Nathan Patrick arrived by c-section Friday, August 3, 2007 at 1:08 pm weighing 8 pounds even, 20.5 inches.
On Thursday, August 2, I was five days overdue and had a growth scan and non-stress test at my doctor?s office. The growth scan (basically an ultrasound) showed that the amniotic fluid levels were somewhat low. Then the non-stress test (I?m hooked up to two bands that measure contractions and the baby?s heart rate) showed the little guy was having some trouble maintaining a decent heart rate. That coupled with the low amniotic fluid made Dr. Cook send us over to the hospital to start the induction. It was no emergency or anything, but he thought it best to go ahead and get us started.
So, we headed home to pick up our bags and were on our way. By 5 pm, I was in a bed, IV in arm, monitors banded to my belly, and Cervadil in place as well. This was to stay in for 12 hours which made for a strange night. Each time I got up to go to the bathroom, a nurse came in the room after I was back in bed to check the readings. When I got out of bed (or really moved around at all), the baby?s heart rate would drop, concerning them. In addition to this, I was awoken three times to a nurse turning me on my side or an oxygen mask being put on my face. They kept reassuring me all was well, but it still scared me.
At 5 am, the Cervadil was taken out and I was started on Pitocin to bring on the contractions. They did start and started fast. The breathing I learned in our childbirth class helped. That is, it helped for a bit. At 8 am, Dr. Moore broke my water. Wow. This hurt and it brought on contractions like I never imagined. I was only at 3 cm here. I wanted to go longer before getting an epidural, but the nurse told me that Pitocin and artificially breaking water makes contractions much stronger than normal. They were right on top of each other and not giving me a chance to barely breathe in between! Also, I was confined to the bed at this point due to the baby?s heart rate dropping when I got up and laboring lying down is not a great position to go through labor! So, at 10:30 am I got my epidural. Relief?.or so I thought.
Mark left to grab a quick bite for breakfast as I was drifting off to an epidural-induced sleep. Not two minutes after he left, the nurse came in, pushed me on my side, put an oxygen mask on me, and paged Dr. Cook (the doctor I saw the day before who was now on call). When Mark came back in, the doctor was inserting an internal fetal monitoring device to get a better reading on the heart rate. Poor Mark didn?t know what to think as he left me just minutes earlier and I was fine. The doctor started talking c-section then. Of course this scared me, but even scarier was all the worried faces on the medical staff and all this monitoring they were doing to me. After watching the heart rate a bit longer, Dr. Cook said he wanted to have a controlled birthday party for this little guy. He was afraid that if I went any longer, they?d be rushing me in to do an emergency c-section.
So, after he left, I was still so tired from everything and kept drifting in and out of sleep for a few minutes. Every time I woke, Mark was right next to me staring at me with a worried face. He was more scared than I was! I had to be the one to reassure him that all would be OK. So a bit later, I was being wheeled out of the room while Mark trailed after in his scrubs. Even in my nervous state, I thought he looked so cute.
The prepping for the surgery was very surreal. My epidural was turned up, way up so I felt numb from the head down pretty much! Looking back, I think I was still in a kind of shock that I was having a c-section. I was really quiet, taking everything in and wishing they?d hurry up and let Mark in. Finally, he was allowed in and took his place next to me holding my hand and looking nervous, but with his camera ready. The procedure itself was pretty fast, maybe about 10 minutes. Another very surreal situation knowing what they were doing to me on the other side of that curtain. It didn?t hurt at all; I just felt pressure, a lot of it in the final seconds. They told Mark to stand up with his camera ready and I heard a ?wow? come from his mouth about the same time I heard ?baby?s out? from the doctor. Then I heard the most amazing sound of my life ? my baby?s cry. I immediately started tearing up and they peeked him on the other side of the curtain for me to see. I couldn?t believe that baby came from me. He was adorable and huge! I told Mark then that I was sure his name was Nathan and he agreed. Mark went over to watch the nurse clean him off. I heard Mark say he made a face that looked just like me and also heard someone comment on his head full of dark hair. He was weighed, then wrapped up and placed in Mark?s arms. Mark sat down next to me and I tried my best to touch Nathan (I was still really numb). He was adorable! All alert and wide-eyed. Mark and Nathan stayed with me for about 15 minutes, and then they took Nathan to the nursery, Mark in tow. It took about 20 minutes for them to finish me up, and then I was taken to a recovery room.
That hour and a half in recovery was strange for me. Two nurses were with me for a while, hooking me up to stuff, unhooking me to stuff, taking vitals, etc. I asked lots of questions then about Nathan?s Apgar scores, his weight, what they were doing to him now, etc. Then they left me for a while. I tried to nap, but I was so excited. Mark found me a while later. He had been busy making phone calls and taking lots of pictures of Nathan in the nursery. He left the camera with me so I could view my little boy while he went to find the family who had arrived at last. My doctor came in the room to talk to me and that?s when he told me it was a good thing they decided to go ahead and do the c-section. He told me about the knot in Nathan?s cord and the bump on his head from where he was bumping my pelvic bone since he was turned a bit the wrong way. All that made me love Dr. Cook!
Finally I was taken to my room in the mother-baby unit. Mark, my parents, Mark?s parents, and my sister Jenny met me in the room and then Nathan was brought in his little bassinet. I was alert enough by then to hold my son for the first time and that was amazing. It was shocking to see how much he looked like me! Soon after that, a lactation consultant came by and while the family stepped out, we worked with Nathan who took to it right away.
The rest of the hospital stay was great. The nurses and doctors at GHS were wonderful. There was one nurse especially who helped me out two nights learning to breastfeed Nathan. I truly thank her for the ease that both of us took to it. Mark spent all three nights there with me and Nathan spent a few hours in the nursery at night so we could sleep. The nurses would bring him in for feedings though so he didn?t have any supplements. He lost some weight and was a tiny bit jaundice, but neither one of those were anything to concern the doctors.
My recovery from the c-section in the hospital was tougher than I thought it would be. But the nurses were great and I made myself get out of bed every day to walk, which really helped. The pain meds kept me pretty tired, but allowed me to recover well. I was amazed at how much the medicine made me swell, but as I?m writing this two weeks later, I?m not only looking at regular ankles, but also looking at a number on the scale that is less than my pre-pregnancy weight. And of course, Nathan was well worth everything I went through!