Monday, January 20, 2014

Asher's Arrival - all the gory details

I can’t believe it has already been 6 weeks since my new little man came into the world.  Of course, he interrupted my world a little longer ago.  I felt him kick me many weeks ago.  I started planning for him months ago.  I started dreaming of him years ago.
 I am already getting a little fuzzy on the details of those wonderfully exhausting days, so I figured I should write it down before my sleep-deprived brain forgets it altogether.


I breezed through my long – awaited pregnancy with relative ease, save for a kidney stone or two, up until the last month when my blood pressure skyrocketed and my body swelled up like a blimp.  After two trips to the hospital for monitoring, I made it to my last doctor’s appointment at 39 weeks 6 days.  I was feeling good as I waddled my blimpy self into the office and sat on the exam table, but after the nurse took my very high blood pressure, my doctor (who I LOVE if I haven’t already said so) came in and said, “Well, let me check you so I know where we’re starting from once I send you to the hospital in a few minutes.” 

You think I would have been more prepared since I was one day from 40 weeks, but even still, I had a small breakdown in the office.  I didn’t want to be induced.  I wanted Button to come when he was ready, but with my blood pressure issues and the fact that he was estimated to be nearly nine pounds already, it seemed that we needed to get the show on the road to get him here safely.  At the end of my appointment, my doctor instructed me to go directly to the hospital and have Jay go get my bags later – do not go home, do not go to lunch, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.
Being the obedient girl I am, I went directly home.  To be fair, I live a whopping two minutes from the hospital, and only gave myself 15 minutes to get the rest of my stuff together before heading to labor and delivery.  

This was early Wednesday afternoon.  The plan was to start a medicine that would “ripen” me for delivery, then start Pitocin some time Thursday morning, so we didn’t expect to see any real action until Thursday night at least.

Oh, a little side story that is just so me – a couple of hours after I arrived at the hospital, the nurse requested a urine sample to check again for preeclampsia.  Actually, they requested the sample as soon as I got there, but since I was coming directly (kind of) from the doctor’s office where I had just given one such sample, I was not properly equipped to provide it just yet, so it took an hour or so and one of those giant hospital mugs of ice water to prepare.

Anyway, when I was finally ready, I went into the restroom to commence the glamorous peeing in a cup, when I, not realizing it, got my blood pressure cuff caught on the pull-in-case-of-emergency cord.  As I was lifting the cup to set it in its holding place, a nurse burst into the room to make sure I was okay.  I responded by screaming and throwing the contents of the cup in her general direction.
Yep, the Spaldings have arrived!
looking marvelous
The first night in the hospital was pretty boring.  Contractions had started by the time they hooked me up to the monitors, but they were light and irregular.  I passed the time by watching one of the ten seasons of Friends that Jay had thought to stash in my bag.   I was put on clear liquids as soon as I got there (didn’t get to eat again until late Friday night) so I sipped on chicken broth and enjoyed a popsicle here and there.  The one thing I didn’t do was sleep.  Though every nurse who came in through the night told me I needed to sleep, I just couldn’t do it (Jay had no such problem, even on the most uncomfortable looking pull-out chair you’ve ever seen.  Most of the nurses would giggle at his snoring when they came in to check my vitals).  I did my best to doze off and on and had decided that I would get up about 5 a.m. and get a shower before all the excitement of the day started.  At 4:55 a.m., I woke up startled and discovered that it felt like my bed was wet.  I woke Jay up, thinking maybe I had waited too long between bathroom breaks.  Jay helped me up (I had an IV and was hooked up to monitors, so he was great to wake up and unhook and rehook me every time I needed him), and as I attempted to walk to the bathroom, it became increasingly clear that my water had broken (I had been a little worried that it might happen in my car or on my new carpet, but everyone told me not to worry, that it doesn’t gush out like it does in the movies.  They were wrong!). 

The nurse came in to confirm my water had broken and started me on the Pitocin to strengthen and regulate my contractions.  Because my water broke, I didn’t get to take a shower, nor did I get to employ any of the coping techniques I’d so dutifully learned in my birthing class because with every contraction, the water kept coming. No walking the halls, no birthing ball, no holding onto your partner and swaying back in forth.  As the day dragged on, I progressed very slowly, even as the contractions got stronger and close together.  At about 5:30 p.m., I had an epidural, which succeeded in numbing the right side of my body really well and the left side not at all.  The night was difficult (no sleep again), but finally, at about 7 a.m. on Friday morning, my doctor came in to check me.  I was sure she was going to say we were almost there, but instead, delivered the news that I was only 3 ½ centimeters.  Since it had been 27 hours since my water had broken, she decided that a C-section was our best course of action.
Go time! Get the baby out of that poor, puffy woman!

After another small breakdown on my part, the nurses quickly began prepping me for surgery.  I was feeling very sick and everything happening around me was a blur.  I remember the nurse putting warm socks on my feet and compression machines on my legs, I remember everyone talking about the blanket of snow that had fallen overnight, I remember that they couldn’t find shoe covers big enough to cover Jay’s shoes in the operating room, I remember my best friend, Wesley the anesthesiologist, coming in to give me more medicine so that I would be completely numb (it mostly worked).   In no time, they were wheeling me to the operating room.

Jay had to stay behind while they got all set up, strapped my arms and legs down, and hung the cover to hide whatever it was they were going to be doing to me.  I was pretty panicky as the doctors worked all around me, but when I turned my head to the left and saw Jay settling in beside me, I felt a bit of calm wash over me.  I don’t know how long it took to get the baby out.  It could have been 30 seconds or 30 minutes.  I kept my eyes closed and just tried to concentrate on breathing in and out and telling myself that I wasn’t really feeling anything – that it was my imagination.  I felt very hot – there was something blowing warm air at my face.  At some point I noticed I had an oxygen mask on.  

Suddenly, in all the chaos, there was a stillness, and I heard it.  He cried.  All the trying, all the failures, all the hoping, all the worrying, all the years, all the waiting… it was done.  He was here.  Born at 9:13 a.m. on December 6th , weighing 8 lbs, 9 oz.
finally here
pay no attention to the guts in this picture
big boy!

I only got to glance at him for a moment before the nurses whisked him and Jay away as I was put back together.  It was well over an hour before I would see them again.

As I was finally wheeled to the recovery room, I heard the voices of my Micah and my in-laws and knew they were waiting for me, and waiting to meet the new member of our family.
It seemed to take forever for Jay and Asher to come and meet me.  The snow had slowed down everything at the hospital so it was taking longer to discharge patients and the hospital was short-staffed.  I was very anxious to see Asher, to hold him, to nurse him.  Finally I heard my husband’s voice down the hall, and I sat up and prepared for the magical moment that I had been waiting for.  Suddenly, nothing else seemed to matter much – the pain from the surgery, the disappointment that nothing really went the way I’d hoped.  All that mattered was on its way to me.  Micah was already standing beside me as they entered the room and my eyes filled with tears.  I was so in love with our little family.  I couldn’t wait to have this new little man in my arms.  Jay carefully and lovingly handed me our baby, and I looked down on him with all the love in the world.  Then quickly handed him back to his dad and threw up everywhere.

Welcome to our world, Asher David!

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