If you tend to be a little squeamish about medical stuff, you might want to skip this email. If you're a mom yourself, you might be rather interested. : )
We arrived at the hospital on Thursday at 6:00 AM as scheduled. Since we'd been at the hospital last week, there was hardly any paperwork to do, just signatures for all the procedures and possible procedures.
We started off very hopeful that I'd be able to deliver vaginally. Keegan's little stubborn head was DOWN, so there was not even a need for the version! So, right away, I was given an IV to keep fluids moving, my water was broken and cervix stripped (so fun!), a catheter put in (so special!) and the epidural started. This was the first time I'd received an epidural without already being in labor. The anesthesiologist had to do it twice because the first one hit a blood vessel. While he was doing it, I felt very fuzzy headed; I could have just laid down right then and there for a little nap. Fortunately, that cleared away and the epidural started its important job. I laid back down in that Oh, so comfy hospital bed knowing I was in it for the long haul.
Pitocin was started soon after that.
The nurse discovered that there was meconium (baby poop) in my amniotic fluid. The OB told me not to worry, that it's actually quite common. So I tried not to worry.
I started slowly dilating. Not unusual for me. By late afternoon, I was at about four. I was getting a little discouraged, and was expecting the OB to call off the induction and go for the c-section, but she surprised me and said that baby looked good, things were progressing, and we could go on.
A monitor was put on baby's scalp and inside my uterus to more accurately keep track of heartbeat and contractions. Except the nurse ended up accidentally stabbing herself with the scalp monitor instead. So I had to agree to give a blood sample to prove that I didn't have AIDS. Otherwise, she'd have to take a month's worth of very serious medication to counteract the possibility -- hospital policy. The only thing was that I had no blood to give! It's always hard to get blood from me even under the best of circumstances, but after already being poked and prodded for blood to set up for labor, the nurse had to literally get blood from my FOOT! This actually ended up working out very nicely because my feet were partially anesthetized from the epidural! So she was able to get her blood sample, all the while apologizing for causing me more pain! I'm happy to report that I do not have AIDS. : )
Anyway, I buckled down for more labor. The contractions didn't hurt, even as I headed toward five centimeters, but the sitting and laying only on my back for what amounted to 18 hours sure did! I don't know if my rear end is ever going to be the same again!
Finally toward the end of those 18 hours, Keegan's heart was starting to show signs of possible problems. He was not technically in distress, but his heart was dipping with each contractions and not coming back up like it should, AND he was no where near the birth canal. Even though he was head down, he was still floating up near my ribs. I think my uterus was just too tired to contract the Little Man back down to where he needed to be.
So the doctor finally called it. It was time for my first C-section. It was a little surreal getting wheeled off to the operating room. The lights were so bright and everything was bright white and blue. It looked a lot like a scene out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I kept expecting Umpa Lumpas to come on in and sing me a song.
Keith was brought in right as they began surgery. He stood and watched most of the procedure. I was glad to be behind the curtain myself. They had to do a lot of pulling and tugging to get Keegan down to the incision. "Lots of pressure" was quite an accurate phrase. At one point, the nurse watching over me said, "It's going to feel like an army is stomping on your chest." And it did.
The OB said I have the most elastic uterus she's ever seen. I'm special, I guess!
Just minutes into the C-section, I got the privilege of hearing Keegan's first cries. Apparently he had a TON of meconium all over him. So did the placenta. He had kept quite busy in there waiting to be born! Poor guy. I didn't get to see him for at least 10 minutes while they endeavored to clean him up and do a quick check on his overall health. But then I did get to see him and was so surprised that he didn't look like my other kids much at all. He did look like Keith, but just a little.
Keith agreed and told me what I hadn't been able to figure out immediately, "He looks like your Dad!"
Ha! How about that! That means he looks like me! Kylie looks quite a bit like my Dad, too, but being a girl makes it not as obvious. It will be interesting to see how he develops.
We were all also very interested in finding out how much he weighed, given that more than a week ago he was measuring 8 lbs, 8 oz on the ultrasound measurements. Turns out the ultrasound wasn't too far off. He topped the scales at 8 lbs, 13 oz and 21 inches long -- the biggest Johnson yet! By about three ounces, but still a pretty big boy. He looks pretty mature for his age. I think he was just as ready to be born as I was ready to have him born!
Nurses then whisked him off to the nursery for further care. Keith went with them and watched as they sucked out more meconium out of his stomach. Poor guy! They checked his blood sugar levels and all looked pretty good there. They even gave him an ounce of formula which he promptly threw up, probably given that he'd just had his tummy rinsed out. Then, he was brought back to the room where I was recovering. It was so nice to see him so soon after the c-section, knowing that he'd not had trouble with breathing in the meconium or any other serious thing that might require the NICU.
By 4:00 AM, one of the nurses came in, "I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that there's a room ready for you finally in post-partum! The bad news is that I have to draw one more sample of blood! I PROMISE it will be the last one!"
After much poking and prodding and puncturing and bruising, she finally had to take it out of my foot (third try!) I literally had no blood left, I guess. I said, "Don't worry. At least if a vampire ever comes after me, I'll be safe."
Keith went on his way back home to rest, and I went to post-partum to do the same. It was HEAVENLY to be able to sleep on my back without anything sticking in or out of me (except for catheter and leg thingies keeping my blood circulating well)and just sleep. HEAVENLY. I also didn't need any Tums to sleep either. The nursery took the baby through the night and into the morning, since I couldn't get out of bed until I was walking.
When Keith came in the afternoon, he brought the baby out from the nursery and fed him and burped him and changed his diaper. Meanwhile, I took that long trip over to the bathroom for my first big walk. It was made a lot more painful than usual because my uterus was contracting in a mighty way AND I had diarrhea. (Every new mother has a contracting uterus. It doesn't usually hurt for the first baby, but for every subsequent baby, it hurts more and more . . . labor pains in reverse!) The c-section incision pain was secondary to the cramping. I was quick to get my pain medication! Oh, yes I was. But I survived and ended up sleeping very well on the second night at Hotel Piedmont.
Today, I continued to make sure I was walking and drinking and resting (according to OB instructions). I've learned how to order meals from the cafeteria. Breakfast consisted first of all of a bowl of prunes! I may have had to deal with some very uncomfortable diarrhea the night before, but it would be nothing compared to the OTHER issue that could arise if I didn't take precautions!
And I got very happy news about visitor restrictions. Just this Thursday, the day I got there, they restrictions have been lifted. H1N1 has been waining! This means that the kids got to all come over to see the baby and hold him. Keva stayed with Ginny to make it a little easier for all involved, and then Ginny came later to sit and visit and hold and feed the baby. It was a very nice relaxing day.
Keith also brought me the laptop, knowing that I'd be quite happy to be hooked up to email and facebook again! Yay! I hadn't known that he'd been keeping updates on facebook for me, except for that last one. It was a kick to read them all and see everyone's comments and concerns and prayers and elation. What a joy it has been to share this experience with friends and family all across the country!
I'll be here at the hospital through Monday. That should give me enough time to do the harder recovery. Keith goes back to work on Monday but should be done in time to bring Keegan and me home. Ginny leaves on Tuesday. It wasn't one of her regular visits, but it sure was nice to know someone was there for the kids, especially Keva! Thanks so much Ginny!
And thank you so much everyone for so many well wishes, meals, gifts. We are so blessed by our dear family and friends!