Monday, June 14, 2010

Jack's Story

***ALERT*** This post is for my birthing buddies, who are interested in the minute details of birth. This post definitely contains TMI (too much info) for the casual reader, so if that is you, scroll down to the lovely pictures and don't worry about the gory details of Jack's birth.

Jack was due on May 28th, a Friday. On Thursday, I went for my 40 week check and she said I was about 2 cm, but 0% effaced. That was a little discouraging, but I wasn’t too surprised. I talked to a lot of people about what to do to encourage some softening and dilating, and one friend suggested (and provided!) evening primrose oil. I used it Friday morning, and by Friday afternoon, I lost my mucus plug and then later started having some bloody show. I also had several strong contractions. That night, I woke up with some pretty intense contractions that were about 10 minutes apart for 2 or 3 hours. I thought for sure this would be the night. But they never got closer, and eventually I fell asleep between contractions and didn’t time them any more, but I think they were about every 30 minutes. This continued Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night and Tuesday night. I obviously was not getting much sleep. Every night I thought “This is it!” but then they would slow down and even almost stop by morning. They were pretty hard too—I didn’t sleep through them. I had to breathe and sometimes even moan during them. During the day I would have some, but not like those episodes at night.

On Wednesday, I went to a baby shower lunch for two friends who are due soon. I ate A LOT. I was pretty uncomfortable, feeling huge, having some contractions, but nothing to be alarmed about. About an hour after I got home (about 3 pm), I went to try and take a nap, but the contractions started up again super strong, about 9-10 minutes apart. I timed them, but they didn’t get closer together or stronger. At almost 5 pm, I called John and told him to not dilly-dally on his way home, just in case this was it. It felt a little different, but I still wasn’t sure. They stayed steadily at 8-9 minutes apart, so I thought it would be a long time still. Suddenly at about 6:30 as John, Denise and the kids were eating dinner (I couldn’t even think about food at that point), they started being about 5 minutes apart. But some of them weren’t very strong or long at all. Easily bearable. So I still wasn’t convinced this was actual labor. By about 7:15, I said we should probably start getting ready to go over to the hospital because I was pretty sure it was labor, even with the mini-contractions I was having. We got everything set, got the kids ready for bed and had prayer with them, then headed out at about 8:15. The hospital is pretty far away, and by the time they got me checked in, dressed in a gown and checked my cervix, it was about 9:15. The nurse said I was at 5 cm, with a bag of waters bulging out! I couldn’t believe it. I think I had been in the early stages of labor for 5 days. With all my babies, it takes me hours and hours to get to 5, then from 5 to 10 takes about an hour. I told the nurse that, and she took me seriously and called my midwife immediately. We called Denise to tell her to come over quickly, and my doula Sarah too. The nurse wanted me to do antibiotics because I was GBS positive. I told her it wouldn’t do much good since I was pretty sure to have a baby in an hour, with no time for the antibiotics to work. My midwife Deb got there very quickly, then Sarah soon followed. Deb talked me into the antibiotics, though I wish now I had stuck to my original plan. Getting the I.V. in while I was having these super-intense contractions was just a nightmare. I was tense and the vein blew, they had to really hold my arm down to get it in. I was crying from emotion, pain, and overwhelming feelings. It was pretty hard and fast now, Deb and Sarah helped create a calm environment with low lights, no nurse interventions like blood pressure or temp, and suggesting different positions. I was totally out of it, they would suggest standing up and I did what they suggested, but it hurt. So I’d try something else for the next one, and THAT would hurt. Yeah, that’s because I was dilating 1 cm per contraction by then, it didn’t matter what position I was in, they were all bad.

We were all expecting my water to break any second, but it never did. I laid on the bed for one contraction, and afterward said “I think I’m going to need . . .” and Deb knew right away I needed something to throw up into. I heaved a few times, and was happy to realize transition was here. One more contraction, then felt like I needed to pee. I had to swear to Deb I would not try to push out the baby while I was on the toilet. But after I peed, I had a contraction there, and at the very end, felt the need to push. Deb heard me and said “Are you pushing?!” and ushered me back to the bed. I lay on my side and she had me push a few times. Up to this point, Deb had never checked me, but only watched me and listened to my moans to gauge where I was. Those few pushes were pretty tentative on my part (at least compared to the later ones), and I don’t think they did much.

Deb checked me and said I was almost complete when not having a contraction, and that she was sure I was complete during them. She asked if I wanted her to break the water so the baby’s head would put more pressure on the cervix. I said yes. Immediately as she broke the water, I had the most intense contraction ever and I said “No, no, don’t!” thinking, I don’t know, maybe she could put the water back in or something. Obviously THAT wasn’t going to happen and I pushed a lot stronger than I had been. At least it felt like it to me. Up to now, the baby had been tolerating the pushing fairly well—having decelerations, but the heart rate would come back up in between contractions. Now, the decels were going lower and staying very low. Deb told me very seriously to use all my force to push him out quickly. This is when Denise finally got to us. That was the first thing she heard, and she grew immediately concerned about the baby. The next three or so pushes, I worked harder than I ever have in my life, using every ounce of strength I had to push that boy out. During the pushes, I remember thinking “WHY does this hurt SO MUCH more than when Kevin was born???” Now I know it’s because he was almost 3 pounds bigger than Kevin. In between pushes, Deb continued to quietly and seriously tell me I REALLY needed to push with all my strength and not hold back because he was not doing well. I remember crying and saying “I’m trying!” and thinking I could not work any harder than I was. John said he could see the baby crowning during those pushes, but that his head seemed enormous and never-ending. Deb said she was going to cut a little episiotomy during the next push so he would come out. At that point, I was ready to agree to anything to help him along. She only cuts in 1-2% of her mothers, so I trusted her judgment completely. So the next push, she cut, and he practically flew out. Everyone said “WOW!” when he came out because he looked so big, but I couldn’t tell what the big deal was. She put him right up on my chest and I held him and he looked normal to me. The nurse rubbed him gently (not all rough) and he gave a little cry, but didn’t seem too traumatized. The nurse said “I should take him and check him out” but Deb hadn’t cut the umbilical cord and she said “Look at him, he’s fine, he’s strong, he can stay right there!” and I was just crying in happiness being able to hold him and keep him with me.

When they finally did take him to weigh him, and they said 10 pounds, 14 ounces it was totally surreal. “WHAT??” They measured again, same results. We couldn’t believe it. Then, 22 ½ inches. Well, at least he’s proportioned. His head is huge, all the nurses commented on it. They couldn’t believe there was no molding. His head was perfectly round and gorgeous. During the second to last push, I felt something pop and had a lot of pain in my tailbone. I don’t know exactly what injury it is, but it is extremely painful. His big head has just about killed me.

A lot of people have said they are amazed I did it naturally, but I think if I had had an epidural, I wouldn’t have been able to push him out. I probably would have ended up with a c-section. So I’m so glad I chose not to. I don’t know why or how this kid got so big, since my others were all 8 pounds, and I didn’t have gestational diabetes. I wonder if he is going to kind of even out, or if he’ll always be big for his age. He is so far a very mellow and content baby. He sleeps pretty well and is gaining back the weight he had lost after delivery. And of course, he’s the cutest baby ever.

One thing I learned from Jack’s birth is that a woman’s body is incredibly strong. I’m not a very strong person ordinarily, but during his birth, I probably could have lifted a car if someone told me that was what I had to do to get him out. The feeling of power and strength was amazing. If I can do it, ANYONE can.

Here are some pictures of our newest Sapp. The first two are the professional pictures they take at the hospital.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jack is here

Just a few pictures to announce the arrival of Jack born on June 2 weighing a whopping 10 lbs 14 oz and 22.5 inches long. Both Jack and Lajuana are doing well and are due to come home Saturday morning. Jack is a very mild baby so far and it has been nothing but a treat to have him join our family. Lajuana is amazing having delivered Jack all natural. His hair is light brown almost reddish, exactly how Garrett's hair was when he was born. So we are expecting Jack will have nice blond hair like Garrett or maybe a little darker.