Monday, December 14, 2015

brett's birth story

As the days grew closer to my due date, I grew more anxious.  I felt so calm about so many things this go around, but the date itself on which my baby would be born was certainly a source of anxiety.  It needed to be a time that was convenient for my working mother.  I hoped it would center around a weekend somehow, so that Tim wouldn't have to take so many days off.  And I wanted it not to land in the middle of the snowstorm that was predicted for the following week.  (The snowstorm that never happened, by the way.)

These were the reasons, on the day before my due date, I suddenly became amenable to the idea of an induction in that overly warm exam room of my obstetrician's office.  It was decided.  I would be induced the following morning at 6:00am.  Friday the 13th.  My actual due date.  But just to aid along the induction, Dr. Ferguson stripped my membranes before we left the office.

Tim and I sat in that cold parking lot and made phone calls to our families to let them know of our somewhat unexpected change in plans.  We helped my mom schedule her flight and her shuttles, and we continued to make phone calls as we headed to a local Mexican restaurant, El Toro Viejo.  Carpe diem, we thought.  We'd never again get the chance to eat out as a family of three.  I loved my dinner, but I was in planning mode.  I couldn't not think about all the things we needed to get done in the next twelve hours.

After dinner, we left one of our cars at the shuttle drop off location for my mom.  We confirmed with my (amazing) visiting teacher (seriously, I could write an entire post about her) that it would be okay for us to drop off Ellie at 5:30 in the morning, and she actually said yes.  (I generally try to forget that 5:30 occurs twice in a 24 hour period, so anyone for whom it occurs twice is immediately eligible for sainthood in my book.)  We went home and packed the last of everything we would need.  I made Tim help me finish cleaning and tidying the house.  And as a grand finale, Tim gave me a blessing that told me everything would be okay.  I believed him.

As a discerning reader, if you assumed me to be a night owl, I commend you.  You were right.  I absolutely am.  On most nights, it is difficult for me to fall asleep before 1:00am.  Though I knew it would be prudent to fall asleep before then, I expected that it might not actually happen, try as I might.  I was right.  I'd been lightly asleep for about ten minutes when I had a contraction.  A painful one.  During my pregnancy with Ellie, I felt no contractions whatsoever - no real contractions and not even any Braxton Hicks.  Nothing at all until I was actually in labor.  Painful contractions were not new to this pregnancy, however; I'd already had several episodes of painful contractions that vanished after an hour or two, so I knew that it was likely that they'd go away before my induction scheduled in just a few hours.  (But it did mean even less sleep than was already a possibility.)

I downloaded a contraction timer app, just in case this was the real deal.  I turned on Gilmore Girls to distract myself from the pain, and realized that the contractions were getting closer together rather quickly.  And boy, did they hurt.  Was it just my imagination or did they hurt even more than last time?  Just as with my previous labor, my contractions never became totally consistent like the textbooks say they should, but it didn't take long for it to become obvious to me that I was truly in labor this time.  Ironic, I thought, with my induction scheduled just hours away.

I am a silent laborer anyway, focusing inward during contractions, but I did my best not to move around much so Tim could get as much sleep as possible.  I needed him to be coherent for me at the hospital, and he takes a medication that makes sleep even more important for him.  At four in the morning, I decided to get up and get ready.  I was trying to delay going to the hospital as long as possible for Tim's sake, and so that we wouldn't have to drop Ellie off much earlier than we already were, but I knew these contractions were coming fast.  I showered and got dressed, which woke up Tim.  He seemed alarmed that I was in labor and by how fast my contractions were coming, but I felt strangely calm.  I told him to get everything in the car while I dried my hair.  Then as soon as I was done, he grabbed a sleepy Ellie and we all headed out to the car.

We dropped off Ellie at 5:00am and headed to the hospital.  I became nauseous and hoped I would be able to make it to the hospital without losing my lunch.  (Er, you know, the contents of my mostly-empty stomach.)  Then I suddenly became very hot and needed that dang car heater off in the stifling twenty degree weather.  Walking across the grass to the emergency entrance of our very tiny hospital, I noticed the layer of frost on the grass and was amazed that I was still so hot and so nauseous.  Tim got me checked in while I focused on contractions.  Through the haze, I laughed inwardly when the woman said they would need to find out if I was in labor before they admitted me.  I was definitely in labor.  And if I hadn't been, I would have been in an hour anyway.

I was thrilled to find out that my favorite nurse who had helped deliver Ellie was also my nurse this morning.  Jami.  I still remembered her name.  As the nurses were hooking me up to the IV, I threw up at least twice.  I can't really remember now.  It took three different nurses and way too many needle pokes to finally get the IV in.  (I have really fun veins.)  Jami informed me that I was already dilated between a five and a six.  She asked if I wanted an epidural.  I definitely did.  With Ellie, it had felt like a luxury, not a necessity.  This time, it felt like a necessity.  The contractions were closer together and far more painful than they had been with Ellie.  As we waited for the anesthesiologist, Jami administered some anti-nausea meds through the IV, which thankfully kicked in fairly quickly.

These are just a few of the bruises from about a week later.  They were everywhere.

This picture is a total lie.  I felt horrible.

This sneaky picture by Tim is a much more accurate representation of how I felt.

By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was already dilated to almost an eight and aching for the epidural.  (Literally.)  Unfortunately, it didn't take right away, so he had to come back just a few minutes later add more medicine to the IV.  Eventually, after what felt like forever, I started to feel numb.  Everyone left the room for a few minutes, and Tim and I marveled that in just a short time, we'd have two children.  Then, suddenly, the nausea came back full force.  I beeped Jami back in and asked if I could have more Zofran for the nausea.  She said it hadn't been long enough since that last dose, but that she suspected this meant it was about time to deliver.  I was shocked.  I shouldn't have been, but I was.  When I first got the hospital, they'd predicted I'd deliver by 10 or 11, and here it was, barely 7:30.  She confirmed that I was dilated to a nine and hurried to call my doctor.

I could see the intensity in Jami's eyes as they tried to get ahold of Dr. Ferguson when he hadn't arrived yet several minutes later.  This baby was coming soon.  Dr. Ferguson walked into my room already dressed to deliver.  Immediately I was told to start pushing through the now-painless contractions.  I was relieved to see that no one seemed alarmed by this delivery in the slightest.  With Ellie, they wanted me to push as hard as I could, as fast as I could, because she needed to get out right now.  But this time, Dr. Ferguson told me to push more slowly through some contractions.  No one was in a hurry.  Still, just a few pushes later, Tim told me he could see Brett's head.  It felt so surreal.  I was going to meet my baby boy any second now.

Dr. Ferguson asked if I wanted to immediately have the baby on my chest, umbilical cord and all.  It surprised me that I absolutely did.  Moments later, I heard his cry, and my body relaxed.  7:59am.  Tears came to my eyes as they placed him on my chest.  He was so small and so perfect, and already seemed content just to rest against me.  I noticed two things immediately.  The first was that unlike Ellie, he had blue eyes.  I knew that could change, but it was definitely different.  And the second was that he had a really long tongue.  I laughed softly and looked up at Tim, who was watching both of us with a contented smile on his face.

Tim cut the cord, and just a few short minutes later, the three of us were alone in our little room.  There was a heavenly peace surrounding us as we marveled over our perfect little boy.

We were by ourselves for probably almost an hour before our new nurse came back in to weigh him and finish cleaning him off.  Tim and I had taken bets between ourselves about how much he would weigh.  Tim guessed 7.5 pounds.  I guessed exactly seven.  Sure enough, he weighed in at exactly 7 pounds, and I thanked the nurse for helping me continue my streak of being right all the time. :)  And he was exactly 21 inches.

Born on 11/13/15 at 7:59am.  7 pounds and 21 inches long.  An odd coincidence, wouldn't you say?

I was beyond relieved that I had only needed one stitch this time.  I don't actually know the number of stitches I'd needed with Ellie, but it was a lot more than one.  And it took the better part of six weeks to feel like I could walk/sit/stand without dying a little inside.  This time, I felt a little sore, but I could already tell this was going to be a much easier recovery.  (I was right.  It only took about a week to feel completely normal again.)

When the nurse was done, Tim and I took turns snuggling our little boy.  I'd already learned after Ellie's birth that Tim is kind of a baby hog.  (But it's a flaw I can live with. ;) )

Around 2pm, Tim left to pick up Ellie, since my mom was getting close to the hospital.  He arrived back with Ellie just before my mom got there.  Immediately, she asked where her present was, which made Tim and I laugh.  For about a month before my due date, we'd been telling Ellie that Baby Brett was going to give her a present after he was born.  She'd definitely remembered.  She was thrilled with the baby doll bather set that "Brett" had gotten her.  Then she got up on my bed so she could see Brett, touched his head, and exclaimed, "Oh, he's so cute and fluffy!"  I bit my lip to avoid bursting with laughter.

My mom arrived a few minutes later and pretty much bypassed Tim and I to see Brett and Ellie.  We've kind of taken a backseat since having kids, and I secretly love it.  Or maybe not-so-secretly.  I love it when people love my kids as much as I do.

First picture as a family of four.

Highlights from the afternoon/evening include:
  • Tim's work delivering flowers.
This is about two weeks later, when they were looking a little sadder, but we loved that the "vase" was an vintage Ford truck.
  • Drinking the cream soda Tim brought back to me from Maddox.
  • Taking a shower.
  • Eating the fancier dinner the hospital prepares for the new parents.  (Yes, I know, but it was actually good.)
  • Having my mom there.
  • And, of course, snuggling my two kiddos.
At the end of the evening, Tim left with my mom and Ellie to get them settled in at our house.  He came back about an hour later to spend the night with Brett and I at the hospital.  Spending the night at the hospital is hard.  They wake you up, like, all the time.  Between feeding a baby, and checking your blood pressure, and drawing your blood, and a million other things - if you weren't sleep deprived when you got there, you would be when you left.  I know some women really love it, but I can't wait to get out of there as soon as my 24 hours is up.

Which is pretty much precisely what we did.  The doctors and nurses checked Brett and I, gave us the okay, and sent us on our way.  We strapped Brett in Ellie's old flowery car seat (poor guy), gathered our things, and walked out to our new-to-us mini van. 

It was sunny and beautiful outside, which was a perfect mirror for how I felt inside.

I'd been waiting for this for a very long time.

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