Jump in the wayback machine Sherman! We're going back in time to the grand 'ol days of 2005.
Throughout the month of August, Mom had recurring episodes of contractions – 7 minutes apart for 12 hours, 5-10 minutes apart for 4 hours, etc. Whenever contractions began, she tried to keep them going by walking around. Mom was hopeful that I would be born early. “Thirty six weeks is full term,” she said over and over again. When my friend Katie, who was supposed to be born the same time as me, came a week early, Mom shifted to saying, “Why couldn’t I have my baby early?” Again, over and over. Dad just kept his head down and did his best to discourage her from getting her hopes up. What can I say? Who walks if they have a horse to ride?
J Minus one day, 6 hours, and 20 minutes:
Dad and Mom went to the final appointment with the OB. Mom’s exam showed that she was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced, which was a little bit of progress from the prior week’s appointment. Because of that progress, the Doc decided that Mom would not have to go into the hospital that evening for a cervical softener. Instead, Dad and Mom went to the hospital at 6am the next morning, September 1, 2005, for the scheduled induction. Mom had to be induced because she had gestational diabetes. Dad says she also had ankles like memory foam pillows. Not sure if that’s related.
J Minus one day, four hours:
After the appointment, Dad and Mom spent a nice relaxing morning together trying to get labor started on its own. Mom’s parents (that’s my grandparents for those of you following along) arrived in the early afternoon, and everyone spent a couple of hours walking around Barton Creek Mall to see if Mom’s contractions would move along on their own. They did not.
J Minus 19 hours, 50 minutes:
This was also apparently the one time that Mom’s family came to visit that her parents did not automatically want to take Dad and Mom out to dinner. So sad for Dad. Mom couldn’t have eaten much anyway on her crazy diet. Instead, Dad cooked dinner. After dinner, Dad cleaned up an old sticky mess on the coffee table that he noticed when he unfolded the table to eat dinner. Now clearly, this was a brilliant time to do this…with a razor blade. But don’t worry, Dad didn’t injure himself while cleaning the table. He injured himself while cleaning off the razor blade afterwards. For future reference, Dad tells me that putting a vertical slice in your index finger with a razor blade makes it bleed a lot. Good to know.
J Minus 16 hours, 50 minutes:
After triage was performed, Dad cleaned up the dishes, and we (that’s right, all of us – you go where the horse takes ya sometimes) went upstairs to recheck the bags and make sure they had everything they needed. This is now the time that Dad and Mom planned on being in bed. After re-checking the bags, Dad discovered that Grandma had taken Shadow for a walk and returned home with one of the nails on Shadow’s back paw turned at a 90 degree angle. Shadow was not in a good place. While walking, she apparently lunged at another dog, dragging Grandma to the ground, and at some point, jacking up her nail. Deciding there was really nothing to do about it at 11pm, Dad and Mom decided that after Mom’s parents helped them get settled at the hospital, they could take Shadow to the vet the next morning. So, in a way, the whole family went to a hospital of some sort on my birthday. For future reference, Shadow tells me that lunging at another dog and almost ripping your nail off makes it bleed a lot. Good to know.
J Minus 13 hours, 50 minutes:
So Dad and Mom finally got to bed knowing they had to get up at about 4:30 the next morning. Sigh. Mom woke up about 2:30am with contractions, and ended up staying awake with Shadow, who wasn’t able to sleep either. So, Mom and Shadow kept each other company – in pain, with one of them starving (the one whose name rhymes with Bom). Mom did go eat two deviled eggs at 3:30, just in case she wasn’t allowed to eat anything else. Not exactly the relaxed night before J-day they had hoped for.
J Minus 8 hours, 10 minutes:
Dad, Mom, Grandpa and Grandma arrived at the hospital. Mom completed the paperwork while Dad and Grandpa took the bags to the room – Room 258 - which happened to be at the end of the hall right next to one of the waiting rooms (remember that little tidbit). They unpacked, set up the MP3 player and speakers, fluffed the pillows, took some pictures, and settled in.
The nurse, Bertha, came in to do the initial prep work and went over Dad and Mom’s birth plan. The nurse then came back and said that she wouldn’t be their nurse anymore, and that someone else would come in shortly. Kind of weird, but hey, whatever. It all worked out in the end (clearly). Makes ya wonder what the birth plan said, huh?
J Minus 6 hours, 44 minutes:
The new nurse, Theresa, started Mom’s IV. Mom had IV’s for medicine to induce contractions and antibiotics because she tested positive for some bacteria-deal, which could have been very dangerous for me. Because of all this, Mom was also hooked up to continuous fetal heart monitors. So on the left side of the bed, Mom was tethered to the fetal heart monitor equipment and a blood pressure cuff, and on the right side, she had her IV. Dad was unencumbered.
Now based on other pictures we have, Mom has always been pretty small, but apparently she got really lean during the last couple months of pregnancy, probably in large part due to the lack of carbohydrates in her diet because of the gestational diabetes. With the exception of her belly where I was shacking up, she became a skinny-mini with little fat on her body. This did create a slight technical difficulty – her arm was too small for the blood pressure cuff. Whenever it would inflate to check her blood pressure, you would hear the tearing of the one row of Velcro that was actually stuck together, and then it would blow out and either fly off her arm, or make weird, balloon-animal-esque shapes. When this happened, it typically registered a blood pressure reading of, oh, 7, which would set off the alarms on the machine. So after the first time, whenever Dad heard the ripping of Velcro, he would clamp his hands around the cuff to try and keep it from flying off. Ah. Good times. Eventually, one of the nurses found a smaller cuff - a kiddie cuff – and the blood pressure cuff adventures came to an end.
J Minus 5 hours 44 minutes:
At 8:06am, the Doc came in and examined Mom. She was 2-3 cm dilated, and 75% effaced, with yours truly at a -1 station. She then broke Mom’s water, which Mom said felt great, but man, did the water keep coming. Shortly after the doctor left, Mom had to shift over to her right side as my heart rate would dip during contractions with her in any other position. It’s not my fault – I didn’t ask to have my nice cushy waterbed removed…
Dad and Mom pretty much hung out for the next three hours or so. They talked and listened to music – sometimes pausing during a contraction. Dad read a little bit to Mom. Every time Mom had to get up to go to the bathroom, which was at least every hour (so no real change from the last month of pregnancy), it involved (1) unwrapping the blood pressure cuff, (2) unhooking the fetal heart monitor, and (3) wheeling the IV pole that was assembled at the same place that makes the crappy shopping cart wheels that never seem to be pointed in the same direction when you are trying to push it in a straight line over to the bathroom. And the IV tubing was just short enough that the pole had to be lifted over the threshold to the bathroom. Of course, the bathroom door height was also nearly identical to the height of the IV pole, so Dad repeatedly wacked the top of the IV pole against the door jam, jostling everything. Mom munched on ice from time to time, and ate one of her sugar-free Pedialite frozen bars – kind of syrupy.
J Minus 3 hours, 5 minutes:
The nurse examined Mom again. She was 4 cm dilated, 85% effaced, and I was at 0 station. The contractions were definitely more intense as Mom mostly wanted quiet so she could focus on relaxing during the contractions. Back massages helped a lot, but only Dad’s hands or this little plastic three-pronged thing they bought for $2.99 helped. The electric massager didn’t go over well, but at least it was better than the sock with tennis balls. One touch of that, and it was banished from a five foot radius of Mom. It’s apparently evil. A heated fabric bag full of rice that Mom made also worked wonders on her back.
Through the next hour, the contractions got progressively stronger, although they didn’t really ever settle into a distinct pattern or timing. They ranged from a couple of minutes apart to as much as five minutes apart. At 11:30am, we had what we call the “chunk incident”. As Mom went to the bathroom, they collected her urine in a bucket type thing that hung in the toilet so they could periodically test her urine. Dad went into the bathroom for some reason, and saw some blood clots in the bucket, which was the one thing that really grossed him out. As Dad came out of the bathroom, he was focused on trying to keep from hurling, and Mom wasn’t sure what was going on. After a minute to catch his breath, Dad explained what had happened, and they both laughed about it. Good times.
J Minus 2 hours, 5 minutes:
It was clear that Mom was in very hard, active labor. Mom had to sit up in bed to keep my heartbeat steady, and she was very focused on the contractions. For the next 45 minutes or so, it was very tough going for all of us. The contractions we pretty much right on top of each other, and were a little over a minute in duration. Some of them were off the chart. They were very, very strong, and Mom struggled to get through them. Dad kept a close eye on the monitor and encouraged Mom to breathe as she was staring to hold her breath as the contractions peaked. Doc came in and provided great encouragement to Mom by telling her how great she was managing. Oh, and suggested that it was gunna get even tougher. At least Dad never said “This one looks like a big one!”
Now, to Doc, Mom looked great. She had this mostly blank, placid look on her face, with a little bit of cringing as the contractions peaked. Interestingly enough, right before Doc came in, Mom was much less placid, and talking about how she couldn’t do it any more, and it hurt so bad, and she needed a break. But the minute the doctor, or even a nurse came in, the blank calm look would resume. Dad muttered something about bearing false witness, but wisely mostly kept his mouth shut.
J Minus 1 hour, 30 minutes:
Grandma felt it appropriate to come in and let Dad and Mom know that the vet had finally seen Shadow, sedated her, removed the injured toenail, and would keep her overnight free of charge for us. Now, Dad said he’s sure that she did this because she thought that Dad and Mom were worried about Shadow and that this would ease our minds. True. We all love Shadow. Dad and Mom were worried about her, but to be honest (sorry Shadow), kinda focused on something else. But if Mom wasn’t in transition at this time, she was awfully close, and they could’ve waited to hear about Shadow for a couple of hours. Transition changes everything.
Though out labor, Dad acted as Mom’s personal DJ – and maid, masseuse, personal trainer…but I digress. Classical music was good. The Cure was good. (Insert sound of Dad shuddering here.) Shawn Groves….. not so good. Go figure. Another fun discovery --- Mom is extremely neat during labor. From time to time as she walked over to the bathroom, blood dripped on the floor. Now, since it unusual for women to bleed as a six pound living person is slowly expelled from their body, Mom understandably thought it important for Dad to clean everything up. Dad said he thought about mentioning a weird idea that the hospital system might occasionally have a patient that bleeds on the floor and probably had retained the services of a few people who might be capable of cleaning up – but he wisely thought twice and happily mopped the floor. He didn’t even flinch when Mom told him that he missed a spot. For future reference, Mom tells me that expelling said six pound baby out of her body makes it bleed a lot. Good to know.
Okay, okay. Back to getting me out. At this point, Dad and Mom were focused on trying to get through one contraction to the next. The contractions were right on top of each other and had double, or even triple peaks, so there wasn’t much time to rest between them. Ultimately, Mom says that was probably the hardest part, not having rest. And not knowing how much longer it was. Mom went to the bathroom every once and a while, and they’d go through the routine of unhooking everything, slowly walking over to the bathroom, hitting the IV pole on the top of the door sill, mopping, etc. Mom started having a really difficult time during the contractions. It became very difficult for her to move at all, and she struggled to get past the peak of the contractions. Dad was wondering if this was full-on transition, because it seemed as though it really couldn’t get worse, and everything was very intense. Neither of them said anything to each other about asking for an epidural, but they were both thinking about it.
Although Dad began to think that this all sounded a lot like transition, he couldn’t piece together the fact that Mom was still hungry. Not being hungry is one of the guideposts of transition. However, not eating carbohydrates for two months apparently means that you don’t stop being hungry. Makes sense in retrospect.
Notably, Mom kept saying that her feet were freezing and that she wanted socks. However, she also did not want anyone (namely Dad) to touch her feet. As you might imagine, this made it very difficult to put socks on her feet. So Dad and Mom went through (1) “My feet are cold, where are those socks?”, (2) Dad gets socks, (3) Dad getting the Heisman pose and a glare as he approaches feet, (4) “I said my feet are cold!!”, and (5) go to (1). All attempts to put socks on Mom’s feet were abandoned shortly thereafter.
J Minus 1 hour:
During Mom’s last trip to the bathroom, she said “I feel like I need to push.” This was only about an hour after she had last been examined, so Dad had conflicting thoughts – “was that the worst, and now we’re at the pushing stage” and “oh – geez, they’re going to recheck her, and she’s still only going to be 4 cm, and we’re going to throw in the towel.” The nurse came in, checked Mom, and said that there was only a lip of the cervix left, meaning that Mom was just about to start pushing. Dad was over-joyed and told Mom how proud he was that she had done it, and that we were through the hard part. Apparently, Mom, on the inside, felt the same, but her face did not actually change expression, as she was still in her own little world.
J Minus 45 minutes:
Mom started pushing as several nurses came in and started getting ready for delivery. Mom’s comment as she starting to push was “I’M NOT DOING THIS AGAIN!!!”. Dad held her legs and back up as she pushed, and got cold wash rags for her forehead and ice chips for her to eat. Similar to the contractions, the need to push came really quickly with no real pause between them. Mom pushed like a champ, however, and got nice, long pushes – three or four each contraction. As you might expect, she was loud during the pushing as she grunted and yelled during the hard work. However, during the short breaks between pushing, she would kindly apologize profusely to the nurses for being the only woman who was “so loud” during delivery. Also, that waiting room right next door? Where Grandpa and Grandma were? Thin walls. Enough said. I do like performing for a crowd.
J Minus 15 minutes:
After about 30 minutes of pushing and seeing the top of my head eke out, Doc came in. Mom had originally thought she wanted to watch me come out, so there was a mirror located at the departure point. It turned out Mom really had absolutely no interest in watching, touching my head, or doing anything except pushing. The doctor and nurses asked Mom to slow down pushing because I was coming so fast that they were concerned that she would tear. Mom said that their request was like asking someone to vomit more slowly. How precisely do you do that? Without warning from the doctor, my head was out. So was the one hand that I had had by my head in every sonogram. Hi-five baby!
J Minus Zero:
The doctor turned my head to the side in order to suction my nose and mouth, and I corkscrewed right out. No more pushing. The end happened all so fast there that it is still hard to believe. But I was out…all 6 lbs, and 4 oz of me. The nurse put me on Mom’s warm chest while Dad cut my cord.
So that’s it. That’s the story of how Josh got here one year ago today. Pretty crazy, huh? If I hadn’t written it down, I wouldn’t believe it myself.