Our beautiful baby boy, Hayes Michael Gutierrez, was born on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 4:08am! He weighed 6 pounds 4.7 ounces and was 18 inches long, quite a big boy for being born at exactly 35 weeks gestation (5 weeks early). He has lots of dark hair and the sweetest little face!
So, Tuesday started out as any other day. Mike's dad, Dave, had been visiting us and had offered to drop Finley off at daycare and me off at Nana's in the morning, on his way back home to Brookings. Nana then took me to work at my private speech therapy job. My work day started about 9:30am and ended around 4:30pm and was packed with back to back clients. It was so busy that I hardly had time to eat lunch. Anyhow, after I was done, Finley and Nana came to pick me up and we headed back to Nana's house to wait for Mike to come get us so we could head home (note: not sure if I had mentioned in earlier journal entries, but our other car had the turbo go out on the engine and we were having it rebuilt, so we got very good at relying on one car!).
While waiting, I decided to lay down on Nana's couch and put my feet up. They were really swollen from how hot it was outside and probably how active I had been at work. We were watching some movie on t.v., me on the couch with my feet up on pillows, Finley eating a snack, and Nana and her friend, Donna chatting. Donna had decided to bring over popsicles and offered one to each of us. Of course we all accepted! We all finished our first and decided a second was in order, because of the heat, of course! Anyhow, as I was eating my second on the couch, around 5:15pm, I started to turn on my left side a little and as I did, all of the sudden I felt a gush of fluid. I sat up instantly and kept saying "oh my god, I'm peeing my pants, I'm peeing my pants!" Donna told me to run to the bathroom and that I did! As I sat down, I actually peed and when I was done the fluid just kept coming. I had to walk around with a towel between my legs because it wasn't stopping. Right then, I knew my water had broken for certain this time. I paged my midwife and called Mike. Mike was only about half an hour away and told me everything would be okay and to just be calm. I was crying and nervous because I wasn't packed, I had absolutely nothing with me, and hadn't prepared myself mentally to be giving birth! My midwife called back right away and told me to get to the hospital so we could check for sure if my water had broken or not. Luckily we were already at Nana's, as she was our plan for where Finley would stay when I went in to labor. Unfortunately, she didn't have any extra clothing for Finley, but they could manage.
Mike arrived at Nana's around 5:45pm and we headed to the hospital, about a 10 minute drive from Nana's. As we parked, I dreaded the walk to the birthing center because my pants were soaking wet. We checked in to the birthing center at 6:00pm and right away they swabbed me to see if my water actually had broken. About 6:10pm we confirmed it had and realized we would be meeting our sweet baby in less than 24 hours! I cried when the nurse told me but she came over and gave me a hug and told me that God would help me and the baby and everything would go as planned. I couldn't really say anything, but I just smiled at her and decided that it was time and I had to get my mind wrapped around meeting our baby!
We called and sent text messages to close family and friends to let them know the exciting news. We also had to tell people we worked with because of course Mike had to work the next day and I had scheduled three clients for therapy on Wednesday and Thursday and needed them to be cancelled. Everyone was very excited and happy for us and wished us good luck.
My midwife came in not long after and told us that because I was less than 35 weeks pregnant (by less than 6 hours), I would have to be in the care of the hospital's on-call OB and I would not be able to have a water birth (you have to be at least 37 weeks pregnant). This was disappointing, but at this point I was okay with whatever needed to be done to be sure my baby came safely and healthy.
The plan with the midwife, nurse, and OB was to measure my contractions and see if I naturally progressed on my own. About a half hour after my water had broken, I had started having period-like, light contractions regularly, but they weren't very strong. I met my nurse who would be with me through the night, Christine, and she just so happened to also be a midwife! How lucky was I? I knew I could have another natural, un-medicated birth with the help of two midwives and Mike! Also, one of the NICU nurses came and talked to us about what to expect with having a baby at 35 weeks gestation. She explained that because the baby was going to be premature, they would have about 5 NICU staff in the room when the baby was born. At that time, they'd determine if the baby needed to be taken for NICU support or not. She stated that usually girls do well and often don't need any extra help breathing. Boys, on the other hand, often do spend time in the NICU. So, we would just have to wait and see!
At 7:30pm, I was given my first dose of Penicillin. I was so happy that I was able to get the antibiotics this time, but man, where the IV was placed, the medicine stung my hand so bad! I had to call for the nurse and she was able to give me a heat pack and mix the Penicillin with some IV fluids so it wasn't quite as strong. Mike also had run to Burgerville to grab us a quick bite to eat before things got crazy! Not so healthy, but I will admit that cheeseburger was delicious and I was hungry!
They monitored me for about 4 hours and at about 10:00pm they checked my cervix which was dilated 2 cm, 60% effaced, and at station -3. Mike and I had spent much of the evening walking the hallways, trying to help things progress. It hadn't been very long (only 5 hours since my water had broken), but the midwife and OB decided that to decrease the risk of the baby getting sick, it was important to try and speed things along. At 10:15pm the decision was made to start Pitocin.
For several hours, my contractions didn't really increase as far as I could tell. We continued to walk the halls. At around 12:30am, things became a blur. I knew that I had officially hit 35 weeks as of midnight, so I was now solely in the care of my midwife (although the OB was still in the background just monitoring how everything was going). I ate a popsicle or two (it was summertime, of course there were an abundance of popsicles!) and spent several hours in the tub, trying to relax. My contractions had become very strong and frequent. Right before they would start, I'd begin crying. The pain was immense! Honestly, I don't think I've ever felt pain like that in my entire life! Christine and Mike helped me through the contractions by holding my hands and providing encouraging words. I remember Mike saying "each contraction gets us closer to meeting our baby." Also, one time he said something like "relax your body and your mind" and I snapped back at him "I am!" and then instantly "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Looking back on that, it was kind of funny! I'd had two rounds of Penicillin and was started to feel pressure and the urge to push with my contractions. Christine checked me and in an hour and a half, I'd gone from 2 cm to 9 cm dilated! They got me out of the tub, turned off the Pitocin, and called for the midwife and all the other staff to be there for our baby's birth.
I remember drying off, getting into bed, and asking when I could push. There was all kinds of commotion, but all I could think about was pushing the baby out. It took them about 15 minutes to get everything set up and I started pushing! Although I only pushed for about 5 minutes total, I tried to take a little break between pushes and my body wouldn't let me. It was like it was pushing on its own, such a strange feeling. I also remember there being silence, just like everyone was waiting to see this little baby. I felt the baby's head come through and was waiting for the midwife to tell me to keep going or help pull the baby out, but neither happened, so I just gave another push and out the baby came! Instantly my pain was gone and I looked down upon my sweet baby! From the time my water broke to the time the baby was born, it was exactly 11 hours of labor and I had done it again naturally and un-medicated (for pain)!
Now if you remember, I was pretty certain I was having a girl. So, as I was looking over my baby seconds after birth, I was looking for what I called "vagina confirmation." Right as the baby was lifted up to me and the umbilical cord moved to the side, I saw a penis and ball sack and heard Mike say "It's a boy, it's a boy!" The entire room erupted in applause and I was in complete shock! A boy? Really? I was so excited, I just couldn't believe there had been a boy in there the entire time! That moment was one of those that I will never ever forget and I can't even begin to describe how wonderful and amazing it was to first find out the sex of our baby.
Mike ended up cutting the cord and I held baby Hayes for about 5 minutes. He was breathing okay but not great and only really let out a cry when he first came out. The NICU team took him to their table in the room to see if they could get him wailing and to better assess his breathing. After about 20-30 minutes, they decided it would be best to take him to the NICU and give him extra breathing support with a CPAP device and oxygen. I learned later from the midwife that the cord had been loosely wrapped around his neck, but it wasn't a problem and she had easily been able to slip it off. I ended up not tearing at all (no stitches or anything!) and felt almost fully recovered a few hours later, besides just being tired!
I was released from the hospital the next morning and Hayes ended up spending 10 days in the NICU. He was given precautionary antibiotics for three days, just to make sure he didn't get sick. I'm so happy to say, he never did get sick and only had to stay in the NICU to get stronger with his breathing! We were able to bring him home in the early afternoon on August 24th.
We are so happy and blessed to have sweet Hayes Michael in our family. He is such a cuddly, mellow baby and we couldn't ask for anything more. Thank you for following my journal, I hope you all enjoyed reading it!