So when I left off, I had just gotten the sleepy pain medicine to get a break. I remember that although I dozed off, I wasn't actually fully asleep. I could still feel the contractions, they were just waaaay less intense.
|Ahhhh sweet sleep (ish).|
|Talking over options with Lori & my family.|
So I talked about it with Patrick and my family. I knew I needed help but I felt like an utter failure to even consider getting an epidural. I felt like I was betraying the beautiful vision that we had created for the birth of our son. Luckily, I have an amazing husband who didn't blink an eye in supporting me. I think at that point everyone was so tired that the thought of having an easier labor via epidural was a good idea for everyone. So I decided to get the drugs.
The anesthesiologist had literally just left the building, because it was around 6 pm. They paged him and luckily caught him before he had gotten too far from the hospital. He arrived and got the epidural placed quickly. It wasn't that bad of a process and the anesthesiologist was a really nice guy. After that, I felt haaaappy.
|After the epidural. Yes, I look terrible. Happy, but terrible. But I guess that just goes to show how awfully exhausted I was.|
It was at that point that Lori informed us that she hadn't wanted to say anything before the epidural because she was afraid I would punch her in the face BUT that my contractions were not doing enough. Like I said in Pt. 1, it's not recommended to be in labor longer than 24 hours after the water breaks and the way I was progressing it looked like I would reach the 30 hour mark before I even could start pushing. So she recommended a small dose of pitocin to get things going faster. This was also something that I was very against before the birth. I figured labor would take however long it would take and that was that. But it really did seem like my uterus was struggling to perform the way it was meant to and needed some help (the reason why would become all to evident soon).
|My coach giving me words of encouragement.|
Pushing was actually really great in the beginning. I felt like I was doing a good job and Lori, Patrick & my family kept telling me how well I was doing. I felt so successful.
|In between pushes. See? Pretty happy camper.|
Grayson had crowned and at the same time, Lori realized that we were dealing with a MUCH bigger baby than anticipated. I don't remember this but Patrick recalls hearing her say "oh no no no no" when she realized how big his head was in its entirety. I was able to push his head out but the bigger problem then became apparent - his shoulder was stuck on my pelvis. This is called shoulder dystocia and it's one of the major emergencies that labor & delivery people run practice drills to prepare for because there's no way of knowing if it's going to happen. And once it is happening, there is a finite time (four minutes) before the baby can be in serious trouble (lack of oxygen to the brain, among other issues).
|Shoulder dystocia - you can see the top shoulder of the baby is stuck.|
I remember being more scared than I ever have been in my whole life. I thought that I was going to lose my baby boy. Thankfully the Gaskin maneuver and the primal scream pushing were enough that I was able to push him out completely. But even after he was born, I didn't know if he had survived the birth. He wasn't breathing when he came out and apparently had started to turn blue. They rushed him over to the newborn table and gave him oxygen, which he didn't need because he started to cry right when they got him over there. I was so scared and so out-of-it that I didn't hear his first cry. Patrick leaned in and told me to stay with him and just breathe. That he was okay and I did it. I remember saying that I couldn't hear him cry, was he crying, was he okay? Patrick told me yes and to listen and I could hear him, which I did.
|Reassuring me that everything was okay.|
|Grayson testing out his lungs.|
|Hearing him crying and knowing that he was okay was one of the best moments of my life.|
|Doing the Apgar tests (I think).|
Patrick asked several nurses and as far as anyone can remember, he was not only the biggest baby born in December, but the biggest baby born vaginally in recent memory. After the birth, Lori reviewed my chart to see if she had missed any indicator of his size. Normally very big babies are born to either women with gestational diabetes or Hispanic women (apparently). I did not have either of those factors. What I did have was an extremely healthy, large placenta and a very thick umbilical cord. Grayson was just a very well nourished little fetus. Add that to the fact that he was a week late, and that I'm tall and can "hide" his size in my long torso and you get a very unexpected large baby.
|Getting his big old noggin measured.|
|Heavyweight champ! The baby that held the title before Grayson was a measly 8 pounds 8 ounces.|
I had pictured this beautiful event and it turned out to be the most terrifying day of my life, and I think I can safely say, the lives of pretty much everyone else in that room. Even Lori, our battle-tested, uber-experienced midwife said it was one of the worst shoulder dystocias she'd ever seen and that what she really wanted to do was go home and drink three bottles of wine. Later she would describe him as "the baby who took ten years off my life."
|Lori meets Grayson and tells him she's got some words for him haha.|
This post is long enough now and even though there's a lot more to talk about that we've been through in the past month (Grayson's high blood sugar at birth, jaundice, and weight gain issues, my mastitis, intense healing process, etc...) but for now I'll just say that we are all doing well and so, so happy to have such a miraculous baby boy in our lives. I can't imagine life without him and I would do it all again a thousand times just to see his sweet little face. And with that, I'll leave you with some more lovely images by my sis Maleea (who I'd just like to give mad props for continuing to photograph despite the intensely stressful conditions). Thanks for reading, it's been cathartic to write this out. Now I'm off to kiss my baby's sweet little cheeks.
|Holding daddy's hand minutes after birth.|
|Everything in the world.|
|My little boy.|
|Daddy-son bonding time.|
|I have no caption for this image because it makes me cry.|
|The rest of the fam gets to meet the little fighter.|
|After two days in the hospital, we got to head home.|