Monday, December 10

Oliver's birth story, and big brother Ethan

This morning I woke up to discover Ethan's right arm across my forehead and Oliver grabbing my nose. So, this is what having two kids is like.

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38 weeks
L&D room 
Awaiting Ollie
Tired but excited at 5:30 a.m.
Noah and I went in at 5:30 Tuesday morning to begin induction, only to discover I was already in labor, having contractions every two to three minutes.

Early in labor, when life still had humor in it.
I had to be given two doses of IV penicillin, four hours apart, before the doctor could break my Bag of Waters, so they started my on pitocin around 8 a.m. to keep things moving along at a good clip until zero hour. I got an epidural just before noon, anticipating zero hour, which happened at 2 when the doctor came in and broke my water.

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.
Around 2:45, though, I had my Dad take Ethan to go find his other grandpa, because things were starting to get out of my control and I didn't want Ethan to be scar(r)ed. I asked for the anesthesiologist, and by the time he arrived about 10 minutes later to give me a stronger dose that would "last through delivery," I couldn't even answer him when he asked me to describe my pain.

"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.
My mom, Noah's mom, and Noah were all in the room when Ollie came "shooting out of a cannon," as the doctor described his birth a few minutes later. I'm interpreting that not as a commentary on what he experienced of my lady parts and instead see it as his way of explaining why he was having a little trouble breathing normally. (Oliver, not the doctor. Dr. Thompsen seemed to be doing fine, thus supporting my analysis.)

Concerned Mommy.
I only got to hold him for about a minute (the "mom test" the NICU doctors called it, to see if being near me could help regulate his breathing. It did briefly, but then he started panting again) before he was taken to the NICU for a couple of hours for observation. Noah got to go with him and spend some serious quality time with the little guy. He was kind of braggy about it, if you ask me. Ollie was four hours old before he was brought back to me.

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 had a really good hospital experience, and the best times were when Noah, Ethan, Oliver and I were together, hanging out as a family. Ethan did really well through the whole upheaval of it, but as soon as he'd arrive back at the hospital to be with us, he was just like normal. No weirdness at all. No behavioral issues.

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.
Christmas baby.

7 comments:

Lisa Watts said...

Congrats!! Well done! I raised you so well, Erin.

Oliver is adorable, and Ethan seems nicely primed to see his arrival as a good thing. Enjoy these next few weeks of wonder!

Julia said...

I love that Ethan was so concerned and is staying in good spirits about all this transition! It gives me hope with my little one, who really has no idea what's coming her direction since she's just two. Y'all are amazing, and I'm excited to see what your future holds! Many congratulations my friend!

Jenn said...

Love it. So glad you got from 6-10 so fast! And yay for Ethan adjusting like a rock star. Congrats to you mama! He's a major cutie!!!

Anonymous said...

It was amazing being there for Oliver's birth. You are awesome parents and have been blessed with two beautiful boys!

Mum

Lish said...

I am a little biased because I've decided I like having you as an internet friend and you're beautiful, but I think your little fellows are stunners.
I don't think I've ever seen such a pretty newborn. I'm glad you managed quite well - I'm a wimp, so I've spent the last few days wincing whenever I wondered how it went. I'm glad you're not a wimp.

Enjoy your newly revised family.
I hope things continue to go smoothly.

Kimberly Stuart said...

Congratulations to all beagles!

I'm so happy for you, Erin, and I want to assure you that although you might not have slept since the moment you created this post, you will again. I promise. You know this already, of course, but I just wanted to remind you. Things can get a little cloudy at this stage of the game.

Much love to your sweet family. Though this is not the moment to discuss it, you really should have 13 more children, just to help beautify the earth.

Blessings on your brood-

kim

Anonymous said...

It was wonderful to be present for Ollie's birth. But I felt so useless. Hope I helped by being a good cheerleader. You and Noah are great parents, and Ethan is an awesome big brother! Mimi

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