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Renee's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story
~ Meet James Brady Allen, born November 25, 2002

Written November 30 . . . I think this is my day for the post-partum blues. I usually get a big bout of it for a few hours a few days after my babies are born -- get all weepy and emotional for no specific reason, but once I get it all out, it's done and gone and I feel much better. I was just upstairs a bit ago watching my 3 year old daughter dance around the room and it hit me then -- how sweet she is, how blessed I am, and how, even though things can be difficult to manage at times, it's such a blessing and a joy to be a mother.

For some reason, I was really scared or apprehensive going into the hospital. I just kept worrying that my baby wouldn't be alright or that there would be something wrong. My dh prayed with me and I felt comfort, but still didn't know what God had in store for me. I just wasn't expecting anything until I saw how it went.

My labor went just fine. When I got to the hospital and they put me on the monitor, they said that I was already having regular contractions 5-6 minutes apart. They just let me do that on my own all day until my OB was able to come in. He thought he'd be in around noon (had 3 morning surgeries), but one surgery had complications and he had an emergency C-section on top of that, so he instructed the nurses not to accelerate anything with me and I just kept on having the contractions (nothing real painful, just a few uncomfortable ones) throughout the day.

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When he finally came in at about 4:30, I was only dilated to 3 1/2 cm., but he said that there are many ways that contractions prepare the cervix for delivery and that my contractions were getting me ready to go. He broke my water just before 5:00 and had the nurses turn on some pitocin to help things progress a bit faster. I asked for an epidural (knowing full well what was to come) and they all questioned me as to why I'd want to have one since I'd probably go really fast. My answer was even if it is "really fast" -- it would still hurt just as much and I don't want to hurt that much. I don't want to feel all the tugs and pushes of the afterbirth, and I don't like how helpless and hopeless I feel in the midst of extreme pain. So they gave me a walking epidural which starts out slow, is localized to the thigh through ab area and progressively gets more powerful. I worked with the anesthesiologist for the next few hours (which seemed like mere minutes) and by the time it was at its max and all inklings of pain were gone, I felt lots of pressure down below.

I also showed Scott that the shape of my stomach had changed from big ball to sort of a roller coaster kidney shape -- round at the top, concave in the middle, and round at the bottom again. When the nurse came in to check me (she was mainly checking my monitor readings), I questioned her as to how much she could really tell from looking at the papers and that she should check me (hadn't had a pelvic exam since the 3 1/2 cm.). She checked and said that I was past 9 cm. and had lots of bloody show, which meant it was time. She called in my doctor and by the time he had me all set up, Scott said he could see the baby's hair.

The pushing seemed even more mellow and quick than in the past (which you can't get much quicker than one push). My doctor told me to give a nice even push, which I did and the head was out. He told me to take a breath and give a gentle push, which Scott claims wasn't even necessary because the shoulders were out and my doctor just helped slide the baby out. The moment had finally come for Scott to learn that we were having a boy. He was excited to know and I was excited to have us BOTH finally know. I sort of held my breath, waiting to see if everything was alright with our baby. I've never even wondered with any of our other children, but for some reason -- perhaps because I'm older or because this is our last one, I'm not sure -- I was just a little nervous. But they said that he looked wonderful and put him on my chest for me to see. He was just perfect and as beautiful as can be. I was overwhelmed with relief, amazement, and gratitude. My doctor seemed extremely pleased too. He had worked a longer day than planned on the eve before his vacation and he said that all week long things had seemed to not go as planned and to get more complicated. He told me that my delivery had been the smoothest of the whole last week and it was a great note to begin his vacation on. I agreed!

We named him James Brady Allen, mostly after Scott's dad (and many other great-grandpas in every family line) and the middle name comes from my love for big families, apparent in my life-long love for the Brady Bunch (may sound silly, but I like the name too). We also call him "Sweet Baby James" (love that James Taylor song -- and I just ordered the CD online so I could sing along with the lullaby). So there's some significant meanings for his name and some playful ones too.

I could go on and on telling you every detail between then and now. But I'll just end by telling you that I'd forgotten how precious a new baby can be -- how wondrous an experience it is to cuddle, feed, and meet all the needs of my sweet baby boy.

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