Thursday, February 7, 2008

Okay guys, here it is...(Connor's birth story)

Yes, I'm smitten... in love with my new baby boy, Connor James. He was born 3 days ago (2-4-08) at 1:10pm. It was a labor that lasted a mere 8 hours, and went VERY quickly toward the end. So here's the story... [sorry, this is REALLY long and detailed]

I began having mild contractions on Sunday afternoon, but we went to Drew's parents' Super Bowl party anyway. My MIL said (somewhat jokingly) that it would be great if Connor would be born that day, since it was her half-birthday and the baby has her same initials. I said "Well, I have a feeling it will be tomorrow, because I've been having contractions all afternoon." Then later we said our goodbyes and went home to put the kids to bed.

Courtney and Junior stopped by on their way back to Jax from visiting her family in Ocala. We went for 4 walks while she was here, and the contractions continued; irregular, but strong enough to indicate that true labor was not far off. Then they said goodbye and drove back home, knowing that she would probably be turning around in the morning to return and watch her first birth!

So I went to bed, expecting to wake up when the contractions got worse. About 5AM, I was dreaming that I was sitting in a diner eating (with some nameless, faceless friend), and Britney Spears was our trashy waitress (go figure!). Then someone punched me repeatedly in the stomach under the table! I woke up and realized that the sensation had been real, but I didn't know what had caused it. So I got up to pee, and it started flowing before I even sat down. I didn't think much of it though; I just figured my bladder was really full and my muscles were weak.

Then I went to the kitchen for a glass of water, and had a contraction. Not much stronger than the ones I'd had the evening before, but I leaned on the counter and breathed anyway. And then there was a little gush. I'd felt that before... about 3 years ago. I needed to feel it again to be sure it was my water breaking, but I called my mom anyway since she was at work and already awake. After I got off the phone, another contraction brought another little gush. Then it happened again. And immediately after that second little gush came a looong gush. I was sitting in a chair on the porch and it soaked my PJ pants (but somehow not my robe, thankfully!). So I had confirmation -- I would be having a baby that day!

I woke Drew up and told him my water had broken, and he smiled, rolled back over, and started snoring again. Hmph! I tried to wake him up SEVERAL more times, and finally he did get up, haha! I called Jane at 6:30, but damnit, she had been on shift for 50 hours straight and wouldn't be able to deliver me! Shauna was the midwife on duty that morning, but that was okay because she was my second choice. I knew her from when I was pregnant with Robby -- she worked at that birth center at the time.

So, next came the slew of phone calls to family and those friends who were to be taking care of my kids and/or coming with me to the hospital. Shelby was the designated photographer for the event, and I tried calling her 3 times before I finally texted her to say "It's time! Call me back, dude!" Before Robby left for school I told him Connor was coming out today, and he was absolutely elated. I told him he could come to the hospital to meet his new baby brother after school. Carlie came over to take care of the twins and bring them to school, and we finished packing up her car to leave. We had to switch cars with her since she needed the van to haul all those chillens around, and we had discovered a nice flat tire on Drew's car Sunday evening! Good lord!

Alright, so we left for the hospital and I only had one contraction the whole way there! How's that for a mind-body connection?? I had sooo dreaded the car ride because I remembered how awful it was when I was in labor with Robby. But apparently my fear stopped that from happening, and so it was not bad at all.

We got to the hospital around 9AM, and they brought us to our room. Shauna came in and checked me, and I was 4cm dilated. Grrr! I was so sure I would be 5 or 6 by then! They hooked me up to the monitor "just for a minute" to get an idea of the baby's status and the pattern of contractions. Well, it turned out that Connor didn't like those contractions; his heart rate was dropping waaay down with each one, like as low as 60bpm sometimes (not good – it should be 120-180). So he was diagnosed with fetal distress, and they said I'd have to keep the monitors on continuously. Just for a minute my ass! Then I started to worry, since 4cm is pretty early for a baby to be in distress... I began fearing that they would try to talk me into an "emergency" C-section.

I called my mom to give her an update, since she is my doula. She is a professional certified labor coach (and a great one!), and I am fortunate enough to have had her at all of my births. <3 Poor woman had just worked a 12-hour night-shift at AGH, and hadn't been to sleep yet! Nevertheless, she said she'd be on her way shortly, but she told me I needed to be done in time for her to make it to a 4:30 staff meeting. Laughing, I said I'd do my best. :)

So things were pretty boring for a while. The contractions were still kind of irregular, but slowly increasing in length and strength (some of them were as long as 4 minutes!). I guess it was around 11:30 when Shelby got there, after having to negotiate with her teachers to get away early. Shortly thereafter my mom suggested we go for a walk, because at that point I was dealing better with contractions while up on my feet (and leaning forward a bit). I remember feeling like a giant bell, with Connor's head clanging between my pelvic bones with each step I took. It was a very strange feeling.

And so the walk began (that's about when the camera came out). We only went down to the end of the hall and back once, because things started progressing very quickly at that point – I had a TON of contractions during that brief time, and they were HUR-TING. When we got back into the room, I needed to pee. For those of you who have experienced labor, you know that sitting on the toilet can really intensify things, since there is nothing keeping gravity from doing its magic in that position. I had to get up and walk around and sit back down to try again several times, and I never was able to pee.

The contractions were so strong at this point that I was leaning over the bed and moaning like a cavewoman through each one. I felt like there had been a lot of progress, so asked for someone to check my cervix (this was around 12:30PM, I'm guessing). I didn't want to move, so the nurse just told me to "spread 'em!" and she went in from below, LOL. She checked me and said I was 6-7cm. I about cried. I could have sworn I was almost ready to deliver. I began having SINFUL thoughts of an epidural, because I didn't think I could stand much more of this. Typically, it should have taken me another couple of hours (at least) to complete dilation from there, and I was beginning to lose my nerve.

But things went quickly. I continued to try to use the bathroom, but every time I sat down on the toilet things got sooo much worse. I started grunting like a pooping baby during each contraction; my body was pushing involuntarily, and I tried my best to control it because pushing too early can cause trauma to the cervix. But it was very difficult, and it kept happening despite my attempt to stop it.

I got up from the toilet and my mom was coming toward the bathroom door because she had heard me grunting. I opened my arms to hug her and cried out "Mom, I want my fucking pudendal NOW!" I was nearly in tears, eyes rolling back in my head, and I KNOW I had already asked for the pudendal block twice in the past 5-10 minutes. FYI: the pudendal block was the only reason I chose to deliver at a hospital this time. It is a local vaginal anesthetic given right before the pushing stage to help numb those *delicate parts* during delivery. I've already had 3 babies with NO pain relief, and I did NOT want to do it again. My past experiences have made delivering a baby a traumatic experience for me, and the last thing I needed was to have a flashback and panic about it. I needed to be able to stay in control. But we had to have an MD administer the block, and we were waiting for him. Plus, the midwife had been tied up in the office, apparently not understanding the urgency of this situation!

Finally the doctor arrived with needles and lidocaine (YAY!), and I got on the bed and waited for a break between contractions so he could shoot me up, heehee. A pudendal block requires 2 shots, left and right sides (inside the you-know-where). He warned me that I might feel a sting, but I did not give a flying shit at that point – I just wanted some relief already! He got the first shot in, but while he tried to give the second one a hardcore contraction began. So he did it really fast (I jumped at the prick of the needle) and got out of there. He told the staff members that I was "complete", meaning ready to push! I had gone from 6-7cm to complete in 15 minutes! WOOHOO!

The cool thing was, the pudendal made certain muscles numb, and it felt like the contractions had immediately lost their intensity. I asked if I was still having them, and Shauna said "you tell me." I guess they were afraid I wouldn't be able to push if I couldn't feel them. I felt them, they just seemed much milder. So I was able to rest for about 3 contractions while I tried to gather the strength to push that baby out.

I began pushing at about 12:50. Thanks to that lovely pudendal, I was able to push for one contraction, and then rest through one or two. I was already so exhausted and I felt like I wouldn't have the strength to push him out, but my pushes were strong and made great progress. Then the baby started to crown and I felt a burn on the left side only (as it turned out, that injection was a little higher than the other because the doc was rushing to get out of there for the contraction, so the meds didn't make it down all the way). I started to get a little afraid of that "ring of fire". But then Shauna said "One more contraction and he'll be out" and I knew I just had to bite the bullet and get it over with. All this time my mom and Drew were on either side of me holding my legs up and speaking encouraging words into my ears. Drew was holding the oxygen mask up to my face between pushes, since that seemed to be helping Connor's heart rate a bit.

So with the next contraction, I readied myself and began to push. My mom was counting to 10 and then I'd take a breath and push again. Then Shauna said "Okay, the head is out, stop pushing" followed by a mumbling about the cord. I tried my damndest to stop while she whisked the cord free from around his neck – I was remembering how tightly Devin's cord had been wrapped around HER neck (they had to cut it to get it off). I thought I had stopped, but then Shauna said "Never mind, one shoulder's out already anyway." So, with one more push, he was out!

They put him right up onto my chest as he let out a gurgley wail. I was so relieved at that point, and trying to catch my breath. I could barely keep my eyes open, and I couldn't even see his face. I heard Drew saying "There's our son! Look! There's our son!" with tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face. I do remember opening his legs to make sure he was a boy, and I was greeted by the itty-bittiest little willie I've ever seen! Poor boy, I sure hope it gets bigger, for his sake, haha!

So eventually the staff members cleared out and I had to give him up for his assessment. Then they wrapped him up and gave him to Drew to hold for the first time. Such a proud papa! Connor really looks a lot like Drew when he was born (I'll have to scan in some of THOSE pics for you all to compare). He has Kieran's eyes, nose, and chubby little cheeks and Robby's mouth and chin. Also, surprisingly enough to me, a full head of golden brown hair (just like Drew did)! He has more hair than all three of his siblings did combined! The hospital staff said he looked like a little surfer with his spiky blond locks. His eyes are that newborn dark blue-gray, but we won't know for months whether they'll stay blue or turn green like Drew and Devin.

Thanks for reading my novel! Sorry, but once I get going there's no stopping me. More to come as the days go by…must go feed a hungry boy now!