Saturday, May 16, 2009
Introducing Leo Lamadrid Kern
Well the day finally came, and our son has been born. He made his entrance into the world on May 3rd at 3:03 AM, weighing a substantive 9 pounds 5 ounces (a full 2 pounds more than the average tot) and measuring 21.5 inches long. He's a beautiful little boy, with a light head of hair and (currently) indigo colored eyes. Both Leo and myself emerged from the process healthy and with no medical concerns. That's the short story.
But the long story is more entertaining... Sunday evening at 10:30, after a celebratory birthday dinner with Byron's brother Peter, I sat down on the couch to find that my water had broken. Not the big old dramatic, sitcom gush of puddles by my ankles, but suddenly I was all wet and was quite sure I had not peed on myself. So what an exciting development - a few days before my due date (Tuesday) and on Mother's day, no less. So we called our doula Victoria to let her know, and headed off to bed, knowing that these things take time and that rest was a good idea. Little did we know. I had contractions on and off throughout the night, but they never really picked up in terms of frequency or intensity.
In the morning we called our midwives to let them know, then waited for things to pick up during the day. Which they didn't. Which wouldn't have been a problem, except for the risk of infection starts to increase 24 hours after your water breaks, and most practitioners want to get you in and have you delivered by that 24 hour mark. We knew that once we went to the hospital, the pressure to give into medical interventions would increase, but by Monday evening, we knew we needed to go. So off we went, with Victoria coming with us, to a packed Family Birthing Center at the hospital. Seems our boy had picked a popular time to show up, and we got the only remaining labor & delivery room.
The midwife on duty, which of course Murphy's Law dictated was the one midwife in the practice that we didn't really like, got me started on Cervedil, to soften/ripen my uterus which would hopefully get things moving. But this drug is an insert, not an intravenous drug, so they had to wait 12 hours after inserting it to make an assessment. Once they put it in, contractions started to ramp up, but slowly, and by 11am on Tuesday, they were finally able to determine that I was up to 5 centimeters dilated. Yay progress! But - with the contractions ramping up, I had gotten zero sleep all night, was in alot of pain, and seemed to be moving very very slowly. I was so woozy from pain and sleep deprivation that I felt like I was on LSD or something, and was about to the edge of my rope. At that moment, natural childbirth, which had been our goal all along, seemed like the most foolish pursuit, and I asked for some sort of relief so I could at least get a few hours sleep. The hour and a half between making the request and getting the narcotics was honestly one of the most miserable of my entire life, and I was practically whimpering. But I finally got two hours of sleep, before the contractions were strong enough to punch their way back through.
We marshalled the troops (and our will) and kept along this way, getting to 9 and a half centimeters by mid afternoon. Happily I was showing no signs of fever or infection, and baby's heart rate was consistently strong, so they let me continue to progress without getting too worried about the baby's state. But after I got to 9 and a half centimeters, everything stalled, and I stayed there for for hours. Back at mid morning, the midwife on duty had rotated to our favorite member of the practice, and we agreed in the early evening to give me a small (but steadily increasing) dose of Pitocin, to bring the strong contractions back. Not a decision I was happy with (because I had been in labor for two solid days at that point) and I knew it would make things pretty painful. But it did the trick, and by about 2:30AM I was fully dilated and ready to push. And after about half an hour of effort, he decided to come join us, and Byron was allowed to catch him as he arrived.
Finally, after 53 hours of labor, our baby boy was put on my stomach, covered in fluids, where he took his first breath. And opened his eyes to look right at me, which was a really powerful moment. Byron cut the cord, and we basked in the glow of the moment. If only our story capped off there. But it doesn't - the postpartum wing they were supposed to whisk us off to was full, so we were left in the labor & delivery room for several hours, which we were then kicked out of about an hour after we finally fell asleep, to be moved to a triage room until our postpartum room was ready. Lovely, right? And oh yeah, no bed for daddy in this room. So there we are, after several days of no sleep and substantial physical exertion, sitting in this temporary space until they finally found us an empty room at 7pm. Poor Byron even resorted to sleeping on the floor for a while. But we finally got a room, and it was definitely an improvement. And while we could have stayed longer, we got ourselves checked out of the hospital on Thursday afternoon to gratefully come home for a little peace and quiet. And we've been slowly settling in ever since. The End. :)
So yeah, labor and delivery was a looooooong, tough, painful, gruelling process. But it was all worth it in the end. Not everything went as planned, but hey it never does. We're now the proud parents of an adorable boy, and ready to start this next phase.