21 March 2010

Dear Edward

Dear Edward,
While I respect your growing interest in the world-at-large, may I point out to you that mommy still needs to nap between feeding even if you have decided (at the grand old age of three and a half weeks) that you no longer need to? The management would greatly appreciate a return to more napping, or if not, at least working on a reliable feeding schedule, thus enabling others to nap.
The management

16 March 2010

The Birth Story

Warning: I'm not editing this for content. Please read at your own discretion...

Monday the 22nd of February I began having regular contractions every 20 minutes.

Ok, to back up a little, we moved back into our house on Saturday and got the upstairs mopped and dusted and the TV plugged back in. Hey, we have our priorities! I had some fluid leakage so I spent Sunday and Monday on bed rest. Jon built the crib Sunday night just in case.

Back to Monday, Jon was timing my ctx and kept asking me if we should pack a bag. Was I sure I didn't want him to pack a bag? Shouldn't we at least set up the car seat???

And I said, No, women can stall out having ctx at 20 minute intervals for weeks. This is not labor, quit worrying. And at midnight I was standing on the front porch telling him to quit screwing around with the car seat and come to bed. This wasn't labor and we should get some sleep.

Imagine my surprise when I awoke at 2:30 AM on Tuesday and my ctx were exactly 4 minutes apart. I timed them for an hour and then woke Jon up and asked him, very meekly, to please pack a bag. We called the midwife and she told us to hang out at home and come in around 5 AM. And so we called our friend Sarah to meet us there. I had planned to have my mother and several other friends with me during labor but my mom was still in IL (baby wasn't due until 3/15 and so she had a plane ticket for 3/8), my neighbor had had surgery Monday, and my other friends were at work. So, Sarah met us at the birth center and stayed with us for several hours offering her support before heading to work.

Labor progressed pretty normally until I reached 6 cm of dilation. At this point, around 1 PM, it stalled out. I was only having one ctx every 15 or 20 minutes. And so we put on our coats and spent the next three hours walking around the building outside and climbing up and down the stairs. And my ctx would pick back up again, we would go inside and they would stop again. Around 4:30 or 5 we talked to the midwife and made the decision to go to the hospital to get some pictocin and get labor going again.

I was hysterical about having to start labor all over again but Jon kept reminding me that I would start at 6 cm, not 0. In other words, I wasn't going to have to do the whole day over again. (Hey, no one ever claimed women in labor were completely rational.)

And so we packed up and drove the four blocks to the hospital where I was admitted. The nurses promptly put in an IV port and began strapping monitors to my belly. These were large, unwieldy things that crept out of position every time I moved. Then the doctors would lose the baby's heartbeat and freak out. This was especially frustrating as the positions that were most comfortable for me in labor were on my hands and knees or sitting on the ball leaning forward onto the bed, and these positions kept pushing the monitors out of the way.

Eventually the doctor came in and placed a monitor on top of the baby's head in the canal. And may I just express to you how uncomfortable getting that in there was? Ouch. I quickly over the course of the day learned to hate the statement "let's see how far along you are". This statement was inevitably followed by someone shoving their entire hand into my vagina and trying to see how many fingers they could wedge through my cervix. I have no idea why everyone wanted to rape me with their hands but they did and I didn't like it. But I digress, the monitor worked pretty well, except that the cord wasn't long enough and so it kept coming out of the box taped to my thigh. Which then lost the baby's heartbeat again. After a few ctx the monitor fell off the head. We had to place this damn thing three times people. THREE TIMES. This is a lot of times to have someone trying to maneuver their hand your vagina.

Eventually I reached 9.5 cm dilation. And then I had this stupid bit of cervix that wouldn't efface. I labored for an hour and still no dice. By this time I had discovered that the agonizing pain in my pelvis was due to the fact that Edward was posterior (in lay-man's terms he was face up). This meant that the back of his head was attempting to lever my sacrum in a manner that it was not designed for. At one point I remember deciding that I could crawl away from this pain and I began attempting to scale the bed or climb off the side.

And finally I broke down and asked for the epidural. I was exhausted and frustrated and I decided I needed some help. After less than ten ctx I had medicine numbing my back. As soon as that happened I was able to relax and deal with the ctx that I could still feel. I had one quarter of my abdomen that never did go numb but since I was so close to pushing we decided to leave it be.

After thirty or so minutes of rest with the epidural it was time to begin pushing. They brought in the mirror for me so that I could see. And here's the funny thing; my biggest fear about birth was getting fecal matter on the baby, and in fact it was helpful to see the material that sometimes came out as it meant that I was using the right muscles to push! I pushed for two hours with the head right on the verge of coming out. Finally the nurse called the doctor about the possibility of a vacuum extraction. Which we ended up doing. He told the nurse to give me another hit of the epidural (which by this point had worn off) and told me that this was going to hurt. And it did, even through the epidural. He placed the vacuum and pulled three or four times and finally Edward's head made it out of my pelvis. After that it was cake. He was born at 3:20 AM on Wednesday the 24th.

Edward was whisked over to the warming tray and worked on. Jon was able to cut the cord. I had to stay put and get many stitches. It felt like forever before I finally got to hold my new baby but Jon eventually got the OK to bring him over. He was 6 lbs even and 19 inches long. He was beautiful but had a furry little cap where the vacuum was. By the afternoon that had gone away however, just leaving my perfect little boy. He had low blood sugar and had to go upstairs to the NICU for several hours. He quickly learned that anyone coming for his foot was going to prick him and draw blood. We had some more adventures with the hospital and some huge frustrations that I'll share in a later post.

01 March 2010

The Baby Has Arrived

Yup, he's here. Three weeks early. I'll write more in detail about the birth and what has been happening since then. Right now we're enjoying having a newborn and getting all the sleep we're able to!

ya'll come back now, ya hear?