Monday, March 1, 2010

:: liam's story [long blog]

I've been mulling over this post for over a week now, writing a bit here and there, wondering how one goes about writing out a birth story - especially one as fantastic as Liam's.  I've come to the conclusion that there really is no template for such posts, so I will just have to dive right in.

I'm sure some/most of you had seen my frequent facebook/twitter posts in the few weeks leading up to Liam's arrival.  If you didn't, I can tell you they mostly consisted of triage visits, non-stress tests, labs, blood draws, doctor appointments, contractions, and OMG PLEASE COME OUT, LIAM.  1 week before Liam's arrival via inducement, the doctor stripped my membranes.  (ew, sorry) Basically, it is separating the membranes around the cervix to release prostaglandins to hopefully get labor started (ew, sorry), or at least get us pointed in the right direction.  This procedure was not pleasant, but only lasted a few seconds, thank GOD.  That night, I went home and began having ridiculous contractions.  My mom, dad and sister had arrived the day before, so I was thankful that they were there and hoped Liam would arrive before my dad and sister had to head back home.  So I was happy about the ridiculous contractions.  Then they stopped.  And so began my week of painful, irregular contractions.  My hopes would be raised, then dashed, then raised, then dashed, and I finally started thinking realistically - I am not going to go into labor on my own.  We walked the mall, went out for breakfast, walked some more...we even snuck in a little Valentine's date at McMenamin's.  The day after V-day, my dad and sister had to leave [sad] and I was back at the doc's for my 39 week appointment where we found I had not progressed past the 2.5 cm 70% dialation of the week before.  The doc then again stripped my membranes (during which he turned down a phone call interruption by a nurse - thanks, doc) and declared, "Let's do this."  I said, "Is tomorrow good?" to which he replied, "Yes!"


Thus, our appointment was made, my crampy self was sent home to prepare for an early morning inducement the next day.  I began to panic and worry about the baby being too big, what am I going to do with my kids, what if something happens, blah blah blah.  I'm not usually a panicky person, but well...childbirth is kind of a big deal.  I was kind of freaking out.  Ryan and I attended a dessert social for small groups for our church just to keep my mind off things, then came home and watched Survivor.  I had a pretty restful night that night, much to my surprise and relief.  After a couple of sips of coffee, off we went in the morning for a 7:30am inducement.  It was a beautiful, sunny/foggy morning driving up to Everett.  We arrived on time, checked in, then were shown to room 311.  I remember thinking, "This is the room where I will meet Liam.  So much is going to happen in this quiet, clean little room."  Quick as a flash, information was given and taken, I was changed and in bed and my IV was started (only 2 tries this time!  6 or 7 with the other kids), and I was given Pitocin.  (To back up, the reason I was finally induced was not for convenience's sake.  I tend to have elevated blood pressure during my pregnancies, and although my bp was normal this particular day, my blood labs had been showing some signs that I was headed in that direction.  We knew from previous experience that nothing causes me to get better other than birthing the child, so we decided to go ahead.)

Soon after the Pit was started, I began having regular contractions and settled nicely into a pattern.  Then they started getting stronger, but still manageable.  I have to admit, I did think a couple of times to myself that maaaaybe I just don't need that epidural.  Maybe I can do it.

[caption id="attachment_1150" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="breathe"][/caption]

Then it all came flooding back to me - Aidan's birth.  2 failed epidurals with 15 hours of hard labor and 2+ hours of pushing, me wanting to mangle Ryan for doing this to me, feeling panicky, and Pain Pain Pain (which I have a very low tolerance for).  I decided I wanted to keep my husband intact and still have friends after this experience, therefore that thought was quickly tossed aside.  As the contractions became exhausting, my nursefriend Anna (whom I've know since I was 4 or so) pulled some strings for an earlier epidural.  Hallelujah!  Now, the epidural was an experience in itself.  I don't know the technical, medical terms, but at one point an electric shock ran through my entire body and I almost flew off the bed, scaring the pants off of Ryan and Anna.  I looked up to see Ryan's white face and said, "you don't look so good - sit down."  By the time the epidural was placed, Ryan hightailed it out of the room.  Poor guy.  I can't imagine watching him go through something like this.  Blugh.  As that pain medicine coursed through my veins, I instantly became numb, tingly and nauseous.  Fentanyl (sp) always makes me feel completely obliterated - like I've drank 4 bottles of wine chased with a couple of tequila shooters.  Woooozy.  I always say I'm not responsible for anything I say while I'm on that drug.  As the fentanyl wore off and the epidural kicked in and I ate popsicles and listened to some good tunes on my MP3, I started feeling better, and really was able to enjoy my labor.  We sat, talked, laughed, watched some olympic coverage and the day really flew by quickly.  I was thankful for a perfect epidural and FELT NOTHING.  Aside from the tubes in my arms and the fact that I couldn't really move, I felt pretty normal, but HUNGRY.  So dang hungry.

**The following might be TMI, so proceed with caution**

The doctor came in, broke my water and checked on me quite frequently, which I was amazed by.  Usually you hardly ever see the doctor until it's "time".  I went from 4 to 7 cm fairly quickly.  When I got to about 7, the doctor checked me again and helped me get to a 10 by stretching me with each contraction.  This process probably took less than 15 minutes and he declared me complete.

I was astonished that it was already time.  I thought, "Wait!  I'm not ready for this!"  Then, between pushes, I helped the filmers figure out the video camera.

And finally, with my loved ones standing around me, crying, filming and cheering me on, after 6 minutes of pushing (probably 3 contractions), this quiet, wriggly bundle was laid on my tummy.  Immediately, his eyes squinted open at me for a quick second, "Hi, momma!"  I wonder what he was thinking as he was pushed out of his quiet little cocoon into the bright, cold, loud, world.

I always feel sorry for my babies at this certain point - I mentally send them a little apology and secretly promise to make it worth it.  I remember looking up at Ryan through my tears and seeing the love and wonder in his eyes as we both stared at our new son.  This is a magical moment that I wish I could bottle up to relive again and again.  I was so proud to say that I made that boy.  I made a human being and he's perfect.  I get to love this boy and watch him grow.  And I did it.  I birthed him perfectly.  I remember how surprised we both felt that it was so easy this time.  It felt good to breathe.  I no longer felt anxious, tired and afraid.  I was in love with this little man. 

The adrenaline kicked in, I was given a cheeseburger and sat as visitors began filling up the tiny room.  Now, I have never felt so blessed that so many people came to see Liam - my baby.  I have so many terrific friends.  Charley and Laura brought Ryan a burger and some of Irma's cookies were handed to me [YUM], Craig and Amy brought a cute little elephant for Liam, and I came home to two Strongbows in my flower pot on the porch (thank you, Lowerys!).  Thank you - all of you who visited, for coming and sharing in our experience.  Thank you, Keri and Rebecca for being such incredible friends and help for my kids.  You'll never know how that played a huge part in my day and made everything go so smoothly for me.

I can never thank you enough for loving my kids like you do.  Thank you Anna, for being present at all of my babies' births, for your encouragement, knowledge and comfort.  I have been so blessed to have you there for me.

[caption id="attachment_1158" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Anna cleaning the boy off"][/caption]

And now, as I enter this time in my life as a mom of 3 [THREE!!]...I do feel apprehensive, as I did with my other two.  Change is, well...change.  But I have confidence.  I can do it.  One thing I'm quite sure of - I love my babies.  I love them well.  The days since we've been home with 3 have been a little hectic, relaxing and a little stressful at times trying to figure out how this new little fits into our routine.  Fortunately, he shares the same laid back genes as his siblings.  Hardly ever cries, sleeps a ton and is just a little joy to have around.  We love to snuggle him, cuddle him, kiss his cute little face.  He has a dimple on his right cheek that will peek at us once in awhile if we're lucky.  This is it. My last newborn.  Although, when I really think about it, I've gone from 99% sure this is our last to 90%.  I told Ryan this yesterday.  I just can't imagine not ever having another newborn.  Then the activity of the house (read: 3.5 year old attitude) picks up, and I'm right back to 99%.  I'm hoping these last newborn days go slow.  I don't even mind the nights so much - this boy just wakes up, grunts, eats, then goes right back to sleep like nothing ever happened.

Aidan and Delia love their new baby brother.  They ignore him most of the time since he's always sleeping, but are quick to run and watch me change a diaper, bring me a burp rag, or exclaim how loud he is when he is crying while being changed.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="liam - almost ready to go home!"][/caption]

Gia loves to blow kisses and sing to him.  The poor eldests haven't been able to get really close or hold him with the colds they've had.  I can't wait until I can capture some pictures of the three of them together.  I think they're almost over these colds.  Ryan has the next few weeks off during which we will relax and bond as a family and try not to climb the walls.  It's such a wonderful thing having him home.  He's learning how to deal with my postpartum hormones.  Thank you, Ryan.

And so, life goes on.  We'll find a new normal, pave a new path, and start the spring loving on 3 beautiful babies.  My heart has grown another size.

[caption id="attachment_1156" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="my first look"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="ready to go!"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="the table is set"]
going home - same outfit aidan wore

here is a link with more photos from liam's birthday...