Saturday, August 30, 2014

Birth Story Time!

Since baby is currently sleeping, I thought I would take a minute to write out the birth story since people have been asking me. L was born on August 15th at around 8 AM: 7 lbs 9 ounces, 20.75 inches long. We are so in love with our little baby boy. But let's back up. Due to having gestational diabetes, I was scheduled to be induced on August 15th, three days prior to my due date. I was set to start what is known as cervical ripening on August 14th at 8 pm. Cervical ripening is what they do if you need to be induced and your cervix is long and closed (like mine). The week leading up to induction, I kept hoping that I would go into spontaneous labor. Spoiler alert: I actually never was induced. The morning of the 14th, I woke up around 5 am with very sporadic contractions. I bounced on my exercise ball for a while, but nothing happened, so I went back to bed and slept for a while. I knew that inductions can take a long time, so I wanted to save my energy. When I woke up, I felt completely normal. My parents came down that afternoon, we had a nice dinner together and then J and I made our way over to the hospital. When we got there, Labor and Delivery was dealing with an emergency c-section, so we had to wait a bit for our room. They monitored me for a bit in triage. My blood pressure was a bit elevated and I was actually having contractions that I wasn't feeling. Other than that, baby and I were doing great. Around 9:30ish, we got back to our room and I got setup with an IV, more monitoring, etc. Around 10 pm, the nurse placed cervadil, which is used to soften (or efface) the cervix. The idea is that it will soften the cervix so that when pitocin is started, the cervix will dilate. They monitored me until 11 pm. Everything looked great, so they took off the monitors, gave me an Ambien and told me that they would start pitocin at 6 AM. I sort of dozed until around 1:30 AM. At that point, I really woke up in enormous pain. I was still pretty drowzy from the Ambien, but the pain was winning. I walked around a bit and woke up J, who thought it was 6 AM. I called the nurse in and told her I was having contractions. She basically told me that it was too early for medication and I should just breathe and walk through them. They were coming around 3 minutes apart and breathing through them sucked a lot. I spent the next hour and a half trying to deal with them before calling the nurse in again. I told her I needed something for pain. She checked me, told me that I hadn't dilated at all, that it was early for an epidural, but I could get one if I wanted. I told her I wanted one. She started me on fluids and then put the monitors back on me. Within 10 minutes, she was back in the room saying that the baby wasn't handling contractions very well (his heartrate was dropping) and the OB wanted the cervadil removed. Great! I wanted it removed too. Around 3:30 AM, the anesthesiologist came in for the epidural. I had to sign some consent form that I didn't read and then they placed the epidural. J almost passed out at the sight of the needle. The worst part was having a contraction while it was being placed. You can't really move when they are inserting a needle into your back, so you just have to deal with this terrible pain and being completely stationary. Around 4 AM, the epidural was doing its magic and I was able to relax for the first time in hours. The nurse came back in to check me. "Oh! You're 4 cm!" Between 4 and 5, I mostly just sort of dozed. I could still feel contractions, but they weren't that bad. Around 5 AM, I started to be in significant pain again. I called the nurse in. She was about to check me when my water broke. I was 6 cm. There was meconium in the waters. You might be wondering what meconium is? It's the baby's first bowel movement. So, basically, baby wasn't tolerating the contractions well and he had a bowel movement. If the baby swallows the meconium, he can aspirate on it during birth, so NICU was informed that they needed to be present.

I was still in a good amount of pain, but it was decided to keep the epidural level where it was so that I could feel for pushing. We both called our parents to let them know that the birth was going to happen soon. My parents got there around 6 AM. I was checked again and this time I was 9.5 cm. The OB came in and said, "Who goes from nothing to fully dilated in 3 hours from cervadil?" Around 10 minutes later, it was time to start pushing. Pushing took forever. Since the baby hadn't dropped, there was a long way to push, and I felt like he kind of got stuck in one spot for a long time. I was having to breathe oxygen between contractions to help with the baby's heartrate. During this, there was a shift change and I got a new nurse. Around 8, I started telling the nurse, I am getting really tired, can we do anything to speed things up? She then called in the OB who helped me when pushing to sort of push back on me. That really worked and L was born at 8:09 AM. He hadn't swallowed any meconium so he was put on my chest right away. He was perfect and crying and I just got to hold him for a bit. At some point, he was cleaned up and weighed and all that. Then, J got to hold him for a while. I got a second degree tear and had to be stitched up. About an hour after he was born, we were moved to recovery. My legs were still numb and weird for a while. I was in a lot of pain the first 24 hours, but it got significantly better each day. L's blood sugars were monitored due to my gestational diabetes. Sure enough, they started falling, so he was transferred down to the NICU and given formula for the first day while they monitored him. I felt so bad for all the heel pricks, but his sugars stabilized and he went back to our room. We went down to the NICU as much as we could when he was there. He was by far the big kid in the room. I was totally blown away by some of the preemies in there. They were just so tiny and fragile.

With the bottles of formula, breastfeeding did not get off to a good start. He also had a tongue tie we had to get clipped. There was a lot of frustration for both of us to get to breastfeeding. First there was formula feeding, pumping and feeding what I pumped, and trying to latch (which seemed to never work those first few days). Once my milk came in, I was able to pump enough that we didn't need to use formula anymore. But it was still torture trying to get him latched on. We eventually turned a corner when one of my friends suggested paced bottle feeding, which essentially really limits the flow the baby gets and mimics breastfeeding much better. Well, this got the baby frustrated with the bottle and I was able to start latching him on. I would feed him like an ounce from the bottle and then switch to boob. This was still frustrating for both of us because I would essentially bottle feed a little, try latching on as much as I could and then pump to get milk for the next feeding. Feedings would take an hour and a half or more. And then I was trying to start the process all over again an hour and a half later. So, this past Monday, I decided enough was enough: we were switching to breastfeeding. There was a battle for at least 24 hours. My mom says we essentially got into a fight because he was screaming, just wailing at me and I was trying to get him on the boob with everything I had. There were tears for both of us and lots of calming down before trying again. Once we made up, he started latching. He would get pissed, I would have to calm him down and we would start over again, but we made it through. It's been about 5 days without any bottle feedings! And once he got the hang of breastfeeding, he started gaining weight like crazy. He went from 7 lbs 5 ounces at 5 days old to about 8 lbs on Tuesday to a whopping 8 lbs 12 ounces yesterday! We had a lactation visit on Tuesday, and he took in 5 ounces on the breast! So, he's chowing down. Our next hurdle is not using a nipple shield, but I'm giving us some space. He will latch on without it if he's nice and calm, so I am not too worried. I'm just happy I'm not pumping all the time anymore. One of my friends said the first two weeks of breastfeeding are the hardest. Based on what we've been through, I tend to agree. J kept playing this youtube video for me when we were really struggling. It did help to lighten the mood.

Anyway, that's pretty much my updates. There's a lot of diapers, boob, and sleeping (for the baby) around here. I can't complain though. He's a good baby and I just love cuddling him. It's worth all the interrupted sleep. :)


The day we brought him home (2 days old)

Just born

4 or 5 days old. 

I was proud of my swaddling in this picture.

He was literally sleeping on me like this. Lol.

Picture today - he's getting bigger!

I also wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent us well wishes, flowers, gifts, and food. It is all so much appreciated! (And I may eventually get to writing thank yous). And now, I must go. I'm pretty sure there's a diaper that needs changing. :)

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