Saturday, January 30, 2010
Five Scheduled Births: Baby #4
Another birth story. This one was pretty unique, so I hope the details don't gross you out because I'm going to include them.
#4 was due January 26, so through the pregnancy I told myself "sometime in February" just to be realistic. Good thing, too, because once again I did not go into labor on my own. I had another easy pregnancy. I was a little more sensitive to smells and food: I could cut up raw chicken, but I couldn't stand to smell or even touch a cold flour tortilla. Funny how those change with each pregnancy. We moved into our house a few months before she was born, and I spent the last minutes of my pregnancy cleaning like mad so I would have a clean home to bring my new baby to. Dr. Baird didn't make me wait to go a week overdue, because we all knew it wouldn't make a difference. Instead, he let us work the birth into our weekend plans. So at 3:00 on Friday afternoon of January 30, Kent and I dropped off the girls at their grandparents' home to spend the night. We borrowed some movies to watch during my labor and grabbed a late lunch on our way to the hospital.
All my previous labors were started by prostaglandin. However, to cut costs, the hospital no longer offered that as an option unless a mother was at least a week overdue. So by 4:45 I was hooked up to pitocin. Rumors of pitocin had always scared me. I'd heard stories of hard and fast labor that had no results, so I'd always been glad to avoid that IV. But guess what? I like the pitocin better than the prostaglandin. Now I had a dial on the medicine and the nurse would turn it down or up to keep the labor even, which was not an option with prostaglandin gel. At 10:00 p.m., after finishing "Young Frankenstein", I was finally to three centimeters and Dr. Baird said he would come in to break my water. By that time, the contractions were coming every 30 seconds, so I asked for an epidural--and it was a good one! By 10:20 I was free from pain and even my ribs felt tingly! The next time my nurse came in to check dilation, she couldn't: the amniotic sac was bulging out! I guess that is a rare occurrence because the nurses called each other in to come see it. I asked for a mirror and the only one they could find was a full-length, oval dressing mirror. The sac looked like a blue water balloon. When my doctor came, he gave me the option of delivering the baby inside the sac and keeping it intact, but at the time that sounded too strange and I declined. (I would choose otherwise now because that would be really cool!)
The atmosphere in the room was very calm. My doctor broke the sac and I got her head out in one push. Though I couldn't feel the pain, I could feel my body contracting and working with my pushing so that I didn't have to put a lot of effort into it and we took things slowly. Dr. Baird suctioned her nose and mouth, and then Kent finished the delivery. (Those are his hands holding the pasty baby.) Being able to watch the delivery in the mirror and having Kent so involved made it all a great experience. She was born at 11:45 p.m.
The baby gave a strong, short cry and Kent held her for a few moments before handing her over to the nurses. She just looked around and then smiled at her dad. She was my biggest baby at 8 lbs. 11 oz. and 20 inches long. I didn't tear at all, which may have been due to the amniotic sac slowly stretching things out. The baby nursed well and then slept and slept. Someone tested her blood sugar once at the hospital, and it was fine, so they let her sleep and didn't bother me to feed her.
(Warning: gory details.) When I delivered the afterbirth, Dr. Baird showed me how the cord attached to the placenta and the placenta to the amniotic sac. I touched the bag and was amazed how strong it was, although once I punctured it, it tore easily. It is simply incredible what the body does to make and birth a baby!
We went home Saturday night when she was almost 20 hours old. At 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, I woke with an ache and a tender spot in my leg. When it started feeling very warm, Kent called a friend of mine in the ward to watch the girls, and he took me and the baby to the ER where they did an ultrasound of my leg to check for a clot. Fortunately, it was only a damaged artery--my first varicose vein, a condition that worsened with my last pregnancy. We happened to be in the ER when some priesthood holders brought the Sacrament around. That was a special blessing for me to be able to take the Sacrament in that tiny exam room with Kent and two nurses, because it was several weeks before RSV season waned and I felt okay about taking that baby to Church.
Before we left the hospital the first time, we reviewed our list of 20 or so names. Neither of us was particularly attached to any name, and we had told my single sisters that we wouldn't use any names they loved. But my middle sister refused to tell us her favorite girl's name because she was sure we'd love it once we heard it. We started flipping through the hospital's name book and guess what? We used both my sisters' favorite names: Gwenyth Sarai. The combination of her names make her our "blessed princess White". She was an easy baby from the beginning--so easy that I found myself waking her up to eat at night!
From my journal:
"[#4] eats well, sleeps well, loves baths, and is content to just look around and be nice when she's awake. She is already a daddy's girl and always smiles for him. I am so thankful that the delivery went well, that my baby is healthy, that I feel good,...and that Gwen...is such a sweet little person. I wish I could hold her and enjoy [the faces she pulls] and her sweet little sighs all day. The girls all love her dearly. Our family has been and is truly blessed."
All of that still holds true. Happy birthday sweet six-year-old!