Did you miss Part One of Owen’s birth story? That’s okay, you can catch up here.
I got a new nurse at 6 AM on Sunday morning. She took over for the nurse I had on Saturday afternoon for a couple hours so she was a familiar face. And I liked her. I think liking and getting along with your L&D nurse is really important. Months before I asked my doctor, “What if I don’t like my nurse?” She replied, “Ask for a different one. Not getting along with your nurse can ruin your birth process.” And I can totally see that. But thankfully I liked my nurse, and I was sad when her shift was over at 6 PM Sunday night.
My doctor called my nurse around 6:30 AM to check on my status. She told my nurse she was going to go to church, and then she’d come in to the hospital. After hearing this, I turned to Brad and said, “I hope she prays for my cervix to dilate to 10 cm.”
My nurse checked me at 6:45 AM and I was 2 cm dilated, 75% effaced.
I opted out of the 6th dose of Cytotec. I was over it. 5 doses only took me from closed to 2 cm. How much good was one more dose going to do?
My contractions were still 2-3 minutes apart, and the pain was getting to be unbearable again since the Nubain had wore off more than an hour earlier.
I don’t know if contractions are like this for everyone, but I didn’t get breaks in between. The pain would be an 8 when I was contracting, and when I wasn’t having a contraction the pain would be a 6. I asked my nurse about more Nubain. She said in the event I needed a Cesarean, they didn’t like giving it within 4 hours of surgery because it can make the baby lethargic which can lead to breathing issues, so she brought up getting an epidural. I replied, “Sure, let’s get this party started.”
Within 15 minutes the anesthesiologist had arrived. Brad isn’t a fan of needles so he left the room, which was fine by me. Getting the epidural wasn’t too bad. Knowing the pain from the contractions, and from them checking my cervix, would be going away shortly is what got me through the uncomfortableness of getting the epidural.
If you know me well, you know that I like to find humor in any situation, but specifically awkward situations. So, like everyone else after getting an epidural, I required a catheter. As my nurse was inserting my catheter she asked what I did for a living. You know, a little friendly catheter chit chat. I told her that I’m an early intervention developmental therapist and a blogger. I always feel awkward explaining the whole blogging thing to people, let alone when a stranger is all up in my lady bits, so that was a comical moment for me. Maybe I should have just given her one of my blogger business cards so she could look me up during one of her breaks.
Around 7:30 AM, Brad left to grab some coffee from the cafeteria. While he was gone, my nurse came in and said Owen would benefit from me getting some oxygen so she had me put on an oxygen mask. I put on the mask, and tried to fall back asleep. As I was dosing off, I heard Brad come back in the room and say an expletive. Poor guy thought something awful happened while he was gone for 5 minutes because when he came back I was passed out with an oxygen mask on my face.
My doctor came in at 10 AM. Fort Knox was still holding strong at 2 cm dilated, 75% effaced so she broke what was left of my water in hopes of getting things moving faster. She said she was going to go home but she would call back in a couple hours to see if I had progressed.
In the meantime, I tried to get as much rest as possible in between the blood pressure cuff going off what seemed like every other minute and the nurses coming in to change my positioning.
At 12:00 PM my nurse checked me. 3 cm dilated, 75% effaced. In a little over 24 hours I had dilated from nothing to 3 cm. Things clearly weren’t looking good for a vaginal delivery, but I had realized this hours before.
My doctor called my nurse a little after noon to check in. My nurse came in and said my doctor advised that we either start Pitocin or go for a Cesarean. She said she would leave Brad and me to talk about it. A minute later my hospital room phone started to ring. It was my doctor.
I told her I didn’t know what to do. Owen was doing really well, and I didn’t want to risk the Pitocin stressing him out and then having to go for an emergency Cesarean. If this was going to result in a Cesarean, I wanted him to be born when he was doing really well instead of being in distress.
My doctor said, “If you want my honest opinion, I think you’re going to get stuck.”
We talked a little more, and she said to talk it over with Brad and let my nurse know what we decided to do.
Brad and I talked for a while. He said he thought I had given it my all to have what I truly wanted– a vaginal delivery. We talked about how it took me 24 hours to get to 3 cm so how much longer would it take to go 7 more cm, and then would I even have the energy at that point to push for who knows how long. I mean, I had already been in active labor for 22 hours at this point. I said I didn’t think the Pitocin would help me dilate more, instead I felt like it would distress Owen.
Ultimately, around 12:30 PM, we came to the decision to go ahead with the Cesarean.
My doctor was right. We were having this baby on Sunday.
The nurses got everything into motion pretty quickly. My doctor came in to briefly talk about the Cesarean. My nurse brought me this liquid antacid, which has an awful taste, to drink that neutralizes stomach acid in case I vomit on the operating table. I told her I hadn’t vomited in 6 years and that I didn’t want to break the streak today.
Before I knew it, I was being wheeled into the operating room. The anesthesiologist who did my epidural reappeared. The nurses got me onto the operating table. Then the room started to bustle with everyone prepping for the Cesarean.
The anesthesiologist asked me if the Jason Mraz Pandora station was fine with me. I said, “Perfect.” It was the station I had been listening the past couples months while I worked at my computer at night so that was comforting.
Brad sat down next to my head on the left side and held my hand.
The anesthesiologist talked about how he was going to give me different medicine to numb from the top of my chest down. He then went on to talk about what I would feel during the operation. He mostly told me things I already knew. I’d feel pressure and tugging. Then toward the end of the surgery I might begin to shake. He said typically the harder you try to fight the shakes the worse they get so I shouldn’t try to fight them.
Then they started the whole pin prick and pinching “can you feel that?” process. I kept saying “yes”. And the anesthesiologist said, “I’m sorry. I keep forgetting that you’re a tall girl. I’ll give you some more medicine.” I’m not going to lie, the cold water running down your back feeling of the medicine being administered through the epidural catheter is kind of refreshing sensation.
I felt another pinch so I said, “I could feel that one.” The anesthesiologist said, “Oh that wasn’t us pinching you, that was the scalpel. They’ve started.”
I started to feel the pressure. It’s hard to describe the pain, but it felt like a dull, sour pain. I could feel my upper body moving as they tugged. I squeezed Brad’s hand tighter. I closed my eyes and focused on breathing in and out. I also focused on not vomiting. I wasn’t about to break this 6 year no-vomit streak on a measly Cesarean.
Within 3-4 minutes, Owen was pulled out of my belly. At 1:08 PM, to be exact. My memory is a little fuzzy but I remember hearing Owen cry. And my doctor saying, “Oh my goodness, look at that cone head! You weren’t coming out the old fashion way, were you, buddy?”
I ended up being so thankful for that cone head. It was proof that we made the right decision. That there was no way Owen was going to be able to be born vaginally. His cone head was a relief.
The anesthesiologist told me if I turned my head to the left I would be able to see Owen as the nurse walked him over to be examined. I was able to catch a glimpse.
I told Brad to get up and go take photos of Owen. While he was taking a video (the only 7 second video we have of Owen on his birthday), the nurses asked Brad if he wanted to cut the cord. He reluctantly agreed. His friend had told him months before how cutting the cord is a weird feeling so Brad had decided that he didn’t really want to cut the cord. But in the end, I think he’s glad he did it.
As I laid on the table, I was still the bossy photographer that I am, telling Brad to be sure to take horizontal photos. The anesthesiologist laughed and said it reminded him of when his children were born and his wife was bossing him around on the operating table during her Cesareans.
Then it came time to weigh Owen. 8 pounds, 11 ounces. The ultrasound tech from Thursday was only off by 1 ounce.
As my doctor was closing me up, my nurse told me she was proud of me for not breaking my vomit streak but there were a couple times she thought I was going to toss my cookies. I agreed.
While the other nurses got Owen dressed, Brad came over and sat with me again. Apparently he didn’t hear the part when the anesthesiologist mentioned the shakes because as I started to shake, Brad got this horrified look on his face.
And to be honest, the more I concentrated on trying to relax and not shake, the less I shook.
After I was closed up and moved onto a bed, Brad brought Owen over for me to hold. I didn’t have a super emotional moment where I cried. (I’ve had plenty since then– trust me.) I just remember studying his face and trying to wrap my head around the fact that minutes ago he was in my belly, and now he was in my arms. In a way, it didn’t feel real.
I don’t know if other people have the same experience, but since I had never given birth before I clearly didn’t know what to expect. This is kind of hard to explain but for so long it was all about my pregnancy and this belly I had grown for nearly 10 months. I mean, I obviously knew there was a baby in there and in time the baby would come out. But it’s a weird yet amazing feeling when your baby is actually born and placed in your arms.
I held Owen as they wheeled me back to my L&D room. When we got into the room, my nurse asked if I wanted to have skin to skin time. This was something that was really important to me so I instantly said yes. After we snuggled for a couple minutes, my nurse asked if I wanted her to help get him to latch on. I had barely any idea what I was doing so I agreed. Owen didn’t latch perfectly right away, but I knew it would take some time for us to get this whole nursing thing going. After a little bit of time my nurse excused herself so we could have some time alone as a family of three.
For the next hour or so I snuggled Owen, and Brad and I talked about everything that had just happened.
Once we had some special time with just the three of us, we called our parents and told them to head to the hospital. It was a surprise for both sets of our parents because when they finally arrived and walked in the room I was laying in bed holding their first grandchild. And that’s also when they learned his name.
After making the phone calls, a different nurse came in to give Owen a bath. I watched from my bed while Brad went over to take photos of Owen as he screamed during his first sponge bath.
However, he enjoyed the warmer when she was finished.
When he was nice and warm, the nurse dressed him and brought him back over to me.
A couple hours later, our parents arrived to meet Owen. And my best friend surprised us by driving down from Chicago to meet her first “nephew”.
It was definitely an exciting day for all of us.
It didn’t go exactly how I planned or wanted, but in the end we got what truly mattered– a healthy baby boy.
Some of you may wonder where we got the name Owen. It’s a name that I’ve loved since college, so about 10 years. It has always been my baby boy name, and, thankfully, Brad liked it.
Owen’s middle name, which we aren’t sharing on the blog, has a lot of meaning though. His middle name is in honor of Brad’s late cousin, who was only two weeks older than Brad. They grew up together and were best friends. Sadly, he died of a stroke on Christmas Day, 2005. Also, it’s a tradition from Brad’s paternal side of the family for all of the men to have a middle name that begins with a certain initial. It worked out perfectly because Brad’s late cousin’s name starts with that initial.