Hey guys! Thanks for all your sweet comments on my little buddy Gabriel. We're still getting used to each other and the insane lack of sleep is making me loopy. So until I can muster up a coherent blog post, I'm turning the blog over to some trusted peeps. Today I hand the keys to Shannanigans over to my amazing husband who got me through the whole process and kept vigorous notes of the labor process. This post will probably only interest those who have or will be going through it and is here mostly for posterity. The rest of the week will be a selection of my fave bloggers and a bunch of random topics. So thanks again for visiting, tons more pics to come of course! And hi to the de-lurked lurkers out there, it's nice to know who you are!
Prelude to a Birth
Prior to the induction date, Shannon asked me to document the birth for posterity. Of course, I forgot. Here we are driving to the hospital sans pen and paper/notepad (I'm so old school). After a moment of panic, I realized that I do own a Blackberry and imagine that...it has a memo pad feature. For those of you that do not know me, my name is John, I am an accountant and tend to cover details to the minutiae. I should be in treatment, but denial is easier. She has allowed me to blog the story to all of you (please now picture Shannon cringing in a state of total fear).
Anyway, back to the story. Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., when we settled in at the hospital, we realized that at the end of this process we will be leaving here with a baby. Upon the initial exam the doctor said that she was only a cm dilated and her cervix hadn't thinned at all. We were in it for the long haul and I had to get down to business. I needed to channel Shannon so that I wouldn't miss all those adorbs moments. While she was otherwise preoccupied, I took these pics to suprise her with after the birth was completed.
Tiny hat, enough said.
The time was close to noon when she started having contractions. The contractions were 2.5 to 5 minutes apart. My naive optimism was dashed at 5:45 p.m. when the exam showed that she was still 1 cm dialated; however she was 70% effaced. Progress. At this point the nurse wanted her to start walking. In pain, she reluctantly agreed. The birth center was busy and when we walked outside the room we noticed that there were four carts set up staged with birthing kits. Boredom earlier in the day led me to read the kit in our room. Naturally I started reciting most of the items in the kit along with the fact that there were 20 cotton balls (yes this is the kind of thing I was referring to in the first paragraph).
Anyway, as we walked down the hall we started to wonder what would happen if either one of the cotton balls fell on the floor or the birth needed 21. Hence, Code White Fluff came into being. We pictured births screeching to a halt because the doctor ran out of cotton balls. Sounds of "Code White Fluff!" over the hospital intercom. Naturally, I wondered how much the hospital would charge for that extra cotton ball. The estimates were scary. We were both in hysterics, yes it was funny at the time and it was good for her to laugh.
Unfortunately she did not progress the remainder of the evening. Overnight was when the fun began. I begged for the narcotic and benedryl cocktail that the nurses gave to her to sleep and I was denied. Instead of a nice drug induced coma that my wife spent the night in, I was waking up every hour when one alarm after another kept going off. The IV for various reasons, Shannon's monitor for her blood pressure (taken every 20 minutes to half hour) and the no graph paper alarm. It got to the point where I would hear the blood pressure kick on and just pray that it would be okay so I could fall back asleep.
The good news was that her drug induced state worked because she didn't wake up until her water broke at 4:45 a.m. Once her water broke the Cervidil was removed. The bad news was that the further away she was from the Cervidil the slower the contractions became, therefore at 9:45 a.m. her doctor started her on Pitocen in order to stimulate the contractions. After all this she was still only 2 cm. Slow...slow...progress. The Pitocen was administered around 10:15 a.m. along with her second dose of the amazing narcotic cocktail that I am not allowed to share. We fall asleep until her mother arrives at 11. Don't get me wrong, I love her mother, I always want to see her mother, but for the love of God - I JUST WANT TO SLEEP!
Anywho (had to throw in one), the Pitocen worked and her contraction became approximately 2.5-3 minutes apart. The worrying news was that she was only approximately 3 cm dialated. Worrying because this was probably the worst afternoon of my life. I don't think I have ever felt more helpless or emotionally hurt so bad. Not only was the Pitocen causing the contractions to worsen over the course of the afternoon, but her blood pressure was being taken every twenty minutes. Usually the blood pressure was being taken at the same time a contraction was occuring. If you haven't had experience with these automatic beauties here it is in a nutshell, the machine monitors fetal heartrate, contractions (Toco) and mother's blood pressure.
Yeah...so...big deal, well because her blood pressure was elevated and she would involuntarily move slighly during the contractions the blood pressure machine would clamp down on her arm (by the way, it was on the same arm as her IV). In other words, her hand/fingers were purple, her IV would burn and after the cuff was removed there were marks. I believe, due to the drugs, the contractions were so bad frankly I can't believe the bedrail was still mounted on the bed. Approximately 5 p.m. she was ready to throw in the towel. My heart was tearing in half. The nurse said that she should go to the bathroom, naturally she resisted because SHE COULDN'T WALK. It took us about 5 minutes just to get to the bathroom. It felt like there was a contraction every two steps.
No sooner did she get there than the anesthesiologist appeared and she nearly cut off his head. Basically there was a privacy issue and at this point she just wanted to be left alone. More gross stuff - she lost the mucous plug and upon later examination she was 4 cm dialated and fully effaced. A few other developments occured at this time. First she developed a low grade fever that ended up between 100 to a high of 100.8 and second the anesthesiologist reviewed her case and he believed that he may be able to give her an epidural. From Satan to Saviour in alittle under 30 seconds. She received the epidural and eventually it took. She looked a 100% better immediately. THANK GOD!
Now that she was feel much better I evaluated my own situation. For as well as we planned for Shannon I planned as poorly for myself. I was in the same clothes for two days, needed to shave, needed to eat, needed to shower, needed to recharge emotionally and needed to check on the prince of the household (the cat). Since she was feeling better and still only 4 cm along, I thought that I would leave around 8 and I told her that I would be back around 10. When I leave the house just before 10, Shannon tells me that the doctor will be in at 10 for an exam. I told her that I would be back in about 15 minutes. Upon signing in at the nurses station, I asked the doctor how she was doing and he said that he would let her tell me the news. I fell through the floor...after all this...I missed it. He told me that she did not have it yet. I am still exhausted here, totally not cool (funny after the fact yes, not cool at the time). As I walked to the room I saw the cart set up outside, so I knew it had to be close. When I walked in she said that she was at 10 cm and that she was going to start pushing in about an hour.
At 10:50 the contractions begin. Picture this...remember I have been assigned to document...I am on her right side supporting/holding her right leg with my right hand (FYI to any guys out there...don't drop it when setting it back on the bed...not good..it was an accident and she didn't feel it anyway), I am taking notes on the BlackBerry with the left hand, watching what is going on and giving her words of encouragement at the same time.
Luckily the time between contractions increases during the pushing phase so I had time for notes, there was also alot of waiting for the next one to start. This did make for some awkward moments with us just standing, watching and waiting. I would say 12 out of the 20 minutes were spent waiting for the next contraction to begin. Another thing about me, I do not like needles and the thought of being cut/cutting doesn't work so well in the brain. Therefore I say, I know this may be a little late, but what is your viewpoint on performing an episiotomy. He said that he would perform it only if necessary and he would know when the head starts to crown. At which point I let him know that if it needed to be done to please warn me ahead of time. Did not need to be his second patient. Thankfully we did not have to address the question again. In my defense, this was the first time I had ever seen the man in my life. He was the doctor on call from a different practice. Must give him props, he was very nice, explained everything and was very professional.
The baby was almost starting to crown after the first contraction, crowning after the second, head out after the third, and shoulders cleared with the rest of the body on the fourth. I got to tell her that it was a boy. I think we had to tell her three times because she was convinced that it was going to be a girl. This was probably one of the most amazing moments of my life. It is about 4 days later and I still can't believe it. At this point my job is completed and will turn further documentation over to Shannon.
Final Thoughts: I do believe that the pain level was amplified due to the induction. To any expectant mothers out there (Hi KP!), make sure that you both pack for the long haul. 2-3 sets of cloths for the hospital and one for home.