Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BumpDate: Henrik's Birth Story

Two weeks ago I had a blog post titled "BumpDate: 36 Weeks" all ready to post. I wrote it on Sunday, July 14th and planned on posting it over my lunch hour after my doctor's appointment at 10:30 am on the 15th. Well, little did I know that I'd be going from my appointment to Labor and Delivery and told we'd be having a baby THAT DAY - four weeks early. As I started to write this post, I went back and re-read the post that was never posted and found the opening paragraph pretty funny:

When I first got pregnant, I was praying I would be one of those women who went into labor at 37 weeks - now that date is a week away and I am totally fine if I'm not one of those women. In fact, I am banking on not being one of those women. A month ago, all I could say was I over being pregnant. While it is still not my favorite thing, the reality and enormity of this huge change is getting all too real.
Final belly picture, two days  before Henrik was born {36 weeks}

They say the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans, so he must have been rolling on July 15th.

The weekend preceding the 15th was Heritage Days in Mount Vernon. Bryan and I went up Friday evening and I just wasn't feeling well. I was even more tired than usual and was extremely irritable, but I didn't think much of it. That night when we got home, I felt some weird menstrual-type cramping on my lower abdomen, but again, didn't think much of it. Saturday evening, we stopped by my parents for dinner and then went back uptown. I had been feeling the menstrual-type cramping on and off all day and had self-diagnosed it as actual contractions. I didn't time them or anything and I knew women could have them for weeks before giving birth, so again, didn't think much of it. I was again not feeling well while we were up there and it wasn't long until I just wanted to go home.

Sunday (the 14th), Bryan and I spent the day cleaning. I wouldn't say I felt this insane urge to have my house clean, but it had been a few weeks since we cleaned it well and there was dog hair piling up in the corners. While we were at it, I washed all of our bedding and made some banana bread. Looking back at it, I was totally nesting.

As the day wore on, it became more and more painful for me to bend over and the contractions continued. When I say painful to bend over, I mean, every time I tried to bend down, I braced myself for a gush of water. Around 4, I decided I was going to sit down and do a kick-count with the baby. The goal was 10 kicks within two hours, a feat he usually accomplished within 20-30 minutes. An hour and a half later, he finally reached ten, after I got up multiple times to drink something sugary and ate some cereal. This had me concerned. I called Bryan who was helping some friends bale hay and told him to come home because I wasn't feeling good and I was concerned about the baby's movement. We talked about it once he got home and decided that since I had a doctor's appointment the next day and the baby technically reached his goal of kicks, I'd hold off on calling the doctor and bring up my concerns the next day.

That night, I told Bryan that since I was 36 weeks, we needed to get our hospital bag packed. I had almost everything I wanted for it, but had nothing assembled. He totally gave me the brush off, but I made a note to make sure to get that done during the upcoming week.

I tried to go to bed early that night, but sleep was hard to do that night. I woke up probably every hour and just plain didn't feel good. The next morning, I was getting ready and noticed the contractions were much more intense. I decided to time them and was shocked to find they were seven minutes apart. They were strong enough that every seven minutes, I'd have to stop what I was doing and concentrate on breathing for 30-45 seconds. I remember thinking "Oh God, if this is going to go on for four more weeks, I will lose my mind." I mentioned to Bryan what was going on, but told him this could go on for weeks and to not get worked up about it. I certainly did NOT think I could be close to delivering.

I got to work that morning and told my co-worker what was going on. At one point we were having a conversation about something and a contraction started (again, exactly seven minutes apart) and I looked at her and said "This really hurts." We had a meeting at 10 and my doctor's appointment was at 10:30. While waiting for our meeting to start, I was telling another lady about the contractions I was having and how they either needed to stop or something needs to be going on down there because I wasn't going to be able to tolerate these for four weeks. In my mind, I assumed they would stop.

Once I got to my doctor's appointment, I continued to time them to make sure I wasn't making a big deal about nothing. I also paid more attention to his movement. The contractions were now six-ish minutes apart and while he was moving, it wasn't as much as normal. My regular doctor was on vacation, so I saw another doctor in the practice, whom I really liked. He measured me and did the fetal heart beat check and everything checked out. I told him what was going on with the contractions and the baby's movement and after some discussion, he decided to send me up to Labor and Delivery for a non-stress test, just to make sure the baby wasn't in distress. I said to him while I was describing the contractions that I had a really low pain tolerance and this was probably nothing. We both agreed this was probably not labor.

My OB's office is attached to the hospital I work for and would be delivering at, so after I checked-out, I headed up to L&D. On my way up there, I called Bryan and told him what was going on. I told him this was just to make sure the baby was OK and he didn't need to come and I'd call him after it was over. At the time, I was more annoyed that I was losing two hours of precious work time than I was worried about the baby. After I talked to him, I called my mom and told her the same thing. She asked me if I was excited and I said no because I'd be back at work in a couple of hours.

Got up to L&D, got checked in and into a room. This was probably around 11:45. Around noon, a nurse came in, I went through what was going on and she told me to change and got me hooked up to the machines. Before she turned it on, she checked me. She said that the less dilated I was, the more it would hurt. It wasn't pleasant, so I looked at her and said "I'm not dilated at all, am I?" She looked at me and said, "Actually, you're four centimeters and your water sack is right there and bulging."

I can not even describe to you the complete shock I felt at that exact moment.

I asked her what that meant. She went on to explain that she was going to call my doctor and he'd come up and break my water to get things going. I stopped her at that moment and said "Wait a minute, you mean I'm having the baby TODAY?" She looked at the clock and said "Yep, he should be here tonight sometime."

At that moment, I think I string of profanities came out of my mouth. There are very few times that I have been in shock in my life and I was definitely in shock.

The nurse then went on to say "You probably have some phone calls to make" and handed me my cell phone.

I called Bryan first. I am not exactly sure how the conversation went, but I think I told him how far along I was and that he needed to get there NOW. I then called my mom and told her I was wrong before and that I was in labor. My mom works in the town we live in, so then I asked her if she could go to our house and at least get our camera. Since we hadn't packed the bag yet, I told her I'd go over what I needed her to grab from our house when she got to the hospital.

I then called my co-worker and told her to bring me my laptop and some files from my desk. Since I was still four weeks away from my due date, I had nothing wrapped up at work, so I told her we'd have to go over a few things while I was laboring. Yes - you read that correctly, I was working on work while I was in labor. More than a few people thought I was off my rocker, which I slightly was at that point.

Wrapping up work from my hospital bed. 

A few minutes later, the doctor came into the room, checked me himself and not only confirmed I was dilated, but informed me I was now five centimeters. He then went on to tell me that my pain tolerance is a lot higher than I thought because getting to four was the hardest part. He then broke my water (at 12:20 pm) and asked what I wanted to do for pain management. I said I definitely wanted the epidural, but didn't need it quite then.

Bryan got there shortly after that and my parents arrived about an hour later. Right before they got there, I asked for the first round of drugs. I am not sure what the drug was called, but it instantly made me feel drunk - it was amazing, but did little for the pain. The nurse then suggested we order the epidural to make sure we got it in time. I agreed. About 45 minutes later I was BEYOND ready for the epidural and the anesthesiologist arrived about 15 minutes after that.

I think the thing I was most petrified of the most prior to labor was the epidural. The thought of a needle in my back made me want to pass out. However, I write this for all of those who are as squeamish as me - I felt nothing. My doctor called it a "perfect" epidural, meaning it was fully effective equally on both sides.

Shortly after the epidural, around 3:45/4 pm, they checked me again and I was at 10. I think if they had checked me before the epidural, they may not have given it to me. The nurse said they were going to let me "labor down" for awhile and when I felt the intense need to push, to tell her. I asked her if I would know when that was and she said "Yep, you'll know!"

Sure enough, at 4:20, I knew what she was talking about. I pushed for a little over an hour and finally started to make some headway. The nurse kept saying "You're almost there!" After the fourth time she said that to me, I told her I didn't believe her anymore. Finally, she spoke the truth and at that time, they started calling in the troops. I am honestly not even sure how many nurses were in the room, but I think there were three, plus the doctor and Bryan by the time everyone arrived.

Here is another myth I wish to dispel for anyone who has not been through this. The epidural makes it so you can't feel contractions, it does not make it so you can't feel the pressure of the baby coming out. And that was not pleasant.

The rest of the delivery is a blur. I kept pushing when the doctor told me to push. I said "OW, OW, OW!" a lot and kept saying "It hurts!" I think I only swore once. (For those of you who know me, that in itself is amazing.)

Then I remember the nurses and my doctor telling me to open my eyes and look down. I looked down and saw his tiny little head, but all I could think was "He's not out yet!" because it still HURT! I think I said to "Get him out!" about that time and then, he was out. It was 5:46 pm, just over five hours since they broke my water.
Our first picture together.

I looked down again, it took him a second and then he started screaming. Hearing his cry... I can't even describe it. They put him on my chest, he cried for a minute and then was completely calm. It was amazing.
Dad and Henrik

They let me hold him for a long time before they asked me if we wanted to know how much he weighed, which I was dying to know. Bryan and I were both big babies, but since he was four weeks early, I thought we'd be lucky if he was over six pounds. Everyone's jaw hit the floor when the scaled read 8 pounds, 5 ounces. He later measured at 21" long - which is the 90th percentile for a full-term baby! (Both myself and daddy are tall, so that wasn't a huge shocker.)

After everything had settled, my mom said that his birth was exactly what I needed. It was fast and I wasn't able to anticipate and get worked up about things. More than one person told me I was incredibly calm during the whole thing, which is not a word often associated with my personality.
Meeting JD for the first time. 

Being born at 36 weeks and one day classified him at a premie. However, he was more than ready to come. His weight was one big indicator. Another is his complete lack of complications. No jaundice, no breathing issues, no blood sugar issues and no temperature control issues. Additionally, the nurse pointed out to me that his finger nails were really long, apparently another indication.

Before you ask if my doctors had the dates wrong, we had a miscarriage the month before he was conceived. With that miscarriage, they followed my hormone levels down to zero, so there is no way that I didn't actually miscarry. Additionally, we had several dating scans in the first trimester due to the fact that I spotted from weeks four to ten. Finally, due to our fertility issues, I was diligent about knowing my cycle to a T and I know the exact day he was conceived. He's just an early bloomer. :)

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