Sunday, February 7, 2016

Baby James' birth story

January was a long month. We kept thinking baby boy would be joining our family any minute and we were scrambling to get everything done and in order before then. We had to move Emma to a big girl room (I should probably do a post on that...), get a new car, pull out and set up all the old baby things, make some freezer meals, pack a hospital bag. We had everything done by Jan. 16 because that was the date that our perinatal specialist estimated based on our monthly ultrasounds.
A little date night with my favorite milk shakes! 
New car: check! 
Last picture as a family of three
But the 16th came and went and no baby. So we just waited. I kept getting bigger and bigger and more and more miserable. And the waiting was really toying with us mentally.
Going a little crazy...
Finally it was Thursday, January 28th - 2 days before my official due date. We visited my regular OB that day and she didn't have much good news for us. I was dilated to 4 cm and 70% effaced, but having no regular contractions. I had had two or three times where I felt like labor started and I would have contractions (not very painful ones) for a couple hours, but they never got closer than about 7 minutes apart and then would just disappear all together. So by this appointment, I was feeling like he was never coming. On top of that, I developed PUPPPS, a really common and not serious fun symptom that can develop late in pregnancy. Basically it's a horrible, raised, angry, itchy red rash that spreads all over your belly. You kind of feel like your skin is on fire and you just want to scratch it off. There's really no cure for it, except delivery. So that's fun. When I walked into my appointment, the two front desk ladies, my nurse, and my doctor all reacted with surprise - apparently my stomach looked like it gotten remarkably larger in just one week, and had dropped impossibly low. My fundal height had jumped considerably, but my doctor insisted it was just excess fluid and she thought baby would still be about 7 lbs 13 ounces. It should be noted that the high risk specialist had been saying for months that baby would be huge. She predicted that if I went to term, he would be 9 lbs 8 ounces. My OB (and many other people) assured me that predictions based on ultrasounds are almost never right and he would be a "perfectly average size" (OB's exact words).

39 weeks!
Given my rapid growth, the PUPPPS, and my history of quick delivery, my doctor wanted to talk induction. She knew I didn't feel favorably toward induction - I've always heard it takes longer and is more painful and it just doesn't make sense to force my body to do something it's not ready to do - but she thought it might be a good option. We settled on a date one week out, Thursday, February 4.

We went home a little discouraged by the prospect of waiting a whole other week to meet our little one (and a whole other week of PUPPPS and getting bigger!) We had a lovely dinner provided by a very considerate friend (she just KNEW I would need a pick me up that day!) and then we went to Target to try and find something to provide some itch relief.
Lookin' like hobos at Target. Why she wanted a million of these I don't know
That night after we got Em to bed, I thought maybe an oatmeal bath might help with the itching. A little before 11 pm I got in the bath. Within just a few minutes I told Hans: "Something feels weird." "What do you mean weird?"
"These contractions... they actually hurt."
"Well just soak a bit. Maybe it'll help ease and relax your muscles."
A couple minutes later: "No, I want to get out. These hurt."

I got out and was getting dressed and we started timing them. Five minutes apart. Ok. Well, the doctor said I need to have them 5 minutes apart for an hour before going to the hospital. We started packing our bags and getting the car ready. After about 30 minutes they're getting more intense and move to 2 minutes apart. We called Josh to come over and stay with Emma. He got there about 12:15 am and we rushed out to the car. We are so lucky it was the middle of the night and Mopac was empty, because it only took us 10 minutes to get to the hospital (Hans was going fast :)). If it would have happened at rush hour, we would have been in trouble...

We pulled into the hospital a little after 12:30 and managed to contract my way to the maternity ward. In between contractions, the first thing I told the admitting nurse was that I tested positive for Group B Strep and I have quick deliveries so I needed the antibiotic as soon as possible. She responded with a very calm and nonchalant "Ok, ok. Let's get through this paperwork." After 45 minutes (!) of paper work, she *finally* checks my cervix and everything changes. "Oh! You're 7 cm!!" Yes. Yes, I am. I'm not kidding lady, this kid is about to be here. The whole atmosphere changed. Paperwork was cast aside. Extra nurses came in so they could try and get through things quicker.

They wheeled me (contracting too hard to walk at this point) to a delivery room around 1:30. I asked if I could use the restroom before I got in the bed, knowing once I got in I wouldn't be getting back up. As soon as I sat down on the toilet, there was a very loud POP! sound and then water was everywhere. When my water broke with Emma, I didn't feel anything and there was just a strong stream of water running down my legs. This was nothing like that. This felt and sounded like a rubber band snapping and the gush of water kinda went everywhere - like a water balloon had gotten thrown at me! The noise was so loud, the two nurses in the hall heard it and came running in. Apparently last time they heard water break like that, it meant the baby fell out in the toilet. They were worried that had happened. Fortunately, it was just my water. But after that happened, the contractions became nearly unbearable. They helped me into bed, but I was buckling over and screaming through each contraction. I don't remember screaming with Emma. I just remember being really focused on getting through the pain. This time I screamed. A lot. They called the anesthesiologist who came quickly and explained I was progressing so quickly it might not take, but he would try. No sooner had he put the epidural in, then my contractions actually sped up! I told them I needed to push. They checked and I was 10 cm, 100 percent effaced, and crowning. The nurse borrowed the anesthesiologist's phone to call the doctor to come catch the baby. The anesthesiologist promised me that one of two things would happen in the next 10 minutes - either the epidural would take or the baby would be here and it would be over. And the epidural took. Mostly. I could still feel pretty much everything, I just wasn't in excruciating pain anymore.

I could see a clock hanging on the wall right in front of me as I started to push. Because my labor was moving so fast and so hard, I thought surely it would take just a few pushes to get out. After about 20 minutes, I was pretty surprised. And I was pushing hard. I was getting so tired. I even asked for oxygen. I could see the doctor and the nurse giving each other a weird look and I started getting so worried. I was worried he was stuck or in distress or something. I thought "Oh my gosh, is this going to end in C-Section after all this?!" The nurse left and came back with more nurses. I pushed harder than I thought I could and after another 25 minutes I finally felt every inch of him leave my body. The mood in the room changed and the nurses were all relieved and laughing. They told me they had gotten nervous because they realized he was much bigger than any body expected and they literally needed extra hands to help. They were all betting on how big he was. Imagine my surprise when they told me he was a whopping 9 pounds and 10 ounces and 22 inches long! And had blond hair!! I swear, if I wouldn't have delivered him I wouldn't think it possible he was mine.

We hadn't been able to settle on a name and had hoped that when we saw him, something would jump out. We had a list of names we didn't hate that we took to the hospital. And we didn't immediately know what he would be, but we saw him and knew several things he was not. He was not a Theodore, or an Ezra, or a Finn. We mulled over the names and I felt like I kept coming back to James. It took us a day or two, but we finally settled on James Austin. Austin is my brother's name, my dad's middle name, and my great-grandfather's middle name, so I definitely wanted to incorporate that.
So far, he is the sweetest little chunk. Cheeks for days! I just want to kiss them all the time. Of course a baby that big, all he wants to do is eat. Surprise, surprise. I'm thankful for a quick, if not a little chaotic delivery and that all went smoothly. The delivery, anyway. Stay tuned for Part II, our NICU stay.
Welcome, baby James! We love you!