Tommy's Birth Story

Hold onto your hats folks, 'cause I wrote a LOT.

Tuesday, March 27: The day before my birthday.

I went to the doctor for my last appointment before the induction. My original due date was April 6th, but for many reasons I had decided to go ahead and be induced on the 3rd. My body was ready; I was more than 70% effaced and already started to dilate. I was having contractions on a daily basis, and Baby was positioned low. Everyone including my doctor suspected he would come early anyway. Forgetting that I was a first-timer, my doctor actually even commented that I must have a history of fast deliveries, considering how everything was looking. He was surprised when I reminded him that this was my first. The comment gave me hope that when the time came, things would go quickly.

I had contractions all night long. This wasn’t extremely unusual, since I’d had them for a while already, and they weren’t particularly strong or consistent. Even still, I started to think that perhaps the baby might decide to share a birthday with me after all.

The 28th came and went, and there was no baby for my birthday. I didn’t even have many contractions through the day or night.

Thursday, March 29:

The morning started with a text message from Nate at about 6am that said, “You should have the baby today so I don’t have to go to work.” Yeah, yeah, that would be great for you, wouldn’t it? Little did we both know...

I was having contractions, but I went on a short trip running errands with a friend from about 11am till noon. While we were out I tried to downplay how strong they were getting, but it was difficult to hide them when I couldn’t talk through them very well. She wondered if she should take me to the hospital. I told her no- they weren’t that bad yet, and I would go home and wait it out a little longer. Maybe they would slow down when I got off my feet.

But once I got home, I was nervous that this was really happening and I wasn’t ready yet! My room was a mess and my hospital bag was only half-packed. So instead of resting, I spent about an hour or so working through my contractions, tidying and packing my bag with all the last minute things I might need. Just in case.

During all of this I was home alone and texting Nate back and forth, telling him that the contractions were getting pretty strong and frequent. I think he realized this might actually be happening when I finally told him I wasn’t sure at which point I should have him come home.

I took a break from cleaning my room and lied down on my bed to relax. I watched some of a Bollywood movie, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and hoped the awesome music would either calm things down or coax the baby out. My contractions slowed down significantly. Instead of about 5-7 minutes apart as they had been earlier, they came no more frequently than about every 15. Ok, maybe this wasn’t actually happening. They say Braxton Hicks go away when you rest, and that in real labor they don’t stop. Plus, the pain was all in my lower back anyway, not in my abdomen like I expected.

But after about an hour they started up again.

I started really paying attention to how often they came and how long they lasted. My mom came home, and I talked to her about it. She thought I should go in and get checked. I didn’t want to go and just get sent home, so I said no.

The hours went by, Nate got home from work, and the contractions continued to get stronger and stronger. I wanted to lay down with hopes that they would go away, but Nate and my mom encouraged me to stay moving to keep things going. I did my best, but I couldn’t stand up through them, and it was impossible to talk. No position I tried took away the pain. I asked my friend Ashley what her labor had been like, and she described everything I was going through almost exactly. When the contractions started to last for a minute or more each time and were pretty consistently 4-6 minutes apart, I decided to call my doctor. (It was about 6:30 pm.)

He called me back about 15 minutes later, I described what was going on, and he said, “Well, pack your bag and let’s get you checked in, Kiddo!” I was so relieved that the doctor on call that night happened to be one of the two I wanted (Dr. Gonzalez).

We arrived at the hospital at 7:00 pm, and had to wait around with me contracting in the hallway while all the nurses gabbed with some random pregnant girl who wasn’t due until July and was clearly not in labor, like me.  Apparently leaning on their counter grimacing while breathing through your contractions doesn’t mean you get to automatically cut in line. I was somewhat annoyed. But finally someone got me checked in and got me a room.

My dad posted this to Facebook to let everyone know I was in labor.
My nurse was named Kim, and she was really nice. I liked her a lot. I think it helped that she could make me laugh. Good bedside manner and a good attitude go such a long way! And she stayed cheerful the whole night, even into the early morning.

Anywho, Kim checked me a little after 7:00, and I was dilated to 5cm. This was definitely happening! They got me started on an IV, and that may very well have been the worst part of labor for me. Why? Because it freaking hurt! I have never had an IV put in the side of my wrist before, but I was completely unprepared for how much it would hurt. I thought it would be like any old shot in the arm. No no. When my dear nice Kim stuck me I practically screamed, “OW!” at the top of my lungs. It seriously was way worse than any of the contractions I had had, in terms of sudden, excruciating pain. I could handle the contractions way better. Four weeks later I've come to realize that she hit a nerve when she put it in, because my whole hand still tingles when I touch it or move it in certain ways.

After that awful event, Nate and I just hung out and talked for the next hour while we waited for them to come in and check me again, and when they did I had progressed to “between a 6 and 7.” Kim and Dr. Gonzalez commented on how quickly this was going for my first time. It was time to start the epidural if we wanted it to be effective by the time the baby was coming, in case I kept going so fast! I asked Dr. G how much worse my contractions would get, and this is where I had a momentary lapse in brain function.

He said they would probably stay about the same from now on, though they would come faster and closer together. I thought, “they aren’t exactly fun, but they’re totally manageable... Much easier than I expected. Maybe I don’t need the epidural after all!” (Nothing could be worse than that dang IV, right?)

Nate looked at me like I was crazy. Dr. G said it was “up to me!” and didn’t influence my choice one way or the other, which I was grateful for. He just told me I should decide sooner than later. The part that seemed to escape me was that a human being was about to come out of my vagina, and the stretching/tearing when it did would hurt. A lot. I was thinking the contractions would be it! Haha, silly me. Luckily Nate reminded me about that part (and even said, “do what you want... women have done it that way for thousands of years!”) and I came back to the reality that no, I did not want to feel that.

Ok, so the IV was bad because of the sudden, sharp terrible pain, but the epidural was bad for sheer scariness. I was petrified. I have heard so many awful horror stories about women who have been ruined for life because something bad happened when it was done that I just could not relax.

What if she hits something wrong and paralyzes me for life?
What if something happens to the baby??

It didn’t help that the anesthesiologist was a brusque Helga of a woman who had no sympathy for my fear.

She had me sit on the side of the bed with my legs dangling over the side. Nate stood in front of me and I rested my head and one arm on each of his shoulders. My other hand was clenched in a death grip at his waist. I had about a thousand questions for the anesthesiologist about how she was doing it, what to expect, whether what I was feeling was normal or not, etc, etc... and she was super cold. I remember whispering a little prayer, “please don’t let anything bad happen” a couple times. Maybe I annoyed her with my distrust in her abilities. I guess I didn’t really need to be so scared, since nothing bad did happen, but I was.

Anyway, eventually that was over and I was now being pumped with drugs every few minutes. It is a really weird sensation to be able to feel things, but not feel them at the same time. You can feel touch and the pressure of the baby, but not pain. My contractions were much easier to deal with, since the only way I could tell they were happening was by touching my stomach and feeling it get hard.

Mom and Dad arrived sometime soon after the epidural, and Nate called my sister to tell her that if she wanted to be there for the birth, she better get driving, cause it could happen any time (she lives about an hour away). We wondered if he would come that night, or early the next day. I think the epidural slowed things a bit, because I no longer progressed as fast as I had been before, but there was still a change every time they checked me.

Friday, March 30: 39 Weeks exactly

By midnight I had progressed enough that now I just had to wait till I “felt like I had to poop really bad.” Ok, easy enough... By 1:00am, I finally felt enough pressure to start pushing, so Kim got me started on the first few before the doctor came in. During each contraction I would push as hard as I could three times, counting to ten for each. Nate and my mom each held one of my legs back.

Once Baby’s head was ready to come out, Kim called Dr. Gonzalez in. He calmly talked me through each contraction, told me what a good job I was doing, and sort of cheered me on by saying, “you can do it,” “just one more and he’s out!” and other such things. I really liked my doctor. He also worked carefully (this might be TMI) to help stretch me out so I wouldn’t tear badly, which was appreciated. I ended up only needed a few tiny stitches on the inside- not even a “first degree tear” it was so small, and no external tearing or episiotomy.

I remember when Dr. G said, “just one more and he’s out” that I decided he was right. On the next push, that baby was going to be here. I grasped onto that thought and waited for the next contraction to come, determined that it would be the one. When it did come, I pushed as hard as I possibly could, through all three counts to ten. The baby didn’t come out. I felt super disappointed that I hadn’t been able to make it the one.

I wasn’t going to let that happen again. I was so tired, and I couldn’t tell how hard I was pushing because of the epidural, but I was going to do this.

Nate later commented that he’d never seen my face so determined before.

The contraction came, I pushed HARD... and Dr. Gonzalez said, “stop!” It’s hard to suddenly relax when you’re in the middle of doing something so difficult, but I forced myself to stop pushing and wait for more instructions. I was afraid he had me stop because the cord was around the baby’s neck or something- was something wrong? But then he said, “ok, push gently,” and the baby was out!

Thomas Benjamin Dorsey was born at 1:22am on March 30th, 2012, and he was beautiful. He hardly even looked like a newborn- he was perfectly pink with pudgy little arms and cheeks.

But something was wrong. He didn't cry. And they didn't place him on my chest like we had previously agreed to. My doctor called him “juicy” and a group of nurses took him off to the side to an "isolette." I couldn’t see very well because of my bedrail- why wasn't my baby crying and what were they doing? How much did he weigh? What were his Apgar scores? What the heck did "juicy" mean?

Apparently Tommy had a lot of fluid (and meconium) in his lungs so they were monitoring his breathing. He was “grunting,” and his little chest was pumping up and down furiously while his lungs tried to work right.

The weird thing is that even though I was worried about him, at the same time I felt completely calm. I had 100% trust in the doctors and nurses who were taking care of him, and somehow just knew he would be fine.

After a few minutes he finally cried- a short, angry sounding cry, like, “what are you doing to me?!” It really was one of the best sounds I’d ever heard. He would be ok.

They monitored him for about half an hour, and then prepared an incubator to take him off to the NICU to keep an eye on him longer.  At this point I still had not even gotten to touch my new baby, so before they put him in the incubator I asked, “Can I at least touch him first?” in a probably pretty pathetic-sounding voice. Nate spoke up and repeated the question, “can she hold him?”

So before they took my little one away to the NICU, they gave him to me for just a short minute. It was so wonderful to be able to hold this new little person! I still can’t believe he’s ours.

We went to visit Tommy at about 4am on the way to our room. He had monitors strapped all over him and breathing tubes in his nose. It was the saddest thing I’d ever seen! But he was doing very well and they suspected he would be fine by morning. We talked to him and held his hands- he was very feisty and kicked his legs and waved his arms around whenever you touched his hands or feet.

Poor baby!
They brought him to us at 9:00 the next morning and we finally got to keep him with us because he was stable. He looked so much better without all the tubes! They left his IV in for another day just in case he needed it, but he never did. We spent the weekend in the hospital dozing, hanging out with my parents, taking pictures of the baby, “Skyping” with family so they could see him, and watching General Conference on Nate’s laptop. It was a pretty decent time, and all the nurses gushed over how cute Tommy was.

He's even cute when he's angry.
Now we are home and after a month I’m starting to feel a little bit more confident in my mothering abilities. The first few nights at home were hard, but thanks to my amazing mom we both survived and are doing well.

Now since you made it through this massive post, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure!

First time home!

Chillin' with Daddy


KaycieQ said...

I can't believe you're a mommy! :) So exciting! Congratulations!

Elisabeth said...

Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! Your description of your anesthesiologist made me laugh out loud..."brusque Helga of a woman who had no sympathy for my fear" is just such an awesome way to describe someone.

Symantha said...

Oh precious! You're so...brave!!! I had a good laugh a few times, too. Congratulations again!

Francesca said...

Loved the post about your birth experience. Tommy is very cute, of course!