Noah Gabriel's Birth

Tuesday September 25th, Jonathan woke me up. Tuesdays are my choir rehearsal nights, and since being off bedrest at 36 weeks, I had been driving Jonathan in to work and either taking Nathan and Nataleigh to daycare or taking them to the mall or my mom's for the day. This particular tuesday, I wasn't sure I wanted to go to choir. We needed groceries and I knew going to the store would make the night even later besides which it was a week before my due date and I knew I needed all the rest I could get in the next week. I was tired. I kept deciding back and forth in my mind- I'll go; I'll stay home; I'll go- until I finally decided I'd go with them. I wasn't showered yet and after a few quiet tears on Jonathan's shoulder, I went and got a fast shower.

We'd left a little late, but by 10:00 a.m., we'd dropped Jonathan off at work just bearly on time and set off for my sister Beckie's house. We spent the afternoon there. She gave me a very comfortable green maternity outfit and had me try on a couple of others, too. I changed into the green one. We took video of my belly and the kids- making a sort of home version of "A Baby Story". At 5:30, Beckie said she wanted to go to Mervin's to buy her twins some clothes so she set off and Nathan, Nataleigh, and I set off for the mall. We went to The Disney Store where my mom was just getting off work at 6:00. We waited. Nathan and Nataleigh were pretty good about staying near me at the store. Finally, my mom came out of the back of the store and we all went to Stride Right to buy the twins some shoes. Nataleigh took the tape off several pairs of socks while there, and come to find out later, my mom had bought the socks because they were in her bag when she got home! Then the 4 of us went and sat on a short wall in the center of the mall near the stage and fountain. Mom offered to buy us cookies from Mrs. Field's and gave me $5 to do so. There wasn't much of a selection by then, but I did find some peanut butter chocolate chip ones. As I was making my way back, my mom laughed. I asked her what she was laughing about. She said I looked so cute walking over to them. We ate and then went our separate ways. By this time it was just about 7:00 p.m.

Jonathan only works across the street from the mall; he was waiting for us. He asked if we were still going to go grocery shopping instead of my rehearsal and I said yes. All this time the contractions were still going on. We got to the grocery store and did the usual shopping. Finally, I decided to confide to my husband that I'd been having contractions since about 6:00. Back home, Jonathan put the groceries away and I told him to not get too comfortable because we were probably going back out. I got online to read and post a bit, while I wrote down my contractions for an hour. They were about 4 minutes apart- 17 in the one hour. They also were feeling more like cramps in my back and front down low. After the hour was up, I called Labor and Delivery. I told the nurse what had been going on and she said she would've told me to stay home a bit longer, except that I was "Group B Strep positive" meaning I had an infection with it and unless antibiotics are given during labor, the baby can catch it and get very sick. So we called my mom, gathered up the kids, packed a few days of clothes and diapers for the kids and left.

We pulled in to my mom's driveway. She came outside in her pajamas with no shoes or socks on, her hands folded in front of her. She asked me how I was feeling- a sort of concerned yet proud look on her face. I told her I wasn't too bad and she kissed me and said good luck. Jonathan came back from taking the sleeping Nathan and bags inside, and Mom picked up a sleeping Nataleigh to go inside. We said we'd call when we were admitted.

The drive up to the hospital was strangely familiar- what with all my preterm labor visits in- but it all seemed to be wonderful this time. No problems; no wondering; we were going to have a baby! We parked right near the door to the floor you enter to; we passed the security guard for "after hours", telling him that yes, we were on our way up to the 4th floor! Past the Big Bird we went, turned right to the familiar elevator and pressed the "4". "Ding!" The doors opened and we stepped out to the waiting room for Labor and Delivery Triage. I told the woman at the desk that I'd called and she said okay- come with me. That was quick- no waiting around! We were put in Triage Room 3. When Jonathan and I saw this we both smiled at each other; that's the room we'd gotten when admitted for the labors of our other 2. It was the usual- put this gown on, give a urine sample, wait for them to come and put you on the monitors. We did that. The monitors showed contractions and my cervix was checked. Four cm and 70% effaced- a change from the 3cm and 60% I'd been two weeks before. Hmm.... At 1:20, they said "Go walk the halls for a couple hours and come back. If you're changed, we'll admit you".

Off we went. I heard someone in the hall outside our room say "They're both going walking...." I wondered who the other of "us both" was.

The first hour of walking seemed to go slowly. We walked all different floors, and down all the hallways that weren't locked. Past rows of photographs of animals on the wall.... Past the class photos of the U of M graduates from the 1860's through the 1950's. We read a little more each time around. Down one hall way it was hot, down the next cool. "Here comes the hot hallway..." I'd say. We walked past the cafeteria and Wendy's. We looked out the darkened windows. In one hallway, a door to the outside was nice and cool so I put my back up against it. Along another hallway, the doors to the outside were open because of something they'd been working on, so we stepped outside a couple of times. It was cold and raining but felt nice for a few minutes to walk through the little round park with trees and lamps and benches. Back inside to the hot....

After the 2 hours were up, we walked back to the 4th floor in relief that we were done walking and with baited breath as to whether or not I'd "progressed". We were put in Triage Room 2 this time- a room we'd rarely ever gotten even during all the pretern labor stuff. I was put back on the monitors. The doctor did eventually come in to check my cervix, but she needed a nurse with her. She left to find the nurse. Then the nurse came back saying the doctor had gotten called to a delivery. Great. It could be ages now before I got checked again. But, the doctor did reappear- she hadn't been to the delivery yet, saying she'd check me really fast. (She did look in a big hurry!) The verdict was in: five centimeters. Hooray! They'd get me a room. I called my mom and sister. After all this time of my sister asking me was I in labor- nearly every day for previous 3 weeks- she said great but she'd like to sleep another couple of hours. (We've laughed about it since then.) They put a heparin lock in my hand for the IV.

We entered our room- it was HUGE! The best room in the place, they told me. It turns out it used to be two rooms. I looked in the bathroom- a whirlpool tub! Just what I'd hoped for but figured I'd never get. Besides, I'd forgotten to ask anyway. The bed was on the left side of the room, bathroom in the middle, and baby bassinet and warmer on the right side. The nurse hooked my IV up with saline hydration and finally my ampicillin antibiotic. I was told I could get in the tub but I figured I'd save that for when I was more uncomfortable; I was still talking as if nothing really were going on. I gave my nurse the birthplan. She put it in my chart. I put the round "No Circ" sticker on the circumcision section in the baby's chart. I asked her to tape up the postcard which looked like this to the bassinet- she smiled when she saw it.

About 7:00, my mom and sister showed up, clean, dressed and awake, each with a coffee in hand. They were obviously happy and excited at what the day would bring. What a nice start to the day!

I asked if I could go walking and was told yes, so I did. Jonathan pushed the IV pole and we wandered the floor, round and round. Every room was filled. We did hear a woman in her room screaming saying she couldn't do it and the nurse saying "The baby's head is right here". Two other women were outside the door with an anesthesia cart, needle filled, muttering to each other that they didn't think she was going to need them.

Things went on like that for quite some time. The new nurse on duty wasn't as "wonderful" as the first, but she wasn't TOO grumpy. She kept commenting on how my contractions had slowed down to every 9 minutes. How surprised she was when a few hours later I was 6 cm. Hmm... with no contractions? Yeah right. I called a few friends to tell them this was it. The doctor did check me and said the head was still pretty high. I had a choice- just wait for it to come down, or they could give me Pitocin so that it would. They couldn't break my water with the head still up, because the cord could go ahead of the baby's head and get pinched, cutting off his oxygen supply. I commented that they'd better have the delivery cart ready when they broke my water because the labor would go very quickly from then. My nurse was still skeptical. Ugh. I had to wonder if she really had been doing this job very long.

Once the Pitocin was given, I noticed the contractions picked up almost right away, but they still weren't what I'd call painful. Just more noticable and regular. I had a pump to regulate the dose of Pitocin and had to be in bed on the monitors as a rule of being on Pitocin.

Finally, it was 1:00 and the doctor came in to check me. The head was down and he broke my water. Wet and warm - I wondered how someone could miss their water breaking, but I guess lots have a leak, not a huge gush like that. Immediately, the contractions were much more painful and regular. I commented that it was now "serious" time. No more playing around- there was work to be done!

With each contraction- which were now way down low in my back and front and remarkable strong-, I breathed slowly, sitting up, my eyes closed and my head hanging down. My sister asked if I wanted my back rubbed and I said yes. She was great at it! Jonathan and my mom each ran a tag race to the bathroom for a recooling of the washcloths with water. Jonathan wiped my forehead, my mom talked to me to just let my whole body relax... Relax your fingers she said- that's right, she encouraged, and my whole body was limp. In between contractions, I got a bit to rest. I wanted it quiet- I needed this down time. However, by nurse was explaining some junk about how to fill in my chart to a student. I nearly told her to shut up! She did say "That DID go fast!" referred to after my water had broken, and I managed to shout at her "I TOLD you it would!" I think she was shocked I had heard her.

Not long after, my cervix was checked and I was 8 cm. Things were getting very serious. I ended up on my left side, holding the bed rail. My mind was in two places- one feeling what was going on, yet the other outside making commentary to myself about how interesting the whole thing was. "I remember those noises!" I remarked to myself. "Wow that must sound awful to other people...." referring to my moaning and screaming. By this time, each contraction came right after the last one ended. "DAMN!" I thought to myself. There would be no more breaks for me. I was still on my side. My family was still talking, encouraging, helping. I had my arms around my husband and my head against his chest. I heard myself shrieking and moaning. Now each contraction made me feel very much out of control- like I had the flu sort of too-, yet I told myself that it was the baby coming down, that I was okay. My mom reiterated this to me verbally. "You're alright. You're just having a baby" she told me. The baby's head began to really press down. I felt the familiar pressure, and was making strong grunting noises with it. My feet and legs were restless. "Those sound like pushing noises" the nurse said. "Brilliant observation", I thought to myself. "She was just 8 cm," she went on. My family was thinking "So?? She can be 10 now. She does labor like this!" No one actually told me NOT to push, but they were quick to check my cervix. "You're complete" they said. Now I knew- it was time to get this over with. With my top half still on my left side, I put my bottom half flat on the bed. (The doctor was there, and all the others, only I wasn't comprehending them yet.) I pushed my first on-purpose push and all the awfulness of transition was gone. It DID feel good to push! I started to push and didn't stop. I heard myself vocalize the exertion of it. I was thinking "Here is the head. I remember this!" I visualized the head coming out. It was told to stop when the head was out. I did. (The mouth was suctioned and no cord was around the neck, I heard later.) I was given the green light to push again and with another push the shoulders were delivered, one side at a time- pop, pop- and the rest of his body slipped out effortlessly. It was here when the most amazing part happened. Immediately after he was out, the world came back into focus in a woosh of euphoria. Suddenly I was back in the world. There were people all around my bed. (Which, by the way, hadn't been "broken down" because of how fast I'd delivered - deliberate pushing lasted a whole 3 minutes. The time was 2:15 PM) Noah was placed immediately on my belly and I exclaimed to my baby "There you are!" I thought he looked small. (Funny because he was nearly the same size as my first son and I thought he looked big! Noah was 7 lbs 13 oz at birth) They hadn't cut the cord and I marveled at the fact that it was still in me and attached to him. I wanted to sit up more, so my family helped me up. Apparently, Noah wasn't pinking up as well as they liked so he went to the warmer for a few minutes to get oxygen by his face. He wasn't there long. Meanwhile, we concentrated on the delivery of the placenta. The doctor told the student that we'd just wait- it could take a bit for the placenta to deliver. It didn't take too long, though, and I was told to give a small push and out it came into a plastic yellow pan. He set it aside, but I asked to see it. They gave me an exam glove and I had a good look. Saw the sac and felt the weight of it and texture. The cord seemed small. The most striking thing about it were the blue veins or arteries or whatever they are called on the baby's side. An incredible color and intricacy. The doctor then told me I had a small first-degree, U-shaped tear that they'd sew up. I got a shot of lidocaine and he instructed the student about how to sew what where. I did feel the needle a couple of times, but it wasn't a big deal.

Noah was given back to me wrapped up. His APGARS were 8 and 8. I looked at the vernix on his skin.and started to attempt our first nursing. A male nurse helped me with the first latch. I decided to go use the bathroom because they wanted to clean up the bed. (The dumb nurse STILL was commenting at all the blood on the bed....) The nurse came into the bathroom with me to check on the lochia flow. Strangely, I didn't care. When I got back to the bed, I felt faint and said so. Told him it felt like my ears were closing up. So I was helped to lay down and put in the "trundleburg" position- head lower than my feet. I felt MUCH better in a few minutes.

Nathan and Nataleigh were picked up and they all came to see the new baby. I was in the bathroom when I heard Jonathan ask Nathan "Where's Noah?" Nathan didn't miss a beat- he immediately pointed at the baby! Ever since then he's been telling everyone "Mommy went to the hospital. Noah comes out the belly." There was no fooling him on what was going on!

The next day or so was spent calling people on the phone, sleeping, eating, and resting. In the night, my nurse brought a binkie for Noah. I had said no artificial nipples because of Nathan's nipple confusion as a baby, but I knew Noah was only sucking for comfort after the first 20 minutes or so, so I gave it to him. In the morning, a doctor from our pediatric practice came to check out Noah. I got a long shower while she did this- Jonathan stayed by the bassinet. A nurse came to give Noah his first bath. She measured him - 19.5 inches (50 cm). Since I had Group B Strep, the baby needed to be observed until 2 a.m. on friday morning, so we were moved to a "nesting room" Thursday morning. Besides which, the floor was EXTREMELY busy- a record they said- and there were many laboring women in triage "vying" for my room. Noah had a security band on his right leg- a new electronic monitor/tether that goes off if the baby goes within 5 feet of stairs or elevators. We found out that the alarm sounds and the elevators actually do not work at all when this happens because Noah's band kept setting it off when he was just in his bassinet in the room! They finally replaced the band. The nesting room was a small room with couch bed, bathroom, tv, vcr, and sleeper chair. We slept, changed the baby, etc. The same evening, my grandma Gigi came by to vist. We got pictures of her with the baby- she was in heaven! Mom, Kevin, and N2 stopped by to see us too, but the room was very small and N2 were restless. They left and got Wendy's downstairs.

We wanted to go home at 2 a.m. so that Nathan and Nataleigh (our other 2) could be picked up at my moms and then wake up at home, but the discharge papers hand't been filled out for Noah and the pediatrician to see him wouldn't be around until later in the morning. Oh well. My sister offered to watch N2 at my mom's house until we could make it there. We arrived and I rested and my sister changed Noah's diaper, while Jonathan took N2 out to the grocery store to get "rolls"- a treat for N2- cinnamon rolls to bake when we got home. They also got balloons at the store.

Back at home, things were pretty hectic with N2 but now they are pretty helpful. Although, I don't know how I will do it with just us and not Jonathan home in a few days. My milk has come in now on Sunday the 30th and I'm having problems with engorgement. Speaking of which, its time to feed Noah again. He's such a cute, soft baby. We are taking lots of pictures. I will add more pictures as I can to this page. Come back to see them!