December 27, 2009

Labor, Surgery and Delivery

Christmas Eve started out like any other. A peaceful day, filled with the laughter of family, the warmth of a fire, Christmas music throughout the house, the smell of turkey and ham, and even a surprise snowfall outside. At about 4:45pm, my parents, brother Patrick and Jeff's parents were all gathered as we made final preparations for Christmas dinner, which was to be served in about 30 minutes. Jeff and I were sitting at our fireplace, quietly whispering with one another, imagining what it would be like to have a little baby in our house only a few short days later (still thinking we would end up being induced on 12/29).

All of a sudden, a felt a huge gush of warm fluid and looked down to find my pants soaked and puddle of water of the floor. I looked up a Jeff with my eyes wide and said "I think my water just broke!" "Are you serious?" he asked, while at the same time looking to the floor. His question was answered, and he immediately sprung into action. "Carol, Mom, turn everything off, Dad go get our bags and load up the car!" I looked across the room to my mom and said, voice quivering, "My water just broke!" I stood slowly, not quite sure what to do, fearful of getting the house all dirty on my way to our bedroom. My mom grabbed a towel, and Jeff put his arm around me and ushered me to our room, where we quickly gathered our things and got out the door ... into a Texas blizzard! It had been 80 degrees the day before, but Christmas Eve, a snowstorm rolled in and by 5pm, we were in the middle of the worst of it.We carefully made our way to the hospital, with just a bit of skidding on the snowy, icy roads. We got checked into the hospital, and were the only patients on the Labor & Delivery floor. After LOTS of paperwork, our family arrived, bringing along pillows, blankets, games, magazines and cameras, ready for the long haul :)I was only 1cm dilated and was having contractions but (thankfully!) couldn't feel them strongly yet. So we went for a walk around the floor, and that got the contractions going more! The next time they checked me around 9pm, I was 3cm, and the contractions kicked up a notch. For the next couple hours, contractions got stronger and more frequent. Jeff was an amazing support and labor coach. My parents also came in to support and offer comfort as the pain worsened.

*baby's heartrate is in the top half and my contractions are in the bottom half of the screen

*during contractions :( ...
*between contractions :) ...By about 11pm, I was 6cm, and had reached my limit on pain. So I requested an epidural, and it was in place and I was comfortable by midnight. Our family joined us again, and we celebrated Ben's birthday at the stroke of midnight :)

Then Jeff and I tried to sleep for a couple hours, gearing up for the hard labor ahead. At 3:30am, the OB checked and discovered I was a full 10cm and announced it was time to start pushing! I pushed for about an hour and made good progress - the baby was descending. Jeff could even see his head when I pushed! Unfortunately, the next two hours of pushing did not produce any additional movement. It is believed that the baby's head was face up instead of face down, thus preventing him from making the 90 degree turn he needed to make to come out. There's no way to confirm this, but apparently the only way to diagnose it is if you push for 2 hours with no progress, they conclude the baby is presented in a manner that will not enable natural delivery. So we were told by the OB the baby would have to be delivered via an "alternative method" - which when we asked, were told that would be a C-section. I was devastated because things had progressed so smoothly and I had not expected or really even thought about the possibility of a C-section. My thoughts also immediately went to the fact that it was a major surgery, and the recovery would be difficult, and the same time I would be getting to know our baby, learning to nurse and trying to learn how to be a mom. But Jeff comforted me and promised we would get through it. So they prepped me for surgery and Jeff got geared up for the OR too.
After about 15-20 minutes of operation, out came the baby and we heard Benjamin's first sweet cries. Jeff got to see him being born :) Then they took Ben over to get cleaned up and get his official measurements.After about 10 minutes, Jeff was able to bring him over to me and I got to see my baby for the first time.We took the long way around with 10 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing and finally surgery, but it was all worth it because now our precious baby has arrived healthy and strong.WE LOVE YOU BENJAMIN!

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