Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcome, Annie!

This post has taken so long because I write in five-minute spurts; my little firecracker always has other plans!  I suppose it mimics the pulse of my days now: I measure everything by feedings and diaper changes and hugs. 

I adore this photo.   This is Matt and Annie first thing in the morning.  (I just realized he looks naked here.  No worries though; I swear the boy is wearing boxers!)

It's Wednesday and Annie has been home for a week.  Matt returned to work this morning, and although it's nice for one of us to return to a routine - a set schedule - I already miss the three of us holed up in the house and his gentle teaming style as he cared for Annie.  I've always wondered how having a child would alter our relationship, and although it's too early to see the changes, and that only time will tell, this week's sneak peak is everything I could have asked for.  I am so in love with my little family.

I went into labor early in the morning on Monday the 21st.  My pregnancy was sublimely easy, but the Sunday prior there was a marked difference: basically, I was finally very uncomfortable.  (Thus my charming 11/20 blog post!)  I awoke at 3 am on Monday morning and went downstairs checking the news, leaving pithy messages on Facebook indicating the kid was never going to come, and then at 4:45 I started not feeling well.  I knew this could be a precursor to labor, but also knew it could damn well be anything due to Crohn's.  I woke Matt up and told him I wasn't feeling well and ran to the bathroom and lo and behold, my water broke (only after a careful inspection with Matt that I wasn't indeed just, you know, peeing or something).  I showered and he took Penny out and finished packing and we made it to the hospital shortly before 7 am.  My contractions were about four minutes apart on the ride over.  

The business of being admitted into the hospital was almost as laborious as having the baby itself.  We arrived at the 7 am shift change and there was a general nonchalance to the ward.  Obviously, these ladies have seen thousands of kids being born, but I think we spent no less than 45 minutes on paperwork (even though I pre-registered and went through all these questions on an earlier visit).  This was all fine and good, but the whole time I was thinking, "Shouldn't someone be checking the vajayjay or something?!"  There was no vajayjay checking to be had!  I felt I had to be at least 8 cm by this time.  Obviously, when I was finally checked around 8, it was a measly 4-5 cm.  Oh.  I guess now I understand the nonchalance.  

Let me stop here and tell you Matt and I had a birth plan.  It was short and sweet but said things like I wanted to labor as long as possible (and stay on my feet) and then receive an epidural, if desired.  It said I didn't want an episiotomy.  It said we wanted delayed cord cutting, skin-to-skin contact immediately after the birth, and have the baby with us at all times.  Now I will say this: None of this actually happened.  

It was really balmy this past weekend so we took a quick stroll through the neighborhood.

Because I was progressing quickly and my contractions were now two minutes apart (and doi, because I'm a sissy), I requested the epidural at 8 am promptly.  Obviously, an anesthesiologist isn't magically summoned and poof they're there, so we completed my paperwork, monitored the baby, finally checked under the hood, and they paged the doctor.  By 9 am he was there with his epidural cart.  He tried for 30 minutes and three different times to insert the epidural to no avail.  It's a bit unnerving to have someone repeatedly stab you in the spine, but heck, I was focused on some pain relief here!  Stab away!  He thought he finally got it (apparently I have tight vertebrae) and went on to his next victim....I mean, patient.  My pain didn't subside so he returned and after another 20 minutes said he'd have to find a colleague to attempt this.  Then he muttered something and left.  

At this point some may say, "Why didn't you just go the natural route?"  I mean, I was progressing quickly, but here's the thing when you're progressing quickly: that shinizzle hurts!!  I have the utmost respect for women who have natural births, but I feel I've been through enough physical pain with my Crohn's, and I had no desire to not take the more comfortable route to delivery.  By 10:30 another anesthesiologist arrived and shortly before 11 the epidural catheter was in and functioning properly and I was feeling sweet, sweet relief.  So much, in fact, I turned on the TV to watched a little "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" (for real, yo) for a few minutes.  As I was enjoying my really sub par reality programming, my nurse started moving the fetal monitor around and frowning.  Then she called in another nurse who did the same thing.  I was scared and asked if the baby was okay.  I remember getting upset and one of the nurses patting me and saying everything would be fine, they're getting the doctor and the slowed heartbeat was probably because the baby was so deep in my pelvis.  Then the other nurse checked my dilation and she yelled, "OH, SHE'S READY!", and paged a member of the NICU team because "We have a meconium birth here!" and my doctor was in the room.  

Matt was confused.  I was confused.  Our doctor, a man I hadn't met previously except for two minutes when I was admitted, instructed Matt to lift one of my legs and for me to grab the other and said, "Okay, now!"  I distinctly remember saying, "What do you mean?!  Push NOW?!?!"  You have to understand in about two minutes I went from tacky TV-viewing to having a kid.  I thought this would take hours!  I had a whole birth playlist, damnit!  I mean, the thing had Enya!  That's some serious stuff, right there!  We didn't even turn over our typed-out birth plan to the medical team since the whole morning was spent on the epidural fiasco.  

"Yes, now!" he said.  By now my nether regions were blissfully numb and I pushed.  He seemed pleased and asked me to push again.  Matt was there and staring at everything wide-eyed, but not making a peep.  I had no idea what the situation was, and certainly wasn't getting any intel from him.  The doctor then said to take one more push and the man grabbed a pair of surgical scissors and since were were in the heat of battle here and a whole nursing team was waiting (where did these women come from?!) I complied and  felt what can only be described as being "opened up" and a lot of pressure.  Due to the epidural, it was only uncomfortable and I saw Matt's face flicker with could only be described as dumb-struck man awe.  There was a pause as the doctor aspirated the baby and then he said for me to grab the baby's arms and pull him or her out.  I reached down and the baby slithered out and I can honestly say it was probably the most profound and surreal moment of my life.  I know, I'm terribly cliched.  And this is not good writing on my part, but it's impossible to capture that feeling and that moment.  (Not that the whole thing was sunshine from the heavens or something.  Matt commented later the room "looked like a scene from Dexter".  Lovely.)

The nurse reminded the doctor we didn't know if we were having a boy or girl and he held her up and I swear on all that is holy I thought, "Now what is going on down there; that's not a scrotum is it?!"  After a pause from Matt and I - the doctor -who thought we must have been serious grade-A twits, said, "It's a girl!"  (Both male and female genitalia is swollen and appears over-sized upon birth.  I even asked Matt if he was slightly confused for a hot second and he exclaimed, "YES!")

And so that is the story of how our 8 pound, 4 ounce Joanna Rose Hopkins came into this world at 11:15 am on Monday, 11/21/11.  Only later did I understand the need for an episiotomy and having to deliver her quickly due to the risk of her inhaling meconium during birth.  But in all, even though nothing really went according to my notion of labor, it was a picture-perfect delivery.  And by that, I mean things happened quickly (and isn't that what you want?!).  I labored drug-free for several hours and progressed at  a nice clip, and when I did finally receive the epidural it was time to push.  By 12:30 I was in my room enjoying an open-faced turkey sandwich (realizing my love of food - even hospital food - this should not surprise you).

And now here we are.  It's Friday today.  We were shocked Annie was a she; everyone said we were having a boy and you start to believe it, but I couldn't be more overjoyed to raise a girl.  Matt is equally smitten.  Facets of her personality are already making an appearance: she is often resolute and stubborn and gives us looks that can only be interpreted as, "Really?  I mean, REALLY?"  I think we have our work cut out for us, and I couldn't be more pleased or in love.

Mr Mom; Matt has Annie in our Moby wrap.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Love, love, LOVE the new layout! I'm not entirely sure how new it is, but it's beauts and oh so inviting!

    2. OMG. I can't believe you put Enya up on the birthin' list--I'd have hurried up and come out, too. That Enya might've relaxed li'l Annie far too much--Enya's "curl up and stay awhile" style is no match for birthin' babies! You should've consulted me first.

    3. YAY! She's here and she's so sweet and even though it freaked me out at first, I gotta say, I love a girl who knows how to work a brow ;)