Friday, August 2, 2013

August's Birth Story

Can you believe that August has been with us for over a month?  I feel like this time has absolutely flown by; his delivery seems like a distant memory for me (JP might have different opinions about that sentence).  Just thinking about him getting here so early and being so healthy and adorable makes me weepy, and it's taken me a while to be able to type this out without dissolving into a big, salty puddle!

My ongoing hospital bag list; it's so silly to think that we
didn't really need any of this stuff!  Was I really concerned about aromatherapy?
It started 5 days before August actually got here.  Late on the evening of June 22, a few gory things happened that told me my body was getting ready for labor (I'll spare you the details, but it wasn't anything terribly traumatizing).  I wasn't in any pain or feeling crazy uncomfortable (although my hips and pelvis had a dull ache going on), but JP suddenly got that paternal urge to get stuff done.  At 11pm Saturday night, he insisted that we start packing our hospital bags, even though I was right behind him saying it was way too early!  Regardless, we dug out our suitcases and put in a few items inside.  I threw some toiletries together, leggings and a tunic, pillows and a blanket for JP (I read that dads usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to hospital accommodations), and a tennis ball for massage.  JP's suitcase had pj pants, running shoes, and one pair of boxers.  Clearly, we were ready for this baby (ha!).

August's last sonogram!  Cute little foot.
The following Tuesday, June 25, I had my last sonogram for the churro.  Everything looked normal...I guess, I still have a really hard time figuring out what some of the body parts are.  I was told he was about 5.5 lbs, and would probably be 7.5 lbs if I carried him full-term.  I was ready for the long haul!  When I asked both the nurse at my OB's office and the ultrasound tech if I should be concerned about Saturday night, both said it was just my body getting ready for birth, but no indication that I would be going into labor soon.  I left the appointment massive and a bit uncomfortable, but that's normal for being 35 weeks pregnant!

I'm in the middle, with tree trunks for ankles!  Look how slender Karen's are to my left...
On Thursday, I took a walk with one of my new mom friends in the neighborhood and made plans to get coffee the next morning, then went home to get our house ready for some visitors: my dad's wife Karen and her daughter Alicia!  We went out to dinner and showed them around historic Roswell before returning to our house to pose for a few pictures.  I've cropped my face out of the above photo to give you an idea of just how big I was that last week; oof!

That night, JP and I got ready for bed and passed out at 11.  At about 2:30am Friday morning, on one of my many bathroom breaks, my water broke.  Of course, as a first time mom, I just thought it was normal bathroom stuff, although my back started hurting really intensely after that.  I figured I would try moving around and sitting on our fitness ball, etc., to help ease the pain.  In hindsight, I was obviously in labor, but too clueless to know!

Finally, at 4am, I shook JP awake and told him something was wrong.  He automatically thought I was in labor and started timing my contractions (I had tried, but couldn't really get it; now I realize it's because they started out so close together).  JP called our doctor's office, and they told us to come in to be looked at.  As I wandered around the house, moaning and in total denial about being in labor, JP threw some more stuff in our bags, and convinced me into the car.  Everything for this pregnancy was totally textbook, and I was really in denial about going into labor 4.5 weeks early; I just kept telling JP that I wasn't ready for this.  Thank goodness the roads were empty that early in the morning, as it allowed JP to speed 100mph down the highway to our hospital.  He made record time!

We were the only ones in the waiting room when we got there at 4:40am, and I must have looked a mess because they got us right into a delivery room.  JP parked the car while a team of nurses prepped me for delivery.  My doctor was already at the hospital, finishing another birth, so she was ready for business the second she came in our room.  She informed us that I was already at 8cm when I came in, and would be ready to push soon.  I honestly couldn't believe it; despite the increasing pain and pressure, I somehow thought I would have a more 'normal' labor and delivery.  This was all happening way too fast!  I kept telling JP, 'I'm not ready for this,' both because he would be so early, and because I thought we would have another month to prepare for parenthood.  Since that night, though, I know we work on 'baby time,' which has its own schedule.

JP sent a few texts and made a couple of phone calls to let people know that the churro was coming earlier than we'd planned, then got into 'labor coach' mode.  The week before, we had completed our birthing classes, and not a moment too soon!  JP used all of the breathing techniques we learned, and got me through the entire last part of labor.  Then, at about 5:30, my doctor said it was time to start pushing.  I had planned on a natural delivery, and that's what I got, but it was not a fun process!  Pushing was so hard and intense, but purposeful; JP would remind me when to breathe, count while I pushed, and gave me updates about the progress being made.  The nurses put a mirror up so I could watch the process, which was insanely cool.  Birth is a messy business, but incredible to watch.  We had joked that JP would stay above the shoulders to keep his trauma to a minimum, but my doctor had him holding one of my legs back and he got the entire show!  What a brave man.

As the birth got nearer, and he started crowning, several nurses and a doctor from the NICU came into the room.  My OB said his heart rate was starting to drop a bit, so she would have to do an incision to quicken his delivery.  After that, the mirror had to be moved (started to feel woozy), and about 5 minutes later, our baby's head was out.  I couldn't see anything, but JP was amazing and encouraged me to push one more time.  I gathered my waning energy, and out came our baby boy.  The NICU team jumped into high gear, and JP stayed close to our newborn.

August got a bath, weighed (6 lbs, 4 oz), measured (19 inches), and checked out (all fingers and toes accounted for!) while my OB finished with me.  My blood pressure was a little high (I had pretty intense double vision and the shakes), and had to get lots of stitches (when labor is really quick, the body doesn't have time to stretch, so natural and medical tears are normal), which, without pain meds, was almost as painful as contractions!  It was about an hour before I could hold our little baby on my chest, which felt like an eternity.

When August was finally put in my arms, I was completely overwhelmed.  My heart just opened and gobbled that boy up; he was so beautiful and perfect.  I couldn't have imagined him looking any other way, or feeling any different against me.  He'd been with me every minute for over 245 days, and it felt like he was coming home.

After about an hour in post-delivery, we were taken to our recovery room.  Northside Hospital has all private rooms, so JP and I got to spend some time acclimating to the magnitude of the last 6 hours.  I was a hormonal wreck, crying every time JP picked up August and seeing my two men together.  We called our families and sent texts and talked about what to name him.  By the time JP's family came for a visit at 11am, we had a title for the churro.

JP had to run home to pick up some more items for our hospital stay on Friday, and my mother-in-law brought me some nursing clothes on Saturday so I could feed the little man more easily.  We were able to order in some Chinese food on Saturday night, and I slurped down three McFlurries while at Northside!  I was ravenous, and hospital food can only do so much.

We had visitors throughout Friday and Saturday, and August was tested for jaundice (he had a mild case that cleared up within 2.5 weeks and never got too worrisome), went through a car seat exam to make sure he could breathe easily in it with his little lungs, and we tried out breastfeeding.  The first day was so hard because I was so sore and recuperating, and JP and I were both so tired; it felt like we were going on pure adrenaline.  On the flip side, our baby was here and we couldn't stop staring at him!

When Sunday rolled around, we loaded up our items on a trolley (somehow, we accumulated lots of items during our 50-hour hospital stay!) and headed home one Diego stronger.

Even if that one extra Diego was, as Haley so succinctly put it, mostly hat at that point.

On the one hand, I feel as though my birth experience was quick and easy; only 3.5 hours, and 2 hours of that at home.  I'd asked for a natural birth, which is exactly what I got, and discovered that it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be.  (If I was in labor for 20 hours, though, I'd be singing another tune.)  I felt so powerful and connected with my body during the delivery, and would definitely strongly consider going unmedicated next time.
Alternately, I can't believe how mentally exhausting August's first 24 hours were.  We had a lot of change to adjust to really quickly, and I felt incredibly unprepared to be a parent.  Yes, there are 40 weeks to research parenthood, but I spent so much of that time just making sure my pregnancy was going smoothly and normally; I just assumed I would research infancy during my last month.  It's been incredibly reassuring to hear that no amount of research can prepare you for bringing a baby home.  Even if August had been late, we would have been overwhelmed!
Now, 35 days later, I feel confident and capable of taking care of our son.  His birth might have been a surprise, but I'm so glad we've had this extra time to get to know him.  And look how much he's already grown!

I think he's doing a bodybuilder pose here.


  1. I was holding my breath the whole time I was reading this. But then that last sweet picture...... ahhhhh!!! Sweet, sweet baby! So perfect!

  2. I just loved reading the whole story - and there were a few details I hadn't heard so it was exciting! You and John Paul did a wonderful job producing such a perfect baby boy!

    1. It was certainly a team effort; thank you!

  3. He is precious and so is the story. However, I think the picture above is him getting ready to dance to "Love Shack"!
    aunt nesi:)

    1. Ha! Don't you worry, he'll grow up listening to the B-52s.