And then it happened....

Last weekend, I hoped to have a baby. Contractions came irregularly. I slept a lot. And then Laurel got sick, and I was distracted by that, and the weekend came and went. I took her to the doctor and it turned out she had strep throat. I started a new set of lesson plans for work, while she dozed in her bed and watched Diego on Netflix. My friend, Leah, had predicted the 23rd, but I wasn't feeling optimistic about it. Until, that is, I woke up at 4:30am on the 23rd, ravenous for my customary early-morning bowl of cereal. I had several contractions in bed and they felt different somehow. While I was sitting at the dining room table with my bowl of Chex, my water broke. I thought about what to do, and decided to wake up M. In retrospect, I might have let him sleep a little longer. But he was very excited and immediately set about getting the neighbor to come and watch Laurel and calling my mom and making coffee. Because of my VBAC status, I knew the midwife would tell us to come in for monitoring, but I also knew there wasn't a huge rush, since I wasn't in active labor yet. When we finally left home around 7:30, we decided to stop for some breakfast and went to the very empty Eat n Park in Squirrel Hill. We attempted to walk around a bit outside, but the wind chill was below 0 and we gave up on that quickly. When we got to the hospital, I had to go through the whole strip-down, pee-in-a-cup routine and they hooked me up to a monitor. They confirmed that my water broke and that I wasn't in active labor. We discussed getting some pitocin to get things started. That's when the first of the heart decels showed up on the baby's monitor. Decels sometimes mean something and sometimes don't, but in my case, they were exercising a lot of caution because it's often the first sign of a uterine rupture. The consulting OB said no pitocin and to check in and wait for a few hours to see if anything happened.

We spent a few hours chilling in the Labor and Delivery room. The midwife told us she would come back around 1. M was coding something and I was goofing around on Pinterest. Then around 10:30 am I started to feel real contractions. By 11:30, they were intense and frequent. At first I was up and about. M helped to rub my back and hold me. I asked for the yoga ball and the telemetric monitoring belt so that I could move around a little more, but they started having trouble keeping the baby's heart on the monitor and there were more decels and they made me get in bed and lie on my side. I found this to be a most unpleasant position for managing pain and I started to lose it pretty quickly. I was sweating like crazy and thinking, there is no way I can do this for the next 24 hours (Laurel's labor was very long, so I was imagining a time frame like that). The midwife finally came back and checked my progress and declared that I was at 6cm. Contractions were coming fast and furiously and we tried again to do some other positions, but the baby's heart rate kept going down, and they started to roll me back and forth from side to side in the bed.

The last 45 minutes is something of a blur. I demanded an epidural if I had to stay in bed. My contractions were literally on top of each other as the anesthesiologist was trying to explain every bullet on a very lengthy informed consent document, running from one side of the bed to the other as they rolled me back and forth. I felt an uncontrollable urge to push, which the labor and delivery nurse was trying to get me to stop because the baby's heart rate was slowing down so much. There were many people in the room, my blood pressure plummeted, and then there were hands all over my body taking my pulse in my wrists and neck and ankles (it was in the 30s). They put an oxygen mask on my face. Somebody said, should we just roll her down into the operating room and wait for the OB there. People started to unhook IV bags. It would have been scary, except I was all dizzy from having no blood pressure, so I wasn't thinking about much at all.

And then the doctor arrived. Finally. Our OB reminds me of a television version of an OB. Older, distinguished, makes corny jokes. He told everyone to calm down. He checked me again and I was fully dilated. The baby's heart rate was cranked up high, and I could hear it slow down with every contraction, as the midwife and nurse looked nervously at the screen. He said, "We're going to do this old school." I didn't care what that meant, I was just relieved to not be having another c-section. And that's how Mark Oliver came into this world. Pulled gently out of me with a pair of forceps. He cried immediately and they put him on my chest and the NICU people took a look at him and then disappeared. And slowly people started to leave the room until it was just M and me and our son. Megan arrived with my gluten free pizza and brownie. She was supposed to be another labor support person, but the whole thing happened too fast.

Mark Oliver was very alert and nursed immediately and I felt amazing and it was only 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

And that's how we had a baby.


Anonymous said...

my heart was pounding just reading this. glad you and baby are both happy and healthy. congrats! kj

Anonymous said...

The suspense was intense even though I knew the happy outcome. Whew!!!

From Day One Mark Oliver did not look like a stressed newborn. He seems to be enjoying life with his family in the outside world.

I enjoy the pictures so much.

Love, Aunt Mary

k said...

Yes, it was very exciting! Terrifying in the moment, but all turned out fine. Except my butt really hurts.

lizandbrian said...

that was really beautiful to read. my butt hurts just remembering what labor & recovery felt like. congrats to you all and cheers to a beautiful baby boy!