Thursday, November 7, 2013

A baby (boy) story -- The grand appearance

{Here's part 1}
{Here's part 2}
{Here's part 3}

We had known for a while that my doctor wasn't actually going to be there, so I'd come to accept that, even though I was a bit disappointed. The doctor that was going to do the delivery, Dr. Newman, was a super nice lady who was a nice combo of comforting and commanding. She checked me and, as everyone had been doing, commented on how strange it was that my water hadn't broken. But she didn't break it, and kind of just had a "let's see what happens" attitude about it.

So everyone got in place -- I had a nurse on one leg, and Dallin on the other, and my mom and sisters (we'd gained one) standing off to the side. My epidural was perfect and didn't hinder my pushing at all. It took me a few pushes to really be pushing correctly, but once I did, things moved really quickly.

At some point, my water "sort of" broke. Please don't ask me to explain that, because I honestly have NO idea about how it all medically worked. I just know that some water came out while I was pushing, but most of was in there until after the baby was born.

And speaking of that sweet baby of mine being born...

I swear, when my babies are born, time stops. I know it's not like that for every mother, but it absolutely is for me. Parker made a fairly quiet entrance. He wasn't screaming (or even crying, which made me a little nervous for about 30 seconds until they really got him going). He didn't pee everywhere. He wasn't "shocking" looking -- he was really clean and very pink and had a perfectly round head with a lot of dark hair. He was big, but not huge. He was my perfect little boy, and I knew him. I'd been with him for 9 months, and suddenly this little person that I was already so close to, but hadn't yet seen, was right there in front of me. I laughed through my tears and looked at him and his daddy and felt like my heart had just grown a new physical space that was specifically set apart to contain my love for this little guy.

I held Parker for just a bit before they whisked him away to do all that stuff they do to new babies. He clocked in at 8 lbs, 4 oz (which was exactly what I had guessed before he was born - boo yah!), and his first and second apgar scores were both nines. The nurses called him the "movie star" baby because of how clean and pink he was. They spent a while getting fluid out of his mouth and throat, but it was never a major concern.

Nor was the amount of fluid in his mouth surprising, because -- well, at the risk of being slightly graphic here, there was quite the flood right after Parker came out and (the main section of??) my water finally broke. Lots and lots...and lots...of fluid.

So it certainly wasn't surprising that the little guy needed to be cleared out a bit. But what was surprising was when, after the placenta was delivered and I had gotten my one little stitch and the doctor was taking off her mask and gloves, she looked at me and Dallin and said, "You know, that bag of waters may have saved your baby's life."

Again, don't ask me for any kind of detailed medical explanation, but here's what I gathered from what she said: my placenta had a small tear in it. Apparently it was of such a nature that if it had bled out at all, the baby would have been seriously deprived of oxygen and chances of a stillbirth would have skyrocketed. That "bulging" bag of waters, however, was putting pressure on the tear in such a way that it didn't bleed out. If my water had broken, it probably would have been accompanied by quite a bit of blood, which would have prompted an emergency c-section. A NICU stay would have been almost certain as the best case scenario, with a stillbirth being (obviously) the worst.

There were so many "what ifs" about the whole thing. If it had been Charly's doctor, they probably would have broken my water, since they did with her. If Parker had been positioned differently, or the tear had been in a different spot, or there hadn't been so much fluid, or anything else...things could have gone very differently for our little family. And the one thing about this story that haunts me more than any other is this: I had prayed -- I mean, literally, prayed -- that my water would break so I could have my baby sooner. I had prayed for something that could have caused my baby serious harm. 

I'm really grateful that my prayer wasn't answered. I'm really grateful that I wasn't the one in charge. I'm really grateful that this doctor was inspired to just "see what happened." And I'm really, really grateful that my little guy was able to make it to us safely and without complication. If his perfect little self wasn't enough of a miracle, I feel like the way he arrived definitely was.

The rest of our hospital stay was mostly uneventful. I did have some moderate clotting (I was told "grapefruit-sized," if your day was lacking some nice imagery) that freaked everyone out just a bit and made me all sorts of tired and pale and shaky and other super attractive things. 

Other than that, things went pretty smoothly. I had to stay in bed MUCH longer than usual because they didn't want to take out my catheter or my IV while there was still a chance of more bleeding. My IV stayed in the entire day, in fact. So annoying, although I suppose I would have been grateful for it if it had actually been needed.

We had plenty of visitors at the hospital, which was great. We're so lucky to have so many people around us that love and support us. I think my favorite visit, though, was from the girls. I was still an exhausted mess when they came to meet their baby brother, but I don't think that was the only thing that brought on my tears when they came in the room.

I just love them all so, so much.

Parker was born at 9:50 AM on Saturday, and we left the hospital around 5 PM on Sunday. Here's Parker in his beyond precious going home outfit:

And well, I guess that's about it! Can you believe it?! You never thought this day would come, did you? It only took me a month to get the whole story written, but hey, I have three kids now -- cut me some slack.

Hopefully, someday (I would say "someday soon" but hahahaha), I'll have a chance to write about how postpartum things went/are going for me this time around, but I'd say this birth story is wrapped up. Thank you, reader friends, for putting up with the excruciating detail and multiple posts; who knew I'd be one of "those moms" who shares every.little.thing with the entire world? Ah well, might as well embrace it.

And now I'm off to snuggle my little man and get my 3-year-old the glass of milk she's been asking for for the past hour. Awesome.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A baby (boy) story -- at the hospital

{Here's part 1}
{Here's part 2}

A common theme in all those birth stories I listened to was that the car ride to the hospital was particularly awful. I was no exception to this trend, especially since my "movement" weapon was gone. My moaning and groaning got a little louder, and I tried desperately to use my hands to put pressure on my hips, which I'm pretty sure were splitting apart at that point. Dallin ran a red light and probably kind of went over the speed limit. And let's be honest, he was probably pretty happy about it.

So we got to the hospital and got buzzed in through the locked doors and the lady checking people in was like "Can I help you?" and we're like "Um...we're having a baby" or something awkward like that. Looking back on this check-in process is hilarious to me, because I compare it to Charly's, when I was pretty composed, sitting down, answering the questions calmly, and so on. Everyone was taking their sweet time. This time, I didn't sit down, I made Dallin squeeze my hips most of the time, and I feel like I was kind of grunting out the answers to her questions. That all added up to her hurrying quite a bit, and calling in the triage nurse while we were still answering questions.

The triage nurse came in and was like "Can I help you?" and I wanted to say "What in the WORLD, people?! This is the maternity ward at a hospital! So let's just assume that if a very pregnant woman and her husband come in at 2 AM and the woman is groaning and stomping and making her husband do something weird like press on her hips every couple minutes, she's probably at least considering having a baby sometime soon."

But I didn't say that. Chicken is what I am. What I said was "Um...we're having a baby," because apparently that is the standard answer to that silly question.

Okay so, triage. There was no way they were sending us home, so I wasn't worried about that at all. I got changed and hooked up to things and checked and was at "7 cm with a bulging bag." My contractions were textbook regular and pretty intense. At that point, I think everyone was pretty sure that this baby was coming within a couple hours, at the most. Everyone moved quickly, my doctor was called, Dallin called several people (and tweeted, of course. #nerd) the epidural guy was notified, I got an IV started, all that fun stuff. And all the while I'm moaning and groaning through my contractions. So attractive.

We get to the room and the epidural guy comes in. He asks me some questions, one of which is "Do your gums bleed easily? Or do you bruise easily?"

And I was like, "Define easily."

And he was like "Like if you barely hit your leg, will you get a bruise?"

And I was like "Sometimes I get bruises without hitting my leg."

And he was like, "Okay, we need to wait for your bloodwork to get back to make sure an epidural won't kill you. Half an hour, okay? Keep groaning."

And Dallin was like, "Half an hour, that's only 15 more contractions!"

And I was like, "Shut up."

Can I just say, though -- Dallin was a labor coach champ. For reals, guys. I know better than anyone else what a great guy he is, and I was even surprised. He was very concerned, very caring, and very encouraging. He quoted "Nacho Libre" to make me laugh. He told me I looked pretty. He asked the hospital people every question that needed to be asked, and helped me stay calm and think straight and make important decisions. He put pressure on my hips and held my hand and kissed my forehead. He was my hero, for reals.

So we held out for "only" 15 more contractions. Give or take. Let's be honest, I wasn't counting them. Although I did keep a pretty close watch on the clock -- not necessarily keeping track of time, but because me and my hippie friends also believe in focal points/visualization, and watching the second hand on the clock seemed to help a little bit.

My mom and sister arrived, and pretty much just hung out on the couch while things were still hard. We talked a bit in between contractions, I was checked again and was at an 8, everyone told me how bad-A I was, etc. That may have just been in my head, come to think of it...but I did feel pretty awesome.

In all honesty, I think I went far enough without pain meds to understand (finally) why someone might want to go au naturel. It's pretty empowering. I mean, I didn't even push the baby out and I felt pretty hard core, if I do say so myself.

But I think, when it comes down to it for me, an epidural just makes sense. Minimize the pain so you can be a little more present (and pleasant) during the experience. As long as you feel safe doing so (which I ultimately do, despite my fears), why not get it?

Which is why, when the nurse anesthetist came in and said my platelet count was plenty high for him to feel comfortable giving me the meds, that I was ready for them. Dallin wasn't feeling quite up to the challenge (I guess the wounds of the last time hadn't quite healed for him yet), so he waited outside and allowed my mom to be my epidural support.

And guess what? It went about as smoothly as it could. I was able to hold still, I only had one contraction come while I was "assuming the position," I was more than ready for the prick and for the pressure and especially for the relief that came almost immediately.

Once the epidural was in, it was pretty much just a waiting game. It was still the middle of the night, so we were all trying to sleep as much as we could. I remember feeling super guilty that Dallin, my mom, and my sister were all trying to sleep on the couch, and they were all freezing (blankets were hard to come by). Despite everyone being so sure that things were going to go super quickly, since I was so far along and all, Parker had other plans. It took a couple hours to get to a 9, and then every time they checked me they kept mentioning how close I was to being complete, but how the baby's positioning was off just enough to stave off pushing time.

Which brings me to my water. Oh that stubborn bag of waters. I kept hoping that it would break, because I was just so sure that that would fix everything and I could have this baby. (With Charly, I was stuck at a 5 all night, and then they broke my water and she was born in an hour). I was seriously laying there literally praying that my water would break, so I could just meet my baby already. This may not seem like an important detail...but as you'll soon see, it really, really was.

And well, my water didn't break. But we did, finally, at about 9:30 AM, get to the point where we were ready to push. I didn't really feel the pushing pressure like I had with the girls, but they said we could push and I wasn't complaining.

As they got everything set up, I pulled out my phone and jotted down a few thoughts:

"In hospital bed. About to have baby. So excited, a little scared. Dallin was my hero during labor. I'm excited to meet this little guy. I hope he looks like his dad. I hope he grows up strong and brave. I hope I can teach him to be a gentleman. I hope his sisters love him. I hope I can be a good mommy of three, and a good mommy to a boy."

It was go time.