Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I am a mother

I am a mother. I'm sitting here attempting to write this blog while lying in a hospital bed staring at the two wonderful men in my life -- Bob and Little Elvis.

Our son was born early Sunday morning. It was one of the most exciting, scariest experiences of my life. Why? We are now the proud parents of a healthy baby boy, but we had to go through an emergency C-section to get him.

I began experiencing contractions early Saturday morning. The first one came around 4:30, but I didn't realize what I was experiencing until about 5. I took a shower to calm myself down and to keep myself from waking up Bob. (That's what our labor and delivery instructor told me to do.) Around 6:30, I decided it was time to wake him up. More out of excitement than anything else. The contractions weren't strong, although at the time they were 5-6 minutes apart.

We decided not to wake up my mother, who just happened to be in town visiting. (Little Elvis wasn't supposed to arrive until next Saturday.) She woke up around 7 and we just kind of hung out while I occasionally shouted out the timing of my contractions.

The contractions continued throughout the morning, but they weren't any stronger. Finally, sometime in the early afternoon (Bob and I are both shaky on the details) we called the doctor to describe my contractions. She suggested I come in, but let me know that I might not be checking in. She was right. Although I had two fairly intense contractions while there, I was only 1 centimeter dilated and my cervix was not ready. I did not enjoy that inspection.

I felt so silly as we headed home. My feelings of dejection must have done something because my contractions began to get much, much more intense. Later that evening they were in a much more regular pattern. We timed them as they got closer and I fussed and whined as they got more and more intense. We tried several different positions to ease the pain, but none were that great. Around 8 in the evening the pain got to me and I called the doctor back before we headed back for the hospital.

A new nurse put monitors on me, timed my contractions, and attempted to check my dilation again. Again, I squealed in pain. Although my contractions were obviously intense (at least to me), I was still stuck at 1 centimeter. The doctor decided to let me stay for 2 hours to see how things progressed.

These have to be among the worst two hours of my life. Every 5-6 minutes, I suffered the most intense pain in my lower gut and back that I have ever experienced in my life. By the end of the two hours, the contractions were up to 3-4 minutes apart and I was literally shaking as I went through them. My mom and Bob tried to comfort me, but I was inconsolable. I felt so stupid for having to go to the hospital twice, and obviously my threshold for pain must be a lot lower than other women's.

But at the end of those hours, I had progressed to three centimeters dilation and almost complete effacement. The nurse who had been taking care of me said that meant my labor had officially begun. It was close to midnight at this point and I was exhausted and miserable.
Which is why we immediately agreed to have an epidural when it was offered. At this point, we had to answer questions about Bob having power of attorney and whether or not we had a living will. To me, this was just a formality.

The epidural went really well and took the edge off my contractions. After an awful ordeal with the catheter insertion -- I seriously cried, squealed and literally pitched a fit about the intense pain. The nurse found this odd since I had been given an epidural.

Bob decided to take my mom home while I dozed through the next stage of labor -- going from 3 centimeters to 10 centimeters. While they were gone, I was able to rest and even slept a bit. But the nurse was acting strange. She had me roll to each side to stabilize the baby's heart and kept checking the printouts on the monitors.

When Bob got back, things seemed to be going well. He took a nap on a pull out couch while I continued to doze. I awoke during a contraction to see the nurse staring at my monitor intently. I told her that it felt like I had to go to the bathroom, like something was pressed against my colon. She wanted to know how long I had felt like this. I told her I honestly didn't know since I had been napping. She left the room and came back with the on-call obstetrician. At some point,
my doctor had been called and they had decided to burst my amniotic sac and attach internal monitors to the baby while my doctor drove in. They also mentioned the words "emergency C-section."

The on-call doc burst the sac and then attempted to put on a monitor. I say attempted because I was crying out in pain and fear as they tried to stick that monitor inside me and into Little Elvis' little head. In those few short minutes, I had progressed from 3 centimeters to 5 or 6. I thought this was a good sign, but the baby's heart rate was really erratic now.

The nurse rolled me onto my left side, then my right side. Then she put me on all fours on the bed. All of this happened very quickly, but it seemed to drag because I didn't really know what was going on and I was so scared. I also knew that it had to be all my fault that my baby (who has been perfect throughout my pregnancy) had heartbeat problems. I figured that it was my decision to get that epidural that had done this to him.

Since none of those attempts to stabilize or measure the baby's heartrate worked, they started unplugging all my monitors to wheel me down to the O.R. This confirmed to me that it was all my fault that my baby was suffering. I was petrified and I could tell poor Bob was just
as scared and worried as I was, and he was left by himself in our room to put scrubs on.

Although I was taken to a room filled with people outfitted in blue surgical scrubs, I can honestly tell you I've never felt more alone and guilty in my life. I know Bob had to have felt just as lonely and powerless as I did at that point.

I laid on the operating table with tears dripping out of my eyes as nurses and doctors bustled all around me. My nurse, who had been with me from the beginning of my second hospital trip, had plugged me into a new monitor during everything and Little Elvis' heart rate was starting to come back up and stabilize.

That made me feel a little better, but I still just wanted my husband to be standing with me and my baby to be alright. At this point, I don't think I would have trusted any computer readout about my baby. I wanted to see for myself that he was alright.

The anesthetist pulled a holder out on each side of the bed and laid my arms on them. Then she pulled up a curtain right over them. And they finally let Bob into the OR. He has always had a soothing effect on me and I was so relieved to see him, even though he was obviously just as shaken as I was. He had talked to the doctor before coming in and she told him that the baby's heartrate had stabilized, but since we'd had so many problems, we would carry on with the C-section.

He sat by my head while I cried and promised me that our Little Elvis would be just fine. I tried to crack a joke about Britney Spears going through 2 C-sections, and that if she could do it, I could do it.

While we were talking and trying to soothe one another, I felt constant pressures all over my stomach. Suddenly we heard a loud, throaty wail. The doctor told us that we had a baby boy. He screamed and we cried. Our baby sounded healthy and angry.

It was one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard.

Bob stayed right by my side as the doctors and nurses cleaned him up. Everyone was telling us how pretty he was. They brought him over to the weigh station area and Bob got a chance to go meet our baby. I couldn't really see him because I was numb from the armpits down and could only crane my head.

While he was watching the nurses poke and prod our baby, he had to fend off my questions. "Yes, 10 fingers and 10 toes." "He does have hair." After the APGAR tests (which he got an 8 on in the 1 minute and a 9 in the five minute) and being weighed and measured (7 pounds, 7 ounces; 20 3/4 inches) they let Bob hold our baby and bring him over so I could see him. He was indeed as beautiful as everyone said he would be. And he was here.


Blogger The Frog Princess said...

I'm so glad to hear that all three of you are alright. Congratulations!

1:28 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yay!!! As I mentioned on Bob's blog, congratulations to you all! I know my emer. c-section was the scariest time of my life as well, but to have that little boy in your arms is the best, isn't it? Mine is 10-1/2 now! :)

I'm heading to my own c-section in 7 days!

8:32 PM  
Blogger Labor Nurse said...

Congrats to you!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Jerome said...

Dear Meredith and Bob,

Congrats on your new super star.

But, Meredith, please do not feel any guilt about his heart rate: it is a well known fact that Elvis often had stagefright and pre-performance jitters, with increased heart rate. Little Elvis was just worried about coming out on stage with all the bright lights!

Best wishes to all 3 of you!!

Jerome Lukas (the Lightning Bolt Guy)

4:41 AM  

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