[ Sprog ] Message 6073 Tue Jan 4, 2005 6:45pm
From: jhdiii
Subject: A birth story.

A little background - my insurance was to change at the end of the year such that instead of having only Dominican as an option, we had our choice of Dominican or Sutter. Since we had heard plenty of good things about Sutter, we really wanted to go there. Irene's due date was January 4th (thanks to our desire to have a 4th of July wedding - really!) So where he'd be born was quite up in the air. Anyway, December 31st came and went and it became his destiny to be a Sutter baby.

On January 1st, Irene started having contractions at 4AM. Later in the day we (Irene, her mother Thelma and I) went out and about, and among other things I picked up a shiny new digicam at Staples since I wanted something to take movies and low-light pictures with, and it was kinda gettin' down there time-wise. In the evening I packed my stuff and finally installed the infant car seat that we bought a while back. By 10:30PM Irene's contractions were 5m apart, which was the metric they had given us for coming in, so the three of us left for Sutter. But when we arrived, they checked Irene and she had not dilated much at all, so at 12:30AM they sent us home.

By 4AM of the 2nd, Irene felt that she was having real contractions and really wanted to go in. She talked to Sutter on the phone for a while and they did their best to convince her to hold off since we had just left them a few hours before, but in the end they told her that, as they had done their best to convince her to stay home, she could come in.

They put us in a room, and from then on there was a nurse on hand most of the time, making sure everything went OK. Irene really wanted very much to do this without drugs, but by 10:50AM she was in such extreme pain and so exhausted (not having slept a wink since the night of December 30th) that she was concerned about having enough energy to get through her delivery. She really wanted to be able to get some sleep, so after consultation she asked for an epidural. They first gave her an IV to increase her blood volume because the epidural has a hypotensive effect, and Irene has low blood pressure to begin with. They called an anesthesiologist who tapped her and gave her her meds. The effect on Irene of shutting off the pain was dramatic - in an instant she went from being terribly strung out and looking like she was barely holding on to calm, sleepy, and smiling. Thelma and I left to let her sleep. We came back round 1PM and found that Irene unfortunately had not slept. She had had nurses and such gathered around her monitoring her carefully for the first hour (because of the anaesthetic), and just when they left she started getting nauseous - some combination of the labor, the drugs, and lack of sleep (which will often do that to Irene). They eventually gave her nausea meds which helped, but it was too late for her to sleep then.

While Irene was dilating, the midwife showed up. It happened that the midwife on call from our practice was Margann, who Irene liked head and shoulders above all of the others she had met during her pregancy. This was incredibly fortunate, because Irene really needed someone she trusted with everything she was still to go through. Note that the next couple of paragraphs encompass many hours!

Once Irene was dilated enough, they told her to start pushing. As things went on she began to have pain again centered on a spot in her left side. They guessed that it was either a ligament tearing or a "hot spot" that the epidural hadn't numbed effectively. It got progressively worse until the pain from that spot was as bad as the pain she'd had before her epidural. It reached a point where she just couldn't push effectively with the pain, and she convinced the attendants that she absolutely could not proceed with that pain, and so they called the anesthesiologist back and he gave her a supplemental drug of some other type in a different spot.

That had the desired effect, except that it noticably affected her ability to push. She kept trying but without a lot of progress. Then the supplemental med began to wear off, and she regained some of her pushing ability, along with some of the pain but not so much that she absolutely couldn't bear it. Things moved along very slowly, with the baby being monitored by a scalp probe. They began to be concerned about the baby's vital signs, which I gather is not uncommon. It got to the point where they told Irene that she HAD to get the baby out of there, for his sake. She pushed and pushed and finally he popped out! It was 6:45PM of January 2nd.

Margann gave him to Irene for literally a few seconds, and then rushed him over to the examination station. She and a doctor and a couple of nurses gathered around him and started working on him. Irene was pretty drugged out at this point which was probably just as well, because they all sounded pretty tense and were saying things that sounded dire. He hadn't started breathing when he came out, which they later described as being "stunned". So they were trying to get him to breath, suctioning him and squeezing him CPR-style, and reading off his ever-decreasing heart rate, and eventually massaging his heart too. It was a really scary few minutes for me, trying to reassure Irene and keep the fear out of my voice, until I heard them say something about how his vital signs were going back up, and it was all uphill (in a good way) from there. Margann told us later that if it all seemed terribly traumatic, that's because it was, and she probably had a few days taken off her own life with this delivery.

John IV weighed in at 6 lb 7 1/2 oz. At Irene's last checkup, Margann had guessed he weighed 6 1/2 lb. He's 20" long, more or less. He's now two days old and has already been digitized to the extent of a couple of GB :)

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