I need to write about Will's birth story before I forget anything! Which is hard because I have other stuff I want to talk about! For instance, Will is seemingly going through his first growth spurt (according to what I've read, he's right on time at 7-10 days old) and has been kind of a pain for the past 3 days. He just can't get enough to eat, can't seem to sleep for more than an hour at a time, and has been so fussy! I feel like I'm nursing him every minute of the day! My nipples are about to fall off! (And right when I thought I was getting tough enough to handle this breastfeeding thing and didn't wince in pain every time he latched on. But this intense nursing is KILLING ME. Why didn't God make nipples more leather-like if THIS is their intended function? That was pretty mean of Him.) I can't wait for this growth spurt to be over and for my sweet baby to come back, the one who sleeps for 3 hour stretches and can be awake without wanting to nurse. I'll write a WHOLE post about breastfeeding soon. Hopefully soon. I've been writing this in installments during the times Will is asleep or my mother-in-law is taking care of him. So, once she leaves, who knows! Anyway, so Will's birth story.
It all began on Thursday, June 25th at around 11:00 PM. I wrote about my appointment earlier that day in a post, so you know that the doctor was very confident that I would go into labor soon. She was right! Jamie and I went to dinner that night talking about how it might be our last night out as a couple! And surprisingly enough, it really was. I started having contractions at 11 o'clock that night. They started out to be not really that painful but were very regular (about 6 minutes apart). I waited until midnight to go and tell Jamie, who was frantically finishing some homework in anticipation of the weekend's events. He came downstairs about 30 minutes later when he was done, hopped in the shower, and finished packing our hospital bag. I called my parents about that time, but since things weren't very intense yet, they decided to get a few hours of sleep before leaving. I guess nobody could have guessed how quickly things would progress. My contractions were too painful to talk or walk through just an hour later. We drove to the hospital and were checked in by 3 AM. Shockingly, despite the awful contractions, I had not dilated any more than the 2 cm I had already been dilated at my appointment earlier. However, it was clear that I was in labor and so they kept me. I should mention that when I am seriously freaked out, my whole body shakes. I guess it's all the adrenaline or something. So, when you imagine this story, picture me trembling uncontrollably THE WHOLE TIME. This is the point when when I started throwing up. I barely got into my gown and crawled in the bed before the nausea set in and I needed a NEW gown. Could labor be any more miserable? I refused any pain medication for the contractions but they finally convinced me to take something for the nausea. This made me very drowsy, so I spent the next few hours in a contraction-y fog, but it was a puke-free fog. They came in at about 8 AM wanting to give me my epidural, because the anesthesiologist was about to head into two C-sections and wouldn't be available again to do it until 11:30. I wasn't going to risk missing my window of opportunity, so even though I wasn't dilated as much I would have liked at that point (only 3 cm), I gave the go ahead. Oh my gosh. The relief! The doctor broke my water at that point as well. Clear fluid, thank goodness! Well, once the epidural was finished, Jamie went home to feed Charlie. He also called my parents to see where they were. They still hadn't left home (a 10 hours drive away)! It was at that point that we realized it was just going to be the two of us facing this. But in the end, perhaps that's the way it should be. Well, while Jamie was gone, my nurse decided to try moving me around a bit to speed up dilation. She had me turn on my right side and put my left leg up in the stirrup. This was the scariest part of the whole experience. Will's heart rate plummeted. And stayed that way for several minutes. They quickly turned me back over but he was slow to recover. They called the doctor who rushed in. And the nurse nervously asked me "How far away do you live?" (translation: How long will it take your husband to get his ass back here because this might be really bad?!). The doctor arrived and started rhythmically pushing on my cervix (I'm guessing it was my cervix, she was all up in there) and Will finally recovered and settled back into a normal heart rate. It was so scary. Plus, I think rolling over like that shifted my epidural because from that point on, my right side was ridiculously numb and I started feeling my contractions again on my left side. That sucked. I guess all that took place around 9:30. By 11 o'clock I was fully dilated and they told me I could start pushing. I asked instead to sit up for a while and let gravity help pull Will down into the birth canal further, a technique the nurses had discussed in our Childbirth Class. I did this partly because I hoped it would prevent the need to push for hours, and partly because I was scared to push. Because, you know, well, ouch. So, that's what we did. The only problem with this plan was that I had Will's bum still crammed up in my ribs and every time I had a contraction, I couldn't breathe. Anyway, I persevered and started pushing at 12:50 in the afternoon. The doctor just happened to stop by and check on our progress right around then, expecting to leave and come back later after I had pushed for a while. Instead, she had to hurriedly put on a gown because little Will came out like a cannonball. I pushed for 21 minutes (about 8 contractions). That is apparently VERY fast. I guess I was a good pusher. You know, I heard that the pushing part actually feels good after all the contractions. That was NOT my experience. After the first two pushes, I could feel Will's head down in my pelvis. I could feel my body stretching to accommodate and it was NOT fun (particularly since I knew the really painful part was yet to come). Jamie was so wonderful during this part too. He supported my neck and held my leg, told me when to push and counted for me. Honestly, he's the only person I heard the whole time. I tuned everybody else out. Once Will's head was out, they told me not to push. And I was like, "Are you for real?!" I didn't really say that. I barely managed to cry out "I can't!" before my body just like, took over and shot the little guy out like a rocket. I have never felt such a feeling of relief in my entire life! And then, the doctor lifted him up and said "Look what you got!" and Jamie said "It's a boy!" They put him on my stomach and I just remember thinking how warm and solid he was. All I could say was "Oh my God," which I repeated maybe a million times as the reality of what I'd just done sunk in. Jamie cut the cord and they took Will over to the nursery table to clean him up, weigh him and wrap him up tight. As they picked him up off my chest the doctor stood up and said to me "Mary, do you realize what a big baby you just had?!" Then she got back to work down there sewing things up and making sure I wasn't bleeding more than I should be. This part ALSO sucked. Turns out Will came out with his hand up under his chin. This is called compound presentation (more than one body part coming out first). It is apparently very dangerous but we lucked out in that his hand is fine and he didn't get stuck. I think I might have had some extra tearing because of it though. Ouch. Finally, after they weighed him in at a giant 8lbs 9 oz and gave him a 9/9 on the APGAR (WooHoo!), Jamie brought Will back over to the bed. I was crying like a baby by then. The whole thing was so surreal. Thank God it's over. And that's how Will came into the world.