Monday, February 11, 2008

She's here and she's perfect.

Meet Olivia Kate!

I checked into the hospital at 6 a.m. on Thursday, 2/7. The drive over was so surreal -- it was dark, flurrying a little, and we were both so nervous (me especially) about what the day had in store for us. We noted that it was probably our last alone time together for a while. Dan stopped at Starbucks to grab a coffee to get him going for the long day ahead -- neither of us got much sleep the night before.

I envisioned having some time to get settled into the labor and delivery room, but pretty much as soon as I had my stuff in the door they were asking me to put on a gown, and then the nurse came in and started my IV. It was around 8 a.m. when they started the pitocin, and my OB arrived shortly thereafter and checked me (I was 4 cm – 1 more cm dilated from two days before at my appointment) and broke my water.

We sat around talking, Dan took phone calls from family, I sent a few text messages and read US Weekly. This labor thing wasn’t so bad -- and then the contractions started coming. Ow. They weren’t bad at first, but it wasn’t long until I couldn’t do anything but sit there and wait for one to hit, then attempt to breathe through it. Dan was great about asking me if I wanted him to hold my hand or to sit away from me. Most of the time, I had him stay away – I felt very grumpy during the pain and just wanted to be left alone.

I got my pitocin bumped up about 9:00 despite my contractions being regular and 2-3 minutes together at that point. At 9:30, I requested the epidural. The nurses said they could get the anesthesiologist there by 10 a.m., so I stared at the clock between contractions trying to get through the pain. Why didn’t I just get the epi when my OB broke my water? At 10:15 the nurses said the anesthesiologist was missing in action, but they’d try to find her. At 10:30, she finally came in. I tried to pay attention while they reviewed side effects and had me sign a consent form, but I was in so much pain I barely remember that part. The epi itself was not at all scary, and I feel silly for ever having worried about it. By 11 a.m., I finally had relief. The nurse said she’d give me a little while to rest and enjoy the pain relief before she checked me again.

Around noon, the nurse checked me and her mouth fell open. I was between 9-10 cm, closer to 10, with just a lip of anterior cervix left. Dan had just left for lunch with his parents – we were all thinking it would take a long time for me to dilate, so I had told him to go out so I could sleep. I promised not to have the baby until he got back. ;) The nurse said she’d just let me labor down and let my body do most of the work in getting the baby as far down as possible. I called my parents and told them to head to the hospital at some point after lunch, then napped. Oh, and I think I may have applied some makeup as well. :p

When Dan got back around 1:00, I was starting to have some searing pain in my hip and butt on the right side. They rolled me over to see if that would help, but with each contraction the pain got worse. The anesthesiologist was paged to come back in and give me another dose, which was the best thing ever. I wasn’t able to move my legs and I had major shivers, but that felt so much better than the pain.

Around 1:30, the nurse decided we should try some practice pushes. She checked me and said the baby’s head was “right there,” but that it could still take a while to actually get her out, especially because I had an epidural and probably wouldn’t be able to push as effectively. I did about 5 sets of 3 pushes with the nurse holding one of my dead-weight numb legs and Dan holding the other. In between, I’d rest for a minute or so and they’d check on how baby was tolerating the contractions. I started in on the sixth set of pushes and the nurse said, “You need to stop. We need the doctor in here ASAP.” The baby’s head had gone from a tiny bit being visible to almost coming out.

The nurse left to page my OB, so Dan and I had a few minutes to ourselves. He went to the waiting room to tell our families that it probably wouldn’t be that much longer, and then we got things going.

My fluid was clear when my water was broken, but during some pushing they saw some meconium in the fluid. The NICU team was paged to stand by when she was born, and I did another set of pushes while we waited for them to arrive. I pushed twice, and on the third push her head emerged. It’s all a blur from there -- my OB said, “Woah!” and I asked if I need to stop pushing until the NICU team arrived. She said something like, “Nah, they’re on their way,” but then I saw Dan staring down at the baby looking concerned. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck three times, then under her arm and around her torso, which apparently my OB had never seen before in any of her deliveries. Awesome. I don’t even think I pushed again – she just came out the rest of the way, or maybe she was pulled out during a contraction. I didn’t feel pain (for which I’m so thankful; I got a second-degree tear), but I could feel the sensation of her leaving my body, if that makes sense.

I wasn’t able to hold her because of the meconium situation, so I watched her from across the room being assessed in the warmer (she got 9 and 9 on her APGARs) and getting the thumbs up from the NICU staff – apparently she did poop, but none of it got into her mouth or nose. I cried when I heard her crying, and though I don’t think he’d admit it, I think Dan got a little teary as well. They played a lullabye in the hospital when she was born, and apparently that got our families going as well, even my dad. They took some blood from her heel, gave her a vitamin K shot and put the goop in her eyes, bathed her, and after what felt like a million years, finally gave her to me to hold.

If I’d had any clue about how much I’d love this little girl from the moment she was born, I probably would have spent a lot less time worrying/obsessing about everything that could go wrong, how horrible it would be, and caring about things like whether or not my pedicure would be looking good while I was in labor. I guess it’s all about what you can control during times like that.

Overall, I feel really good. My heartburn went away instantly, which is a huge relief. I do feel fairly sore, but I guess that comes with the territory when you have a human being emerge from your body. I’ve been a little weepy from time to time, in the “I’m so happy” sort of way. Yesterday the tears started when she was sleeping on my chest and I smelled her fuzzy little head. She is amazingly cute even when she’s red-faced and screaming, although it breaks my heart to hear her cry and not be able to make it stop immediately.

We’re getting the hang of the parenting thing and starting to figure out her schedule, what she likes (eating, sleeping) and doesn’t like (hats, diaper changes). We called the hospital our first night home because she’d already been fed, burped, changed, was in clean clothes, and was screaming herself hoarse – it turned out she just wanted to eat more. Rookie mistake!

Dan is absolutely amazing with her. He’d never even changed a diaper before she came along, and now he’s volunteering to do even the poopy ones. He washes her bottles, brings me water and plates of food, insists I nap while he takes care of her (something I’m really bad at – right now I want to hold her constantly). I was worried about how he’d do with the sleep deprivation thing, but so far he’s been a trooper. I think he was surprised by the instant love he felt for her as well. He’s absolutely smitten. I catch him staring at her little fingers and toes and smiling, and he looks so happy when he holds her. Right now he’s napping on the couch with baby napping on his chest, and it’s just the most heart-melting thing I’ve ever seen.

Breastfeeding isn’t going well at all, unfortunately. She wouldn’t latch on in the hospital, so one of the nurses got me a nipple shield. That didn’t do much because I don’t seem to be producing any colostrum (or at least any that will come out), so I met with two lactation consultants at the hospital during our stay. We’re feeding her formula through a Medela/Haberman special needs bottle, and I have to “trick” her into practice breastfeeding using the nipple shield along with a syringe of formula and a little tube that goes down into the shield. Oh, and I’m supposed to pump three times a day to try to get my milk to come in. Why did no one ever tell me that pumping feels a lot like having your nipples pinched over and over and over again? Ooof. Hopefully it’ll all work itself out, because I was really hoping to BF. But if not, at least she’s growing and perfectly happy with her current method of eating.

After this insanely long post, I can summarize by saying that there just aren't words to describe how much we love this little girl. Welcome to the world, Olivia Kate.


Anonymous said...

omg. Beautiful. Congrats, Mommy! And welcome to the world, Olivia!

Heidi said...

She is simply beautiful!! Congrats Katie!!! (and Dan)

Meribeth said...

congratulations, katie!!

i had to use the SNS w/liam...if you have questions you can always email me.

i'm so happy for you!

Kathleen said...

I linked over from the NOB...

What a great story! I loved reading it. Congratulations to you and your husband, and welcome, Olivia!

Danielle said...

What a beautiful story! I am so glad things went well for you. Your daughter is precious and beautiful and just perfect!

A said...

Over from the Nob too. She's beautiful - congrats to you and your family!!