Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Baby Is Here!

Well, last Thursday, I had a scare. I hadn't really felt the baby move for about 8 hours and I was worried, so I drank some juice, lay on my side, and waited to see if I got 6-10 movements. Well, I didn't. Scary! So I went to the hospital. They hooked me up to a baby monitor and I heard the wonderful sound of my baby's heartbeat. As they were monitoring me, however, they saw that I had high blood pressure (between 130-154/80-104), and so they had my obstetrician come take a look. After 7 hours of being in the hospital that day, my OB came in and announced that I was going to be induced the next day. The high blood pressure is bad for the both mother and baby, and with my due date only days away, there was no reason not to. Well, this was a shock to me because I figured since this was the first baby, I wouldn't have him for at least another week. I was worried I'd have to be induced because of him coming late; I did not expect to be induced before the due date!

So they released me, but I was to return at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. for a dose of prostin, which would help ready my cervix for delivery (that day at the hospital, I was a 1+ cm dilation). So I went home, finished packing my maternity bag (well, my husband did. I had high blood pressure after all). We went back at 4 and I received the first dose. What they neglected to mention is that prostin would cause cramping and likely contractions. So about an hour after receiving the prostin, I start having pretty bad back labor. At first I didn't realize they were contractions, but I began to notice that the pain would intensify about every 5 minutes. I was having a particularly long and painful contraction around 8:30 and decided I couldn't take it anymore; my husband took me back to the hospital (which is luckily only 5 min. from our place). After checking in, they checked my cervix to see if it had dilated more; it hadn't (but boy, did I love them checking). They consulted my doctor and said that they were going to give me an epidural (yes!). I was right and it was back labor. As I was waiting for the anesthesiologist to come, I continued with the contractions. I had a monitor that showed them on a screen. I would watch it to see when the line would start to fall, so I knew I was on my way out of a contraction. Interestingly enough, a couple of times, it switched from my back to my stomach. Let me tell you, I liked the stomach ones much better (if only they'd all been the stomach). Once the epidural was in place, I was in heaven. The pain went away, even though the screen showed that the contractions were continuing. It was an odd sensation not having feeling in my legs, though; and for some reason, my right leg was so numbed, I could just barely move it. Most of the time, I had to reach down and move it.

After the epidural, they put in the second dose of prostin. It was so nice because this time I didn't feel it (whereas the first time, it was like some cruel form of torture). Of course this meant staying at the hospital that night, rather than going home. I had hated the thought earlier, but now I was glad. If I hadn't gotten the epidural I wouldn't have slept at home. Plus my doctor wanted me there at 6 a.m. This meant I didn't have to worry about waking up early and going to the hospital. Instead, a nurse came in around 5:30 and put the petosin into my IV. Much better! That night was weird. I was so relaxed, and yet didn't sleep much. The nurse kept coming in throughout the night for various reasons including my baby heart monitor slipping. I was anxious for the night to be over, so whenever I was conscious, I would check the clock. To my dismay, it would seem like no time had passed. When I thought for sure it was at least 3 a.m., it was only 1 a.m., and so on. Finally, the night was over. I wasn't sure what would happen once the petosin was administered. I knew I wouldn't be pushing till I got to 10 cm. By 9 a.m., when my doctor checked me, I was at 4 cm. The doctor broke my water and something unexpected was discovered: the baby had had a bowel movement in the womb. I didn't know they could do that BEFORE the water broke. The doctor said, "Good thing we're delivering this baby." I don't know what would have happened if he'd been in the womb like that another week.

So anyway, I guess the first 4 cm are the hardest centimeters to get to. So I was anxious to know when I finally reached 10 cm, but it was awhile before the checked again. Around 10 or so I started to feel the contractions again (which were in my back again). It hurt so bad. I asked for the anesthesiologist to come and give me a higher booster (I had a button I could push that would give me a booster, but it wasn't affective enough). He was putting in an epidural, so it took about a half hour for him to come. It seemed like forever. Finally he came and once again I returned to heaven.

Around noon, I think it was, a nurse came in, checked the cervix, which was a full 10 cm, and said, "Why don't we find out what would happen if you pushed on the next contraction." So on the next contraction, I pushed to the count of 10 three times. We did this through three contractions. When I was done, my husband said he could see a dime-sized portion of our baby's head. Since this nurse obviously couldn't deliver, she went to get my nurse who would then consult with my OB.

About an hour later, my nurse came in and said, "Well, let's see where you're at." She went to check the cervix when she found to her amazement that the baby's head was in the way. "Oh, your baby's right there, " she said. So she went to page my OB. A few people came into the room to set up for the delivery. They brought in equipment for the APGAR test, a bassinet for the baby, and so on. This was when reality was hitting and I realized that I was really having this baby NOW. My nurse came back and suggested we try to push and see what happened. They had stopped the petosin earlier to see if I would continue contracting on my own. From the monitor, I could see that I was contracting, but not as frequently or as strong as before. So on the next contraction, I started the 10-count push. Well, I only got to about 4 when the nurse stopped me. I guess she figured that the OB should be present when the baby came out.

So I was very anxious about the doctor coming, especially since it seemed that the baby was on a nerve in the left leg causing quite a bit of pain. Luckily, he was quite prompt (he came about 15 minutes later). He again told me to push, and again, I only got to about 4 when he stopped me. Then he started me again. He told me to look down in front of me and out popped a baby. So I figure that between it all, I pushed about 10 minutes. I felt at that point that my delivery was one of the easiest ever. The OB was holding the baby and asked Aaron if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord. He had decided ahead of time that he didn't want to, so he said no. Well, Dr. Young didn't take that for an answer and insisted that Aaron go over and cut the cord, so he did. I guess he figured it was easier not to argue. Because of the bowel movement, they took the baby over to the warmer to have a thorough exam instead of letting me hold him first.

I had assumed I had not torn at all since I hadn't felt it, so I said to Dr. Young, "I didn't tear, did I?" and he was like, "Yeah, but it was a minor tear; no big deal." Then I realized, duh, I'm numb from about the waist down; of course, I wouldn't feel it if I tore. So the doctor stitched me up and when they were done with checking the baby, they handed him to me. Finally, I was holding me little baby boy (and it was a relief to confirm that he was a boy. I had heard of two instances recently of parents expecting a boy and getting a girl, which is weird. I could see the other around, but boys are pretty distinctive). I do want a girl, but what would I have done with all the boys things I have?

Once Dr. Young was done, I took that opportunity to breastfeed my baby. It went rather well, which made me excited. The rest of that day and the weekend was quite a blur. I remember being excited when the epidural had worn off enough that I could get out of bed after about 21 hours. We had some visitors come and see the baby. Even though the first breastfeed went well, it didn't always go well. The nurses helped where possible, but each had a different idea of how it should be done. The main problem was that Alex would fall asleep before being done or not want to wake up at all to nurse. Before we left the hospital, they ran a jaundice test which revealed that he was slightly jaundiced. This I think was mostly due to Alex not eating enough. The pediatrician recommended not circumcising him yet because babies usually don't eat well for a day after circumcision and with him not eating well anyway, that could be bad.

The first 24 hours home were pretty much H-E-double hockey sticks. I didn't get any sleep that night because Alex would fuss every time I would put him in his bassinet, which led me to just holding him. Very frustrating. I think I totaled out at 1 hour sleep, 3/4 of which I got after 7 a.m. I had been recommended by like 5 people in the hospital to see a lactation specialist about Alex not feeding well, so once they opened, I called the office and scheduled an appointment for that afternoon. At the appointment, I found out that since birth, Alex had lost 13 oz (almost a pound!). This was not good at all, and I knew it was mostly my fault for letting Alex skip feedings if he didn't seem interested. So from then on I vowed not to let that happen anymore. Instead of letting him skip, if he didn't seem interested in eating, then I would pump and feed him the pumped milk. This was done by sticking my pinky in his mouth and when he would suck on it, I would squirt in a little milk through a catheter tube and syringe, so he would see he was rewarded for sucking. I made sure that I fed him at least every 3 hours. It must of helped in more ways than one because that night Alex actually slept in his bassinet. Sure the longest stretch was about 2 hours and I still only got about 3 hours, but comparatively it was heaven because even though I didn't sleep the whole night, a majority of it was at least spent lying in bed, which is better than spending it walking around the room. And I figure that it was a pretty normal night for a newborn.

This morning I had to take Alex to the hospital to have another jaundice test. Then I went to the lactation office to weigh Alex once again. There was good news; he had gained 3 oz, which is a good gain, esp. since it had only been 21 hours. When I got home I called the pediatrician's office to find out the results of the test. It turns out that it was high enough that they wanted to send out a billibed for Alex to lie in to help get rid of the jaundice. I think that the increase in feedings will help, but I definitely don't want to take chances, so I told her to send the bed over. So Alex has been on it all day except to be fed. It's interesting, he is totally stuck on that thing (basically they have a little outfit on top of the lights for him to go in with sleeves to he can move his arms around). Even so, he's hardly fussed about it. After what we through Sunday night, I am really surprised. I have to take him in tomorrow to have the test repeated, so we'll find out if the lights helped. I'm also having him weighed again. Hopefully we'll have another good gain. If he keeps gaining like this, he'll be back at his birth weight by Friday or Saturday. I believe that the goal for all newborns is to be back at birth weight by 2-weeks old.

So basically, it was a shock to have the baby so soon, but we're excited to have him, even with all the trials. He is so precious and we love him! I can't believe we finally have a child as part of this family. In many ways, I feel like we're imposters who have taken this child away from his real parents, who will soon show up to claim him. It's so crazy!


Born February 29, 2008 (yes, he's a leap day baby!), 2:15 p.m.
Weight: 6 lb 15 oz
Length: 19 in.
Name: Alex

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