Meeting Henry

It took me awhile to write this post since I didn’t want to leave anything out. It is pretty lengthy, so thanks for bearing with me!

It all started on the way home from the annual “Friendsgiving” party we have with our friends. I was 39 weeks, 5 days pregnant and ready to pop, and I started having contractions on the drive back to our house.

I was pretty sure this was the real deal, so I called the nurse hotline to confirm when they would want us to go to the hospital. We were told to wait until the contractions were less than six minutes apart for at least two straight hours, then to call back for further instructions.

Geoff started helping me time my contractions using a worksheet we had gotten at one of our classes, but what I really found useful was an iPhone app called “Full Term” that times your contractions for you and gives you averages on how far apart they are an how long they last. All I had to do was push start and stop.

My contractions were sort of all over the place, ranging from 5  to 20 minutes apart and lasting around 20-30 seconds each, so around 10 p.m. we decided to go to bed and try and get some sleep in preparation for what was coming. Geoff fell right to sleep, while I squirmed through my contractions for an hour before exhaustion overcame me. Even then I was only able to sleep for a little over an hour and I was waking up every four to six minutes from the contractions getting stronger and stronger.

When I couldn’t take laying in bed waiting anymore, I got up and decided to take a shower in case I wasn’t able to take one later on. After that I rounded up the last few hospital bag items we needed and got ready to head into the hospital. I called the nurse hotline again around 3:00 a.m. (after two hours of timing my contractions to be less than six minutes apart) and was told to come to the hospital as soon as we were able.

So I woke up Geoff who had been sleeping for about four hours, he took a shower and I dried my hair (it was only about 18 degrees outside), we fed the cat and headed into the hospital. I was so uncomfortable and tired that I barely remember the drive.

We got checked into the hospital, then just waited around for about an hour until the doctor came to make her rounds and to confirm that we were going to be staying for the delivery and not sent home to wait it out. In the meantime, Geoff decided to open the blinds in our room and we were surprised to see that there was a mini blizzard going on outside!

Henry's first snow

Once the doctor confirmed we were going to stay (I was at dilated to 4 cm by this point), we were walked through all the paperwork, including the epidural risks/consent. This was all supposed to be “before labor gets too bad.”

Contractions were pretty manageable at this pointI also got my IV all hooked up, which I had been dreading. I asked for some numbing cream so at least I wouldn’t feel most of it, and the nurse was happy to oblige. That’s when she told me that she normally worked the day shift and was just filling in for someone that night. She said since it was nearing the end of her shift she was starting to get really tired. Just what you want to hear from someone who is about to shove a giant needle into you! Luckily she grabbed another nurse to actually put in my IV since she realized she might not have been the best person for the job. So this new nurse comes in and tries to put the IV into one of the two spots where I had the numbing cream. Even with the cream it still hurt pretty bad, so I was NOT HAPPY when she told me she didn’t get it in because I had “tough skin.” She then decided she didn’t want to try the other numb spot on my hand and tried for a spot further up my wrist. This one hurt like a you-know-what. And guess what? IT STILL DIDN’T WORK. At this point I was clearly unhappy, so someone grabbed a THIRD nurse to try to put in the IV. This lady was my angel, since she used a numb spot and got it in on the first try.

At this point my water hadn’t broken on its own, so my doctor planned on breaking it for me when she came for rounds over the lunch hour. I was okay with this, since my contractions were strong but manageable. Geoff helped me breathe through each one. What really helped was having him watch them on the monitor and actually tell me when he could see that each one was going away. That way I knew the pain was about to go away. The weird part was that in between each contraction I felt completely fine. Tired, but not uncomfortable.

When the doctor arrived she came in and checked me. I was making progress and was dilated to 6 cm! She had me lay back in between contractions and broke my water, which didn’t feel like anything at all other than wet. They started putting my bed back in the upright position, and on the way up I felt instantly nauseous. I told the nurse I thought I was going to throw up, and she grabbed me a barf bag just in time. Luckily I hadn’t eaten since Friendsgiving, so there wasn’t anything in my stomach but water. The weird part was that I wasn’t having a contraction at the time, so I wasn’t in any pain. I mentioned it to the nurse and she said it is because I probably had a major cervical change right after they broke my water. Turns out the baby dropped from -2 to almost +2 instantly, which is what caused the vomiting. This whole water-breaking process only took about 30 seconds, and they told me that now that my water was broken I could start to push as soon as I was dilated to 10 cm.

The contractions were fairly strong at this point, but I was still able to get through them. I asked the nurse if they would get much worse, because if this was the strongest they would be and they were only going to get more frequent then I could probably stick it out and do a natural childbirth. About 10 seconds later I started having a horrible contraction that was way worse than anything I had felt yet. I only lasted through one more of those before I asked for an epidural.

The anesthesiologist came in pretty quickly (I later found out we were the only ones in the labor and delivery ward at that point) and asked me to sit up and dangle my legs off the edge of the bed, round my shoulders and push my lower back out toward him. He called this “the position.” In order to accomplish this, my bed had to be raised up off the floor so my feet wouldn’t touch the ground. I was pretty nervous about the giant needle, but it turns out that the feet dangling part was the hardest. I must have been using my feet to take some of the pressure out of the contractions, because as soon as my feet left the ground the pain was intensified again. This time the contraction was so strong that I started vomiting again and I wasn’t able to get into “the position.” They warned me earlier that the whole epidural process would take around 10-15 minutes, which for me was a blur of contractions and quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Apparently the anesthesiologist did mine really fast, so I guess it is good that it didn’t last longer than it did.

It took awhile for the epidural to kick in, but when it did my legs were completely numb. The weird part was that I could still wiggle my toes even though I couldn’t feel them. Since the baby was so low already I also had an incredible amount of pressure going on “down below,” which wasn’t painful but was so strong that it was really hard for me to breathe through the contractions.

I don’t remember how many contractions I had before they told me I could start pushing, but it can’t have been many. The nurse grabbed one of my legs and Geoff grabbed the other, I grabbed behind my thighs and, in the words of my doctor, I tried to “push the pressure away.” Geoff told me later that watching me push through those contractions was the worst part for him. I couldn’t catch my breath after each one, so I probably sounded terrible. I was pushing for around thirty minutes before little Henry was born.

Once Henry’s head was out, the doctor told me to look down, but I still couldn’t see anything. Geoff didn’t look at that point either. It wasn’t until Henry was about 3/4 of the way out that we both saw our son for the first time. They plonked him on my chest and started cleaning him up right away, though I was surprised at how clean he was. In my head he was going to be all gory and gross, but that wasn’t the case at all.

IMG_0184

Little man didn’t pink up right away so they took him from my chest pretty quickly and put him on the warmer. He got an APGAR score of 8 (both times) because he was still a little blue. Luckily that didn’t last long and Henry was able to come back and hang out with his mommy and daddy for the rest of the day. His grandmas and grandpas, uncles and aunts came to visit him right away, and it was clear by how full our room was that Henry is already a much-loved little boy. We couldn’t be happier to bring him home with us on his due date, Wednesday, November 27, 2013.

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Week 30: Ten weeks to go, and what the heck is gestational thrombocytopenia?

Omigosh only ten weeks left!! This pregnancy has flown by, and I can’t believe I’m in the home stretch. I haven’t started to get nervous yet, but I’m sure that will happen soon!

This week has been a blur, and I don’t think our little man as stopped kicking the entire time. Some of Geoff’s family members are visiting from England, so we had them over on Sunday for a (rainy) BBQ, and while we were eating baby was kicking so hard that they could see him moving from across the table! You can’t tell which of his body parts is moving across my belly yet, but you can definitely see the path of where he moves.

We also started our bi-weekly doctor appointments on Monday, and beforehand I got a call asking me to come in for another blood draw. Since I just recently did a complete blood workup when I had my gestational diabetes screening, I was surprised. Turns out I had a low platelet count, and my doctor wanted to make sure my levels weren’t dropping.

When I went into my appointment, I asked the doctor what exactly low platelets means for me and baby, as I had been concerned that my prenatals didn’t have any iron in them a few weeks ago and I wasn’t sure if that was related. She said my iron levels (and everything else) were in the normal range, it is just my platelet count that is low (normal range starts at 140, mine was at 133).  If you care and can pronounce it, it’s called gestational thrombocytopenia when you have low platelet levels. Apparently it is not that uncommon for pregnant women, does not effect baby and it will go away once I deliver, but if my platelet levels get too low (under 100) it means I cannot have an epidural during labor, and I would need general anesthesia in the case of a c-section.

Since I did another blood draw at the appointment, I was able to get my results yesterday, and *hooray!* they went up a little bit! I was at 133 and am now at 137. Still low, but at least it didn’t drop lower! I still have to do another blood draw in four weeks to double check, but for now it looks like I’m in the clear.

Even though it seems like it’s not something I have to worry about yet, I think I’m really going to consider natural childbirth. That way if something does happen I won’t be caught off guard, especially because I only have 10 weeks to go! My original plan was go only get the epidural if I really needed it, but I was sort of counting on having it there, like a safety net. Maybe I’ll check out Lamaze… any other suggestions? The whole “focus on a calming picture” thing they mentioned at our labor and delivery class really isn’t going to cut it for me.

Any suggestions would be great!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby’s brain is getting smarter by the minute, but for Mom, the only thing that smarts right now may be heartburn pain.

Your Baby in Week 30 of Pregnancy

Your belly’s increasing size is a definite clue that your baby is getting bigger every day, weighing in at over three pounds now (he’ll be packing on the weight at a rate of half a pound per week for the next seven weeks). Also growing daily is his brain, which is actually starting to look like the real thing with those characteristic grooves and wrinkles. And now that your little genius can regulate his own body temperature and turn up the heat, he’ll start shedding lanugo, the downy body hair that’s been keeping him warm up until now.

Your Body in Week 30 of Pregnancy

These days you may feel as if you’ve got a flamethrower in your chest. Heartburn is one of the most common (and annoying) pregnancy ailments and here’s why: The same pregnancy hormones that cause your body’s pelvic muscles to relax so you can deliver your baby also relax the ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. The upshot? Food and digestive juices can head upstream from your tummy into your chest and throat — hence, the infernal inferno. Your expanding uterus, now exerting pressure on your stomach, only fuels the fire.