Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lucas's Birth Story

It's hard to imagine that almost six weeks have passed since the birth of our third son. Time goes so speedy during those first few months of life. Lucas's birth was sandwiched in between so many goings on that sometimes I forget it even happened...not that he's here...but that his arrival and subsequent recovery even took place. But here goes my retelling of events, as best as I can remember in my sleep addled state.

We'd been very curious all along as to what was going to happen with this birth. Sammy was born via c-section, and I was very keen on at least attempting to birth our third son vaginally. As the months and weeks crept closer to our due date, I started reading books about natural childbirth and watching videos online. I didn't really consider attempting the entire labor and delivery sans epidural, but I wanted to see how far I could go without medication, as I had heard it ups the chance of a successful VBAC.

As 38 weeks approached, I was sure I would have the baby any day. Sammy came at 37 weeks on the dot and I was surprised I had made it even to 38 weeks this time. Then 39 weeks came. And I started to panic.

We were moving to California on July 5th. My due date was June 24th. I was hoping against hope that baby would come sooner than later so I could have more recovery time before heading west. After discussing our options with our doc, we decided to schedule an induction for the 24th, but I was SURE I would have him before then.

Nope. Talk about the longest week of my life. I tried everything. I mean everything. That baby wouldn't budge. So on June 24th I laid in my bed in the wee small hours of the morning waiting for the hospital to call and tell us when to come it. It was birth-day. And I was out of my skin with excitement.

We made it to the hospital around 7 a.m. Because I had had a previous c-section, the only form of induction my doctor would allow was AROM (artificial rupture of membrane, or breaking the water). When they checked me in at the hospital, I was at about 2.5 cm dilated and having virtually no contractions. I was worried that breaking my water wasn't going to start labor. If nothing happened, it meant another c-section for me.

Around 8 a.m. Dan decided to run grab some breakfast. About 5 minutes after he left Dr. Saunders came in to break my water. We thought it wasn't going to happen for a while so when I called Dan and told him the doc had just gotten things started he rushed back.

Contractions started almost immediately. They were hardly noticeable at first, and I walked around a bit to get things moving faster. By about 9:15, I was started to feel the contractions more and more but they weren't unbearable. At this point I was dilated to about a 4.

"This natural childbirth thing is a piece of cake," I thought cavalierly to myself.

And then the fun really started. Around 9:45 my contractions started coming about 1 minute apart and were intensely painful. I thought I was dying. I've never experienced pain like that in my life. I would lay in the bed nearly screaming through each contraction while Dan pushed on my knees to apply counter-pressure. I wanted to burn every book I'd read on labor pain management. They were all full of crap. There was no happy place. Just pain. Blinding and mind-numbing pain.

Around 10:15 I demanded an epidural. Dan, being the incredibly supportive man he is, reminded me that I wanted to go natural as long as possible and that I just had to make it through one more contraction. He was amazing. But at that moment, I sort of wanted pull out all his chest hairs with a pair of rusty tweezers.

After over two hours of this, a nurse finally came in to check on me. I was only at a 5.

"To hell with this natural childbirth thing," I thought to myself.

I looked the nurse squarely in the eyes during an intense and long contractions, and, while taking a break from screaming at the ceiling and cursing all things man and nature, begged her to get the anesthesiologist. She ran out the door and in less than 5 minutes that blessed angel of mercy pushed her cart of goodness over to the bed and doped me up, around 11:45 a.m.

My previous epidural experience with my other vaginal delivery, Eli, wasn't so hot. I got the shakes and was super nauseous for most of the labor. This time, nothing. I just felt happy. I could still move my legs and felt the pressure of the contractions, but no pain. Thank you drugs. I love you.

About 30 minutes after I got the epidural, around 12:15, I told the nurse I kept feeling like I needed to push. I thought this was silly, being as I couldn't actually feel a whole lot in the pelvic region anyway and I had only been at like a 6 the last time she checked right after they put in the epidural.

"You're at an 8.5," the nurse said. "Let's call the doctor."

I was stunned. Apparently the epidural allowed me to relax enough and baby just sort of slid himself down the birth canal.

Dr. Saunders came in at 12:20. He checked me. I was at a 10 and ready to have the baby. A contraction came, I pushed, and baby's head crowned. Another contraction came, I pushed, and the doc delivered his head. Another contraction came, and little Lucas joined our family.

Joseph Lucas Garfield was born at 12:29 p.m. on June 24th. He weighed 8 pounds and 4 ounces.

After he was delivered, Dan cut the cord and Lucas was hoisted over to the lights to get checked out and weighed. Dr. Saunders checked me out and said there was no tearing. I was incredible relieved; this mean recovery would be much easier.

Lucas was screaming bloody murder while they weighed him and toweled him off a bit. The nurse asked me if I wanted to put him against my chest to warm him up. They unpeeled him from his blanket and set him down on me. He immediately quieted and looked up into my eyes. I cried big, happy tears of both joy and relief. My little boy was here. Our little son, the third installment in the Big Happy Crazy Book of Garfield Offspring, was here.

Since his birth, Lucas has been an angel baby. He sleeps well, eats well, and is very tolerant of his older brothers and their "love". We couldn't be happier with his arrival, and in the tornado that has been our lives since his birth, this baby has been the calm in the storm. I feel like we have our whole family now. All present and accounted for (or at least, until we get stupid and try this again. Please don't ever let me try this again.)

My happy face...pre labor. 

Getting my game on. 

Dan. He was my anchor. I can't imagine bringing this little lives into the world without him by my side. 


Skin to skin. I was instantly in love. 

Dr. Saunders was so great. I highly recommend him. 

Little Lucas, just a few minutes old. 

Grabbing his hat, because you never know when it's going to fall off. 

Birth is tiring, yo. 

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