Monday, March 3, 2014

Labor and Delivery: First Time's the Charm!

Our beautiful little Samuel Raymond came two weeks early! Everything went so smoothly and I am so grateful for that. Honestly, I was expecting parts of it to be a lot harder, or at least longer. I'm so thankful that my dear Cameron was with me the whole time and that he was so strong for me. He is my greatest blessing.

On Valentine's Day, I was feeling really needy for some reason, so Cameron took me on our date early. We went to see Frozen (finally!), had breakfast for dinner, and spent the evening together playing games and watching another movie. Around midnight I started having contractions. They were about 10 minutes apart but stronger than they had been before so we decided to start timing them. Within an hour they were down to about 5 minutes apart and getting stronger and stronger. I asked Cameron to give me a blessing. I was kind of hoping there would be a definitive “yes, you should go to the hospital,” or “no, you should stay home.” There wasn’t, but he did say that I would have the strength to get through the day and that I would have a calm mind. Cameron felt strongly that Heavenly Father would be with us that day. In light of that and since my contractions were still getting more uncomfortable and painful we decided it was time to finish packing our bag and go to the hospital.

We got there at about 4 am and the nurse checked my cervix and said it was “closed and thick.” We thought that was strange since at our last appointment I’d been at 70% and 2 cm, so Cameron mentioned this to the nurse when she came back in to check on us and she checked again and decided we were at a little over 3 cm, and with my contractions going strong we got to stay! At about 6 am they checked again and I was at 5 cm. The nurses changed shifts and we got a fabulous nurse named Vanessa. She was exactly what I needed. She was so positive and kept telling me how well I was doing and that my body was made to have babies and that everything was going great.

I was really bummed when they told me that I wasn't allowed to eat or drink until the baby came. I expected not to eat but I was really hoping for water to be ok since I was having quite a bit of heart burn. Admittedly I still snuck some small sips since the ice chips weren't as effective as liquid water at helping with that. At Timpanogos hospital they have flavored ice chips! I was really grateful for that because I was worried about having the energy to push since I hadn't had any food since dinner the night before. I don't know if it was true or not, but I told myself there were calories in the flavoring. My favorite flavor that I tried was pomegranate.

At about 9am I fell asleep trying to relax (I guess it worked) and Cameron went to the restroom. Then the nurse came back in with the on-call doctor (my doctor was out of town.) I was a bit disoriented and having a contraction and he decided it was time to break my water. I was kind of freaking out because I didn’t know where Cameron was and I was in a bit of pain. I asked the doctor to wait because I wanted Cameron there but he waited until the monitor said my contraction was done and then went right ahead and did it. It was a bit uncomfortable, like all the rest of the pelvic exams, but the actual water breaking didn't hurt at all. I had to try really hard to hold it together. I was pretty upset with him for not waiting for Cameron and my contractions were hurting more and more and I hadn’t slept since the night before. 

By about 10am I was starting (I think) to move into transition. My contractions were really intense and long and only about 2 or 3 minutes apart. I was really struggling to breathe and relax and I couldn’t hold still. I was kind of writhing around and holding on really tight to the handrails on the bed. Cameron was trying to help me relax but I shushed him every time he said anything. I just wanted to keep my eyes shut and hold his hand. I had an IV in my left hand so it hurt to hold his hand after that so I just held one of his fingers for a while.

Finally when the nurse came in I told her I wanted my epidural. Thankfully the anesthesiologist was already on the floor finishing up a C-section so he came in about 10 minutes after I asked. I started feeling really nauseous from the pain of the contractions but managed to keep it under control until the epidural was in my back. I sat up on the edge of the bed and leaned on Cameron while he held my hands. The anesthesiologist gave me a shot of novacane or something similar and then put the epidural in. Almost immediately my feet started to feel warm and a little bit tingly. They got everything taped to my back (he used a LOT of tape) and then I laid back down. I could still feel my contractions very strongly and I was struggling so Cameron was alternating wiping my face with a cold wash cloth and holding my little barf bag (which I unfortunately did end up needing.) Within five minutes I was feeling less of the contractions and my nausea started going away. Within fifteen minutes I couldn’t feel much of anything and I had to have Cameron read the monitor so I would know when I was having a contraction. I felt fantastic! I asked Cameron if we could play a game, and if I had been able to feel my legs I probably would have gotten up and started dancing. It was amazing how that sudden relief gave me such a huge burst of energy! 

Cameron suggested I rest since I probably would need the energy once I started pushing. I figured he was right and, after telling him to go get himself something to eat, I fell asleep pretty quickly. Not too long after the nurse came back in and said the doctor wanted her to put in an internal monitor to measure the strength of contractions so we could know if labor was moving fast enough. Apparently it wasn’t, because the doctor decided I needed Pitocin to speed up my contractions (it’s normal for them to slow down after getting an epidural.) Before I got the Pitocin, the doctor got called away to an emergency at another hospital, so I had to wait until he got back for the pit because he didn’t want me to deliver when he wasn’t there.

Finally he got back and I got my meds and contractions started picking up nicely. Thankfully I didn’t feel a thing, so Cameron and I were able to take a nap for a while. After an hour or two the doctor came to check how I was doing dilation wise, and I was ready to push! I was so glad he woke me up more gently that time, I might have had a heart attack if he’d just barged in and told me to start pushing.

The nurse came back and helped for the first little bit. We got ready and Sam was crowning within one push! That was crazy to hear. I was expecting to be pushing for a long time before that happened. I only pushed through four contractions before the nurse called for the doctor. We had to wait about fifteen minutes for him, and my mom arrived from Michigan just a few minutes before he came to deliver the baby! Talk about great timing. While we were waiting for both of them the nurse asked me to push one more time just to make sure Sam wasn’t going back up the birth canal. She was having Cameron count to 10 for me for each push and before he finished saying “three,” she yelled, “Stop!” Sam had not gone back any, and she was worried she’d have to deliver the baby right there if I kept pushing.

The doctor finally came in and they raised the bed, took the end away, and got my legs up in the stirrups (which was pretty comical since I couldn’t feel them and when I tried to move them they were all wobbly and I was less coordinated than the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.) Everyone got ready and on my next contraction I pushed three times for about 10 seconds each, which is what I had been doing previously. When I finished the third push I leaned back and relaxed and everyone in the room yelled, “keep pushing!” I thought something was wrong, like the baby’s cord was around his neck or something, so I pushed really hard and I had the strangest sensation of suddenly having nothing in my stomach. Miraculously, my eyes were open for that last push and I saw my stomach fall a good six inches at least and then I looked where my tummy had been and the doctor was holding a tiny, white person! Sam was born!

A few seconds later they brought him up to my chest and laid him on my skin while they rubbed the vernix off of him and tried to keep him crying. He was the sweetest little thing I had ever seen. I don’t remember if I said anything to him or not. I was so overwhelmed at finally being able to hold and see him. I could feel the spirit so strongly. This was my sweet little angel, sent straight from Heavenly Father. I was crying and when I looked around for Cameron he was crying, too. We both touched our little boy and helped wipe him off. I was so incredibly happy and just wanted to keep holding him forever. With him in my arms and Cameron holding both of us, I knew that's what Heaven must be like. There is no greater joy than being with my boys.

A few minutes later they took Sam to the warming table to check his vitals and clean him off and Cam went with him. Cameron just talked to him quietly and Sam grabbed onto his finger and watched his daddy calmly while the nurse checked him over. They brought him back to me and he was all pink and perfect. He was hardly wrinkly or cone-headed and my reaction was, “he doesn’t even look like he was squeezed through a pelvis at all!” At some point in my bliss I realized that Cameron hadn’t had a chance to hold him and handed him to his daddy.

We made a first attempt at nursing and had a little skin-to-skin time, which apparently is very important. Eventually they wheeled me down to recovery and Cameron got to push Sam in his basinet. They brought a cot into my room for Cameron to sleep on. I was so grateful that he stayed with me because with my legs still waking up and the rest of everything below my ribs being rather sore it took me a really long time to get out of bed, so I needed his help to change diapers and hand Sam to me when he needed to eat. Cameron has always been my hero, but never so much as he was during labor and those first two nights in the hospital.

Now, we get to have our sweet little angel at home with us! He brings so much joy and wonder to our lives.

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