Sunday, May 8, 2016

Henry's Birth Story and a Mother's Day Tribute

The birth story.

I'm probably way too tired to be writing this. But by the same token, my memory will only get worse and in a few months I'll look back on this sleepy time and draw a big blank. So. Commence to start!

A move being imminent, we decided to have an induction on my earliest due date, April 14th. (We had been given two different ones, and the ultrasound one was the first). I had had some idea of going all-natural with this one, which is to say, "wasn't ever gonna happen." Everything on the subject says you must absolutely make up your mind to do it if you are going to do it; apparently the "we'll see how it goes" mindset never works. As "we'll see how it goes" is kind of my life mantra, well...the writing was on the wall. At the most recent doctor appointment I was dilated 4cm and 80% effaced. The doctor told me to hustle to the hospital when labor did kick in as it wouldn't take long after that. So with every contraction that week I held my breath, but nothing lasted long enough with any regularity to be call true-blue labor. Hurt though.

Wednesday night we waited for the hospital to call and tell us when to come in, but they forgot about us. Thursday, my supposed due/induction date, there was still no word, so we kept our dentist appointments (sparkly clean!), Riley's speech therapy session, and then came home and I gave myself a pedicure (when you're about to spend a lot of time grunting at your toes, you want them at least to look nice). Then I called the hospital. ", did you forget about me?" "Yes! Actually! Was just about to call you. Come on in!"

Yay! Let's go have a baby!

But first! Feed the kids! Find a sitter! Trade cars so ZiZi will have the car seats to pick up the kids! Kiss their cheeks one last time (the last night we had apart was when Joe was born four years ago). Stop at Wendy's on the way out of town for a sandwich and frosty. Drive through a torrential rainstorm to the hospital, where parking is a construction nightmare so we had to circle the area for a while.

Me, wolfing down my chicken sandwich: "I feel a little apprehensive about eating this - I hope it doesn't mean I'm going to poo on the delivery table."
Dave: "Clearly that's a risk you're willing to take."
Me: "Haha! Yes..."

So BAM. Two hours later and we get to the hospital.

While we wait we eavesdrop on a slightly bizarre conversation by a woman who birthed 13 children, 12 at home. She seemed like a real force of nature. One of the kids she was talking to asked her if she'd like to come on their class field trip tomorrow and she replied, "Oh no, I'm very busy all the time." And now we have a new favorite rejection phrase!

Finally we got all checked in and gowned for delivery, about 4pm in a room with a view. I was dilated to a 5 and 80% effaced. They put antibiotics in my IV for a while, as I'd tested positive for Strep B, and then gave me the lowest dose of pitocin. As I could now see my contractions on the monitor, I felt validated that all that cramping and back aching the past couple weeks had indeed been contractions (this was the first pregnancy I had noticable contractions!)
Early labor, feeling good.
Later labor, feeling...okay'ish.
Em came down and we had a fun time hanging out until my contractions really kicked in and then, well, she and Dave had a fun time hanging out. Eventually I'd had enough, and really, shouldn't I conserve my energy for the pushing part? haha, which is to say, I requested an epidural. Interestingly, getting the epidural this time was the only part I that made me yell. I've had two and they never burned like that going in and it took my by surprise. cSure took the edge off though. I actually laughed at Em's joke (Your Momma's so fat, the Sorting Hat put her in Waffle House :).
Post-epidural :)
The rain clouds broke and so did my water. Huge gush! I told Dave and Em to go eat before the magic happened, but not to go far. Which is good because twenty minutes later I was feeling the urge to push and shot an urgent "come back" to Dave while basically trying to cross my legs till he and my doctor got there (she'd been to break my water but also had stepped out to grab a bite). Once my team was assembled I started to push. Now, With Riley and Joe, I'd had the epidural in for a while. This time it hadn't been in very long and that head pressing apart your pubic bones - that is one heck of a sensation. I was very motivated to get his head out quickly - one contraction was all it took! I pushed the rest of him out after the contraction was over. Baby Munion (still no name for him then) was born at 7:31, was 21 inches and 7lbs7oz.

He was so precious! It's amazing to me how absolutely unconcerned I always am about the slimy, bloody mess babies are coated in when they put them on my chest. It's all seen through rose-colored glasses, so to speak - I see pure sweetness, and I pile on the kisses and cuddle them to my bare chest. I didn't get a very long cuddle this time though, as baby wasn't crying and started to turn a little purple. They had a respiratory team come and work him over for a little while and then returned him to my chest with an oxygen monitor on his tiny hand so I could nurse him while they monitored his O2 level. Which, speaking of that: nursing this time was super painful! Not the way you'd think; it brought on contractions again like a beast! Just for the first couple hours, but OW! Apparently this is one way a woman's miraculous body will shrink the uterus back down.
Dave traded me the baby for a chocolate shake (hey, I hadn't been allowed to eat for 4 hours) If this hospital should be known for anything, it should be the chocolate shakes. mmm...
It was awesome to have my sister there for the birth. Em, you are a real stalwart photographer and labor cheerleader. Thank you so much for being there with us!
Warm blankets to stifle the shivers and get me to the maternity wing. Oh. And more lunch. :)
Then we checked into the room we'd be staying in for the next 48 hours and baby had a bath and  his footprints made and other torturous things. As for me, this was my easiest recovery yet. No tearing, not a lot of bleeding, and motrin took care of the soreness. I was looking forward to a couple of lazy days and room service! Of course, that got old, and hospitals aren't the most restful of places - they do checks every couple hours on me and baby - blood pressure, swelling, toilet breaks... but the milkshakes are worth it! Haha! Only joking. Kind of.

Okay, so back at the ranch, Suzette was tending our other two. It was too late in the evening for them to come see their new brother on the day of, but the following morning we got to introduce them, and also we finally settled on a name: Henry Holden. We thought he might be a William or a Thomas but no, turns out he was Henry all along. And the Holden part is from the classic, Catcher in the Rye.

 The kids inspected every tiny finger and toe, asked about the umbilical cord clamp about forty times, and expressed intense dislike for our choice of name (Joe wanted to name him "Kapooey"), but mostly they were excited to have the baby out of my tummy. (They asked why my belly was still big almost as much as they asked about the umbilical. Joe was disappointed he still didn't fit well on my lap.)


 Saturday afternoon we got to take him home. Yay! I was so ready to be reunited with my family again and away from the charts and noise of a hospital. Funny thing though: with each baby, like clockwork, day 3 is also horror-mone day.The exhaustion and emotions and post-birth hormones all seem to kick in the moment I get home. Each time, I've handed over the baby, gone in my room, closed the door and burst into tears. Dave opens the door, sits next to me and holds me close while I cry on his shoulder. Then, I take a nap till it's time to feed the baby, and by the next day I feel much better. It's the darndest thing and it happened for all 3 of our babies. I must remember to arrange for a sitter next time. Luckily, Em and Suzette were willing to hold down the fort while I had my cry.

Hormones are weird. I also had night sweats and the shakes off and on for a couple of days.

One more thing has to be said and I'll be done: we are so grateful for the help we received during this time - meals from the ward, babysitting, Suzette's "sleepover" with the kids (still talked about!) and making sure we ate and had everything we needed, people we barely knew brought over gifts and cards, family called and visited and sent packages. Thanks to all who celebrated with us! And the support really helped as we prepared for a big move (and by "we" I mean "Dave" - I took full license and focused on resting up and getting myself and Henry as strong and healthy as possible before the journey.) I have to say, I wouldn't have made a good pioneer - that cross-country 2-day road trip was exhausting.

So there - that only took me 3 weeks to write! Coincidentally, it is Mothers Day today. Happy Mothers Day to me! And to my sweet Momma! You've been much on my mind lately, thinking of how you birthed one of us every two years or so for almost two decades, and moved every couple of years...what a rock star you are. I don't do it nearly as gracefully as you, but you are my example when it comes to all things motherhood. Thank you.

Enjoy this video - I was thinking of you :)