Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cooper's Birth Story


This is a story I need to tell for my own sake. It is a memory I never want to forget but already is fading. I hate that about memories. Somehow, you can never get back the moment. Here's my best attempt at keeping the memory alive. A memory I hold tight and close to my heart.

The few days before labor started I was getting pretty anxious. I started having random contractions on Wednesday and finally experienced my water breaking on Saturday evening at 11:15pm. I pretty much had the whole family on pins and needles all day Saturday because I couldn't contain my excitement and I kept saying that I felt like he would be born any minute! So, on Saturday we spent the day waiting around and busying ourselves with last minute end-tying. I felt the need to put the bassinet and bouncy seat together. So, I slowly, pregnantly opened their packages and assembled them. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that we'd soon have a baby to put in these accessories. As much as it was real, it still really was hard to grasp.

Mom, Bill, Cathy and Bryan milled about the house working on the upstairs, watching TV, playing with Eva and helping me finish the nursery finally. I hadn't slept much for a few nights and tried to nap a little. I really never succeeded I think mostly due to the anticipation. I just knew in my heart it would be soon. Had I known then how sleep-deprived my life would become after baby, I would have been sleeping like a ROCK that day. Seth and Emily brought pizza over for dinner and everyone finally decided to head home for the evening. After they all left, I decided I wanted to leave the house since we had been home all day and I was getting antsy just sitting around WAITING! So, we decided to go see if Smoothie King was open- no it wasn't. Bryan suggested we go to the grocery and get the fixings for a smoothie to make at home. At this point, he knew it was best to satisfy the prego's cravings. Especially when she's waaay pregnant and anxious for baby to arrive! :)

When we got home, I made a yummy smoothie and we settled in for some movie-watching. About 11:15pm I jumped up off the couch realizing that my water broke. I said to Bryan, "I think my water broke!!" And he ran to get a towel and threw it at me. I was surprised at the amount of fluid and said, "it's a lot!" To which Bryan responded by getting another towel and tossing it at me. It was quite funny and we obviously both were really excited and nervous all at the same time. We both were running around the house like crazy people- talking about what we needed to do and how this was it. I was so worked up that my body was shivering. I decided to hop in the shower to warm up and calm myself down. It worked like a charm and I felt much better when I hopped out! Let's go have a baby! Bryan had called the doctor and he told us to come on in to the hospital. I remember walking out the door and looking back and thinking about how when we came back home we'd have a baby. It was really crazy and exciting. Again, really hard to wrap my mind around. I kissed Babette and felt a huge pang of guilt for knowing her world was about to be rocked. She was my first baby and I didn't want her to be hurt.

The ride to the hospital went well. I really wasn't having too many contractions so I was pretty comfortable. We called family and friends on the way. Everyone was excited! When we got to the hospital, we parked in the parking deck and walked in to labor and delivery. At this point I realized that our birth story was unfolding right before my eyes. I told Bryan that I had wondered if I would be able to walk myself into the hospital. In our birth class, they told us just to park and walk in if we could. With pillows and suitcase in tow, I walked myself right in there! We checked in to the hospital at midnight. The nurses nonchalantly walked us to our room where I was told to undress and put a gown on. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and contraction monitor. When we walked into the room, I was struck by the fact that this room would be where our baby would be born. His bassinet was already there, waiting for his arrival and first exam. It was surreal. Over the course of the next 12 hours that room transformed many times for me. It was a place to labor, a place to rest during the long night, a place where friends and family gathered, a place to push my baby out, and finally, the place where Cooper made his entrance into the world.

Mom and Bill arrived shortly after we were settled into the room. There was no way my Mom was missing one single moment of Cooper's arrival! She was so excited to meet him and wanted to be there for me. Even though Cooper is her 6th grandchild, her excitement is just as much as for the first. The contractions got stronger and closer together and I made it until 3am before giving in to the epidural. I really wanted to wait it out as long as I could so that I could dilate as much as possible in case the epidural slowed my labor. Also, I just wanted to know what contractions felt like. They hurt! Really bad! :) I was pretty nervous about getting the epidural. Just the thought of a needle in my spine made me want to throw up. However, it wasn't as bad as I had imagined and I felt so much better after I had it. I can't imagine going through labor without one. By the time I had the epidural, my contractions were pretty strong and coming about a minute apart. The hard part was that the pain really never went away. The rest in between contractions was not what I would consider a rest. It was still incredibly painful. After the epidural, I was able to relax and try to get some rest. Bryan slept a little on the couch in the room and I dozed off every now and then. It was so hard to sleep because I was so excited. By 6am I had dilated to 6 or 7 centimeters and the nurse said we'd probably be ready to push around 9:30 or 10am. I was relieved that I was progressing steadily and that the baby's heartbeat remained strong all through the labor. Both Bryan and I were happy that everything seemed to be going so well and it wasn't as scary as we know it could have been.

Family and friends started showing up around 6am. By 8am we had a full on entourage in our room! It was fun to have everyone there. The contraction and heartbeat monitor were a constant source of entertainment. Everyone kept saying, "ooh, you're having a big contraction!" and I couldn't even feel it at all. I had called Dad and Linda right when I went into labor so that they would hopefully have time to get to the hospital from Ohio. They drove all night and made it around 8:30am. I was really glad they could make it. I really wanted them to be there when he was born. Here's a list of all who came to the hospital: Mom, Bill, Cathy-Mom, Dad Linda, Dave, Carla, Beth, Chad, Seth, Emily, Eva, Aunt Pam, Uncle Jerry, Jocelyn, and Heather. Thank goodness our labor and delivery room was huge!

Around 9am the labor nurse came in and moved me and the bed up to a sitting position. It was nice to be moved since I had been laying in basically the same position all night and my legs were numb and losing circulation. By around 10am we were ready to start pushing. It was not nearly as dramatic as I had imagined. The nurse basically was like, "ok are you ready?" So, everyone cleared the room and we started pushing. Just like that. No big deal! Bryan held one leg and my labor nurse held the other. The epidural was still working its magic and it was incredibly difficult to tell when a contraction was coming on. So, Bryan would keep an eye on the monitor and warn me when one was coming. I had to push when there was a contraction and rest in between. Bryan was such a good coach and helped me so much to maximize my breathing and pushing. It was tough to tell how hard I was pushing because of the epidural. I don't think the nurses would ever tell you that you weren't pushing enough. They are really focused on telling you how good you are doing and encouraging your progress. I felt like the blood vessels in my face and neck were going to explode I was pushing so hard! After about 35 or 40 minutes of labor, the doctor made the decision to use the vacuum extractor to help pull Cooper out. His heart rate had started to fall a little bit and he wanted to get him out quickly. I think it was about 15 minutes or so after that that he finally came out. He was born at 11:17am. Bryan said that it was pretty crazy seeing him come out. I chickened out on using the mirror so I didn't see him immediately. I could kind of see my reflection in the TV screen on the wall and could barely handle that so I figured a full on mirror might make me freak out. I'm not much on the whole blood thing- especially when it is mine. So, the order of everything else is a little blurry, but I think they took him over to the baby exam table to do the Apgar and then bundled him up and brought him over to me. I could not take my eyes off of him. I watched intently as they examined him and just couldn't believe it. He was finally here. I just held him and stared at his face. He was all wrapped up in a blanket and I just wanted to peel him open and see the rest of my little baby. I was wondering what the rest of him looked like! It is very hard to describe the intensity of emotion that we were feeling right after he was born. I was utterly speechless and enamored. It was the best feeling in the world. I was shocked and in love all at once. I felt like we were in this bubble there in the delivery room. Just me, Bryan, and the baby. I never wanted it to burst. It was such a special time- something I will never forget. I tried to feed Cooper a little bit and then we decided it was time for everyone to come and meet him. After all, they had been waiting a long time!!

Everyone held the baby and we talked a little about what he looked like. The nurse brought me peanut butter and graham crackers which tasted like the best food I had ever eaten! I was really hungry but having a hard time thinking about eating anything. The nurse kept trying to get me to order food but I basically couldn't even read the hospital menu. I was too excited! It wasn't long before we were ready to be moved to our postpartum room where we would spend the next 2 days. On the way down the hall, Bryan got to press a button at the nurses station that made a song play over the intercom in the hospital hallways. It was to let everyone know that a baby had been born. I loved hearing that song at random times every day we were in the hospital. We said our goodbyes to our family and friends after we made our way to our room. It was a little sad seeing everyone go, but I was happy to be able to try to feed the baby and to be able to spend some time just looking at him and discovering what all of his little parts looked like. I was completely overcome with tears and happiness holding him outside of the blanket for the first time. It was like he was being born all over again. I was so amazed at him and knowing that we made him. All of his parts were right there in front of my eyes. The parts that we had spent so long wondering about. The parts that poked me in the belly. The parts that would grow into our little boy. I was so happy to see him. Bryan took some pictures of me and Cooper as I was crying and feeding him then. Those are some of my favorite photos because I was just SO happy in that moment. A wonderful feeling that I will always treasure.

Once we were settled, the exhaustion took over! Bryan and I hadn't slept in a really long time and we were basically sleep walking at this point. Nap time! Bryan slept in his Dad chair- which thankfully reclined into a flat pseudo-bed. The next few days we had several visitors and spent time getting to know our newborn. We ate hospital food (which I actually enjoyed- probably because I felt like I was starving all the time), fed the baby, learned how to care for him, and fell in and out of sleep. I was sore but it wasn't too bad. The worst part was realizing that my tailbone had been broken during delivery. That has been pretty painful to recover from. By the time Tuesday morning rolled around, Bryan was really ready to get home. I was a little hesitant. The time had flown by and I think I was a little scared to go home and be alone. Just us and the baby! I was a little teary as we packed up and got everything ready to go home. We took photos and dressed our little guy in his going home outfit. He looked pretty darn adorable and so tiny in his car seat. Once we were ready, Bryan pulled the car out front by the hospital doors and the nurse pushed me and the baby out to the car. Everyone in the halls oohed and ahhed at us. We were special. We were going home with our brand new baby. I was proud.

4 comments:

  1. Awww! That totally made me cry. I hate so much that I couldn't be there!

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  2. Anonymous3:24 PM

    JSK, that's a really beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us.
    Now how 'bout you share some more photos?
    Love,
    Jeni

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  3. I really loved reading that. And I really love you! I can't wait to meet Cooper. Soon!

    xo,
    Lo

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  4. Mmmmmm...I loved reading this. Actually, mom was here and we read it at the same time and we were both crying! So so sweet...I can't wait to meet him.

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