Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the birth story

Hello friends and family. While I wanted to share Joseph's birth story with you, I also wanted to write (or type) all the details down before I forgot them. I am a little sleep-deprived as you can imagine, and have had trouble putting complete sentences together. So, I've taken some spare moments I've had over the last several days to put together this post. {If you are a parent of a newborn (and especially if you have another child), you understand that spare moments are few and far between.} I have even typed while nursing the baby. Last night I had it almost completely written when our Internet went down and somehow, even with auto save, I lost half the post. This is a long read, so settle in.

Throughout my pregnancy, this baby was in the 97 percentile. At each ultrasound, we were amazed at how big he was. At 36 weeks, he weighed 7lbs 12oz, and the doctor told us he wanted to induce at 38 weeks. If I were to wait until 40 weeks, or whenever I went into labor, I could very well have a ten-pound baby. He was concerned about me delivering a baby that big. While I had wanted to go into labor naturally, I agreed and was also concerned about the baby's size. {Living an hour and a half away was another factor.} We decided on April 18, putting me at 38 weeks, 4 days. It was very interesting timing as it was Monday of Holy Week - Joe's busiest week of the year.

April 18 - Monday

6:00am - checked in the hospital. This time we didn't have to check in the night before and start the induction process with Cytotec (like Cervidil) like we did with Hannah. We were very thankful for that. {Last time, the med was enough to start my labor and I had painful contractions all night long and didn't sleep a wink. They also gave me too many fluids through the night causing me complications as labor progressed.}

We were in our room within 20 minutes. I got a gown immediately, but then it was a waiting game. I was ready to get the show on the road. Naturally, we turned on ESPN and watched Mike and Mike... Here I am - last belly picture. 

7:15am - Started the IV.

7:45am - Started the Pitocin. From there, the nurse went up 2mu every 30 minutes. 

8:35am - Doctor Tucker came in to break my water. I hate this part. It was very painful, more painful than I remembered actually. Soon after, I had my first check: 2.5-3cm dilated, 50% effaced, -2 station. I was having some strong contractions, but nowhere near regular at this point.

Here are a few of my supporters. Uncle Pete (left, with Joe's mom, my mom, and Joe) came with Aunt Kristie and Maddie from North Carolina. Aunt Betsy and Emma came too. We had a waiting room full of blue (including blue toe nail polish on my BFF cousins). Joseph had a fan club waiting. Aunt Charli took Hannah to mother's morning out so she could play and have fun instead of being couped up in a waiting room all day. {She also went on Wednesday. Thank you Aunt Charli!}

11:00am - Pitocin at 12mu. 

11:20am - Second check: 3cm, 80%, -2. Not much progress. Strong contractions about 2-3 minutes apart. My nurse, Teresa, kept asking if I wanted the epidural. I kept refusing it. The anesthesiologist had come in a couple times. We had to work around his surgeries, so he told me I could get the epidural right then or wait an hour and a half until he got out of surgery and get it then. I chose to wait. 

At some point while I was still at 3cm and had been offered the epidural a few times, I called over to my doctor's office. After talking to Doctor Tucker on the phone about the risks of an epidural too early and my pain tolerance, we decided I'd put it off.

12:40pm - The anesthesiologist came in and said he was going into another surgery. I told him I hadn't been checked yet and didn't want the epidural until I knew my progress. The nurse checked me: no change. I told the doctor to go ahead and I would wait it out. I know, I am very stubborn. I was so tired and frustrated. Pitocin at 14mu. At this point, the contractions are regular and I am in a lot of pain.  My nurse had me start the side-lying position. I laid on my right side with my top leg pulled up for 30 minutes. After switching to my left side, the pain worsened to the point I could take no more. The nurse checked in and found that the anesthesiologist had not gone into surgery yet. Did I want the epidural right then? Yes. Definitely yes.

1:30pm - Epidural in. Dr. Tucker came in the room about the same time. He checked me. I was 5-6cm, 90% effaced, and -1 station. 

From this point until the delivery, very little happened. The epidural had taken effect but the pain was not completely gone. In fact, I was still in a lot of pain and feeling strong contractions. 

{Side note: this happened while in labor with Hannah. The gave me a bolus which caused me to feel a heaviness in my chest due to too much fluid from before. After delivery, I had to stay an extra day in the hospital and have a CT scan because the doctor thought it might be a pulminary embolism. I was ok and eventually the heaviness lifted and the shortness of breath went away a few days later.} 

This time, I wasn't going to ask for the bolus and instead just deal with whatever pain I had to. I kept pushing the dose button and kept on breathing through the contractions. 

about 3:00pm - I was in a huge amount of pain. I called the nurse. I needed to be checked immediately. She came in, checked and said "We're having a baby." I was ready to go. She got on the phone immediately. Joe's mom went out and got the family. They came in and we held hands and prayed. {We did this, in a circle around my hospital bed, right before Hannah was born and it was one of the most special moments of my life.} Joe prayed and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. 

Everyone but Joe left the room as the doctor and the nurses came in. They set up and it was go time. Dr. Tucker asked Joe if he'd like to deliver the baby. We love our doctor. {Joe took an active, but smaller, role in Hannah's birth and also cut the umbilical cord.} He hurried and put on a pair of gloves. 

3:19pm - No extra pushing needed. With the first push, came the head. Two more pushes and Joseph was born. {Joe later wondered if he can subtract some from the obgyn bill since he did the work.}


About six minutes after the family left the room, they received a text message from Joe saying Joseph was here! 

Very happy and relieved parents of a beautiful, healthy boy.

...and 21 1/4" long.

His Apgar scores were 9/9. Because he spent almost no time in the birth canal, he did have an over-abundance of mucous that didn't get squeezed out, so he had to be suctioned. Because the suctioning causes the nasal passages to swell, we had a little snorting pig for about 36 hours. At least he's a cute little piggy. And speaking of piggy, he obviously ate well in the womb. 8lbs 14oz at 38 weeks gestation! You go Joseph.

While getting checked out, he began rooting. I cannot express how happy and amazed Joe and I were to see this. Truly, an answer to prayers. {For those that don't know or didn't read this blog back then, we did not have the ideal nursing situation with Hannah. She nursed well for maybe a month or two out of the 7 months I breastfed. I had just about every problem in the book with her - infections, clogged ducts, terrible supply issues, blebs (If you don't know, don't ask. It's painful.), and thrush (the worst of the worst).} Once I held him, he latched immediately. 

I must share some unfortunate news here. This makes me sick to think about. We asked the nurse to take our video camera and film some special moments, like when I held the baby for the first time. Joe showed her how to work it. {It is really easy. We have one of those Sony HD Handycams where you just open the door and hit the record button.} Somehow - and I've yet to determine how this happened - she thought she was recording when it was in standby mode and then would set the camera down when it was in record mode. In other words, she must have initially hit the record button twice, put it in standby mode, and never realized it. We didn't know until we got home and uploaded the videos to my laptop. Joe and I sat on the sofa and were so excited to watch them. It was unbelievably disappointing - to the point of tears. The one good thing is at least we have some audio of what was going on in the room. And the amazing pictures of the birth above. I guess I can't be too upset.

It was a long, one-hour wait before the grandparents got their hands on their first grandson. 

The uncles were pretty eager too.

Checking out his monkey toes. Just like his sister and momma.

Holding our son!

Once we moved down the hall to the mother/baby wing, we had more visitors. Including one very special one - the big sister.

Think it's safe to say that she is a little unsure of this whole thing. 

We had other visitors too, though I didn't do the best job this time taking pictures of everybody. {Sorry Aunt Betsy, Emma, Aunt Charli and Uncle Will, and Angie.} We are so appreciative of everyone that came to see us.

Updating some of my biggest supporters, my ADPi Mommies group on Facebook. {Love y'all!}


First bath!

We slept relatively well our first night with Joseph. If it weren't for the constant interruptions for my vitals, baby's vitals, tests, etc. we would have slept even better. Joseph is a very quiet sleeper. I had him right by my bed in his little clear bassinet. {Like with Hannah, we had 24-hour rooming-in, and requested all tests done in our hospital room. This is the way we wanted it, which is good because at Telfair the nursery is only for special needs babies.} For a good portion of our quiet time at nights, I held him, skin-to-skin, against me. There is no greater feeling in the world I don't think.

April 19 - Tuesday

While our stay in the hospital was mainly nice and filled with joy at welcoming our son into the world, it definitely wasn't stress-free. {I doubt it ever is.} The on-call pediatrician came to see Joseph Tuesday morning. When she listened to his heart she heard a murmur. She ordered an EKG, a chest X-ray, and an ultrasound, and told us a pediatric cardiologist would be in later in the day to talk to us. A little scary, but she seemed positive, so we were.

Meanwhile, Hannah came to visit. This time it went a little better, though she still wanted nothing to do with the baby.

She did like the Elmo we gave her though!

A little later Joseph had his hearing test. While the tech was hooking him up to the machine, another tech came in to do the ultrasound of his heart. They decided to do both tests at the same time. It was a very frustrating moment for Joe and me. His ear pieces kept falling off and there was too much going on. He failed the hearing test (naturally). The tech told us that the fluid in his head from birth could easily be the problem and said he'd be back the following morning to run the test again. 

In the afternoon, the cardiologist came in. The EKG and chest X-ray were clear. The ultrasound showed a small (1-millimeter) hole in the wall separating the ventricles. Because the size of the hole was so small, it created a whistling sound as the blood passed between the left and right ventricles, and could be heard with a stethoscope. The doctor was optimistic and said that these holes are very common and usually close up on their own in the first year or so of life. If they don't, they almost always are harmless anyway. He even assured us that there are Olympic athletes with this exact thing. We will go back in a couple months to see where we are.

Also Tuesday afternoon, we had his bilirubin test. We were a little nervous about this and very eager for Joseph to be a good eater and hopefully pass the bilirubin quickly. {Hannah was jaundiced, causing us to have to do phototherapy at the hospital and at home. We knew kind of to expect the same with Joseph. After all, Joe and I both, and all of our siblings were jaundiced at birth.} Joseph's levels were borderline, but ok. {We took him to his newborn appointment on Friday and his levels were good. Yay baby!} Another answer to prayers.

Tuesday night, we had a Japanese take-out picnic in our room. Thanks to my mom and brothers, we had good meals our entire stay - doughnuts and Starbucks and Italian included. No hospital food for us, though what we did have wasn't bad. We were kinda impressed actually...

While waiting for Hannah to cooperate...

We attempted another family photo.

That's the best we got. Hey, three of us are looking at the camera. That's something.

Will and Crystal with Joseph. Cute.

Katie took pictures of all the flowers, etc. 

Before everyone left, I had to take the same picture I took from my hospital bed when Hannah was born. I love it.

April 20 - Wednesday

Wednesday came and we were very excited about going home. Having spent 4 nights in the hospital with Hannah, being discharged not 48 hours after Joseph's birth was yet another blessing. We were very eager to get home, get settled, and have Hannah with us.

Joseph passed his hearing test 100%. His weight was 8lbs 5oz. Our pediatrician, Dr. Seibert, came in to check on him. Both he and my doctor gave the OK. All was well. I had a 30-minute massage from my beloved massage therapist, Elaine, who came from the wellness center downstairs to see me for the third time in two days. {Elaine's massages, while not very relaxing because they are deep tissue, are incredible.} We got things packed up, put Joseph in his going-home gown, and then sat around and waited for transport for an hour. 

Transport arrived and we were on our way!

Here we are, one week after leaving the hospital, adjusting to life as a family of four. We are doing well I think. I have to admit, a second child is a game changer. The whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" idea doesn't work. A toddler is also demanding our attention. Night time is our chance to rest, assuming the baby sleeps. {Or, in the event that Hannah takes a long nap, which so far hasn't happened, but we are hopeful.} We are changing lots of diapers, and doing lots of laundry. Balancing time between playing with Hannah and giving her the attention she needs {which is a lot these days} and taking care of the baby. 

At Joseph's newborn appointment on Friday he weighed 8lbs 9oz. He is nursing well, gaining weight, and is overall a very happy baby. Such a relief.

Hannah has had some rough patches, and we've had quite a few meltdowns. The last few days in particular have been exhausting. Honestly, she requires much more energy (and patience) than the baby does. Joseph is easy. We thank God for that. He eats and sleeps. He rarely cries for anything other than to be fed. Hopefully Hannah will get used to being a big sister soon and as things settle down her good moments will far outweigh her bad ones.

We've had some help. My mom has been down here on and off, and Joe's mom came down for a night. We appreciate the emails, cards, flowers, and gifts, both while in the hospital and at home, the meals, and the babysitting offers. You know who you are. We are grateful for all the support we have received. Thank you. 

God has blessed us with two healthy children. We are overflowing with love for them and for our Lord who continually shows us His love, mercy, and grace.