Confession time--I've seen birth stories shared all over facebook, but I've never read one before. I am basically winging this. A few people have been interested in hearing "the story" and I also want to write all of these details down before I forget. Sorry if it's long!
When we found out we were pregnant back in July, we were pretty terrified of losing the pregnancy. Since it was such a shock for us to get pregnant, we kind of assumed that the pregnancy would be some kind of high risk venture. We ended up seeing the same OBGYN that treated my endometriosis and cysts 3 years earlier. We really liked him because he is so down to earth and has a very calming presence. He assured us at our first visit that, in most cases, even if you struggle to get pregnant, once you GET pregnant, you're on the same plane as anyone else.
I did the see-the-OBGYN-once-a-month gig and most visits were short and sweet. My doc would ask about my symptoms, I'd tell him I wasn't feeling awesome, he'd chuckle and say "welcome to pregnancy," he'd check the baby's heart beat, ask if I had any questions, and then tell me to come back in 4 weeks. I had plenty of aches and pains, but nothing out of the ordinary.
At my 20 week ultrasound, the tech told us that Reuben's kidneys looked every so slightly large and that there was a chance he had hydronephrosis. Since things are still developing at 20 weeks, they said they wanted to check him out again at 32 weeks. Patrick had hydronephrosis (among other things) and so I wasn't that worried about it because I knew it wasn't the end of the world and continued to have uneventful visits with the OB.
At my 32 week ultrasound, the tech told us that Reuben's kidney's looked great, but told us he was measuring 2 weeks ahead and asked how sure we were about our due date and asked if I had been tested for Gestational Diabetes. My doc got the results and sent me back for another ultrasound at 36 weeks. In the mean time, my doctor suggested that I take the 3 hour glucose test, even though I had passed my one hour test several weeks before.
I saw my doctor again at my 36 week appointment. He informed me that I had just failed my glucose test and that my ultrasound the day before showed the baby measuring large. Suddenly my uneventful pregnancy because a bit stressful. I got sent to the hospital for diabetic education, hooked up with a glucometer, a new diet and exercise regimen, biweekly non-stress tests, and increased visits and monitoring by my OBGYN.
My doctor was concerned about baby's size and well-being and my ability to deliver a large baby--at my 36 week ultrasound he was estimated to be 7 lbs 15 oz. Together we decided to have me induced on Thursday the 24th of February--38 weeks and 2 days. In the mean time I continued to have non-stress tests, which were thankfully non eventful.
It was kind of a relief to have my birth scheduled and to take the stress of having to be ready to go at any unknown time. We had time to figure out what to do with Patrick and get meals in the freezer and what not.
We called Thursday morning to make sure they were still ready for me and had to clear several inches of snow off our van in order to make get on the road. Brent doesn't love driving, so I drove myself to the hospital. I found that amusing since I assumed through most of my pregnancy that the trip to the hospital would be a lot more dramatic. We got a call from the University Hospital as we were driving asking us why we were delivering there because my doctor "doesn't deliver there." We explained that since Brent works at UNI we have the best benefits at University of Utah providers and while the U wasn't a hospital my doctor delivers at often, he DOES deliver there.
We got the the hospital a little bit later than we were supposed to--I was scheduled for 8:30 but didn't arrive until about 8:45/9:00 am due to being delayed by the snow. We checked in, they led us to a labor and delivery room, and we set up camp. Brent got cozy in his dad chair and I changed into a gown, and a few more people asked us why were were delivering at the U, and we again explained the my doctor DOES deliver there.
I hopped up in the bed and soon they came in and worked on placing my IV. I'm not a big fan of needles and having the IV placed with kind of a miserable experience, especially since I was nervous about the entire birth process. I started crying when they placed the IV and was feeling pretty pathetic and got scared that I wasn't going to survive the rest of the delivery very well.
They started the pitocin about 10 am. I asked them to move my IV a little while later because it was still hurting in my hand. They poked my arm and that hurt even more than the first time they tried to place my IV. They weren't able to get my vein, so I told them I wanted them to just leave it in my hand after all. Then they brought in another nurse who looked at it and decided it "looked angry" in my hand and talked me into trying to place it one more time. Fortunately, even though I was in tears by the time they'd placed my IV three times, it immediately felt better and I was beyond relieved to have the pinchy IV pulled out of my hand. I was feeling pretty bashful for being such a woss about having my IV placed, but a few of the nurses said it was their least favorite part of having a baby and I felt a little better.
The next several hours were pretty uneventful. The nurse came in and told me I was having contractions and I was like "oh, I am?" and she showed me on the monitor that the lines were peaking. I was feeling like I had it pretty easy Brent and I learned that there isn't much on TV in the middle of the day. After surfing all the channels on the hospital's cable list, we settled on watching hoarders for a few hours and texting my birth groupies about how my progress was going.
They checked me every 2 hours and I made fairly steady progress. They increased my pitocin bit by bit and came in about 3 pm to break my water and told me my contractions would start getting stronger. I had barely been feeling them at that point so I wasn't too worried about it.
Bit by bit, my contractions got stronger and more painful. I planned on going into the birth with an open mind about epidural and just seeing how things went before I decided for or against. I called the nurse in and told her I was getting pretty uncomfortable and thought I would go ahead with the epidural whenever the anesthesiologist was ready. She told me that he was in an emergency C section and wouldn't be available for a while. I had about 90 minutes worth of contractions that were very painful and rocked my world before they were able to get my epidural placed. The gave me some fentanyl to help with the pain and sent the doula in to help me cope with the pain. The doula had an adopted son so we talked adoption. Since the fentanyl made me a little loopy, I think she probably got more of an earful from me that I intended. I had a hard time holding still long enough for them to place the epidural since I was having strong contractions that were coming on fast. Once it was placed, it was like flipping a switch. I hand the tingly numbness in my legs, but the pain was gone!
The next several hours I tried to rest, but that wasn't that productive the nurses coming in every so often to check my progress, take my blood sugar, etc. I also had to keep changing positions because baby's heart rate was dropping with contractions. It was pretty comical because I did not feel like I had any control over my lower body. I had to have Brent position my legs for me and the nurses had to heave-ho my legs from one side to the other to get me to turn.
I was 6 cm at about 8 pm and they told me that it usually took another 4 hours to become fully dilated. I was expecting a longer night when they checked me at 10 and I was only 7 cm, but when they came in at midnight to check, they told me it was baby time.
I had been chatting with the nurse about one of our favorite topics - traveling to Europe - and they had a hard time getting us to stop talking about London, Paris, and Ireland.
Within 15 minutes, my doctor had arrived and there were suddenly a lot of people hanging out in my room - like 10 people not including me and Brent! And, for all the times we were told that my doctor didn't deliver there, the staff seemed to know him. There was my doctor, a resident doctor or two, a few nurses, people who seemed to be there just for when the baby was born, and someone who seemed like her job was to clean up as we went along.
Before my doctor came, I asked the nurse how long I should expect to push. I told her that I heard the average was about 90 minutes and she told me that was true, but that they would let me push for up to 4 hours. So, I told myself to plan on at least 90 minutes but to be prepared for up to 4 hours of pushing.
Pushing with an epidural is an interesting experience. If you drew a line across my stomach through my belly button, I could feel everything from that line up. I could feel some of my contractions and I could only kind of feel to push. The doctors and nurses told me that it usually takes a few rounds of contractions and pushing for women to get it right with an epidural on their first delivery.
My first contraction came and I had small crowd of people cheering me on, counting down from 10, and telling me to push harder! I pushed for 10 seconds, 3 times per contraction (I'm guessing that's standard.) A few contractions in, I started hearing things like "that's it!" and "almost there," "just a little harder!" I assumed they were telling me that I was almost getting the method of pushing down. I could feel some pressure and I asked what it was and someone told me it was the head. I pushed once more and suddenly saw the whole baby being held up. I heard a voice call out "time of birth 12:42 am." Somehow I managed to get him out in less than 30 minutes when I had spent weeks worrying about not being able to deliver him and needing a C section.
He didn't cry the way they wanted him to, so they took him over to a little table to work on him instead of letting me hold him right away. They did some suctioning and told me they had to take him to the nursery. I did get to hold him for a few minutes before they took him to the nursery.
I kept asking how much he weighed since his size had kind of been a big topic of discussion in the weeks leading up to his birth. My doctor said he guessed around 8 lbs. They didn't weigh him in my room so I had to wait for him to get weighed in the nursery. Finally they got back to me and told me he was 8 1bs, 13 oz. It wasn't until the next day that I finally got someone to tell me he was 20 inches long.
One of the most memorable moments of the night was looking over at Brent after most of the hospital staff had cleared out. He was white as a sheet with a total look of shock on his face. The nurses had basically told Brent he was on his own for food and drink up until that point, but after seeing the state he was in, they brought Brent a sandwich and a coke. Brent made some kind of comment about how the only time he'd seen so much blood was when he was watching the walking dead, and got really quiet for a while as he processed what he'd just witnessed!
We got moved over to our postpartum room about 3:30 am and we spent the next two hours chatting about what just happened and trying to finalize a name. We had a short list and a long list of baby names we liked. Royal was on the short list, but I always preferred it as a middle name. Reuben was a name on the long list, but we'd never taken it very seriously. Right after he was born, Brent came over to me and told me he thought he looked like a Reuben. When I held him for the first time, I was pretty sure I thought his name was Reuben, but I needed some time to try it out before we committed to it long term. After we looked up the meaning of the name (Behold, a son) and tried it out a few times. it was pretty well decided.
We spent Friday in the hospital getting to know our new baby, entertaining visitors, and getting visited by doctors, nurses, specialists, etc.
My doctor came to see me Saturday morning and told me we could go home. I was feeling great and Reuben was doing great, so we gladly obliged. We packed up our things and took our sweet little peanut home!
We've been enjoying our time as a pack of 6 (4 human, 2 canine). It's been an adjustment, but overall Patrick has been doing pretty well. He's always very sweet to Reuben and is very curious about all the different elements of