"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure." Psalm 71:14-15

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Levi James is here... and how he got here

I woke up early Sunday morning, April 3rd, around 2am, for my usual trip to the bathroom. I noticed when I got back to bed that I was having contractions. I observed them for an hour while lying down to make sure they didn’t go away. I woke Matt up at around 4am. I was hungry, so I had some cereal and we talked about our game plan for the birth. We tried to get some more rest, but I couldn’t sleep through the contractions. We labored together at home all morning and into the afternoon. We walked up and down Dayton Blvd, stopping to relax along the way. The exercise ball brought me lots of comfort throughout my labor as well.

We decided to go to the hospital around 5pm. When we arrived, the nurse said that I was 5 or 6cm dilated. We were happy and felt confident that we had not arrived too early at the hospital.I started to experience some back labor while we were still at home, which continued and intensified at the hospital. Meg, our midwife, let us labor for a while before she even came to the hospital. She checked me around 7:30 or 8pm and I was still at 5cm. She advised us that breaking my water could help move things along, so we did. I dilated to 6.5cm in about ½ hour after that. Matt and I continued to labor together through the ever increasing back labor pain. I was not aware of how much time was actually passing. But my labor seemed to stall out around 7 or 8cm after 7 hours of laboring at the hospital. Meg sat us down and said that she thought I was in too much pain to continue naturally and that the only way I would be able to relax and dilate the rest of the way would be to get an epidural. I was exhausted at that point and I knew she was right. I couldn’t relax any more than I already was, and I felt like it was only getting worse.When my labor started, my contractions were lasting about 1 minute and 15 seconds. By the end, they were lasting 3 minutes each and coming one right after the other. I got the epidural around 1am after nearly 24 hours of natural labor, 13 of which included intense back labor.

The epidural did what it was intended to do, I was able to relax, get some rest, and finish dilating to 10cm. I did not regret the decision to get it and I was proud that the drugs did not enter my baby's system for hours on end, but only at the end of labor. After I was fully dilated, Meg let me rest for an hour before we started pushing. Once we started pushing, I got frustrated because my contractions started to space out and I wasn’t getting enough opportunities to push. They had to give me pitocin to ensure that my contractions continued regularly. I pushed for 2 hours, 4 or 5 pushes per contraction, but the baby was not coming through my pelvis. After 2 hours, the baby was still at Zero station, and I was exhausted. Meg told me that it was time to call Dr. Collins to do a Cesarean Section. She reassured us that we did all we could to avoid surgery and get our baby here the natural way, but that it just didn’t work out. It was pretty cool to have my midwife and the L&D nurse tell me individually how cool it was to watch Matt and I labor together. The nurse said that they could have made a video for future Bradley classes... for what it's worth I guess!

They took us in to surgery, and Levi James was born via Cesarean Section at 6:10am on April 4, 2011; weighing 7lbs 15oz and measuring 20.5 inches long. Dr. Collins did the surgery and Meg, our midwife was there too. When they pulled the baby out, we both asked what the baby was (boy or girl), but the doctors would not say anything. They told Daddy to go look, so he walked around where he could see. He started crying and told me that he owed me $20! He was so excited; he kept scurrying back and forth between Levi and me. Levi was not happy to be out of his warm and cozy home, and he let everyone in the delivery room know it! He was crying at the top of his lungs and showing them off.

Most birth stories would end here, but not ours!! They wheeled me into the recovery area, Levi and Matt followed. We were there waiting for the nurse to give Levi a bath when I saw Matt start to fall while he was holding Levi. I thought he was passing out, but he was starting to have a seizure. He realized what was happening and was trying to hand the baby off to a nurse. I could see Levi's face and he looked so scared, like he realized he was falling. One nurse ran to catch Matt, while another nurse took the baby from his arms. They lowered Matt to the floor while he had a seizure. I’ve never been so scared in all my life. Because we were at a women’s center for the birth, they couldn’t treat Matt for his seizure there. So, less than an hour after Levi was born, Matt was in an ambulance on his way to another hospital across town. My mother came to be with me and Matt's mother met him at the other hospital. He was gone for 6 long hours. He was a bit dazed when he returned, but very happy to be back with us.

Levi and Mommy's first picture


After his first bath


Daddy is happy to be back with Levi and Mommy


First family photo


We are continuing to adjust to life with a newborn, and all that entails. But we are also adjusting to life with Matt having a diagnosed seizure disorder. That means no driving for 6 months. The stupid ER doctor actually wrote on Matt's discharge orders that he shouldn't drive or hold the baby for 6 months. Yeah right. "I'm sorry sir, I know your son was just born today, but if you could just refrain from holding him until October that would be great." Whatever.