Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy 1 Month Gwen!

It's hard to believe our baby girl is a month old already. A friend recently told me that while the days home with an infant seem to crawl by, the months go by so fast. I can already see how that is possible. To celebrate I've posted some new pics as well as Gwen's birth story that I wrote 2 weeks ago (for all of you who are interested in that kind of thing). Enjoy!

It’s been exactly two weeks since the arrival of our little Gwen. Last night during our midnight feeding Gwen and I reminisced once again about the night she was born. At that same time 14 days earlier I was pushing like crazy to get her into this world. I wonder if this will be the ritual every Wednesday night for the next few weeks. I can picture myself years from now crawling into bed with her the night before her 16th birthday and giving her the play by play for what will probably be the hundredth time or more. Maybe I’ll spare her some of the gory details.

I wanted to write this experience down because although as a whole it’s a day I will never forget, I know the details will become fuzzy over time.

My due date was February 21st. For months I had been hearing “you should have the baby on (insert date here)… it’s my mom’s cousin’s son’s birthday” or similar suggestions as if I had some kind of control over it. I pictured going early, as many expectant mothers tend to do, yet continued to be disappointed on a daily basis those last couple of weeks.

It wasn’t that my body was not trying to get her out. Each week I would go to the doctor and hear that I had progressed more from the previous appointment and that it should be “any day now”. During these visits we also realized that my blood pressure was starting to rise to a slightly less than acceptable level.

On Wednesday, February 23rd, after many sleepless nights due to back pain and contractions and two not so great NSTs, I went to my last appointment. I was completely effaced and 3cm dilated.

“Do you want to be induced?” our doctor asked?

“Ummm…. I guess, yeah. When would we be looking at?”

“Today would be a good day”.

Doug and I just looked at each other and said “OK, I guess we’re having a baby today”.

And then the terror hit. I was about to experience labor, which you know hurts and stuff. I had a vague idea of what to expect but knew from other people’s stories that the whole childbirth thing can vary greatly for each woman. But I was excited. This baby (which I had at that point made up my mind was not really coming out) was indeed going to be born. Today.

We headed down to admissions and straight to labor and delivery where I was put into a hospital gown and attached to the monitor. At 3:00pm my midwife, Mary, came in to break my water. We had chatted a couple days prior that we would try this route first and use pitocin only if necessary. Not more than 10 minutes after breaking my water I was in active labor with contractions about 5 minutes apart.
Doug and I spent some time doing laps in the maternity ward, stopping every once in a while so I could breathe through my contractions. Back to the room to be checked and I was at 5 centimeters.

It was then that Mary suggested that I go into the Jacuzzi tub. Let me just say that the water and jets felt amazing. I was so relaxed and seemed to sail through the contractions as they came. Doug was next to me keeping me supplied with liquids and cold compresses for my head. I would have stayed in there longer, but my body temperature started to get too high for the baby.

Back in the room, I was at 6 cm and beginning to head into transition. The contractions were now every 2-4 minutes, but lasting up to 100 seconds. I was starting to feel like I wasn’t getting enough rest in between then and knew if they kept up like that I wouldn’t have anything left for pushing. My goal from the beginning was to go as natural as possible, but would be open to pain relief if necessary. I deemed it necessary and got a shot of Nubain into my IV.

From then on, I felt awesome. I was resting, contractions were back to a manageable strength, and I was feeling pretty calm and confident about the whole thing. Doug, however was freaking out. In between contractions I would all but pass out and he would keep asking me questions to me to make sure I was still alive. I assured him that everything was ok.

By the time I got checked again, I was almost completely dilated and getting ready to push. The pushing began at 10:15pm and was going really well at first. Mary, our nurse, Doug and myself were all convinced we would have a baby before midnight. About an hour in though, we hit a standstill. The baby would not go any further and my contractions were actually starting to die down. We added some pitocin into my IV to see if we could make them stronger and more productive, but still nothing. At 11:45 pm I was told we had 30 more minutes before we had to call Dr. Kirollos in to assess the situation. I pushed harder and longer, but still no progress. By the time 12:30am rolled around the decision was made. The baby’s head was not in the correct position and would not be able to be delivered vaginally.

Cue emergency c-section.

We went from calm delivery room to operating room at what could only be described as Mach 5 speed. Not going to lie… this part sucked. Prepping for a c-section would not be that bad if it weren’t for the fact that I already had a baby’s head in my birth canal and was still grunting through full force contractions. The anesthiologist asked me a bunch of questions, none of which I could tell you now since I was only really half listening. And then came the spinal anesthesia, which I may add must be administered in a cross legged position, leaning forward. Apparently this woman forgot that I had a baby in a most inconvenient place along with a catheter. We got the needles in though and seconds later I couldn’t feel anything below my chest.

Through this whole transition, poor Doug had to wait outside. He made it in just as they started to cut and he held onto my hand. They told me it would feel like a Volkswagon was being set on my chest. They weren’t totally wrong. But then we heard a cry and felt nothing but relief and joy. I think we both forgot about the whole not knowing the gender thing until we heard a voice from the other side of the curtain say “IT’S A GIRL”.

I look at Doug and we smiled. We have a daughter! “Is she a Gwendalyn?” I asked him. We went into this feeling pretty certain about our girl name, but you never quite know until they are actually here. Gwendalyn Terese became her name before we even saw her though.

And then we did see her. A mess of brown hair, chubby cheeks, and the pinkest skin you’ve ever seen. She was beautiful. In the half hour that followed, Gwen was whisked off to the nursery followed by the proud daddy. I was stitched, cleaned up, and all the while thanking these poor people profusely for dragging themselves out of bed in the middle of the night to help us meet our baby. I think there were lots of pain killers involved.

I was wheeled into the recovery room and not more than a moment later was joined by Doug and Gwen in our first moment as a family of three. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my whole life.

After an amazing 5 day stay in the hospital for my elevated blood pressure (surrounded by the worlds greatest nurses I must add), we were finally able to bring our little girl home. Life is quite a bit different for us now what with baby swings and burp cloths strewn about, middle of the night wake up calls, and perpetual bags under our eyes, but we are happy and healthy and wouldn’t change it for anything.

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