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|Tired but excited at 5:30 a.m.|
|Early in labor, when life still had humor in it.|
Until that point, labor had been uncomfortable but manageable. Every time they'd up my pitocin, the next few contractions would intensify so that I couldn't talk during them anymore. But I always managed to readjust and cope. From my experience with Ethan's birth, though, I knew that breaking a laboring woman's water tends to make things go crazy, so I got the epidural to ease my discomfort and hopefully stave off the "my bones are on fire and my body is being squeezed in a giant vice grip" sensation of hard labor.
Funny enough, I had absolutely no discomfort while getting the epidural (well, none from the epidural, anyway), but the penicillin in the IV? Felt like icy razors shooting into my arm until they opened the saline line enough to dilute the heck out of it. Weird.
Okay, so zero hour. Ethan and my parents were in the room for awhile after the breaking of the waters, and he kept coming over to check on me or kiss my hand where the IV was. He stayed by my side as much as possible in the hospital. So sweet.
|Our last photo as a family of three, Mommy looking a bit worse for wear.|
"Uh...ahhhhhhhhh.....uuuuuuugggggggggghhhhhhhh....can.....you.....give me.....aggggghhhh....some ideas?"
"Sharp, dull, pressure..."
"Pressure. Sharp. Oooouuuugggghhhhhhh."
He told us it would take full effect within 10 minutes, and apparently after 22 minutes Noah and my mom were concerned it wasn't working. I had no concept of time, though, so I just got on with it, clicking my self-dose epidural button whenever I felt unbearable pain. Apparently I was clicking it approximately every three seconds, although it allows a dose only every 15 minutes, because the nurse took it away from me and I instead got to squeeze my mom's hand.
"Get your thumb in there!" Noah hissed at her. At one of my clearer moments, a few minutes before, I opened my eyes at the end of a contraction and looked up at Noah, who attempted a smile that came off as a wonky grimace. I had three of his fingers so tightly in my hand, they'd turned white. He said he'd tried to turn them a little but couldn't budge a millimeter so Iron Fisted was my grasp. Booyah! And yet, so cliche. That's when we switched to the thumb/palm grip.
I couldn't understand why the nurses were pulling out tables and getting out weird instruments and blankets and whatnot, when all I needed was the anesthesia to take effect and we'd be good again. That's when they checked me and announced, "It's time to have a baby!"
Um, what? I pushed four times, and Oliver was born at 3:43 in the afternoon, less than two hours after the doctor broke my water. I dilated from a 6 to a 10 in under an hour, hence the epidural couldn't catch up. Once again, though, when I started pushing I wasn't aware of any pain.
|Oliver Nelson, fresh out of the cannon. 7 lbs 11 oz, 21.3" long, 100% awesome.|
On the other hand, I got to spend some quality time with Ethan while in recovery. He briefly got to look at his baby brother, then spent time snuggling with me. He held my hand as the nurse wheeled me all the way from the delivery room to our hospital room on the floor below. He told me twice during that time that I was "the best mom in the whole world."
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|A terrible phone pic of my wonderful boys, together in the hospital.|
|Santa found our room and left an early Christmas present for Big Brother Ethan. His reaction, which we got on video, was fantastic.|
We also got to go home as a family of four, since Ethan was at the hospital with us when we were discharged.
Aside from those 45 or so minutes of mind-altering pain, the whole thing was a very peaceful experience. Even the pain is an indispensable part of the joy, because it stands in such stark contrast with the instant of the baby's birth, which is relief and happiness and euphoria, all surrounding the most incredible gift of love. That's why people keep having babies, even though it hurts. The wonder far outweighs the agony, although there's no other pain in the world like it.
Next thing you know, your preschooler is sneaking into bed with you in the predawn hours, and you've got a small arm across your face and an even smaller hand grabbing your nose. It's all pretty great.
|Another excellent phone pic of the four of us at home.|
|At Ollie's first checkup, 3 days old.|