Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fletcher James Rice--Birth Story

I can't believe Jared and I have been parents for a little over two weeks now. People always said having a child would change everything, but I don't think anyone could have prepared me for the feelings we have for this boy. Love is an understatement. He is perfect in every single way and I feel incredibly blessed to be his mother.

Fletcher James Rice was born March 28, 2016 at 10:32 pm. This is his birth story.
My due date, March 25, came and passed. I worked late that day to get a few things finished at the office in case I happened to deliver over the weekend even though I was fully convinced I would be back at work on Monday. After work I went to have my eyebrows done. The lady asked, "twins?" I felt like crying right there in her chair. No, not twins, I am just massive!

Saturday, March 26, still pregnant, Jared and I decided to take the dogs for a long 3 mile walk that morning to see if we could get things moving. During the walk I had a few intense Braxton Hicks contractions but nothing more. We went for our usual bagels, hopeful I would have my water break at our favorite bagel spot, but no such luck. Then we decided donuts were a good idea because if I was going to go past my due date, I was going to make it worth it. Side note, all the hype about Duck Donuts is for real, that place is ahhh-mazing. We thought maybe a movie would help. So we went to see Superman vs Batman. We joked before the movie about how inconvenient it would be to go into labor during a movie. Well, I started to have (what I thought at the time) contractions. They were 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute, throughout the two hour movie. This is when I started to get excited. I called the on call service and spoke to the doctor on call. She, however, was not excited and said it sounded like false labor and was probably the weather (there was a storm coming that night). She told me to drink plenty of fluids and get some rest (HA!). I was a little discouraged and decided the baby was never coming. We finished out the day with Five Guys and another walk around the neighborhood. After over 13,000 steps that day, we went to bed with still no baby in sight.

Sunday, March 27, Easter Sunday, we went to church as usual and prayed for baby boy to make his appearance soon. I felt huge and my swelling was out of control. After church we took the dogs around the neighborhood for a walk. About halfway through the walk Jared farted and I laughed so hard I thought I peed myself because that is totally something my pregnant self would do. Jared thought this was hilarious and tried to scare me which only made me laugh harder and thus, more pee. I cleaned myself up and we decided to have a lazy restful Sunday, baby would come when he was ready. Throughout the rest of the day I noticed some "abnormal leakage" everytime I got up from the couch or went to the bathroom. Around 9pm it occurred to me that it could of been my water breaking and not pee. So I called the doctor on call fully expecting her to think I was crazy. However, the opposite happened. She talked to me for about 15 minutes and told me she was unsure if it was my water or not and there was no way to tell without a test. She gave me the option to come to the hospital that night or to wait until 8 am the next day. Since I wasn't having contractions I decided to stay home.
Monday, March 28, I woke to zero contractions. I felt like I would be going to work that morning after my appointment. I texted my boss and team to let them know I would be in later after my doctor checked me. Jared and I left the house with our work bags but also packed our hospital bags just in case they found something. We drove separate cars, stopped a chik-fil-a for breakfast because Jared insisted if we were staying we should eat something. I was still convinced I was going to be at work in a few hours. We arrived at the doctors office promptly at 8am. When we checked in the nurse asked why we were there. I said "Either my water broke or I peed myself yesterday, we aren't sure." They laughed but then got serious. The doctor had told them about me and were expecting me. My doctor examined me, which was super uncomfortable, took a sample of the fluid, said my bag looked intact and checked my dilation, only 3 cm (ugh!). She sent one sample to the lab before doing an ultrasound to check the fluid around the baby. Everything looked great to her and she confirmed we were in fact having a boy. She chalked everything up to "mystery fluid," told me to get dressed, and gave me the OK to go back to work. The nurse called in and said we needed to wait for the results from the lab. So we waited and I sent a couple emails. Then the doctor came back in with a very different demeanor. She said the fern test was positive, which meant it was amniotic fluid leaking. She suspected it was a high slow leak but since it had been close to 24 hours since my "peeing incident" they were worried about infection to the baby. She said I would need to go check into labor and delivery and possibly be induced. I immediately felt sick. I did not want to be induced. I wanted to have a completely natural birth. I wanted labor to start on its own. This was not my plan. She talked me through the process and the pros and cons which was somewhat reassuring. I still left in tears and in panic. I was going to have a baby today, but this was not the way I had planned. I called my mom in tears and told her to come even though I had no idea how long it would actually take.

We headed across the parking deck to the Women's Center and checked in at 9:15. The triage lady said, "man, that is a belly!" Yes, lady, I am very pregnant, thank you for noticing. We waited in this awkward area with several other pregnant women until they took me back at about 10:15. I got undressed and the nurse hooked me up to the monitors. She got all my information and asked me about my birth plan. I said, "not this." She laughed but I told her my intention was to go as natural as possible and wanted no interventions unless necessary, but understood that there were some circumstances that would warrant the need. At 12:00 the doctor came in and we discussed the plan. She manually broke my water which was the most interesting experience. It was in fact a huge gush of warm fluid all over the place. At the time of the break she said I was measuring about 4 cm. Mild contractions started shortly after. Jared left to get lunch and I did some work.
I decided to take a walk around the unit around 2pm to see if that would help get things moving a little faster. My mom arrived around 2:30 and we walked down to the gift shop to get my mind somewhere else. The contractions were increasing in intensity but still irregular intervals. At 4pm the doctor came back to check my progress. She sadly told me we were going to have to start Pitocin to get the labor moving because of the infection risk to baby. Around 4:30, after starting the Pitocin, I thought to myself, "oh, so this is real labor." The contractions were strong and consistent intervals. Jared was watching the monitor and quickly learned to not tell me when contractions were coming. We tried to use some of our distraction techniques we learned in class and turned on an episode of House of Cards. That lasted all of 20 minutes before I needed silence in the room during contractions. At 6:30 the doctor came back for another check. I had only dilated to just over 6 cm. She decided the Pitocin needed to be increased. I decided I wanted to try the nitrous oxide. The purpose is to take your mind off the pain so you don't really care. The nurse hooked me up and I tried several times, but it did not seem to work and actually messed up my concentration.

Around 7:30 the contractions were very intense. Sometimes they would couple on top of each other and I wouldn't get the break that I was looking for between them. I started to get the urge to push and the nurse wanted to check me to see if I was ready. Unfortunately I was only about 7 cm dilated but baby was at +1 station. Baby was engaged and my body thought it was ready to go but my cervix was just not ready. The nurse told me that I would need to combat the urge to push. This was the most painful and most difficult part of the labor. This went on for two more hours. The contractions would come strong and sometimes three on top of each other with no break and then I would get about 4 minutes of rest. My mom and Jared said that between contractions I would zone out and looked like I was very "zen." I have no idea where I went but I knew the pain was worth it and would be over soon. I lived for the breaks between contractions.

At 9:30 the urge to push was unbearable. The nurse checked me again and said I was just over 9cm and a few more contractions I would be ready to push. At 9:40 she said I was ready to start pushing. Jared had one leg and my mom had the other. The nurse did a couple of pushes with me and then had the doctor called into the room. The doctor was concerned because with every push the baby's heart rate would drop. They gave me a non-rebreather mask to get oxygen to me and the baby between pushes. The doctor said the cord was wrapped around his neck but she remained calm. Jared was amazing and watched the whole thing. He coached me through each push and gave me water between pushes. He was so excited when I started crowning and said "Lauren, he has blonde hair!" I began to feel very tired and felt like I wouldn't be able to push any longer. The doctor had me reached down and feel the baby's head. This was just the motivation I needed. A few strong pushes later and out came my sweet boy at 10:32pm! Jared said he watched the doctor un-lasso the cord from around his neck the second he came out. They placed him on my belly and the room went silent for just a brief second. The doctor exclaimed, "oh my gosh, he is a big baby." They brought him up to my chest for skin to skin while the placenta was delivered and the doctor stitched up my very minor first degree tear. A few minutes later they took our sweet boy to the scale to be weighed. Everyone was guessing around 9 pounds. Everyone in the room watched as the numbers on the scale began to climb and then quickly passed 9 then settled at 10 pounds 3.8 ounces! I cried out, "it was all the frosty's!"
The feelings that came over me cannot be explained. It was something I would do again and again. There is nothing more magical than seeing and holding your child for the first time. Just when I thought it couldn't get any sweeter I saw my husband hold our boy for the first time. My heart exploded. I thought I loved him before but this was no comparison. It doesn't help that our boy is literally the spitting image of his father.
My brothers came and brought me my post-push meal, Wendy's, of course. I enjoyed my spicy chicken sandwich and frosty while we drooled over how perfect Fletcher is before being brought to the mother-baby unit. We didn't sleep much in the hospital like we should have, as in I think I got maybe 6 hours of sleep in 3 days, but I couldn't stop staring and holding our precious gift.
We have been home with him for exactly two weeks and it still sometimes doesn't feel real. How did I get blessed with such a perfect baby? He is nothing like I thought having a newborn would be like. Everyone says his size helps with that. He is chunky and I love it. He sleeps and eats great! He is now starting to become more alert and finding his voice which means more crying than the first week but he is easy to soothe and remains a very chill, snuggly, sweet, squishy baby. He is changing everyday and time seems to be passing all too quickly.

Fletcher James, we love you so much.

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