Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chapter One: Jonah and the Whale

Saturday/Sunday: September 19th and 20th
We walked around the neighborhood Saturday evening. We just KNEW that Jonah would come before Monday. When Sunday rolled around, I was convinced I would be going back to work Monday morning. Now, I love my job, but I had gotten it in my head that I would not be returning. Sunday morning, we both woke up and were extremely tired. However, we decided to walk to Subway in order to hopefully induce labor! This next sentence is not for the faint at heart, so just stop reading and go to the next paragraph:) This same morning, I had lost my mucus plug, and immediately after began having slight cramping.

Ok, you can read again.

So, on to Subway we went, and once we ordered, I sat down and had more regular contractions that would last about 45 seconds and come every 5-10 minutes. These weren't bad, but they were uncomfortable. We walked back home, and I decided to go ahead and get a few things in order "just in case". The cramping continued throughout the day, but it did not intensify. That evening, I began having strong band-like contractions that lasted over a minute and came anywhere from every 2 to 10 minutes. What in the world? I tried to hold out until the next morning, as I had an appointment. However, by 10pm, I was so uncomfortable that I had to focus on getting through each contraction. I called the midwife on call, who was Carolyn Greene. Her husband was one of my OB instructors during nursing school, and I was glad to hear her voice on the other line. I explained everything to her, and she said to hold out as long as I could. I felt more reassured, and we packed our bags and lay down, thinking that by the morning we could head for the hospital. After a warm bath to try to relax, I could not even stand up even more and watched the clock until it hit 11:45pm. OK! Time to go! By the time we got to the hospital, it would be after midnight, and we wouldn't have to pay for another room. We got in the car, kissed Tuck good-bye, and drove straight to the hospital. By this time, the contractions were "rolling" without relief. At times there would be a minute break, but I felt like they never really stopped.
We finally got to the hospital and checked in. The room was wonderful, and the nurse was reassuring. I got Nubain to help relax me, and then an hour later received an epidural. I was poked 3 different times...third time's a charm??? Well, not really.
3 hours later, I could feel the contractions again to the point that I felt I was starting labor all over again. Another anesthesiologist came in and got the epidural started with 1 stick; he also gave me a spinal block that lasted about 2 hours but was immediate acting. My right leg was completely numb, and I could not move it! By this time, my water broke, and it was meconium stained. Sigh...
So we flushed out the uterus to hopefully reduce the amount of meconium that Jonah would be exposed to. At around 11am, almost 12 hours since we had been there, I felt such incredible pressure that the only option was to push. Although I was completely dilated and effaced, Jonah's little head was not far enough down. They tried to get me to hold off, but I looked at that clock and thought "I'm over this. We are going to have a baby even if I pass out doing it".
We called Carolyn back in, and she had her student, Michelle, with her. Michelle was wonderful and pretty much coached me through the whole delivery. It took a few contractions to figure out exactly how to "push". We also tried all sorts of different positions to help Jonah descend. At one point, I was pulling on a bedsheet like a rope. The next minute, I was holding on to a bar like back in dance class, although this plie was not quite the same!
As each hour passed, I became more exhausted and felt like we were getting nowhere. The epidural was wearing off, but this baby was coming regardless! At one point, I pushed so hard I threw up. Patrick is still amazed at this, as he has never seen me throw up before. I HATE to throw up and will do anything to stop it. Well, there was no stopping this one!
After 2 and a half hours had passed, it was time to talk about options. We decided it would be best to use a vacuum, as he had come down far enough; however, I was feeling like I was going to pass out between each contraction. Dr. Haskins came in, and the NICU team (about 8 people) came in as well. This provided all the encouragement I needed! There was NO way that I was going to be in this vulnerable position any longer than I had to with all these people to gawk:) I pushed through 2-3 contractions, and Jonah arrived! However, I felt every single bit of little Jonah enter this world, and nothing could have prepared me for that!!! When he was born, he wasn't given a chance to cry to reduce the risk of aspiration. He was handed over to the team, and within a few minutes, his little cry split through the air! He was wonderful, healthy, and I was pooped! I will spare the next hour of details, but I will say that I can't sit or stand for too long without being incredibly sore!
The nurses were wonderful, the midwife and student were compassionate, and Patrick was by my side the whole time, holding that poor right leg. He offered ice, water, and whatever else seemed to be needed. I couldn't have done it without him, and he offered the encouragement I needed to make it through. As I had asked for the mirror to be moved (it was depressing for me to not see progress), I relied on him to give me a play by play. That encouragement was what brought you, Jonah, into this world!!! My favorite phrase from Patrick was "Grunt through it!"
So this concludes Chapter One: Jonah is out of the whale, and our lives are forever changed!

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