Saturday, August 24, 2013

Birth Story: Labor & Delivery

Last posed picture in front of the hospital. 40 weeks + 1 day. 

It's been about 2.5 weeks since Noah was born, and this post has been sitting in the 'drafts' folder waiting to be worked on for almost as long as that. Between everything that has been going on since then, it has seemed impossible to find time or motivation to update this blog.

Sorry, Noah!

If you missed the first post, click here to get caught up.

Birth Story Continued

So, I really was finished with the whole idea of being pregnant. It's not fun being pregnant in the summer, but thank goodness for air conditioning/ice cream/fans/cold showers/ice water. On August 5, the day before the due date, I had my last pre-natal check up. My doctor told me that I might be going to the hospital that day or the next, because of how things were progressing. But just in case, we set up an appointment to induce labor at the hospital on August 7. I was starting to feel more anxious about the baby's arrival date, since our plane tickets were already bought and we need to get his passport and visa before leaving!

For the next two days, I tried everything in my power to start labor--not that I hadn't been trying before then, I was just going a little more hardcore. Like three-or-four-walks-a-day kind of hard core.

But alas, the contractions I had been feeling off and on since the previous weekend were not advancing into active labor. I had such mixed feelings about going to the hospital on Wednesday. I really wanted for things to progress naturally and when my body was fully ready to give birth. But I also felt stressed about getting back to China on time. I felt like Adam was under pressure to be back at a certain point, and although he gets two weeks of paternity leave---it's not easy missing the beginning of a school year.

I literally dragged my feet to the hospital. Adam said I didn't have to go, and tried his best to be a supportive husband.

Once we were at the hospital, I felt 100x better about forcing myself through those doors. I was having contractions before arriving, and had dilated even more since my last pre-natal appointment. So I justified the induction by saying that I would have probably been at the hospital later that day anyway.

Once I was given pitocin, contractions really started to intensify. Then the waiting began. We watched a lot of Food Network, which made me pretty hungry.

I felt like a science project with all these tubes attached to my body. I think there ended up being 7 by the end of the day. Not exactly "natural", and I'm sure some people's idea of a very unattractive labor and delivery. I had tested positive for Strep B, so one of those IV's is for antibiotics. I also asked for an epidural eventually....which lead to more tubes.

After four-ish hours, my doctor decided to break my water bag. That's when I decided I had endured enough contractions over the last five days and deserved an epidural. They barely got that hooked up in time, before it would have been too late. By that point, I was shaking uncontrollably. "Oh crap, I remember this. Thank goodness for drugs".

Another few hours went by and I felt like it was time to push the baby out. I was just about to call for a nurse to let her know that it was time to deliver my baby when she walked in on her own. She called my doctor, who was just about to deliver another by via c-section. She was already dressed for surgery, but she came to check on my quickly. She said, "let's see if you're ready, push on your next contraction". I followed her directions, and she announced, "Yep, the baby is coming!"

I prepared myself for an arduous, painful, grueling process of squeezing a human out of my body. I checked the clock and prepared myself for all sorts of complications.

A few nurses rushed in to help prep the room.
During the whirlwind of activity, I pushed twice more and Noah was born!

I was in shock that he was born so quickly. I didn't have to push too long with Willow (45 minutes), but this was WAYYYY easier the second time around. When they plopped Noah on my chest, I was elated and giddy, and definitely-definitely-definitely in shock that he was already born. 

He was screaming loudly as soon as they cleared his mouth. The nurses and doctor were all exclaiming about how good he sounded and how cute he looked. My first thoughts were to check the size of his hands and feet, and to see if I thought his eyes were upside down....which had been my initial reaction after seeing Willow for the first time.

Maybe it's because Willow is 2 years old and so big now---but I thought his hands and feet were so small. I also thought his eyes looked upside down.

My doctor asked what his name was.
I remember sharing a look with Adam--it was slightly panicked-- "we don't know!"
She laughed and said that she would ask again the next day.

Adam was great during the actual delivery. Although I had to remind him, yet again, to grab the camera and take some pictures for me.

I remember the nurses talking about how much they loved his cry.

Once again, there was a small tear that needed to be repaired. Is that too much information? While my doctor was fixing me up, we talked about China and raising kids there. Never mind the fact that she was stitching up a very sore area--we might as well have been gabbing over lattes.

I don't remember getting to hold Willow much after her birth. This time, they let me hold Noah for nearly two hours before they came to pester me about using the toilet and moving rooms. We got to cuddle and bond, and I discovered that he is a great nurser. Unlike Willow who needed lots of help for the first few weeks of her life, Noah knew what to do instantly.

If our circumstances were different, it would have been nice to go the 'natural' route. To forego drugs, maybe try a birthing center or a water birth. It must be nice not to have to schedule your child's actual birth date. I could really beat myself up about this, and berate myself for not being the kind of mom that could push out a baby without the assistance of modern medicine.

But, I'm not really into beating myself up about it. I am just glad that the labor and delivery went well. It could have been a lot worse, a lot longer, a lot harder, and much more complicated. I was so thankful, and praising God for the safe arrival of our son.

In the end, it didn't really matter that I had so many tubes sprouting out of my body, or that I had caved to an epidural yet again. I was just so happy to hold my baby (and to not be pregnant anymore).

When this picture was taken, I was already thinking how different it was to have a son compared to having a daughter. I'll write more about that later.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Birth Story: Preparing

What are you supposed to do when your due date approaches, passes you by, and you still have no baby? Well, you continue to get ready for the arrival of your baby!

What do you do when your to-do list is completely finished, and still your baby is too comfortable to make an entrance?

You schedule an induction.

To be honest, I felt a pretty significant level of guilt for scheduling an induction. There are so many proponents for natural births out there. Of course, I would like to bring my babies into this world as naturally as possible. But I had this great cloud of stress hanging over my head about the baby's arrival. There's all this paper work and beurocracy that needs to be sorted through once the baby is born---and from my past experiences I know how long and frustrating everything takes. I also know that our plane tickets are already bought and that Adam is under pressure to return as soon as possible.

So, without really consulting Adam or even God...I agreed to going to the hospital for a scheduled induction on Wednesday, August 7. 

Talk about mixed feelings!

I wanted to have my baby! I was so ready to deliver that baby! And so uncomfortable too! I could hardly sleep, walk, eat, breathe....I was taking pain medicine every day to help get through the hours.

I was also having contractions that were going no where. For five days! By Wednesday, I was dilated to about 3 centimeters, so if I had waited another day or two--maybe things would have progressed naturally. But the not knowing was killing me.

I wanted to go the hospital...but then again...I didn't want to go. 

I tried to make a strawberry pie and a chocolate cream pie. That didn't start labor. 

I continued purchasing, washing, cataloging, and packing clothes for both kids' wardrobes.

I finished my to-do list...which included sending a very late gift to a sweet friend. 

Renewed debit and credit cards, went shopping, returned purchases, bought donuts....

Went out to eat at a little diner. Willow cracks me up; she can drink her water like such a 'big girl'. Only one hand!

We sat in a booth, because I requested it (it's easier to contain Willow in a booth, since she dislikes high chairs). The manager, a big-fat guy, yelled out to me as we were being seated, "She's not gonna fit in a booth! She's too big!" At the top of his lungs. Over and over again. The waitress kept yelling back over her shoulder, "she'll be fine! she's gonna fit!" I tried to laugh it off and have a good attitude about it--but seriously....why do people think that it's okay to say such things to a pregnant woman? I almost told him that he wouldn't fit in the booth either.

Just to let you know...I did fit in the booth. I had like five extra inches.
And it was my due date.
Thank you very much, big-fat manager.

And baby!

To be continued.....

4th Anniversary

On our fourth anniversary, Adam was up early with Miss Willow. Which meant that I got to sleep in longer than usual. I definitely needed the extra sleep since I hadn't been sleeping very much during the night. The last few weeks of pregnancy were not very comfortable, especially when trying to get rest!

When I finally got out of bed, I found that Adam had already made a trip to the bakery. He surprised me by buying a small cake and two bouquets of flowers! Willow helped him select the flowers.

Of course, as soon as breakfast was over, Willow insisted on a piece of cake--so we had to take a few hurried pictures before we sliced into the yellow/chocolate/fudge filled dessert.

For lunch, Adam and I went out to Red Lobster. It was fun to think, "This might be our last date before the baby arrives!". It was, however, not our last outing before the baby arrived. We almost went to Steak n' Shake for happy hour--but we were so full by the time we left Red Lobster, we ditched that idea.

Willow loves the camera. She sometimes asks for her picture to be taken and decides how she will pose.

Love you, Adam! Thank you for the special anniversary! It was fun to spend the day with you!