I can’t believe that that William has already been with us for one week. I just told Kevin that it seems weird to think that I’m no longer pregnant. William has been adjusting to life outside the womb pretty well. He doesn’t like to be apart at night, but last night he slept in his bassinet next to our bed and really only cried when he was hungry, which is a big improvement from previous nights. We’ve started taking weekly pictures of William instead of my belly, so look for that page soon.
On Monday we had a visit from an OB nurse. Our hospital offers one home visit from an OB nurse as part of their maternity care, so she came by to check on us. Will had gained just about 3 ounces in 3 days! Considering how much we’ve been nursing, I can’t say that I surprised. He’s a good eater :) Everything else checked out well and the nurse was pleased with how we were doing. We have our 2 week wellness check up next week and I’m expecting more of the same.
I thought I would write Will’s birth story before I forgot how our little guy made his grand entrance into the world. Looking back, it really seems pretty crazy how things came together before Will arrived. We started the evening like any other–dinner and Wheel of Fortune. Yes I realize that Wheel of Fortune is not a show 20-some-things typically watch, but we like trying to figure out the puzzles! Well the final puzzle last Tuesday happened to be “Baby Face”. Neither one of us got it and we were both a little peeved. After dinner Kevin decided it was finally time for him to get some things in the bag for the hospital. He’d been talking about doing this for two weeks, but for some reason decided to do it then. I decided that I wanted to bake and finally settled on Chocolate Cobbler. It was heavenly, and apparently labor inducing, because about an hour after enjoying dessert, as I was standing at the stove trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers, my water broke. I felt a small gush, and headed to the bathroom. After several more small gushes while in the bathroom, I was pretty sure that this was the real thing, but had to be sure. I came out and sat on the couch next to Kevin and told him that I thought my water had broken, but we were just going to wait and see. We happened to be watching Parenthood at the time and there was a woman laboring on the show. Kevin promised me that it wouldn’t be as bad as they made it seem on TV. After 10 minutes or so I was for sure that it was my water and not just leakage or discharge and we got ready to head into the hospital. My bag had been packed for weeks, and with Kevin’s recently packed, we didn’t have much to do. To be honest, I think we were both in a bit of shock.
We made it to the hospital about an hour after my water broke. They hooked me up to a monitor to check for contractions as well as made sure that it was in fact my water as well as my progress. Imagine my surprise when the doctor told me I was only 1 cm dilated. She started talking about augmenting labor in the next 4-6 hours with Pitocin and I told her that I would rather not. We decided to wait and see where I was at after a few hours. The next 9 hours actually went by fairly quickly. Half was spent roaming the halls of labor and delivery, pausing for contractions as they came and the other half was spent in the room, hooked up to all of their machines to keep track of the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. During those hours the contractions fluctuated from 5 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart and then back to 5 minutes apart. I thought surely I would have made some progress.
At 8 am my OB came through on rounds and checked my progress again. I was only dilated to a 2 and still not 100% effaced. She gave me a deadline of lunch time to show some more progress or she was going to recommend start the Pitocin to get things going. Lunch time rolls around and I still have not progressed enough and they started a Pitocin drip along with saline. Up until this point I hadn’t had an IVs and was just hooked up to the monitor. Also up until this point I was tolerating the pain of the contractions fairly well without any medication. I had wanted to go without an epidural and didn’t even sign the sheet agreeing to treatment when we checked in. The contractions were still coming every 3-5 minutes apart and Kevin was doing a good job of helping me through them. My doctor said that it would probably take 30 minutes or so for the Pitocin to kick in, but the next contraction was twice as intense as the ones before and the intensity continued to build. After about an hour with the Pitocin they decided that they needed to increase the dose, because I still was progressing as fast as they wanted me to. About two hours after they started the Pitocin my OB came back in and told me they were going to have to increase the dose again. At this point I felt like my insides were getting pulled out of me with every contraction, some of which last for over a minute and a half. I wasn’t able to relax at all and I was shaking all over. I knew that I had to have the epidural if I was going to be able to continue.
The anesthesiologist was there within 10 minutes and the relief was almost immediate. He actually had to pause about half way through the procedure so that I could work my way through a contraction. After the epidural the nurse increased the Pitocin, turned out the lights and Kevin and I were able to relax a little. An hour later, the nurse came by to check and see how we were doing, and everything seemed to be ok, so I sent her on her way. Not 10 minutes later I was struck with the urge to use the restroom. The nurse came back and after telling her what I was feeling, she insisted that she check my progress before we dealt with my bladder and bowels. Turns out the pressure I was feeling was actually the baby and he had already started to decend into the birth canal. The nurse told me that I wouldn’t even have to “labor down”. She wanted to do a couple of practice pushes to see if we could make a little progress before they got everything ready for delivery. So I labored for 12 hours without Pitocin, 15 without an epidural with little to no progress and in the hour and a half from the placement of the epidural I was ready to give birth. I think that the epidural allowed my body to make the changes that were necessary for birth. I’m convinced that I may have been in labor for hours more had I not had it. As much as I wanted to avoid it, for the baby’s sake, he was probably better off.
Pushing lasted all of about 45 minutes, although it seemed like hours to me. At one point I asked if someone could just pull the baby out and I guess at that point you could just barely see the top of his head. The nurse started talking about his blond hair as soon as she could seen his head. She even said that his hair was so pretty it had to be a girl. My OB came down for the final few pushes and was able to deliver our healthy baby boy. She let Kevin tell everyone in the room the gender and then he cut the cord. He did really well and watched almost the whole process. The amount of relief after delivery was overwhelming. After almost 17 hours of labor we were finally able to meet William. We did skin to skin contact right away and he was able to latch on within the hour. He’s been a breastfeeding champ ever since then!
We are so lucky and feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful little guy. He may not have come into this world as we had imagined, but he’s perfect none-the-less.