Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harmony's Birth!

Harmony Melody Calame
Born:  15 August 2011 at 1:33 PM
8.67 lbs 20.5 inches

     By Sunday the 14th the baby still hadn't come.  We were scheduled to check in to the hospital at 5:00 pm to start the inducement process.  We arrived half an hour late at 5:30 p.m.  The nurses went through asking all sorts of questions – the typical medical history, allergies, etc.  They tried starting the IV and got it in the vein no problem but the catheter bent and wouldn’t go in correctly.  I squeezed Jackson’s hand a good one as the nurse moved the needle and catheter around for what seemed like forever.   Then she said she was going to stop torturing me and put it in my hand instead.   Thank-you.

      Once all the checking in and setting up was complete, they put the first cervadil pill in me.  I was still only dilated to 1 ½ and only 50% effaced.  I took a sleeping pill and slept soundly through the night.  They put the pill in every 4 hours through the night so by 7:30 a.m. on the 15th it was time for the 4th one.  But, Dr. Thoppil went ahead and ordered that they start the pitocin even though I was only at a 2 and 70% effaced.  The first hour was full of cramping and towards the end I was having to concentate on breathing through them.  I suggested we put on Netflix to help distract me so we started watching Bella.  I’ve been wanting Jackson to see it for a long time.  But, about half way through the movie, by 9:30 AM the contractions were getting pretty strong and I needed to concentrate completely on getting through them.  We turned the movie off and Jackson stood by my bedside as I gripped his hand for each one.  I started writhing, moaning, and whimpering through them as time went on and kind of felt like crying but didn’t.  
     My family showed up at 10:30 AM as contractions were getting really intense.  My parents, Dathan, and Shalynna all walked in at once.  There’s a 2 person limit in the delivery room and they’re not super strict about it or anything but I felt super overwhelmed with all these smiling happy people walking into my room nonchalantly as I was writhing in pain and going through this super intense experience.  Jackson quickly fixed the situation and my family took turns visiting.  They were just giving me pain medication through my IV when they arrived.  They gave me some through my IV that was going to take effect quickly and then a shot in my butt that was supposed to last longer.  I have been terrified about all the needles involved in childbirth and haven’t been stuck anywhere but my arm since I was very very little (so little that I have no recollection of ever being stuck anywhere else).  Anyway, funny enough the spot where they put the needle was on my butt but towards my hip and in a spot where I am very ticklish.  So rather than hurting, it actually tickled as the shot went in!  I found that humorous and shared the laugh with my mom and Jackson in between contractions.  The pain medication did help, although I was definitely still in a lot of pain during contractions.  It really helped me relax in between though along with making me woozy and tired.  I had barely acknowledged anyone since the contractions had gotten strong and that continued.  I had to keep my eyes closed because the light made me dizzy and I discovered very fast that noise really annoyed me.  I made everyone talk quietly and if anyone tried to address me I had no idea because I couldn’t hear anything over my breathing and I was completely consumed in working through contractions.  Jackson was great at holding my hand and being a comfort at my side even though I hardly interacted with him during this time other than to squeeze his hand really hard.  
My husband is dang hott.  And my miserable face peeking out from the corner makes me laugh.
Looking back I’m kind of surprised at how independently I handled it.  Don’t get me wrong, Jackson HAD to be there and I couldn’t have done it without him but I’m surprised at how fully focused I was on me and my body and not on anyone or anything else. 
     So anyway, at this point I was thinking I could never do this again, and wondered how I was ever going to have another child.  They had wanted to give me IV pain meds before the epidural because I was only dilated to a 3 and the epidural can really slow down labor so Dr. Thoppil ordered they hold off.  Periodically the nurses asked me what my pain was on a scale of 1 to 10 and I only ever got up to saying a 5 because I figured it was going to get a lot worse.  I was convinced I just had to be a wuss because I expected labor to go on for another 5 to 8 hours and knew that was a lot of time for things to get worse.  At noon they called the anesthesiologist and started preparing for the epidural.  In between intense contractions we got me sitting up, cross legged, hugging a pillow, and leaning forward arching my back as Jackson held onto my shoulders.  The anesthesiologist gave me my 3 options, 1 – he could give me a basic run down of the epidural and explain the drug, potential risks, expected outcomes, etc.  2 – he could just answer my questions.  Or 3 – he could just go for it and get it in.  I of course went for option 3.  I have always been terrified of an epidural, an apparently large needle going straight into my back has never seemed like a cake walk.  However, anything sounded better than those contractions.  He numbed me first and said the needle would feel like a bee sting.  It did sting but not nearly as bad as I had expected.  Then, I didn’t even feel the actual epidural.  The anesthesiologist did his job flawlessly and the epidural was administered at 12:30 pm.  Within ten minutes I was feeling substantially better.  But as soon as it took away the pain I felt really intense pressure.  I had been told they would check me again in 15-20 minutes and was trying to be patient but I was having to work just as hard through contractions to not push as I was earlier to bear the pain.  I was concentrating on my breathing, squeezing the bar on the bed, and unable to talk through the contractions because the pressure was so intense.  I kept assuring my mom that it didn’t hurt it was just a TON of pressure.  Right after the epidural kicked in Jackson went to get something to eat, he hadn’t eaten all day.  As he was gone the urge to push intensified.  Finally, I called the nurse in.  I didn’t want to seem like an idiot thinking I was ready to push when I still had another 5 centimeters to go or something but I couldn’t deny what I was feeling and what my body was trying to do either.  And I had to know because I knew I couldn’t push until I was a 10 and I couldn’t hold it back any longer.  She seemed a bit skeptical but went ahead and checked me and got this cute smile on her face and said I was there.  I was a 10 and 100% effaced.  I could push! 
     Suddenly the room jumped into action.  The nurse wanted me to labor down some more because the baby wasn’t quite as low as they would of liked.  I tried my best to not push but it was next to impossible.  I frantically had my mom call Jackson to get him back in the room.  Dr. Thoppil arrived shortly after Jackson, they had both been in the cafeteria.  Nurses filed in, everyone got gloves on and delivery gear in order.  They took apart the bed without me even knowing it, got my legs straddled in the air and with each contraction I was finally allowed to push.  The nurse and Dr. Thoppil were great at coaching me through and Jackson was fantastic at encouraging me and re-enforcing what they were telling me to do.  I couldn’t believe how fast it was all happening.  As the baby descended everyone told me I was doing fantastic, they could see the baby’s head and I was making great progress.  I wanted to see.  I requested a mirror.  They brought one in but after watching for a bit I had to look away because the hole I saw still seemed far too small to push a baby out of and it was kind of freaking me out.  After about 30 minutes of pushing, the baby came out.  It was a crazy feeling.  I felt the stretching and pressure that I had always been so terrified of.  Even with the epidural it stung some but there was such purpose and I knew I was so close.  The baby slid out and there was such a release of pressure!  Jackson cut the cord and the baby was immediately placed on my chest.  I was overcome with endorphins.  I was full of so much joy and love for this little baby on my chest. 

Apparently as Jackson cut the cord Dr. Thoppil asked him, “So, what are you going to name him?”  Jackson looked down at the baby’s face, up at the board where the names “Emerson” and “Donnovan” were written, which were the two names we were deciding between, and looked back at the baby and said, “I have no idea”.  Neither of those seemed right to him.  I missed this conversation as I regained coherency.  But, this cheesy baby was placed on my chest and I cried a little bit and kissed the baby’s forehead and said hello and then I looked up and my first words were, “So, is it a boy for sure?”  The baby had been born for at least 3 minutes at this point.  The nurse pulled back the blanket the baby had been wrapped in, and as we both looked the nurses eyes widened and said, “Nope!”  We had a little girl!  Jackson and I started laughing and were shocked but not that shocked because we had felt very strongly at the very beginning that we were going to have a girl, that our little Harmony Melody was waiting to join our family, but 2 separate ultrasounds had convinced us otherwise.  Jackson said, “Well then, her name is Harmony!”  a name we had picked out for our first daughter before we were even married. 
     I was overjoyed as I held her in my arms and spent the next half hour trying to get her to latch on and start nursing.  That was a little tricky to get the hang of and the nurses were really good about staying with me and helping.  We finally got her to nurse for a few minutes and then they took her across the room to bathe her, do footprints, measurements, etc.  

Family filed in and met her and about 2 hours after her birth I was wheeled to a recovery room where I would be staying for the next 48 hours.  I was STARVING so my family left on a mission to Sonic to bring me back a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry-banana-pineapple milkshake. 

I snarfed it down and then ordered dinner from room service and ate that an hour or two later. 
     Right after the delivery I told Jackson, “I could totally do that again!”  The whole childbirth process was so much easier than I ever expected it would be.  I had a 1st degree tear which meant it was very small and only required a couple of stitches.  My recovery was super easy, I felt fantastic.  Even in the days following.  Sore of course, but nothing terrible.  I created a reputation with the nurses as being the happiest and easiest patient they had.  It felt amazing to have my body back. 
 It was such a beautiful experience and happened so fast - 6 hours from when they started the pitocin to when I had Harmony in my arms.  When we were checking out with the hospital, our nurse told us, "I've seen some great parents come through here, but you two have really got it together".  She was so impressed at our team work and love and stability, even as 23 and 24 year old parents.  We were flattered and are trying our hardest to continue "keeping it together".  We love each other and we love our daughter.  Hooray for becoming a family of 3! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 8 of Overtime

     Sunday August 14 was the day set for me to check in to the hospital to begin the process of inducement.  It was also our one year anniversary!  We slept in, trying to get a good amount of rest before embarking on childbirth, then I worked on the diaper bag I've been sewing and then cooked a delicious dinner of baked halibut, rice, and vegetables.

This dinner completed my one year challenge to cook a new meal every day for a year!  It was a fun year and I'm so much in the habit of finding new meals for the week's menu that I can't seem to stop.  I'll just keep on going! 

     We packed our bags and anxiously went to the hospital.  We checked in 30 minutes late and got settled.  Read about the birth story in the next post! 

Day 7 of Overtime

      At one week overdue we spent the day swimming.  On Fort Sam.  Which meant swimming for free.  With 2 awesome water slides.  Jackson talked the lifeguard into letting me go down the slower of the two (which ended up still being pretty fast!) and I was like a giddy school girl.  I LOVE water slides and going down that slide at 41 weeks pregnant was the most fun I had had all Summer!

    After swimming we went home and got ready for a friend's wedding reception. My best friend, Rebecca, had returned from her mission the night before and I anxiously awaited her arrival to the reception.  It was a joyous reunion And Maria, Rebecca, and I enjoyed the time together.  We've been friends for over 10 years and I had no idea when we would all 3 be in the same place at the same time again until Maria's sister planned her wedding in San Antonio on the perfect weekend.  I had hoped they would get to meet my baby too but, I'll take what I can get.  

Baby bump picture!  I believe Maria was 13 weeks at this point and I was 41. 
What a great weekend filled with friends and family but still no baby!  We drove back to Austin and waited some more with no signs of labor.

Day 6 of Overtime

I'm going to catch up here briefly.  So, back to Day 6 of Overtime: 

I had no signs of labor and there were lots of exciting events going on back in San Antonio - my sister-in-law was going through the temple for the first time, one of my best friends was going to be in town for her sister's wedding, and another best friend was coming home from her mission.  I figured we might as well go down to San Antonio and enjoy the weekend while waiting for the baby, if I did go into labor it would be a little over an hour and a half to the hospital back in Austin.  Doable.

So, while Jackson was at work, I readied everything for the trip.  We loaded up the hospital bag and car seat, just in case, and headed down to San Antonio.  Jackson had been working his tail off and getting hardly any sleep for the previous few weeks and so the 9 month pregnant woman was the driver:

Notice:  9 month pregnant woman driving, husband curled up with the pregnancy pillow and feet on the dash.  Awesome.  

Don't worry, I was more concerned about his health and the need for sleep than I was about driving 100 miles.  

     We were able to attend the temple session with Veronica and it was wonderful.  I even ran into Maria (the best friend in town for wedding) and her family as I entered the temple.  I'm so happy we were able to share in Veronica's special night and it was fun to go out to eat after and chat with friends and family into the late hours of the night.  We ended the night by staying at a friend's house and crawling into the amazingly soft bed in their guest bedroom.  That bed is so incredible that we pass up staying with 3 different options of households with family members when we visit San Antonio.  Our friends Brit and Rick who provide the bed and consistently delicious breakfasts are pretty awesome too!

With Veronica after the session