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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Welcome Connor Joseph!

I went to the doctor for one last ultrasound / bio physical profile (plus a non-stress test) on my due date, Monday, Sept 16th. I already knew my induction was scheduled for Tuesday morning if nothing happened over the weekend. I thought I had one more night at home to prepare, but then my OB decided to send me that afternoon to start a dose of cytotec to see if that would get things going. Meaning I would have to stay in the hospital overnight. The upside - I didn't lay awake at home anxious about the next day's induction. The downside - being hooked up to monitors all night meant little sleep at the hospital either. So I left the doctor's office and went into preparation mode, calling Dan to let him know the new plan, and my parents to arrange care for Evan.

We checked into the hospital around 3:30 p.m., then Dan took a couple of final pre-game photos.

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My parents brought Evan by after picking him up from school. He was fascinated by what he called my "zombie hand," the IV in the back of my hand, which at this point I don't think was hooked up to anything. Guess what he talked about more at school the next day? New baby? Pfft. Not nearly as cool as a zombie hand.

"Pretend to be a zombie, mommy."

One last family of three photo.

My OB started the pitocin drip at 1 a.m. It was low dose and I slept off and on despite the IV machine beeping periodically for an hour. They swapped out the beeping IV machine, but between the blood pressure cuff and monitor adjustments, it was a pretty long night. I wore "walking" monitors until they started the pit, and briefly the next morning because I could not lay in the uncomfortable bed any longer.

Around 7 am the nurse increased the pitocin drip but nothing really happened for the next two hours. She even remarked it was odd that she turned up the dose and my contrax got farther apart. Famous last words. At 9:15, things changed dramatically. With Evan my contractions were tough, but not even in the same ballpark as these. Over the next 30 minutes or so I tried to just tough it out. Ha ha ha. The nurse suggested a dose of morphine. I was fully effaced and about 4/5 cm dilated. With Evan I made it to nearly 8 cm and no morphine before getting the epi. So I got the morphine, but it did nothing. I was afraid an epi might slow things down but at this point my pain level was pretty intense. The nurse asked if I wanted the epidural. I stalled for a bit, but ultimately said yes when she said my delivery would probably be fast with such an intense labor. I had no idea how I was going to hold still for it though with such hard contractions.

For the next 30 minutes, the anesthesiologist worked to place the epi. I knew there were several attempts at placing the cath and he started over at least once. I was asked several times what I felt and where; all between excruciating contractions and being pinned by a nurse. The doctor kept apologizing and saying sometimes they're difficult. The last one had only taken five minutes. I envied that woman. My OB came in but left until the epi was completed. When it was finally placed, I couldn't feel any relief. The anesthesiologist kept saying it would take 20 minutes for full effectiveness. With Evan, it worked immediately and I felt nothing.

"You should feel pressure, but not pain."
I felt both.

"You can do anything for 60 seconds."
One contraction, sure. These were many, many 60-seconds!

It had probably been about 20 minutes when the nurse asked my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10. That's such an odd question I never know how to answer. After all, it's difficult to know how much pain you can endure until you endure it. Until this the worst pain I think I'd ever felt was when I damaged my cornea last spring. Yes, that was worse than giving birth to my first child. My response this time was honest, though I knew it *could* be worse,

"Nine. But 10 is dead."

She said she would call the anesthesiologist back for a second dose. I kept thinking, isn't an epidural continuous meds already? It didn't matter though because they decided to check my progress and it was time to push. My water had yet to break. My OB had already told me she would break it that morning and the nurse remarked the pressure would likely improve once she had. It goes against all the birth stories I'd heard before, but it was absolutely true. Honestly, delivery was awesome. Yes, I'm actually writing that. Dr. Riely came in, broke my water, and at least four nurses were working around her. I had to focus somewhere and I now know exactly why I chose this doctor eight years ago. She is amazing. With all the chaos in the room, I focused on her because she was constant and calm. The contractions were one on top of another, and even though I felt pain, pushing felt really productive. As bad as feeling delivery is, it's also unbelievably amazing. I knew it was close after a few pushes. Then the baby's heart rate dropped and the Dr. decided to use the vacuum. I remember asking if the baby was ok and Dr. Riely reassuring me. Then being told I'd have to keep pushing, "two 10-counts, then an 8." I remembered what the nurse had told me repeatedly, "You can do anything for 60 seconds." I did, and he was here. I didn't count, but it was probably about 10 pushes total. Dr. Riely asked Dan if he wanted to do the honors and Dan announced, "it's a boy!"

I asked for skin to skin contact and as soon as the doctor had allowed the cord blood to travel to baby (a very cool new practice that delivers extra health benefits to baby. I love that my doctor does this and I didn't have to ask about it), Dan cut the cord and I got to hold him.

I was totally shocked that he had what looked like reddish blonde hair. Within 10 minutes he was nursing, which is awesome. That video that circulated a year or so ago of a newborn baby navigating its way to breastfeed? It happens.

It took us until the day (and hour) we left the hospital to name him, but we finally chose Connor Joseph. We announced the middle name the day he was born, but I really could not settle on the first. It fits him now and it's hard to imagine any other name. We'll wait until the baby dedication to tell the story behind it.

For now, to go along with this ridiculously long post, a ridiculous amount of photos!

Out of focus, but I love it anyway.

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Checking out his hair.

Meeting big brother for the first time, with a spotter. Evan is absolutely enamored with this little brother. He's his protector, his friend, his soother. Dan and I have remarked how seeing this brotherly love has been the most surprising aspect of bringing home Connor.

Hands down, this is my favorite photo from the hospital. Love Love Love.

Two days later I looked slightly less haggard in large part due to the awesome care my doctor, the hospital, and the staff provides.

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Going home.

Welcome to the world, little boy.


Fran Bailey said...

You are just amazing! I think you should write a book. Your posts and pictures are award winning material. Of course the subject matter is the very best <3

Fran Bailey said...

Your story is amazing and your subject matter the most perfect. Love you all so much<3

Heidi said...

Look at that little "cotton top!" as my grandpa would have called him. What a great birth story. I don't know how you manage to look so pretty and awake in these photos! You look fabulous, everyone does. Congratulations, O'Neil family!

Alicia said...

Amazing story with the best ending ever! Can't wait to meet the little guy and give hugs to you all.

P.S. I love the Zombie Mommy photo!

Alicia said...

An amazing story with the best ending ever! I can't wait to meet the little guy and give hugs to you all.

P.S. I love the zombie mommy photo!