Thursday, January 3, 2013

Little's Birth Story

Why yes, this is very long. And no, the picture payoff doesn't come 'til the end. Oh well.

Little had a blessedly uncomplicated pregnancy and a blessedly uncomplicated delivery, but I want to record the memories anyway. I've actually had this sitting in draft form for months, but hadn't bothered finishing it or putting in pictures, but since Grace decided to link-up birth stories, I decided to finish, so I wouldn't feel so guilty/stalkerish about reading everyone's stories without giving a little to the greater good.

Also, it's a birth story, there will be no TMI warnings. TMI is a given.

We had 3 different due dates floating around. According to my chart, she was due July 17. According to my LMP, she was due July 20. according to an 8 week ultrasound, she was due July 13. None of it mattered, as she did things her way a few days early. We should have known then that it would be her way or the highway.
At a wedding the Saturday before Little was born. I was very puffy and pregnant.
The story really starts July 9, which was our wedding anniversary. C had a training in the morning, but then was off. We celebrated with mass, a ginormous (and ginormously unhealthy) lunch, and then had my then-weekly trip to the torture chamber doctor's office for said torture: a check-in/cervical check. I was at 2 cm and pretty effaced. We talked about when we would consider induction -- I was adamant not to make any decision until after 40 weeks.

After that, there was some normal (for me) post-exam cramping and spotting. We went on a walk. We had Mexican for dinner. We went to bed, because C had an early morning. I mean, it was cray, y'all. Sometime in the middle of the night when I woke up, I could feel that things were different. I can't describe how, exactly, I just could tell. I knew real labor was starting, but obviously didn't know how fast or slow things would happen. When C rolled over, half awake and mostly asleep (what, your husband doesn't do that?), I told him that Little was coming "either today or tomorrow." In my head, that was a reference to not knowing how long labor would last. In his mind it was a mere mother's intuition prediction.

At 4 am, I was wide awake in pure nesting mode. There was a list of stuff I needed to get done before the baby came, by golly, and it was going to happen. At 6, I was up and working on my list. By 8, the contractions were getting going. By 9, I was begging C to come home. Needless to say, my to do list was not done.

Praise be to God, C was rotating with a veeeeery understanding doctor doing outpatient internal medicine who had already given him the clear to head out when necessary for the impending delivery. Less luckily, said rotation was about an hour away from home.

While he was making his way home, the contractions got bad. They were never classically timeable, so 5-1-1 never worked for me. I had to go on the instinct that I was definitely in labor and I definitely needed to head to the hospital. Later, the nurse would tell me what I sort of knew by instinct/experience, which was that I would have a really big contraction that would be followed by several little contractions, sort of like aftershocks. Fun. While C was coming home, I was trying to get my last-minute stuff into my packed-a-million-years-early-because-I-was-a-first-time-mom bag, laboring on all-fours and in the shower, and praying for relief. I was hurting. Big time.

Clearly, natural birth was not for me. I never really thought it was, but the epidural seemed a little scary, so I said I wasn't going to make a decision until the day-of. Then the contractions hit. Decision made.

C got home, thew his things into a bag, loaded everything into the car, and handed me a granola bar. We both knew I wouldn't get to eat at the hospital, so he wanted to make sure I got as many calories as I could before the real work began. In the car, I was like the women in movies -- begging the car and the traffic to move faster -- begging for pain meds -- clutching the door handle through contractions.

Finally, I got checked in and into triage. Never mind the whole pre-registration thing not working at all. There, I was joined behind the curtains of doom by one mama on baby number 7 (or was it 8?) and coming quickly, and one woman who was very, very, very, VERY displeased with the care she was receiving. From what I could tell (and I heard every.single.angry.word she said), she had some legitimate concerns. But screaming, cussing like a sailor, threatening legal action, and planning to walk out of the hospital didn't seem like the way to go about getting answers to her questions.  Yeah, that was fun. And by fun, I mean I was virtually in tears wanting to get out, but was a lowish priority for the less-than-warm triage nurse. Speaking of said lovely nurse, at one point she begged me "not to ralph" on her. 'Cause laboring ladies have such perfect control of their bodily functions.

Finally, they told me I was 4cm and progressing, checked me into a L&D room, and made arrangements for that epidural I wanted so badly.

Soon enough, I was epi'd up, and the story gets pretty boring. I didn't feel anything except the obnoxious monitors digging into my skin. My right leg was totally numb, but my left leg could function. We quickly learned that the speaker for the in-room TV needed much, much improvement, so we passed hours watching Arrested Development on Netflix, praying, making phone calls, sending text message updates, scaring residents, etc.

What was that passing remark about scaring residents? Well, Little was born at a teaching hospital on July 10, so the two 1st year residents/interns we saw had been real, live practicing doctors for all of 10 days at that point, since the "medical year" begins July 1. In other words, they might not have been the most confident, experienced medical professionals at that point. Since C is a medical student and all, we were not concerned and found the whole thing something of a novelty. So, we found ourselves chatting with our poor resident and asking her what we perceived to be friendly questions that basically freaked her out (surely thinking that we were ready to complain about her incompetency). The situation peaked when she tried to use a 1 million year old ultrasound machine to be assured that Little was head-down and ready to be birthed and couldn't get it to work. She was clearly mortified, found a newer machine, and was pretty much terrified by us until her shift was over. We decided to be easier on the next resident (ie not ask any questions), but in retrospect, she seemed like she could handle it a little bit better.

Our families, meanwhile, jumped into action. My dad headed south. My sister made a split-second decision to come fly into Phoenix from San Diego on Tuesday, instead of Thursday or Friday or whenever she had planned to come. My aunt, cousin, MIL and FIL all began awaiting the okay to head over to the hospital.

By 5.30, I was at 9ish cm, still hadn't had my water break, and the crew was gathering in the waiting room awaiting the arrival of Little Miss Little. Never again. I really hate making people wait for me, and knowing that there was a group of people twiddling their thumbs, milling around the hospital (the most boring thing in the world) ended up causing me a ton of stress.

I really don't know where the next 2.5 hours went. My water finally broke when I was at 9.5 cm (my doc didn't want it broken before that, don't ask me why). There was meconium, so the precautionary NICU team had to be assembled. At about 7:30, I was deemed ready to push. Pushing was pretty uneventful. The epi was still totally in effect. They only had me push on the big contractions and gave me oxygen in between to be sure that Little was doing okay. It lasted a big, fat 40 minutes.

Our first family picture

At 8:12, she made her debut. I got to have a minute of skin-to-skin before she was given the weigh, wipe, and declaration of being aspirated-meconium-free. The docs did doctor stuff that I was too engrossed with Little to notice until later when the epi wore off and the pain set in. She took to nursing right away, and I let the paparazzi in between sides so that I could send them home and be done with them. Love the fam. Didn't love knowing they were outside waiting and waiting...

iPhone paparazzi

Anyway, Clare Louise checked in at 8:12 on July 10, 2012. She was 7lbs, 4oz, and 19.5 inches. And she was beautiful and healthy and perfect. God blessed us big time.

The next day, but pre-shower. :P
Also, new-daddy C couldn't resist, so you can see the pro pics here.

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