Monday, August 29, 2016

The 7th Baby's Birth Story

Oh man, this one is a doozy in the way that it didn't go at all as I expected.  But then again, what labor does?  I should have expected the unexpected.  

Let's take it back two weeks before he was born.

I was having so many contractions...every time I stood up, walked, did anything besides sit or lay down...contractions.  Plus tons of pressure and lower back pain and general uncomfortableness, as one has at 38 weeks preggers.  I went to my 38 week appointment and my doctor checked me, declared me 2 cm dilated, stripped my membranes, and set a date for my induction for the evening of August 18.  Gestational diabetes earned me a 40 week induction date, but since my doctor would be at the hospital when I was 39 weeks + 2 days, that's the date he set.  BUT, he assured me, he really thought I was going to go into labor on my own in 3 to 4 days.  Things were starting and I was elated thinking I would have that baby soon!  I went home and upped both my tea and supplement game.

That night, I was up alllllllll night with timeable contractions that were about 8-9 minutes apart and I debated going into the hospital a million times, but in the end tried laying down around 5 am, and fell asleep.  When I woke up at 8, nothing was happening but I was so exhausted that I called in to work sick and spent the day trying to nap.  The next day was Friday, and I went to work as normal, and nothing new was happening.  Still having contractions, but I knew labor wasn't in the plan anytime soon.

I was tired.  Physically and mentally.  Day by day kept passing with no signs of baby, and every night I dreaded going to bed thinking we might be running to the hospital in the middle of the night, yet at the same time wanting to be in labor already.  Every night we made a plan of who could come watch the kids IF it were to happen that night.  Every morning we awoke disappointed (Phil) yet relieved (me) that it hadn't happened.  I wanted to be holding the baby, but I was so scared to have labor start on it's own and have another super fast/no chance for pain medication labor.

I had a non-stress test on Monday and bambino was doing great.  I had my 39 week doctor's appointment on Tuesday and I was still dilated the same amount, got my membranes stripped again (note to self - this does not work for me!) and was told to come into the hospital on Thursday evening to start the induction.  Two more days.  I only had to make it 2 more days!

Thursday was such a weird day.  How do you have a normal day when you know you are going to the hospital that night to have a baby?  Luckily, taking care of 6 kids keeps you busy and your mind off of things a bit.  If I had known what was about to come, I would have slept all day.  But I didn't, so I didn't.  That afternoon, I made a meatloaf for dinner (kid's favorite), went to Latin Mass while the boys served, and then dropped them off at soccer practice.  Then I came home, picked up Phil, and off we went to the hospital.  

All smiles and naivete up in here.

Large and not in charge

So I finally answer the hundreds of questions (including if I wanted a tubal ligation after the birth - ugh) got the monitors on the baby, all my vitals checked and the doctor showed up at 8:30 pm to give me the cervidil.  The plan was that I was going to sleep while the cervidil ripened my cervix through the night and then in the morning, they would start pitocin.  Somewhere in that first hour, the nurse informed me that I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything until the baby was born, except for ice chips and popsicles.  What the what?  I was so used to my midwife who let me eat during labor that I hadn't even contemplated starving before and during labor.  Plus, I had to stay in the bed so they could monitor the baby.  Again, I was used to free movement with the midwife.  I was not a happy camper.

Chained to the most uncomfortable bed in all the land

The monitors kept moving on my belly or the baby kept moving in a way that he wasn't tracking, and all.night.long the alarms kept going off and the nurses kept coming in to adjust them.  Needless to say, we didn't sleep all night.  

Around 6 am, the nurse came in to say my doctor had called and wanted them to take out the cervidil and check my progress.  I was now a "1 to 2 cm dilation".  What the what?  How did I reverse dilate?  I was pretty much done at this point.  I was so exhausted, hungry and sore laying in bed.  I actually asked if I could just get a C-section and get it over with.  I couldn't imagine going through labor starting off in this state.  The nurse went to call back my doctor to tell him my (lack of) progress and came back saying I could get off the monitors, take a shower and eat a small snack.  THANK YOU BABY JESUS!

After a long warm shower, a yogurt, a walk around and around the room, and some bounces on the birthing ball, my doctor came in to see me.  He checked me and declared me dilated 4 to 5 cm.  THANK YOU TEENAGE JESUS!  It's amazing what some movement, food, and warm water can do to help along a labor.  Medical professionals take note ;)

I asked him when I would be allowed to get the epidural and he said as soon as I got back on the monitor and my contractions were regular, I could have it.  He was a big believer in me not getting it too soon because he didn't want to stall out my labor.  I really wanted it asap because if I was at 4 cm, I thought I would be having a baby in an hour, based on past labors.  So they hooked me up to the monitors, and my contractions were regular and the anesthesiologist just happened to be finishing with  a mom in the next room, and my doc said I could go ahead and get it now.  THANK YOU YOUNG ADULT JESUS!

They kicked Phil out of the room, and gave me the epidural, which was way more involved than I remember.  Lots of questions, lots of positioning, explaining, wiping, shot, big needle, more meds, tape, blah blah blah.  And then in a few minutes I could feel my legs going numb and I excitedly whisper-yelled "It's worrrrrrking!"  THANK YOU ADULT JESUS!

I almost immediately went to sleep and sleep/rested from about 9:30 until 12:30.  During those hours, I was still being monitored, getting my vitals checked, getting catheterized, and getting checked to see what kind of progress I was making.  I must admit, based on the fast nature of my last three labors, I had honestly thought I would get the epidural, fall asleep for an hour and wake up dilated to ten cm.  But no such luck.  After all those hours, I was still 4 to 5 cm.  Boohoohoo.  

My doctor decided to start pitocin.  I think this was where I kinda figured out that a medicated induction was really not the best plan for me.  If I had only been able to walk around and get in a tub, I'm pretty sure my labor wouldn't have stalled out.  But then again, I was pain free.  As I said to my doctor upon feeling the effects of the epidural "This is all I ever wanted."  Tough call.

A couple of hours later on the pit drip, I was still not progressing, and I remember thinking that I was going to end up with a c-section for real.  Why wasn't my body responding??  At 2:30, I started feeling cramping in my lower abdomen with each contraction.  At first I said nothing because I wasn't sure why I was feeling anything.  Then I asked the nurse if she could use the catheter because I thought maybe my bladder was full.  It was, but relieving it didn't relieve any of the pain.  I told the nurse I was cramping with each contraction, and they were getting stronger, and she told me to press the button that administered more epidural meds.  I did, but didn't feel the cold sensation she said would happen in my back, nor did the pain lessen.  So then she pushed it, assuming I had done something wrong I guess, and again, no change.  

Brief interlude to show what my big boys were doing when I was in labor:

Kayaking with their youth group.

Must be nice.


So the nurse (who was the cutest British woman) called the doctor, who came in and saw me in pain through each contraction, and called the anesthesiologist to come up and administer more meds.  

At this time, the pain was really bad, and I was groaning like a dying cow through every contraction, and then the shakes started.  Phil was trying to help me get through each one, but I was so pissed that the epidural gave out on me at THE HARDEST PART of labor, that I was totally taking my anger out on him.  

I would squeeze his hand, and he would instinctively squeeze back, and I yelled at him for squeezing my hand too hard.

I was blowing through the end of each contraction, and he was imitating me by blowing his stinky breath directly in my face.

He would try to warn me when a contraction was coming, or when a big one ended and I yelled "That is literally the worst thing you could tell me!"

He said my labor would be over soon, that it was going so fast, and I freaked out because I didn't want a fast labor!  I wanted it slow and steady and controlled!

Yeah, I was a gem.  Sorry honey.  Love you longtime.

Going through (what I now know was) the last hour of labor on pitocin and without being able to move from laying down in bed is horrible.  *Shudder*  At some point, the anesthesiologist came in and gave me a shot of some more pain meds in my IV, and that didn't work either.  The nurse even pushed the button again for more meds.  My legs were dead to the world, but no amount of pain medication was taking away the pain.  

My doctor checked me around 3:00 and upon pulling off the layers of warm blankets the British Nurse had given me to help the shakes said "Did anyone tell you your water has broken?"  Um, no doc, nobody did and my dead legs couldn't feel a thing as I sat there in a pool of amniotic fluid.  No wonder I was in so much pain, as for me, broken water = imminent birth.  He declared me a "Good 6", told me the baby's head was now in a good position (I guess his head was a little tilted up until that point) and left the room.  I love my doctor, but there were so many women having babies that night/day that the nurses and doctors were stressed out and scurrying every which way.  

I went through maybe four more contractions and then looked desperately at the nurse, who asked if I would like to be checked again dearie?  Yes, please, something, anything!  She put on her gloves and went in for the check and immediately pulled her gloves off, flustered, and started typing something into the computer next to my head.  I asked her what was wrong, and she said "You feel like you're having a baby because YOU'RE HAVING A BABY!"  She must have been trying to update my situation on the computer/page the doctor, when another nurse ran in and said "Are we about to have a baby in here???"  "Yes!" we all shouted.  "Well the doctor is heading down the stairs to go back to the office!" and she ran out to get him to come back to my room.  He comes running in and starts prepping to catch the baby as I'm having more groaning/teeth chattering contractions and asking why the medicine isn't working.  My doctor smiled and said, "Well let's just get this baby out, and that will make the pain will go away". THANK YOU RESURRECTED JESUS!

 I mumbled that I wasn't ready, that I didn't want to push, that I didn't believe it was really time...all the normal things I say right before I birth a baby.  I honestly feel like everyone is lying to me when they tell me it's time to push because I have never once felt the urge to push in all seven labors.  I just have to trust the doctor or midwife when they say it's time, and I'm not good at trusting when I'm in horrific amounts of pain.

Anyway, the room was a flurry with maternity nurses, the doc, and the pediatric nurse all getting ready to meet this baby quickly.  The doctor, in his sweet and chill way, told each nurse to grab my leg and make sure they didn't let go because he was aware that they were dead weights, and told me to push with the next contraction.  I did, heard the doc say "Look here Daddy!" and boom! out came his head.  "Stop pushing", he said, then "now just a little push", and boom again!, he was born.  I didn't feel the pushing one bit, it was awesome.  When I looked down to see my son, the doctor was holding him as if he had been born feet first.  I was shocked and asked if he was born breech, and he just laughed and said no.  I don't know how he flipped him around that fast, but they are the expert baby catchers!  

They threw him up on my chest, and I was so relieved it was over.

I remember two funny things in the moments these photos were taken.  

1. Phil was taking the photos and said "Your teeth look weird because of all the purple popsicles you ate!"  

2. I just kept asking everyone if he was healthy and then asking if somebody would please move him (they had placed him right under my chin) so I could see his face.  I don't know why I didn't just move him myself!  It was like I was in shock.

He lay with me for about an hour before they took him to get weighed and diapered.  Phil was so genuinely happy and thankful and lovely to me after his birth.  I kept apologizing for being mean.  Typical us!

Brendan Joseph Martin

Friday, August 19, 2016
3:48 pm
7 lbs. 9.5 oz.  and  20 inches

Truth be told, we didn't know what we were going to name him for a little while.  We knew he was a boy and we liked the names Charles, Brendan and Joseph but wanted to look at him first.  For the first half of his pregnancy, we were calling him Charlie and I even had a ring made with all the kids names on it, including Charlie, that I'll never wear now!  Oops, those pregnancy hormones are strong.  He looked like a Brendan to us, and then not wanting to NOT name any of our 6 boys Joseph (aka one of the greatest saints ever) he became Brendan Joseph.

When he was all cleaned up, and everyone had left the room except for my nurse, we just chilled out and breastfed.  He latched like a champ, and eats like a baby ;) There was no postpartum room open for me until almost 9 pm, which was fine since I couldn't get out of bed on my own until about midnight when all the extra meds finally left my system.  That was weird.  Phil was very worried about the state of uselessness of my legs.  I was too baby blissed out to care.

His nose was so crooked upon delivery, but has straightened itself out since.  I think this must have occurred from the tilted head position he was stuck in.

A rare moment of sleep in between all the constant interruptions and testing done in the hospital.  Man, I was so glad to go home on Sunday morning!

Phil and his mini-me.  I can't believe this man has six sons.  He would have been a total stud in biblical times.  Heck, he's my stud in modern times...and that's why we have seven children :)

First bath

Ahhhh, Brendan and his godmother, Haley.  Haley was our saving grace!!  She stayed with our six kids from Thursday night to Sunday morning, taking care of them, making sure they had plenty of fun things to do, and completely easing our minds and letting us focus on Brendan alone.  It was amazing.  Just like her :)

The kids all came to visit on Saturday morning, and we waited to tell them his name until then.  They were at the playground when Brendan was born, so when Phil called to tell Haley he was here, she excitedly yelled out "The baby is born! The baby is born!" as she gathered up all the kids to get in the car to go home.  I can just imagine everyone else at the playground, like what is happening??  They went home, waiting for the call to come visit at the hospital, but since I didn't get a room until so late, they had to wait until the morning.  Major womp womp.

Gammy and Grandpa with their 22nd grandchild.

Brendan and his godfather, Uncle Bill

Some of his many cousins, Caitlin and Liam, came to meet him.

He didn't have high enough bilirubin levels to take any measures, but he is a bit yellow so I'm feeding him lots, he's pooping lots, and getting some sunshine when possible.

At his first of many soccer games at two days old.

Since we've been home, we've only had perfectly helpful, happy, peaceful children in the house.


Not even close.

We were very happy to have school start on Wednesday.  Alleluia!

Life goes on, and we are finding our new normal, but very excited to get to know Brendan more every day.  We love him and I am so happy he's living on the outside :)

And if you read to the end you deserve a cookie.