Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Birth Story

I almost didn't think I'd make it to our scheduled induction. The exam on my Thursday appointment set of cramping that felt like the real deal was coming. Having come so close to the "convenient" daytime delivery, I wished it away. And after several hours, and a warm was gone. I surprisingly slept all night before waking to the 4:45 am alarm. JT seemed pretty stressed the morning of, which was unexpected, as he had been so calm the day before. (Turns out the dog had spent the evening puking on the closet carpet. He didn't  want to stress me out by telling me, and didn't have time to go back and clean it up until midway through my labor).

By 6 am we were sitting in the labor and delivery waiting room. And by 7 am, the doctor was there to get things started. First thing he said was: "I was hoping you'd move him down a little bit....well, there WAS a head there."
For what seemed like an hour, but was probably only a few minutes, an epic battle was waged, between boy and doctor, with I the unfortunate middle woman. I was not even sure exactly what was happening, but I knew there were many valiant efforts being made.
In the end, and many fingernail marks into JT's skin later, the doctor won. The cervadil was placed, my water was broken, and baby was in launch and load position.
The nurse later told me that baby Greystoke had turned to transverse, and the doctor was turning him back and pushing him down.

After that, the registration process was completed, and were left to watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and wait for something to happen.

For the two hours I had to stay in bed, nothing did. So when the nurse came and told me I could start walking, I began in earnest.
After a couple loops around labor and delivery, pausing a moment to peek into the nursery for inspiration and watch the tiny little products of labor blinking under the warming lamps, dodging wet paint signs and ladders, I was bored of the circles we were doing. Since we had the "cadillac" L+D room with the jacuzzi tub that we couldn't use, and lots of room for pacing, we decided to turn back on the Hunger Games while I circled the room at a rapid pace. Except for a 20 minute pause for monitoring an hour later, this is how we spent the next 2 hours.
At the end of Hunger Games, we turned on Thor, but by then I didn't know much about what was going on. The contractions were coming 3-5 minutes apart, lasting a minute, and I could no longer keep walking through them.
When it was time to get back in bed for monitoring, I decided I couldn't get up again. I had once again dodged the dreaded pitocin.
I knew I wanted the epidural, and I knew I was making progress, so after trying to tough it out through a few more contractions, we called the nurse. The anesthesiologist was called. I was ecstatic.

I sent JT out to get lunch because I could tell he was fading, though it turns out he just went home to clean puke out of the closet.

And within half an hour, I was thrilled to have a needle placed in my back. It took forever. All of my epidurals have gone extremely well in the past, and I assumed it was because I was thin, but this time he told me I was "too thin" and kept asking if I "felt like he was going in the right place" (!!).At one point he struck some sort of a nerve, and I involuntarily kicked the nurse. It was very strange. But at last it was in place, took effect speedily, and within a few minutes JT was back.

Other than some blood pressure drops requiring ephedrine, and other than how much slower the labor went than I expected (since it was the 3rd, I thought it would go faster than the Dude's, but ended up taking 2.5 hours longer) the rest of the labor was amazing.

We talked and laughed, and invited my parents in. I barely knew when I was having a contraction. Finally at about 3:30 I called the nurse in because I was shivering, and was declared to be at 9 cm. She advised me to call when I felt more pressure, but I could feel nothing. 15 minutes later she came back and said "he was right there".

5 pushes. 2 contractions. A head emerging that was not red. It all happened so quickly. And then he was there on top of me, with his face all screwed up looking just like Aquaman.

At 3:58 pm, Ezra Dean McVicker "Greystoke" was born.

He looked so small, I didn't think he could possibly be 7 pounds, but he was 7-7 and 20 inches. Absolutely perfect.
He was as grey as his nickname when they placed him on my stomach, but he refused to cry. He looked a little disturbed, but not nearly as angry as I thought he'd be.
Since he refused to scream, it was about 30 minutes before he would eat, because his lungs were still saturated, and he was working very hard to breathe.

So I just held him. Wondering at the mystery of it all. That you could walk in to the hospital with someone inside of you, and just like that he could be outside. But instead of feeling just you've never been so full.

Long slender fingers and big ski feet.

 "He gots blue eyes and a facifier" is how The Dude described him to Aquaman's teacher this morning.

The boys are adjusting well. The hospital stay was grueling, and the separation from the other 2 difficult. I forgot about how hard the 2nd night is. The baby blues hit just when the little ones at home are starting to fall apart. I shed many a tear, alone, in my hospital room with Greystoke on that last night, as JT spent the night on the couch at home consoling The Dude. I prayed: "God, you told us through the name You gave us that with this child: "help is here." Where is your help? Help us." And He did. The sun rose with pink hope, and we were going home.

Aquaman is thrilled to be "the biggest brother", and does not understand why he can't carry Greystoke all over the house.

The Dude, following his cues, is equally thrilled, though slightly more terrified. He hovers over me during diaper changes, when I am putting Vaseline on Greystoke's circumcision, and lectures me not to hurt him. At one point yesterday, he tried to pick up the baby and rescue him from me, because obviously I was hurting him.

The Dude's very slight stuttering problem has suddenly worsened from the anxiety of it all, which is incredibly endearing.
And somehow or other, he is sleeping better than ever, and so far I have not had any middle-of-the-night "what am I going to do with both of these crying boys' scenarios.

We seem to have hit the baby jackpot with Greystoke. He cries pretty much only if he needs something, and even then it is not a terrible convincing cry. When he wakes at night, I usually get to him when he is grunting and moving, and he never cries at all. This is a new, easygoing breed of baby that I am not familiar with, but I am terribly thankful for.

JT is off for 2 weeks, and has been a lifesaver as I adjust physically post-birth and to our new addition.

I live for the "skin-to-skin" naps I've been able to take almost every day since we got home.

These days are so precious. Our family feels truly complete, and even in the busyness of it, I don't know how it ever felt full without our littlest boy.

I am short on eloquence and long on fatigue, but couldn't let another day go by without writing it all down.

The beginning of another beautiful chapter.

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