"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Introducing Tegan Faith

The birth story:

We got to the hospital at a little bit before 7. It was a very strange and surreal feeling, since we'd never had a scheduled induction before! We got all registered and settled in, and they started the pitocin at quarter till 8. We were instantly the talk of the Labor/Delivery wing because 1) We were the only ones in labor at the time; 2) we had three boys and no one could believe we didn't find out the gender of number 4,; 3) I'd never had an epidural which everyone seemed to find mind-boggling; and 4) we were “married, with the same last name and everything.” Apparently that's a rarity at this particular hospital. It was an interesting beginning to say the least, but the nurses were nice and we were receiving the VIP treatment.

The pitocin worked quickly and worked well. The contractions started at 3 minutes apart, and picked up rapidly. The nurse upped the dose a couple of times, and the contractions came with it. Even though I was expecting it, I was disappointed that I pretty much had to stay bed-bound (one of the reasons I'd hoped to avoid an induction). The induction made it necessary for me to be hooked up to a thousand things. Still, everything was going smoothly, baby was happy, I was relaxed, and I was having no problem breathing through the contractions.

My doctor arrived around 10. She was recovering from Strep Throat, and sounded horrible, but burst into the room in high spirits, saying how excited she was that she was finally going to find out what we were having. She broke my water a few minutes later, and I was SO RELIEVED that the water was clear. That was another first for us, as the boys all had meconium in their fluid to varying degrees. My elation was short-lived however, because I was soon distracted. Breaking my water had essentially flipped an “on” switch, and the contractions almost immediately went from frequent but tolerable to toe-curling and right on top of each other. I was getting NO break in between, and no matter what techniques I tried, I couldn't relax through them. Before long, I made the agonizing decision that it was time for yet another first... an epidural. And in a final piece of irony, the first and only time I requested an epidural it came too late. I managed my way through another 45 minutes of continuous contractions, and the anesthesiologist arrived in the room around 11. As I was sitting up so he could place the line, I was suddenly wracked with the pressure of the baby's head, and an overwhelming need to push. I told the nurse that it felt like the head was right there, and she said “It probably is... we'll check you as soon as he's done.” He finished placing the line and told me to relax. It was physically impossible to relax at that point. The baby was indeed crowning. The epidural (which he'd already explained would take 5 to 10 minutes to take effect) was turned on, my doctor was called, the bottom of the bed was dropped off, and everything started moving very fast. When my doctor arrived just a few minutes later, I pushed a total of 4 times (only 1 full contraction) and it was over at 11:13. After the head was out and the doctor had cleared the mouth and nose, everything felt in slow motion as the body came out, she turned it over, and we all saw at the same time that it was girl. I cried as she put her up on my chest, and I was still crying when Mike cut the cord. One unexpected bonus was that the epidural that had proved useless for the delivery had kicked in after she was born. I didn't feel a thing as I was stitched, cathed and delivered the placenta. I was able to relax and focus on my baby – the baby that I had waited a very long and difficult nine months to meet. It wasn't the labor and delivery that I would have chosen, but it was still beautiful and perfect.... just like the little girl that it brought us.


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