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    Foto Friday

    November 12th, 2010

    Ok, today is a little bit different. I wanted to share the amazing slideshow KellyM put together of S2’s birth.

    I can’t embed it in this post, but you can see it here: http://www.kellymphotography.com/slideshows/stormsbirth/

    It Stormed today.

    November 1st, 2010

    Pssst! We have a baby. Clear blue skies may have been over the Bay, but a storm came through for us today. S2 was born at 1:18pm today (11/1/2010) weighing in at 6lb 10oz and measuring 18″ long. Apgar tests were 9 and 9 and he’s a cute little sleepy-bug.

    Last night I noted to one of my mom’s clubs that I drink a lot of water right before bed. And that even with pregnancy I could drink 1/2L at bed-time and sleep with only a single wake-up. Because of this of course, this morning, at 3:30am I felt as if I could barely hold it to go to the bathroom. Same thing at 4:30am. And then again a 5:30am. I literally felt like I was racing against a mess in my undies. I thought to myself “Yeah, this is karma for bragging. Instead of being up once, I’m now up a 3rd time.” With that last wake-up I just decided to call it quits on sleeping and got up. I went downstairs and started getting G’s breakfast ready. And then it happened: I peed my pants. I went upstairs, changed, and went to the bathroom, only to notice that I had started discharging some mucousy stuff. I got out of the bathroom, woke S up by saying “Babe, I think my water may have broken!” I don’t think I’d seen him get out of bed so quickly in a loooong time. He ran to the bathroom with me and began with the questioning: how much was it, what did it look like, etc.

    So we began the home organization game… just in case.

    At this point in time I knew I had to do three things:

    1. Contact Kelly. I was going to have a c-section, so once we knew we were going to be having a baby, I knew we weren’t going to have much time and I wanted to make sure she had the chance to get her house in order and then come out.
    2. Call my mom. Since she lives in LA, she’d needed a good amount of time to get up here to us to take care of G, while we were in the hospital.
    3. Tell work I wasn’t going in that day… and depending on the news at the doctor’s office, I might not be coming in for a few months.


    At 9am, we were at Dr. M’s office. She wasn’t there. Out of town. Dang it! I wanted to be checked. And sure enough, it WAS my water that had broken. Lucky me! I had just told a friend yesterday that I was really hoping S2 would give me at least another 2 weeks before making his appearance. Clearly he had other plans of his own. I sat there on the chair after the doc left crying “I’m not ready! What if he’s not ready?” But it’s not like I can put a cork in there to keep him in any longer, so today was the day.

    The doc asked us to wait in the waiting area while they contacted the hospital and assigned us a surgery time. I sat there on a waterproof pad. Sexy! Honestly, I was hoping for an afternoon time. Since I had no contractions, and wanted as much time to get ready, I didn’t want them to rush us. Oh, and I had purposefully had a bagel on the way to the OB’s office. Mostly because I knew that I wouldn’t be eating for awhile once we got to the hospital. Yet they gave me a time for my surgery: 11:30am. And it was 10am, and we were STILL at the doctor’s office. Shane and I ran home and began the packing game, making our final phone calls on the way. We were frantically throwing things into bags. I had a packing list (thankfully), and had some stuff already put away, but “ready” was not the word I’d use.

    This whole time I had been calling my mom too to tell her she needed to come out. The calls kept going to her voicemail, and I was getting worried. And frustrated. Yes, in the morning I had told her to go on with her day as planned, unless she heard from me. Well, here it was: her “hearing” from me, and I couldn’t get through. I called my dad, my sister, you name it. Lucky for me, this was the day she had class in a place where she had no signal. Somehow my dad managed to reach one of her friends, who was at class with her, and my mom was on her way. However, she wasn’t going to get here in time to get G home from daycare, so we went to drop-off a carseat and “care” bag for G. Miss J would bring him home today. A & B were also on call, but it made so much more sense for Miss J to help us out. She was already at the daycare. Our house is “kinda” on her route home. A & B have an infant of their own to worry about (and a toddler).

    We arrived at the hospital at 11:15. Clearly, my cesarean wasn’t really going to begin 15 minutes later, but we got into a room, I answered the interrogation portion of the program, and we were off. I was nervous about the procedure, I won’t lie, but it was quick, and I didn’t feel anything but the final part where they pulled him out of me.

    As hard as we tried, we didn’t make it to the hospital before 11:15. Clearly, my surgery wasn’t going to start 15 minutes later. We got placed into a pre-op room, and the interrogation for the forms began. We went over medicines, addresses, allergies… I don’t even remember what else. I just remember a stack of papers and 3 pens for my choosing to fill forms out with. Isn’t this why I sent in my pre-admission packet?
    I was now into my hospital gown and cap.
    It hadn’t been very long until Kelly arrived. Sexy hospital hair cap photos. Yey!
    Then it was time for my IV. I did my absolute best to be brave… for the pictures. Hey, Storm is going to see those some day. How can I ask him to be brave for his shots, if I couldn’t be?

    This is when the anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself. Good! It was time for me to plead with him to allow Kelly to take photos in the OR. This might surprise you too, but the person who ultimately has the power to say Yey/Ney on photos in the OR is not the physician performing the procedure (ie. my OB), but the anesthesiologist. To boot, at my hospital you never know who you will be assigned, so it’s not as if I could try and approach each one. But we got lucky: the guy was really sweet, and after considering it, he said OK. I was happy.

    Off to the OR I went for my final prepping. We were in the same room that our Griffin was born. Music was piping through the speakers. I hadn’t noticed this last time. Yeah, I suppose this “was” someone’s office, and sure, music seemed appropriate. I guess.

    One more needle. The one in my back. I was sitting on the table shivering. For starters, I was cold, but also the anticipation was making me shake. I kept thinking back to the last time I sat in that same spot. Griffin’s c-section was an emergency procedure. He was in distress, transverse, his heart rate dropping and we were moving fast. I sat in that same OR table-spot nervous, then, wanting my son to be OK, and at the same time relieved that it would all be over soon. Back then I had labored naturally, without any pain medication. I was tired, and in pain. I was so exhausted that I actually fell asleep the moment my head hit the table. Today I was nervous because I knew I would be awake the whole time. I wondered how much of it I would feel; see; hear. So I sat there shivering. Thinking. Could I really go through with this?

    As I lied down I kept wiggling my toes. I still could, and this scared me. What if they didn’t do the spinal right? I don’t want to feel my surgery! So I kept wiggling my toes. I even told the anesthesiologist I could still feel my lower body. He kept poking me, and asking if I was getting number. Luckily I was.

    It was then that Shane and Kelly came in. Shane sat by my side, and Kelly next to him. Then the doctors came in. Since Dr. M wasn’t there, her two colleagues delivered instead. I knew I was in great hands, but I still missed her. (BTW, it turned out she HAD been come back the night before, but still had the day off, but Dr. P had forgotten, so they didn’t call her. She apologized so much, because she wanted to be there for us.)

    It began. The anesthesiologist kept chatting us up. I remember thinking, “Dude, is this really a conversational-type situation?” I mean, what do you talk about when you know that someone else is poking around your insides? As it turned out vacations. And traveling abroad. I was about to have an infant within the hour, and he wanted to talk about the Bulgarian coast-side. After a while Shane and I wondered “Do you have any idea how close we are?” and almost as if on queue I started to feel some tugging. It didn’t hurt, but it felt so… strange. I remember opening my eyes really wide because the sensation was so bizarre.  “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Roberta Flack was playing over the radio. And then we heard a cry. S2 was born! It was 1:18pm.
    I asked “Is he still a boy?” These were the first words I spoke to G and it seemed right that I should ask the same question today too. And yep, still a boy. He was whisked off to the table, and after a good wipe down, I got to meet him.
    6lb, 10oz and 18″ long.

    S and Kelly went off to the nursery with S2. This is why I was so grateful Kelly was there. She was my eyes. She was there for me to experience, later, what I couldn’t in person.

    I got stitched up and put into a post-op room. I was cold again. Really cold. And thirsty. And hungry. While I could have all the ice chips I wanted, I knew food wouldn’t grace my sight until the next day. I was also tired so I kept going in and out of consciousness. Waiting on S and S2 to return felt like forever (although I’m sure they were gone no more than 20 minutes). When they came in, I got a chance to nurse. I wondered if it would be as hard as the first time I nursed G. To my surprise it wasn’t, but it was a little painful at first. It was a little like riding a bike after a long while. Except that you start off by falling and bruising your knee.

    The rest of the afternoon went by in a blur. We got into our home-away-from-home room and got settled in. We talked about when G should come and meet his brother. I asked that we wait until the next day. I was confined to the bed, with the pressure boots on, and the IVs. I didn’t want him to see me like that, and to associate his brother with me looking that way.

    I went to sleep that night with the feeling that I lived an eternity that day. It’s strange when you have a life-changing event so big and yet to everyone else it was just another ordinary day. But today was the day that my family was complete. Nothing ordinary about that.

    I’m really excited about seeing Kelly’s pictures. It will be awhile before I’ll be able to share those photos with you, but above is an iPhone sneak peak of our boy.

    Call me a wimp: I want a c/s… I think…

    September 21st, 2010

    You will no doubt recall the Bradley method classes S and I attended in preparation to meet G. You will also, no doubt remember his delivery: the hours of active labor, my swelling cervix, the pitocin, G’s transverse position, the cord wrap around his neck, and his rapidly declining heart-rate that all lead to an emergency c-section. Well, if you don’t, I still do. And those memories are really conflicting me on the birth experience I want with S2.

    Provided S2 doesn’t decide to go breach, Dr. M is pretty flexible with me trying for a VBAC. The decision is mine to make, and to be honest, right now I’m leaning towards a c-section. While I’m not 100% dedicated to this choice, here’s my thinking behind the vaginal vs. c/s delivery route:

    Vaginal delivery PROS:

    • Recovery could be faster. I’m not in as good a shape as I was 2 years ago, and while I bounced to “normal” activity levels before I even left the hospital without any pain-meds following my c/s, I can’t count on this being the case this time around too. While a vaginal delivery will leave me sore down under for a week, a slow c/s recovery can leave me hard of walking for much longer.
    • This is my last chance for one.
    • I would really like an un-medicated birth (and hell no would I consider getting cut open w/o meds)

    Vaginal delivery CONS:

    • It hurts
    • It hurts a HELLA’ve a lot
    • I can tear
    • A tear will hurt too
    • I won’t be able to sit on my bum while
    • There’s no guarantee that a vaginal delivery actually WILL happen
    • Small chance my uterus could rupture
    • I was really upset and disappointing when my med-free attempt ended up in a c/s. I felt like I had failed in some way. If only I had relaxed “more”, perhaps, things wouldn’t have ended up the way they did. It took me a long time to come to terms with this.

    C-section delivery PROS:

    • I know what to expect
    • I might be able to take a nap again during 🙂
    • It’s over with quickly
    • I get 2 extra weeks of time at home with S2
    • No under-carriage tears or other owies
    • More dedicated alone bonding time with S2 in the hospital, with the rest of the world locked out

    C-section delivery CONS:

    • Realistic chance I won’t bounce back quickly
    • I’ll be away from G longer (4-5 days in hospital w/ c/s, vs. 1-2 days otherwise)
    • I won’t be able to pick up and carry G for awhile, and he’ll likely want that after some sibling jealously kicks in

    Really there are 2 parts that lean me very heavily towards a c/s: the physical pain of vaginal delivery and the extra 2 weeks of time at home. The second part is purely financial. There isn’t a spot at daycare for S2 until end of March. Right now, if S2 comes exactly on his due date, we’ll be making it just in time with how much time I can take off. However, if he comes early AND I choose to deliver vaginally it really puts us in a tough spot in having to bridge daycare for the difference. I just can’t handle the idea of putting him in one daycare for a period of time, only to pull him out and bring him to G’s daycare when his spot is available. The transition will be rough as is, and it’s not fair to him, to get him attached to one care provider only to turn around and change everything on him all over again.

    Then there’s the physical pain part. Those of you that have gone through labor and have had the privilege to deliver vaginally experienced the joy of holding your baby right away with all the happy hormones following that made all that pain feel worth while. I hope. You got that reward. Me? I didn’t. Instead, I have the pleasure of sporting a 4″ scar on my lower abdomen as a reminder that I spent 9 weeks in a childbirth course that I felt I flunked out of. And the longing for that un-medicated birth I wanted.

    If I plan for a vaginal delivery again, and if it doesn’t happen, there won’t be a 3rd time. I will still have the same sadness and longing as before. Still the same feeling of failure as before. PLEASE don’t get me wrong and think that I regret the safe delivery of G in ANY way. I am BEYOND thrilled that he was born healthy and safe and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My emotional hang-ups are not about him: they are about me, and how I feel I did during those hours of labor. The “what ifs”. I worry that if I plan for an un-medicated vaginal birth, and again if fails to happen for us, my feelings of sadness will be worse. If I plan for a c/s, on the other hand, then I won’t be disappointed. It’s a set the bar low kind of plan 🙂 I’m being an emotional wimp as much as a physical wimp.

    However, I’m leaving the door open for myself. Dr. M and I have agreed on an unplanned c-section. I will wait to begin labor on my own and then head to the hospital for my c/s. S2 will get to pick his birthday and he’ll bake for as long as he chooses to. Within a limit that is. If he doesn’t come by 11/22 (the day after his due-date), we’re having the c/s then. Why 11/22? It’s the first week-day following his due date, and a few days ahead of Thanksgiving on the 25th. With this approach, I’m figuring if I feel emotionally ready and physically able to take on the pain of labor, I can change my mind about the c/s right then and there and go for it. And if not, well, then it goes as planned.

    So there you have it. Call me a wimp. I want a c/s… I think…

    Coach’s View of Labor and Delivery

    October 20th, 2008

    It’s been more than seven weeks since A went into labor, and I’m still having a hard time attempting to put my thoughts and feelings into words. It feels like it was years ago in a world very different from our lives today. My memory is fading but the key events are burned into my mind and hopefully won’t fade. But just in case, here are my memories and thoughts on our Labor and Delivery. My hope is that this post will trigger memories and emotions for many years to come. Maybe one day G will read these posts and get a glimpse into the mind of his parents.

    The memories that really have been burned into my mind are:

    • A has an extremely high tolerance for pain — much higher than I ever expected.
    • I had a constant Fear that something would go wrong. A was depending on me to make the decisions necessary (if needed) to protect her and G.
    • It’s frustrating watching someone you love go through intense pain without truly being able to stop it!
    • The pace of labor felt much faster than I expected. There wasn’t any ‘down’ time to regroup or rest for either of us. The minutes between contractions just started to run together until hours and hours had passed.

    I’m thankful to the generations of fathers and doctors before us that pushed to allow fathers in the delivery room. I can’t imagine sitting in a waiting area for hours waiting to find out about my wife and child. I was given the chance not only to be present but to be an active participant. Using Dr. Bradley’s term of “Coach” is a close description, but I felt more like a Player-Coach with active participation in the process. I was by A’s side through each step of the way.

    Now for the story (Warning: I tell stories in a very linear fashion, so be prepared for a long post)

    After the contractions started while we were at lunch on Thursday Aug 28th, we went back home, and I had several conference calls for work. I checked in with A between each call and she seemed pretty composed, alert, and had a good handle on monitoring the contractions. I had left my phone with her to use for contraction timing (Contraction Timer for Palm OS). I expected this early stage to last for many hours, possibly into the evening and night time.

    When I finished up my last call and went back to check on A about 4 pm, I was shocked to find her downstairs (the house was pretty warm and it was cooler downstairs) lying in the middle of the floor stripped down with a fan blowing directly on her. My heart immediately dropped as I ran downstairs to check on her. It was clear this early stage wasn’t lasting long and that we’d likely already moved into the next stage of labor.

    I left her to continue laboring while I scrambled to get our stuff ready and in the car to head to the hospital. I expected we would have several hours for this stage but I’m glad I had a checklist to work from because my mind was a wreck. I walked back and forth from room to room, up and down the stairs, to the car back to the house. I felt like a disorganized crazy person. All the while checking on A, filling her water bottle, rubbing her back, checking on the contraction timing. As I loaded stuff in the car I recalled someone telling me that you won’t need half the stuff you take to the hospital; you just don’t know which half it is until it’s over.

    After what felt like far too much time to get our stuff together and the car loaded, it was time to call the doc and report on our contraction timing – it was time to head to the hospital! Holy crap, this was moving fast!

    After checking into the hospital and getting to the room, the nurses started the registration and initial checks to make sure we were going to stay there. I knew we were staying – we knew the steps of labor and A was very in tune with her body. We intentionally tried not to go to the hospital too early.

    I think I’m pretty good at reading body language and I found myself watching the nurses closely to understand what they were and weren’t telling us. I also was paying close attention to the monitors during the entire process.

    After the first reading of the fetal heart rate I noticed that G’s heart rate dropped during a contraction — it wasn’t too bad but it was noticeable. When I saw the drop, I turned to see if the nurse’s face would tell me something – a look of concern, shock, a smile. She seemed a bit surprised that I had caught it. The heart rate drop made the nurse ask to keep the fetal monitor on even though we had asked not to have continuous monitoring. I was fine with this and A wasn’t in a position to have any disagreements – it hit me that my role as Coach put me squarely in the driver’s seat for this trip or at least the first line of defense. I was prepared for this role, but the importance was brought to the forefront at this time.

    In order to get to the spirit of our request for non-continuous fetal monitoring, I asked the nurse to turn down the volume of the monitoring so A didn’t have any indication of what the monitor was doing. She didn’t need to have any additional inputs to cause concern. Her only focus was on productive contractions and pain management.

    The minutes of each contraction morphed into hours and hours. I didn’t even realize that the sun had set until I couldn’t see in the room. My body was telling me to feed it, but I couldn’t even think about satisfying the need. I had brought some snacks and eventually grabbed a handful of crackers. The pace felt fast because there wasn’t any real downtime between contractions. I really thought G was going to grace us before midnight – the beginning just went by so fast that I thought for sure it was going to continue at the rapid pace.

    Then it felt like we hit a wall. I could tell A was getting tired…exhausted really. She was looking for confirmation that she was still making progress. After another check from the nurse that told her her dilation was the same as before, I could tell she was disappointed. It was time for an attempt at a pep talk – just reassurance that this wasn’t a race and that it wasn’t a reflection of a poor performance. G was setting this schedule and we could only go along with the pace he was setting. If it was time for a pause, then we just needed to go along with it. Unfortunately, during this time the contractions stayed at the same pace — long and not much time between them. So while we may have hit a plateau, there was no rest for A.

    Newsflash — if contractions are 4 minutes apart, 1.5-2 minutes long, add another 5-10 seconds after the contraction to be sure it’s done, another 10-15 seconds just to calm down, now you are left with 90 seconds are so to Relax — so much for the advice of trying to sleep between contractions.

    You’ve read about my slip and fall… it scared me. In a split second I ended up completely horizontal two feet off the floor and falling. I hit Hard. I was worried that I had injured myself and wouldn’t be able to stay with A. I was worried that my fall with distract her and cause her to experience more pain. I knew that she was worried too, and needed her to think I was just fine at a time when I had no idea if I was fine or not. I hit the nurse’s call button and stayed on the floor. I thought it was best to stay there instead of trying to stand up and A realizing that I was really hurt. After standing up and trying to get cleaned up, I was sore but didn’t feel bad. It turned out adrenaline kept the pain down. Hours later the stiffness and pain kicked in, but it was nothing compared to what A was enduring.

    After 90 minutes of natural attempts at more productive contractions, we decided to give the Pitocin a go. This meant we had to cross the hurdle of an IV. A has a fear of needles, has small veins that roll, and ALWAYS requests a pediatric needle. I had to execute on another of my critical Coach duties – make sure she had a pediatric needle! I made the request, and the nurse waited a second and then said, “Dad, can we talk?” as she motioned to the door. Oh no, what’s wrong? She tells me that a pediatric needle isn’t an option – if they need to give blood at any point, a pediatric needle isn’t large enough. I understood this, so I explained the small and rolling veins. She gave me a confident look and said she’d take care of it.

    As the nurse started to prep for the needle, A looks up and said “I need a pediatric needle.” My heart paused again, because if this didn’t go well, A would certainly wonder why I dropped the ball on the one thing she had reiterated over and over. I replied, “We’ve already talked about it.” So not a lie, but I held my breath when the nurse started the IV. It went great. I was also glad the nurse took the initiative afterwards to tell A about the needle and why.

    40 minutes into the round of Pitocin I watched the fetal heart rate and it progressively dropped as the contractions continued. The contractions were about the same pace, maybe a bit more frequent, and occasionally had double peaks. As soon the contractions stopped the heart rate jumped back up to the normal range around 130-140. But they started dropping to the 90s, then the 80s, then 70s, and even dropped into the 50s at one point for a very brief period. I knew this wasn’t working, but wasn’t about to say anything to A.

    The doc and the nurse came in again with serious looks on their faces. They asked A how things were going. She didn’t say anything since she was in the middle of a contraction. I gave them the hand sign and continued to help her through the contraction, but knew they were probably sitting there wondering “How do we tell her that her birth plan isn’t working out? How is she going to take this?” Just after the contraction was over, A pulls her head up and with her eyes still closed, blurts out “I think we need to cut him out of here!” The doc almost looked relieved, and confirmed with “I know that wasn’t our preferred plan, but that’s the best route.”

    I could tell by how forceful A made her statement that she was comfortable with this decision. I had taken a brief minute or two earlier to look up in the Bradley book about the transverse position and knew that this could end up a serious complication. I took one chance to ask A if she felt okay with the decision – I was more interested in how she answered me than what words came out. As soon as I got the confirmation and echoed it to the doc, the equipment rolled into the room. I’m sure it was already lined up in the hallway! Which told me there really wasn’t an option; this was what we needed to do! Things once again happened fast.

    For the first time in 10 hours my mind took a chance to process what was happening. I stood in the hallway outside the OR watching through the tiny window in the door as they prepped A for the procedure. I watched them prep for the anesthesia (several large needles were involved). I watched the nurses laying out all of the equipment. I watched the doc get scrubbed up and suited. I felt tears well up in my eyes and a rush of emotion fall over my shoulders – I had to fight it off because this was only just beginning.

    They finally waved me into the room, and I took my seat behind the curtain next to A’s head and held her hand.

    I watched what I could from the reflection in the door of the surgical cabinet. I picked up on a few comments between the doc and the nurses – like “Yep, there’s a wrap” – referring to a cord wrap around his neck, which may have been the cause of the drop in heart rate with each contraction. I also heard A snoring – she was so exhausted that she caught a few minutes of sleep as the procedure started.

    I stood up just as they were pulling G out. His head was the only part out and it was Smurf Blue and very cone shaped. They reached in and pulled the rest of his small body out and rushed him over to a table. As blood poured out of A, I remember thinking – I need to be there with him, but I need to be here with A too. Then the nurse called me over to G – and I gave A look and quickly went to his side.

    His blue color was fading and he was crying – all good things. He had a lot of fluid still in his nose and throat so they were suctioning it out, over and over. I’m glad I knew this was normal for c-section births. The trip down the birth canal usually squeezes out much of the fluid and with his detour; he still needed to get out the extra fluid. Without this knowledge I probably would have been freaking, so I just held his hand and keep talking to him.

    We got him swaddled up and then took him to A. She got a brief chance to see him and touch him. One of the nurses asked for my camera to take a picture. Camera? I didn’t know I could have a camera in the OR – so no pictures from that scene.

    Then off G and I went to the NICU part of the nursery for his tests and to get him under the warmer. We held off on his bath until he could breast feed. We waited in the nursery, until we got the call that A was in recovery, stable, and ready to breast feed. It felt like hours but was only about 30-40 minutes. I didn’t leave G’s side for the next 10 hours – from OR, nursery, recovery room, back to nursery, then to Mom’s room once she was settled. I didn’t have a phone with me to call and update the family and friends who sat by as hours passed without any updates.

    I was thrilled to have a healthy beautiful boy and sad that I wasn’t experiencing it together with A. It was one of the loneliest feelings I’ve experienced, and was only made better by gazing at G lying in the hospital crib while holding my hands across his body.

    He’s here!!!!

    August 29th, 2008

    G is here! He was born early this morning via an unplanned c-section at 3:45am. He weighs in at 6.6lbs is 19in long and is incredibly precious to us. We can’t stop staring at him in amazement: 1) in that he’s ours; 2) in that he is just so awe-inspiring; and 3 (at least for me) that he fit in me just 24 hours ago! This last day has been very emotional for us: lots of happy tears, lots of kisses, and gentle caresses. It’s incredible how in just a few short moments a little person can help bind a couple even closer.

    For those that wanted the highlights, you can stop reading now. The rest what follows is his birth story. For the faint of heart, it may contain some yucky material, so you’ve been warned.

    As our previous post related I had a regularly scheduled appt w/ my OB at 10:45. During that visit she observed that I was at 1.5cm dilated and was having a contraction in her presence (even though I couldn’t feel it). Leaving her office S and I went out for lunch, which looking back on it was a brilliant move given the events that ensued shortly afterwards. During lunch I noticed some more contractions. Mild, spaced out.

    When we got home, I noticed even more contractions – still mild, still spaced out. For those curious (and can relate), they felt like light menstrual cramps. I thought to myself “Let’s go shower and shave, because if this moves forward today I might as well be ready”. While I was in the shower, in the span of those 40 minutes, I had another 4 contractions, each becoming a little bit more intense. I found myself squatting on the floor or bracing myself up against the wall and beginning to do the techniques we had learned in class. I think it was about 2pm at this time.

    S had some phone conferences in the afternoon, so he started those. He gave me his phone (a Palm Pilot), for which he had downloaded a contraction tracking application on. I started hitting Start & End at this time, and noticed that I was consistently seeing my contractions around every 10 minutes, lasting over 30 seconds.

    I started having the urge to go to the bathroom more and more now. I gotta say, after a few months of pregnancy-related constipation, the stuff your body produces right before labor is a very welcome change! The urges even to pee got stronger, so I just started walking around the house in my panties… and eventually I even gave up on those.

    My contractions kept increasing in frequency. All of a sudden, in the last 30 minutes of S’ work calls, I was consistently seeing them shorten to 5mins apart, lasting a minute, or well over a minute each time. This was happening fast! Surprisingly fast to be honest. I have to admit, looking back on it, I am thrilled S had decided to work from home as much as possible over the last week. If he was in the office when this all started, and I had to call him, I don’t think he would have made it home in time to get everything ready for us to go… and trust me, at that state, I was on the floor rocking myself into relaxation and in no condition to help load up the car, feed the kitty, or close up the house. We called the doc’s office around 5:30 after having a little over an hour of 5-1-1 contractions. We were told to start making our way to the hospital. Those were perhaps some of the hardest 12 minutes of driving for me. In getting to the car alone I had 1-2 contractions, and while I was in the car, I think I had 3. Sitting up, while contracting? Not comfortable!

    When we got to the desk at L&D I was hunched over forward, going through yet another contraction. The lady at the desk, perhaps not seeing me… or just being funny, looks up and asks “What are you guys here for?” I think I wanted to throw a shoe at her for that question. I waddled over to our labor room slowly and got into the stylish gowns they provide and got checked. I was already 5cm dilated.

    In the next 2-3 hours, I had progressed to 8cm. I lost my plug (over the toilet), and my water broke at about 7:30pm. I was so proud of myself. I was thinking “We could have a baby by midnight!” I was still tolerating the contractions well on my own and was happy to not have needed to ask for drugs. I spent my development between rocking myself in the bed on my side, rocking on all fours, rocking myself lying down on my back, rocking myself while standing propped up on the dining table, and rocking myself on the toilet seat. Notice a theme there? Rocking was key to making myself get through contractions and mellowing out afterwards. I had gone through The Plateau, and what I felt was the beginning of Transition. I had urges to push through my contractions, and I started to. The nurse said that technically this wasn’t good, but since I was making good progress to continue doing what I was going.

    Then things started to go fishy. An hour later, I was still only at around 8.5cm and my cervix was still present and swelling up to boot. We waited some more. My OB came in and checked me herself. She said that she’s noticing me dilated only to 7cm and my cervix was getting progressively more inflamed. I was so disheartened! This feeling alone, I’m sure contributed to the stall that happened. I was told to stop pushing with contractions. You have no idea how hard this was. At 11pm, my OB came in and assessed there had been no change. To boot, she observed that G was lying transverse (facing my hips rather than front or back). She tried turning him, with no luck. Although my OB has been incredibly supportive of our un-medicated birth approach (it’s actually her preferred approach), she was seeing that we might need some pharmaceutical intervention. She recommended Pitocin to see if that could kick start things again, and maybe through my increased contractions G would turn on his own. S and I talked about it in private and asked for an hour to try and induce things on our own. It didn’t work. I’ll be honest, I felt like I was failing and that the need for the medication was my fault. Having S tell me otherwise wasn’t enough. I had to hear it from a nurse.

    It was now almost midnight. I threw up! I had always known that this physical reaction was not uncommon and as I asked for S to get me my bucket, it was all over the floor. I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, but I was drinking lots of water (as told that a person in labor should). What came out was pretty much pure water. As S scrambled, he was barefoot and slipped and fell. So here I am, in bed, not able to stop throwing up, watching my wonderful, supportive husband splat on his back in my sick. It was terrible!

    I got my IV in for the Pitocin. I hate needles, as you by now know. Although IVF and all the testing have helped this some, it’s still not anything pleasant for me. After 2 hours of increasing Pitocin there was no progress, either in my dilation, the swelling, or G’s position. What’s worse is that the monitoring I was on showed that with each contraction G’s heart rate was dropping. When it came to a dangerously close level we were told that we needed to move forward to a c-section. When the equipment to move forward with surgery was lining up around the door and the nurses/OB were starting to shuffle you realize this isn’t really a choice. This wasn’t anything that either S nor I wanted, but we had both agreed that our ultimate goal is to deliver our son safely. At this point I was already exhausted, and I just felt that my body had done all that it can. I believe my statement of consent was “Let’s cut this little guy out!” It was now 2:30am.

    I was ushered to the operating room. The anesthesiologist gave me a spinal tap. I won’t lie to you, after all the exhaustion, feeling numb felt so good! I lied down, started to shiver and I was out… asleep. Not from the medication, but I was just drained. I woke up to S on my right, hearing G’s little voice fill the room. Apparently the first words out of my mouth were “Is he still a boy?” I heard them announce his weight, and his height. He sounded good. They took him out of the surgery room into the NICU for his tests. S went with him, while I curiously observed my OB and a scrub nurse close me up through the reflection of the surgery room doors.

    They took me to a recovery room for awhile, where I slept some. It felt like S and G were taking a while to come back. When they did, I asked to nurse, which, although not easy, was pretty successful through the help of our nurse. Afterwards, G and S again went away to take his first bath. The one thing that’s terrible with a c-section is that you miss out on so much! I feel so fortunate to have S be here for all of this. Honestly, he’s ran the show over the last day. The poor man is exhausted, from helping me, being there for G. He’s been incredible and I genuinely would not have gotten through the day without his help and support. I feel very blessed to have him in my life!

    G is otherwise a very happy baby. He sleeps very well (at least he did today). We’re learning how to feed. It’s been difficult, but I’m committed to nursing so we’ll see how it works out.

    With that, I’ll leave you with some photos of our labor. They were taken by Augie, who graciously agreed to join us and document our journey. After things started going wacky Augie left us in private. I feel fortunate that we have what we do at least of the good parts. Enjoy!