Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reese's Delivery Story, Part 3 (the finale!)

I bring you the conclusion to my labor story.  And actually, this is the only part of the story that includes LABOR.  Go figure...

Allow me to introduce you to the cast of this story:
Jenn, Nightshift Labor and Delivery Nurse
She took fantastic care of me during the overnight hours.
Ashley, Dayshift Labor and Delivery Nurse
Quite possibly THE most important person in the room because of all she does!
Dr. Alvarez, Obstetrician and Comedian
The comedic value provided by this man was highly appreciated.  Also, his medical expertise was helpful, too...
Amy, Friend, Photographer, Doula, Sweet Tea Deliverer, Cheerleader #3.  She wore many hats in my delivery room. Voted "Least Likely to Faint" of my support people.
Nikki, Sister, Friend, Cheerleader #2
"Sisters, Sisters...there were never such devoted sisters!" She has been present for each of my deliveries.  Third time is a charm, right?!
Scott, Husband, Cheerleader #1, The One Responsible for My Condition, voted "Most Likely to Faint" of my support people.
On Wednesday evening, November 7th, I was flitting about the house taking care of last minute details.  Vacuuming one more time.  Emptying trash cans.  Finishing up laundry.  Changing the sheets.  You know, nesting.  Nesting is also known as doing all those things that may not ever get done again after the baby was born.  I noticed a lot of contractions that got my attention during my cleaning frenzy.  Scott, too, was doing things he thought might never happen again after the baby--watching football. :)  I got in bed around 10pm, but wasn't able to sleep because of all the contractions.  When Scott came to bed around 11:00pm (thinking he was going to sleep), I told him we may need to time some of these contractions.  He whimpered a little at the idea of not sleeping, downloaded a contractions app on his ipod touch, and started timing things for me.  For the next hour and a half, we timed contractions.  They were consistently 3-5 minutes apart and strong enough that I couldn't sleep through them.  We debated about what to do next.  Both of us were nervous about waiting too long to go to the hospital.  This was my third baby and it hadn't been that long since baby #2.  This could be a fast labor.  I.DO.NOT.WANT. a home birth.  Or a car birth.  Or a parking lot of the hospital birth.  The only reason I was hesitating about calling my doctor was that I wanted to be sure it wasn't a false alarm.  I'd had some rather convincing stretches of contractions in recent weeks that never went anywhere.  Was this another practice run for my uterus?  Scott told me later he was more worried about me NOT getting an epidural than he was about me having a baby at home.  Smart, smart man...

Around 12:30am, after hemming and hawing for a bit, we decided to call my parents to come over and stay with James while we went to the hospital to get checked.  I got in the shower while we waited for them.  When they arrived, I called my doctor and let him know what was up.  I would not enjoy his job, by the way.  Receiving phone calls at all hours of the night would pose a significant "be nice" challenge for me.  Pregnancy alone poses a significant "be nice" challenge for me.  Dr. Alvarez, although sleepy sounding, was quite pleasant and agreed I should go to the hospital and let them see if I was truly in labor.  At this point I was able to talk/walk through the contractions, but they were definitely notable.  When we left for the hospital, I called my other two support people who were going to be in the room with Scott and I--Nikki and Amy.  These wonderful ladies had been "on call" for me for the last few weeks, awaiting the "IT'S TIME" phone call from me.  When I called I told them I didn't know if it was time yet, so sit tight for now, but that we were headed to the hospital to find out.  I'm not sure that they got much sleep after that.  

We arrived at the hospital around 1:45am.  Jenn was my nurse.  She was wonderful.  I know a lot of labor and delivery nurses at my hospital since I work with them, but I didn't know Jenn.  That's okay, though.  She was superb.  The first thing she did was check my cervix.  I told her I was 2-3 cm in the office earlier that day.  After she checked me:  still 3 cm.  <sigh>  I was pretty disappointed by that news.  All that contracting with no cervical change means not real labor.  Sad.  I took comfort in the fact that they wouldn't send me home, since I was supposed to come in later that morning to be induced.  She started my IV, drew all my lab work, hooked me up to the contraction/baby monitors for about 15 minutes, and then around 3am sent us walking for about an hour.  We moseyed all over that hospital.  I figured the security guards probably had a blast watching us on their cameras.  We were pretty darn tired, which led to a lot of humor as we walked.  When we came back from our almost hour long walk, Jenn put me back on the monitors to see what was happening with my contractions.  There wasn't a lot of change in the contraction intensity or frequency after walking, so she didn't check my cervix.  We had the option to go walking again for another hour, but dude.  We were tired.  Sort of like walking, we opted to rest instead.  I was really grateful for Jenn's attention to detail.  I only had to be monitored for 15 minutes out of every hour.  Since I was staying in the bed to rest, she could have just left me attached to the monitors, but she didn't.  She disconnected everything so I could rest better.  Thank you, Jenn!  Scott was zonked out in the recliner.  I dozed off and on for the next 45 minutes.  About 5am, Jenn reconnected the monitors.  Unfortunately my contractions had decreased in both frequency and intensity.  I mean, good for me since I got to sleep a little bit, but bad since this baby WAS.NEVER.COMING.OUT.   

6:26am text to Amy: "I'm going backwards it seems.  Walked for ab 45 min starting at 3am.  Monitored for 15 min.  Then dozed off/on from 4:15ish til 5.  Monitoring again now.  Ctxs spread out during the last hour...haven't been checked again (no need yet!)."

Amy's response: "Boo! I was getting nervous you had already had the Reese is going to be a tricky one!"

By this point, it was clear that it was going to take being officially induced (giving me pitocin) to get labor started.  Induction would likely happen on day shift, as was the plan the day before.  Scott and I could have stayed home.  My parents, us, Nikki, and Amy all could have slept a little better than we did.  Hindsight really is 20/20. 

7am brought a change of the guard.  Jenn reported off to Ashley, my dayshift nurse.  We would await word from Dr. Alvarez before proceeding.

7:52am Facebook post:  Alrighty...the latest and greatest:  At the hospital since 2am.  Contracting all night long, but no established ACTIVE labor. Curses.  At least we're here and awaiting pitocin.  Hopefully I'll just need a whiff of it to get labor really started!  

*For the non-medical folks:  pitocin is given through an IV.  One does not "inhale" pitocin, just for the record.*

7:53am Facebook post:  Scott and I have moseyed around this hospital a LOT. Ready to get this show on the road.

8:03am  Facebook post:  Did you sleep last night? Did you eat breakfast this morning? You win x2.

I knew when I left my house at 1:30am that I should probably eat something because they don't let you eat when you get to the hospital.  But I was hurting and it was the middle of the night.  I wasn't exactly hungry.  By 8am, I was regretting that decision...  Scott had a chance to go get breakfast, so I encouraged him to do so around 8am.  No sense in BOTH of us getting no sleep and no food.  

9:26am Facebook post:  Houston...we have pitocin. I repeat, we have pitocin.

Amy arrived on the scene around 9:30am.  She brought with her a McDonald's sweet tea.  Yum.  I consumed this beverage in mass quantities during this pregnancy.  I figured my labor day should be no different.  The pitocin got started pretty quickly as evidenced by my next facebook post:

10:33am  It's getting real up in here folks.  PAIN.  There is pain.

Because of the significant change in frequency and intensity of the contractions, Ashley checked my cervix. 

10:46am 4 cm....FOUR CM!!!!!! :(

Much like when my cervix was checked the last time, I was really, really disappointed to hear I was only 4 cm!  The pain was getting intense.  I was sure I'd made a lot of progress!  And yet...only 1 more cm.  This little girl was taking her sweet, sweet time getting here.  

In the next hour, my pain level went way, way up.  I requested an epidural and Ashley made sure I got one in a timely fashion, God bless her.  Dr. Alvarez was in the room at this point.  He had been there for a little while.  He and Scott were having a grand time joking back and forth.  I'm not sure there has ever been a more comedic labor and delivery room.  When I wasn't wincing in pain, I enjoyed the entertainment.  While I was getting my epidural, though?  I almost kicked both of them out of the room.  I had zero sense of humor during that time.  But before I was able to utter the words, the magic medicine was taking effect and the pain was easing up and I no longer felt like causing anyone harm.

11:53am  The epidural has landed. :)
11:58am  Epidural + Tea = Happyhappyhappy

11:59am  Oh em geeeez.  I heart epidurals.  

I'm not one of those women that is good at listening to my body during labor, allowing it to do it's thing, going with the flow, relaxing, visualizing ocean waves, etc.  I'm more like scrunch my face up, grip the sheets so tightly my fingernails make little half-moon dents in my palms, question my sanity for ever going through this more than once kinda woman.  I require medication through an epidural to endure labor.

12:14pm  5 centimeters!  Wow.  LIGHTNING SPEED LABOR. :) Also, water eez broked.  All by itself.  Eeeeeeewwww.  Doula Amy and dearest love responsible for my condition Scott are eating lunch (not in my room cuz that would be mean).

Nikki arrived to our labor and delivery party after getting off work around 12ish.  We couldn't have a baby without her!

Each time I was checked, I was surprised by the oh-so-slow pace that I was moving along.  Everybody said it would go so much faster since this was the third time.  I didn't find that to be the case.  The only reason it mattered is because I'm impatient.  Baby Reese was tolerating labor just fine.  I was making acceptable progress to the medical powers that be.  It was just me that was wishing things would hurry on up!

I enjoyed much comfort and laughter and a little bit of a nap from the time I got the epidural until it was time to push.  The way my body works with epidurals, I have great pain relief of my abdomen.  The contractions are barely noticeable.  However, when the baby gets low enough and it's time to actually push that baby OUT, my nether-regions are not quite as numb as I'd like them to be.  I'd like them to be completely numb.  But they tend to be not really numb at all.  Bummer.  This shocked me and upset me during James' delivery. This time I was more prepared for it.  I knew it would hurt.  I knew I had to suck it up and press on.
1:36pm  9.74 CM!!!! Its down to the final stretch.  Pun intended.  (posted by Scott)

This was the first time I was (positively) surprised by my progress.  Finally, we were almost there!!  Again for the non-medical peeps--the dilation of a cervix is checked by someone's fingers.  Sorry, that's gross, but it is what it is.  Nobody's fingers can measure a centimeter to the hundredth.  I think Ashley probably announced I was greater than 9 cm and Scott took some math liberties with what she said.  Like I said before, humor was the name of the game in this delivery room.
About 2:15pm it was time to push.  Ugh.  This was the part of the labor I hoped would just FLY by.  You can already guess, though, based on this baby girl's progression through the rest of labor, it did not go quickly.  
Pushing is hard.  For me and for Scott.
I'm not screaming, although it looks like it here.  But I am hurting. 
With both of my previous deliveries, I ended up having a vacuum used to help me deliver.  Most people cringe at the thought of a vacuum being applied to their baby's head.  I, however, had had two great experiences with vacuums.  My babies suffered little to no ill effects, nor did I.  Sometime after the first few pushes with baby Reese, I started asking about the vacuum.  Dr. Alvarez and the rest of the room down played the idea.  "You can do it!" they all said.  For the next hour and a half, I pushed, requested a vacuum, and they all encouraged me otherwise.  Amy was holding my left leg.  Nikki was either beside my leg or sitting close by in a chair (so as not to pass out from the grossness of labor).  Scott was up by my head, helping hold my shoulders and talking sweetly to me...well, you know...when he wasn't making jokes. :)  At one point Ashley rolled over a mirror so I could see what was going on when I pushed.  This is not something I particularly WANTED to see, mind you.  Nobody wants to see that.  However, she and Alvarez thought it might help me push more effectively, and they were right.  Once they brought the mirror over, Scott repositioned the hat on his head to completely block his vision from seeing anything past my shoulders.  He, too, was trying to avoid passing out from the grossness of labor.  Nikki and Scott were both successful at not passing out, by the way.  Kudos to them! :)  *patpat*  

Just before Reese was finally borned, I was pretty much sobbing in between contractions.  Why?  It hurt.  A lot.  I hadn't eaten in forever.  I hadn't really slept in forever.  Labor hormones are crazy.  Bringing a baby into the world is an emotional experience.  Pick your reason.  That's why I was sobbing.

Finally, WITH NO VACUUM assisting me (not for lack of asking, mind you), baby Reese was born at 3:46pm.  The first thing Dr. Alvarez said after she was born and he was holding her was "BRUISER!"  She was a big, big baby.  When they put her on the scale and it said she weighed 9 pounds, I could not believe it.  Everybody was so congratulatory that I had done it without a vacuum!  Wasn't I so proud?!  That made me laugh.  I didn't care if I did it without a vacuum.  I just wanted her OUT.  I didn't think I could do it without one.  But the rest of the room was very proud, so that's good.  Most women like to celebrate giving birth naturally, no epidurals or drugs.  We celebrated no vacuum.  To each their own...
New babies are slimy and blue.  This is normal.
Major kudos to Amy for getting some awesome pictures WHILE holding my leg as I pushed.  She is quite the talented woman!

Looking back on the experience, I was most grateful for the people who were there.  As an extroverted person, I like having company to do anything. Grocery store shopping.  Fingernail painting.  Errand running.  And having a baby.  Obviously, due to the nature of the beast, not just anyone can be in the room during my delivery!  Each person pictured at the beginning of this post played a huge role in my delivery.  I was so glad each of them got to be there. Ashley is someone I knew from work prior to this delivery.  I greatly respect her and appreciated her most excellent care and her participation in the humor-fest.  Dr. Alvarez is a hoot.  He's hilarious.  I loved how he and Scott interacted.  Also, I completely trust him with my life and the life of my child.  I've seen him deliver a lot of babies, some smooth deliveries, some not, and therefore can appreciate his expertise.  Nikki, my dear sister, and I have been through hell and back together.  She is not a fan of medical environments, but has braved it on three occasions to be in my delivery room.  She's so brave and I loved having her there.  Amy is now in a category of friendship that few ever attain (most don't want to, I would imagine).  That would be the "I've seen you naked" category.  That brings with it a certain bond, doesn't it??  I can't thank her enough for sacrificing her time, leaving her own children to be with me all day long!  And then there's Scott. Oh Scott.  Like Nikki, he does not enjoy medical things at all.  He hates needles and blood, two key ingredients to any labor and delivery!  But he did what he needed to do (hat tilting and all) to stay by my side through this.  I can't quite find the words to describe what it means to me for him to be I'll just say I was very, very grateful.

8:57pm  BA here.  Wow oh wow what a day.  I'm not gonna lie...pushing out babies is not my favorite thing ever.  Despite the RIDICULOUSLY cute product at the end.  Baby Reese is doing well.  Momma is beyond tired.  Blessed, tired. G'nite.

Some more pictures...
GIRL am I glad to see you!
Sweet girl.
Sweet, big, big girl.
Not gonna lie, labor hair is pretty fantastical.
Bestest OB in the world.
Happy family.
She looks quite pleased with herself.
Reese Katherine Davidson
11/8/12 @ 3:46pm
9 lbs 0 oz
21.5 inches long
38.5 cm head
So happy!
Part 1 of this story

Part 2 of this story

My 1st birth story, Chloe born in 2004

My 2nd birth story, James born in 2011

Reese's Delivery Story, Part 2

I don't want to forget any details of my third labor and delivery story, plus I like to tell really long stories (exhibit A and exhibit B), so here's how it went down...

On Sunday night (the 4th)/early Monday morning (the 5th) before Reese was born on Thursday (the 8th), James woke up crying.  When I went in his room to check on him, he was scratching himself all over through his pajamas.  When I unzipped them to see what was up, I discovered he had a rash all over his body.  Poor guy.  I'd be itchy, too.  I gave him some Benadryl and sat with him in the rocking chair.  His tired, itchy body was draped over a pillow on my legs so I could scratch his back while we waited for the Benadryl to take effect*.  He didn't have any other symptoms that I could tell.  No runny or stuffy nose.  No coughing.  No vomiting or diarrhea.  Nothing.  Just a rash that clearly bothered him.  He fell back asleep within 30 minutes and I went back to bed, making mental plans to go to the pediatrician's walk-in hours the next morning.  A few hours later, at a more reasonable morning hour, I took James to the doctor to check out this rash.  At my pediatrician, if you want to get a mysterious rash checked out, they make you enter the office through a side "possibly contagious cootie" door.  That's not what they call it, of course, but it's what I call it.  At this point, the rash was from his neck down to almost his ankles and wrists (not on his palms or soles of his feet).  The doctor looked him over well and determined it was a viral rash that would just have to run its course.  She recommended I give Benadryl as needed for the itchies, but other than that, watch him and wait it out.  So home we went.  I was thinking, " girl, maybe you should gestate for a few days because we've got unidentified cooties going on out here..."  Monday evening, James' cheeks were really flushed, like he'd been slapped on both of them, although I assure you he was NOT.  He didn't have a fever, though.  I didn't think much else about it.  He was so.very.itchy.  I felt bad for him.  The Benadryl didn't seem to be keeping the itchies away.  Or at least not all of them.

Tuesday, November 6th, I went to my 40 week OB visit.  I was so sad that I even had to go to that appointment.  During that visit, the doctor scheduled me to be induced the next Monday, November 12th, if I didn't go into labor before.  He also stripped my membranes, which hurt like a mo-fo, but I was very hopeful it would help trigger labor.  The doctor said I was 3 cm dilated.  I asked him if I was 2 cm mere moments ago, before he stripped my membranes since it felt like he had just forced my cervix from 2 to 3 cm!  He laughed and said no.  I walked out of the office thinking, "Well, at least we have an end point in mind now.  November 12th I'm being induced, if no labor before..."  Quick background:  My OB office doesn't schedule inductions for being overdue until 41 weeks.  For me, that was Sunday, November 11th.  The hospital at which I was going to deliver does not schedule inductions on weekends, thus the November 12th induction date.  The rest of that day I definitely felt very crampy and lots of contractions, but none that rallied together to head towards labor.

Wednesday morning, November 7th, my mom texts me this message:

"Google Fifth's Disease and see what you think."

So I did. From the CDC's website:

"...rash on your face and body... After several days, you may get a red rash on your face. This is called "slapped cheek" rash. This rash is the most recognized feature of fifth disease. It is more common in children than adults...A pregnant woman who is infected with parvovirus B19 can pass the virus to her baby..."

Since 40+ week pregnant women are notoriously less than rational human beings, I started to freak out.  I immediately called James' pediatrician to ask if the doctor thought he might have Fifth's Disease.  The flushed cheek rash didn't show up until after she saw him, so I wanted her to have that information.  I also called my OB office to ask if they were concerned at all about me being pregnant and my son possibly having this virus.  And then I called my mom to fuss about getting me all worked up.  (please refer to my previous statement about being rational...)
The pediatrician called back before lunchtime and said that she didn't think that's what James had due to the appearance of the rash.  Apparently Fifth's Disease comes with a lacy-looking rash, which isn't what his looked like.  I waited and waited to hear from my OB.  Around 3pm, Dr. Alvarez called me.  He said even if James did have it, it wouldn't be a big deal for me at 40 weeks pregnant.  #1 - I had probably been exposed to it as a child and therefore already had immunity to it.  #2 - It's more problematic during the first trimester, not the 3rd.  However, since this was causing me concern, he already called the hospital and got me an induction scheduled for the next day, November 8th.  I was stunned.  Tomorrow?!  But I...wait...what if... NEVERMIND.  Let's do this!  We hung up the phone and I was suddenly filled with excitement and nervousness.  TOMORROW.  "I'm having a baby TOMORROW."  Scott was home from work by the time I got off the phone with Dr. Alvarez.  I let him know the new plan.  He felt the same way I did.  FINALLY.  The end is in sight!  (Every day when he would leave for work, he would tell me "Please call me today.  Please go into labor."  And every day when he would get home from work he'd say "You didn't call me."  I assured him I was more disappointed than he was that I didn't go into labor.)  We made some phone calls to let our parents and friends know what the plan was.  Excitement filled each of those conversations.  We finished packing our hospital bag.  I packed a bag for James, as he was going to stay at my parents' house while were in the hospital.

I was

nervous.  How would it go?

excited.  I can't wait to meet this little girl!

a little anxious about being induced (having never been induced before).

and relieved this was all going to be over soon.

*I had to google "take affect vs take effect" because I wasn't sure which to use...still not sure I made the right choice...making English teachers cringe everywhere, sorry...
Labor story to be continued!  For now, some pregnancy pictures by the lovely and talented Nikki Graham:

Reese's Delivery Story, Part 3 (the finale!) coming soon!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reese's Delivery Story, Part 1

Since it's taking me to type up my birth story, I've decided to break it into more manageable pieces.  I'll start with the ending!

Reese Katherine Davidson
Born:  November 8th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
9 lbs 0 oz
21.5 inches long
38.5 cm head

For me, this was a BIG baby.  Very big. Eight ounces bigger than my biggest baby.  Her head was 2 cm bigger than James' huge noggin.  Wow.  Just wow.

Her name comes from my mom's middle name and my mother in law's first name.  Sweet baby Reese is a tribute to these two wonderful ladies. :)