Sunday, October 22, 2006

Henry's Birth Story

After a few bouts of false labor, I woke on the morning of October 14th just knowing that this day was different. I had some cramping that developed into minor contractions. I showered and we took a walk to the diner for breakfast. Roundtrip, this walk is about a mile and has a big hill at the end. This seemed to get things moving, and I had some contractions all through breakfast and during the walk home that were about 8 minutes apart.

When we got home, Adam whipped himself into a flurry of nesting. He finished packing the bag, cleaned the apartment and took a shower. After this, he collapsed into a long nap, somehow sensing that this would be his last sleep for a while!

I continued to have contractions throughout the day, and was unable to eat much more. After a few bouts of vomiting, I was now convinced that this was indeed the real thing. I was happy at this point that I had stayed home from Janice's shower. When the girls called me during the shower, they were excited to hear I was in labor and called to check my progress and give advice during the day.

At the advice of Aly, we went for another long walk that evening. The contractions were about 5 minutes apart at this point, and 1 minute long. They were not totally painful, but I could no longer talk through them and had to stop walking. Since I had now met the criteria set by my doctor, I called their answering service around 8pm. I spoke with Dr. Kim, who said I should wait until the contractions were an 8 to a 10 on the pain scale before heading to the hospital. I was only 1 cm dialated at my last appointment, so she said I would probably be sent home if I went to Labor and Delivery at that point. She recommended taking a shower and trying to get some rest. She thought I was still in the very early stages of labor.

As the contractions got stronger, I tried the various techniques I had learned to deal with the increasing level of pain. I sat on my exercise ball, did some breathing, listened to my hypnobirthing CD, took a bath and did the swaying and rocking technique while leaning up into Adam and he held the bottom of my stomach. For some reason, that one worked the best.

Around 2am, the contractions were about 2 minutes apart and were positively excruciating. Even though I had doubts about my progress, I knew I could no longer stay at home. Our hospital is about 15 minutes away and I didn't think I could tolerate the car ride there if I waited any longer. I called Dr. Kim again and she said I could go to the hospital for evaluation, but not to surprised if they sent me home. At this point, I had definitely given up on the notion of a drug-free delivery. If I had the equipment, I would have let Adam deliver an epidural at that point!

We got to Labor and Delivery via car service (I think the driver was a little scared to let me in his car) and were forced to fill out some paperwork. Whoever determined that this is an appropriate procedure at this point was clearly a sadist. I was checked in by a nurse who was not very nice. She proceeded with a bloodletting of my arm and strapped me to a fetal monitor and a contraction monitor. Laying on the exam table was very painful. Finally, a resident came into check me and said I was 3cm dialated. She inquired if I wanted pain medication or if I wanted to go home to labor some more. I told her that I definitely wanted the medication and in no way did I want to be sent home. She called Dr. Kim who said that it was OK for them to admit me and give me the epidural. She did a quick ultrasound to confirm that the baby was not breech. The anesthesiologist was sent in for a consult, and I proceeded to dry heave and have contractions between each question. I felt terrible for the people in the adjoining curtained areas, I am sure it made things more scary for them!

Around 4am, they escorted me to a labor room and hooked me up to the IV to admister fluids. Once I had finished the bag I could get the medication. She prepped me during this time and then told me I had to lean over and be completely still while it was being administered. With contractions coming almost every minute, this was no easy feat! Even with the fear of paralysis it was hard to sit still. At one point, she hit some sort of nerve and my right leg felt like I had been electrocuted. My leg shot out past Adam involuntarily, I screamed and then he screamed (like a girl I might add).

The epidural took effect in less than a minute (it was a special combination of a spinal and an epidural) and was a huge relief. Even though my legs were not numbed, I was no longer allowed out of bed. I had to stay on the monitors and IV from that point forward. We were able to get a few hours sleep and woke around 6:30am. Poor Adam had been sleeping in a chair during this period. They checked me again an I was about 5cm. Dr. Kim advised the resident that she could break my water at this point to move things along since I was having regular contractions. Right after that, I started to shiver uncontrollably. The nurse checked me and I had a fever of 101 degrees. They started me on an IV of three different antiobiotics because they were unsure as to what it was. Around 8:30 am, Adam made calls to our families to let them know that I was in the hospital, and that they should head in if they wanted to be there when the baby was born. They checked me again at 10:30 and I was 9 cm. Dr. Kim estimated that I would be able to start pushing in about an hour. At 11:30am, she checked me again and said that I was 10 cm dialated and that it was time!

Since my epidural had worn off a little bit, I was able to feel the contractions and help push. It seems like it would be second nature, but was definitely a difficult concept to grasp. I was pushing for about 15 minutes, and the baby's heart rate started to drop with each contraction. Dr. Kim advised me that she was going to use the vacuum extractor at this point to get the baby out. Between each contraction, she would reach in to "tickle" the baby's head to bring the heart rate back up. The vacuum kept popping off his head and I was beginning to get scared. She was very stern in her directions to me, so I knew the situation was pretty serious. I pushed for a little bit longer and they were able to see the head. Knowing the end was in site was a huge motivator. After the next push the baby's head popped out and things got exciting. She said, "On the next push, you are going to meet your baby." I had my eyes squeezed shut during the push and felt this giant baby pop out. Adam said I screamed very loudly during this part! I looked down and Adam was shouting, "It's a boy!" I was totally stunned and just started bawling. He cut the cord and they took the baby to the warming table for an exam since I had had a fever. After she had me deliver the placenta, she told us that it was the shorted umbilical cord that she had ever seen, which was very scary. She also said that if she had been aware of the positioning of the baby (he was transverse and had his arm up by his face) it would have been an automatic Caesarean section. I will definitely talk to my regular OB about this and find out why this was not determined when I was admitted by the resident.

Luckily, the baby was completely healthy and had Apgar scores of 9 and 9. We spent a few minutes bonding (and me still crying!) and Adam gave me a surprise that he had packed in my bag. It was a beautiful diamond pendant on a platnium chain. Shortly after that, he went out in the hallway and met the family who had just arrived at the hospital. Even his brother and sister in law, and my brother and sister in law and their three girls came, which was a nice surprise. We were very touched that they were so excited to meet Henry.

For those of you who have asked about his name, he is named Henry because we just liked it. It is not too popular, it fits both a little boy and an old man, and wasn't too trendy. His middle name is Richard after his grandfather (my Dad). Adam was open to naming him Richard as a first name, but my Dad really didn't love his name, and wasn't crazy about the idea of Juniors etc. and thought kids should have their own name.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story and a beautiful baby! I can't wait to meet him. He looks like a thweetheart! The name is perfect too! xo

Anonymous said... him! You guys, too, of course!!