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The Birth Story

(Be warned- this is lengthy!) So my final pre-baby post was all about my appointment at the doctor on Thursday, November 13th and the fact that my amniotic fluid was on the low side.... The doctor told me to come back the following week to have it checked again but that it wasn't really a problem and that I shouldn't worry about it.... Well here's what happened after that which led to little Paul Thomas arriving on November 17, about 3 weeks before his due date: (Feel free to skim- this is pretty detailed so that I can remember what happened years from now!)

Thursday afternoon I spent worrying about the amniotic fluid levels- was there something I had done to cause this problem? Was there something I could do to fix it? I wasn't worried about the possibility of being induced the following week if my fluid levels were still low but I was worried about the health of the baby.

Thursday evening I went to my regular prenatal swimming class at the hospital. There were three other women in my class that evening, all due after I was. We always share anything that's been going on with our pregnancies and so I told them about my doctor appointment and joked that if I wasn't in class the following week they should come up to the maternity ward and visit me there...

Friday morning I went to work determined not to worry too much. And I did ok for a while until I noticed that the baby wasn't moving around as much as usual. Now I knew that towards the end of pregnancy there just isn't that much room for the baby to move but I didn't think there should be such an obvious change from one day to the next. I drank some juice to see if that got him kicking more. I ate a candy bar to see if the sugar high would jumpstart his little legs. I laid down on my office floor as I could always feel him better lying down. He was still moving around but not with the energy that he'd had previously. I called a friend who told me to call my doctor. I called my doctors' office- the nurse I spoke with told me to go to the hospital and have them check the baby. She said that everything was fine but that I wouldn't worry all weekend if I just went to have it checked out and that I wouldn't be the first paranoid pregnant lady to do so. I called Paul and told him I was heading to the hospital to have the baby checked. He planned to meet me there.

When I got off my commuter train Paul was waiting for me- we left my car in the parking lot and drove to the hospital where I had to fill out some forms and then wait for about 10 minutes in the maternity triage before they saw me. A nurse hooked me up to the fetal heart rate monitor and the contraction monitor and gave me a ginger ale to drink. For the first half hour Paul and I sat there just chatting and listening to the baby's heart beat while the nurse came in every few minutes to check on things. Several times she said everything seemed to be fine. I was having regular contractions but nothing major, I couldn't even really feel them. She then said she was going to have the doctor on duty check in and that they'd send me home after that. We sat there for another hour. Paul was getting impatient and we were both hungry as we'd come straight from work with no dinner. It was now almost 8 p.m. Finally the nurse came in again and said that the doctor wanted to send me down for another ultrasound just to check my fluid levels before they sent me home. Down to ultrasound we went where the technician said that the fluid level was right around 5 (my ob/gyn had told me that if I went down under 5 they'd induce me). We were sent back up to triage and told to wait to see the doctor. The nurse was still saying that they'd be sending me home but that the doctor wanted to check on me one more time.

At this point it was almost 9. Paul went outside to get his car as the valet service was ending at 9. I planned on talking to the doctor and then meeting him outside. While Paul was outside the doctor came in with another doctor in tow. She wanted him to do another ultrasound on me just for one final check. The number he came up with was in the low 4's, and he said that was being generous. The doctor on duty asked him what he thought they should do and he said "you know what I'd do- I'd induce her." And the decision was made. I called Paul on his cell and he came back upstairs- the doctor and nurse weren't being very clear about what was going to happen next and we kept asking them what we should do- we hadn't had dinner, I didn't have anything with me, in fact, I hadn't even packed a bag for the hospital yet. They said "the baby isn't coming right now, you have plenty of time for your husband to get your things." I started panicking a bit at that point, I really wasn't prepared for the baby to come so soon and I was very upset that I didn't have a bag packed. People who know me know that I like to be prepared for everything and so I was freaked out. I frantically scribbled out a list for Paul of things I needed from home, knowing that I'd forget something and hoping that he'd be able to find the things I was asking for.

By now it was 10 p.m. We both called our parents- Paul's parents had shown up at the hospital earlier in the evening to check on me and Paul was planning to go get our dogs and drop them off at his parents house for the weekend. My parents had been out to dinner and were pretty shocked when I called so late in the evening to tell them I was being admitted. My mother was supposed to be there for the birth and wanted to get in the car immediately to drive up. Between my father and I we convinced her that there was plenty of time and that she should wait until the morning.

I was finally admitted to a room in labor and delivery and Paul stayed with me while they inserted my i.v. (I'm pretty scared of needles and needed him there to hold my hand). They hooked me up to all the monitors again and told me I could only get out of bed to go the bathroom. Paul left then to get the dogs, my bag, and some dinner for both of us. The doctor came in and gave me a cervadil which they put in you to help soften up your cervix. She said I was 1 centimeter dilated (out of 10.... quite a ways to go!) and 50% effaced at that point I believe.

Paul arrived back at the hospital with my things and some peanut butter sandwiches. We ate and then the nurse gave me an Ambien to help me sleep and I sent Paul home to get some rest.

Saturday morning Paul arrived pretty early and the doctor on duty, Dr. K (I can't remember her full name!) came in to start me on the pitocin which would induce my labor. All morning I had contractions, nothing I couldn't handle though and Paul and I sat in the room watching the 12 inch t.v. and trying to pass the time. My mother arrived around lunch time I believe, having left Pennsylvania before dawn.

In the hospital with all my monitors on and still feeling pretty good!

In the afternoon the doctor came in and said I was only 2 cms dilated. I think that I got upset at that point as I'd expected things to go a little faster than they were going. Everyone I knew who'd been induced had had their babies pretty quickly. Dr. K told us that while women who are induced after their due date go into labor quickly, in my case my body wasn't ready for labor yet and so it might take a few days. She said that most likely they'd stop the pitocin, give me another cervadil over night and then start the pitocin back up in the morning.

My mom and Paul were taking turns staying with me and going home for showers and some rest. My mom went home in the afternoon for a few hours. My new nurse Katie, who was on duty from 3 pm to 11 pm came in and said "there's a guy named Nelson here who says he's your brother...."... Turns out that Nel and his girlfriend San had decided to drive up from NYC to see me and to hopefully meet the baby too! Now our hospital is pretty strict about letting people into labor and delivery, I was allowed to specify up to three people who could be in the room with me and had chosen just Paul and my mother. Katie felt badly that Nelson and San had come all that way though and asked the shift manager if they could sneak in for a little while since things were going so slowly. They came into visit and we called my mother to tell her they were here. After a little while they headed off to our house and went to get some dinner with my mom while Paul stayed at the hospital.

After Nelson, San and Mom ate Mom came back to the hospital and Paul went home to get some rest, it was probably about 8 p.m. then. The doctor on duty that evening came in to give me the cervadil and to explain again that things sometimes take a long time when you're induced before your due date. I really wish the triage doctor had told me that on Friday night- I would have been much more prepared for the long wait!

I called Paul to tell him what was going on. We'd planned on him sleeping at home that night but I was pretty upset about how everything was going and asked him to come back to the hospital to be with me. He spent a pretty uncomfortable night on a cot in my room!

Sunday morning Dr. K was on duty again and we started the whole thing over. She said that eventually she might break my water for me but that we'd let the pitocin do it's thing for a while.

This time around the contractions were definitely getting painful and stronger and Paul was really great at getting me through them. He watched the monitor carefully to tell me when one was starting and how much longer it would be. He went home for a shower at some point after my mother arrived that morning. At 3 Katie came on duty as my nurse again and came in to check on me. I told her I was frustrated and she said she'd have Dr. K come in to check to see if I'd dilated at all. By now I'd been in labor for almost 30 hours.

Dr. K came in and said I'd dilated to barely 3 centimeters and that she was going to break my water. Anyone who knows how this is done will understand why I might never look at a crochet hook the same way again! It hurt pretty badly and my contractions immediately became a lot more intense. After about 20 minutes of struggling to "breathe through" them I asked for an epidural. I was really scared to have the procedure but knew that I couldn't stand those contractions much longer.

The anesthesiologist came in and both my mother and Paul had to leave the room. Katie came in and held my hand and talked me through it. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected and the relief was pretty much immediate. About half an hour after the epidural though I started to feel very woozy. They turned it off for a while and then started giving me half of the original dosage which seemed to do the trick. At this point the doctor seemed to get more concerned about the baby's heart rate- apparently it was dropping quite a bit with each contraction. They gave me an oxygen mask for a while and told me not to worry.

Here I am, going nowhere fast...

Katie continued to check on me, I continued breathing the oxygen from time to time, and things moved slowly along. We watched Extreme Home Makeover on the mini-tv., Katie and I both crying during the big reveal while Paul rolled his eyes. My mother was exhausted and wanted to go rest so Katie told her it would still be a while and that she shouldn't feel guilty about leaving. Paul hunkered down on the pull-out cot for another night...

At 11 p.m. a new nurse, Janet, came on duty. She continued monitoring the baby and me and told me to get some rest as Monday was probably going to be a long day.

Paul and I drifted off and at about 1 a.m. on Monday Janet came in to check on things and to flip me over to my other side (they were making me turn over every half hour which did not exactly make for any peaceful sleep!). She said she wanted to check to see if I'd dilated any further at that point. I was about 3 cms along- in 48 hours I'd only dilated another 2 cms. Frustrating! She said Dr. Keogh was back on duty and that she'd have him come in to check me.

Dr. Keogh arrived at about 1:45 am or so. He checked my cervix and said that Janet was right and that I was failing to progress with the pregnancy. He said the baby's heart rate kept dipping and that he wanted to ahead and do a c-section. At this point Paul woke up and I started crying. None of this had been anticipated by either of us. Dr. Keogh said it wasn't an emergency or they'd be rushing me down the hallway and that I shouldn't worry.

Paul called my mother to let her know what was going on. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled out of my dark room, down the hall and moved onto an operating table in a very cold and very bright OR. After prepping me Paul came in wearing scrubs and a mask and sat by my head, holding my hand.

Things are kind of blurry from this point but I remember a few things:
  1. A nurse telling me she was taking my toe ring off and would give it to my husband.
  2. The anesthesiologist asking if we were having a boy or a girl. When I said it was a boy he asked if we'd picked a name. I told him the baby would be named Paul and he said that Dr. Keogh's name was Paul too. I said that my husband was also a Paul and so there'd be three of them in the room. He laughed and told Dr. Keogh. I remember Dr. Keogh looking over the curtain that they had hung up so that I couldn't see what was going on and telling me that we'd chosen a great name.
  3. During the procedure Dr. Keogh told Paul to stand up and watch his son being born. Paul says that I told him "don't do it" as I thought he'd pass out... He did though and said it didn't bother him at all.
  4. Dr. Keogh holding the baby up over the curtain so that I could see him briefly.

Those are the only things I really remember. The next thing I knew I was being wheeled to the recovery room. Janet met us there (or perhaps she was in the OR with us??) and told me that my mother had just arrived. She sent my mom in and then brought little Paul in to be weighed and measured.

Daddy and Little Paul...

Paul Thomas: Born at 2:31 am on Monday, November 17. 18 inches long, 5 lbs, 12 oz. (the same size I was when I was born!)

After a little while in the recovery room Paul left to go home and shower as he had to go to work for a few hours. My mother stuck around while they admitted me to a room in the maternity ward. She left at about 5 to go home and get some rest and I dozed off for a while.

At 7 a.m. a nurse opened my door and wheeled little Paul into the room in his bassinet. She said "here's your baby" and left. I was stunned for a few minutes. I didn't have any clue what to do with him and I couldn't even get out of bed yet as I'd just had surgery and an epidural a few hours before. Fortunately my shift nurse came in a little while later and handed the baby to me. After that things were busy with doctors visiting, the housekeeping crew coming through, breakfast being delivered. I was overwhelmed and exhausted.

I was up and walking around (or as far as the bathroom anyway) by Monday afternoon, a full day earlier than anyone expected. The nurses kept saying that most women who have c-sections don't get recover so quickly. I think that because I'd already been strapped to a hospital bed for two and a half days before Paul was born I just couldn't stand laying there any more!

I was expecting to stay in the hospital until Friday but on Thursday Dr. Keogh came in and said he'd be happy to discharge me if I wanted to go home. By mid-afternoon on Thursday my mom had headed back to Pennsylvania and Daddy Paul, Little Paul and I were home, getting used to being a family of three.....

Ready to go home!
So those are the details. Since then things have been going pretty well. We don't quite have a routine yet as Paul was home from work all week and we had Thanksgiving dinner at our house (Paul did all the cooking and it was fabulous!) but we're getting there. Little Paul and I are getting the hang of breastfeeding although Daddy loves to feed him too so there's some pumping and bottle feeding involved as well. We're both pretty speedy with diaper changes which is good as little Paul HATES to be changed! The dogs are adjusting well; Gabby thinks the baby is her knew playmate and lets us know every time he moves or makes a peep. Socks is somewhat interested but not terribly- she gives him the occasional sniff.

Our little guy has changed and grown so much already and we just love him to bits!!!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures so far!:

I have my Daddy's eyebrows!
Attack of the killer dachshund!
With my Daddy...
Everything is too big for me!
Photo taken by hospital photographer
Sleeping peacefully....


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