Friday, June 26, 2015

I Don't Know My Social and My Name is Epidural {Keaton's Delivery}

It's funny, despite delivering a baby roughly 18 months prior to having Keaton, I still forgot what to expect. Ok, I knew a lot more going into this delivery, but couldn't for the life of me remember what the days were like last time leading up to labor.

'Braxton Hicks versus real contractions'...I can't tell you the number of times I Googled this for BOTH pregnancies. 'Signs that you're in labor' - that was another one of my Google favorites. I really had few signs last time until my water broke. I didn't have to go through the wondering whether or not I was in labor and last time I assumed I would be right at my due date or after with a first baby. Instead, I was ten days early. This time I was afraid I was going to miss the cues. In my opinion (at least having had two kids), labor is not like remembering how to ride a bike. It's more like you know you're going get on something that will take you to the end point, you just don't know what kind of transportation you'll be using. Sure, it could be a bike like last time, but it could easily be a jet...or roller skates. You could have to hitchhike. I'm super analytical. Can you tell?

We were supposed to induce that Monday, a week before my due date, because of his size. He measured three weeks ahead for much of my pregnancy and with my history of previous gestational diabetes and Claire having been 8.6 pounds at ten days early, the doctor was thinking he would be at least a ten pounder if we waited until my due date. Turns out she was right.

My water broke again this time and a week early on Sunday. However, instead of a 6AM wake up call it was a 12:30AM alarm. What a difference this made! Instead of having a full night's sleep, we began labor on sleep fumes. Thankfully, my parents were already staying at our house that weekend and my mother-in-law came in a few days prior as well. Claire was well taken care of and we didn't have to worry about last minute preparations for her. This had been a big concern of mine. We made it to the hospital thirty minutes after my water broke, also completely different. Last time I got up and showered, shaved my legs, fixed my hair, put make up on, did a little online get the picture. During my last several appointments my doctor stressed that we needed to get to the hospital immediately because of how progressed we were. I took this very seriously for a few different reasons.

First off, I wanted the epidural. This was a driving force for me. My pain tolerance isn't the best. I admire all you ladies who can labor for two days naturally, but I had to call uncle. Last pregnancy I got the epidural around a 7 and thank heavens because I didn't have the baby for seven more hours. It allowed me to rest and prepare for delivery instead of run into a wall to knock myself out. Mascara, clean hair, brushed teeth...these were all secondary concerns. I went into Operation Get Epidural mode. (P.S. I did brush my teeth)

And then there is the whole I-Don't-Want-My-Husband-to-Deliver-My-Baby-in-the-Car thing. Or at home. Again, kudos to those who have had home births. I second the words of Prissy from Gone With the Wind. "Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies!". Beyond putting a kettle of hot water on to boil, getting clean towels and some twine, I really wouldn't have a clue. (I may have watched too much Little House on the Prairie growing up and I don't think my husband has ever watched any so we would have really been in a bind. What if we couldn't find the twine?)

We peeled into the hospital parking lot. Parked and ran (ok, waddled) to the door. It was locked. A gracious person walking by told us we had to go around to the back. Last time we just walked in through the front door. We made it to the ER entrance to check in. I think I made everyone in the waiting room uncomfortable. By this time the contractions were getting pretty serious. They were coming very close together and strong so I was breathing like Darth Vadar on steroids. Every question they asked me I wanted to say 'Epidural, yes'.

After what felt like an eternity, they brought me a wheel chair and took me to the delivery room. Apparently, that night they had several women show up in labor. A lower pressure front moved in and everyone's water broke. The nurses seemed surprised that I was at a 7. Yeah, no kidding. Our main nurse also said that this was the lowest carrying of a baby at this point - whatever that means. Again, wasn't news to me. I was ready to have this baby and had been for a while.

Things were a whirl in the room and a nurse was asking me for things like my social security number and date of birth - over and over as it was mistakenly deleted after she typed it in - over and over. Were they going to ask me to walk a straight line next? I wanted to yell "Can't you see I'm having a baby here? I don't know my social and my name is Epidural!". Instead, I answered each question obediently through gritted teeth and Darth Vadar breaths. After all, these were the people with the meds.

That's when I heard it. My ears must have been tuned into the word. The nurses were off to the side in discussion and I overheard them say "I don't think she's going to be able to get the epidural in time." Joey told me later that he heard them say it too and he didn't have the heart to tell me. Wise man. I was in full on denial, kept asking for it and they said they were waiting on my labs to come back. I was trying to stay calm in between tracker jacker contractions, but all I could think was that it's going to get worse and wondering if anyone has passed out from pain during labor. Like I said, I was trying to stay calm and focused.

Maybe it was because I looked completely desperate or maybe they didn't think I was going to make it, but the the guy with the meds made a Superman appearance even though my lab results never did. I would imagine many a woman in labor would kiss that guy if she didn't have to remain stone still while the epidural was being injected. (It's amazing how you can make yourself sit still through a contraction when you know you are getting an epidural) And this time the epidural worked on both sides immediately. Sweet relief.

It was all gravy after that. Ok, maybe that's a stretch, but at least I had time to catch my breath for an hour or so before pushing. I also was able to calm down and think about what we were there for - meeting our sweet boy. We had Keaton within around three hours of arriving at the hospital. The nurses were all surprised at how big he was.

I remember hearing his robust cries and felt so relieved and happy. He's here and he's ok. They gave him to me and I was completely smitten. I got more skin-to-skin time with him than I did Claire. I think they took her away to get cleaned up pretty quickly. They let him stay with me as long as I wanted. It was a sweet time.

I just remember thinking about it in that moment and taking it all in - at least as much as I could grasp. This little person - has been inside me for the past nine months. This person didn't exist nine months ago. And then they just did and feel like they always have existed. It's crazy. It's overwhelming. It's all worth it. So worth it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

About A Boy

Until April 26th, only one boy has ever had my heart. And now there are two. One is 6'4, tall, dark and handsome. The second, had my heart while he was only 9.5 lbs and 20.25 inches long. It was love at first sight - or even better - love at first breath.

Keaton came a week early (for which I'm so thankful - see 9.5 lbs above) at 4:31 AM, April 26th. My heart melted and somehow grew all at the same time. You know that question you have in your mind as a parent of one - wondering how it could be possible to love another child just as much as your first? Yup, what they say is true. It just happens. You know the minute you hear or see that little one that instead of splitting, your heart will expand. "And the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day." That's how it's been falling in love with my husband, my daughter and now my son - more love than I would ever think my heart would be capable of holding. God's design for our physical hearts is one of beauty and resilience, but the abilities of the intangible heart blow my mind.

He looks so much like his big sister did when she was born with two exceptions. His hair has a strawberry blond tint and his skin seems to be more fair. His eyes are blue right now, but we will see which color they land on over the next couple of weeks. This kid has some hands and feet! The nurses kept commenting on his feet and one even made an extra footprint for us because she said she thought we would want to have it. Footie pajamas are out of the question unless we cut holes for the toes.

We were in newborn clothes for a day or two when we got home, but then I realized they weren't fitting him. I then did the same thing with three month clothing. And then I finally woke up to realize my infant looked like a body builder who wears shirts a size smaller than necessary. At eight weeks he is wearing six month clothing and it's snug. At this rate, will probably be in six-nine months tomorrow.

Keats is the sweetest thing. This little guy seems to be laid back. I'm pretty sure it's in his nature, but then again he has to be with a 20 month old big sister "showing him the ropes". He's also a snuggler. So fun! He stops crying the moment you hold him. He smiles all the time and holds his head up very well. You know, I would call his smile more of a grin. It's so cute! He rolled over from tummy to back the today, but I'm unsure if it was a fluke. He is also such a grunter. By this I mean he's rarely quiet, even when sleeping and makes grunting noises constantly. You would think he was climbing Mount Everest or competing in an Iron Man event.

He slept six straight hours last night. Good morning! It really was. Getting several consecutive hours of sleep is such a game changer. We will see if he keeps it up.

I have a feeling the picture above may be a good example of their relationship. Claire loves him so much and Keats loves her enough to take hair in the face. There is something about watching your kids love each other that makes your heart swell. She calls him "Keat-Keat" and asks for him first thing in the morning. She pats her little hand beside her to indicate that she wants Keat-Keat to sit next to her. This could be on the changing table, high chair or in the bathtub. Needless to say, Keat-Keat is not always able to comply with his big sister's demands. We've also found out that infants are not big fans of pretzels by a similar scenario. Claire "helps" burp and feed her little brother at times. The latter brings to mind the phrase "force feeding", but it's still sweet. Claire embraces the idea of sharing is caring and piles all of her favorite stuffed animals and pillows on her brother. She also has an ear out for her brother's cries at all times. He will be napping and she'll run up to me saying "Baby crying". I'll say "Baby Keaton is sleeping." and literally a second later there he goes. Baby crying. I'm not sure if she's in tune with him or he's in tune with her.

This little guy is precious and is so loved. And then there were two...