Friday, August 28, 2009

the story we'll never forget, and we'll write down every moment, just in case we do

Ah! It's been a month already since our little guy was born! I've been slowly typing this post for a few weeks now...

finally together

finally together

We welcomed Jackson Wyatt Kastner to the world at 1:54 am, August 7. I've been meaning to update blogland on the happenings of the birth of the little man, but I've been in a bit of a haze. Recovering well, and getting used to mommyhood. Now ready to hash out the details.

It was around 6:30 pm on Wednesday August 5th when my water broke at home. We'd had a false alarm nearly a week prior, the day my mom and sister were flying in to SF. My due date had come and gone, and five days later after much anticipating, VERY mild contractions, and pacing around I stood up from the couch to a gush of water. I was Skype-ing with my dad who was still in Michigan. I had Dan's laptop and pulled up pictures from my previous post of my pregnant belly. I stood to show my dad the pictures through the webcam when I surprisingly said, "Oh my gosh!" The chatter in the room stopped and everyone was wondering "Is this it?" (We'd already had a few "Is this it?" we were sure!) I couldn't stop laughing, which just caused the water to gush more. I wasn't feeling any contractions, so I called the hospital and they directed us to make our way in. Dan had just got back from a run, so we each took a shower and gathered up our hospital necessities. We agreed that my mom and sis would hang back and come in once we were settled and progressed enough.

Dan and I couldn't stop smiling as we drove to the hospital. I started to feel the mildest of contractions by the time we got there. I went up to the labor and delivery floor while Dan parked the car. We were shown our room, and settled in. The gave me the gown, hooked me up to an IV (which took a couple tries!), hooked up the monitors on my belly, the blood pressure band on my arm, and the heartbeat clip on my finger. (All of this would prove very annoying throughout this whole experience!!!) From what I had always heard, only 15% of women have their water break before they get to the hospital. And so when the water breaks, it means delivery is just around the corner. Mind you, this is what I HAD thought before. Dan had been saying for months that he wanted me to go into labor in the morning so we wouldn't have to go through all of this at night with no sleep. No such luck! Contractions were slow in coming. We walked laps around the small area of the L&D floor, which got boring pretty quickly. I started to get nervous as I heard women in labor, especially the woman next door who seemed to be having the most painful situation I've ever heard in person. But, we decided to stick to our plan and skip the epidural. I ate my last meal around 9 pm, which I didn't really eat the whole thing. (Turns out, this would be the last meal I'd eat until 35 hours later!)

Around midnight, the doctor decided that Pitosin, which is a medication that induces contractions, was a good option because my water had been broken for six hours and my contractions weren't very strong yet. My own contractions kicked in full effect as they gave me the Pitosin, which was quite the experience. Instantly, the contractions were SO strong. Dan set up the music and we focused on our breathing excersizes, and at first it was bearable. But far into it in the wee hours of the morning Dan was falling asleep at my side as he was talking me through contractions (I don't blame him). Around 5 am I had to wake him up when I was having one. We were both trying to sleep between them, which was hard because there was only about 3-5 minutes between them. After 6 hours of this, we were both exhausted. AND I was only dilated to 1 cm, which I had been at my last doctor's appointment days before. SO, after 12 hours, I opted for the epidural. I was pretty nervous about this because I've watched Baby Story too many times and women often have crazy headaches for weeks, and one woman couldn't walk for weeks! So when the anesthegeolist said not to move, I didn't. I remember thinking, "That wasn't that bad" right as he let me know he thought he needed to do it again because blood in the tube or some garbage that I immediately was pissed about. My feelings immediately changed to "Okay, wasn't that bad, but it's not something I want to do again right now." Dan looked like he was feeling my pain and squeezed my hands tighter. Luckily, whatever the problem was worked itself out and I didn't have to have it re-done!

Finally we were able to sleep! I could only sleep for a few hours before I was restless and excited, thinking I was progressing rapidly and would soon be welcoming our baby to the world. Nope. Not the case. We were watching my contractions and the baby's heartbeat on the monitor when all of a sudden both doctors on duty and many nurses came rushing in. They were very direct with their orders, telling Dan to move our suitcase, having me put on the oxygen mask, telling me to flip on my left side, then flip on my right side. We had no idea what was going on, something obviously was not right. After a few minutes of confusion, they were all calm and turned to us to explain the baby's heartbeat dropped suddenly, he was being "cranky". Seeing the fear in our eyes, they apologized for not being able to explain the situation before they began directing us to do everything. They all walked out, and our nurse made sure we were okay, had me keep the oxygen mask on, and then he left too. Dan and I were a bit shocked, to say the least.

My mom and sis came around lunchtime. Well, lunch for them. Ice chips and jello for me. And since I really complained about hunger, I got some disgusting chicken broth too. They didn't want to check me too often to see my progression since my water had been broken for quite some time, which is a risk for infection. The waiting was killing me. I was so hungry and tired, and sick of my arm getting squeezed too frequently from the blood pressure band. I was simply not progressing. We were all concerned about the baby since my water had been broken for so long. They assured us it was okay.

Another meal came and went. At this point I was feeling sick from being so hungry. We had another scare in the evening with Jack's heartbeat dropping. I was so emotionally drained, and this time it seemed longer that they were in there trying to resolve the problem. I was in tears when the doctors and nurses left the room. I was just so emotionally drained at this point. It was 24 hours since I stepped foot in the hospital and the end seemed so far away. We tried to watch tv, I tried to sleep, I was just getting so anxious and worried. I was concerned that my water had been broken for so long. I was thinking I was going to have to get a c-section, which at this point would have been some sort of relief, but the docs never mentioned it. We just kept waiting.

Around 8 or 9 pm I started to feel pressure and pain in my belly. They said feeling pressure was normal as the baby dropped. But it was the pain I was worried about. I kept pushing the button on the epidural machine and it would make the noise that it was sending it's liquid gold into my body, but I felt no relief. I called the nurse in and he was skeptical that the bag ran out. He checked and jumped right on the phone to the anesthesiologist, which took him an HOUR to come with the refill. He was talking on the phone about some impending surgery situation. He was fumbling with the plastic box that the bag of medicine goes in...I wanted to grab his phone and throw it against the wall so he could focus on getting rid of the pain for me. My arm was throbbing from the blood pressure cuff squeezing my arm like every half an hour throughout the day.

It was around 10 or 11 that I was dilated to a 10 (finally!) and we were just waiting for Jack to drop a bit more before I could start pushing. It's all a bit hazy here because I was feeling so sick and I was so completely tired. As midnight approached we all were shocked that we initially thought I'd have him on Aug 5, and now it was going to be Aug 7. As they were prepping the bed for delivery the nurse grabbed my left leg and directed Dan to hold my right leg up. Dan didn't argue, but I could see he was a bit shocked. Being a bit squeamish, Dan's plan was to hold my hand and "peek down there a couple times maybe", but certainly was not planning on a front row seat. I started pushing at 12:50 am. It was so hard to take a quick and deep breath through my nose between pushing because my nose was stuffed up from having the oxygen mask on all day. I ended up throwing up a bunch during the delivery, which was a frustrating and uncomfortable distraction. Watching Dan's face throughout the process and hearing his comments dripping with pure amazement, "Oh my gosh honey, I see his head!", was definitely the encouragement I needed. My mom and my sister were at my head, holding my hand and cheering me on. Our nurse John was totally amazing throughout this whole process, but his downfall was his SLOW counting. I ended up screaming "You're counting too slow!" which I felt bad about but it was really messing with my endurance. When the doctor came in she took over the counting duties, which were up to speed.

After one hour of pushing, 32 hours of labor, three shift changes of docs and nurses, many missed meals and two days after I first stepped into the hospital I suddenly found a wiggly, slimy little baby on my chest. My eyes were so swollen from the pushing that I really couldn't see him very well, especially when I started crying. After a few moments together they whisked him away and I was off to the great unknown. I never knew what exactly happened after you had a baby. I knew something about the afterbirth, but details had evaded me. Turns out, this was the most uncomfortable part of the whole process. This usually isn't the case, but I didn't stop bleeding. Now here's where you skip to the next paragraph like a "choose your own adventure" type story if you want to skip over some details. I mean you've gotten this far, so why not read on...After you have a baby your uterus contracts, which stops the bleeding. In my case, my uterus wouldn't contract which meant I continued bleeding. When this happens it means there is something blocking the uterus from contacting like it should. The doctor had to reach inside me and manually remove clots that were the problem. I was on the epidural and felt such pain. I was so out of it, I just remember the pain and asking how long it was going to take. I remember seeing my family with Jack and just wanting to hold him. I still felt so sick too. Once she was done sewing me up, (I did tear a tiny bit), they helped me walk to our postpartum room. Turns out I did have an infection from my water being broken for so long. So I had to keep the IV in my arm so they could give me antibiotics. I was oblivious to everything. I remember climbing into my bed in such pain, surrounded by my family and nurses. They gave me some pills for the pain and nausea and I fell asleep.

I woke up at 5:50 am in a dark room. To my left Dan was sleeping on a pullout bed. I look to my right, and Jack is by my side in a crib. It was like a dream. I felt no pain at all which was a far cry to how I felt when I laid down, it was so surreal. A nurse came in and asked if I was ready to feed him. She helped me get situated, and left the room. I started crying, I was so happy. Jack and I just stared at each other. That's how we spend a lot of our days now, just staring at each other.

I really couldn't be happier these days. He's growing so much, and teaching me a great deal already. More to come on "learning the ropes" soon...


MARY said...

Ah, Emily! Thank you so much for posting all this. Great to hear a complete play by play of the birthing process, and I am so impressed that you were coherent enough to remember all of that! What a tough gal. I can't wait to meet your little guy.
I miss you, friend!!

mama n papa Ree said...

I think I cried the whole time I read this.
Hugs to you, sweetie.
You are so strong.
Congrats again to you and your beautiful family!

style-for-style said...

wow, that sounds scary.
you are a trooper, and a super mom!

dianne said...

Emily! What am amazing and beautiful story! Thanks for sharing all the details with all of us who are far away and so eager to know everything about you as mommy and baby jack!! You're incredible! love and kisses to you and you're beautiful family!!

Kathleen said...

Emily, I just went back and re-read this. *tears* What a sweet story. I'm so glad that I know you and Dan and Jack and that we got to meet him on his birthday -- August 7, not August 5. :) <3


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