Monday, September 10, 2007

Happiness Challenge 1: Chris' birth story

Here is my first post, in honor of Mel's (Stirrup Queens) Happiness Challenge: Chris' birth story.

I wanted to post some of the special memories I have from when Chris was a infant/baby so that, should we never have another child, I can always have somewhere to go to remember such a special - and truly happy and joyful - time.

Unlike my past pregnancies, my pregnancy with Chris was completely and utterly uneventful. I had a few momentary times where I had some brown spotting - usually associated with too much activity or growth of my belly. But, everything was fine - and Chris was very active, which was always a comfort.

My only "complication" at the time was the fibroid I have at the top of my uterus: As my very healthy pregnancy progressed, my fibroid grew larger. Dr. D always reminded me at check-ups that I was at risk for pre-term labor and/or for a c-section, since fibroids can sometimes impede labor (i.e., uneven contractions that would not produce enough force to push the baby out). So, Dr. D finally decided I needed to leave work early: the hospital was over an hour from my job and he didn't want me that far away if I went into labor early. So, my last day of work was April 2, 2007. However, pulling me out of work early ended up being a huge joke because I ended up being a week late! I had a check-up with Dr. D around April 26th - at that appointment, my blood pressure was a little high. Not alarmingly high, but higher than what was recorded the entire pregnancy. So, he decided that, if I did not go into labor by my due date of April 29th, that I would be induced the following Tuesday (his surgery day) - unless, of course, I went into labor before then.

Of course, I didn't.

Night after night, Hubby and I would sit in the living room, or on my bed, talking to Chris - asking him to finally make his appearance on his own. But, he would just wiggle and move in response - kind of like his first F-U to his parents.

I had no contractions in my pregnancy - not even Braxton-Hicks contractions. And, prior to induction, at most I was a 1/2 cm dilated. So, when I say nothing was happening to start labor - nothing was happening.

Chris, or as we called him Elvis at the time, didn't want to leave the building.

On Monday, May 3rd, we calmly left our house with bags in tow and relatively little family fanfare, and I was admitted to the hospital at 8:00 pm to start the induction. The goal was to get me from one-quarter cm dilated to four cm. A fetal monitor was strapped to my stomach, the IV was started and I had a balloon catheter inserted laced with Cervidil at 9:00 pm. Then, the wait began until the 4:30 am check to see how far along I was.

Since I was not in active labor yet, I was not in Labor & Delivery - I was in a shared room in the maternity ward with another patient of Dr. D's, also being induced because of Preeclampsia. My husband was not allowed to stay with me overnight - I was not told that until after the dilation process began. I was very upset, as was he, since no one told us. I really could have used him too. So, he stayed in the family lounge in case I needed him - and he made sure the nurses knew where he was so he could be found. When he left, he gave me our favorite Beanie puppies for support while he couldn’t be there.

Those were the longest seven and a half hours of my life! I was not able to have an epidural, as that "would slow down the progress" – I was only given two Tylenol. Taking Tylenol - which I requested around 1 am - was completely futile. The very beginning of the process wasn't too bad - some cramping and some bleeding for about the first hour or so. I could have slept through that, but I chose not too since Hubby was still there. However, after Hubby left, the pain started to get bad - the only way to describe it was that I was having very strong, half hour contractions with about a 1-minute rest in between. I was holding on the bed rails all night long, trying to do my breathing I learned in my birth class!

I say trying, of course, because I had in the room with me the Hyperventilating Queen of 2004! The girl in the room with me - who barely said hello when we came in - could not handle the process at all. At the start of every contraction, she began to cry, yell for the nurses, and hyperventilate. The nurses were constantly coming in during the night to try to calm her down, get her to breath, etc., etc. She was sooooo, soooo distracting to me - every time I tried to start breathing, she would start her flailing, getting me distracted and uncomfortable.

I felt bad for her - to a point. I was going through the same thing too, after all.

By 2 am, I was wide awake, feeling like I had to use the bathroom every twenty minutes or so - which meant disconnecting me from the fetal monitor, rolling in my IV pole with me and nothing happening except for the bleeding I was seeing. I would roll myself back, hook myself back up and try to get comfortable... Then the hyperventilating from the other side of the curtain would start again, I would get uncomfortable and need to move.

I did get chastised by the nurses for constantly disconnecting the monitor to use the bathroom - but, how could I not move with the pain and the drama on the other side of the room?

I also got chastised for laying on my right side - every time I laid on my right side, there would be a dip in the monitor. So, the bulk of the night was spent on my left side - which, whomever said that that laying on your left side during pregnancy is more comfortable is full of shit!

As the 4:30 am dilation check approached, I felt like I was about to puke because I was so worn down without sleep and the pain of the contractions were just getting to be too much.

In retrospect, I probably could have slept a bit during the night if 1) Hubby had been there and 2) I was not in a shared room with the Hyperventilating Queen. But, alas, that was not meant to be.

BTW, I did find out from Dr. D at my 6 week post-delivery check-up that the girl in the room with me ended up having a c-section. She never made it past 2 cm's - and, she got so bad, she wouldn't let anyone touch her and she wanted them to stop labor. Um, not likely, honey. Her husband finally convinced her to let them do the emergency c-section - which happened right before Chris was born.

Finally, for me at 4:30 am on May 4th, I was examined - at which time the balloon catheter fell right out and I had achieved 4 cm! I was immediately brought to Labor and Delivery (YEAH!!! Private room!), where I finally received an epidural and the beginning of the Pitocin drip.

The anesthesiologist had a little trouble getting my epidural in - not because he didn't know what he was doing, but because I am just too damned ticklish! Every time he touched my lower back, I would squirm! So, it took Hubby and two nurses to hold me in place so that when he touched the area to insert the epi, I wouldn't move. I guess that means getting a tattoo in that area will be out for me!

Once the epidural took hold, from about 5:00 am, I was very comfortable...certainly as compared to the previous night. I was able to finally sleep and rest up. I would watch a little TV, nap, talk, nap, watch TV, nap...and so on, and so on. I still had to lay on my left side - but, since I couldn't feel my legs at all, it really didn't matter all that much.

Our labor nurse was wonderful! Great personality - and very responsive. Technically, I was only allowed two people in the room: my husband/coach and one other person. I opted to only have Hubby with me since I didn't want my MIL offended if I had my mom in the room the entire time. However, our nurse did an end-run for us and, with the open pass, my parents and in-laws kept rotating shifts staying with us. It was great to have them all there at different points - especially the grandmas, since everything was so high-tech as compared to when they had their children.

Dr. D stopped in from time to time after 9 am when he could - somehow, he got slammed with 7 deliveries that day when he was only supposed to have me as an induction and one other scheduled c-section. So, he had to rely on the interns a bit more for me - which was fine, since they were all very nice and competent. He would joke with Hubby because he was hoping to have ordered pizza and have the two of them eat it in front of me the entire day - nice guy, huh?

As 12:15 pm approached, Dr. D came in again and found I was at ten cm dilated! All of the parental visiting was halted and at 12:45 pm, I started pushing. Due to short staffing with all of the deliveries that day, my husband ended up being a brace for me as well as a coach as I pushed. Even with turning down the epidural, I still could not feel when contractions were starting - so, we had to rely on the monitors to see when one was starting, and begin from there.

It took less than a half hour to finally bring Christopher Kenneth into the world – he was born at 1:13 pm (during Days of Our Lives, which I was watching in between pushing) at a healthy 7 lbs. 13 oz. and twenty-one and a half inches long!

Dr. D held him up and announced "It's a BOY!!!" I saw him ever so briefly in the air until he was whisked away to the pediatric area of the room - I was not told why at the time and felt like a stranded island for a while. Everyone left me to turn to him - and of course, I started freaking out. I was finally told, after screaming my head off, that he was okay. He apparently had a lot of fluid to be suctioned out that did not get pushed out through the birth process.

Just as Dr. D turned back to me after making sure Chris was okay, the placenta was delivered. He looked like a football player about to fumble the ball because it happened so fast - but, he made a good catch. Everything looked great - the placenta was completely intact and healthy.

Finally, I was able to hold my son. I was absolutely taken with the little man I was holding. He was perfect - pink, full head of dark hear, eyes wide open and looking around, eyes of sky blue. He was beautiful - and mine. He cried for a little bit, but when I spoke to him, crying with joy, he stopped crying and looked up at me. He just knew my voice from the second I spoke, as if to say "There you are!"

Hubby and I actually did not have a name specifically picked out for a boy - we were fully prepared for a girl: Elena Maria. But, for a boy, we had several names bantering around, but nothing specific. And, when we held Chris, none of those early names fit him at all. Christopher just came to us in an instant - he looked like a Christopher, and since he was our special gift, that had to be his name.

A little while later, my parents and in-laws came in to meet Christopher – their smiles and tears were all I needed to know that Christopher was already loved. Chris was passed around from grandparent to grandparent - even my father, who never held any of his grandchildren until they could sit up, held Chris for a while and spoke to him.

Chris was finally brought up to the nursery to get cleaned up and diapered and checked - I was transferred to a fully private room that became available (and was sooooo welcomed!). Of course, we had to pay $200 per night for the private room - the hospital is still not up to snuff on all private rooms in maternity - but it was my Mother's Day present for 2004. After about two hours, and my meal, Chris was brought in for a while - until it was circumcision time. Dr. D did the procedure that evening - and of course he came in afterwards to tell us Chris did really well and it was the "best job" he has ever done. Good for Chris when he is married some day - bad for us knowing the details!

Chris spent so much time during the day in that room while we were there - along with the visitors who came in during the day and evening. We had a few first-time parent mishaps, of course: Changing his diaper too soon to have him only need to be changed again a few minutes later, not swaddling him correctly, etc. But, he was alert and happy - and HUNGARY! It was rather relaxing...especially because Hubby was able to stay with me overnight.

This was the most amazing experience of our lives! And, I would gladly go through it again, if I could. For that moment in time, I was perfectly and utterly happy.


Di said...

love the birth story...I will have to remember Conner's and post it.

niobe said...

Great story. This: Chris, or as we called him Elvis at the time, didn't want to leave the building almost made me snort my coffee.

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing Chris's story. Now I know a little better what to prepare for.

Amy said...

Great birth story...I was rolling when you talked about the girl next to you! I have to write Peter's and Brandon's birth story....

Jessica said...

Awww so good to read your Birth Story. I never have read it before. Mine is on ME's site ( I am so glad things worked out well and what a great memory of a happy time for you. LOL on watching Days of Our Lives in between and calling him Elvis before he was born ;)

I'm sure like myself this seems like just yesterday and you can't believe how big your boy got!