Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Everett's Birth Story

This post discusses Everett's birth.  Obviously there will be discussion of labor and delivery - proceed with caution.  A follow-up post will share more information about his subsequent hospital stay and getting discharged home.  

One thing Elizabeth was especially anxious about with this pregnancy was the delivery.  Maybe because this would be one of the big moments we had been waiting for and were hoping would be significantly different from Oberon's delivery.  We really wanted lil' beastie to stay with us after delivery and not be whisked off to the NICU.  Partially because that's what we all expect to happen, and partially to create some level of belief that we'd get to take him home planning to raise him from infant to little boy to teenager to grown man.

Oberon's delivery started as a surprise with Elizabeth's water breaking at home in the middle of the night, and we were both experiencing everything for the first time.  With Everett, things were different right from the start.

Elizabeth had a planned induction scheduled for a month or so before Everett made his appearance.  January 6 was marked on our calendar for weeks (even though we knew it was unlikely baby would come until January 7 or even 8).  We all knew something could happen earlier - but it didn't.  We more or less headed to the hospital according to the plan.  It was so strange to pack up the car after planning to pack the car all day.  "Well, the appointment time is here - let's go have a baby" instead of "OMG get to the hospital!"  This probably helped immensely keeping anxiety to a manageable level.

After Elizabeth was admitted, we found out she was already having contractions.  Similarly with Oberon, she doesn't feel the smaller contractions at all, and only once the intensity ramps up quite a bit she feels some low abdominal cramping and eventually lower back pain.  She doesn't have the overall tightening sensation that many people talk about.

Being attached to the monitors was reassuring.  Seeing lil' beastie's heart rate and hearing the comforting rhythm helped both of us get some sleep during early labor.  On the flip side, when he wriggled away from the monitors there were moments of breath-holding and trying to stave off panic until the monitors were repositioned.

After assessing Elizabeth's contractions and cervix, the induction process was started with a cervical balloon.  It wasn't an enjoyable experience, but it wasn't horrible since Elizabeth's cervix had already softened.  The balloon fell out on its own well in advance of the twelve hour limit, which was a good sign that things were progressing.  There were also hormones involved to keep things moving, but to be honest it wasn't important enough for us to commit all that to memory.

At some point after the back pain was coming fast and furious, Elizabeth had an epidural.  She had it earlier in the process than with Oberon, partially because she had a hard time staying still for the needle stick last time.  Since the needle goes right where she feels the contractions, it's pretty tricky.  She didn't flinch this time (yay!), and Chris didn't pass out (though he did have to sit down).  Just like with Oberon, the epidural worked as intended.  Trying not to get overly emotional or anxious, we both fell asleep.

We were woken up some time later (a couple hours?  we're not sure) when the doctors and nurses came in saying that the patterns on the monitors indicated lil' beastie was "getting ready" to make his entrance and they wanted to check dilation.  They asked Elizabeth if she was feeling rectal pressure, but she wasn't...until she sat up a bit.  There it was!

They didn't get a chance to check for dilation, because in the words of the doctor he was "right there."  Not exactly sure what that meant, but they told Elizabeth not to push.  While there are attending physicians in the delivery unit all the time, Elizabeth's OB wanted to be there for the delivery, if possible.  She was being updated on the progress throughout the night, but she wasn't at the hospital right when Everett decided he was ready to make his appearance.  The attending physicians and nurses assured us there was absolutely no risk of waiting for Elizabeth's OB to arrive for the delivery, so we decided we were OK to wait.  We all tried to be still and calm (and not push) for about fifteen minutes while the room got set up and the doctor came in.  Three or four pushes later, Everett was born!

Snuggling with Everett, right after he was born.

This is when the emotional floodgates opened.  Everett was placed on Elizabeth's chest for immediate skin-to-skin and the first thing he saw when he opened his beautiful eyes was Mommy's face.  Chris held Everett's hands and snapped those first precious pictures.  During those amazing, scream-filled moments, Everett let his bladder loose and peed all over Mommy and the doctor.  Can't wait to tell his friends and future dates that one.

Open eyes!

We got some time to cuddle, just the three of us, and Everett got his first try at breastfeeding.  Eventually they assessed him, measured him, and did the usual early procedures.  There were a few people in the room, but nowhere near as many as with Oberon.  At the end of his checks, Everett wasn't whisked away, he was merely cleaned up a little bit and returned to Elizabeth and Chris for more cuddle time.

Everett did not like this business.  Give me back to Mommy and Daddy!

Some time later they moved us all out of the Labor & Delivery department.  Being wheeled over with Everett still with us was a new and incredible experience.  Things really were feeling different and hopeful.

Covered up and ready to be wheeled over to Mother/Baby.

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