it's funny how so many women go through the same thing i'm going through, and yet, miraculously, little details seem to escape their memory. one detail that i hope escapes mine is the specific kind of pain that occurs every time i sit on my bottom, making it necessary to only sit on one butt cheek or the other, which in turn causes that particular leg to go to sleep. at this moment i am gingerly sitting on my left butt cheek, hoping that i can endure long enough for me to publish this post!
the above picture was taken friday evening, the 5th, when my mom arrived to meet her grandson for the first time. she is staying with us until the middle of next week and i can't even explain how grateful i am for her help. josh had a whole week off of work and today is his first day back. if it wasn't for my mom being here, i am sure i would have burst into tears and begged him to retire early and never leave me. as it is, i have the most wonderful mom making dinner, organizing my tupperware cupboard, cleaning my toilet, and most importantly, spending quality time with tristan so that i can catch a few moments of sleep here and there. my mom rocks!
i figured i had better blog the birth story before the whole mom-amnesia thing began taking hold of my brain. so just a warning: if you are unable to handle these kinds of stories, you probably want to stop reading now. i felt my first contraction just as i was publishing the post i wrote on january 1st, sometime around 8.30am. since i had been having braxton hicks for weeks before, i really thought nothing of it until around 11.00 when i realized that i was still having them, so i began to write down the times. they were very sporadic and not very strong at all, so i really wasn't getting excited or anything. i called a few people just to lament how very sick i was and how sad it was that we didn't even get to celebrate the new year. at around 1.30 we headed over to josh's folks house to watch the michigan game. our dear friend linda had sent down a little michigan onesie for tristan to wear just in case he was early. i had it draped across my stomach as we watched the game...well, others watched, and i calmy wrote down the time every time i felt another contraction. chris, my mom in law probably watched me more than she watched the game. i think everyone else was more certain that i was in labor than i was! finally i got fed up with these silly "braxton hicks" and decided to walk around the backyard in hopes that they would disperse. so i did, and they decided to get a bit stronger. since we live about 45 minutes away from the hospital, our doctor had given us instructions to call him when the contractions were regularly 8 minutes apart, instead of the normal 5. they never were exactly regular, but for over an hour they had been 6-9 minutes apart, and i was beginning to have to breathe through some of them, so i reluctantly called the doctor (thinking i'd go down to the hospital, and be sent right back home). he told us to come on down within the hour. so josh went back home to grab our camera and few other things, i jumped in the shower and tried desperately not to get my hopes up.
in hindsight i think it was funny that neither of us really knew that it was true labor. i remember saying to josh on our way to the hospital, "we may just be coming home with a baby in the backseat!" and he said, "maybe."
it was in the car that the contractions really began to get more intense. we parked the car and hurried up to the birthing center of the hospital before another one gripped me. we were admitted at 5.00, i was checked and told i was 5 cm dilated and that i would be having a baby that day! from that point on, things are a little blurry because all of a sudden the contractions seemed to just take over my body, barely letting up enough for me to get a breath in. i remember trying to breathe through them, concentrating so hard, and yet never quite feeling like i was on top of the pain. i was moved to the delivery room where a bunch of nurses were busily getting everything ready. i had 2 on my right trying to administer an IV, but unable to find a good vein, and 1 on my left drawing blood and all the while i was trying so hard not to move but all i wanted to do was crawl out of my body. josh told me later that i was thrashing around so badly that it looked as if i was possesed! i had been planning on waiting as long as i could before asking for any kind of drug, and 5 cm seemed like so little, but i broke down and kind of whimpered, "when can i get an epidural?" they called the anesthesiologist and meanwhile gave me a bit of phentanol in my IV which didn't do anything for the pain, it only made me feel kind of tipsy. when the anesthesiologist arrived, i wanted to kiss the dear man's hand. it was the oddest feeling, that needle going towards my spine, but after it was done and i lay back waiting for the next contraction, it never came. the nurse then said, "did you know that you're having a contraction right now?" and i was like "I AM???!!!" it was lovely. josh put a relaxing worship cd in the player and i just layed back and enjoyed the rest of the experience. right after my epidural, the nurse checked me again and was astonished that i was already at 9 cm! she called the doctor pronto, who came in and broke my water...several moments later, i was at 10cm and ready to push! now that i know i was dilating so quickly, it's little wonder i couldn't bear those contractions earlier. i thought i was still at 5 or 6 cm when i asked for the epidural and, in reality, i was probably at 8cm by then.
there was a small amount of meconium in the amniotic fluid, so my doctor expained to me that after he was delivered, the nurses would have to take him immediately and suction his lungs and stomach and do a few tests on him, so i wouldn't be able to hold him right away. however, they would do all of that in the very same room as me so i could watch him. well, that epidural was splendid, but unfortunatley, it didn't allow me the feeling of the urge to push, so every time i had a contraction, josh and the nurse would have to tell me to push. i pushed for 2 1/2 hours. josh reported that he could see some of his head and that he had dark hair! partway through my doctor ordered my epidural to be reduced by half, then later reduced even more just so that i would feel some pressure indicating that i should push. all of that pushing still couldn't get his head out, so my doctor gave me a choice. he said i could push for another hour and if no progress was made, he'd use the vaccuum, or i could go ahead and have him use the vaccuum right away and he'd be out in 2 pushes. i was so exhausted after all of that pushing, so josh and i decided to allow him to use the vaccuum...and he was out in 2 pushes! they whisked him away to do all kinds of things to him while i was getting stitched up. i just lay there watching my little baby with tears of awe streaming down my face. josh got some great pictures of his first moments outside the womb. there were more tests than i realized, so i was able to call my mom while i waited to hold him in my arms. finally he was ready and i got to hold him right next to my skin and even feed him a little bit. then it was josh's turn and then joshs' parents and rob and jessica, who had been waiting in the waiting room the whole time, came in to greet the newest little stew.
we stayed that night and the next night at the hospital. we had wonderful nurses there and horrible food :) tristan was coughing up a lot of mucus and gagging on it that first night, so they did a lavage on his little tummy and got a lot of it out. the only other hiccup was that, after the initial feeding right after delivery, he didn't seem too interested in eating. he would literally fall asleep mid-suck. thankfully there is a wonderful woman in our church named barb who is a lactation consultant and she was able to come to our house and help me get him going. now it seems he never wants to stop feeding! he is very alert when he is awake and has the most beatiful gray/blue eyes. he rarely fusses and gives us plenty of warning before letting himself really cry. he loves laying on his tummy on his daddy's chest and having his hair combed. even though he doesn't know his hand belong to him yet, he sucks on his fingers in his sleep! we are completely smitten with him. i feel as if my heart has just opened up and swallowed him whole, never to let him go.
of course, i am struggling with the sleep issue. some nights i only get a few hours in. that, combined with all of the extra hormones have made me extra emotional. after not having pms for the past 10 months, i now feel like my body is making up for lost time! i could cry buckets at any moment, it's really quite crazy. however, i am not feeling depressed at all. just tired and happy and sometimes frustrated and worried. i think those emotions are what all moms feel a lot of the time.
one last thing before my right leg decides to fall asleep: josh and i have discussed at length the privacy issues of having a public blog. both of us have decided that we would rather have pictures of our precious son kept private for the exclusive viewing of the people we know and have actually met. this has nothing to do with me being worried about any of my "blogger friends" that i have never met...we just need to draw the line somewhere. this blog, nothingbutbluesky will continue to be my blog and it will be kept public. i am going to create a new blog that will be private and that is where i will post pictures of tristan. in order to view this blog, i will need to enter your email address onto a list of "safe" people. so, if you do not have my email address, chances are i do not have yours. please comment on this post and leave your email address in the comment. i promise i will delete your comment as soon as i have read it so that your email will not be sitting out on this public site. is this clear to everyone? the picture blog has not been created yet...it's on my list of things to do very soon!
my little precious bundle is ready for breakfast, so i have to go. i'll let you know as soon i create the new picture blog.