Monday, November 30, 2009

Orion's Birth: the Epic Saga

Orion's first photograph

At 4:08 a.m. on Thursday, November 19, 2009, I got up to use the restroom, and the minute my feet hit the bathroom tile amniotic fluid started running down my legs. I called to Nathan that my water had broken, and he stumbled out of bed. I told him that didn't mean we had to leave right that second, and he lay back down for a minute until he could wake up enough to function. We got around, gathered our things, ate breakfast, and got to the hospital around 6 a.m.

They took me into the testing room to be monitored and checked for amniotic fluid (plenty of that!). The fluid was greenish, which meant that Orion had already had a bowel movement and could possibly be in distress, so we'd have to be monitored extra closely. My cervix was 70-80% effaced but high and barely 2 cm dilated. We filled out some paperwork and were eventually admitted to the hospital and moved to our own room.

Nathan's family kept us company all morning and early afternoon. They gave me some IV fluids and hooked me up to devices that monitored Orion's heartbeat and my contractions. They were consistently five minutes apart but not very strong. We walked the halls on and off for a couple hours which did help get the contractions closer together (2 1/2 ish minutes) and stronger (I had to stop walking to get through them), but when they checked me again I wasn't dilated any more, so they had to start me on Pitocin, a drug that helps speed up labor.

Pitocin was one of the things I was really afraid of, but I'm not scared of it any more. Sure it made the contractions worse and worse, but I figure that would have happened anyway... it just made the process shorter.

Somewhere in here Orion's heartbeat started dipping with the contractions, which was a bit scary. They had to attach a monitor to his head, which meant wires going where wires oughn't go. It was SOOO frustrating to me to have to be hooked up to so many machines. I had to unplug 4 things and take the IV stand with me to go to the bathroom, plus deal with the internal monitor. Ugh.

About 12 hours after my water had broken I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed by the pain/intensity of the contractions, so I gave in and requested pain meds. I was scared of the epidural, so I asked for Nubain, a narcotic used to relieve pain that is given through the IV and a shot in the leg (which felt really weird... I felt it go from my thigh into my knee). Unfortunately, it makes you feel "drunk." I was SO out of it after getting this drug. I have never been drunk, but if that's what it's like I don't know why anyone ever gets drunk. I hated it. And it didn't help the pain, at least not enough to be a relief at all.

Eventually a doctor came in and told me to get an epidural, and I said "OK." I was so out of it I barely remember this, but I guess I was 9 cm dilated at that point and could barely function. Thankfully the Nubain started to wear off at this point.

The hardest part at this time was sitting still for the epidural. The contractions were so intense and I wasn't allowed to move at all. My nurse was awesome and let me lean into her chest and hold onto her while they did it. The local anesthetics hurt a little, but I obviously didn't care much at this point. I think they had to try twice to get it in, but they did within a couple minutes.

I am SO GLAD I got the epidural. Seriously, it made the experience 100 times better. I could feel my legs (the skin just felt numb and I couldn't move them much) and some pressure with contractions, but very very little pain. It was perfect.

When the time came they let me tell them when it was time to push, which was nice. I could feel the contraction starting and the doctor would guide me through pushing: a big breath, then push hard while holding my breath for 10 seconds, then breathe out and repeat two more times. They said I was a good pusher and had good control (I had to push gently a few times). The pushing itself really wasn't hard for me. It was tiring, but it obviously didn't hurt and it felt good to know I was almost done and would see my baby soon. Allie and Nathan held/pushed my legs up for me which helped a lot. They got to see his head more and more and they told me about it which was exciting and encouraging. I pushed for about an hour and a half. Nathan said his head seemed to explode out, and Orion was born at 10:26 p.m.! It was the strangest and coolest thing to look down and see a real live baby being lifted up. He was all tangled up in his umbilical cord, but that didn't cause any problems. Nathan got to cut the cord. Unfortunately they had to do an episiotomy, plus I tore really bad (I think they said 4th degree, which is the worst). Lots and lots and lots-o-stitches.

I didn't get to hold him right away because he had had a bowel movement in the womb and they had to suction his airways really well and make sure he didn't swallow or breathe in any feces. Thankfully, they told me about this ahead of time so I was OK with it- safety first! They checked him over and cleaned him up a little. Nathan got to hold him while he was under the heat lamps, and right away Orion reached up and pulled his beard!

7 lbs, 11.9 oz, 21 inches long

I finally got to hold him which was amazing, and he was able to nurse right away. After he was done eating and we'd had a few minutes to get a little cleaned up the rest of the family and a couple friends got to come in and see our little guy.

Our little family. I was very puffy from the IV fluids!

They had a party in the hallway while Orion was eating his first meal.

Our friends Cliff and Andrew came for Orion's big debut too. Bubblegum cigars all around!

We moved to the recovery wing that night, and the next couple days/nights were pretty rough because we were SOOO exhausted and Orion is obsessed with sucking even when he's not hungry (which we didn't figure out for a couple days). After we got home and got some sleep things got better, and now we're doing great! Still learning of course, but really happy with our little guy. I think we'll keep him :)
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