I’m a mommy now…

Jackson Eugene

My due date was February 18th, but you never know if you are going to deliver early or late. Everyone had been predicting I’d go early, and with the way my belly started to drop in my 37th week, I was starting to believe it. I was getting really uncomfortable when on top of everything, I caught a cold from Danny a couple days before my 38th week. I was miserable and unable to breathe, so I was up all night and getting really sleep-deprived. Add to that my braxton-hicks contractions that were starting to get pretty strong and frequent at night. I chalked it up to the exhaustion.

My weekly appointment a day before 38 weeks was uneventful. I was still 2 cm dilated and 90% effaced like the week before. None of that really says anything, so we made our next appointment for a week later. That night, I was down on the couch again, unable to breathe and having contractions. I started timing them and noticed they’d often fall into a pattern. A dear friend on the west coast kept me company while I timed them and just felt miserable in general. In the morning, I did something I never do – I called out of work. I was doing it because of my horrible cold and 2 nights of no sleep, but now I think my body knew something big was coming. When Danny got up, he realized he should stay home with me. I called the doctor and let her know that I was having contractions, but that they weren’t always regular. She suggested doing some walking and see what happens.

38 Weeks... Are these contractions leading somewhere?
Heading to the hospital
Contractions are lame.
Early morning contractions

Danny drove us to the mall, since it was too cold for walking outside. After one lap, I didn’t feel much different. Danny had us keep going for a while. When I got home, things really picked up. I called the after-hours line for my doctor in the early evening to tell her the contractions were 2-4 minutes apart. She told us to head to the hospital to be monitored. When we got there, they settled me in to get monitored and checked while Danny filled out the paperwork left over from my pre-registration. Of course I was still 2 cm dilated, but they were seeing that my contractions were going strong. They had me walk the halls for an hour, and by the end I was even having some teary moments during some hard contractions.

First starting to monitor
First starting to monitor
Jackson Eugene
Ready to rock and roll!
Jackson Eugene

When the doctor arrived and checked me, I was still 2 cm dilated, but almost totally effaced. So frustrating! A huge blizzard was due to hit in the morning and I was already in enough pain that I wouldn’t want to drive the 30 minutes home to wait for more action. The doctor decided I was ready enough to stay and have the baby, so she broke my water. It didn’t hurt, but it felt so weird… There was a lot of fluid and the doctor got sprayed a bit. Oops! (I sprayed 2 nurses throughout the night as well, hah!) After that, the contractions really picked up. I wanted to labor naturally as long as possible, but coming into the hospital having been up 36 hours with a terrible cold, I knew it was more likely than not I’d get an epidural to make it through to the pushing stage. I was doing pretty good – staying mobile and working though each contraction – Danny was a huge help. But then the baby rolld over and suddenly I was having horrible back labor contractions. Everyone had warned me how much back lbor hurts if you get it, and that is no understatement. It was an 11 on a scale of 1 – 10. I think I described one contraction to Danny as “fire, chain saws and rabid beavers chewing on my spine.” After Danny and I talked to the nurse about all my options, I very quickly decided I should get the epidural sooner than later before the back spasms hurt my ability to function later in the important stages. I wasn’t trying to be a hero and go all natural no matter what, but I was glad to have gone through a good number of hours of it.

The anesthesiologist didn’t waste time arriving, thankfully. Every 2 minutes my back went up in flames of pain. Danny left the room to avoid the needles and the doctor inserted the line during 2 different contractions. I’d worried it would make it hard to stay still for him, but I was too overwhelmed by paint to move much. At that point I was stuck to the bed, but it was midnight, so I’d been mobile quite a while and awake for close to 3 days. They checked me before the back labor and I was still only 3 cm. It was a huge relief to have the pain turned down from an 11 to a 1 or 2. I had a catheter inserted and my only complaint was that it felt funny. Nice to have that be my only discomfort when I was so tired.

I think I got the epidural just in time, because in a matter of about 3 or 4 hours, I went from 3 cm dilated to 8.5 cm. Right around then, I started having pain in the right side of my abdomen with every contraction. I noticed my right leg was quickly coming “unnumb” (the anesthesiologist made fun of that word when I used it). We decided to have him add a bit of medication to the epidural before I got to the pushing stage. Here is where I had my only “scare”, though I wasn’t every scared. I was laying flat with my eyes closed to the bright light he’d turned on as he “topped” me off. Suddenly I said “my mouth tastes weird” and described a metallic taste and some tingling. That sent everyone into action ordering  medicines “stat!” in case they were needed. I didn’t want to ask what they were for for fear of worrying myself, so I just kept my eyes closed after seeing that Danny was beside me. Everyone got quiet and just watched me, but all was well. The epidural kicked back in and I finally asked what had happened. He told me that sometimes some of the medication can get into the blood stream and shoot to the brain, causing a seizure. He though perhaps a tiny amount and seeped in and given me some slight warning signs. It made him concerned that I’d have a higher ris of seizure should I go for a c-section and have to turn up the epidural strength.

Things went back to being calm after that. They propped me up for a while to do some practice pushed while waiting to get from 9 to 10 cm dilated. When I was ready to start pushing, I was frustrated to find my contractions, while very strong, were slowing down. I just wanted as many opportunities to push as possible, but with only 3 pushes per contraction, everything was dragging out. Because of the extra epidural medicine to numb my right side, my left was completely useless. The turned off the epidural at the beginning of pushing to let me gradually come back to feeling. They started a line of pitocin to give me more frequent contractions, but had to turn it up several times before it did anything. I was having one spot of severe pain (they called a “window”) with every contraction, but it only bothered me when I paused pushing to take a breath. Since they turned the epidural off before the 2 hours of pushing, I gradually had more and more pain. But, I was happy to regain all feeling in my legs and no longer had back labor (they had flipped me several times to get him to roll over.)

My favorite part of the whole experience was the last hour of pushing. I pushed for 2 hours total, and the first hour was hard because I couldn’t feel the baby to know where to bear down. By the second hour I was starting to feel his head when it got close to the exit. Suddenly I knew exactly what to do and was eager for each contraction so I could make more progress. At one point I said to everyone (OB, nurse, Danny, a newborn nurse and a nurse in training), “Is is weird that I think this is awesome? I’m so excited!!” They laughed at me and later said I had a great attitude. I felt him getting closer and closer with each push, then even staring to come out a bit with each push. The OB was worried about him fitting out and told me she’d give me one more contractions, then she’d try an episiotomy. That got me super determined, and on push 1 of the next contraction I gave it all I had and out popped his head! I had told them I wanted to feel him, so she had me reach down. I wasn’t ready for what I felt – a slimy, furry blob… Was I giving birth to a kitten?? The OB did her suctioning or whatever they do (I was very overwhelmed and everything became a blur) then out he came, full head of dark hair, pink and screaming! He was on my belly and we were crying, though I was so tired I didn’t sob like I thought I would.

My baby, freshly pushed out.
Finally on the outside!
The new daddy... my two perfect boys!
Meeting his daddy
Jackson Eugene
It’s cold out here!

After some time on my tummy, they took him off to be cleaned and have his testing done – whatever other stuff they do. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9 – really, really good. He weighed 6 lbs and 13 oz and was 20″ long. We’d both guessed just over 7 lbs, but neither of us are big people and he was 2 weeks early. After making sure Danny was taking pictures since I couldn’t see across the room, I focused back on my OB. I’d been worried about delivering the placenta, as I knew nothing about that. But there it was in a pan beside the doctor. She told me it had come right out. I asked what the damage was down there, and it wasn’t two bad. several 1st degree tears in various places –  like shrapnel-style tears instead of a rip. She put one stitch in each. I had just enough epidural left that the stitches felt like bee stings. I was too tired to care either way, though. I looked down at my belly at that point and was a little shocked to see it so empty. But then my baby boy, Jackson, was back in my arms and I didn’t miss him inside me anymore.

Congratulations on making it to the end of this epic post! Thank you all SO much for the well-wishes you have sent our way in Jax’s first week of life. We are so over-whelmed with love for him. He looks just like a little mini Danny and we can’t take our eyes off of him.

Jackson Eugene
Jackson Eugene
Jackson Eugene
6 lbs 13 oz
Jackson Eugene

4 thoughts on “I’m a mommy now…

  1. That’s a wonderful Post. I am so glad to hear that you were in good hands (of course) and safe from the storm.I cannot imagine why all the ladies up here give birth at home with a mid-wife. Oh some go to the hospital, but a LOT don’t. I am impressed that you were so strong and in what sounds like a great mood despite being sick and all.
    All the best wishes from here-

  2. Oh my…
    I got so emotional over this. I started a livejournal almost 10 years ago to keep up with your updates and over the years watching you grow and become a magnificent woman and now a gorgeous mum… well, it’s quite something.

    Congrats to you and Danny
    (I have to say it: you grew a huge belly on top of your normal body and it looks like one of those props people would use to steal stuff from a grocery store :DDD I would have loved to take pictures of you ^_^)

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