Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jack's birth story

Spoiler alert: he was born via scheduled c-section, so this isn't really a 'labor' story . . . but it's still a birth story, so I figured I'd share it. Also, here's the obligatory disclaimer - feel free to skip this post if words such as 'uterus' or 'dilated' make you uncomfortable. Also click away if seeing a picture of a baby emerging from
my stomach might make your stomach turn a bit :).

I had a pretty hard time sleeping Monday night, which is sad since it was my last night of 'freedom' before having a newborn. It was so weird knowing for sure that Jack was coming in a few hours; it gave me a lot of time to worry and anticipate and wonder and think. And not sleep.
Chuck and I were up and ready to go nice and early Tuesday morning. I couldn't eat before the surgery, so poor Chuck's breakfast was pretty light. We checked and doubled checked that we had everything we needed, made sure the house was ready for my mom and the little boys for three days, and then Chuck gave me a very sweet and very comforting blessing - and then we left for the hospital!

The process before the c-section was quite lengthy - something I wasn't used to. My previous two c-sections weren't quite 'emergency' but the circumstances certainly weren't as relaxed as this one. Chuck and I each changed into our OR attire and then I got the most painful IV of my life, hence my less than joyful expression above. Luckily I really liked the nurse, Kathleen, so I was able to forgive her. The nurse-anesthesiologist, Clint, came in and met us and talked me through how the spinal would work, which I appreciated since I only remember bits and pieces from the spinal with Will (with Clyde I had an epidural that they converted to a spinal).

It looked for a while like we might be bumped for an emergency delivery, but we ended up heading into the OR right on time. This is when I started to get pretty nervous, partially because Chuck wasn't allowed in quite yet and partially because I knew I was about to be cut open. Both pretty good reasons I think! Luckily I was blessed with the best OR staff in the world. Kathleen continued to be sweet and comforting, Judy (the surgical assistant) was funny and distracting, and Clint made the experience of taking a needle to the spine as pleasant as it could be :).

Seriously, though, Clint was amazing throughout the surgery. I compare the role of anesthesiologists during a c-section to doulas or labor coaches during a vaginal birth - Clint constantly reassured me from a medical standpoint that everything was fine and asked how I was and checked my comfort levels and answered my questions.

The spinal definitely its job, after a few minutes I was numb from the top of my ribcage down. Dr. Klomp and the assisting OB came in and got all set up and Chuck was able to come in as well. Everyone got introduced and acquainted and chatted about the two exciting bowl games the previous night and then it was time to have a baby!

I couldn't feel any pain during the c-section, but I could definitely feel pressure and movement - it's soooo weird to feel the tugging sensation as your body is pulled apart. I'm pretty sure my grimace is exaggerated for the camera, though.

It took a few minutes, but finally they got down to the uterus and pulled baby Jack out. The first thing they said when his head came into view was how much dark hair he had :). Apparently he kind of popped himself out - they push on the stomach to help ease the baby out and Jack took the initiative to help free himself!

I was so, so happy to hear his cute little squeak of a cry and hear everyone say how darling he was :).

He came as a much smaller model than what we're used to - Clyde was 8lbs 5oz a day before his due date and Will was 7lbs 13oz nine days early, so I guessed that Jack would fall somewhere in between the two. Instead he weighed in at 6lbs 14oz.

After getting his impressive APGAR scores (9's, although don't ask me what that actually means), he was bundled up and brought over to me, yay! Then Jack and Chuck went out to recovery. This is where things got a little rough for me. With each c-section it takes longer to put everything back together and staple me up, which gave me more time to start feeling woozy and no bueno. Luckily Clint was there with a cool washcloth for my forehead and encouraging words. I started to get really tired so I closed my eyes and let Dr. Klomp do his work.

After I was all reassembled I got to go out to recovery as well. Kathleen draped this blanket over me rather stylishly I think! This is when the itchiness started - I could NOT stop rubbing my nose and eyes. I remember feeling itchy after Will's c-section (it's a fairly common side effect from the spinal) but having it concentrated in my face was new. It continued off and on throughout the day, although to a lesser degree thanks to Nubain and Benadryl.

And then Jack was all done being checked out and I finally got to hold my sweet, sweet baby - which is an experience that words cannot describe.

I was nice enough to share him with Chuck :). We spent a few wonderful minutes with just the three of us, and then brought the boys back to meet their baby brother - which will be detailed in another post.

I'm so, so grateful that the delivery went as well as it did - I am in constant amazement at the wonders of modern medicine and medical knowledge that allows me and my narrow pelvic bones to safely have babies :). And I am thankful for doctors and hospital staff that made it such a great experience. And I'm also very appreciative of such a patient husband who spend the whole drive to St. Luke's answering my random questions about what was about to happen (my last c-section was almost four years ago!) and was such a rock all morning and calmed my anxiety and is such an incredible person to have a baby with - at every step of the process :).

And our family is so grateful and happy to have baby Jack here safe and sound! He is (thus far, knock on wood!) a perfect baby and we love, love, love him!!


Meghan & Chase said...

Jana you are SUPERWOMAN- you went through so much. Thank you for sharing this I love birth stories!
I'm so glad to hear baby Jack is doing well. I love the name Jack.

jayna said...

A c-section is totally unknown territory, but the end result is the same: a baby!!! Love Jack!

Sherry said...

Dude. You used to have a baby living inside of you. And then some doctors cut you open, moved your innards around, took the baby out, put your innards back in place and sewed you up. That is amazing. Seriously.

I'm glad you didn't die in childbirth with Clyde and that you got to have two more healthy babies via the miracle of modern medicine.

Also, cute baby. Definitely keep him.

Emily and Owen Johnston said...

Good story!! I don't know what to do with boys, so you are gonna have to give me some pointers :) Also, I want the cardigan you are wearing in the first pic!

Ben and Courtney Hugo said...

Loved reading that story! I can't wait to meet baby Jack!

Shawn AND Chelsey said...

i love reading birth stories! he is so beautiful! i am so jealous that he has so much hair! beautiful!!

Ginger said...

A birth story is a birth story whether you're cut out or pushed out. And it was a good one. Seriously, Jana. I feel like you are really preparing me for what I'm going to be doing in 4 weeks and 6 days (but who's counting, right?) This is bringing back a lot of memories. And it's good to see someone else surviving it. Thank you!

Sherry said...

Jana, I had all my babies C-section too. It's a miracle isn't it? I used to wish they could just put in a zipper. It would make things a lot easier the next time don't you think? I love how perfect C-section babies look. Jack certainly is beautiful!!! I'm so happy for your family! I bet your mom is over the moon with 2 new Grandbabies!

Nancy said...

I had the itches really bad too! It's aweful. I remember the nurse rubbing lotion on my legs in the middle of the night because I couldn't stand the itchiness. I got some drugs for it too.... Thanks for sharing your story. Loved it. Congrats on your sweet baby!!