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Kathy's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story
~ Three Is a Magic Number

GabrielOur birth story begins the week before, week thirty eight. Jeff and I went for our weekly doctor's appointment and after an exam, we were given a birth weight estimate of about eight pounds. Everything else looked great and we were asked if we'd like to schedule an induction around week thirty nine. It was explained to us that the induction process was very safe as only a cream was used to help the dilation process. If all went well, then Pitocin would be administered the next day. If labor did not progress, then we would be sent home to either let things take its course naturally or try again the next week.

My husband and I talked it over. Initially, we wanted to let nature take its course, but a few hiccups had cropped up along the way. Being a Software Consultant has its advantages, but one of the drawbacks is that with my current client, I am budgeted on a monthly basis. I was told that I could work through October 7th, but then would have to take my leave. If I hadn't had Bump by that time, I'd be forced into more than a six week maternity leave and six weeks are paid for, we couldn't really afford much more time off.

Secondly, Jeff was trying to schedule business travel and was having a heck of a time trying to gauge when I'd be out on maternity leave. So, we decided to go ahead with the induction and scheduled it for the following Friday. We decided not to tell anyone except close family and friends in case the induction didn't take and I was sent home. I told no one at work of our plans, only that I expected to have my baby near the end of the week.

The next week at work was very difficult. I started having sporadic contractions that made it almost impossible to work. My coworkers around me were very nervous, especially when they saw me holding a stop watch and writing down my contraction durations. I brought in an extra pair of clothes and towel just in case my water broke. The week crawled by.

Thursday was the day I was scheduled to enter the hospital to receive the Cervidil that would start my dilation process. The plan was to go into work and have Jeff pick me up around lunch time. Plans soon changed when a coworker showed up claiming to have the H1N1 flu. I won't go into the rage I felt at her irresponsibility at exposing a woman who is nine months pregnant to such a thing. I just told my boss that I was leaving and I called Jeff and he came to pick me up. Still, I question whether or not my coworker actually had the H1N1 strain as she tends to be a bit of a drama queen, but I wasn't about to take that chance.

Jeff picked me up and brought me back to his office at Purdue where I was bombarded by people expressing their excitement. All told me how Jeff could talk of nothing else. Really? He says not a word at home. Finally, Jeff was done and we treated ourselves to a nice lunch of Indian food. Sigh. Sometimes, you just don't think that a little curry sauce could come back to haunt you at the absolute wrong time. A word of advice ladies, do not eat Indian food right before you're wheeled into the hospital to give birth. Not a good idea.

The time had finally come. Our bags were packed. The dogs were fed and put to bed for the night. We made our way to the hospital and spent over half an hour in admissions before taking the last walk as a family of two into the maternity care center.

Our birthing room was really nice. The transformer bed that looked really cool during the birthing class turned out to be the most uncomfortable bed I've ever slept on. The only way I can describe its comfort level is that it was like sleeping on a thin mattress that rested on top of a very hard table. My bottom fell asleep within ten minutes of laying on it and never woke up until after we left three days later.

The first adventure we encountered was trying to find a vein for the IV. After a few veins were busted up on my right hand and arm, the left one proved much better after only a couple of tries. My doctor arrived shortly thereafter and inserted the Cervidil into my cervix. The rest of the evening was spent visiting with my mother and Jeff until I decided that I should try to get some sleep. After all, tomorrow was a big day.

No sleep. That's really all I can say about Thursday night. It wasn't the nurses waking me up to check vitals every so often. It was the bed. I know now that the hellish torture won't just be the inability to void a full bladder for all eternity. It will be that and being stuck in a maternity bed. I finally fell asleep around 4:30 am. My husband arrived at 5 am to help me with a shower before the Pitocin was administered. So much for being well rested for labor and delivery.

The Pitocin was administered around 7 am that morning. All eyes remained on the monitor that registered my contractions. Were they regular? Were they closer together? Would we really be holding a baby in our arms at the end of the day? Around 8:30 am I had a contraction that was much lower in my pelvis than I had ever experienced before. I could definitely tell when it started and when it ended. After another two hours of those types of contractions, I finally understood the difference between false labor contractions and true labor contractions. They are completely different. Still, even as they got closer together and stronger, it was not as painful as the procedures and surgeries I experienced with my eye.

My doctor arrived shortly after noon. After exam he said "You're there" and we decided to break my water. The nurse pulled out a long crochet needle and before I could ask what type of afghan she was working on, the needle made its was into my nether regions and pop went the water balloon. Water gushed everywhere. It was exactly like urinating only there was no control. There was also no going back at this point. Bump would be arriving that day. Of course, there really was no going back nine months earlier.

The next discussion with my doctor was when to administer the epidural. I truly felt that I could handle the pain of labor naturally. But there was my eye to consider and it was agreed upon that I would take the epidural to lower my chances of detaching a retina. The question was when was the best time. I decided to go ahead and get it over with so the anesthesiologist arrived and poked a hole in my back. Shortly after the drug was in full swing, I fell asleep only to be woken about three hours later to be told my cervix was fully dilated and we would be ready to begin pushing soon.

It was near 4 pm by then and I was told to let the nurses know when I had an overwhelming need to push and that was when it would be time. Two hours later and even though I felt like I could drop a huge log right there on the bed, I felt that I could hold it. It's no where near the urge I feel when I need to void myself but am unluckily stuck in traffic. Finally, the doctor arrived and told me it was time to begin pushing. The bed from hell transformed into a birthing chair complete with stirrups and all. Show time.

familyI have been given many compliments in life. I've been complimented on my intelligence, quick wit and kind heart. My husband tells me I'm beautiful. But the compliments that have reigned down on me over the last few months have been the ones I'm most proud of. I was told I have a perfect cervix. I was told later my cervix was very favorable. Today, I was told that I am a great pusher. I was blushing with pride. Honestly, it helped though. I pushed for about forty minutes. It would have been a lot shorter but Bump was stuck after the first five minutes. My doctor finally said we were looking at having to do an episiotomy. I asked for once last try and pushed with all the strength I had and guess who decided to join us for the party. Our son was delivered at 6:35 pm that Friday on October 2nd. The nurses did a good job at cleaning him off and checking him out. Unfortunately for me, I had torn a bit with that last push, but I didn't care. My son was here.

While the doctor was working on stitching me up, I overheard the nurses tell the doctor that Bump had something called "a true knot" in his umbilical cord. There was no panic in their voices and the doctor seemed unconcerned. Bump was crying so I didn't think anything of it. When the nurse handed Bump me to me, she said "Here's your miracle baby." Of course, I didn't think any of that statement either. All babies are miracles, right? Then the doctor explained.

A true knot is a knot in the umbilical cord. It occurs in less than 1% of pregnancies. It happens early on when the baby can still move around enough inside to flip around. During one of those flips, Bump managed to tie a knot in his cord. The miracle about that is that those babies either die in the womb or are stillborn. It is rare one survives. I don't know how rare, but that fact that Bump was known as "The Miracle Baby" throughout the hospital did not leave a favorable taste in my mouth. In fact, it terrified me.

I was really hoping that my klutzy genes would be diluted enough not to affect Bump. Looks like he managed to do something dangerously silly. I'm sure he was thinking right before he knotted his cord that infamous phrase that has gotten me and most of my family into trouble "Hey you guys, watch this!" Doh! But it also seems that I passed along my good luck genes with a touch of Divine Intervention to pull himself out of that dangerous situation unscathed. I really feel sorry for Bump's Guardian Angel. Welcome to the family. Apologies, but there will never be a dull moment.

The nurses took the little one away for measuring and cleanup. He was soon back. His weight was six pounds and four ounces and measured in at eighteen and a quarter inches long. Jeff and I looked over every inch of his body. He looks like my husband. I hate that. Now I definitely know I'll never be able to say no to him. We all spent the rest of that Friday gazing over our new addition. Finally, it was time to go to bed. The nurses took Bump back to the nursery to watch him while I slept. I didn't sleep, of course.

Jeff arrived early the morning just as I was feeding. We spent the rest of the day gearing up for the LSU-Georgia game. It was Bump's first tailgate and we brought it in the only way Southeastern Louisiana natives can. LSU won the game and we taught our little one the LSU fight song! GO TIGERS!

Sunday seemed like a blur. Between naps, feedings and staring at our son we watched education videos and were taught how to care for our new one from baths to diaper changes. I should have taken notes, but with Jeff's photographic memory I really didn't need to. We were so excited about getting to take our son home! There was a bit of a concern earlier when Bump showed signs of jaundice, but the bilirubin test came back within a safe level and we were given the OK to take him home.

Finally, 7 pm arrived and the nurses wheeled in our son. Jeff diligently loaded Bump into the carrier. After a quick inspection and green light, we made our way down to the loading area where Jeff brought the car around. Another inspection was done for the car seat after our son was carefully loaded in. Jeff helped me into the car and then got in to drive us home. And so, the three of us, Jeff, myself and Gabriel William drove off into the sunset to our home where there are now three in the family.

~ Kathy

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