Let me start at the beginning. From about the midway point of my pregnancy, my doctor (who I love) had been making comments about the fact that the baby was measuring big and it was concerning her a bit. I'm a small girl, but not incredibly so, so I was always surprised that she thought I might not be able to carry him to term or to deliver him the way I wanted, which was absolutely, positively NO C-section. Around 30 weeks she said that since he was measuring so big we would wait it out until 39 weeks if I made it that far and then do a final ultrasound to see how big he was and to talk about inducing. Another thing I was 100% against. So for the final few weeks of my pregnancy I was praying/crossing fingers/wishing on stars that I would naturally go into labor on my own before that 39 week mark. Well, that just wasn't meant to be apparently.
On the morning of April 23rd, we went in for my 39 week sonogram. At this point we knew that most likely I would be induced sometime in the next week and we were pretty much prepared. After the appointment that morning I had plans to get a spray tan (priorities you know), vacuum the house, clean our guest bathroom...all of the ridiculous things that don't really matter but when you are in that "nesting" phase feel absolutely positively essential.
When we got the sonogram that morning we were told he was no longer measuring too big, he was pretty much right on track. The ultra sound tech said she was guessing his weight to be around 7 1/2 to 8 pounds. Much better than the 8 plus we had been warned about. She said everything looked good measurement wise...and then she dropped the bomb. My fluid was measuring very low...not quite dangerously, but enough that she said "Well, looks like you'll be having a baby today!". Umm...oh my.
At that point I think all of the reality of what was going on slammed Arsen and I both in the face. I said something about my plans to go home and clean and she informed me that she doubted my doc would let that happen. So after about 10 agonizing minutes of waiting alone in a room with shocked looks on our faces and making little comments about what needed to be done IF in fact today was the day and me going into a slight panic about the fact that I reallyreallyreally did NOT want to be induced, my doctor walked in and said "OK, so we're having this baby today!".
She told us to go home and grab our hospital bags and then to go get checked in. Everything started happening so fast and I was so overwhelmed...even though I knew in the back of my head that this was a possibility, I still couldn't believe it was really time.
We went home and got our bags, took a few last minute photos, and I said a long, somewhat-tearful goodbye to my baby Addie. That was honestly the hardest thing for me to deal with probably this entire pregnancy, and I know people may think I'm slightly crazy because she's "just a dog", but I knew the minute we came home with a tiny little baby her whole world would be turned upside down. It's something I've stressed about since day one. And to be honest, it isn't as bad as I thought it might be. But it's not as good as I hoped it would be either. I'm sure there's another post on that coming soon.
We headed off to the hospital around 12:30, and it's just a short 15 minute drive from the house thankfully. Once we got all checked in to the hospital and I changed in to my gown, they hooked me up to all kinds of monitors and started my IV right around 2 PM. Then after just a few minutes they started that dreaded Pitocin drip.
Going into this whole thing I had very definite ideas of what I wanted my labor and delivery process to be like. I had a birth plan, and being the type of person that I am, I wanted to control the entire situation and stick to the plan as closely as possible. I wanted a vaginal birth, with no meds if at all possible (I wasn't totally against an epidural, but I wanted to see if I could do it), and my number one thing was that I absolutely did not want a C-section. More than anything in this world I wanted to experience everything about delivering my sweet baby, having him put immediately onto my chest, and starting the bonding process right away. I had been dilated to a one for a few weeks, and by this point was "almost" at a two, so I did have some hope that my body was starting things off on its own. But I knew that being induced with Pitocin meant that my contractions would most likely be more painful, and that can lead to an increased risk in having an epidural. I also knew that all of this can lead to an increased risk of C-section. So I wasn't too happy to be starting that way.
After the drip was started, Arsen and I just pretty much relaxed for awhile. My contractions started pretty quickly, but they weren't too bad. I played on the iPad, emailed my boss and co-workers, looked around on Facebook and Pinterest a bit. It was strangely calm. It didn't really feel like what I thought it might. Eventually mine and Arsen's parents showed up, and everyone was just sitting in the room waiting on something to happen. They kept upping the dosage they were giving me of the Pitocin because I wasn't really reacting.
Around 5 PM my doctor came to check on me, and I was still just between a two and a three. At this point my contractions were getting to be extremely painful. It's strange how you wonder what they will feel like and no one can really explain it. To me, it just felt like the worst cramps I had ever had in my entire life. Where that is literally the only thing that I could see, hear or feel. I put in my headphones and played my birth playlist that I had created, but even that wasn't helping. On a monitor we could see when the contractions would start and stop in little peaks and valleys, and at one point I had one that stayed elevated for well over ten minutes. I honestly thought the pain would never end. I pride myself on having a high pain tolerance and not being a big complainer (Arsen, stop laughing), but that almost broke me. At that point everyone was saying if I needed an epidural to get one. One nurse said "You don't get an award for holding out longer, you know." She checked me to see how I was progressing and I was still just in between a two and three, so I knew this was going to be a long, long process. So around 7 PM I decided to get the epidural.
Everyone left but Arsen, and he stood in front of me and held my hands while they had me bend forward in the bed and sit "Indian Style" (I think they call it Criss Cross Apple Sauce these days haha) to get the shot. The numbing portion definitely was painful, but nothing too ridiculous. However, something happened that caused my left leg to spasm and shoot almost straight out and start twitching a bit. It was the strangest, most involuntary motion I've ever made, and it scared me to death. Of course I had done all the research on all the awful side effects of epidurals, and I think the immediate thought that I was going to be paralyzed or something flew through my mind when that happened. That's when I lost it for the first time. I started crying and couldn't hardly stop. Thank GOD for the amazing, supportive, sweet, kind-hearted man that I married. He said all the right things and wiped my tears and calmed me down like no one else could. Throughout this entire ordeal he really saved my sanity so many times. I'll be forever thankful to him for that.
My doctor came back around 9 PM to check on me, and at that point I was finally at a four. She said the baby was fine, but that his head was swelling (can't remember the technical term she used) because of being stuck in the birth canal for so long already and that when he was born we could expect a cone head. She went home at that point and said she would be back around 1 AM to check on things.
From there, everyone pretty much started dozing off. Everyone but me, that is. I knew I needed to sleep, but I was so apprehensive about everything that I just couldn't. I mainly just laid in bed staring at the TV but not really watching. Things weren't going how I hoped, and I think it had me a little uneasy. The next four hours are kind of a blur of listening to the baby's heart on the monitor, a little small talk, and laying around doing nothing but waiting.
When my doctor came back at 1 AM she checked me and informed me that I was still just at a four. She let me know that she just didn't think I would get to where I needed to be. She said we could wait until 3 and check again, but she didn't see me making much progress. We discussed how this was something we had talked about for months, and that it was just probably not going to happen for me the way I had hoped. She was very kind and encouraging, and she told me it was completely up to me. She said the baby wasn't in distress and that I was doing OK. But she made it clear that her opinion was that I needed the C-Section. The nurses said similar things. At this point I was starting to feel all my dreams of my ideal delivery slip away. I asked everyone but Arsen to leave. And that's the second time I lost it.
Making the decision to have the C-Section was the hardest decision I think I've ever had to make. I was so, so determined to have the delivery that I had hoped for, and it was just so incredibly hard to let that go. Arsen held me and let me cry and mourn the loss of my dream, and he said all the right things to encourage me and let me know he would support whatever decision I made. But he made the point that the little guy had been working hard to get out for hours, and he knew he (the baby) and I both were getting tired. We decided that we would go ahead with the C-Section.
After being prepped for surgery, rolled back, and having the procedure done, it was all over in less than an hour. To say that it was strange to lay on a table and know that someone was removing my baby from my womb while I couldn't feel a thing is a major understatement. I kept a smile on my face and tried to convince myself that I was OK with what was happening, but it was definitely tough for me.
But then at 2:08 AM on April 24th, Grayson made his entrance into the world, and the minute he was held up over that curtain and I saw him, it didn't matter anymore. They took him and wrapped him up and handed him to Arsen right away, and he brought him over to me within seconds. Seeing his face was one of the most indescribable things I've ever experienced. I was overwhelmed with feelings, but more than anything I just felt completely overjoyed to finally have him here with us. They did all of his measurements and wiped him down a bit, and then they took him back to my labor room with Arsen while I was being sewed up. Definitely not at ALL the experience I was hoping for, but like Arsen kept reminding me, all that matters is that we had a healthy, happy baby boy.
After I got back to my labor room everything becomes a bit of a blur. Grayson was screaming. And when I say screaming, I can't express how loud these cries were. And he just wouldn't stop. The baby nurse brought him over and we tried to get him to nurse to calm him down, we did skin to skin, we did everything she suggested, and he just. wouldn't. stop. It was awful. And terrifying. And then the nurse said something about the fact that we had to get him to stop screaming because it could cause him to have a collapsed lung. Are you kidding??? Worst thing in the WORLD you could say to a brand new first time mama. I was more scared than I've ever been in my entire life, but it was almost like I was in shock. My mom said she could tell I was stressed, but on the inside I felt like everything was falling apart.
They transferred us to my new room after about an hour in recovery and he continued to scream off and on there. I can't remember how long it was before he completely calmed down, but by about 5 AM when Arsen's mom left we had a handle on things. I was finally able to just lay in bed with my little guy and enjoy him. It was amazing. It was beautiful. It was all of the things I had been hoping and dreaming it would be, and it was finally, finally happening.
We had several visitors over the next couple of days, both family and friends, and it all passed in a blur of sleep, breastfeeding, nurses coming and going, and much more pain than I was expecting. Since I hadn't planned on the C-Section, I was not mentally prepared to be recovering from surgery. I hate feeling helpless, and I totally was. Arsen had to help me to the shower, help me undress, and then basically bathe me. I will never, ever doubt how much that man loves me. To see me in that state and to never flinch and to tell me I was beautiful and doing a great job as a mommy and to continually encourage me....sometimes I'm pretty convinced he is actually the best guy on this planet.
Those first couple of days as a mama were beautiful. It is honestly impossible to explain the love you have for your child, but I'm sure I'll never stop trying. In my eyes, Grayson is the most beautiful, advanced, perfect baby I have ever seen, and I'm sure I will think he is the most amazing toddler, little boy, teenager, and man in the world until the day I die. Seeing Arsen with him melts my heart, and to see how naturally this whole fatherhood thing has come to him has made me fall more in love with him every day.
I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have this gorgeous little baby, the best husband I could have ever hoped for, and the sweetest little pup who I still adore with all my heart. Life is at once amazing, exhausting, overwhelming and blissful, and I wouldn't trade a second of it.