Friday, May 19, 2006

Mother's Day & Birth Story

My James Andrew is here!!
He was born May 14, 2006 at 12:08pm, weighing 6 pounds; 14 ounces, 20.5 inches long. Mama and Daddy are stoked to the brim and so in love with this squishy little face.

The birth story:

Zac and I were at my parents' for Mother's Day. I was having difficulty catching my breath last Saturday and started having horrible chest pains, like something was pushing on me. I figured it was just really bad indigestion from the nachos I ate at Ruby Tuesday's the day before. Well, that night, I was getting ready for bed and my chest started hurting again. I took some anti-acid medicine and laid down, but the pain would not go away, growing worse. Around 3am, I told Zac to check online for chest pains during pregnancy so I could find a remedy and he read we had to call a doctor right away. So I called my on-call doctor to tell him what was going on and he said to get the nearest emergency room ASAP. Of course I started freaking out, thinking about every morbid thing that could possibly happen.

Mom and Zac took me to the emergency room close to the house and I was hooked up to a drip in both arms, a heart monitor, and oxygen. I was told I had preeclampsia. I definitely had symptoms of it as I had high blood pressure, swollen ankles and feet, and headaches. I can't see how Dr. N didn't detect it sooner. Well, the emergency room we were at wasn't equipped to deliver babies, so I was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Jackson about 30 minutes away. The worst ride ever. I couldn't breathe, I was in pain, I was uncomfortable, I was scared. When I got to the UM Medical Center in Jackson, I was at four centimeters. The nurse broke my water, which felt like a weird relief. Then, the contractions started coming. They weren't horrible as depicted in the movies, but they were nauseatingly intense.

Around 5am, I was talked into an epidural. The anesthesiologist placed it too high on my back and hurt me enough to make me jump and basically fussed at me for flinching. I felt the anesthesia go through me like really cold blood. After it started working, I was able to sleep off an on for a few hours until I was fully dilated. I'm fairly certain I've got nerve damage in my back. It hurts to lean against  hard surfaces.

Around 11:30am, they told me to start pushing... because being on a muscle relaxer makes that easy. Zac was able to see the head and the nurse told me I could touch it. I felt around and discovered a slimy little baby head, full of hair.

I pushed until his head was crowning and they told me to stop (wtf) so Zac could change into scrubs and we could go to the birthing room. I was medicated with muscle relaxers to prevent seizures, so "holding" Bud in place proved impossible. The pressure was extreme and I wanted to push so bad, but had to wait. The nurses told me to keep panting, which I did, but suddenly the pressure was gone. I told the nurse, "Something happened!" When she came over to check, his whole head was out. So one more push and out popped my slippery baby boy with golden hair. I was so stunned to see him, I couldn't even cry.

The doctors cleaned him up and I was taken to another room to get stitched up. Apparently, I tore pretty bad and lost a lot of platelets, so my blood wasn't clotting like it was supposed to. I was being stitched for what felt like hours since they couldn't see where I was bleeding from. The doctors brought James to me so I could have a distraction while I was laying there. He was just so gorgeous with his little blue hat and tiny fingers and baby squeaks. I don't really remember much... I remember seeing a reflection of myself in the overhead light while being stitched up. There was a lot of blood.

Once I got back in the room, I finally held my Baby James. Zac helped me keep him in my arms as I was shaking from the epidural wearing off. I can't really explain what it was like to hold my very own child for the first time. It was so unreal, like I was in a dream. Being pregnant took some getting used to, but the baby part was just surreal. He is so much more beautiful than I had imagined. His tiny fingers and toes, a cute little mouth and squishy ears. And he looks like me, but has Zac's nose, for sure. I spent 24 hours in the birthing room under observation, then was moved to the recovery room. The doctors said to get plenty of rest, but I couldn't since I was hooked up to monitors, taking pills, having my blood pressure checked, and getting my blood drawn every few hours. Plus, I was breastfeeding, and Dad freaked me out about baby-snatchers, so I basically got zero rest.

I was given magnesium sulfate in a drip, which gave me double vision, dizziness, and watery eyes. The muscle relaxer made it impossible to walk on my own. I felt like Bambi when I tried to stand. Zac was amazing, helping me get to the toilet and take a bath. I had to have a supervised bath, which came in handy when my epidural spot started bleeding. I was told I could go home when my vision was back to normal and I could walk without assistance, so after the third day, my vision cleared up and Zac helped me get sturdy. He slow-danced with me to help me with my balance. He was just so incredible.

I'm doing okay since I've been home. I'm still bleeding a lot, my stitches are itchy and sore, and I can't stand for long without getting weak and dizzy. The struggles are temporary and totally worth it. I wouldn't give any of this up at all. I love knowing I've got this tiny little guy to love and snuggle. Zac has been so great, helping me with James, and helping me rest. I'm just lucky everything went well.

I had a doctor's appointment at 9am this morning for James to get him screened for bilirubin, but we weren't called in till 10, then had to wait 2 hours for his blood test to come back before we could come home. I hated seeing him get stuck with a needle. His cry broke my heart, so I started getting weepy. For now, Bud's asleep, so I'm going to see if I can take a quick nap. I'm just glad to be home.

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