This entry has been a long time coming. A week ago Sara had what I’m sure was one of the most agonizing nights of her life, and today we sit with our daughter, Katie. It has been a whirl wind. This post has a story, but I figured most everyone just wants to see the pictures so there are lots of them too. Let’s start from the beginning.
From the last post you know that Sara labor was induced on Saturday 7/26. We had carefully thought out birth-plan, which was altered almost from the beginning. Our birth plan was the guide for ourselves and our medical team to help us achieve a natural birth with as little intervention as possible, with the ultimate end goal being a health Kate and Sara. The both the induction and being late threw things off because it required additional monitoring and checks, which required additional staff interactions. We didn’t want to use pain drugs, but after laboring all day Saturday and little sleep on Friday there was a need to recoup and prepare for what would likely be a long Sunday, particularly since Saturdays long day and night of contractions culminated in no progression, ending at 2AM no further along than we were at 11AM. So we quit the process only to start again at 630 on Sunday. On Sunday we got several rounds of cytotec followed by pitocin. This night was a hard one. Sara breathed through what we later learned was back labor since the Sara and Katie were spine to spine. We had hoped to avoid both of those drugs but it was not to be. Sara labored hard. I have to believe she is the strongest person I know. Not only because of the pain tolerance, but because she was able to keep going even after we learned that all Sunday’s pain had brought no progress. Finally, at 2AM on Monday morning Sara got an epidural, which brought her pain to a manageable level, allowing her a few hours of sleep before Monday morning’s big push. Monday finally brought progression but shortly afterward regression, as it was only the pitocin that was causing the action, and not the progression of labor. So then after 60 hours of contractions, it was decided that our daughter would be born via C-section. In essence, we went from plan from a no intervention natural birth plan to every possible type of intervention. But the end result was our daughter, who was happy and healthy and won the award for loudest baby of the week. Our nurse even suggested that she was perhaps quite demanding. Despite our plan falling by the wayside, we achieved the proper end result.
For some reason there was a never ending progression of nurses, so much so that during our 6 days in house, I don’t think we had the same nurse twice. Some looked familiar, and some of nurses who had helped earlier popped their heads in to see Katie. My least favorite thing is that everyone has advice. Do it this way, don’t do that, try this, this is what worked for me. That was great unless it happens to fill our heads with conflicting information (which is often opinion rather than fact) given by experts. In the heat of the moment it is hard to filter out important information from anecdotal or potentially wrong. In the end, we relied on our doctor, in whom we had a lot of trust, and put all the information into storage for later use. I think the best information that we got overall was to gather it all in, take what works, and ignore the rest. I don’t want to denigrate nurses at all. It was the nurses that really helped Sara and I through the first two days of contractions, who helped us get through the first feeding and screaming and helped us learn to settle Katie down.
The whole process of being in the hospital was a bit surreal. We were there for a long time and some part felt like they took an eon, while other things went by like a flash. We sat for hours and hours working on through the early stages, but once the decision was made for a C-section in less than an hour I was holding Katie.
Speaking of the C-section, something really funny happened on the way to surgery. I had changed into scrubs (for the first time since the mid-90s) and I was armed with three different camera – cell phone, waterproof point-and-shoot, and DSLR. I was ready for any photographic situation. What I wasn’t ready for was my phone that rang as I was going into the elevator down to the surgery floor. It was a 513 number, which is a Cincinnati number so I thought it might be someone from home wanting information. It was in fact someone looking for Eagle Loans in Cincinnati (arrrrgh). The nurse and Sara had a bit of a laugh and the nurse suggested I not answer the phone in the OR as it will aggravate the staff. So in the OR Sara went into get prepped and I had to sit outside waiting to come in. So while I was sitting outside my phone rang again. This time it was a number for Denver. Thinking this was some of Sara’s friend who lived in this area I answered it. It was not. It was in fact a job offer. I was sitting there waiting for Sara to go into surgery and I am talking to someone about a job. I told the person “I’m really excited about this opportunity I would like them to call me back as my wife is about to go into surgery to deliver our first baby”. Well, that might be the most flustered I’ve ever heard an HR person. After a few fits and starts she said she would call me back tomorrow around noon. So about that time I got to come into the OR and sit with Sara behind the screen while Katie was brought into the world. It was a bit weird to chat with the medical staff who thought perhaps I was on the phone with grandparents or friends, but in reality I was talking about a job opportunity. To make the story even more surreal, when she called back at 1PM the next day I was holding Katie in my arms. She was still a bit flustered and I had to give her some information. It was going great until Katie started to cry in my ear, so I passed Katie to the nurse (and a frowning Sara) and handed out the rest of the information. It was pretty crazy for the future to come calling when the future is in your arms.
In order for Sara to recover from her surgery we remained in the hospital until Thursday, making our stay 6 days, three or four more than we had anticipated. Both Sara and I were pretty much sleep zombies, operating on adrenaline from the excitement of bringing our daughter home. My folks were in town as was Sara’s mom (her dad had been here for the birth and a couple of times to see us in the hospital), so they were there to greet us as we brought Katie home. It was great to share the moment with our families. I even had a google hangout with Katie and my siblings from around the country (St. Louis, Atlanta, and San Diego). It was great to have Kate hang out on my chest while I chatted with the family that couldn’t be there. They all got to see her cute little face. I’m sure this will be a pretty regular occurrence with everyone being so spread out.
Home was interesting. The first two nights were little if any sleep. There were moments of freak out and panic and sleeping on our feet. But it got better. Little Miss started to figure out how to eat and we figured out how to support each other as we function through this process. We made it outside the house. We went to Target to pick up a few things on Saturday. Today we went to the grocery store. We had a list and a feeding plan and a window and the whims of a 7 day old baby. So the first thing we had to do was feed Katie in the grocery store. Luckily there is a seating area where we could get a little privacy (plus Sara has a boob tent covering). About 10 minutes into the feeding there was a trumpeting. A tiny butt trumpet. I said I would change the baby. So I went to the men’s room armed with wipes and a fresh diaper. That was not enough. I put the baby on the plastic changing table and discovered that she was damp through 2 layers of onesies, not a good sign. It was a blowout, the first for Katie. I had to get her undressed and keep the poo from spreading. I got the diaper off and started for the wipe only to discover that she had peed on the plastic changing table, thus wetting both onesies the top one which had been salvageable. I got her dried and cleaned up. But without a backup outfit I had to come back out to find Sara with the diaper bag and the extra outfits. We finally got her changed and finally got to shopping.
So the short of it is that I am a Dad and I excited to see challenges and adventures we will face. The future is looming large, with lots of changes in the future.