Thursday, August 18, 2016

Baby Dominic's Birth Story

It's a boy!!

Dominic Jude

{Skipping over the announcement post, and getting to the real meat: birth story! Also, all the usual birth story TMI warnings.}

Clare's Birth Story
Peter's Birth Story

So, much like with Peter, I was pretty much done with being pregnant several weeks before birth. Also much like Peter, I went through weeks of irregular early labor/Braxton Hicks/whatever contractions. A few times, things looked promising...until they petered out. Blah.

So we get to 39 weeks. I had an appointment that Monday, when I was 39&0. Since we were planning induction for the next week, we had to do a cervix check (to see how favorable I was for induction, etc.), and things were promising: 3cm/80% effaced/0 station.

My doctor was sure that I'd go Monday or Tuesday. Or in the next few days at the outset, but scheduled a pitocin induction for Monday morning just in case. Ha! Famous last words!
So Monday came and went. My in-laws arrived to watch Clare and Peter on D-Day. That  was helped put my mind at ease. Greatly, since, even though I had several people offer help, it just made everything so much easier to know I didn't need to worry about it.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, weekend. All the walking and eating and pedicure-ing did nothing to move Baby along. By Friday, I resigned myself to induction, because it was so much easier on my mental state.

At least Baby would (presumably) have the awesome birthday of 08.08.16!

Sure enough, Charles and I were up and moving bright and early Monday morning. Ate breakfast--enough to sustain me in labor, not so much as to be a huge disaster if it came back up. Fun times! Gave the kiddos final good-bye kisses. Headed out.

As predicted

It was grey and rainy. I felt at peace about everything, but I also can't say I wasn't nervous about the unknown. We parked and made our way in to admissions. Ironically, it was the first time I'd ever set foot in St. Joseph hospital. Ironic because of the thousands of hours Charles has spent there. Literally thousands.

Anyway, we got checked in and make our way up to labor and delivery, and got the administrative side of things going. Flattering hospital gown. IV. A million questions from nurses and residents* and the anesthesia team. Another (always fun) check on progress.

When all was said and done, they started pitocin at about 8:30. For the first two hours, we watched the Olympics, ate ice chips (disappointingly old school--at least give me real water, people!), and hung out. Contractions were getting regular and were more uncomfortable, but still not too bad.

My main complain the whole time was that my nurse, who was so kind and very competent, was also an insane chatterbox. Like she made small talk constantly--even through contractions--to the point of being really annoying, and keeping Charles and I from having any conversations (important, ridiculous or otherwise) of/on our own.

I had my second check at 10:15ish without much progress, but after that, things started picking up. Contractions were getting really hard to sit through, and I was definitely breathing/not talking/wouldn't be walking through them. 

I got out of bed to use the restroom with the intention of laboring on the yoga ball after, but standing felt so good, I decided to stand/sway through them instead. 

By now, the contractions were pretty regular and pretty intense. I was definitely breathing/ working through them. I'd found through the last weeks of pregnancy that praying the Hail Mary through uncomfortable contractions/checks/whatever was really comforting and helped me to relax greatly. 2 or 3 Hail Marys really got me through each contraction. I'm sure calling in divine comfort and assistance aided me to that end as well. 

I also found great comfort in the Crucifix. Because I delivered at a Catholic hospital, there was one in the room and I happened to have positioned myself so it was right in front of me while I was up and out of bed. Maybe my guardian angel helped me get there. Regardless, focusing on Christ and His sacrifice, and trying (however pitifully) to unite my suffering to His, also helped me work through contractions. 

At noonish, they came to check me again. Progress! Officially declared to be in active labor!

Throughout my pregnancy, I had debated the epidural question, in part because of how fast I went with Peter. Finally, I had come down to  the realization that natural onset of labor would likely go too fast to bother, but if I was induced I was going for the meds. I wasn't trying to be a hero, and didn't see any reason to work through 6 more centimeters unmedicated.

So, since I was officially "in labor" the plan was to get the epidural, break my water and go from there. 

According to everyone, the anesthesiologist on call was The Best, and soon he and his nurse were in my room working their magic. 

Sure enough, in spite of the world's most uncomfortable labor position, and even though I had breathed and tried to relax and pray and was straight coached through a lot of rough contractions by Charles (who also got his hand squeezed like I was trying to do serious damage), the epidural worked its magic and the pain? Gone!

So, back the residents came to check again and break my water. But now? 8 and then 10 centimeters! Baby time!

They let me labor down, thanks to the epidural, while the team got things ready for delivery, then it was time to push.

I was actually nervous, because the epidural was so fresh and because I had no feeling of pressure or needing to push or anything "baby is coming"-y. That was one thing about Peter's birth--I definitely experienced that primal urge to push!

But, as it turns out, I'm one of those people who is naturally fairly good at pushing, and even without feeling it, I was pretty effective. I pushed through about 4 contractions and then...there he was!
It was interesting, because from the angle I was at, I could see that baby was a Dominic* at the same time as everyone else. No big "it's a boy!" announcement--just a lot of comments that yep, it was a boy.

They did immediate akin to skin (I was feeling very Mama Bear--give me my baby)! He was slow in pinking up, though, so the newborn team pulled him over to the warmer to clear mucous and get color in him. I got all teary waiting and watching--talk about hormones! I'm sure his initial set of Apgars was less than stellar, but once they got him going, a few minutes that felt like forever later, he was fine. They put him back on my chest and we snuggled (and Dominic started rooting), while they finished the slowest set of repairs ev-er for a barely second-degree tear. 

Finally, I got to sit back and nurse and let people know that the baby arrived. About this time, Charles and I were finally given a minute alone to finally decide on a middle name--Jude winning at long last*--to share with family and friends.

After a couple of hours, we were moved to a recovery room--the giant corner room, actually (perk of delivering where Dad works!). My in-laws brought the big kids to visit.

"Reading" to her brothers

"Baby Domnick, I love you."

My little mama

We ate and rested and nursed and got bored and got the heck outta Dodge 26 hours after birth, when we got the all clear on bilirubin! I don't care what anyone else says, there's no place like home!

Since then, things have been great! So far, we're enjoying the sleepy newborn phase, the sweet tiny baby snuggles, the help/company/baby holders, and Charles' days off + relatively easy schedule this month.

As nervous as I was about the induction, it could not have gone more smoothly. I was on the piton for about 5 hours from start to baby, and once labor kick started, things progressed fast: a little more than two hours from the onset of hard contractions to baby; one hour from 4 cm to complete -- it looks like those contractions while they were placing the epidural were as bad as they seemed. I'm sure all of those things will impact decision making if we have more kids. I'm mostly just grateful for a good experience, and for a healthy baby boy. 

Yeah. We're all smitten!

First family pic -- not cropped. :S

*Blog post forthcoming

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