June 3, 2011

Graham's Birth Story

In honor of Graham's 1st birthday, I wanted to post his birth story again...

Graham Edward was due on June 15, 2010, but he arrived 12 days early on June 3 at 9:59 a.m. The night I went into labor, I had my weekly doctor's appointment earlier that day. I had been having high blood pressure for the past couple of weeks, and a few days prior, I developed a mild headache that wouldn't go away with Tylenol. I never get headaches, but I thought I had just spent too much time in the sun that weekend, and hadn't been drinking enough water. Well, my doctor thought that was concerning because a headache that won't go away with Tylenol can be a sign of preeclampsia. When he walked in, I was lying on the table and he could tell I wasn't feeling good. He checked my reflexes, and I told him I wasn't feeling Graham move that much lately. So, he had me go into a room and sit while I had to push a button everytime Graham moved. I also got an ultrasound and was sent to the hospital to get monitored for a while. If the baby seemed to be in distress, and I was favorable for an induction, he would possibly induce me that day.

Thankfully, everything with Graham looked fine, so I was sent home with orders to be on bed rest until the following Monday. It was a Wednesday, so 5 days of bedrest, unless I went into labor before then. I was told to pee into this plastic container for 24 hours and to take the container to the doctors office the next day to see how much protein was in my urine. We got home from the doctor's office ordeal, put Graham's ultrasound pictures up on the fridge, and I  went straight to bed. I did a blog post, and then we ate dinner and started a movie.

Around 10:30 that night, I started feeling contractions. I'd been having contractions for weeks, and had even gone to the hospital twice for false alarms, so we started timing them after I had been feeling them for a while. They were mainly in my lower back and it felt like strong menstrual back cramps that would come and go. After about an hour, they were 5-6 minutes apart, so we decided to call the on-call doctor. She instructed us to head on up to the hospital. We threw on our clothes, and packed the last of our necessities into the hospital bag, and then I had to pee before we left. I used the plastic pitcher to collect my urine, just in case this ended up being another false alarm. After I peed, I noticed that I had lost my mucous plug. After that, we were pretty sure this just might be the real thing.

On the way to the hospital, I had a few contractions, but they didn't seem as regular, so I was afraid maybe they were stopping. But then when I felt a few painful ones, relief washed over me.  A thunderstorm was rolling in that night, so maybe it was the change in barometric pressure that sent me into labor! We got to the hospital, and lo and behold, they had been doing some remodeling at the hospital and had moved the ER entrance, so we had to drive around the whole hospital before we found it. This was so ironic, because a few months earlier, after we did the hospital tour, Chad insisted that we find exactly where the ER entrance was, in case I went into labor in the middle of the night. Chad pulled in, and let me out at the entrance while he parked. They wheeled me up to Labor and Delivery in a wheel chair, and I was sent to triage to check my progress and determine if I was in labor. The nurse checked me, and I was a 3 (that morning had been a 1.5) and the on-call doctor said to go ahead and admit me. I'm not sure if she truly thought I was in labor though, because one nurse said she was being nice since there was bad weather.

Either way, I was admitted and she told the nurses I could have my epidural at anytime. I'm pretty sure that was because of my high blood pressure, because I read later that epidurals can help with high blood pressure. I decided to get the epi right away. I was a little nervous, but I'm not scared of needles and I didn't think it hurt at all! During all of this, my parents and Chad's parents arrived at the hospital. Everyone was so excited and kind of just hung out in the room with us until we decided to try and get some sleep. Then they went to the waiting room. Before I fell asleep, I started feeling a little itchy from the epi, so the nurse gave me a shot into my IV to help. She told us that at 7 a.m. they would start the pitocin. We didn't get much sleep from all the excitement and text messaging friends and family. My sister drove in to town from Austin the first thing in the morning.

When 7 am arrived, I was checked and still at a 3. They started the pitocin, and the contractions started getting intense pretty quickly. I felt like the epidural started to not be able to keep up with the contractions and the intense pressure was pretty crazy. They sent for the anesthesiologist to come and give me a booster shot in my epidural, but it took him a long time to get there because he had to be in a C-section. Meanwhile, I was checked again and in 30 minutes I had gone from 3 cm to 7/8 cm!! I also felt a huge gush of liquid, and was for sure my water had broken, but it turned out to be my "bloody show". I was feeling a lot of pressure, and had the nurse check me again 30 minutes later, and I was now dialated to a 9! My water still hadn't broken at this point, so my doctor came in to break my water. After my water had been broken, it wasn't very long at all until I was a 10. I started feeling the urge to push, but the nurse kept instructing me to breathe through my contractions, because the baby had to clear a little bit more cervix. That was without a doubt the most awful part. I was scared to push, but it was impossible not to.  My body started pushing on its own, but the nurse said that was fine and just try not to help.

Finally, the cervix was cleared and my doctor arrived. At first, I was scared to push, but one of the nurses told me pushing feels like a relief, and she was right. During one of the pushes, I had a mini freak-out and started saying "I can't do this" and shaking. My doctor had to calm me down, and told me that even though it hurt, I wasn't hurting because something was wrong; it is normal, and just focus. After that, I just decided I am getting this baby out as fast as I possibly can! I pushed with everything I had every contraction. Nineteen minutes later, Graham was born at 9:59 a.m.! The waiting to push must've paid off, because I didn't end up tearing. He was really swollen because he had been so low, which is probably why it only took 19 minutes to push him out. I kept asking how much he weighed. He was 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 19 inches long. Short and chunky especially for being 12 days early! When they handed him to me, we were both crying and  I said "That was rough, wasn't it?!" He was so adorable, and he had quite a bit of the most beautiful, honey-blonde wavy hair and dark blue-gray eyes, that have since turned hazel. Everyone said he had Chad's nose and chin, and my eyes.

After he was born, I got to hold him and attempt to nurse him for a little bit. Then, I told Chad our families could come in and see him. Apparently, our mom's had been waiting at the door while I was pushing and had to be told to go in the waiting room! We knew everyone was so anxious to meet Graham. I thought only our parents, Chad's brother and his wife, my sister and Chad's grandparents were there, but when everyone came in, the whole family was there!! Aunts, Uncles, everyone! I think I let them hold Graham, but I can't remember that well after the delivery. I think I was so exhausted and overwhelmed and excited, not to mention a little in shock, everything is a little foggy. After a while, they took Graham to get cleaned up and checked out. His temperature and blood sugar was a little low, so they had to keep him for a while under the heat lamps and gave him some formula. He wasn't in our room until a while later, when we were already in my recovery room. I was so anxious to get him back! Chad went and got him eventually, and we had more visitors later that evening.

Graham was kept in the nursery so I could get some rest that night, but he was brought back in every 2 hours or anytime he got fussy so I could nurse. The next day my sister came to the hospital with breakfast and spent lots of time with us, as other visitiors trickled in throughout the day. One of the memories that sticks out in our minds-it was like our "Oh, we're parents!" moment- was when one of the nurses came in, and I asked if we should change Graham's diaper. She said something to the effect of "That's your call, you're the parents!" Haha....We were released on Saturday morning, and we couldn't wait to bring Graham home and start our lives together as a family of 3!!!

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