Saturday, December 27, 2008
Announcing the Birth of Michael Ryan!
Our dear little Advent gift was born on Friday, December 19th at 11:49pm. He came out via an unexpected c-section because the little bugger was breech and we've had a crazy week ever since. The best part of this whole birth experience has been getting to know our newborn son. He has so many cute expressions and ways to tell us what he is thinking or wanting. I've totally and utterly fallen in love with Michael Ryan - and all he does is eat, sleep, and poop!
Here is our story.
Friday morning I woke up in early stage labor, but I wasn't sure it was for real. It didn't really hurt and as I had no idea what a contraction felt like... It was all new to me. What tipped me off was my insane nesting attack throughout the day. Ryan and I cleaned the whole apartment, did some major reorganization of pantries and closets and piles of gifts. And I was determined to wrap all my Christmas gifts before the little guy came. We almost made it.
My water broke at 6:00pm and we were off to the hospital by 7:15pm. At that point I knew it was real labor, and everything was moving fast. They checked me at 8:00pm and I was already 5 cm dialated.
Ryan and I had already decided to go for a natural birth and we just finished our Bradley Method classes on Wednesday. This is the part of the story where Ryan really shines. He eased right into the role of coach and made my labor so easy to deal with. My pain was centered in my back and Ryan spent most of labor massaging all the sore spots and applying counter-pressure during contractions.
All I wanted to do that night was soak in a nice warm bath in the hospital jacuzzi - especially since we don't have a bathtub in our apartment! First, however, the nurses had to give me penicillin drip because I tested GBS positive. It took us an hour just to get the meds to the room (thanks to hospital chaos) and then I had to wait another 30 minutes for the antibiotic to drip into my IV (which, by the way, is rather painful and worse than the actual contractions). It was about 10pm by the time I was going to be allowed to crawl into the tub. And then I felt sick...
So they checked me again. This time, however, the nurse didn't say anything. She just told us that she wanted to take a scan. It turned out that the little stinker had flipped around in the womb and was definitely butt-side-down breech. Suddenly there was a change in plans. Here I was, nearly ready to push him out and really starting to feel those contractions, and they were telling me I have to have a c-section instead. My midwife wouldn't be able to turn him around because I was too far along in labor, at least 9 cm dialated at this point, and they didn't want to risk a prolapsed cord or some other distressing turn of events.
It took another hour to get me from my laboring room to the surgery room. The waiting period was bit extended because my midwife had yet to arrive. It turns out that on her way to the hospital she was hit by a drunk driver! Luckily, she was fine and she made it to the c-section just in time.
I think this was the most difficult time in my labor, both physically and emotionally. The contractions were really intense, but I would have been fine if I knew I got to push soon. Changing plans to a c-section, however, kind of broke my spirit. I no longer wanted to deal with the pain and was totally focused on when the doctors would "take it away." It was a very challenging hour, especially when they had to separate me from Ryan during my surgery prep.
And so, the doctors numbed me up with a spinal block and proceeded to cut my baby out of me. After having gone unmedicated through most of labor and then experiencing a c-section, I can tell you that I prefer the labor pains to the "pain-free" c-section. Give me natural birth any day.
Michael Ryan entered the world by a different route than I had anticipated, but I can truly say he was worth it. Ryan was able to cut the cord, put on his first diaper, and then cuddle our little boy skin-to-skin on his chest while I was being put back together. I am so thankful for Ryan's calm and levelheadedness that night. He freaked out a bit when he found out I had to undergo surgery, but he didn't show it to me. I was also very peaceful about having a c-section. I knew that I did the best I could for our son and sometimes the best laid plans go awry.
And man, oh man, did our plans go awry this last week! I'll have more on this in a continued post...