robert anthony, named for his father, arrived 3 weeks early at 5:06pm on march 31, 7lb13oz, 19", after 13.5 hours of labor (including 2 hours of pushing).
long version: we'll see how long it takes me to type this out, since there's no daddy to hand the baby to and i'll mostly be doing it one-handed while pumping. right now its 9am on sunday.
first i should say that i finally had the ultrasound they'd been telling me i needed since before christmas on monday, march 29. they were estimating tad to be about 6lb11oz, give or take 16oz. seeing as how i wasn't due for another three weeks, i was praying for "take". they got the better look at his kidneys and spine that they wanted, and my mom remarked that it looked like tad was going to have rob's nose. the tech had commented that tad was head WAY down, and she had to really dig the wand in by my pubic bone to get an accurate measurement. afterward, we went and visited my BFF who was being held at the hospital for a mandatory 72hr fast. (same friend with the hypoglycemia and seizures before christmas.)
tuesday, march 30, after visiting my friend again, i had my 37-week appointment at 7pm. it was pretty routine...tad tried to kick her hands away when she was measuring me, his heart tones were hard to find because he was hiding behind all my major blood vessels, the usual. she told me i was officially full term, as i was 37 weeks that day exactly, so that while it was unlikely i would go into labor anytime soon, if i did, they would welcome me into the birthing center at the hospital with open arms.
famous last words.
neither my mom nor i had been sleeping very well, so that night we decided to stay up really late watching movies. we called it quits and i came upstairs to go to bed at around 3am on wednesday, march 31. i brushed my teeth and went to the bathroom, and as i stood up after going to the bathroom i seemed to be dripping a bit of fluid. i wasn't sure though, so i tried going to the bathroom again and lost my mucous plug. i wasn't having contractions (yet), so i figured i'd lay down and see about getting some sleep. not five minutes after i laid down, the first contraction hit, surprisingly painful for the first one. not bad, but i was shocked by how much it hurt. i tried going to sleep anyway, but after that first one they started rolling in pretty quickly, starting low in my belly and then wrapping around to my lower back. this was at about 3:30. i started timing them then. they were 4-5 minutes apart and about 60 seconds long, so i guess it's safe to say that i hit the ground running. by 4:30 i decided to start packing my bag, making sure to pack a framed photo of rob from our wedding. by a little after 5 the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and 90 seconds long and i had to stop and breathe through each one, so i went down and woke up my mom, then called the birthing center. i got a shower, finished packing my bag, and after the 15min drive to the hospital plus stopping for gas we arrived around 6:30, and i was ready to ask for an epi because i was in a lot of pain and completely exhausted already. so much for going natural. my doctor showed up at 7, just 12 hours since my appointment, and we had a laugh over the irony of it.
i was only 3cm, and the hospital's policy is no epi till 5cm, so the injected something into my IV that didn't really numb the pain but made me very sleepy and loopy and generally not care that it hurt any more. it sure was fun answering the registration questions in that state. whatever they gave me wore off by 10am or so, and by that point it was nearly unbearable. the contractions were right on top of each other, no break in between, and hurt more than i could imagine. i'm ashamed to say i did a lot of hollering and carrying on. my mom did her best to help me, but nothing helped. not the breathing techniques, not the birthing ball, not getting up and walking around, not the different positions. counter-pressure actually made it hurt worse. i was 5cm when the nurse checked me at 11, and 7cm when the doctor verified it at 11:20. at 11:30, i got an intrathecal instead of an epi. i felt much better after that...i wasn't in pain, but i could still feel the pressure of the contractions on my cervix, and i could get up and move around if i needed, plus i could finally sleep. when my doctor checked me again at 12 before going to her lecture, i was 8cm. she assured me the nurses would page her if it became time to push before her lecture was over, so she left and i took a nap. at 2, the nurse checked me and all i had was a "lip" of cervix, and when my doctor returned at 2:15 i was fully dialated. i wasn't feeling rectal pressure or the "urge to push" yet, so she discussed it with her attending and we all decided to let me "labor down" for a bit, to try and let the contractions get tad's head as low as possible. the intrathecal was wearing off by this point, and by 3 when we all decided it was time to start pushing, i could feel each contraction fully again.
during that part of labor, i broke down several times, missing rob, wondering if maybe i would have been stronger with his support. just generally wishing he was there.
at that point i kicked my mom out of the room, told her to go to the cafeteria and get something to eat. it was going to be just me and rob for the delivery, so i'd decided that if i couldn't have rob there, i didn't want anyone there. the doctors (my resident doc, her attending, and a med student) were wonderful, as was the nurse that was in there. the first hour of pushing was probably a waste...it took me a little while to figure out that pushing actually felt EXACTLY like going to the bathroom. after that was a lot of work pushing to get him below my pubic bone, and then about 20min of pushing to get him out. all accompanied by a lot of hollering and carrying on again, mostly, "i can't do this!" my doctor decided that since i didn't have rob there to tell me boy or girl, that she'd just put the baby on my belly when he came and i could see for myself. an episiotomy and 2nd degree tear later, tad was squalling wetly on my belly, and i said, "oh, it's a boy...just like i thought."
then my mom came back in and cuddled "rabbie" (as she used to call rob) and kept me company while i delivered the placenta and they stitched me up. later that evening my BFF got discharged from her 72-hour fast (same hospital) and came to visit, and her husband/our friend/rob's business partner came by too.
since then the road has been rocky. my milk came in on the night we came home...friday, april 2. the problem was getting it to come out, which didn't happen at all until tuesday april 6. it was so painful. in that time, tad got rather jaundiced and i had to give him formula, which has pretty much wrecked his latch. such a shame because it was great in the beginning. i rented an electric pump on thursday, and at this point i'm still only getting and ounce per breast each time i pump, which isn't quite enough to keep tad sated, so he still gets a little formula.
mostly i struggle with the lack of rob. how wrong it all is, that i'm here alone with this wonderful new life that he helped create and was so excited about, wondering if he sees us and misses us, if he loves us still, if he knows, or if he's lost, or has forgotten, or just doesn't exist any more. every bit of love and joy and happiness i draw from tad creates an emptiness and sorrow and utter devastation in me at what should be that never will now.
anyway, kudos to you if you made it through all that. it's now 1:30am on monday. i'm attaching some pictures, a couple from the hospital and one from his first bath last week.