Sunday, May 8, 2011

Liam's Birth Story

In honor of Mother's Day, I bring you a very late tale of Liam's birth story. I only recently found the notebook I took to the hospital in a (still packed up) box in my closet. I should also warn you in advance that there are some slightly graphic photos. They shouldn't offend anyone, but you might not want to read this around small children or while you are eating. 

I read countless books about labor and delivery during my pregnancy. I had braxton hicks contractions for the weeks leading up to labor. I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong.

The entire weekend of October 22nd to 24th I had an indescribable feeling like labor was going to start any minute. It didn't. I woke up on Monday, October 25th feeling pretty good. I had breakfast and started watching a recorded episode of "Till Debt Do Us Part" while doing my hip stretches on the floor. At 10:15am I felt a little, wet pop and immediately jumped up and ran to the guest bathroom. As I reached the bathroom, my water broke. I grabbed a towel and cleaned myself up enough to run across the carpet to my bedroom to get my cell phone. Back in the bathroom, I sat in the tub and called Dan. He was in a training meeting, so he didn't answer. He excused himself and called be back within a few minutes. I was due on Wednesday the 27th, so he knew right away why I was calling. He let his boss know, packed up his laptop and made his way home. While waiting for him, I called my mom to put her on baby watch and took a shower.

Dan got home around 11:15. He finished packing our hospital bag and loaded the car while I got dressed. One of the OBs from my practice called me around noon to schedule an induction for the end of the week. I told her that I didn't think an induction would be necessary. At this point, I was having very mild cramps in my abdomen about 5 minutes apart. Before we left the apartment, Dan gave me a blessing for a healthy delivery. We left for the hospital at 12:20pm. On the way, I began feeling the contractions in my back instead of my abdomen.

At 12:45, we arrived at the hospital. Dan dropped me off at the front door and took the car to the parking garage. I checked in at the triage unit. I was 3 cm dilated and fully effaced. The nurse, however, must have been new because all of the tests she did on me were negative for amniotic fluid. The contractions were getting more and more painful in my back. The monitor, instead of registering higher numbers during my contractions, went down to zero. I don't know if it was because of the back labor or the newbie nurse. Dan could provide me with some relief by pushing hard on my back. There was no such thing as him pushing too hard. He was sweating from pushing on my back so hard for so long. I decided that neither of us were going to have a good experience and I would go ahead and get the epidural as soon as I could.

The newbie nurse told me I would have to go walk because they couldn't admit me without broken water or being 4 cm. I insisted that my water was broken, so newbie nurse consented to have the ultrasound tech check my fluid levels. The tech couldn't say if my water had broken, but my fluid levels were incredibly low, so they had to admit me to a labor and delivery room. By about 3:00, they checked me again and I was 4 cm dilated. I was still in triage though waiting for a L&D room.

I was finally taken to my L&D room at 5 PM. We called my mom to let her know she could come at anytime. The anesthesiologist showed up right away. I was so glad to see him! The nurses made Dan sit down instead of holding me up since so many husbands pass out when they see their wives get the epidural.

The epidural was amazing! I didn't register any pain during the insertion, at least not after back labor. It started working right away, just in time for my mom to arrive. She never had to see any of the pain of my labor. She is still friends with the nurse who assisted her delivery and said she was going to have a talk with her and ask why she didn't have an epidural for any of her labors. The nurse checked my progress right after the epidural and I was still 4 cm.

Labor was kind of boring after the epidural. We played cards, watched Dancing with the Stars and surfed Facebook & played Sudoku on the iPad.

My labor progressed very slowly, even with the epidural and broken water. At 8 PM, I was only at 5 cm. Since there is a greater chance of infection after 24 hours of broken water, my OB started giving me pitocin at 8:30 PM to speed up labor. I was especially glad to have the epidural at this point because the contractions started coming right on top of each other and they had to decrease the dosage of pitocin.

At 10:15 PM, I was checked again. I had progressed to 6 or 7 cm and +1 station. Since my water had been broken for 12 hours, I consented to receive antibiotics to decrease the risk of an infection.

In L&D, I was only "allowed" to drink clear fluids- Gatorade, jello and chicken broth. I hadn't eaten since breakfast and started to get really hungry when dinnertime came around. My mom later sneaked some chocolate milk for me and that helped a little.

One of the really cute things in L&D was a whiteboard where the nurses write "Happy Birthday [Baby's Name]." Since we did not know whether I was having a boy or a girl, they wrote "William/Evelyn." They also had a beanie with "William" written on one side and "Evelyn" on the other.

Later in the evening (I didn't write down what time), I started throwing up. Not fun. Me and my mom still joke about the game of Sudoku that took me over 50 minutes. That's because we kept the iPad clear while I was sick. Though the OB didn't check me, she said I was probably at the 8 cm "transition stage."

At 12:15 AM, the OB checked me and I was 9 cm dilated and at +2 station. She said to ring for the nurses if I started feeling the urge to push but encouraged me to rest while I could. It was late at this point and everyone was getting tired. My mom and Dan were able to sleep a little, but I was too excited to sleep. I started feeling a slight urge to push around 1 AM. I wanted to allow myself to labor down the baby before pushing so I didn't tell anybody, including my Mom and Dan. I think they were both asleep at this point anyway.

When OB checked me at 2:10 AM, I was fully dilated and ready to push. Dan was supposed to coach and encourage me, but he was far too fascinated by seeing the baby coming out. I was really glad to have my mom there. She stood by my shoulder and was really encouraging and supportive. Dan kept saying, "I think it'll just be one or two more pushes," but the OB quickly corrected him.

Even though I had an epidural, I was still able to feel the contractions and know when to push. I didn't feel any pain though. My mom later bragged about how well I pushed, but I think she just didn't know it would be much easier with an epidural blocking all of the discomfort. I remember wanting to see the baby crowning, but I wasn't thrilled about my mom looking, so I declined the OB's offer to show me in a mirror. Dan and the nurse told me that the baby had red hair though. I also remember being afraid that my OB would preform an episiotomy, even though I specifically told her not to. She reassured me that the scissors where just for cutting the cord.

I pushed until 3:16 AM when my beautiful baby was born. Dan was supposed to announce the sex, but he was speechless. My mom even thumped him on the back, but he couldn't get any words out. (He later said that he couldn't believe the "little, slimy, purple alien" was alive.) The OB held up my baby and I announced, "It's a boy!"

The OB put William right up onto my chest and he started crying. I don't remember feeling anything but awe. The nurses helped me to clean him up a little while the OB helped Dan cut his umbilical cord. The nurses then took him to the warming crib next to me to clean him up, weigh & measure him and take his feet & hand prints. He was 7 lb 6 oz and 20 inches long.

Wide awake just minutes after birth
I had a small tear that the OB repaired while the nurses cleaned up William. Since it was the middle of the night, it was another 2 hours before we moved up stairs to the recovery room and nursery. During that time, we chose the middle name Pate. We were torn between Pate and Carter and I let Dan make the final decision.

with Mamaw
I was starving by the time I got to recovery it was wonderful to eat and not have heartburn anymore. Dan went with Liam to the nursery for his bath and check up while I got settled. It was around 6 AM and I hadn't slept since the previous night. I ate as much as I could and tried to rest, but I was too excited and didn't want to take my eyes off of my brand new baby. Dan and I looked over all his features and discovered that he has detached earlobes like me and crooked toes like Dan. 

The first day of recovery was pretty rough. I was really tired from being up all night and not sleeping. Within a few hours I realized how much work I had done during labor and delivery. From my neck to my thighs, every muscle in my body ached. I didn't have any complications and, except for some mild jaundice, Liam was perfectly healthy. 

I love him so much and I am very happy to celebrate my first mother's day with him. Happy mother's day to my wonderful Mom and Mother-in-Law, also!

William "Liam" Pate
October 26, 2010


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