Things have been kind of crazy around here these past two weeks. It’s not surprising though since we look at this face 24/7.
That’s right! Jacob was born on December 8, 2011 at 12:19a after a somewhat long process. Here’s his story:
December 6th dawned bright and cheerful. I was up early to be at my job by 7:30a. After getting a few things done around the store, I left work to go to my 39.5 week doctor’s appointment. I was ready to pop and anxious to hear what my doctor would say about my progression. I had had several bouts of contractions, though none of them were so bad I thought they were labor contractions.
I got checked out by my doctor and she said I was 1.5 cm dilated and 75% effaced, which was just slightly different than the 1 cm and 50% dilated I had been the week before. I was somewhat bummed but, seeing as I was still dreading childbirth, I just took the news in stride. She told me I was going to be pretty crampy that night and I wasn’t sure why until I realized she did a membrane sweep on me. (“Membrane sweep”, also known as membrane stripping, or “stretch and sweep” in Australia and the UK – during an internal examination, the midwife moves her finger around the cervix to stimulate and/or separate the membranes around the baby from the cervix. This causes a release of prostaglandins which can help to kick-start labor. -wikipedia.org)
I got back to work that day and within an hour or so I began to feel what she was talking about. It wasn’t horribly painful, but instead felt like medium menstrual cramps. One woman I talked to at work told me she and her sister both had it done when they were pregnant. Nothing happened to her when she had the sweep, but her sister had the baby within 24 hours of it. I finished up work that day and went home expecting nothing to happen. Little did I know…
I woke up at 12:30a with some stronger cramping. These cramps felt different however. First of all there was a pattern to them. They would come on, get progressively stronger, and then fade. I began timing them after a bit just because I was curious. I was able to sleep between contractions for the most part since they were occurring every 7-9 minutes or so. Jeff said I would be snoring, then wake up for a minute or two, then fall right back to sleep and resume snoring. How funny!
At one point I got up to go to the bathroom and I felt a weird sensation. It was almost like a little “pop” and I felt like I was leaking a little bit. Now, when I say leaking, I’m talking the slightest bit ever. I thought maybe my water had broken, but I wasn’t sure. Maybe it was just residual urine? I had no idea…
After steady contractions for 4.5 hours, I called the on call OB who told me he thought I should go ahead and come in since it sounded like I was in labor. I opted to shower first and encouraged Jeff to do the same. We were on our way to the hospital around 5:30a.
We got to the hospital and were set up in the triage area so an RN could come establish our condition. During her routine exam, she went to feel my cervix and popped my water bag! She looked at us and said, “Well, your water bag had a small hole in it and now it’s got a big hole in it. You aren’t leaving now!” I think Jeff was both excited and nervous. I know I was!
We were admitted into the hospital and got all set up. After I got my IV, the HR monitors for me and baby, and answered a ton of questions, we were left to relax. I was still having contractions of course and when the nurse came in with the dreaded bag of pitocin, I looked at her and said, “I’m almost positive I’ll want an epidural in the next hour.” I was not trying to win any pain prizes that day!
Before the anesthesiologist came in to give me the epidural (which was not bad at all, btw) the RN told me she wanted to insert internal monitors to measure the baby’s HR and pulse. I unknowingly agreed (though I didn’t have an option I don’t think). It was one of the most painful parts of the entire process! From what I’ve researched, a monitor is placed on the baby’s head that relays the necessary information to the medical team. I think the reason it hurt so much is because she had to feel around for the head. She was all up in my business for quite some time, which didn’t help things. I remember thinking when she was done that I never wanted to experience that again. I also looked at Jeff and started crying because of the look on his face. He didn’t like seeing his wife in pain!
Once the monitor was in and the epidural was administered, things got much more relaxing albeit a bit tricky. One of the side effects from having an epidural is nausea. Lucky me, I’m one of those people to whom this fun side affect applies. A few minutes after I got the epidural, I started to feel nauseated. The anesthesiologist gave me a drug to combat the effects, which seemed to work for a while. Any time I was laid down, however, I would get nauseated again. This was somewhat complicating to the labor process because of the different ways they want you to lay to get your cervix to open up more. For example, they wanted me laying on my side with pillows between my legs, but every time I was lowered into a lying position I would feel as though I was about to get sick. No fun. I stayed in an inclined seated position for most of the labor. I don’t remember much, however, since I slept about 90% of the day.
After passing the day snoozing and watching TV, 9:45p came around and the nurse checked me. She said I was 10 cm dilated and it was close to being time to start pushing. Holy lord, was I ready for this?? Guess I had to be!
I pushed for a little over 2 hours, stopping twice to get sick in a little pink basin. Pushing was horrible because I couldn’t feel where I needed to be focusing my efforts. My epidural was so strong that I couldn’t feel much at all. After sitting in the same position for 2 hours, I really couldn’t feel anything. My entire lower half had gone completely numb.
One funny side note: when you are in labor, you push an average of three times with each contraction (or at least that’s how they did it at my hospital). After several minutes of pushing this way, my nurse told me we were only going to push with every other contraction since the baby’s heart rate wasn’t looking as good as they would have liked. I didn’t mind this because after each contraction I had to focus on calming my nausea and not vomiting. I actually ended up falling asleep between contractions!
Finally, at a little after midnight, my doctor came in and things really got moving. I ended up getting a small episiotomy and they had to use the suction to get the little guy out, but at 12:19a, we welcomed a very loud little Jacob into the world! He weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.
The first thing he wanted to do once he was able to? Dive face first into mom’s boobs. Typical male.
Having a newborn in the house has been both nerve wracking and wonderful at the same time. I still can’t believe I’m a mom and this little guy is all mine. He’s so little and seems so fragile, but each day he gets a little bit bigger. He’s a great eater (so much so I sometimes fear I can’t keep up with his needs!) and has already achieved his birth weight back! In fact, we took him to his two week check up a few days early and he had not only regained the 6 ounces he lost originally, he had put on an extra 4! He now weighs 7 pounds 10 ounces and gets bigger every day.
We are so blessed to have a new little life in our house. Every day is a bit challenging and a bit rewarding all rolled up into one. We just take each day as it comes and do our best to figure things out. Everyone said parenting was hard. I’m here to say parenting is no joke and it is probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but seeing Jake’s cute face while he’s having one of his baby dreams is worth it. And kissing his head. And feet. And belly. And every other part of him. As I said, every day brings new challenges, but also new triumphs.
Here’s to today’s triumph: losing the umbilical cord!