Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How did we end up here?

I haven't really taken the time to think about or document in any way Ryan's birth story. I'm one of those people who desperately tries to remember every tiny detail yet end up forgetting most everything. I find time to be really complex. It baffles me that minutes slip away and then they're just gone. forever. And firsts are only firsts once. Not long after giving birth, right before I returned to work, I realized that a huge chapter of my life was ending. I had done all of the things I had hoped to do in my life. It seemed like all of my firsts were over. I had met the man I'd marry, moved away from home, started a career, married my partner, came home again, and had my very first pregnancy and baby and maternity leave. And it was suddenly over. It took a week of self pity and words of comfort from those closest, but I came to the realization that I had done all the things I thought I'd do and now I get to do all the things I never thought I'd do. And while some of my firsts were over, I had so many more to look forward to. And with that, here are some of Ryan's firsts:

Coincidentally, it was exactly a year ago today that I found out I was expecting. My husband and I had been trying and I knew before I took the pregnancy test. Nonetheless, seeing that "pregnant" appear, overjoyed me. I had a really uneventful pregnancy. It was some of the easiest 9 months of my life. No morning sickness, no really restless nights, no horrible pains. The only markedly different thing was my constant heartburn and my evergrowing belly. I loved every second of it.

Ryan was due 5/11/10. They thought he was quite big, so I had an ultrasound at about 38 weeks. They estimated him to be over 8 lbs at that time, so my doctor recommended that we induce. I am a very scheduled person, so I loved that idea. I left my doctor's office on May 6th with instructions to be at the hospital at 5 AM on May 10th for induction. I was so excited. I spent those 4 days watching movies and tv in bed and enjoying my pregnant body. Sunday was mother's day and we celebrated at my mom's. I wasn't allowed to eat anything after midnight, so I had dinner at my mom's and then a small bowl of applesauce around 8 PM. I went to bed around 10 foolishly thinking I'd be able to sleep. It was one of the worst nights of sleep I've ever gotten. We had to leave at about 4:45 to get to the hospital by 5:00, so we were up by 4:20. When you already have your bags packed and there's no reason to wear makeup, you don't need a lot of time to get ready.

We got to the hospital at 5 and checked in with the L&D nurse. She took me to my labor room where I changed and she asked me a million questions. Then she started my pitocin. I was having contractions when I arrived at the hospital, but they were so mild that I wasn't feeling them. They started the pit very low and then increased it little by little. My doctor came in around 8 AM and checked me. She said she would be back after lunch and by then I will have had my epidural and that hopefully we'd be done by dinnertime. I knew going into it that I wanted an epidural. Around noon, I was really feeling the pit. Contractions HURT. For any pregnant moms reading this, I'll say it again: Contractions HURT. Something they should tell you beforehand: you have to go through an entire iv bag before they'll give you the epi, so ask for it a little while before the contractions become unbearable. I remember getting the epidural and feeling so much better. The worst part of the epidural is the lidocane shot they give you to numb your back. I loved my epidural. So much that I felt compelled to update facebook with "I love my epidural".

After my epidural, the hours seem to have just slipped by. I remember my doctor coming in and breaking my water. That was not fun. It took her a couple of tries and I didn't have that big splash that you think you'll have. They inserted a fetal monitor inside me and then gave me a catheter. The catheter was hilarious. I was completely numb and couldn't move my legs at all. It took two nurses to get the catheter in. So I had that coming out of my hoo-ha as well as the fetal monitor, add to that the epidural catheter in my back as well as the iv in my arm. And I was wearing a blood pressure cuff the whole time. I was wired for sound!

I labored for the rest of the day without really feeling it. I slipped in and out of sleep. My doctor came back around 6:30 or so and checked me. She said she was going home for dinner but would be ready if it became time to push. Sadly, that time would never come. I truly believe Ryan was just not ready to come, and, should I ever have another baby, I will do everything in my power not to be induced. My doctor came back around 8:15 PM and checked me again. Ryan's heart rate was becoming erratic and I had developed a fever. She told me that we needed to move forward with a cesarean. I didn't realize how upset I'd be. I always said I'd go into labor with an open mind and as long as he came out healthy, I'd be happy. Its hard though when you've been laboring for 14 hours with very little progress to accept that you won't be pushing your baby out. I was scared. I had never had surgery. I cried. My doctor, husband and mom all comforted me. Even now, typing this, I think, "I should have left him in there...I shouldn't have been induced". There wasn't ever a chance. I was 100% effaced but only ever was dilated to a 6.

My doctor went to scrub in and the anesthesia nurse came back and upped my epi. I had to swallow some gross grape stuff, like liquid tums. By the time I was in surgery, I couldn't feel anything, including the palms of my hands. The epidural made me shake really bad, like I was standing outside in 20 degree weather naked. I threw up twice on the operating table. Of course, it'd been over 24 hours since I'd eaten, so there was nothing to throw up except the gape stuff. The nurses were so nice and took care of me. My husband looked dapper in the scrubs they'd given him and I momentarily wondered if he had chosen the wrong profession. I don't remember a lot of the surgery. I remember them telling me that they were pulling him out and me saying, "Oh my god, we're going to be parents!".

And then our family was 3 and not 2 anymore. They held him up over the curtain and he was beautiful. Covered in goo, but the first time I ever saw him.

His breathing was erratic. They whisked him away and I didn't even get to see him except for when they were walking out of the room. I sent my husband with strict orders not to leave him alone. Looking back, I don't remember hearing him cry. My husband reminds me that he did cry and I was overjoyed at the sound. I had to stay and get my uterus put back in and get stitched up, but Paul went with Ryan. He had to be on a CPAP for about 8 minutes because his breathing was so erratic. They had to give him IV antibiotics and inserted a tube down his throat to get the air out of his tummy. I didn't get to see him right after surgery. I still had a fever and they thought I might have a uterine infection, so I was wheeled into recovery and had to stay there for an hour. My parents came to visit me and so did Paul. He showed me Ryan's pictures on his iphone. I was shaking pretty badly from the epidural. After a long hour, they wheeled me down to the NICU to see him.

Then I had to go to my room. I loved my night nurse, Carla. She gave me juice and percocet and was a nice lady. The next day, they took me off my epi and removed my catheter. My day nurse was awesome too, her name was Mindy. I was so excited to go see Ryan, but I couldn't walk so Mindy wheeled me down. By the day after, I could walk slowly while holding onto my wheelchair. I walked back and forth over and over to see my baby.

Oh there are so many things I'd do differently. I didn't realize that I should have been going down to the NICU every 3 hours to try and breastfeed. Instead, I set an alarm and pumped for 15 minutes around the clock. I loved being in the hospital. By Tuesday afternoon, Ryan was off of the antibiotics and all tubes were removed. I attempted breastfeeding earnestly, but Ryan also needed formula to keep his glucose levels up. I am grateful for the care Ryan received in the hospital. For the care we both received.

Thursday, May 13th, we went home. Ryan's first car ride was a success:

So while a chapter of my life is complete, Ryan's first chapter is just beginning.

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