Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Birth Story

As I remember it, almost a month later.

On Wednesday morning, October 12, I was up with Declan getting ready for my 39 week doctor appointment at 11. It was pouring rain. I installed Asher's carseat during a break in the rain, just to kill time. Premonition? :)

While in the bath, I pushed around on my belly a little, trying to get Asher to move in there - he hadn't yet since I'd been awake. Usually laying back in the bath was prime time to feel him wiggle, but this morning he wouldn't. He moved a tiny bit, just enough to reassure me that he was alive, but I was very worried.

I got out of the bath, got dressed, and called my doctor's office. The receptionist told me they'd had a cancellation and to come in as soon as I could. I woke Aaron up and told him it was urgent. Within minutes, we were out the door. At that point, I still doubted that Dr. T would induce me. I didn't even bring my hospital bags. I figured I still had at least a week or two of being pregnant.

Aaron got lost on the way to the doctor - which is only four blocks away. He hadn't put his contacts in, and was still half asleep. But we got there! He dropped me off, and I said I'd call when I was done. It was about 9:30 am.

When I got called back into the exam room, the nurse took my vitals, Dr. T came in, and immediately, no hesitation, said, "So, Baby's not moving? Okay. What I'd like to do is induce you." We only discussed it for a couple of minutes, because I was in total agreement. She said that I was 39 weeks, he'd be better off on the outside where we can see that everything is okay than inside, where we don't know what's going on.

I went across the street to the hospital, calling Aaron repeatedly on my way. He finally called back while I was being admitted. He didn't seem surprised at all that we were having a baby that day - I think he was just worried about why Asher wasn't moving. I went up to L&D and settled into my bed, got hooked up to monitors, and answered a million and a half medical questions. Aaron and Declan arrived sometime in there. Declan was a wild kid as always, so Aaron called his dad to take him for the day.

My doctor took a while to show up and get things going. I think I was settled into my bed around 10:15, but she wasn't there until noon to insert the Cervidil. I had plenty of time to call my mom, Lindsey, and my work, and post a status update on Facebook, of course. :) When she did insert it, it was uncomfortable. I mean, it's this thing about the size of a lipstick tube, and she's trying to shove it practically *through* my cervix. Owie.

So then I waited. Lindsey came to the hospital after work, around 2 pm. By that time I was feeling the cramps, but they weren't showing up much on the monitor. I was frustrated. Aaron left and got food for himself - I wasn't allowed to eat. I remember the bag from his meal sitting against the mirror that was directly across from me - the bag read "This is what hungry looks like." I pointed out that it was cruel for me to have to stare at myself with that caption!

Within an hour or so - not long at all - I was in quite a bit of pain. Enough to be ready for the drugs. I remember gripping the siderails and kicking my legs back and forth. I remember moaning with each contraction. Lindsey was sitting beside me, looking worried. She told me later that she hated watching me in pain. It was seriously no fun.

By 5 pm, I was begging for the epidural. But the nurse, Jessie, didn't want to jump the gun and give me the epi if I wasn't in actual labor - which they didn't think I was, because the monitor wasn't picking up good contractions. but my moaning/kicking/gripping convinced her that the monitor was wrong. They tried repositioning it, and it started picking up big contractions, every minute. They were right on top of each other.

Dr. R came in - she was taking over as Dr. T was off for the night. The plan was that I'd have the Cervidil in until midnight, then pitocin, and I'd deliver in the morning. Dr. R seemed to doubt my pain level at first. She said that they don't like to give the epi during Cervidil, because there's no telling if it's real labor that will stick around. She said that they don't like to call the anesthesiologist in after hours for elective inductions anyway. I was confused. Lindsey was pissed. I couldn't have an epidural until MORNING?

Dr. R finally agreed to check me, once she saw the contractions on top of one another. When I came in, I was a fingertip dilated. At that time (probably about 6 pm?), I was 5 cm. Everyone was shocked - the labor was real. Dr. R okayed my epidural, thank God. She was much nicer once she realized that I wasn't being overly dramatic.

The anesthesiologist got me hooked up with the drugs really quickly. And it worked wonders. Aaron and Lindsey came back in, and I was all smiles. Since GRMC is a tiny hospital where they don't have central monitoring, my nurse had to sit in my room with me and watch Asher's heart rate. We made small talk with her for a while. But around 7 pm, I was becoming distracted from the conversation, and I could tell that nurse Jessie was, too. Asher's heart rate kept dipping from its normal rate of 130-ish down to the 100s and 90s. The contractions were still super frequent, although the monitor wasn't picking them up well again.

Dr. R came in; she was worried that the Cervidil was overstimulating my uterus and putting Asher in distress. She checked me and pulled the Cervidil. I was 6 cm. Dr. R stayed in the room and watched my monitor. Asher's dips seemed to be getting worse. At 7:20, Dr. R made the official call that I needed a c-section. Right away.

The anesthesiologist came back in - it seemed like he had just been there - and pushed something (Lidocane?) through my epidural to make me numb enough for surgery. They lowered the head of my bed, and I started bawling. I was scared for Asher. I was scared to be cut open. I was sad that I wouldn't get to push him out like I did Declan. Aaron and Lindsey had left the room when Dr. R checked me, and weren't back yet. Nurse Jessie called Aaron repeatedly, and finally got ahold of him - turns out he was right down the hall. He rushed in and started crying, too, when he saw me all lowered down and tons of doctors swarming me.

Dr. K, the surgeon, arrived and rushed me back to the operating room. Aaron followed shortly behind. It was all a blur - they were trying to get Asher out ASAP. I mean, I didn't even have time to tell Aaron to take a picture of him coming out, and he was out. He was crying. Screaming, in fact. Aaron and I both started crying all over again. I was just so grateful to hear that sound!

Aaron left my side and went over to watch them examine Asher and wrap him up. Dr. W, the family doc that was there just for the baby, brought him over to me and pressed his face next to mine. I kissed him over and over again. He was warm and sweet. I just wanted to hold him. Aaron went with him to the nursery while Dr. K stitched me up and stapled me shut. It was a really, really unpleasant feeling to not be able to feel anything below my chest. It was a very heavy, helpless feeling. A nurse poked her head in to tell me that they had weighed Asher - six pounds, fifteen ounces. I was in disbelief that he was so small!

They took me back to recovery. I had to stay there, in this dimly lit room, for a half hour before I could go back to L&D and meet my baby. How annoying. I just laid there and tried not to focus on the yucky numb feeling. I actually slept a little bit. I thought about how crazy it was that within an hour, I went from thinking that I'd deliver in the morning to having him *right now.* I remember that it was 8:45 when I was done with my "sentence." I had been watching the clock like a hawk.

They wheeled me back to my room. Lindsey, and Rachel were in the hallway by the nursery, watching the nurses dress Asher. They gave me hugs and kisses, and came back to the room with me. Apparently, Kevin and Declan had been there, but had to leave because Declan was being loud and crazy. I wish I had been there to see Declan meet his baby for the first time.

Aaron and Asher came to the room around 9 pm, and I finally got hold my baby boy. He was TINY. I couldn't believe how light his little body was in my arm. I was relieved that I felt just as immediately head-over-heels for him as I had for Declan. That night was a long process of getting my pain under control - as the epidural wore off, the pain was unbearable. Worse than labor. I ended up with a morphine drip, which they took out in the morning. From there on out, it was a matter of getting up and moving again. I won't lie, c-section recover was 100 times worse that my third-degree-tear-recovery with Declan. But I'd do it all again, for the result that I got. :)

And that's how Asher Wesley was born.

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