know, the important stuff.

We got to the hospital around 3:30am, and went right into triage. A nurse came in and asked a bunch of questions, and began monitoring my contractions and the baby's heart rate. She also checked my cervix, and we were bummed to find I was still around a 1, as had been the case for the last few weeks. Nonetheless, when your water breaks, they don't wait to admit you due to the risk of infection so we were put into a room within an hour of arrival. The Doctor shift change was at 7am, and we were pleased to see Dr. Carlson who would ultimately deliver our baby, was on call. A very nice coincidence, as we had seen him once during our prenatal appointments and liked him quite a bit.

Once in our room, we rested and Dr. Ahmed came in to check my and see if anything was happening. I hadn't dilated and my contractions were still very mild, so we discussed started pitocin around mid morning to get things going. Like I said, with a water break, they don't waste any time. James and I got up and walked a few laps around the hospital, and that really started my contractions. I was happy that we might finally be getting somewhere, without the synthetic hormones. Once we got back to the room, my normal OB stopped by on his way into the office for the day - I was scheduled to see him that morning and had cancelled, obviously. I was shocked to see him, it made me very happy since he is a busy man.

We started pitocin around 11am, and at that point I had dilated to a 2. Of course, I had heard all about pitocin horror stories and asked about an epidural at this time. I wanted to make sure I was on the 'list' and that when the time came for one, I wouldn't be waiting hours for the anesthesiologist. The drugs definitely got my contractions going, and by 2pm I was begging for the epidural. The contractions were so strong that I could barely breathe through them, I felt like the undead. I couldn't control the sounds I was making as I worked through them. My labor nurse checked me and I was only at 3. I think I was so tense from the pain, I was preventing my progress. Within 15 minutes of asking, the anesthesiologist was there and got me started. The pain relief was immediate and amazing. James and I both napped for about 2 hours, and when we got checked again around 4:30, I was at a 7! Finally some progress!

My contractions were coming very close together in groups of two or three, then a longer break. The nurse upped the pitocin again to try and regulate them, and check me again about 45 minutes later and I was at a 9.
"Its almost time to push!" she said, and I couldn't believe it was almost time to meet my baby. As my contractions strengthened, I could feel them more and more and the pain and pressure in my hips told me he was moving into the birth canal.
Dr. Carlson came in about 20 minutes later as they finished getting the room ready. We did a couple rounds of pushes and he said the baby was still very high and I had some work to do. He left, and the nurse and James and I continued pushing. I'm not sure if my epidural was turned down or didn't totally worl, but I had pretty decent control of my legs, and could lift them almost totally on my own. I pushed with all my might for another hour, until Dr. Carlson came back to check again. Baby had moved some, but not nearly as much as needed to use the vacuum extractor to help ease him out. He told me to push for another half an hour, and we would see where I was at. He also mentioned a C section, if I wasn't able to get him any lower. I had been pushing for almost two hour at this point.

The nurse and James helped maneuver me into several different positions to push, and none seemed to help. I was exhausted, and in pain and I could feel the baby wedged into my pelvis, not moving even though I was giving it everything I had. When Dr. Carlson returned, I caved. A C section it was, and I felt so defeated. I couldn't deliver our baby naturally, I felt like a failure.

The nurses flew into action, and a new anesthesiologist was called and turned my epidural way up. Unfortunately, all this was happening around 8pm, after the night shift of nurses came. So my wonderful nurse who I had labored with all day (and also happens to be the mother of one of my co-workers), was done. She offered to stay, off the clock - bless her-, until I was out of surgery. As much as I wanted her to stay, I said no, and I didn't see her again through our stay.

I was off to surgery within a half hour of caving. Once in the OR, James was suited  up in scrubs and waited in the hall until I was prepped. They put a tent over my midsection and strapped my arms down to boards so I couldn't reach into the surgery area. Then James came in, and it was go time. I was aware the whole time, and could feel some pulling on my stomach, but that was it. The anesthesiologist kept a commentary going, and within a couple minutes he said, ok its almost baby time! About 90 seconds later, at 8:57pm on that wonderful Tuesday, I heard the first cry from my sweet boy and that was it! Ten fingers, ten toes, a full head of brown hair and one big boy!

They took him with James to tidy him up and cut the cord, while I was stitched up. Our first photos of him are all with James, as I was prone on the table. After they got us both put back together, they brought him over to me and laid him by my head on the table. It was so awkward as I had to look totally 90 degrees to see him, but I still wept with joy that he was here and healthy and it was finally over.

 We headed back to our room and things quieted down. I was finally able to hold him and nurse and have my skin to skin. He was so perfect and I was absolutely in love, so was his papa. I was just beside myself with joy watching James with our son. I have a whole new level of love and attraction to my husband, as I watch him. He is everything and more than I could have wanted in a life partner.

Dr. Carlson came back to discuss the surgery and my recovery. It turns out, Henryk had been pushing against a membrane that was acting as sort of a vacuum. So every time I pushed, he would move down and when I released pressure he would move back up. There was pretty much no way I would have been able to push him out. That made me feel a little better about saying yes to the surgery. I guess Mothers intuition is right, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it when I gave the go-ahead for the C section. 

I was trapped in the bed until the next morning, with a catheter and these pumps on my legs that kept blood circulating. They pretty much prevented me from sleeping at all, and every time I needed the baby to feed or change a diaper, I had to ask James. I didn't change one diaper until almost 48 hours after Henryk was born.

We stayed in the hospital until Friday the 10th, my actual due date. Henryk passed all his tests and I was gaining my strength and awareness steadily, so we were able to head home and begin our new life as a family of three!

Its been three weeks now and I feel like we are hitting our stride. I will save all that for another post, but it has been an incredible journey so far, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us!

In the car seat for the first time, to go home! 

Everyone says he looks more like Daddy!

Henryk has a lot of personality for such a little guy 

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