Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dear Baby

This is the story of how you were born.

On Halloween, I was still very pregnant (41.5 weeks) and really hoping that you would come soon. My doctor called me that afternoon and said that he wanted me to come in that night to be induced.  I was expecting this to happen, but not that day.  I was disappointed because I had always really wanted (and planned) for you to be born naturally.  But I agreed, and Daddy came home from work early so we could get things ready for the hospital. We were nervous, but so excited to meet you.

We got to the hospital around 7:30 on Halloween night.  You were no closer to coming on your own, so at 10:00 the nurse gave me some medicine called Cytotec.  This was supposed to dilate and thin out my cervix so that you could make your grand appearance.  I had to stay in the hospital room getting this medicine for 8 hours!  Luckily I was able to sleep a little bit.  Daddy had a very uncomfortable chair to sleep on as well.  And we waited...

The next morning, my doctor came in and broke my water.  That's when we found out that you had already pooped!  This was one of the things that the doctor was afraid of, because there is a possibility that you could get an infection that way.  He wanted to start me on medicine right away to give me contractions, but I asked him for a couple of hours to see if you would begin the journey on your own. He agreed.  I had some contractions on my own, but they didn't seem very strong or like they were going to help you very much.

At 10:00 that morning, my doctor came back and started giving me an IV of medicine called Pitocin.  This was not how I wanted you to be born. I was hoping that we could work together and let you come naturally, but you were way too happy snuggled up inside.  There was only so much that I could do -- you needed to do your part as well and you were being stubborn.

The doctor had to go, and Daddy and I were left to work through the contractions together.  I got to bounce on a big green ball, which helped me feel better as the contractions got worse.  You seemed to like it too; I had been trying to bounce you out on my own ball for weeks, so you probably recognized the feeling. I told all of the nurses that I didn't want any pain medicine.  I wanted you to be born without all kinds of medicines and doctor interventions.  Obviously that plan was no longer viable, but I was hoping to hold on to this one last part.  Having or not having pain medicine was the only thing that I had any control over at this point.

Daddy and I were doing a good job of managing the pain on our own. The medicine was increased every 15 minutes, and the contractions got worse each time but I felt like I could handle it with Daddy's help and with bouncing on the ball.  But then, around 3:00 in the afternoon, a nurse came in and told me I couldn't use the ball anymore. She said that your heart rate was dropping and that I needed to get into bed. I didn't think it was from sitting on the ball, but more likely from the high dosage of medicine that they were giving me.  But I got into bed and my contractions got worse and worse.  They were coming every 15 seconds and were so intense that, for the first time, I didn't think I could do it anymore. I looked at Daddy and said that I needed the anesthesiologist right away.  Daddy said I was doing a good job, and that I could handle it.  So I kept trying.

Then, around 5:00, my doctor came back to see if I had progressed and if you were on your way!  But he had bad news for us. I was not dilating and you were not dropping.  He turned off the medicine IV and had me use an oxygen mask to get your heart rate back to normal.  Then he sat down on the end of the bed and I knew what he was going to say. It was my biggest fear, my worst case scenario, what I had been hoping to avoid since the moment I found out I was pregnant.

"We need to do a C-section."

He went on to explain that my body wasn't cooperating even with the medicine, and you could be in danger of infection or worse if you weren't born soon.  I felt like I had failed you.  The doctor stepped out to give Daddy and I a moment to talk about it. But we both knew we didn't have any other option. 

Someone gave Daddy a big white suit to put over his clothes, and a blue hat and mask to wear.  They wheeled me down the hall to the operating room, which was bright and white and very cold.  I was still having contractions while they put a spinal block in.  It was very hard to sit still through them.  My doctor held my hand and apologized that things didn't work out how I'd wanted them to. I was so, so scared.

Soon I was totally numb from my ribs down and Daddy was allowed to come into the room.  He sat next to me while the doctors removed you from my body.  I won't go into the details of the surgery, and it was probably really scary for you. After the doctor pulled you out, I heard him ask Daddy to tell me whether you were a boy or a girl. This was the only part of my birth plan that ended up remaining -- that Daddy would be the one to tell me rather than the doctor.

"It's a girl," I heard Daddy say.

"It's a girl? Really?"  I guess I was expecting you to be a boy, because I was so surprised.

You cried immediately and loudly, and I cried too as I watched the doctors check to make sure you were OK.  You were more than OK; you were perfect. Daddy went with you to the warmer  bed and got to cut your umbilical cord while the doctors sewed me up.  Then Daddy got to hold you, and he brought you over to me so that I could see your face.

You were born at 6:14 PM on November 1st. It was a Thursday.  You weight 7 pounds and 7 ounces and you were 21 inches tall. 

At that moment, my life changed completely.

I couldn't believe you were finally here.

We named you Laurel Gray.

You are so beautiful.

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