Sunday, November 16, 2014

I had a baby.

Now, this is story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down, and I'd like to take a minute so just sit right there, I'll tell you how I became a mom of a babe with lots of hair...

I love reading birth stories. And I still can't quite believe that now I have my own to write! And I'm just going to warn you right now, this is gonna be a doozy, so get a snack and let's get down to the nitty gritty (to be read in the voice of Nacho Libre).

Let's start with Wednesday. I had a doctor's appointment that morning, where my doctor told me I was 3.5 cm dilated, baby was engaged, and she told me to go home and pack a hospital bag because the baby was coming before the end of the week. Side note: doctors should not say such things, because it made me like crazy bonkers with anxiety. That afternoon, I lost my mucous plug and had other symptoms that typically mean labor is immanent. Let me just pause right there and tell you that if reading mucous plug made you cringe, this might not be the story for you. Anywho. So I was feeling a little anxious and excited and just waiting for the contractions to start. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday all passed very uneventfully and I was still super pregnant, so I was ready to just hunker down until my due date, and figured my doctor was just a bad predictor of events. I hadn't felt a single contraction, and didn't really have much reason to believe the baby was coming. I made plans for the next week, including some hair appointments (sorry clients!) and tried not to be too bummed out that our baby was going to take his time. 

Sunday morning I hopped out of bed and felt a lot of fluid in my underoos. I legitimately did not know if I peed my pants or if something else had happened. So I slapped on some clean drawers and we went to church. All during church, everything was dry and so I figured I'd peed my pants, because I was 9 months pregnant and that seems like the kind of thing that happens to 9 months pregnant people. During the 3rd hour of church, I was talking to a friend about the torture of wondering when baby is coming, and how I thought baby time was probably far away, when I felt a real big gush of fluid. I went to the bathroom to discover that I most certainly was not peeing myself. I decided to text Cary and tell him that after church, we should go to the hospital just in case that was my water breaking. I sat back down in my church meeting (with a pad... I wasn't leaking disgusting things all over the place just yet) and I even said the opening prayer, when Cary texted me and said get your butt out here, we're going to the hospital now, you crazy person. I'm summarizing, but that's the essence. 

I was still in complete denial that we were going to the hospital to have a baby. I told Cary they would probably send me home since I still had not had a single contraction. I gathered my things extremely slowly when we got home, which was driving Cary crazy, because he wanted to get to the hospital and get this party started. I also didn't eat lunch, because I was just positive we'd be back home soon. I would very much come to regret this lack of lunch. We drove to the hospital and it was just so surreal. We were casually chatting, and I had no pain whatsoever, so we just kind of moseyed into the hospital and to labor and delivery. We got to the front desk, and I told the gal that I thought my water had broken, and I could tell she thought I was crazy. I think most people checking into labor and delivery aren't usually relaxed and walking around like nothing was happening. They had me collect some fluid and immediately upon sight, the nurse said, "This is definitely amniotic fluid, let's get you a room, because you're having a baby today!" As soon as she said that, Cary and I stared at each other with panic stricken eyes, and I just about started crying. I've had 9 months to get ready- how can I still not be ready?? But I kept it together somehow, and we went to a room.

They hooked me up to monitors that showed I was having small contractions every 5 minutes. I couldn't feel anything. Since my water had broken at 7 that morning and they want the baby out usually within 24 hours of the water breaking, they started me on some pitocin. I'd heard plenty o' pitocin horror stories, so I thought a long hard labor was in front of me and settled in for a rough day and night. Pretty quickly the pitocin started to do it's thang, and I was hurting something fierce. I told Cary to nap since it would be a long night, and I sat on a birthing ball and texted friends and family and attempted to watch The Office. After a little bit of that, the contractions were too intense to text or even watch TV, and they were coming every 2 minutes. So I tried various laboring positions and breathed through the contractions as best as I could. The nurse would come in every now and then and frown at the monitors and say "Your contractions just aren't becoming productive and organized! They are really weak and erratic." And I would groan through a contraction and try to casually say, "Oh really? Hmmm it kinda feels like maybe they are coming really regularly and kinda strong...haha!" I was trying to smile and pretend I wasn't dying, since apparently I wasn't even having real contractions. So every time she came in, she'd shrug and say "We'll just leave you for some more time and see if we can get things going!" And every time she left, I would just about dissolve into tears because it hurt SO BAD and if this was "nonproductive" labor, productive labor was going to kill me dead. After hours of this, and starting to get really discouraged, I made Cary wake up and hold my hands during contractions. I just about broke his fingers. I was still trying to breathe through them and be strong, but my resolve was crumbling because I thought I wasn't even making any progress. Eventually, I told the nurse that I didn't think my contractions were getting picked up on the monitors because what I was feeling looked nothing like what the screen was showing, and they decided to put in an internal monitor. Immediately the nurse was like, "Whoa baby! You are contracting every 2 minutes and those are some big contractions!" I about cried with relief to hear that. She checked me and I was at a 7. 

After that whole ordeal, I was absolutely exhausted and decided I was ready for the sweet relief of an epidural. The anesthesiologist came to place the epidural, and sitting still during those beastly contractions was the absolute worst. Oh scratch that, sitting still while she tried to place the epidural for a SECOND time, was the absolute worst. Yeah, the first epidural did not work at all, and I could feel the needle and tons of pressure where the needle was, and she didn't hit the right space, so she had to place it again. After almost an hour of her working back there, she said, "Well, that may or may not work. It may only work on one side. It may not work at all." Those were pretty much the worst possible words I imagined coming out of her mouth. She was not my favorite person on the planet after that announcement. The epidural took the edge off, but I had spots on the front and all through the back that it did not touch at all. I still felt every contraction every 2 minutes. Along with the really lovely sensation that the baby was actually going to emerge from my butt hole. Owwwwww. It was super fun. Isn't childbirth beautiful?

Luckily, I progressed from a 7 to a 10 really quickly, and it was suddenly time to push. I always intended for Cary to stand by my shoulders and sort of cheer me on without really being involved in the carnage of my lady parts birthing a watermelon, but the nurses gave him no such option. They told him to grab a leg and get in there! But he was the greatest motivator and the only thing that kept me going. By now, my epidural was pretty worthless, and I could feel so much pressure and pain and an uncontrollable urge to push. And pushing felt great... for the first hour. I was making a lot of progress, and they kept saying how close I was and they called the doctor after 45 minutes. The doctor got all dressed and the room got all ready and I pushed and pushed with every muscle in my entire body. For Two. Whole. Hours. At one point I asked if we could just stop for a little bit because I was really tired and hungry and maybe we could just press pause on this operation and I could regroup and maybe have a sandwich? The nurse and doctor laughed but I was not joking. Apparently once the whole pushing thing has begun, there is no turning back. The baby had turned his head so it was kind of sideways in there, and I pushed so dang hard trying to get that giant noggin out. I pushed so hard I had burst blood vessels all over my face and shoulders, and all in my eyes. I started to get really dizzy and black out while I was pushing, so they put an oxygen mask on me. Contractions were coming so so close and I couldn't catch my breath. The baby's heart rate started to drop between contractions, so the doctor told me I had one more push to get him out, or she was going to do an episiotomy, and possibly have to use a vacuum. Well, that sure inspired me. I geared up for the push of a lifetime and Cary pulled my chest to my knees and I gave it everything I had in me and finally felt the terrible and amazing feeling of his head and whole body finally coming out of me. They laid him on my chest and the very first words I said to my son were, "That was the weirdest and most painful thing on earth." It was very tender. Luckily Cary was there to save the moment and held us both and kissed my head and said, "You did it, Amy! That's our son! That's our boy!" I am so very grateful for that man. The entire labor he cheered me on, told me how great I was doing, helped me drink water, and I truly do not think I could have done it without him. 

They took our baby to clean him up and take care of me. I had a very minor tear, and thank goodness, because I felt every stitch going in. Woof. Once I was all cleaned up, I sat up and they brought our sweet baby boy back to me, and the emotions that were missing in the chaos after birth came flooding over me. I stared into those perfect eyes and tried to process that this baby was the same one that I'd been carrying for 9 months. The same little flickering heartbeat I saw on the ultrasound at 6 weeks, the little gummy bear shaped baby I saw at 12 weeks. The same little toes I felt in my ribs and the same little legs I felt kicking away in there. I was so worried that I wouldn't bond with my baby and I wouldn't love him. But it turns out, I loved him all along. Welcome to our family, Nathaniel Cary Reeves. You are the piece we didn't know was missing.

"And then my soul saw you, and it kind of went "Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you." " 

And now for some pictures of the birth and all dat. 

My last preggo pic. Almost 39 weeks. 
 Cary sleeping through the majority of my labor. (Because I didn't think I was really in labor yet.) I was so jealous of him soundly sleeping while my insides felt like they were ripping in half. I want to be the dad next time we have a kid. Kidding. Kind of.

 The cutest little burrito I ever did see.
 I could just kiss his face off. And I do.
 The proud Daddy. Gosh, I love that man. And in case you're wondering why there are no post-birth pictures of me, it's because my face was covered in burst blood vessels, and my whole face was so swollen I could barely open my eyes. I looked like hell. And I truly did not want that on film. The first time I saw myself in a mirror after birth, I literally yelped in horror. Woof.
 Such a sad little lip while getting checked out!
 All better now. Love those sleep smiles.
 Dad and his little munchkin.
 Just being the cutest ever while hanging out with grandma. My mom has been here since about 30 minutes before he was born, and she has been a complete lifesaver. I would be in the looney bin without her, and none of us would have any clean clothes.
 Sleeping with a baby on your chest is heaven.
Abby was staying with a friend while we were in the hospital and for our first day home (Thanks, Karli!). When she came back home, she immediately tried to go bug Nate and I yelled at her. Ever since then she has been super timid and sweet and never bothers him. Before I took this picture, she was laying with her head on the ground, looking at him. They are going to be best buddies for sure.
 My buddy.
 Taken just a couple of minutes ago. Love that airplane hoodie that he will probably outgrow by next week, and love those perfectly kissable cheeks. He just has my whole heart. 

Well, that was super duper long, and if you made it this far, I am very impressed. I have a million other things I want to write about new motherhood and how my love for my husband and my baby is so big it hurts, and how I ate almost a whole big bag of peanut butter m&ms by myself today, but it will have to wait for another time. Because my baby is waking up and I need to go snuggle him and rub his cute baby head and kiss his nose. Having a baby, man. I know it's cliche, but it's the hardest and best thing that has ever happened to me.