Saturday, May 22, 2010

Going home

On September 5, 2009, Johnny and I received our official discharge papers. We passed our final checkups with flying colors and we were on our way to home sweet home. That morning the hospital photographer came in to take Johnny's first photo. I had him dressed in his going home outfit and a blanket that matched. The photographer gal took a bunch of pictures, laying Johnny on his belly and side. He looked so cute! We got a couple of great shots before he had had enough.

After his photo session, the nurse came in and gave me our discharge papers. I was very ready to go home, but still worried about so many things: nursing, circumcision and cord healing, there would be noone to check his vitals every few hours...Some people hate to be bothered in with pokes and prods, but I welcome them. Paranoid anyone?

So we pack up all the stuff we brought to the hospital, of which I used NONE of it, minus my tooth brush and contacts case/solution. Next time, I will pack only a toothbrush, contact/glasses stuff and a clean going home outfit. The hospital really does provide everything else, and I really didn't need anything. Why I thought for one second I would be showering, blow drying and flat ironing my hair is beyond me.

I emptied out the baby's cart and basically took everything that wasn't nailed down. The nurses gave me all sorts of things for my wound, and I was so thankful. A 2nd degree tear is no joke, however, I must say that it was only uncomfortable and fortunately not painful. I just had to walk a little slowly, but it wasn't too big a deal. Going to the bathroom, however, was. It was a huge ordeal that included a squirt bottle, a hospital size pad, tucks pads and a numbing disinfecting spray. Use your imagination. All I can say is the tucks pads were a little slice of heaven in my undies. Oh, that brings me back to delivery. I did poop, but didn't get hemoroids. There I said it. I knew it would happen and lots of people don't mention it and I think most nurses don't tell you, but remember the mirror I had them put in front so I could see everything? Well, I saw EVERYTHING and everything included me pooping. Shit happens, happy let's just forget about all that and move on, shall we?

John made a couple of trips down to the car with all our bags and my Mom and I got the baby ready for his big trip home. I got to leave in a wheelchair, even though I didn't need one. Hospital regulations and all. So john brought the car around and we were put to the test of putting Johnny into the carseat for the first time. All the practicing I did with a doll was no comparison to a little scrunched up newborn. He was so tiny in the carseat and getting a good fit seemed impossible. I didn't want to hurt him, but wanted him to be safe and secure. I followed all the directions the police station had taught me a month earlier. He was secured in the carseat and we were ready to go home as a family of three. With all the excitement, I forgot to get a cute picture of us leaving the hospital. Oh well, I looked like crap anyway.

We got home about 10 minutes later and unloaded the car. I carried Johnny in while John lugged all the bags in. My mom was right behind us and helped. As soon as we got in the house, panic and overwhelming exhaustion hit me. I gave Johnny the tour of his home and ended up in the nursery. Well, here we were, after all this time. I put him in his co-sleeper and laid down on the bed. John came in and I asked him to lay with me. I stared at Johnny in his co-sleeper and cried and cried. I kept telling John that I didn't know what to do with him. "I don't know what I'm doing." I think at that point, I was just so tired because I never did sleep while I was in the hospital. It had been 3 days since my last sleep. Plus, the nursing wasn't going well and I really worried that I wasn't going to be able to do it and that Johnny wouldn't gain weight, etc. All these overwhelming worries that I suppose I ought to just get used to now, being a Mom and all. So I fell asleep for a little while until Johnny woke up. Hungry? Wet? What did he need? I guess it was up to me to figure it all out. And that scared me to death. All of a sudden, all my confidence as a Mommy went flying out the window. Thank God my Mom was there to help me. All day and all night for an entire week. She saved me. She saved Johnny. She saved John. My Mom was by my side every single second that week. Nursing was such an ordeal, and I know my Mom (and everyone else) was wondering why the hell I didn't just give the kid a bottle and call it a day. But I was determined to nurse him, or at the very least, pump and give him my milk. The problem was, that since he wasn't nursing, my milk wouldn't come in unless I pumped.

My mom and I went to the Kaiser Lactation department the following day. Surely, an appointment with a professional would help, right? I didn't know what to expect, but kind of expected a few booth type rooms where a lactation person would work with me one-on-one, but when we got there, it was one big room with chairs lining the walls. You mean I had to whip out my boobs in front of other people? Aw, what the hell? I had whipped out all sorts of body parts in the last week, what was one more audience? So I sat down and waited for my instructions. The lactation gal, Michelle, had me undress Johnny to his diaper. Even though it was FREEZING in the room. I guess they keep the babies awake that way, so they will nurse. Well, Johnny was not happy with that arrangement. She took his diaper off and weighed him, then put a diaper back on him and handed him to me. She also gave me a nursing pillow. This was not like the boppy, which had been very difficult for me to use. It was a My Breast Friend pillow and it was fantastic! It belted around me, the baby laid flat and it was at the right level. I was actually able to get the baby at eye level with my boob. I wasn't able to do that with the Boppy. Anyhow, she went on to tell me that Johnny was NOT gaining weight, so I would have to increase the amount I was supplementing until he was able to latch and/or gain weight. This was not good news and I expected that after all the trouble I had had the past few nights trying to feed him. He was not happy when he nursed and I think it was just too hard for him and too forced. So he usually screamed at my boobs while trying to nurse. Not the kind of reaction you want from your baby. So Michelle had me nursing him with a shield, which is like a plastic nipple you wear over your own nipple and gives the baby something more to latch on to. It worked well and I was able to get him latched on and actually drink. She had me nurse him for 15 minutes on each side, then weighed him again. When she took his diaper off and put him on the scale, he pee'd all over the place. Well, there goes the weight reading. He was not making this any easier for me. She couldn't tell how much he had gotten, but suspected it wasn't much. So I was told to continue supplementing with formula, which I did throught a syrince, so there would be no nipple confusion. I was willing to do anything just as long as he was breastfed. So stubborn am I!

Directly after the appointment, we walked over to the hospital store and bought a nursing pillow like the one in the office. It really did help. When we got home, I felt a little better about the nursing until it came time to nurse again and it didn't go as smoothly as it had there. Why is that always the case? Well, he screamed at my boobs, but finally latched. I really believe it was the pillow that helped. I learned how to syringe the formula though the shield one handed. My mom would sit next to me and fill them up and I'd go to it. I was nursing him on demand, which meant every 2 hours he would nurse and directly after that I would pump for 15 minutes, 24 hours a day. I was exhausted to say the least. And so was my Mom. She would help me at every feeding and hold the baby while I pumped. I love her and don't know what I would have done without her...and holy crap, I would have to do without her soon, because she was leaving after the first week. Nursing HAD to get better. I cried all day and all night. I just didn't understand how this natural thing that our bodies were supposed to do wasn't working for me. It pained me to think that I could not provide food for my crying, hungry baby. I felt guilt, frustation, and sadness. I felt like my baby hated me the way he'd scream. And then I felt guilty that I didn't just give him a bottle. I had already given in and let him take a pacifier.

We took him to the doctor for his first checkup on Tuesday, September 8th. Dr. Cordes was his pediatrician and I had a list of questions for him. He was so nice and the baby responded really well to him. We stripped him down and had him weighed. He had lost weight, so the doctor told me to supplement and work with the lactation department. Check. Next he gave Johnny a full examination. He checked his heart. It was perfect. He checked his ears, nose and eyes. Checked his legs, feet, hands and chest. Opened his diaper up and checked his cord and circumcision, both healing well. Then he mentioned that Johnny had water in his testicles. Um, what? I guess this is normal and should go away by his first birthday, but if it didn't he would have to have it drained. Um, what?! Yep, if they didn't deflate (my terminology, not his) then he would have to have a needle stuck in there to drain. Great. Lets hope they deflate!

I pointed out a little hole by Johnny's ear that I had noticed after his hearing exam. I thought maybe they had poked him with the equipment, so I had him look at it. He said it wasn't a hole, it was a Preauricular sinus pit. It was a sinus on the outside that was a direct line to his ear canal. Weird, but I guess common. It was something I needed to watch for infection. Something for me to google, I thought.

Other than that, Johnny was the picture of good health and we were scheduled to come back in 10 days to check his weight.

The rest of the week was a blur of crying, horrible nursing, lots of pumping and no sleep. My
Grandma, brother and his family came to visit along with Selena and Mikey. It was great to have visitors, but I think having them all at once was a bit overwhelming. I still hadn't slept and Johnny and I still hadn't gotten into a nursing groove. So anyone that came in to the house, was subject to seeing my ginormous boobs and hear Johnny's screams as he struggled to eat.

Now, you are probably reading this thinking that I was not loving being a Mom and that all the bliss I felt in the hospital was gone, but you're wrong. When I wasn't trying to nurse Johnny, I was absolutely in love with the little tyke. He was gorgeous and perfect. I loved to watch him sleep, loved to look at his little toes and sweet little face. I loved everything little ounce of him. I just wanted to be a great mother to him. I couldn't stop taking pictures of every cute thing he did, like breathe, blink, move....

He was now my life and my life couldn't get any better...well, actually it could if my milk came in and he could nurse easily.

More on that to come...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Visitors of all kinds

The day after Johnny was born, we had a ton of visitors. It started with all the vitals checks every few hours. These were getting annoying because they kept waking the baby, but I knew it had to be done. I got a call that morning from the Lactation consultants and had an appointment for them to come and help me nurse. I was so looking forward to this because he had yet to latch on. Johnny also had a hearing test. He passed the first time with flying colors. A pediatrician came in the morning to give him a thorough check. Everything looked great!

The best part of the day was when my family came to visit. Mom and John were already with me and my grandma, sister-in-law and nephews came for a quick visit. I proudly showed off my little man. I even let them hold him. I was getting better at it. Lots of pictures were taken and then they were gone.

Now, I'm going to back up a little here. While I was pregnant, I did not eat any deli meat or drink any coffee because I had read that deli meat could cause listeriosis and that coffee/caffeine contributed to miscarriages. The entire time I was pregnant, all I wanted was a cold deli sandwich. I never had one. So near the end of my pregnancy, I made certain that everyone knew exactly what I wanted directly after having the baby: a cold cut combo from Subway and a Decaf Cafe Vanilla from Coffee Bean. Decaf because I was nursing. John went home early that morning to shower and rest a bit, and that afternoon he came bearing gifts. I got my sandwich and coffee. HEAVEN. I have eaten a turkey sandwich everyday since having Johnny.

My mom, John and I sat in the room and took turns holding the baby. Finally in the afternoon, the Lactation consultant showed up. By this time, Johnny had neither eaten nor peed. The nurses were giving me a hard time saying that if he didn't pee in 24 hours, they would keep him for observation and I could go home without him. Formula anyone?! When the Lactiation gal came, I was in a panic to get him latched on and nursing. And at this point, I had not problem whipping my boobs out in front of anyone. So she took the baby and handed him to John so she could inspect my boobs. What an interesting job. So she's pulling and pinching and says that I have milk, so it should be no problem. She takes the baby and holds my boob and slams his little face onto it. I was shocked. Poor little guy. Up to this point, I had handled the baby very gently and it seemed like she came in and totally manhandled him. Anyhow, she tried and tried this with no success. He was not able to latch. She put her finger in his mouth and said that he had a high pallete, receding chin and a short tongue. With all of these issues, I may need a shield, but I should keep trying until tomorrow. In the meantime, I was to syringe feed him 10 cc's of formula and pump. She also mentioned after having her finger in his mouth, that he had very sharp gums and she was scared for me. Very nice. Way to encourage me. Yeesh.

They brought a pump in and away I went. I was on a mission to feed my little guy the best stuff I could give him. I gave him every drop, and I mean every single drop, through a syringe. I pumped every 2 hours faithfully and tried nursing him in between. I wasn't sleeping at all. There was just too much going on and I couldn't stop staring at this precious little boy.

Late in the evening, the doctor came in and said it was time for his cirumcision. This was the first time he would be away from me and naturally I was upset. I knew he would be enduring some pain and I wouldn't be there for him. I reluctantly let them wheel him away. I was adamant about no pacifiers or sugar water, but when she asked if they could give him either to soothe him during and/or after the procedure, I told her to go ahead and give him anything he needed. They wheeled him out the door. As soon as the door shut, I burst into tears. Poor baby was on his own and he was sleeping and just didn't know what was about to happen. I paced the room until his return. I don't remember where my mom and John were at this point, but both were gone.

About an hour later, my precious baby was returned to me, sleeping soundly. He didn't look any different all wrapped up in his blankets. Soon enough, however, I had to change his diaper and I got to see the doctor's handywork. All I can say is my baby has a high threshold for pain because it looked gross and looked like it should really hurt. He never bat an eyelash while it was healing. So I suppose it wasn't as bad as I had worked myself up to believe. Either way, he'll have no recollection of it, thank God.

That evening a nurse came in to check vitals and said that if the Pediatrician gave us the ok, we'd be able to go home the following day. I had mixed feelings about this. I really appreciated having the baby checked every few hours. I was still so paranoid that something bad was going to happen and having doctors and nurses so close was very reassuring. But the idea of finally being at home with the baby, in his nursery, was so appealing.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

So I've been kinda busy...

So what's my excuse for not blogging for the past 8 1/2 months? His name is John Thomas, but we call him Johnny. Yep, my baby boy was born on September 3, 2009 at 11:54pm. That would be exactly 6 minutes before his due date...Virgo baby all the way. I am going to have to break down the last 8 1/2 months in several blogs. Today I'll share my birth story. I know this may cause most to shudder, but I'll go easy on you. It has been 8 1/2 months afterall, and I have mommy brain which is 10 times worse than prego brain, so I'm sure I won't remember ALL the gory details. Just kidding! I took notes during labor and when it got really bad, my Mom wrote them down for me. (Yes, I was THAT annoying in labor) Here goes:

As you read in my last post on August 31st, my fluid was up slightly and baby was doing great, but I was sent home to think about c sections and fetal distress. Anyhoo, I went back for another NST on September 3rd. I had no contractions, no more plug "issues" and nothing that led me to think the baby was coming. So of course on this day, I went to my appointment sans hospital bags, without shaving my legs, doing my hair or any makeup. (I know, I know...Murphey's Law...) So I get to the appointment at 7:30am and I'm just really happy to be in the cold air conditioning with my feet up listening to my baby's heartbeat. I got a cold bottle of water to get the baby to dance around. I was just chillin'. After we listened to the heartbeat, I was sent over for my ultrasound to check fluid levels. I was chatting with the nurse while she did the ultrasound check and she wasn't as chatty as usual. As a matter of fact, she wasn't saying anything to me, just rolling the ultrasound wand over and over my belly, pressing in different spots. I was keeping track of the fluid numbers in the first 2 quad sections, but noticed she hadn't added any from the other two. She called the other nurse over and asked her to take a look because she "couldn't find any other pockets of fluid." I am holding my breath at this point and keep reassuring myself that all is ok and I just heard the baby on the monitor (forget the fact that I'm watching him on the ultrasound monitor). The second nurse comes over, goes round and round on my belly, and says, nope, don't see any other pockets. The first nurse then looks at me and says "You're fluid level is 3.1. You're going to have a baby today." WHAT?! Um, I didn't shave my legs! My bags aren't packed! My hair and makeup aren't done! I can't have the baby right now. It's not part of my schedule today!

The nurse helped me up off the bed and said "I'm going to walk you over the Labor and Delivery. They are going to have to induce you." I almost cried, but thankfully, I held it together and asked in a very small voice "Am I allowed to call my husband?" She said of course and I speed dialed John.

The call went something like this: John: "Hey, how'd it go?" Me: "YOU NEED TO COME HERE NOW. I'M HAVING THE BABY!" (said in a very shaky, almost crying voice) John: "What?! You're having the baby NOW?" Me: "Fluid low, inducing, unshaved legs, no makeup, need bags, COME HERE NOW!" John: "What, wait, what is going on?" Me: "You need to come now. I'm having the baby now. They are going to induce me. Get off the phone, get the bags at home, get the birth ball, get some snacks and get over here!" John: CLICK

After that call, I speed dial my Mom. My Mom has been through this whole pregnancy with me just as much as John. I believe she deemed this the "longest pregnancy in history." I won't disagree with her there. So you would think that she'd pick my call up on the first ring on or around my due date. Um, not so much. I called and went to voicemail. I left a very calm, yet urgent message: "Uh, hi Mom. This is the call you've been waiting 9 months for and YOU'RE NOT ANSWERING YOUR PHONE. I'm at the hospital and they are inducing me, so head on down to the hospital when you have time." There, that'll get her attention, only I don't think she checks her cell phone messages very often. Great.

During this time, I am following the NST nurse to Labor and Delivery. I know it sounds very cliche, but it was the longest walk of my life. I had been waiting for this day for so long (my entire life) and now it was happening and I was walking the halls alone, with unshaved legs, not huffing and puffing through contractions or leaking water. I was following a nurse to L&D and it felt like I was going to the Principal's office. All these crazy (crazier than normal) thoughts were going through my head. My paranoia kicked into high gear. Was the baby ok? What if he died? What if I died? What if I had to have a C section? What if, what if, what if...

Finally we get to my room. The NST nurse wished me luck and leaves the room. I look around and see the baby warmer, the labor bed, the IV pole...OMG this is really happening. GULP. WTF did I get myself into? Then a nurse comes in with a plastic bag and says,"Get undressed and put this robe on. I'll be back in a little while to get you hooked up with the IV." Ok...sure, no problem. So I go into the bathroom and start undressing. I start to weep. Then I get a whole different feeling. I have to poop. Yep, whenever there is something stressful going on in my life, I poop. (seriously there is no TMI in a birth story, so get over it...) So there I am weeping and pooping in the bathroom when I stop weeping and think how lucky I am to be pooping now so hopefully there will be no "accidents"later. All the while John is speeding his way from work and my Mom is...where is my Mom?!

A nurse comes in then and starts asking me the hundreds of questions they've already asked, but need to ask again and input into their system. She takes a break from the questions to start my IV. As she's prepping my arm, John comes flying into the room. He's huffing and puffing, sweating and has this crazy, wild look in his eyes. But forget all that...he was lugging all THREE bags PLUS balancing the birth ball on his head. I about died laughing. Gotta love my man. He takes absolutlely no direction. Yes, I had three bags. One for labor, one for hospital stay and one for baby. All labeled with specific instructions on which bags were needed when. Well, in his rush to get to me, he couldn't think of which bag needed to be there for labor (again, they were all labeled...) so he brought them all. The nurse looked at him and said, "you can put ALL your stuff over in the corner or in the closet." Basically, get that crap out of the way. Then she looked at the birthball and said, "Oh, you won't be using that. Once you get induced, you need to stay in bed." WHAT? Um, that was not part of my birth plan. I wanted to bounce on my ball, have John massage my back with the tennis ball sock I made at our lamaze class. I wanted to walk the hallways leaning on my husband and my Mom while they told me how brave I was for walking through my contractions. So I grabbed my labor bag and took out the 10 copies of my birth plan that I had just for this kind of situation and handed the nurse one copy and threw the others on the table. She gave it a quick look over and said, "well, some of this just isn't going to happen." That whole image I had had in my head for so many months was gone...up in smoke...poof...bubbye.

But I digress. I sat back down and had her hook up the IV in my arm and laughed at John who was closing his eyes in the corner trying not to faint at the sight of the needles. Boy, he sure didn't know that was going to be NOTHING compared to what was to come. So the nurse goes back to the computer and starts with the questions again. Finally, my mom calls and she sounds a bit confused. I explain again that I'm being induced and I'm pretty sure she had gotten in the car and was already on the freeway by the time we got off the phone. At least SHE had her bags packed and ready in the car. Whew, Mom was on her way, all was right in the world again.

Then the doctor on duty came in. I immediately grabbed my birth plan and shoved it in her face. "See? No C section, no Cytotec." I'm sure she thought I was a nut job, but I figure most pregos are, so I had a get out of jail free card. She went on to explain what the induction process entailed and gave me the option of a foley catheter. I was so grateful and loved this doctor. She never once said anything about a C section and didn't bat an eyelash when I said I didn't want Cytotec. She checked me and I was 1 1/2 cm dilated, 60% effaced and -3 station. I had a ways to go.

The nurse was getting the catheter ready when my Mom arrived. Now I was ready. Game on, let's do this. They put the catheter in at9:30am. No problem, didn't feel a thing. Now for those of you who don't know what a foley catheter is, I'll give a brief explanation. It is a catheter that has a balloon at the end. They insert it into the cervyx and the balloon helps to put pressure on the cervyx and open it up. It can take a while to progress, so they usually add pitocen ot the mix. I had read so many horrible things about Pitocen so I was really nervous about having it in my IV, but I was ready and trusted the Doctor and of course I was thinking of my low fluid level. The way they know the catheter has done its job is they tug on it and if it falls out. "How "scientific." This usually happen when you're dilated to 5cm.

After the doctor put the catheter in, she said "well, you should be in labor sometime tomorrow. This is a really long process, so try to rest." Um, TOMORROW?! I look at the clock and it's only 9:30am! This was gonna be a long day. I turn to John and my mom and say "I'm hungry." It WAS gonna be a long day. The great thing about being on lock down, was I got to hear the baby monitor the entire time. I love that sound. And how incredible it was to think there is a little human inside of me. I still can't believe it. So as I'm laying there, John turns on the TV and my mom sits by me, watching me. Nurses come and go and I am just listening and watching the baby monitor. The nurse comes in after about an hour and has a look on her face. The baby's heartrate was dipping a bit, so she asked me to lay on my side. Of course, this makes me watch the monitor even more intently and the paranoia kicked in. I'm feeling some cramping, but nothing painful, and I could care less because now I'm worried about the baby's heartrate. So we sit and sit and sit...finally a few hours later, the cramping is really kicking in. I am having contractions that I feel now. I tell the nurse that I'm feeling some cramping and she kept dismissing me and saying that it was way too early for me to be dilated, but when she sees the doctor next, she'll have her come in and check. So we wait a little more, John is going stir crazy and my mom is still watching me. Contractions are still there and I find that if I do deep, steady yoga breaths, my little boy's heartrate is nice and easy. If I did any huffing and puffing, his heartrate would decel.

Finally at around 2:30pm, the doctor comes in and acts like she's going to humor me by checking me even though she insists it's way too early. I should expect to be in labor tomorrow. So she "tugs" on the catheter and it drops right out. Apparently, the reason I was having so much discomfort was that the bulb was in my vajayjay and NOT my cervix because I was dilated to 5cm! Hmm, I still wonder how long I was dilated and blown off for. So the doctor was naturally surprised and became Captain Obvious by stating "wow, you dilated really quickly." I was 5 cm dilated and 70% effaced and -2 station. Still a while to go, but what progress! I was very happy. At this point, they increased the pitocin a bit and gave me an oxygen mask to wear to help with the baby's heartrate.

At this point, I thought John would actually climb the walls and both he and my mom were hungry. My mom went to the cafeteria and got some dinner. When she came back, John got out and bought a computer at Costco, because that's what all fathers-to-be do while their wife is in labor, right? I really wanted a handheld Itouch, but he comes back with a laptop...bigger is better I guess. So I promptly have him sign in and get me on Facebook where I sent regular updates about my labor progress. What else was I going to do? John also ordered a pizza for delivery.

Contractions came at a decent rate and pretty hard a little after that. John would watch the monitor with me and tell me when another was coming. The annoying thing about that is I already felt them! Derr, it was my body and don't you think I could feel the contractions. I had another Captain Obvious on my hands! John would also state things like "Yep, that was the biggest contraction so far, waaaay bigger than the last one." Thanks babe.

The contractions became so intense that I found it hard to continue with my yoga breathing without hitting my hand on the bedrail. My mom told me not to ball up my hands into a fist or it would cause me to be tense everywhere (great advice!) so I made a point to wave my open hand in front of my face, eyes closed, while I breathed through the contractions. Man, they were coming pretty quickly and my little boy's heartrate was up and down. The nurse kept asking me if I wanted an epidural and if i was in pain. I kept telling her that I don't consider this "pain" but I would consider it "uncomfortable." To me, pain is a really bad paper cut. The nurses, and my mother, were getting annoyed with me feeble attempt at trying to give them a pain level of 1-10. I kept it at a 5, but it was more like a 7 or 8. My mom saw right through me. So finally at around 4:30pm, the doctor came in and checked me. I was almost 7 cm dialted. She asked if I wanted an epidural to which my mom promptly replied yes. I guess my hand waving and breathing technique was not going over well. I said ok, since I was afraid I'd wait too long and wouldn't have the option (oh the horror!). So she called in the lovely anesthesiologist. Only one person was allowed in with my while it was being administered. John jumped up quickly and exited. Yep, he truly does faint at the sight of needles. So at 4:45pm I sat on the side of the bed staring at my mom, breathing and nervous that by sitting up, my boy's heartrate was going to go wonky. Thankfully, the doc was quick and I was hooked up quickly and back on my side.

The doctor came in around 5:15pm and broker my water. Since the baby's heartrate kept decelerating, she also had the nurse put a monitor in me internally. They screw a small monitor onto the baby's head so that they can get a better listen to the heartbeat.

It took about an hour before I felt the epidural kick in, but when I did, the worst thing happened: I could not feel my legs. At all. I still felt contractions and had to do my yoga breathing, but I had lost all feeling in both legs. I reallllly hated this feeling. So much so that when the contractions were coming, it wasn't the pain I was yelling at my mom and John about, it was the fact that my legs were numb. I kept yelling at them to rub and cycle my legs. John had both legs working like Lance Armstrong and my mom just massaged me. It helped, but I was really aggitated by the loss of feeling. That and probably because I still felt the contractions pretty strongly. I kept thinking about all those Bringing Home Baby shows I watched daily and how the woman were all smiles and able to sleep after having an epidural. How the hell could they sleep?! I laid there and watched and felt everything, worrying about the baby.

At 6pm, the nurse came in and said they were going to do an amnio infusion on me. I guess they were taking precautionary measures since they had broken my waters and they wanted the baby to keep fluid around him so there was no cord compression. While she was adjusting the amnio infusion catheter and my other catheter, she accidentally pulled the internal monitor off the baby's head. Smooth move Ex Lax! this meant she had to screw another freakin' monitor into his head! I was not pleased.

And then we waited, I breathed, the baby was up and down, John was cycling my legs and my mom was watching me and massaging my legs. The doctor comes back in and says "great news! Your doctor is on duty now, so she'll be able to deliver the baby!" Oh geez...I was not as excited as her because I knew my doctor was gung ho on a C section for me. Did I really have to go through that debate in the middle of all this? I was not in the mood. All I could muster up was "Great."

Dr. Flores, my OB/GYN, came in and started in about how the baby's decels were something to keep in mind and watch, and if they didn't improve, we would have to seriously think about a C section. At this point, I wasn't going to debate, I just caved and said if she really thought that the baby was in trouble, do whatever needs to be done to get him here safely. I had my preferences, but I wasn't going to be so strubborn that my baby would suffer from it. Boy, I was really thinking like a mom, wasn't I? So she said she'd watch the monitor and we'd wait and see.

At 9:30pm, a midwife came in and checked me because I was really feeling contractions and quickly. She checked and sure enough I was 10 cm dilated. It was time to push. My doctor was in surgery doing a C section, so they said that I could do a practice push to see how the baby reacted. Ok, whatever. So I move to my back and they take out the stirrups and tell me to put my feet up. Um, I can't feel my legs. The nurses helped put me into the stirrups. John was appointed the "Counter" and stood on my left side at by my head and my mom was just in front of him holding my left leg. The nurse was on my right holding my other leg. Now I had watched so many births on TV by now, I just knew I was going to push the baby out in one push. So when they gave me the instructions, I was all ready to go. At 10:35pm, I took in a deep breath, pulled on the back of my thighs, tucked my chin and pushed like I hadn't pooped in a month. I could bear down with the best of 'em. John counted to 10, pretty quickly thankfully, and the nurses kept telling him to slow down. After the first push, complete madness ensued. It seemed like within the blink of an eye, every single nurse on the floor ran into our room, they were yelling at me to scoot up in the bed and roll over to my side. I was yelling at everyone that I couldn't move my legs, nor pick my body up with my arms alone. WTF was going on?! Then some dumb ass nurse yells at me "You need to scoot up and lay on your side! Do it for your baby!" Don't you think if I could I would?! As quickly as I could I pulled myself as far up as I could and rolled to my side, which is no easy task with dead legs and a big ole belly. Then in an instant another nurse grabs my arm and yells in my face that she's going to be injecting me with Tributiline. I guess what happened is the baby's heartrate dropped from 160 to the low 70's. My contractions were coming so quickly, he didn't have time to recover from them. The tributiline makes the contractions stop or lessen. Thankfully, it worked. My baby was recovering, as was I. I was totally shaken up. My doctor came in after her surgery and I told her to just take the baby by C section if that's what was needed. I was not going to mess around. That whole crazy incident scared the crap out of me.

The doctor told me we'd try again as it seemed baby's heartrate had recovered and normalized. She asked if I wanted a mirror to watch....DUH...of course I do! I had them place a mirror right behind the doctor so I could watch everything. John and my Mom made a point to keep their eyes on my face as I don't believe they wanted to see all the goriness that would follow. So here we go! Saying I was nervous to push again was the understatement of the year, but it definitely took any/all pain away. I didn't think about the pain for one second. She had me get on my back again around 11:15pm. Everyone got back into position. John did the counting and the nurses did the re-counting. I love John for counting so quickly because I could only keep up with his count, not the nurses. Pushing was a lot harder than I thought. I really felt nauseous after every push because I had to hold my breath. Now I thought that was counter-productive to getting oxygen to the baby, but I wasn't in the mood to debate the subject at the time. So I pushed for about 45 minutes. The doctor kept telling me to look in the mirror to see all the hair the baby had. I could barely keep my eyes open while pushing, but I did see his head and it kept me motivated. My doctors face was very intense which made me think the baby was having a hard time and she was really demanding me to push harder and get the baby out quickly. I pushed with all my might and finally, she said that my last push would be it. I could see the baby's head out, all I needed was a little more of a push and he came right on out. On that night, September 3, 2009, at 11:54pm, the doctor laid him right on my chest and he looked right at me. Then he cried. What a beautiful sound. What a beautiful baby. I felt like a million bucks. Now, I really thought at this moment I would be crying and sobbing and emotional, but I'm thinking the lack of oxygen from pushing made me a little crazy. I started singing Happy Birthday to the baby and laughing. I was giddy. My son was finally born and he was perfect. Sharing that moment with John and my mom was the best feeling ever.

I look over at John and he's sitting down in the chair that was placed right behind him during the pushing in case he fainted. Well, thankfully it was placed there because he used it all right. Apparently, he watched in the mirror and saw everything. And apparently he was also taking pictures of it all, so when the baby came out, he saw the blood and got a little light headed. So he enjoyed our little boy from the chair. He turned to me and said "You can name him anything you want." I chose to name him Johnny, because he looked just like his Daddy. My mom stood right by me the whole time.

About five minutes after baby was born, the nurses took him off me and said he was too hot and that he and I both had very slight fevers. So they took him across the room to clean him up and take his vitals. I yelled for John and my mom to go stay with him and talk to him. I didn't want him away from familiar voices for one second. While they were taking his vitals, my doctor was taking care of me. She looked at me and said "Well, things will never look the same down here. You have a 2nd degree tear in a Z formation." Sweet. My answer was "Doc, all is right in the world. I have a son. And honestly, it wasn't bad at all. I'd totally do it again." Lack of oxygen, remember? She just laughed and continue to sew me back up. I kept my eyes on the baby.

As they took measurements, my Mom was yelling the stats out to me: 7 pounds 7.4 ounces! 19 1/2 inches! 32 cm chest! 32 1/2 abdomen! 35 cm head! Wow, couldn't get anymore perfect than that. Finally, he was all wrapped up and ready to come back to Momma. I held my baby and we stared at eachother. I couldn't take my eyes off this perfect little person that came out of my body just minutes earlier. I tried to nurse him but he wasn't interested and I wasn't in a very good position. So I continued to just hold him. John was uploading some pics to FB and sent some emails out to family and friends. My mom called my brother and sister-in-law and Grandma to tell them the news.

A few hours later, the nurse came in and said we'd be moving to our post pardem room soon, so we had to pack up our things. They brought a wheel chair and asked if I could feel my legs enough to walk. I slowly moved my legs to the side of the bed. They were so tingly and noodly feeling, but I was determined to walk to the wheelchair. I made it safely and had them put the baby right back in my arms. Yes, I was a baby hog...but I waited my entire life for the little tyke, I wasn't giving him up just yet. So John and my Mom were saddled down with all our bags and they wheeled us down the hall to our room. On the way there, John got to push the new baby button Kaiser has. It plays throughout the hospital everytime a baby is born. Very sweet.

We get to our room and I promptly sent my Mom to our house for some rest. John was going to stay on the couch in our room. He was already asleep by the time my mom left so it was just me and Johnny. Now at this point, I hadn't seen anything but his little face swaddled in blankets. So I unwrapped him on my lap and looked him over, counting his fingers and toes, checking his cord, looking at his perfect little belly, popeye arms and skinny little legs. Perfection! I wrapped him back up and laid there the rest of the night with him in my arms. I couldn't put him down yet. Nurses came in to check our vitals all through the night and kept asking me if I had put him down yet. They kind of laughed when I said no. I just wasn't tired at all.

Very early the next day, my doctor came in to check on me. She asked if I was sore. I was slightly sore because the epidural had competely worn off by then, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I had my baby now afterall...what else was there?

To be continued....