The birth story of Rex

18 Jan

Oh, I had plans. So many plans. I took all the birthing classes, waited faithfully for contractions, and had many visions of what giving birth would be like. All of that went out the window the moment I heard the words “dangerously low level of amniotic fluid.”

At 38 weeks 6 days, I had an ultrasound because my fluid level had been dropping so they were monitoring it every 3 days. Well, on that day, it had dropped to 3 cm (which is apparently very low). I wasn’t totally sure what that meant for me until the ultrasound tech looked at me and said “You’re having a baby today!” Um. What? I am? But…I’m not prepared. Because I’d been being monitored with ultrasounds and NSTs every 3 days, we phad gotten psyched up and ready to have the baby many times before this. By 38 weeks 6 days, we figured I’d pass the tests once again and we would go home without a baby. But no. It was game time. OMG.

The doctor checked me and I wasn’t dilated at all. As a first time mom, that wasn’t a big surprise. The doctor asked me if I wanted to try an induction, or if I wanted to go straight to the c section. I wanted to at least TRY the induction. Fingers were crossed. They allowed us to go home to get our bags and eat one last lunch (little did I know, that would be the last lunch I’d get to sit and fully enjoy for months.) They told us not to dawdle, and to get back to the hospital ASAP. We followed directions, and we checked in at the hospital in the late afternoon. I remember sitting in the lobby of the hospital, name tags acquired, waiting for the wheelchair (they insisted), and thinking how completely surreal it felt. All those months of anticipation, of obsession, of LOVE… they were now finally going to result in a baby. I couldn’t believe it.

At around 5 pm, once I’d been thoroughly briefed, questioned, and introduced, they inserted cervidil. They wanted to let that work for several hours to soften my cervix before starting the pitocin. While I waited, I was required to be on the monitor (two huge straps across my belly) to monitor for contractions and the baby’s heart rate and movement. Due to my excess abdominal fat and very active child, they kept losing the baby on the monitor. That meant a nurse was in repositioning the strap every 10-20 minutes. It was very tiring. I couldn’t eat, and at that point, they were letting me drink water.

A nurse came in around 11 pm to check my cervix. I was dilated to a 1 ½. Hey, it wasn’t great, but it was something. Forward movement! Yay! They started the pitocin at about 11:30. At that point, I couldn’t get up except to go to the bathroom, and they cut off my water. So. Much. Thirst. All night long, I would’ve punched an angel for some water. I kept sneaking more ice than I was supposed to, and my husband kept telling me not to, that it was for my own good.

Throughout the night, I barely slept, even though I was exhausted. They kept losing the baby on the monitor, so the nurses were back in every 10-20 min, all night. I begged to be let off the monitors just for an hour, to be allowed to walk around, something, anything. They wouldn’t have it. If I was on pitocin, I was to be in bed, on the monitors, period. I did some laps around the end of the bed before and after bathroom breaks, and I walked around the tiny bathroom over and over. I moved what little I could.

We watched the contractions on the monitor all night long. We saw them spiking up and down, and I was contracting. Interestingly, I didn’t feel a thing. I had some tightening around 1 am, a little like a period cramp, but other than that, I felt nothing. They checked me again around 5 am, and I wasn’t any further dilated. “Still at a 1 ½” were not the words I was hoping to hear. My OB, who everyone says looks like George Clooney, came in around 6:30 am to break my water, in hopes that it would get labor moving and get my cervix in gear. He told me he was also going to insert a monitor into baby’s scalp to monitor his heart rate. We told him we were not in agreement, that we didn’t want something screwed into our child’s head (literally). He told us that it was the only way to make sure the baby was safe and sound and tolerating labor well, because the abdominal monitoring was not working. It turned out to be a moot point—my cervix was still so closed that he couldn’t even get the hook in to break the bag. Not good. He said that at that point, I could try to continue the induction, but in his experience, given that this was my first birth and I was early, it would mean 2-3 more days of induction, stuck in bed, no food, no water, NOTHING. I was like, cool, you’re going to starve this baby out of me?? Haha. He said if I wanted to try to continue, I could, but he was concerned. He said “Your fluid is too low. If it were my wife, I’d advise her to do the section now. We have a healthy baby in there at this moment. I can’t tell you that we’ll still have a healthy baby in 3 days.” Those were some powerful word. Okay. Cut me open. Let’s do this.

And so the section was scheduled for 3 pm. We continued the pitocin, just in case. I asked them to take it off at 11 am though, so that I could move. My body was so effing sore from being stuck in that bed for 18 hours that I thought I was going to murder someone. It was bad. The nurse let me sleep from 11 am till about 1 pm, and I love her so much for that. I will always remember that as such a kind gesture. I needed those two hours of sleep very, very badly. Around 1:30, the nurse came in to prep me for surgery (shave and haircut, etc etc), and to give my husband his scrubs. Things started to move pretty fast in my head. We got ready, hurried up, and then waited. The anesthesiologist came in at some point to give me the info on the spinal they’d be using. At 3 pm sharp, the assisting surgeon came in looking for me, annoyed. I’d been trying to use the bathroom, as I knew I wouldn’t get to do so for a long time. So I was in and out of the bathroom, trying to go, waiting. The surgeon seemed annoyed that I wasn’t in the OR already. Um…isn’t someone supposed to take me there?? Come on! There was some confusion over who my nurse would be in surgery, and we told him that we’d be there as soon as I had a nurse. Once they assigned a new nurse, she took us across the unit to the OR.

My husband was asked to wait outside. There was momentary confusion because nobody had explained to him that he’d be separated from me at any point. He sat in a chair in the hall for about 35 minutes, which he will tell you were some of the longest moments of his life. While he waited, the anesthesiologist did the spinal and they prepped me for surgery. If you’ve never had a spinal morphine cocktail, it is…interesting. My entire lower half became totally numb very quickly. The whole time, I was thinking of my husband, wondering why he couldn’t be in there and when they were going to go get him. I kept reminding them he was out there, telling them to go get him as soon as they could. Eventually, once I was prepped and on the table, Doc Clooney showed up. He got scrubbed in, and then they finally went to get my husband. He came in just minutes before the surgery began and took his spot behind the blue sheet next to my head. We were having a baby.

After Doc Clooney did some more shaving (according to the nurse, he’s a very picky surgeon), he started the surgery. I had an oxygen mask on, but I can tell you that the smell of my own flesh burning from where they were cutting it open was one of the most nauseating I have ever smelled. Yes, worse than baby poop after beginning solid foods. Eventually, after what seemed like forever, they told me that the assisting surgeon was going to start pushing the baby down in my belly so Doc Clooney could pull him out. And that huuuurt. I felt every bit of them pushing him down from just below my rib cage. I was so glad I had the oxygen mask—I focused on breathing it in to help with the pain. It did help. At 4:00 pm on the nose, right after Venus had started to move across the sun in its rare transit (http://www.transitofvenus.org/), I suddenly felt the pain leave and my belly empty. It almost felt like it…retracted? It was an odd sensation. And with that, and an exclamation of “He looks like Daddy!” from Doc Clooney, there he was. Right there on that operating table, our tiny little baby came into the world.

My husband had been standing up partially, watching them pull him out. The doctor then pulled down the blue sheet part of the way, and it was then that I caught my first glimpse of him. Our baby. He was all blue, almost purple. Seeing him took my breath away. All that time I had spent wondering what he would look like, and how big he would be, it was over. He was there, in front of me, and the happiness made me breathless. They had Papa go over to the warming table with him, to get him all cleaned up and checked over. When my husband walked away and I was alone for a moment, the first thing that sprung to mind was “That wasn’t so bad. I could do that again. I should do that again.” (Not so much…I call that morphine-induced insanity now.)

Papa and the baby were taken to the recovery room next door while they stitched me up. It took about 20 minutes, but it felt like it took absolutely forever. I wanted to meet my baby!! While they worked, the doctors talked about the love lives of other physicians. Doc Clooney discovered that my umbilical cord only had two vessels instead of three. Finally, they were done, and I was wheeled over to recovery, where I was to meet my son for the first time. As I came into the room, a nurse said to my husband “Tell her what we found!” Papa said “He has a tooth!” Whaaat? Yes, our son was born with his first full tooth intact. Once they had me positioned, they brought him over and laid him on my chest. We snuggled and got to know each other and fell promptly in love. And he looked nothing like I had imagined—he looked so much more perfect than that.

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