Some of my friends have asked what will happen to “On a Personal Note” after the baby arrives and I have given it some thought. I would like to take a new direction with this blog and share my ideas on other things in life, besides family. I think this blog will serve as my outlet for ideas on everything from work to friendships to simply random thoughts of nothing. Mainly to serve as a place where I can express my feelings freely….isn’t that what blogs are for anyhow?? But before I can start down this new path, I must first give the finale post on the birth of my son, and original inspiration to start blogging, Andrew. A word of caution, this is probably too long of a narrative to the casual reader and I apologize in advance. It was too hard to condense! ;-)
As indicated in a previous post, I had convinced my doctor to perform an induction so that we could have a planned delivery. Tuesday evening, Kevin’s mother comes over so that she can spend the night and watch Jordan since we have to leave the house at 3:45 am. I think we finally manage to get to bed around 9:30 or perhaps 10pm. I have double-checked my bag & the baby’s bag to make sure I have everything. I remember thinking that since Kev’s mom was staying the night that Jordan would more than likely sleep in her bed and give us the opportunity to enjoy the only 5 hours of sleep remaining. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Jordan was fast asleep in our bed before we could say no. (I carried her to her room at 12am though!) My alarm is set for 3:15am but after tossing and turning for a couple of hours I awoke at 3am to take a shower. We are out the door by 3:45. I remember Kevin parking the jeep outside the hospital doors and feeling nervous for the first time. I also remember him sitting in the driver’s seat checking his Treo for what seemed like an eternity….didn’t he understand that we were on a mission and this was not the time to fool around with his pda?? :-)
We check in at 4am at the front desk and the nurse escorts us to our “reserved” room. (It’s nice having your mother working at the hospital where you plan to give birth.) The room had a sign up on the door that said, “Reserved for AM admission”. It’s one of the rooms in the newer part of the maternity section. The room is huge and has windows that overlook a farm with horses. (Not that you can see the exquisite views at 4am!) Once in the room I am asked to change into those not-so-lovely gowns that gape open in the back. The hook me up with 2 different monitors, one that records the baby’s heart rate & one that monitors my contractions. And much to my surprise, I am having some (little) contractions, even before the medicine! Haha. Some lab-tech comes in and takes my blood and another nurse starts my IV. My mom shows up around 4:30 and makes sure everything is ok. Around 4:45 the admitting nurse says something like, “well, I guess I will go get your first dose of Cytotec and get this thing started.” My mom quickly corrects her by saying, “Dr. Lambert has changed his mind and we are going to do the PG gel first.” And for about 5 minutes I think they are actually arguing as to what Dr. Lambert has ordered. Then my mom tells the nurse to recheck the order log, which she does, and comes back with the gel. (Another advantage of having my mom there!) I get my first dose of the gel around 5am and once it is administered I have to lay flat for about an hour, so Kev and I try to get some sleep. I think I got a wink or two, but I assure you that Kev had more sleep than I did, even if he did have to sleep on a hard pull-out sofa.
For the next 3 hours or so, nothing much happens. We are basically left alone in the room to get some rest. I think I played a million games of solitaire on my laptop during this time. I am having contractions, but none that were strong enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Around 10am, Dr. Lambert comes in to check me and says that I am a “good” 2-3 cm dilated. He decides to break my water and administer the second dose of the gel. The day-shift nurse starts the pitocin (which is a medicine that makes you have strong contractions) through the IV. I am feeling pretty good, the pain is minor and very manageable. At this point, however, I am thinking that things could progress rather quickly and I should probably ask for the epidural soon. I didn’t want to “run out of time” or wait too long and not be able to get one! So at 11am I tell ‘em to bring on the good stuff. And this is where I think the most painful part of the delivery experience occurred.
My labor team consisted of Kevin, my mom, my sister and a friend from high school, Rikki. Everyone, except Kev, left the room while the epidural was being done. I have to sit up on the bed and hug a pillow and push out my lower back while he inserts the catheter. I have to push out my lower back, but remain very still, a difficult task to manage. He numbs the area with some local stuff and I feel a lot of sharp pain, like bee stings, near my spinal area. I am not exactly for sure what the procedure is, but I know they have to stick a needle in your spine area and thread a catheter up through the epidural area of the spine. I can feel the doctor forcefully pushing on me, as if he is trying to push this catheter up into its place. Whether or not this is what he was doing, I wasn’t about to get a clarification on. All I know is that I was starting to feel pain from both the doctor and now from my contractions. After about 30 minutes, which felt like 30 years, the doctor says he is ready to administer the test dose to make sure it’s in the right spot. He asks me if I hear ringing in my ears. I tell him that they are not ringing and that everything just sounds muffled. Then he asks if my heart feels like it is racing, and for a split second I think it’s not, but it quickly goes from 75 to 125 bpm and I begin to sweat like crazy. I tell him yes and he immediately pulls out the catheter. He informs me that he must have hit a blood vessel and he will have to try it again. I literally break down in tears. Not because he just spent 30 minutes on this procedure, not because I am having contractions that are taking my breath away, not because I am now sweating so bad everything is sticking to me, not because the stupid blood pressure machine painfully inflates every 5 minutes, not because I am sitting in a pool of amniotic fluid….I am crying because I thought I would have to give birth without the epidural. I went into panic mode. But before I could dry up my tears and explain the panic I was feeling, the doctor was poking at my back once again and within 5 mins he was doing another test dose. And much to my relief, there was no ringing in the ears & no racing of the heart, it worked! Why couldn’t he try that spot first?? And within 15 minutes I being to lose all feeling from the belly down, the doctor was officially my new best friend.
With the epidural in place I can no longer get out of the bed and have to lay relatively flat. I begin to cool off a little and tell the nurse that after that experience I am sure I dilated at least to a 6! She checked me and I was only a “good” 3-4cm. Oh well, gotta stay optimistic! The next couple of hours I don’t remember too much. I know that I was having contractions left and right, but was not feeling a thing. I felt kinda passive or inept or something, because I really couldn’t do anything to help make things go faster. I just had to lay and wait…..and just keep watching the contractions I could no longer feel on the monitor. I remember talking with my labor team and my sister making several jokes. That’s one thing I love about my family, we can have some really good laughs at times. I even laughed so hard I was getting teary-eyed.
So around 3pm, the nursing staff changes over to the evening shift and my new nurse comes in to assess me and see how I am feeling. She asks me if I am feeling any pressure with the contractions, and I tell her sort of, in front of my belly, below my navel. She said that was because my bladder was full and decided to empty it for me. Then she decided to check me. She told me that I was 8-9 cm dilated and I wanted to give high-five’s to everyone, but they all left the room when I was getting checked!! But they quickly returned and was very excited to learn that I was 1 cm away from the pushing process. My nurse elevated the back of my bed to allow me to sit in a different position for a few minutes & help the baby to continue to drop.
Now this is where it gets crazy. I remember my mom standing beside my bed talking to me. I would say that it’s probably around 3:45 at this point, maybe a little later. I am phasing in and out while listening to her because I am trying to focus on the contractions that I was still barely feeling. At one point I guess I look at her weird and she asks me if I am ok. I tell her that I can feel a lot of pressure “down there”. My mom tells the nurse and I am checked, what turned out to be, for the last time. Almost immediately the nurse says, “you’re 10cm, completely effaced and the baby is at +2”…..which basically means call in the forces the baby will be here any minute. She frantically beeps the doctor and calls the nurses station to inform them of my status. The nurses start the process of bringing out the “delivery tools”. (Did I mention that my cousin works there too? So I have two family members that are nurses in the mother/baby unit who assisted with this process.) The attending nurse is what I would like to call a nurse-nazi. She is big on following policies and procedures, and I think that is what makes her a great nurse. The normal policy is for 3 family members to be allowed in the delivery room during the birth. I think my total thus far was around 5, not including the attending nurse, the baby nurse & the doctor himself. So my nurse looks at me and says, “Velvet, I need to know who is going to be staying in the room with you during the delivery.” And I chuckled, then said, “Every single one of them.” I think she had a slight stroke.
The doctor arrives around 4pm and preps for the delivery. My nurse instructs me that on my next contraction I am to start pushing. The first time I pushed I felt like I wasn’t doing it right. I never went to any birthing classes or anything, so I was only going by what the nurses were telling me to do. I guess I was doing something right because within 13 minutes little Andrew Ryan was born.
Did I mention that I loved staying in the hospital after the birth? I know, I must be weird, but man those nurses are great! They are there for you no matter what you ask of them. And this time around, I asked for the baby to sleep in the nursery at night and to be brought to me when he was hungry. This has to be the best part about the whole experience because I was actually able to get some sleep. I think it helped with recovery too. (I definitely recommend this for any new mother out there. There is nothing for you to prove by keeping the baby in the room!!!) For this delivery, I only took Motrin for pain afterwards. With Jordan, I took the Tylenol 3 and was doped up every minute! I was really surprised I was able to manage the pain with Motrin. One of my coworkers wife gave birth back in March (I think??) and he told me that she left the hospital the day following the birth of their son! How amazing!! At first when he told me I couldn't believe it, but after this delivery, I really think I could have gone home the next day too. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.....I just wanted to be pampered for one more day! :-)
It was a very joyous occasion and Kevin and I couldn’t be any happier. We are both excited about the addition to our family. It has been just over 3 weeks since Drew’s birth and everyone is doing great. (Although the baby is still a tad bit jaundice.) I feel like I have recovered from everything. Kevin seems to be doing well, although I have a feeling that he would not express it if he was doing badly! Jordan is definitely excited about Andrew. She is a very good helper and can barely keep her hands off of him. She even likes to “breastfeed” her baby dolls now. Uh oh!!