Thursday, October 13, 2011

And Our Hearts Grew Three Sizes That Day

Welcome to the world, Baron Douglas Schuster!

Today you are 3 days old. You made your grand entrance at 8:29 PM on October 10, 2011. You were 19 1/2 inches long and 8 pounds on the dot. And I am pretty sure there was never a prettier baby in all of the world. You came out looking like one of those babies from the movies where you know it's SO FAKE because that baby is clean and pretty and doesn't look like a little old man. You have the most amazing steely blue-gray eyes and blonde hair. I think we're both kind of wondering where that comes from in our genetic pool, but we will gladly take it. 

Since you've been around, our lives have changed so much. Your father has stepped up his game and I didn't even know it was possible for him to be more supportive or more nurturing. He's mad about you and he has done everything he can to make you happy. It's working. You two are on a whole other level of fathers and sons.

The story of your birth is not going to be an easy one for me to tell. I'm going to do it because I need to for myself. Because I need to get it all out and process this in my heart. I want you to know also why I might be a creepy, overly possessive mama. Someday you'll read this and you'll know why I wouldn't let you leave the house until your 30th birthday.

I have had a birth of my dreams in my mind since I found out that you were coming to be with us. To say I did not have that is the understatement of a lifetime.

We went in for our induction on Saturday, October 8th. None of my tricks to induce my own labor worked. We went in to the hospital at 7:15 PM. I got myself dressed, filled out some paperwork and then the fun started. They started with a cervical ripening medication called Cytotec. It went to work pretty fast and got me into having contractions that were 2 to 3 minutes apart. This went on all night and into the morning with no big change in my cervix or our labor.

We had a long Sunday when no doctors came to try anything else. They basically forgot I was there. Contractions stopped entirely and I just became disappointed and frustrated. Around 6:00 PM on Sunday, they came and started more Cytotec since it had been working to produce contractions. We did three doses over 12 hours. Contractions weren't as frequent but they were there through the whole night. 

At one point during the night, your heart rate took a big dip and frightened the night nurses. They immediately hoked me to IVs and my mind started racing. At this point, we had been unsuccessfully laboring for 36 hours. I was tired, I was frustrated and I was scared to death that something was going wrong. 

You did stabilize after that one dip and went on like nothing happened, but I still started thinking about asking for a c-section, just to get you out and know that you would be safe. I made my peace with that decision after talking it all over with your father. We just wanted the best for you.

On the morning of the 10th, my doctor came in to do a check and to talk over the options. During my check, she saw that I had dilated more and my body felt more ready for laboring. She said she would agree to the c-section if it was what I truly wanted, but felt we still had options. After going over them and her letting us know that one dip during a contraction was no big deal, that they do happen and that when we labored we would use internal monitoring to keep on top of everything. I have never wanted to do internal monitoring, but it's just another part of my birth plan that didn't happen like I wanted. And in the end? It was the best decision I made that day.

We decided to stop with any drugs to induce labor. We went with an inflatable catheter/bulb thing. They inserted it into my cervix and blew it up with saline to manually dilate my cervix. It was possibly one of the most uncomfortable things on earth but I was pleased with our decision to keep trying to have a vaginal birth and to do it with the least amount of drugs we could. The idea was to keep it in until it fell out and it would fall out at 4 or 5 centimeters dilated. At that point, we would break my water and see what happened, moving onto Pitocin if necessary.

She started the bulb at about 8:00 AM and your dad, Nene, Nana, and I spent a long, uncomfortable day in the room waiting for something to happen. Everyone knows I'm not good at waiting and I won't lie... I was not the easiest patient. I wanted to be able to get up and move around and they kept me hooked to monitors all day. I became a bargainer and got my doctor to agree to an hour of monitoring and then a half hour off so I could move and stretch. The bulb was so uncomfortable when I was sitting, that standing up felt like such a huge relief. 

At a little after 4:00PM, the bulb came out on its own while I was up and moving. The room let out a collective cheer and even took pictures of our bouncing, baby cervix dilating bulb. The nurse called the doctor and the doctor gave us the great news! She would be in around six that night to break my water and get the party started. We were FINALLY on our way to meeting you and we couldn't have been more excited!

When she got to the room, she checked my cervix and I was a fantastic 5 centimeters dilated. It was officially time to get things moving. She broke my water and I was immediately grossed out. Suddenly, labor didn't feel very glamorous at all. It was especially yucky because I had lots of fluid. Your mama is going to give you some TMI, so you need to deal with that. Almost my entire bed was soaked and it was just so... gross. But hey! We were actually getting somewhere!

They put the internal monitors on and it was much nicer to be able to stand up or sit up straight and just move a little. I couldn't go far because I was still attached to the machine but I was able to get myself comfortable and reposition when needed. It was a much needed relief.

The idea was then for me to go ahead and order and eat a light dinner before we started the Pitocin at 8:00 PM. We relaxed and got our minds wrapped around the fact that we would possibly be holding you in a few hours. Contractions kept coming and things felt pretty good, really. The pain was minimal and your father was helping me through all of them. It was an amazing feeling.

Until a nurse came running back to check on me because your heart rate had dropped again during a contraction. Once again, it came back up after the contraction was over. Another sigh of relief was breathed, though we did talk to our labor nurse. She said it was most definitely not unusual and we would absolutely keep an eye on it. We had a few more contractions with some small dips and then you were back to normal. 

And then it didn't come back. And it dropped more and more. The contraction stopped but your heart wouldn't come back. The nurses ran in the room and changed my position. You still didn't respond. They changed to my other side and you still didn't come back. They put me on my hands and knees and you still didn't come back. In a flash, everything I had ever feared was coming to fruition. 

In a matter of seconds, the nurses had kicked your Nene and Nana out of the room. My head was spinning and all I could hear was your father crying and yelling for the nurses to fix it, to take care of me, to make sure I was ok. My heart broke in an instant. They were wheeling me out of the room and your heart was barely there and nothing was making sense.

They rushed me to the OR and wouldn't let your father come because they were going to have to put me under to operate and get you out. I have never felt so alone and desperate and panicked in my whole life. I kept calling for your dad. I kept asking for them to help me, please help me get my baby.

The rest of what happened is kind of a blur. I remember everyone in the OR introducing themselves and explaining what they were doing and why they were there. I remember not giving one bit of a shit and begging them to just help you, please, please, please just help me. My doctor came in and told me that she was going to get you out and take care of us. I remember hearing your father's voice and thinking I was hallucinating until a nurse came over to me and said that my husband was there and that he couldn't stay but he was telling me he loved me.

I remember the anesthesiologist asking me about medication allergies and telling me that he was going to have to put me under and he was sorry but that they would take care of me. I remember having a thought that I could hear your heart again and then there was a flutter of people talking and asking if the anesthesiologist had time to do a spinal because it looked like the baby was starting to stabilize. I remember begging them to just hurry, please hurry and get my baby out.

They decided to give me the spinal and as soon as it happened, I had a panic attack. I couldn't feel my legs and it made me want nothing more than to kick my feet. I kept telling the anesthesiologist that I needed to move my feet, that I couldn't help it. He promised I couldn't because they were strapped down which only made me worry more.

Though they put a sheet up below my head so I couldn't watch what was happening, they didn't think to block the reflection in the glass on the light above us and I could see most everything. I have to say, I thought watching someone cut into your abdomen and move your insides around would be the scariest thing in the world.

I was so wrong. The scariest thing to me at that moment was that they wouldn't open me up or, at least, not in time. I watched everything to make sure it was happening, to make sure they were going to get you out. 

It seemed like an eternity. Everything was moving so slowly and in my haze of fear, it was like time just stopped though I was begging it to keep going.

The reality was it took nearly no time at all. From the time I entered the OR until you came out (screaming the most beautiful scream), was around eleven minutes. I remember watching them take you from me and keeping my eyes on you the entire time they were working on you. One of the nurses yelled at me that you were perfect and gave me all of your stats. Another one of the NICU nurses said to the other nurses, "I cannot believe how perfect this baby is. He's beautiful." Your APGAR score was a 9 and that is outstanding.

There were some complications with my surgery and it was taking longer than expected for them to close up my abdomen so the nurse came over with you in her arms and held you near my face. I couldn't believe you were here and safe. She kept you there so I could look at you. It was so very kind of her but it suddenly hit me that your father was still out there, still waiting with your grandmothers and knowing nothing. I thanked the nurse and asked her if she would please take you to your father and let him hold you and let him know that we were okay, that we made it.

It seemed another eternity for them to finish closing me up. All I wanted was to be with you and your father. I was so happy knowing that your grandmothers and your father could be with you since I couldn't. I was a flood of mixed emotions.

The details are fuzzy when I got back so I can't say much about the after. The rest really doesn't matter, though, does it? 

You were there, you were safe, and you were loved.

Other things from the hospital stay and beyond that I remember but don't have the time or energy or desire to expound on at this time:
  1. Feeling my feet again was awesome until I realize they weren't going to let me actually use them.
  2. Catheters can really spoil a person, especially if that person was previously quite pregnant and peeing nearly every hour. Removal of said catheter is a rude awakening.
  3. Those damned mesh underwear they give you after birth are the most comfortable things on earth. I begged for more to take home and they gave me quite a few. I was embarrassingly pleased.
  4. Lactation is a chore and we may not be able to breastfeed, but we plan on working our butts off to be able to pump and feed. 
  5. We are total n00bs at parenting.
  6. We are going to freakin' rock at this parenting gig, anyway.
  7. Having your husband in the same room as you but not being able to sleep in the same bed for 5 days is akin to torture.
  8. Morphine is one hell of a drug.
  9. Your dad is a total baby raising rock star.
  10. I never want to be in the hospital again.
  11. You are SO going to be an only child.
So, we didn't have the birth we ideally wanted. We tried. We made decisions as the time came and then the decision was taken from us entirely. There's a lot to be said for all of the natural methods and in a perfect world, that's all it would take to have a successful birth and a healthy baby. In reality, I have never been so thankful for nurses and doctors who have no problem with doing an intervention when they really think it's necessary. There is a possibility we could have gone on to have had a vaginal birth, but in that instant, that moment when we could have lost you, the last thing I cared about was my vagina.

The doctors and nurses at Overlake deserve a gold medal and a million dollars and flowers and candies and a new car and maybe some jewelry for not wasting one single second. They went above and beyond my expectations in most every way. The aftercare they gave us was amazing. People that complain about hospital births should give it a shot there. I mean, honestly, we felt so ridiculously supported and cared for.

Anyway, we are home now. We are settling in and trying to get in the routine of having you here and what your needs are. We get overwhelmed. We get frustrated. We panic. But we support each other and we have a fantastic support system from our parents. Your father keeps my spirits high when I'm feeling down, and trust me, without even meaning to, I feel very down about my experience. Not only do I feel like I missed out on the birth I wanted, but I missed out on so many of your firsts. Your dad keeps me sane and reminds me that we made a wonderful baby and we will have lots of firsts, that we are going to do this, and that we are one awesome family.

He is so, so right.

All of our love,
Your mama


1 comment:

  1. Precious. I cried. SO glad that he is here and he is safe!