Monday, November 17, 2008

How it went and how it's going

Folks have asked how the labor went, and how our first week is going. The answers are ok, and pretty well.

I started having contractions last Sunday morning, which got progressively closer together by the end of the day. I was an excited ball of nerves, but still managed to go check out one last pre-school, get groceries, and go with BT to Target to get a tape for the camcorder. My water broke at Target - not gushing or anything, just enough to let me know it was time. I wonder if I had had the baby there, would I get free diapers or something?

We went to the hospital and I was admitted around 11:00 at night Monday night. We had taken Lamaze classes through our health care provider, where the hospital's wonderful birthing freedoms were discussed. We developed a birth plan accordingly. I guess I wasn't surprised, but I was disappointed, that once we got there it was business as usual. Birthing is a medical procedure, not a natural function, to them. I was hooked up to the myriad of machines and monitors and the IV I was hoping to avoid. My nurse would have a cow every time I got up to go to the bathroom, but it was the only time I felt in control of my body and comfortable.

Little Hank was "sunny side up," which means his skull was pressing into my back with each contraction. Again, if I had been able to move around more, I think I could have gotten by better than I did with the pain. BT was the absolute perfect coach, saying all the right things and massaging my back. But, imagining a whole night (or longer) of him having to do all that made me feel really bad. Around 1:00 in the morning, I also developed the shakes. With the back labor, contractions coming a minute apart, the discomfort of being linked up to all that crap, and now feeling like I was having a seizure, I conceded to have an epidural. So much for au naturale...

Of course, it was good that both of us were able to rest through the night. In the am, I told the nurse I was feeling nauseous, and she checked and it was time (this was only about 7 hours after being admitted!) body had changed its mind about the whole delivery part at some point. My contractions were only coming every 10 minutes, and were barely registering on the monitor. To get to the home stretch and then your body stops trying to get the baby out was something I didn't expect. The midwife doing the delivery looked and said he was still waaaay up there, and we had a lot of work to do. She chided the nurse for not decreasing the epidural sooner.

So, Pitocin was administered. Another thing I was really hoping to avoid. I still never really felt the contractions, but had to trust they were there. What I did feel was a searing pain in my abdomen after each push. The midwife said was his shoulders coming through, but I am not entirely convinced that it wasn't the uterine fibroids I was diagnosed with through the course of the pregnancy acting up, as the pain was in my stomach, not near the birth canal. I was scared to push because of this pain, and cried out in agony in the aftermath of each push. I kept saying I couldn't do it. At one point I tried to get out of bed because I guess I figured this thing wasn't going to happen anyway, so I might as well go home. It's funny what you do when instincts take over, lol. Again, I think if I had been able to try a non-traditional (by hospital standards) birthing position, like squatting, things would have gone so much easier.

But, in any case, he finally popped out. How you can survive that flood of emotions of seeing your child for the first time, I cannot say.

The second day in the hospital, they determined that his bilirubin count was high, and decided to put him in the NICU for treatment under the blue lights. Again, totally gut-wrenching to see your baby helpless in a stupid incubator with glasses over his wee eyes. The worst was to see him crying in there - {sniff}. The nurses were great, though, and cup fed him using a medicine cup so that he wouldn't have nipple confusion. He had to have the formula to maintain his fluid level in the incubator. I pumped, and came in with my two drops of milk at each feeding, hoping he wouldn't reject the mama when he came out.

(How play time is normally spent)

He was released late Thursday, and we took him home to see his new pad. For a few days, I was in a breastfeeding nightmare of feeding him for about 45 minutes, cup feeding him formula or expressed milk for 15 minutes, then pumping for 20 minutes. Of course, this cycle would complete itself and he would wake up to start it all over again. Yesterday we finally evened out, so no more pumping for now or supplementing. In fact, he refuses the cup now. Guess he's a boob man.*

So far (knock on a dozen pieces of wood), he has been a super good baby. His patience during the whole cup feeding thing makes me think we should have named him Job. He wakes up in a panic, but settles right down as soon as he starts eating. If he gets fussy, I stick him back on (I am the human pacifier) and he is good to go. My mom is here to help out until Thanksgiving, and I cannot tell you how awesome that is. BT is over the moon for his little man. So we move forward with cautious optimism into week two of Little Hank's life. Such an incredible time...

* I did take Fenugreek for a day and a half to try and stimulate milk production. Both Hank and I got diarrhea. I guess it's better to let nature take its course.


julie said...

Awesome job! You were absolutely perfect.

Having done a couple of hospital births and one NICU stay myself, I think it sounds like your experiences were typical and that you worked admirably through them, and I can tell you that my second hospital birth was a world better, solely because I felt more familiar with what I had to negotiate against and much more empowered to get things done exactly the way I wanted--a doula helps, too.

Yay, homecoming with a happy, healthy baby!

jenclair said...

Beautiful baby! Sorry things didn't go as planned, but glad he is a "super good" baby!

radmama said...

Congratulations! Sorry about the hospital sabotage. :-/

telfair said...

Congratulations Jennifer!

I am so sorry to hear that he had to spend some time in the NICU, it must have been gut wrenching.

I can totally relate to your feelings about a hospital birth. I felt like all of my own plans just went right out the window, too. At least you didn't end up in surgery like I did!

Your son is absolutely beautiful and perfect. Congratulations on a great first week!

telfair said...

By the way -- Snoop spent a lot of her first week & a half sleeping on her play mat, too!

Then she woke up from her "drowsy hospital baby" state...She's still a good baby, but there's not much sleeping on the play mat nowadays!

Emy said...

I love little baby hands. So beautiful.
Those first few weeks are hard, but keep with it. I never thought I would make it to 3 months, but here I am at 10 months wondering how I'm going to wean her at one!
I doubt anyone's birth story ends as they planned, but they all have a happy ending. :D

shanna said...

jerrett was "sunny-side up" too! i was having such a hard time pushing him out that they used the forceps for a second which i had said i didn't want. i was hoping that i could walk around but i was put on the IV (i needed it though becuase i was positive for those strep blood tests and rh stuff) and they wouldn't let me pee!

he's just beautiful! his littl wisps of blonde hair! jerrett's hair was so black and thick! when it all started to fall out i just cut it all off.

Jenn said...

Congratulations again! Birthing is hard work and you did an awesome job!

leslie said...

great post jen, sounds about right to me too. i have mixed feelings about the hospital births too, working in the industry. it is definitely business as usual. having been in labor more that 24 hours with both my kids, i was happy to rest with the epidural, i am sure i would have survived without it but i remember feeling such relief after being in pain for almost 2 straight days.

glad your mom is there to help, i wish i could get some food over to you guys, just so busy! i know you would have left a six course meal on my doorstep!! just know i am here if you need me. enjoy the baby haze you are in, it will be one of the sweetest memories you have forever.

xoxoxoxo we will come visit after thanksgiving!!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful baby boy you have! I know it didn't go the way you hoped it might, but still..congratulations to you and your husband on a job well done! I have one question...and this is the silliest thing, but why was the nurse having a fit when you wanted to go to the bathroom? I just had my first OB appointment (lets just say THAT didn't go as I planned either!) and have been suddenly hit up side the head with the realization that as soon as i step inside the hospital I have no control over what happens to me...and I find that really scary... and when they want to stop me from going to the bathroom? I'm just going to be REALLY CRANKY! lol

I hope all goes well for you and your little famiy...again congratulations!
Brooke :)

Sweet P's Blog said...

Oh Jen and Brent...great job. Such a ruggedly handsome little guy. (Boys aren't beautiful, they are handsome)and he definitely is a keeper.

I hope to meet him some day. Maybe Holly and I can make a day trip (we wouldn't stay the whole day) and come and see you.

Congratulations and Great job, both of you.

Auntie P and Steve

dorie said...

Congratulations! And what a birth story. Many good wishes for your family!

juliekintaiwan said...


Ah motherhood is the time when most best laid plans are laid aside. It sounds like you have the right attitude about it all and will be able to be flexible enough to withstand all that's ahead. And with such an adorable baby to boot!

Take care.

Laine said...

I've been lurking for a while now, and wanted to say congrats on that beautiful baby boy!

Michele said...

He's just perfect! Congratulations again!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to finally come out of voyeur mode and tell you congratualtions on your first! I understand the breastfeeding dilemma and wanting to do everything as naturally as possible... I made my own baby food for both of mine! Might I suggest barley water as a breastmilk stimulant. It had no side effects and was quite pleasant. Google it for the recipe. Best wishes and many blessings to you and your budding family! Just beautiful!

bekaboo said...

Oooh, that sounds like a hard delivery to me, but all that matters is that you now have your lovely little one, and he is eating. Congratulations!!

woof nanny said...

Wow. Jen, that's so awesome. So sorry I am so late in posting. Really really wonderful news.