Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Story of Matthew's Birth

TMI alert:  This is a birthing story.  Even though I don't get very graphic in my description I do talk about vomiting, dilating, and breast feeding.  Consider yourselves warned.

It's 10pm as I begin this and this time six years ago, I was laboring in a hospital bed still hoping that my contractions would slow down...maybe even stop.  About an hour later, I was told that I would indeed have my baby before midnight.  I was shocked!  Seriously?  I wasn't due until the beginning of November.  We weren't ready.  The baby's room was still an office, we didn't have any diapers, my sister was planning on coming to stay with us just before Halloween so she could be with our oldest son while we were in the hospital.  I had a plan, and things were not going as planned.

I had actually been awakened the previous night, having contractions, unable to sleep.  I panicked.  It was 3am and I was writing notes.  Notes that would tell whoever may take care of our oldest son, Daniel, in case this turned out to be labor, what his routine was, what he liked to eat and when, what shows he liked on TV, what he liked to play with, etc.  Hmmm, this is eye opening for me.  I'm realizing that I may be a tad controlling.  Moving on...

After I made the list, I felt much better and did go back to sleep.  After sleeping for a few more hours, and getting my eldest ready for music class I thought I should probably call the doctors office and check in.  They thought I should come in and get evaluated and if things looked okay we could be on our way.  Before leaving, I threw a load of baby clothes in the washer...just in case.

So that's just what we did.  Thankfully my husband, who travels a lot for work - mostly out of state, was in town.  He had his last trip before the due dated planned in four days.  A month before the due date, plenty of time...or so we thought!  He came too and took our oldest to a friend's house after a while.  There isn't much interesting for a 3 year old in a hospital room.  Once we arrived at the hospital they had me go right into a room.  I wasn't officially checked in, I was assigned to a room designated for patients who weren't staying long term.  That made me feel more at ease because I didn't want to stay long term.

I was given saline, had a test for bladder infection, and then given a chance to relax and let the saline get into my system to hopefully slow things down.  My contractions weren't very close or consistent, but they weren't stopping either. 

I stayed in that room, most of the day, until about 2pm, when they moved me to a more permanent room.  They wanted to keep me overnight because the contractions weren't stopping.  Again, they hadn't gotten closer, but they hadn't gotten farther apart either.  Nothing else had changed.  But the saline hadn't helped and I didn't have a bladder infection.

I wasn't looking forward to spending a night in the hospital.  I was watching Oprah when the doctor came in to check me, she looked at the paper that tracked my contractions and said, "So, looks like your contractions are getting a little farther apart.  And, they're not as intense, right?"  I agreed with her, even though within the past hour I had noticed them getting more intense and being more regular.  But I wanted outta there!  I let her know that my house was only a minute or two away from the hospital and if things intensified we'd be able to return quickly.

It wasn't an hour after we got home and I was lying on the couch, in extreme pain, knowing I'd be returning to the hospital sooner than I wanted.  Chris made dinner for Daniel.  I called my Mom, told her the news of the day and that I would be probably heading back to the hospital to have the baby.  I vomited a few times and that's when I told Chris to call the OB.  I'm still not sure if he was speaking to the Dr. or not, but when he told them of my vomiting, they said that wasn't consistent with being in labor, that maybe I had the flu.  Uh no.  I do not have the flu!!

After Chris put Daniel to bed (it was so strange for me to not be doing these routine tasks) we called our dear friend and neighbor and asked if she could come over and stay while we headed into the hospital.

It was around 7:30pm and I was back, much more uncomfortable, unable to look anyone in the eye, waiting on someone to come escort us to labor and delivery, concentrating on my breathing, and trying not to vomit anymore.

Labor progressed, and they decided to not give me the steroid to help develop a premature baby's lungs.  Since I was past the 34 week mark, even by just a couple of days, they said there was no concern that our baby's lungs would be underdeveloped.  It was 10pm when the nurse informed me that I was dilated to a 9 and would definitely be having this baby before midnight.

I was shocked!  I really shouldn't have been because I had been laboring all day.  I just couldn't believe that I will actually be having our baby on this day, this September day.  I wasn't due until November!  I wasn't mentally prepared.  Our home wasn't even prepared for the baby.  I had just that morning talked to Daniel that the baby might come earlier than we expected.  My sister wasn't here.  I thought I had it all planned out and now that plan was out the window blowing down the street.

Then my fear set in.  As I was leaving the hospital a mere 6 hours earlier I began wondering if there could be health problems, should our baby be born this early.  My cousin's first born child was born five weeks early.  He was very ill, having to stay in the hospital for 5 weeks and needing 3 blood transfusions.  I was thinking of her and her then healthy 3 1/2 year old son and wondering if that would be my fate.

I solely breast-fed my first son, and I had planned on doing the same with this baby.  How difficult would that be?  How much time would they allow me to spend at the hospital?  How much time could I spend at the hospital since I also had a 3 1/2 year old?  I'm a very hands-on parent.  I never let Daniel out of my site while we were in the hospital.  I wanted the same for this baby.  Would he have to go to the NICU though?  Lots of questions and uncertainty filled my head as I was also preparing to welcome another baby into our family.

I started pushing at 11pm.  The doctor warned me that there would be a few extra people in the delivery room.  Some specialists needed to be there because of his being premature.  I didn't expect another 30 people to be in the room.  And, once our little Matthew Elbert entered the world at 11:22pm our room became a bustling place.  He was placed on my chest right away, but only for a minute.  He was whisked away to be examined by the many teams in the rooms.  Once they found out that he was a healthy baby, albeit a small baby (weighing in at 4 lbs 15 oz) they were gone quicker than you could blink your eye.

We were left to comprehend what had just happened.  "We just had our baby!"  Amazing...

He stayed in my room our entire time in the hospital.  They asked if I wanted them to take him, so I could get some rest.  No thanks.  I'm good.

He was born Thursday night and I was technically able to stay for 48 hours, but since he was so little and early, they wanted him to stay Sunday night as well.  Thankfully they let me tag along and I was able to spend that extra night with him.  That's a long time, though!  I don't know how anyone can stay longer than that and not get claustrophobic and home sick!

Matthew was more jaundiced than Daniel was and he had to spend some time on a bili bed.  He didn't mind because he slept the entire time.  In fact, he slept his first entire 2 weeks of life outside of me.  He was very fuzzy too.  He had those little unpigmented hairs all over his body, called languo.  And, he was even too small for the premature clothes I bought him just after he was born.  But, he was healthy, home with us, and our baby boy.

Happy sixth birthday, Matthew!