Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beware of Too Much Information: Witten's Birth Story

If you don't want to read about labor and delivery, turn away now.

At 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant with Witten I went to the doctor. He had prewarned me that I would probably get induced because I had low platelets my whole pregnancy and he wanted to have more control of the situation and have me deliver while they were stable. I knew I'd probably be hearing news about when I was gonna have a baby, but I was a little bit in denial.

After getting weighed, yikes 149 is a scary number even though it was only one pound more than the last week, and getting checked, 4 centimeters is also a scary number when you're 38 weeks pregnant and aren't quite ready for a baby, my doctor announced that I would have a baby by Tuesday afternoon. Thanks Dr. Decker cause I really wanted to go see Brave.

I tried to mentally prepare myself, but it was impossible. So instead David and I went to TGI Friday's, a pre-baby tradition when I was pregnant with Alana, then Dairy Queen, which was my personal pre-baby tradition with Witten, and home. Then we decided to use up the last chance for pre-third child spontaniety and take the girls to see Brave. Then we spent the rest of the weekend further mentally preparing to have a baby on Tuesday. Well that was mostly me.

So Tuesday morning at 5 am I got up and washed my hair and put on makeup, cause I didn't want to look horrible in the post baby hospital pics, and headed to the hospital for my 7:30 induction. This time I was allowed to eat before, another reason why I love my doctor, so we stopped at McDonald's which seems to be another pre-baby tradition for us since we've done it before every kid. When we got to the hospital I checked in, greeted my doctor as he passed by, and headed to get the show on the road.

By 7:45 I was wearing an oh-so flattering hospital gown and laying in an uncomfortable bed with an IV watching crappy daytime television. David was sitting on the couch nearby playing on his phone. By 8:30 I had pitocin and some mild contractions. Having a baby was getting to be inevitable. I started out dilated at 5, so I probably wasn't going to walk around pregnant for much longer anyway. Since my doctor had to be somewhere else at noon and was convinced that my labor would be quick, he didn't break my water until he came back. The only reason I didn't mind was that I knew I would get my own doctor, which is important to me.

After 3 hours of contractions that were not really anything to write home about came the final verdict on whether I could have an epidural. Luckily for me the answer was yes, since my platelets were at 96 for the past 3 weeks they considered that stable enough to let me be pain free. And I was pretty relieved about that. At 11:30 the anesthesiologist came and I got an epidural, allowing me to lay in bed and feel nothing for the rest of labor. I don't think there are words to describe how much I love epidurals, because labor would not be a picnic without them.

When my doctor came in at one and broke my water I was at about 7 or 8. Then we just waited. And waited some more. I laid in bed half asleep and David played on his phone yay for hospitals with free wi-fi and finally gave in to eating lunch instead of trying to be a martyr and go hungry. After laying there and watching Man vs Food for awhile because lets face it daytime TV is garbage I was at about 8 or 9, but the nurse was getting impatient and kept asking if I felt pressure, which I didn't. So then she brought in a giant yoga ball that she made me put between my knees while I laid on my side, because that allegedly helps you dilate. Didn't matter to me at that point because I couldn't feel my legs anyway. After I flipped over to the other side and still felt no pressure she checked me again. Guess what lady, I can't feel anything because half of me is numb. And I'm at ten anyway so I'm ready to have a baby, call Dr Decker.

When my doctor came in a minute later and people were properly positioned to hold up my legs, because even though I could still move my legs they felt like they were about 100 pounds each, it was time to push. For some people this part takes a long time. For others they can feel pain or pressure even though they have an epidural. For some who opt not to have wonderful numbing medicine pumped into their spine its painful.  For me epidurals have always been a saving grace. They allowed me to have 3 quiet, calm, pain free births. And I was especially grateful for the numbness when I had to get stitches afterwards. After 5, maybe 6 or 7 rounds of pushing, I really can't remember exactly how many times I pushed cause I was drugged up and sleepy and I really wasn't counting, there was a little slimy boy. Then David actually cut the cord, because the nurse essentially gave him no choice. He opted out with both the girls, but this time they put those scissors in his hands and told him what to do and he listened. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, at 19 1/4 inches long, at 3:25 pm on June 26th 2012, Witten David was born.

The doctor put him on my chest while he was all slimy and I briefly admired my newest baby, while not breathing through my nose because he was all slimy and you don't even want to know what that smells like. Then the nurses moved him over to clean him up and the doctor set out to stitch me back up cause I just had a fricking 8 pound baby. After an endless amount of stitches and some other things that made me grateful for an epidural, the doctor declared me done. Then I got to hold my now clean baby.

 I am seriously so grateful that my doctor ended up being someone who I liked just as much as my first doctor. Dr Decker was the one I ended up with, and he was actually the doctor who delivered Alana because he was the other doctor in the two doctor practice. I like the same things about him that I liked about my old doctor. He has a very calm demeanor and something about his bedside manner is just comforting. That's something you want in an OB, since they are there for one of the most important moments in your life, and in the case of Dr Decker he was there for two of mine.

Right after delivery with Witten was a little more symptomatic for me than after the girls. My legs still felt like they weighed 100 pounds each, even though my weight at the hospital that morning was 152, putting me at 30 pounds for this pregnancy. I'm totally counting one of those pounds as the extra one on my chunky baby. I was hungry, but my hands were shaking like I had Parkinson's disease. They stayed like that for over an hour too. Before I had even regained feeling in my legs my parents got there to visit, then my in-laws got there to visit with my kids so they could meet their new brother.

 To say they were excited is an understatement. They're still smothering him with love and he's 11 days old.

Since I no longer had a catheter I eventually had to get up to go pee cause they were still pumping me full of fluid. The urge to pee sort of vanishes after childbirth, but I got up because there's a 2-pee minimum to get your IV out. My wobbly legs, the nurse, and David all worked together to get me to the bathroom after the nurse kicked everyone out because I was wearing an open in the back hospital gown and no underwear. Kind of hard to have a baby if you're wearing underwear. I sat there, no urge to pee, with the looming threat of a catheter minus the epidural. So the nurse did something that skeptical me always doubted, put my hand under warm running water. Who knew? It actually works. I still had to pee one more time to get that dumb needle out of my arm, but I was halfway to the 2 time goal.

After that my time on the labor and delivery floor was over. There was no more laboring and no more delivering to be done, so I moved upstairs where they keep the ladies with babies. After a little while once everyone had left, my kids with more than a few objections and tears, I was alone with my new baby and it wasn't even 8 pm yet. Being mildly obsessive compulsive like I am I then got up and straightened up my room, because people had put my purse and bag and stuff down all messy and it was really bugging me, plus I needed to know where all my stuff was. Then I got out my camera, since it had been in other people's control all day and therefore on auto with a flash which I despise and took some pictures. I snuck in some iPhone pics too, cause the people of Facebook and my blog needed to see the cute person I made. Once again, yay for hospitals with free wi-fi.

After washing off my makeup, which is clearly long wearing if you observe the non-smudged state of it in the above pictures, I was officially tired. The problem with that is that new babies can sense when you have visitors and they use that time to sleep. The moment you are alone in a hospital room flipping through the channels and trying to get the taste of hospital fish for dinner out of your mouth, that's when they awaken. For the next few hours every time I would drift off to sleep he would wake up and demand food. Its against the rules for you to let your baby sleep in your bed with you at the hospital, which is a good idea cause that's a narrow bed and a hard floor, so at some point I sent him to the nursery because I physically cannot stay awake in the middle of the night for a long period of time. Maybe its because I'm old and 30 now, but my eyes have a mind of their own and just start to close. He went to the nursery the next night too, because he had really stinky gas that was making him kind of grouchy and that's what the nursery is there for. Especially if you're staying in the hospital by yourself and your body is completely exhausted from 7 hours of labor.

After another day in the hospital, lots of visitors, Dairy Queen from my sister and Rubio's and Jason's Deli from my useful husband which are my 2 favorite restaurants and David doesn't like to eat at either of them, a whole package of awesomely stretchy one-size-fits-all hospital underwear and a bottle of Dermoplast and a squirt bottle of warm water (if you don't know what those last two things are for then you haven't had any kids and you probably don't want to know), and another night of watching Bravo and the Daily show at 2 am, it was time to go home.

I showered and put on some yoga pants because elastic pants are your friend when you have a newly changed body shape after accomodating a baby bump for what seems like forever. Then in what seemed like record time the pediatrician came and saw Witten and released him, my doctor came and saw me and gave me the thumbs up to go home, and the hearing test lady came to re-test my previously too cranky hand-eating baby. All before 9 am. David wasn't even there yet. After David got there the nurse cleared us to go home and David went to get the car, and I put Witten in his carsear, which he decided is tolerable and a great place to nap. Then transport wheeled me down so I could leave the place where people bring me food and beverages at the touch of a button and watch my baby at night so I can sleep. It was the quickest hospital discharge in the history of my having babies. After 2 stops for food, Eegee's and Dunkin Donuts never tasted so good, we set out to drive back to Benson with a new baby to join our girls.

Now that he is home life is different, but good different. My other kids have been driving me slightly crazy because they want to literally smother him with love nonstop. He is a newborn, so he sleeps all the time. And I'm still adjusting to my shrinking belly and the different reflection in the mirror after so many months of looking down at a growing belly that contained one small perfect little boy.

I'm having a lot of mixed feelings about the concept of him being my last baby. I get sad thinking that I'll never be pregnant again, and never have that growing belly with a little person I don't have to share in it. Never feel those kicks again, never have another ultrasound telling me whether to buy blue or pink, never hold a newborn who I'm so happy to meet again. I miss being pregnant, which is weird, but I felt the exact same way after I had both girls, but with them it didn't feel so final. I told myself for nine months that I was only having 3 kids, and now that I have 3 kids it just seems like the end of something that I really love. From here on out they will just keep growing up at breakneck speed till one day I'll look at them and not be able to remember when they were babies and had such tiny little fingers and toes and were such new, perfect people.

Witten is already 11 days old and I'm sad. I love brand new babies with little butts that fit into my hand who will just lay on my chest and sleep so peacefully that I never want to get up or put them down. That's how I feel right now. I don't want to share him, I just want to sit in my recliner all day, every day and hold my little guy so I can remember what he was like and how it felt to hold him when he was so little and snuggly. Then I stare at him and his little toes and get all emotional over how fast babies grow up and Alana asks me why I'm crying and I pretend that I'm not.

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post. It took me at least 2 hours to write it, so believe me I know its lengthy.


Lady Rynn said...

What a sweet boy! I know what you mean about the finality of it. My little guy is 3 months old and six weeks ago I had a hysterectomy. I'm sad that there won't be any little ones any more and no more of the fun parts of being pregnant. Congrats on your little guy! Enjoy every moment, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you that.

Amy and Luke said...

Congrats again Jennifer! I'm so excited for your little family of 5!

Heather said...

Bittersweet feelings as I am reading this. Phil says we are done, we have 4 kids, (3 living) and that's that. BUT, I did not treat Rhett's pregnancy as my last, I still don't feel complete closure and am still hanging on to boy and girl clothes I completely understand your feelings and I love being pregnant and having newborns. Darn kids, growing too fast. Enjoy your sweet babe.

Jennifer said...

I'm hoping that maybe David will agree to a 4th kid, because we weren't really adamant that we were done at 3. I felt okay with this being the last kid while I was pregnant, right up until I knew when I was getting induced. After that I got sad and didn't want it to be over yet. So maybe we'll have just one more, I can't rule it out.


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