This post has been a long time coming. I knew that life would be a good deal more hectic once my son was born, but I really had no idea what I was in store for. It just seems like I have a billion teeny tiny little things to do. I’ve been noticing that these are things that prior to Simon’s birth I probably would have procrastinated doing. Maybe it’s because I have my mother-in-law living with us and I don’t want her to know what a huge slacker I am in real life. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Labor story.
I’m not really sure why I’m posting this, as this is a pretty personal event. I guess part of me wants to help other people who are having children know what to expect. Another part of me just wants to tell the whole world every teeny detail of my son’s birth, whether they want to hear it or not. At least this way, you can choose not to read on, if you so desire.
The following is my version of the events that happened on September 30, 2005. Kate will have her own version, or additions to this, perhaps. Simon, of course, will not remember any of this and will have to rely on Dad’s poor memory. I am not normally a fan of long posts, but this post is FREAKING LONG. For those who aren’t a fan of text and just want to flip through pictures, all the pictures that I’ve used in this story (plus some) are posted on Flickr. I’ll try not to be too graphic, but if you’re squeamish at all, you may not want to read the following. All times are approximate.
September 30, 2005
1:00AM – We had both gone to bed around midnight. Around 1AM, Kate walks into our bedroom (she spent the last month or so of pregnancy sleeping in our comfy guest bed) and tries to convince me that her water has broken. Unsuccessfully. “Are you sure?”, I ask. “No”, she replies. Very convincing.
1:30AM – I go to check on Kate. After some discussion we feel that we should play it safe and call the doctor. Dr. Anderson, to be specific, was on call and assured us that we did the right thing. “Sounds like you’re going to be having a baby today!”. And with that, we start gathering our things to head to the hospital.
2:30AM – We take our time gathering our things, walking the dog, and getting out the door. We have this luxury because the hospital is all of 5 minutes from our house. Very convenient. We show up at the Emergency Room (the only place you can check into the hospital at that time of day) and check in. They take us upstairs to labor and delivery, where our first nurse (we went through 3 whole shifts!) Courtney, did some preliminary tests. The test to tell if Kate’s water had indeed broken was. . . inconclusive.
3:00AM – 5:00AM – The doctor decided that the best course of action at this point would be to have us walk around the hospital for 2 hours to see if that stimulated labor, or moved the baby around enough to really indicate the water had broken. This picture was taken as we are doing our rounds about the labor, delivery, and post-partum wards. Walking around a hospital at this hour of the morning isn’t nearly as appealing as it sounds. And if you think that it doesn’t sound very appealing to begin with, you’d be right.
5:00AM – 8:00AM – Just as Kate has had it and lays down to rest, her water officially REALLY breaks. No inconclusive tests this time. They hook her up to a monitor and discover that she is having itsy-bitsy contractions. She doesn’t really feel them, so lays down to rest. You’d think I would do the same. But no, I run home to walk and feed the dog and make sure arrangements for her are in place, pick up a few things from the house, make a few phone calls, and dash back to the hospital. One of the phone calls was to Kate’s parents, so they could get on the road (they live in NY).
8:00AM – The doctor stops by to check up on Kate first thing in the morning, and finds that . . . well, suffice it to say that labor isn’t really progressing at all. Since Kate’s water has broken, the chance for infection is markedly higher, so the doctor recommends assisting labor. Kate takes a pill that was supposed to help move things along. I am being intentionally vague. They give this wonder-drug 2-3 hours to work, so we sat back to wait (some more).
11:00AM – Wonder-pill has done it’s job, but contractions are still pretty weak. The doctor administers Pitocin (an artifical hormone) which really kicks labor into high gear.
12:00PM – 2:30PM – After Pitocin is administered, the contractions start coming HARD and FAST. Kate is dealing pretty well with most of them, but after about an hour and a half, decides that the pain is getting to be too much, and we ask our current nurse (Melanie) to call the anesthesiologist and order the epidural.
As is often the case, the anesthesiologist was stuck in surgery, and so it was at least an hour before she showed up, and Kate was in some serious pain. I can’t speak to whether this was the worst pain she’s ever felt, but if eyes rolling back into her head, and forsaking loud sounds for soft sobs of pain were any indication, I’d say it hurt pretty good. I was just starting to get pretty freaked out when the anesthesiologist showed up to administer the epidural.
After the administration of the epidural, I watch the nurses start to walk back and forth, looking concerned. Kate, I think, was mostly oblivious that there might be a problem. But I’m standing there watching the contractions and monitor, and can see the baby’s pulse dropping pretty significantly. Outwardly, I’m trusting the nurses to take care of the situation (which it appeared they were) because I don’t want to freak Kate out, but inwardly I am FREAKING OUT. But after hooking Kate up to some oxygen, the little guy bounces right back (WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ALL DOING TO ME OUT THERE?!?!), and with Kate about to feel some relief, we have a much-needed respite right around the corner.
A quick sidebar regarding our nurses: In short, they were awesome. In this picture with Kate is Melanie, the second nurse we had while at the hospital. We were there for her entire shift. We had three nurses over the course of labor and delivery – Courtney, Melanie, and Micki. They were all fantastic. Seriously, I feel pretty confident that we made it through the labor and delivery because of the wonderful care of our three nurses. Our doctor was excellent, of course, but she was only there occasionally and for the critical big moment. The nurses were in and out far more frequently, and we became pretty attached to them.
Dr. Anderson checks with us again at this point, and asks Kate “What are you trying to do? Show off?” after discovering that Kate has gone from less than 1cm to 7cm in all of an hour and a half. To many of you that won’t mean much, but to some of you that will be impressive. She leaves us so that Kate can rest while the Pitocin does it’s job with the contractions she is no longer feeling.
4:00PM – Just for the record, everything from 11AM to 5PM is very approximate with regards to the time it happened. Everything through there is quite the fog, honestly. At some point after the epidural was administered, just as Kate and I were about to drift off for a couple of Zs, her parents poke their heads into the room! Into the labor and delivery room!! Yeah, I wasn’t quite expecting to see them there. But they were a welcome site, and were so excited to see Kate. We hustled them out pretty fast, as the next stage was about to start.
5:00PM – 7:00PM – Pushing. Oy. Even though the epidural was there to cut the pain, this was a tough two hours. The boy just didn’t want to come out. Not even a little. Apparently Kate has a tough pelvic something-or-the-other, and baby boy was pretty big and rotated just the wrong way. Halfway through the 2 hours of pushing, the doctor came in and decided to TURN THE EPIDURAL OFF in the hopes that this would help Kate push.
So two full hours of exhausting pushing lead to the eventual decision that he was going to have to come out via c-section. Which is exactly what Kate didn’t want. It was 18 hours since her water broke, and for all that work to have to resort to a c-section was pretty upsetting for both of us. Surgery is never a happy thing, but poor Kate was SIMPLY EXHAUSTED at this point, and there really wasn’t any other option.
I was mostly a wreck at this point, too. I realize that actually going through labor is so much worse than what I did, but let me tell you this: watching somebody you love endure that much pain is NOT FUN.
7:00PM – 8:00PM – This hour was consumed with talking to the doctor and making the c-section decision, breaking the news to her parents, and getting ready for surgery. At about 8PM, they let me into the operating room, where I made a beeline for Kate’s head, where we were both kindly shielded from the surgery taking place barely 3 feet away. I will not go into details regarding surgery. I’ve given too much detail already! Time of birth? 8:10PM.
The c-section was the culmination of one of the most amazing, frightening, traumatic, and joyful experiences of my life. When they poked little Simon over the curtain to say hello (WAHHHH!!!!!), I couldn’t believe he was ours. I’ve had over week to get used to this idea of parenthood, and I STILL can’t believe he is ours. What a responsibility. What a joy. And what an amazing honor to be chosen as the parent for this child.
Our three days in post-partum is a whole separate story. One which I will not go into now. Suffice it to say that last Monday we were able to bring our baby boy home. We’re thrilled to have him, and we have so many people to thank. The doctor, our nurses, our parents and families, friends visiting and praying, the list goes on and on. So begins the adventure called parenthood. Please, be gentle.