Tuesday, January 8, 2013

December 17, 2012 - The Birth of Our Boy

       I have decided to document Roman’s birth story before nature starts working to erase all of those memories. I’ve heard from so many people that second children would never be born if mothers didn’t forget the pain they experience with first children...so here’s to hoping ensuring I don’t forget anytime soon.
      On Sunday, December 16, our families arrived to spend the night in a few of the executive apartments in our complex (one of the perks of having a husband who works as a leasing consultant). Their idea was that they would all go back to the execs and leave us at home so we could go to bed early. HA. Ha ha. We went to bed, alright, and that’s when the fear sank in. I was giving birth tomorrow. Our lives would be irreversibly changing tomorrow. (for some reason, I didn’t feel like things had changed so irreversibly during my entire pregnancy...?) I laid there next to Dillon and cried for a good half hour, questioning whether I had made the right decision by scheduling the induction, questioning whether or not I was strong enough for this, and worrying whether or not he was going to be healthy. All of those whirlwind birth stories people tell about 3 day labors, emergency c-sections, and the heartbreaking realization that their baby has a special need were running through my head at 10, 11, and 12 AM until by some miracle, I fell asleep. I woke up around 2:15 to find that Dillon was still awake. Our alarm went off at 3. Dillon showered, I put on makeup and fixed my hair, we loaded the truck, and picked up my mom from her executive suite.
      We arrived at the hospital a few minutes before 4, took the elevator to the 2nd floor and were greeted by a nurse asking, “Are we having a baby today?”
      I took a deep breath and said, “Yes, we are.”
We were ushered into an all-in-one labor, delivery, and postpartum room where I had the pleasure of putting on one of the butt-baring gowns, climbing into bed, and getting an IV. In the nurse’s first attempt on my left forearm, she hit a valve and ended up pulling out a bloody needle, which only caused me pain. The second attempt on my right hand took, but left Dillon dizzy with sympathy pains. The IV began my Pitocin and fluid drip and the nurse checked my dilation progress - 3cm. I was having the typical painless contractions as I awaited Dr. Lawrence. Sometime around 8, she arrived to break my water. All along, I had been afraid I would miss my water breaking and cause Roman to be distressed. When the time came for it to actually break, it was far from easy to miss. The flood gates opened and Dr. Lawrence actually jumped up from the bed to avoid getting soaked.
After that, these painless contractions were history, and I began to experience real pain. They let me know that there were two c-sections scheduled for that morning and that the anesthesiologists would only be available to give an epidural around the surgery schedule. By the time the first c-section was finished, I was begging for them to come see me.
I had always been afraid of the epidural because of the size of the needle. Ask my parents or Dillon, I am terrified of needles, and have been conquering my fear during pregnancy due to the large amount of blood-drawing and shot-giving I have endured. However, when I found myself hunched over in pain, gripping Dillon’s hand, leaking tears out of the corners of my closed eyes with every contraction...I welcomed the big ole needle. To save any of you who share my fear of needles from worrying, I’ll tell you I didn’t even feel the epidural. The only shot I felt was the numbing agent they used to dull the area. My side effects included a drop in blood pressure which required me to wear an oxygen mask to help baby boy get what he needed, and intense shakes, but I was blissfully unaware of the crazy contractions that were coming every few minutes. By around 10:30, I was dilated to a 7, and by 11:30 I was a 10. Most women who come in for a morning induction make it to a 5 by noon. Apparently I’m advanced.
The most wonderful OB nurse in the world, Heather, and I started the pushing process and after about 20 minutes, she decided he wasn’t low enough in the birth canal, and that I needed to “labor down.” This involves letting gravity pull him down, but since my legs were dead from the epidural, she put my bed at a serious incline, and went to take her lunch. As you can tell from the picture, the whole, "did my makeup, fixed my hair" thing was out the window...
When she came back, we started pushing again, and let me tell you, it was bad. She decided that I wasn’t pushing hard enough because I couldn’t feel what was going on, so she made the call to turn off my epidural. It would slowly fade away, allowing me to regain feeling. Yes, that is as bad as it sounds. I remember praying in my head with every contraction, please God make him come out now. Soon that prayer turned into, God why can’t you make this easier on me? What do I have to do for you to speed this up? Why don’t you love me enough to make the pain stop? (Yeah, I went there, and I’m not proud of it.)
Dillon was pushing on my left leg while my mom pushed on my right and a nurse stood at the foot of the bed with a towel, playing tug of war with me. After 2 hours of painful pushing, lots of low moaning but no screaming, and an episiotomy, I felt the most wonderful relief of my life. Roman Keith was born! It truly was the euphoric experience everyone talks about as they pulled him into view, screaming his little head off. He was slightly gray-blue and slimy but he had a few inches of dark hair on his head and he was definitely a boy, just like they told us he would be. The nurse laid him on my chest and I rubbed the color into him and started talking to him, just saying whatever I could think of, “Hey baby, I’m your Mommy. I love you so much. Oh baby, you’re so pretty...” My mom was bawling, Dillon had “dust in his eyes”, and after crying through the whole labor, I was just overjoyed to have him on the outside.
Dillon cut the cord, and believe it or not, you have to actually exert force when cutting it, and some blood may splatter on your hands. He was then whisked just a few feet away to the warmer to get wiped down, weighed, measured, and checked for initial health. I delivered the afterbirth and Dr. Lawrence stitched me up. At this point, I no longer had a big belly, so I could see down there and the stitches really hurt. Apparently I told her that I could feel everything and that my epidural was totally gone, to which she replied that there was no way I could feel everything, and it could be much worse.
Roman was so healthy, breathed well, and despite his long time spent in the birth canal, was barely cone-head. The nurse called out his weight -- 7 pounds, 11.5 ounces! We later found out that he was 19.25 inches long. Healthy, happy, average sized baby boy with all ten fingers and toes, a head full of hair, and dark blue eyes. He was (and is) perfect! 
They brought my baby, all wrapped up like a burrito, back to me and we nursed for the first time, just minutes after he was born. It wasn’t easy, but we got him to latch the first time and he ate for about five minutes, which is good. Dillon and I both held our baby boy and told each other how beautiful he was and touched him all over and gave him an enormous amount of kisses.
Roman was taken to the nursery for his bath, shots, and foot-printing, and I began the long, grueling postpartum process. Just getting out of bed was work, and I was freakin’ sore. Without my saint-of-a-nurse Heather, I never would have made it and I really wish I could repay her for the wonderful care she gave me. I would seriously recommend to anyone having a baby, to buy a really sweet card in advance and once you meet that nurse that really clicks with you, write her a heartfelt thank you note and give it to her before you leave. I don’t know if this made Heather feel good, but it made me feel good to thank her in the only way I knew how--through writing.
       As soon as Dillon’s family had said their first hello’s to Roman, the nurses came in and began packing up my stuff to move me to another room. There were so many women coming in to have babies, they didnt have enough room to keep me and many other new moms in the labor suites. Therefore, those of us who already gave birth were being moved to another wing for postpartum. We got settled in and prepared for our families to go back to the executive suites for the night. This is when everything started to get real--we had a tiny newborn son to care for on our own all night, and what a memorable night it was!

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