Monday, January 30, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More recollections from the hospital and the last several weeks...

Blogging with a tiny newborn is hard! I am more or less stuck in Groundhog Day, except the people in the movie repeated every 24 hours. I am on a three hour loop: diaper changes, nurse, burp, play with baby (a.k.a. keep him up for an hour), put him down for a nap, repeat. And the hour and a half to two hours when the B-Man is sleeping, I'm trying to do other things like laundry or grabbing something to eat.

And that is WITH the baby nurse that my fabulous Auntie Mimi got for me as a present. I think I was born without a maternal instinct, because nothing about this process has come to me naturally. The whole thing sounds so easy when you are pregnant and reading about it in a book, and then the little one arrives and suddenly *wham* chaos.

Let's just say the first twenty four hours at home before Rue Anna arrived involved very little sleep and a whole lot of tears.

I was originally sort of ashamed to admit that I actually (desperately) needed the baby nurse, but now I am working on letting the guilt go and just accepting the fact that a little extra help never hurt anyone. And I am learning so much from her, and things like getting the baby on a schedule no longer seems so daunting and scary. If nothing else, life around the house has become much more manageable now that everyone is a little more rested and I've had a bit more of an opportunity to rest and to recover from the surgery.

So, judge me if you will, but Rue Anna is a Godsend.

(Plus, it isn't like she'll be around forever. I'll have to sink or swim eventually.)

Otherwise, though, motherhood is pretty awesome. I could stare at Banner forever, and just adore all the noises he makes. I love nursing him, and have enjoyed watching his little cheeks and belly fill out slowly over the last couple of weeks. Obviously, I am a little biased, but I think he is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen (even if he looks like a little, old man version of Trevor).

Because I am so behind on posting, I am resorting to a list to get all the details I want to remember written down before I forget. So, without further ado, here are some recollections from the last twenty days:

  • I went to work after the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit on January 3rd to finish a report. I didn't tell anyone I was there because I was worried they'd make me go home (I'd been working on and off even though I was technically on vacation). Once "discovered", though, I got into trouble because my coworker was worried I'd go into labor or something would happen and no one would know I was in the office. Except she was less than 50 feet away and just didn't hear me come in.

    (I'd like to think she would have heard me if I had screamed, though. Or, say, calmly called her from my office phone.)

    Of course, twenty four hours later (after it was common knowledge around my office that I actually WAS in labor the previous afternoon) made them all feel justified in their opinion that women who are 42 weeks pregnant shouldn't be allowed at work.

    I'm just glad I finished said report when I did.

    Oh, and I am totally claiming that I worked up until giving birth. Just FYI.

  • The picture where Banner looks like my dad.
    (Taken Day One)

  • I remember very little from the first twenty four hours or so after Banner was born. I can recall being wheeled up to the maternity ward and into my room. I have vague memories of people visiting me, but I couldn't tell you what we talked about or even tell you who stopped by unless a photo of them was taken. It is all sort of a blur.

    The sunset from my hospital room (722 Truitt) on January 4th, 2012

    This also goes for people I spoke to on the phone. To some, I sounded quasi normal. To others, I I told one of my best friends from high school that I was "just trying to speak English like everyone else" when she asked how I was doing.


    So, if you spoke to me on January 4th, my apologies. In my defense, I was pretty heavily medicated and had lost a lot of blood.

  • The last few minutes of Banner's Birth Day.

  • I DO remember refusing to take any pain medication less than twelve hours after the surgery. I honestly didn't feel that much pain and I didn't want the drugs coursing through my system as I started to breastfeed. I also elected to have my catheter removed as soon as possible (10 PM), because I found it disconcerting that people had to periodically come in and empty my pee and clean me up. I wanted things to return to normal as quickly as possible.

  • I woke up at 2 AM on January 5th and had to pee. Because it was my first time after the surgery and catheter removal, I had to call for a nurse to assist me with the process. Except when I tried to urinate, nothing happened. It is honestly the strangest sensation in the world to have to pee and not be able to. It took a couple of trips to the bathroom and several glasses of cranberry juice to get the desired result. I will never taking being able to pee for granted again.

  • Trevor sticking his tongue out at his newborn son in the hospital.

  • I am sure I started trying to breastfeed the day before, but I can't remember. Trevor says there were some issues latching. By day two, though, those were long gone. B-man is a master latcher and champion sucker, and hasn't looked back since.

  • Hi.

  • The best thing about having the catheter taken out was being cleared to shower on Thursday, January 6th. Best. Shower. Ev-ver.

  • Middle of the night feeding in the hospital.

  • The second night, Banner started to cluster feed (apparently common around 48 hours), and I didn't know what to do except latch him on. Except my milk still hadn't come in, and my baby was essentially using my boob as a pacifier. Nearly three hours later, a nurse saw what was going on and took my baby back to the nursery so I could rest. It took nearly a week for my nipples to recover.

  • Hanging with dad.

  • Breastfeeding did (and still does) make me drowsy. Trevor has the absolute worst picture of my ev-ver on his cell phone. I was lying in the hospital bed with Banner plugged into my boob while I was visibly nodding off. Even though he refuses to delete it and PROMISED to not show it to anyone, a surprising number of people have now seen it (jackhole!).


  • Sleepy baby.

  • Banner's blood tests came back with high bilirubin levels in his first few days of life. He was classified as being in the 95th percentile for jaundice, and I was told to feed him more often to encourage him to poop and pee (which is how the jaundice is eliminated from the body). This was agonizing before my milk came in because I wasn't producing enough of anything to get the desired result. We finally had to make the decision to supplement with formula to avoid having to put my baby under the lights. Luckily, we only had to do this for 48 hours before I started to produce enough milk to feed him on my own.

  • The thinker.

  • Because of the high jaundice levels, the nurses intentionally sabotaged Banner's circumcision by bringing Banner to feed first thing in the morning the day after he was born. My OBGYN came in to do the procedure and found him nursing away. Apparently, doctor's won't circumcise a baby on a full tummy, so the surgery had to be rescheduled for the next day. After my doctor left, the nurses came back in giggling and talking about how my baby's penis could wait another day in effort to give his jaundice levels a chance to fall off a little.

  • I was so relieved when my baby's penis got a reprieve on Thursday, but sobbed when they took him away to perform the procedure on Friday. It just seemed so unfair to come into the world only to have one of the most sensitive parts of your body operated on within two days after birth. But after the circumcision, Banner was no worse for wear. In fact, he didn't even seem to notice that anything had happened and was just (shockingly) hungry.

  • Thor and his hammer.

  • In an effort to get my milk to come in as quickly as possible (to help treat the jaundice), I started trying to stimulate my boobs by using a pump on January 6th.

  • Trevor slept at the hospital with me every night after Banner was born. I almost had to force him to go home periodically to shower, eat and get some rest.

  • Trevor referred to the nursery at the hospital as "The Full Detail Service" because we'd almost always send him there half naked (because he'd blown his diaper off or managed to pee all over his t-shirt), but Banner would come back all clean, dressed and tightly swaddled.

  • After the full detail service.

  • In case you were wondering, the Awesome Pawsome was taken care of by our fabulous neighbor, Becky, while we were in the hospital. She came by three times a day: once in the morning to feed them and put them outside in the dog run, again at night to feed them dinner and once more around nine or ten to close the doggie door (otherwise Haskell would go outside and bark at nothing in the middle of the night). Not having to board our dogs was a huge relief (especially considering I went into labor in the middle of the night), and it meant or pups' routine wasn't interrupted or changed. It also meant that Trevor got to see them when he came home and they all got to sniff him and Banner's blankets once a day.

  • Banner gets the hiccups after almost every feeding. He didn't like the hiccups on the inside, and not much has changed since he started life on the outside.

  • Video of Banner's hiccups on his second day of life...

  • I was released from the hospital on Saturday, January 7th around 3 PM after I had over 40 staples removed from my c-section incision site.

  • I pumped before being released and was so proud of myself because I had finally produced over 30 ccs of breast milk. Before that, I had been supplementing whatever milk I was able to express with formula. But 30 ccs was the magic number because it was what the pediatrician wanted Banner to be getting 8-12 times a day at this stage in his very early life. Finally producing enough milk on my own meant I no longer had to supplement with formula. I was so proud of myself.

    Then, as I prepared to leave the hospital, I accidentally (and totally without thinking) put the breast milk in a sack to go home and it spilled all over. I thought I was just packing the pump parts, and forgot about the breast milk which we were saving for the 3 PM feeding before leaving the hospital. This sent me into near hysterical sobs. I felt so stupid.

    All this proves that while it might not be okay to cry over spilled milk, crying over spilled breast milk is a completely other matter altogether.

  • Little piggies!

  • Banner weighed 6 pounds and 12 ounces on the day he was released from the hospital.

  • Home!

  • As I mentioned above, the first twenty four hours at home with the baby were a nightmare. I was more exhausted than I think I've ever been before in my life, and Banner needed time to adjust to his new environment. My mom was staying with us to try and help with the baby so I could get some rest, but we all realized pretty quickly that none of us knew what we were doing. The baby kept crying and none of us could soothe him (in hindsight, he was probably just overly tired), and I was so worried that he'd stop breathing in his sleep that I couldn't relax and do anything other than worry and cry over him.

    And, then, things I thought I knew went flying out the window. Like: How long can breast milk sit out at room temperature before going bad or how do you heat it up after refrigerating it? My breast milk - absent for what felt like an eternity in the hospital - came in with a vengeance by Saturday evening, and I was completely unprepared for storing it. I was still pumping because my nipples were - literally - cracked and bleeding.

    Basically, I was overly tired and in a lot of pain. It was a looooooong night.

  • So little.

  • The first couple of weeks after giving birth I cried a lot. This is apparently normal and somehow helps stimulate milk production. It doesn't make it any less weird, though, when you burst into tears on a brief dog walk for no reason at all.

  • Because of the jaundice, Banner got to go to the pediatrician two days after being released from the hospital. He had been "exploding" pretty frequently since going home on Saturday, and we had all noticed that his little arms and body were substantially less yellow now that my milk was finally in. The doctor agreed, and didn't even need to run his blood to verify.

    Another a good sign? That the little guy was up an ounce (6 pounds, 13 ounces) since leaving the hospital.

  • He has strong toes.

  • Banner's schedule since coming home has been to eat every three hours during the day (9 AM, 12, 3 and 6 PM) and four hours at night (9 PM, 1 and 5 PM). His appetite has increased from 30 ccs per feeding to 4.5 to 5 ounces in two weeks.

  • My OBGYN performed a Plastibell Circumcision on Banner, and the clear, plastic ring fell off exactly one week after the procedure. For reasons I don't pretend to understand, Trevor has ring on display on the shelf over the changing table and keeps threatening to have it bronzed and put on a chain.

  • Banner lost his umbilical cord scab on January 17th. The good news is that it isn't on display anywhere and I don't have to worry about feeling guilty about throwing it away.

    The bad news is that we don't know where it fell off, so there is a scab somewhere in the house. This initially bothered me to no end until someone pointed out that I shouldn't worry since a dog has mostly likely eaten it in the interim.


  • Lazy weekend mornings with daddy.

  • At my two week doctor's appointment on the 19th I had lost 21 pounds in 15 days after giving birth.

    I was also cleared to drive by my doctor, which was fabulous since I had driven myself to the appointment.

  • At Banner's two week appointment on January 20th, my kiddo weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 21 inches. The doctor was very impressed with his weight gain, especially considering that our little guy isn't getting chubby at all (he now has fuller cheeks and a little belly, but no baby fat rolls to speak of). Apparently, he is committing every last calorie to growth.

    Still, he is in the 50th percentile for height and weight and the 45th percentile for head circumference. Not exactly the linebacker stats that Trevor was hoping for, but the little guy is healthy and that's all that matters.

    Because of his good weight gain, the pediatrician has now given us the green light to let him wake up on his own at night. Trevor is hoping this will immediately translate into Banner sleeping through the night, but I have more realistic expectations.

  • This is his surprised look.

  • I cried more than my baby when they pricked his heel for the two week round of blood tests. I am already dreading his next appointment at 2 months when they give him his first round of shots. Trevor might need to take the afternoon off because I am not sure I am strong enough to go through that alone.

  • I am producing a lot more milk than my baby needs, and already have a good store built up in the fridge and freezer. I often have to pump after nursing him just to get relief for my aching boobs.

  • Sweet baby.

  • Haskell is afraid of the baby. He was the first one we let get close to him after coming home. He sat down and sniffed the Banner. Then his eyes got really big and he started backing away very slowly. He now prefers to spend his time either on his bed (shocker!) or in the dog run sunbathing.

    I was initially worried about Gypsy because she was showing a lot of interest in the baby. That is until one day when I wasn't paying close enough attention and discovered her giving Banner a foot and leg bath. Now her daily goal seems to be how many "kisses" she can sneak in when she thinks no one is looking.

    Alley is the only one I'm not very comfortable with. She stares intently at Banner and cries. It is possible she thinks he is a hairless squirrel.

  • Hi, Grammy Pammy!

  • Banner graduated to size one diapers before the second week of life. We are still having a hard time containing him, however. That kid knows how to blow off a diaper.

  • Whadya lookin' at?

  • On Thursday, Banner peed all over the wall. On Saturday morning, he - literally - peed in my face (it went in my eye and mouth, people!). Then, less than twenty minutes later, he tried the same thing on dad. Trevor managed to block the flow, but it ricocheted off his hand and managed to hit the closet door nearly six feet away. The kid has range. He is committed to keeping us on our toes during diaper changes. And, yes, these are the results we are having WITH proper defensive protocol and utilization of things like pee-pee tee-pees.

  • This is his "Seriously? You are my mother?" face.

  • Sometimes Banner looks at me as if to say, "Really? Nine months of Adelle, Katy Perry and singing at the top of your lungs in the car?"

  • Giving mom lip already...
    (possibly my favorite picture so far)

  • I love Banner's pouty face.

  • Gas.

  • No one talks about what goes on after the baby, and, no. I'm not talking about the depression. I am referencing the night sweats, uterine contractions (as things shrink back to their normal size), bleeding, aching boobs/nipples, weepiness, loose abdominal skin, etc. There is nothing sexy about just having a baby. Oh, and my head? Yeah, still itches.

  • Have I mentioned how much I adore baby feet?

  • I've decided that all pediatrician offices smell like germs and throw up (regardless of how clean the office may be). Trevor says he doesn't smell anything when we go, and that I am just being silly, but - seriously? Can you think of a bigger biohazard than a pediatricians office?

  • Mornings with mom.

  • Trevor can't pronounce Pertussis. When he called to schedule his shot a couple of weeks ago, he asked for the Per-TOO-sus vaccine.

  • Whaaaaat?

  • Banner always has his ankles crossed. Looking back at his sonogram pictures, it is how he held his legs in the womb.

  • Happy boy.

  • When Banner came out, he had his hands in tight little fists with his thumbs on the insides sticking out between the first and middle fingers. Apparently, this is a sign of good luck (in Brazil?!), and I had several people comment on it in his first several days.

  • Sleeping on mommy's chest.

  • Ever since the first day, Banner has been able to lift his head up (briefly) and look around. We've also gotten a lot of comments from the doctors, nurses and pediatricians about how alert he is for a newborn. I think it is because he was late and just a little older and wiser than other babies his own age.

  • 20 Days Old!
I am going to wrap this up now before something else happens that I want to add. Here's to shorter (and more frequent!) posts in the future!!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Stinkbug's first bath...

Auntie Amy can no longer claim that people needed to wash their hands AFTER touching the baby:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Amy on parenthood...

"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Banner cry (in slow mo)...

Got it?
(Welcome to our world!)

Peace out, yo.

A Banner Birthday: It was pretty much the exact opposite of anything I had ever imagined...

The last week or so has been a literal whirlwind, so I'm not sure where to even begin with the telling of the following tale. My apologies if the following doesn't flow well or skips around a bit. I'm just trying to get it all down before I forget everything.

And, no. My memory hasn't returned since giving birth. It may be gone forever.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012:

The first time I noticed anything was slightly amiss or had the thought "Gee, I wonder if that was a contraction" was at lunch with Mimi and Jessie at the Dallas Museum of Art after seeing the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit. Mimi had joked earlier that the exhibit was weird enough to induce labor. Guess she was right. The projected (and sometimes talking or singing) faces on the mannequins were definitely interesting, as were the accessories made out of hair. Or maybe it was just all the cone boobs and corsets that made Banner think that life on outside was worth exploring.

In any event, I had reached a point in my pregnancy where I assumed I would never go into labor naturally, and had started believing that my son would be born sometime on Friday, January 6th following a scheduled induction.

(If we had gotten to choose Banner's birthday for him, Trevor and I had decided on Epiphany. We figured it was only appropriate since our kiddo wasn't having an "epiphany" about coming out on his own.)

As the afternoon wore on, the "Gee, I wonder if that was a contraction" thoughts continued, but I wasn't convinced it was labor at all. It was, however, enough of a nuisance to make me feel like I was sick to my stomach, and I decided against going out to dinner with family. So, my last evening at home sans kiddo was spent lounging on the couch with Trevor watching episodes of Showtime's Spartacus on Netflix.

My last meal.

The contractions continued to get more intense and rhythmic, but I didn't tell anyone (Trevor included) because I was preoccupied with the idea of crying the labor version of wolf and getting everyone all excited about nothing. So, I showered, brushed my teeth and got ready for bed around 10 PM even though I was significantly uncomfortable by that point.

I am good at denial, y'all.

Since the pain seemed worse when I was in lying in bed, I put off trying to actually sleep. Instead I did a load of laundry and putzed around the house in my PJs. Finally, though, I convinced myself to try to get some shut eye. I fully expected the pain to subside, to fall asleep soundly and wake up wondering what I was so concerned about the following morning.

Except the pain didn't go away. If anything it started to get worse.

So, I did what any reasonable person would do: I got on my iPhone and googled "what does labor feel like", and read several articles that made it sound like what I was experiencing (rhythmic pain and pressure in the lower abdomen that radiated around around to my back and spine) were just signs of false labor. Real labor pains are (apparently) felt higher up in the abdomen. Mine were more like really bad menstrual cramps.

Disclaimer: It is entirely possible that I chose to only indulge in articles that backed up my theory I was experiencing absolutely nothing. Which is part of the reason why I need to stop trying to diagnose myself over the internet. I was nearly 42 weeks pregnant and had convinced myself that I wasn't really in labor when I was actually having full blown contractions.

Which just goes to show that you can convince yourself of anything if you put your mind to it. Ask me. I am an expert.

But - just in case I was wrong - I downloaded an app on my iPhone to track the length and time between "the pains". On average they were 2 to 3 minutes apart and lasted 46 seconds.

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012:

I finally made the decision to call my doctor at 12:01 AM. But not because I had changed my mind about being in labor. I called because I started to feel concerned that something might be wrong, and I wanted the doctor to tell me that it was all nothing and to try to get some sleep.

Plus, since the pains had started, I couldn't remember feeling the baby move.

The doctor on-call was paged and returned my call at 12:07. And wouldn't you know that it was Dr. Cervix. Because why not? There are four or five doctors at my practice, and the night I go into labor it had to be him.

Dr. Cervix was obviously roused from a sound sleep and seemed limited in his ability to comprehend the English language. I told him what I was experiencing and he thought it *might* be contractions, but not to get too excited because it was my first pregnancy and it could go on for quite some time. Even stop. He told me to call back when my contractions lasted for a minute every five minutes for an hour, and then we could talk about going to the hospital.

Which, if you are keeping track, means that I needed my contractions to actually slooooooow down. I later learned that this typically isn't possible.

The moon as seen from my bedroom window the night Banner was born.

So, following doctor's orders, I went back to bed. Sleep was impossible because the pain was uncomfortable and frequent, but I still didn't bother to wake Trevor because he had complained of a headache earlier in the evening, and I figured - labor or not - we had hours to go and he needed his rest. He DID hear me come back into the bedroom, though, and rolled over and asked if I was okay. I told him that I there was a small chance that I might be in labor.

I got no response from the far side of the bed.

At 1:02 AM I decided to text my mom for support. Here is the transcription of that conversation:

Me: "U awake?"

Grammy Pammy: "Yeah..."

Me: "Called doc on call and it was effing doctor cervix. And I've decided he's an a$$ who is possibly the worst listener in the world."

GP: "What's going on"

Me: "I don't think he understands English"

GP: "Ok"

Me: "I've been having these stupid pains since lunch but they've been getting pretty bad lately"

GP: " you think it's labor...Have you told trev...have you been timing?"

Me: "They last about 45 seconds to a minute every 4ish minutes. Can't sleep and they are getting worse. No tried to tell trev but he is sleeping. He didn't even react."

GP: "You wake him up (trev) & go to hospital now...!"

Me: "Didn't tell anyone earlier bc it wasn't bad and figured I might be making it up"

GP: "You may be in labor...this is nothing to fool around with..."

Me: "Doctor cervix said they needed to be a minute consistently every 5 minutes for an hour. I don't wanna go in if it is nothing."

GP: "Baby needs monitoring...Don't be silly...Let the hospital send you what!"

Me: "He was more concerned that I didn't do my kick count than anything else. But I didn't do it bc this other thing that was going on and baby has only moved intermittently since it began"

GP: "...the thing is sweetie, that you need to monitor the baby for any stress...don't worry if they tell you it's nuthin...go to hospital & let them tell you...You are too late in this game to play around...its not likely nothing...You gotta think of the baby now....better to be safe than sorry...labor is different for every new mom & if the baby is in any stress you need to know now!"

Me: "But it will prob stop or something or I'll get there and they will tell me it is indigestion. And even if it is real isn't it supposed to last for hours and hours and water is supposed to break and whatnot?"

GP: "Are you kiddin me!?!? How likely is that you...10+ mos preg...have indigestion???"

Me: "I've seen movies. U just want a grandkid yesterday. How do you know it is real? And I'd have to wake up trev. He had a headache"

GP: "My water NEVER broke w/out help from the dr...what do I have to do to get you to wake up trev & go to hospital? Geez! Wake up Trev! Or I will send an ambulance to ur house"

Me: "Shouldn't I wait for the contractions to be consistently a minute in length???"

GP: "Are you kidding me!?!!?!...pleez! No! Go to hospital!"

Me: "Ur being irrational. U were in labor with me for a day and a half and u didn't go to the hospital right away. Dad had a dinner party. I know the story"

GP: "Then call me! Or I'm going to get in the car & come get you right now...Ok, that's it...I'm call 911 & sending them to ur house"

Me: "Noooo. Calm down. Don't make me sad I texted u. I don't need an ambulance"

GP: "You are killing me...And possibly ur own baby...Go to the hospital! Wake up Trevor...NOW! Something could be wrong...& every second you delay could be putting thor at risk...You need to listen to ur body...especially if it is not. Please go to the hospital! Now! Just the fact that it is not 'text book' make me think something could be wrong..."

And this would be the text that finally got me to wake Trevor up at 1:53 AM. But not because I was ready to come clean about the whole labor thing. No, no. I woke him up to ask him to call my mother and talk her off of Mount Crazy. Which in hindsight must have been pretty confusing for Trevor since he had no idea anything was going on at all. He found out about everything: possible contractions, my phone call to the doctor, etc. from my hysterical mother at nearly two in the morning.

Go me.

(To be fair, I was in labor and too stubborn to be rational.)

We left for the hospital around 2 AM. I almost refused to take my partially packed hospital bag (yeah, I never finished packing. I am fabulous that way), because I didn't think I'd need it yet and we'd be home in a couple of hours. This is how we ended up at the hospital without things like toiletries, cameras, anything for the baby or the blasted car seat.

I did, however, manage to wear Trevor's THOR t-shirt.

And, yes, I argued with my husband most of the way to Baylor because I thought everyone (mainly him and my mother) was overreacting. I had spoken with a medical professional and he had told me that I didn't need to do anything until the pains were five minutes apart. Who cares if mine were every minute and a half or two minutes? I even refused to let Trevor drop me off at Labor and Delivery. I insisted that we park in the garage like everyone else and walk. Trevor wanted to bring in my bags, but I also shot that down. They were in the car. If we ended up needing them, Trevor could always get them later.

So, yeah. Maybe in hindsight I was being a tad difficult. But in all honesty, the pain really wasn't that bad. Granted, I couldn't sleep through it but it was manageable. I remember thinking it couldn't be real labor because that was really supposed to hurt badly. I could easily breathe through what I was experiencing.

I'd pay for that thinking later on.

Smiling through the contractions.

We arrived at the hospital around 2:15 AM, and - much to my surprise - were admitted pretty quickly. At 2:30 I had my first internal exam and was hooked up to a fetal monitor. At the time, my contractions were a minute or two apart, but I was only dilated about 3 centimeters and 80% effaced. I assumed it was shaping up to be a long night, even with the contractions coming so close together. The nurse made it sound like my spazzing uterus could be caused by dehydration, and hooked me up to an IV.

The only "bad" news we received after getting checked in was that Doctor Cervix would be the one delivering my baby unless Thor decided to stay put until 7 AM. The mere thought nearly had me in tears, which is silly since I am sure he is a completely competent doctor (assuming someone woke him up and force fed him caffeine so he could function and speak coherently). The nurse, though, noticed my distress and panicked expression and came back into the room a little while later to report that my doctor was actually already at Baylor and asleep in one of the other rooms. Apparently, he was inducing one of his patients that night and doctors aren't allowed to leave the hospital during the process in case something goes wrong.


Considering how this whole birth story turns out, this was an amazing stroke of luck. I don't even want to think about what might have happened if my doctor hadn't been there already or if we had had to wait for Dr. Cervix to arrive.

The next hour and a half was spent breathing through contractions while Trevor worked on getting the kit so the baby's cord blood could be collected for storage. I was still committed to trying to have the baby naturally and without pain medication (especially since I already had to have antibiotics administered intravenously to treat the Group B Strep). Despite the frequent contractions, the labor pains were still tolerable - mainly because they came in waves. Yes, the peaks were uncomfortable, but I had a break in between them. Knowing they weren't going to last forever made them relatively easy to breathe through, and I was feeling confident in my ability to handle the pain.

At 4 AM, my doctor walked through the door to check me out himself. I was never so happy to see the man in my life. He announced that I was 3.5 centimeters dilated, and broke my water.

And that is when things got really interesting.

My amniotic fluid wasn't clear, but bright red. My doctor actually described it as being the color of "port wine". This, I quickly learned, is never a good sign and meant that my placenta had ruptured. My chances of having a vaginal delivery all but evaporated at that very moment.

Still, both my doctor and I were hopeful that I could avoid a c-section. The baby was handling the stress well (although an electrode was inserted vaginally and stuck on his head to more closely monitor his vital signs), and everyone was hopeful that everything would remain as stable as possible.

Things started moving very quickly after my water broke. The most noticeable for me was the fact that I no longer had any breaks between contractions. Looking back on it, my body was doing everything in its power to get the baby out as quickly as possible. But, at the time, it was nothing short of terrifying. Not to mention agonizing. For me, the pain no longer had peaks and valleys. I could no longer breathe through them. It just kept getting worse and worse - one building on another without a moment of relief. Then the nausea set in. I remember thinking that I could deal with the pain or the nausea, but both together was torture. Still, I refused the epidural until my doctor more or less insisted that I have one. Since my chances of having to have an emergency c-section were skyrocketing (I was still bleeding), he wanted me to already be numb from the waist down to avoid having to gas me if the need arose suddenly.

Not wanting to chance having to miss the birth of my first born, I gave in and agreed to the epidural at 4:30 AM. Despite the anesthesia, I could still feel a lot of pain and pressure. The only thing that truly seemed to disappear was the nausea, which I was grateful for.

At 5:00, I was 5 centimeters dilated, and at 5:10, I was catheterized. Or as Trevor wrote in his notes from that night: "decaphader". Which I am assuming is a little like a decathlon with a more urinary focus.

During this time, the baby had two or three "episodes" where his heart rate plummeted and suddenly the room was crowded with doctors and nurses talking in medical code and looking very concerned. One of these took place when Trevor decided to go to the bathroom that was attached to the delivery room. No one was in the room when he closed the door, but by the time he flushed and walked back out, the room was a buzz with activity. Luckily, all these episodes resolved themselves quickly and no intervention was needed. Still, you realize very quickly in a hospital that one or two people in a room at a time equals good. More than that equals PROBLEM.

It was all very scary.

At 5:30, two things happened almost simultaneously. The first was that I was suddenly fully dilated. That's right: I dilated 5 centimeters in less then half an hour. The second was another baby heart rate episode. This one was more severe than all the other ones combined, and didn't immediately rebound. Suddenly, alarms were going off, people were swarming the hospital room and my doctor started telling everyone to prepare for surgery. STAT.

I've watched enough ER in my lifetime to know that the word "STAT" is not a good thing.

Neither is it when your normally laid back doctor has visible sweat on his brow and is yelling that, "We need to get this baby out NOW!"

Trevor was ordered to leave the room and change into scrubs.

They started to move me, but then something else changed. It was just me, my doctor and one nurse at that point. My doctor suddenly shoved my legs apart, yelled the nurse to grab one and for me to grab the other. However, since I had the epidural, I couldn't feel my legs, much less move them. So the nurse had to hand me my left leg (which incidentally is VERY heavy and terribly awkward to manipulate when completely numb), and then the doctor started yelling for me to push.

I did my best, but while trying, I dropped my leg. I think I got two pushes in before the doctor announced that the baby was still too high to be delivered. Even at the end, Thor refused to drop.

Then, apparently, I started to bleed heavily and the baby's heart rate dropped to below sixty, and we were out the door and rolling into surgery.

I was terrified and the only thing I could think of to do was to recite the Lord's Prayer over and over again in my head.

My memories of the next few minutes are in flashes. I remember Trevor in scrubs next to the gurney as they rolled me into the room. He winked at me and smiled like everything was A-Okay. I remember my mother flying into the room, and chanting "My baby! My baby!" as she stroked my head. I remember them picking me up and moving me to the operating table and feeling temporarily like I was going to fall on the floor (not because they almost dropped me, but because they didn't have the luxury of taking their time and moving me gently). I remember that they didn't have time to put up a curtain to shield what was going on from Trevor and my mother, and I can recall their wide eyes and bloodless faces as they tried to focus on me instead of what was going on below my waist. I remember the absolute chaos in the room as the doctors and nurses ran around in a frenzy. I remember shaking uncontrollably (from medication and rapid loss of blood), and my arms being pulled out to either side like I was being crucified. I remember how stressed my doctor looked which made me start to cry, because that was the first moment I realized how serious the situation was. He is normally so calm and relaxed. I had never seen him so tense. I was suddenly terrified that I would loose the baby.

I had no idea until much, much later that they were also worried that they might lose me.

Despite being numb, I still could feel a lot of discomfort and pressure. And I could feel them pushing and pulling my body in ways that made me think I was being ripped apart from the inside. I remember feeling faint and light headed and having time speed up and slow down somehow simultaneously.

Then, at 5:46 a shrill cry filled the air as Banner breathed his first breath and screamed his way into the world.

Trevor ran to watch them do whatever they do to babies when they are first born, and no sound was sweeter than the sounds of his sobs and the nurses declaring him to be absolutely perfect despite the heart rate episodes and trauma of the last several hours.

I remember my mother joining Trevor to get a first look at the baby, which was just beyond my range of sight still lying on the operating table. I heard laughter and Trevor ran back over to tell me that Banner was fine, healthy, definitely had his chin and had just peed all over the nurses while on the exam table.

That's my boy.

First picture of father and son.

After they cleaned him all up, Trevor got to hold him and brought him over by the side of my head to say "Hi". Because of the way I was on the table, it was hard for me to get a good look at him. But I said, "Hi, Baby" as I strained to look in his general direction to my left. Banner had been making noise, but when I spoke to him he got very quiet. My mom and Trevor later told me that he stopped struggling and calmly stared in my direction the moment he heard my voice.

It seemed to take forever for the doctors and nurses to stop messing with me. I heard things like, "We need to get a good look at the placenta", and a whole host of other comments about the amount of blood in my uterus.

I remember how strong it smelled it when they cauterized some part of my anatomy in an effort to stop the bleeding. Had they been unable to control it quickly, the next step would have apparently been an emergency hysterectomy.

Thank goodness it never got that far.

The technical term for what had happened is called placental abruption. I don't know much about it other than it is apparently pretty rare condition where the placenta starts to prematurely break away from the uterine wall. It occurs in 1% of pregnancies worldwide, and is a significant contributor to maternal mortality. My doctor told me he hadn't seen a case as severe as mine in over a decade. When they pulled my baby out, he was literally swimming in a pool of my blood. Or as my doctor put it, "a big, ole bottle of red wine".

(I have no idea what was up with him and his vino references last week. And, no. I'll probably never look at a glass of red wine in the same way again.)

I had none of the risk factors commonly associated with a placenta abruption, but my doctor hypothesized that it may have been caused because I was overdue and things like my placenta were starting to (for lack of a better word or phrase) "go bad". It also might explain why my baby was smaller than everyone thought he would be (although a 7 pound, 3 ounce kiddo is by no means considered "small"). No one knows when the bleeding started or what caused my placenta to start tearing away prematurely, but things like the frequent (tetanic) uterine contractions with little or no break were a classic sign that something was going very wrong.

Basically, had I been living on the prairie 150 years ago, both Banner and I would have died in childbirth.

All in all, we were very lucky. I don't want to think about what might have happened if my doctor hadn't already been at the hospital that evening inducing another patient, or if I had listened to Dr. Cervix and put off leaving home until my contractions miraculously slowed to five minutes apart. I truly believe God was looking out for me and Banner that night.

I lost nearly two liters of blood. For days I didn't think that was a very big of a deal. After all, I rationalized, I donate blood all the time. Until my brother explained the difference to me between a pint and a liter. Apparently, the average adult has five liters of blood in their body, and losing two liters can be fatal. It is probably a good thing I was never very good at subjects like biology or anatomy/physiology. In times of crisis, ignorance is a fabulous self preservation tool.

Waiting to meet the newest member of the family.

Following the delivery, the nurse that had been monitoring my progress since check in told me that baby Banner and I were the cause of her two newest gray hairs. And, over the course of my hospital stay, I had a variety of people - from nurses, to doctors to the anesthesiologist who performed my epidural and monitored me during the surgery - come to visit and check on us and remind me just how lucky baby Banner and I were to both survive. I may have not grasped the severity of the situation at the time, but I do now and feel forever in debt to the doctors and nurses who literally saved both our lives early last Wednesday morning.

Hanging with the B-Man...

After the surgery was over and I was all stitched back together, I was rolled into recovery for an hour and a half before being sent up to room 722. Baby Banner got to ride on my chest, and the trip to recovery was the first time I got to hold him.

And then there were three.

And in case there was ever any doubt, he looks just like Trevor. If he didn't have my blood type I'm not sure I'd be believe I had anything to do with it other than (obviously) carrying the little guy for nine (or ten) months.

Welcome to the world, baby boy.