As promised, here is the long awaited birth story of our baby Nate. I'm sorry it took so long but I wanted to leave no detail uncovered. So, here goes:
I guess it all started on Thursday night. Rob and I went to Walmart to get an exercise ball for me to roll around on while we watch TV. We thought it would help with some of the back pain I was having and since I was still having breathing trouble from a little 7 lb. butt in my rib cage, we thought it might also help move our baby boy down a bit more into my pelvis. I rocked on the ball for about 20 minutes on Thursday night and had some BH contractions afterward. Painless but consistently 8 minutes apart, then 15 minutes apart, until they petered out. During the night, I had a few contractions that were painful enough to wake me from sleeping. But those also went away, leaving me with a sore tummy and zombie-like appearance.
I went to work on Friday - business as usual. I felt okay aside from a few BH. Near the end of the work day, around 4pm, I noticed I had lost my mucus plug. I had lost some tiny pieces over the past few weeks but this time, there was no mistaking that it was the real thing. I got pretty excited, and thought that maybe labor would be coming in the next week or so. Little did I know it would start just an hour later!
Labor began about 5pm Friday, while driving home from work. I was timing the contractions to be about 15 minutes apart and manageable. By 6pm, they were up to 7-10 minutes apart and were getting a bit more uncomfortable. Rob called me on his way home from work and we were able to hold a conversation through the contractions, so we decided to keep timing them and see if they got any closer together or more painful before calling the doctor. They progressed to 5 minutes apart by 9-10pm and I had to now breathe through them. It was hard to focus on anything else when they hit. We called the OB and he said to wait until they were 3 minutes apart and call back. At 11pm, they were 4 minutes apart and I was really struggling. Some of the contractions made me cry because they hurt so badly. After another call to the OB, we finally got the green light to head to the hospital. On the way, the contractions creeped up to 3 minutes apart and Rob had to hold my hand through the majority of them. I questioned whether this was false labor and told him if it was, there was no way I could handle the real thing. We arrived at triage a little after midnight. They performed an internal and I was already at 6cm! So...definitely not false labor as I foolishly suspected! I couldn't believe I had made it that far all on my own at home. They ordered my epidural and admitted me to L&D. We were having a baby and SOON!
I was wheeled into L&D for my IV and labwork. The IV was quite tricky and I had to get stuck 3 or 4 times before finding a good vein. Just when we thought it was in, I started swelling in my arm. The IV had infiltrated, so I had to get stuck yet again. Fun times. In the meantime, my bloodwork showed my platelets were low (72), so they told me an epidural was not an option. My platelets had to be at least 80. I just about had a breakdown. I had only a few hours of sleep in the last 48 hours and was afraid I wouldn't have the energy to push at all, much less au naturale. Even though I said I didn't want it in my birth plan, I asked for Stadol to take the edge off. At this point, contractions were back to back and while I was getting through without screaming or moaning, it was very very hard. I had my mom and Rob breathe with me and I visualized my son moving down the birth canal with each contraction. I got the Stadol around 230am and was able to get a half hour or so of sleep. The anxiety and anticipation were just too much. Although I could still feel the pain of the contractions, it did make me loopy enough to pass out in small intervals. They performed another lab on me to determine my clotting time, which I passed, so they allowed me to get the epidural around 4am. Heaven! I could feel the contractions but they weren't painful at all. I just felt pressure. At the time of the epidural, I was 8cm. The doc told me we'd have our baby boy sometime that morning but to get some sleep in the meantime.
Around 7am, they came in to check me again and I was fully dilated and ready to push. My contractions slowed to every 3-4 minutes but were lasting for about 1.5-2 minutes each. We decided to give it a try without Pitocin and take advantage of resting in between the pushes. After pushing for nearly 2 hours and a nasty 2nd degree tear, Nathaniel Robert was born at 8:58am on July 26, 2008 at 38 weeks, 2 days gestation. He was 7 lbs. 11 ounces (!) and 19 inches long. I was surprised he was so big this early, since Rob was 6 lbs. 5 ounces at birth and I was 7 lbs. 5 ounces at birth. But, he was perfectly healthy. He scored 9 & 9 on his Apgars and was working on securing his horror movie acting career by showcasing his strong lungs. I will never forget the sound of his first cry. I just broke down in tears. I had never heard a more beautiful sound in the world. And when they placed him on my chest, all bloody and mucousy, I just stared in awe. I couldn't believe that Rob and I created this little life. There were just so many emotions floating around in the air. I delivered the placenta and got stitched up while family got to meet him for the first time. It was so surreal that I had just given birth. To my son. And it still feels that way, 8 days later.
I wasn't sure how Rob would handle the delivery but he was a pro. He was the greatest coach - pushed me when I was losing motivation but at the same time, comforted me in all of my angst, anxiety and excitement. He was "all up in my bidness" through the entire pushing process and now says he has a whole new respect for me and for women in general. He says it was an experience he will never forget and not for a second does he wish he didn't have the front row seat. He even got me a card in the hospital telling me how proud and amazed he is at how well I handled myself during the birth of our son. He has been a doting husband and father and I think I've fallen in love with him all over again. I'm not sure if it is a babymoon phase or what but we've taken to parenting like ducks to water. We love our new life of poop, pee, breastmilk, spit up and crying. Not that it is easy, don't get me wrong. I'm more exhausted than I've ever been in my entire life. I can't remember the last time I shaved my legs or blow-dried my hair. Time seems to vaporize these days. It's just that we've always been up for the challenge and now that it is here, we welcome it with open arms. How could I complain?
I am still sore from the tear (I tore up near my urethra as well as down into the perineum a bit - thank goodness for Dermoplast!) and I'm pretty sure my rectum resembles the Rockies right about now but it is totally worth it when I look at my baby boy. We had troubles trying to breastfeed in the hospital but since we've been home, it is a million times better. My nipples were pretty cracked and were bleeding but that has faded over time - I guess they just had to adjust to their new purpose. The pediatrician said he has a frenulum and recommended that it be clipped to get a better latch or prevent speech problems as he grows. However, our lactation consultant said that if breastfeeding is not terribly painful and he is gaining weight, she didn't see the need to have it clipped. At the time of discharge (Sunday), Nate was 7 lbs., 7 ounces. On Tuesday, he was down to 7 lbs., 3 ounces. My milk came in with a vengeance on Tuesday night, complete with engorgement (porn star boobage and all!). And as of Friday, he was up to 7 lbs., 8 ounces. So, I think we are going to avoid a trip to the oral surgeon for now.
I'm so head over heels for this little guy. In 8 days, my whole life has changed and I couldn't imagine it any other way.