Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Welcome to our world, Baby C!

It's true - our sweet little guy is finally here, and we couldn't be happier.  He certainly decided to make a grand entrance, but then our lives seem to be one continuous adventure, so should we have expected anything less?  Baby C was born on May 14, 2013, at 12:32 a.m.  Apparently being born on the 13th felt a little too unlucky, so he waited just long enough to change that fate.

Baby C, 7 lb. 7 oz., 20.8 inches

We thought he was going to say "hello" a week earlier.  At 39 weeks and some change, the annoying practice contractions started getting regular and much stronger.  I could no longer sleep through them, and we decided when they were two minutes apart, that it was time to go in just to be sure.  This being my second pregnancy, we didn't want to take any chances ignoring them.  Of course, this happened at 3 a.m. because it would be no other way, so I had to wake up my friend, Nina, to come over to keep a watchful eye on little r.  Alas, it was only early labor and after about six hours of strong and consistent contractions, they stopped and I wasn't even slightly dilated.  (I think Baby C was just waiting for his grandma to get here.  In hindsight, I truly appreciate the sentiment.)

This was painfully frustrating especially since these contractions continued until his arrival a week later.  I would go through periods of consistent and intense contractions, and then they would slow or stop.  By the time I got to my final OB appointment on my due date, my body was quite frankly exhausted.  Even though there is a high risk for induction after you've had a c-section, my OB and I discussed things at great length and decided that scheduling an induction for the following Monday was the best approach.  With an end in sight, I knew now that I just needed to make it through the weekend.  I also needed to accept the idea that this birth might be a c-section as well. There was no guarantee that he would arrive on Monday, in fact, he could have decided to come before then, but it gave us the chance to get all our plans into place for little r and for Lando.

"A picture of pregnant" - 40 plus weeks and counting!
Little did we know when we arrived for my appointment at the Klinikum, or hospital, that Monday morning that because of the high risk involved, the doctor was planning to take a gentle approach to inducing my labor.  Day 1 included drinking a fantastically delicious cocktail, Day 2 would be another gentle homeopathic method, and Day 3 would be a c-section.  Just the thought of all this wore me out, and I prayed I wouldn't be rolled into an OR on Wednesday for surgery.  That morning my contractions were especially fun.  I had several moments of being monitored and it was interesting to see record of the contractions I'd been feeling.  Pretty much every 4-5 minutes at that point, so I hoped a juicy cocktail would be the extra bump I needed to go into active labor.

My fabulous labor-inducing cocktail (yum!)
That cocktail was nothing shy of disgusting, but I inhaled it with high hopes.  I felt like I had been pregnant forever.  Even though I knew the little guy couldn't stay in there, I seriously thought this pregnancy would never end.  I slurped it up and then was hooked up to monitors for an hour.  It didn't even take 30 minutes and the contractions started getting much more intense and severe.  Hallelujah!

They had assigned me a room and checked me into the hospital, IV port and all.  They told me to walk around the hospital and to come back at 6 p.m. for a check-up. That was about five hours.  I barely made it because the contractions were getting so intense and strong and by 5:30 p.m. they were less than two minutes apart.

Bracing myself against the window during a strong contraction

Having a baby in Germany at a German hospital was an interesting experience.  Actually, it was pretty fantastic, at least at the Klinikum here in Bamberg.  The midwives were incredible through the entire birth, and I loved how they employed a combination of homeopathic and standard medicine techniques throughout.  The language barrier was often interesting though.  Most of the nurses, and definitely the doctors, spoke "good" English (some better than others, but still impressive).  Where I made my mistake was admitting that I know a little German, and despite my laboring condition and constant pain, I was stubborn and decided to decipher through the German.  My brain was rather dysfunctional, so this was probably a poor decision.

They again placed me in a laboring room and hooked me up to monitors.  The contractions were getting so intense at that point that I really wanted to know how far I had dilated, if at all.  The pains were low and radiating around my lower back.  My friend Nina's husband, Oli, is an anesthesiologist at the Klinikum, and he was on-call that day and said he would take good care of me.  I hadn't decided yet if I wanted an epidural.  I had hopes of going the natural route, but I also kept my mind open because you can never predict how labor will progress or what type of pain you will feel.  I had decided if I was dilating well, I'd stick it out, but if not, I wasn't sure my body could handle hours and hours of this pain especially after having been through early labor for the better part of a week.

Child birth is such an interesting experience.  It truly is something you can never really prepare for because it rarely goes the way you expect it to.  I know with little r, his birth was vastly different than we had hoped, and with Baby C, I never anticipated that my body would be that exhausted by the time real labor had started.  You also think that you'll want your husband and your mom to rub your back, hold your hand, breath with you, or play calming music. Quite frankly, I didn't want anyone touching me or talking to me.  At one point my midwife came in and hooked me up to what I think was saline.  She spouted off a bunch of information for me in German.  Bless her heart, she talked painfully slow so I could understand.  When she left, my mom said, "I didn't understand a word of that," and Big R casually responded, "neither did I, so it's a good thing, she knows what the nurse said."  My flippant response was, "I have no f-ing idea what she said, I just kept nodding so she would shut up!"  Ah, labor is so much fun.

When the midwife finally checked my cervix, I had only dilated 2 cm. That's pretty much where I was when I checked into the hospital that morning.  Talk about feeling deflated. I don't think I made it through three more contractions before I asked my mom to ring the call button.  I was done with pain and wanted that epidural - period. It was after hours and they were in the middle of a c-section in the adjacent room, so it took over an hour for my friend to come to my rescue with the epidural.  By that point I was in excruciating pain.  How women make it through without any drugs is beyond me.  I felt weak and didn't care.  The contractions were INSANE! My oxygen levels were dropping, my legs were turning purple, and I was having a contraction every minute and a half, which made the pain appear constant.  Ugh. It sucked.

Finally - the epidural was in
Oli knew I could speak some German, so he wasn't talking to me in English.  I kept thinking that he was about to stick a huge needle in my spine, and maybe it would be good to make sure I knew exactly what he was saying, but I was too preoccupied with my contractions to find the words. So I did my best to understand him and prayed I didn't do anything stupid. I was so relieved when the epidural was in.  I think Big R was, too, because he finally came over to me and held my hand.  I was serious when I said I wouldn't let anyone touch me (and they made my mom and Big R leave the room while they inserted the epidural).  It was so comforting to have him by my side.

Unfortunately, the epidural only took on one side, so I felt every contraction on the left side of my body.  A quick adjustment of the needle and things got more balanced, but then I felt nothing from my hips down and felt everything in my uterus.  I knew this could happen, I just wasn't ready for it.  The pain was pretty severe again, so they doubled the dose hoping it would help reduce the intensity in my mid-section.  It worked! But it also made my legs go completely numb.  The lower half of my body was useless, and we got some pretty big laughs out of it when the midwife would try to move me for things or to help with the laboring process.

Oli told me that more often than not, an epidural will help the body relax enough to move labor along more quickly. He wasn't kidding.  By 10:30 p.m. I was 7 cm, and only an hour later, I was fully dilated at 10 cm.  We still needed to wait for Baby C to descend into position, but we had other concerns.  At that point, Baby C was getting extremely distressed.  Guess a week of labor was hard on him, too.  With every contraction, his heart rate dropped severely.  They needed to take blood from him to test his oxygen levels.  If they were low, I needed to prepare myself for an immediate c-section.  If he was ok, they would let things proceed as planned.

The bloods came back showing that Baby C was strong, and the next thing I knew I was pushing. My midwife told me that he had descended far enough that they could basically pull him out if they needed to, so a c-section would no longer be a necessity - I was going to have this baby without major surgery.  I think that's all the motivation I needed! Thirty minutes later and he was here!

He was perfect in every way. He opened his eyes and looked around quiet as can be.  He made a couple of little noises to let the midwife know he was ok, and they laid him on my chest.  Then they let Big R cut the umbilical cord. I couldn't believe he was finally here.  All day long it felt touch and go as to whether we'd need to do a c-section, so I was elated that everything went the way it did.  Even the head of OB was surprised when he saw me the next morning that the induction worked and everything went smoothly.  Someone was definitely looking out for us that night.

I can't stop looking at him - he's so precious
Early brotherly love
Beautiful view of the Bavarian countryside from my hospital room
Happy Mama

Even happier Grandma :) 

Dad's chest is SO snugly
little r brought Baby C a little bear to snuggle
Hey, do I know you?
Such a good sleeper - hope he keeps this up!
I love my boys...
We are so excited to have Baby C home. I can't wait to share more pictures of our sweet little boy. Thanks for all of your support and love throughout my pregnancy. We truly have the most amazing friends and family.


1 comment:

  1. I know your dad must be really happy for the newest addition to his family.