Friday, July 13, 2012

A Baby Story

Here is what happened June 20th and 21st, 2012 when Mace Martin made his debut.  This may be too much information for some of if you don't want to read about childbirth, you can just go ahead and skip this one :))

Wednesday, June 20th

9:15am   I had my 39 week appointment at my OB/GYN.  I actually was 39.5 weeks at this point.  Rob met me at the doctor's office, and as we sat waiting to go in, I was nearly in tears from frustration with still being pregnant.  Plus--I was really NOT looking forward to getting my cervix checked again.....big one tells you how that really feels.  We went in, I suffered through the cervix check, and the doctor told me that my cervix was very thin (the week before it was estimated 70% effaced) and that I was dilated maybe 2 centimeters.  "Meaning, you could have the baby this weekend or in 10 days!!" the doctor practically exclaimed.  10 days?!!  *cry*  As we left, I had to make an appointment for the following week.  I told Rob there was no way I was going to that appointment, so this little boy better be thinking about being born ASAP.

10:30am  I went to Target....because going to Target by myself is like a mini vacation.  Most of my girlfriends feel this way too.  It is just the best thing ever to wander Target without someone waiting on you and following you around....and without much of a shopping list.  I bought snack food and Coke products because they were on sale.  I even peeked down the pregnancy test aisle and remembered coming to Target when this whole baby journey started.

Noon  At home, I watched the Channel 13 news.  I felt more Braxton Hicks contractions than normal.  At least, I thought they were still Braxton Hicks.  They kind of never went away though and I just started feeling crampy.

6pm  Rob came home from work.  I casually mentioned that I had been having a lot of contractions all day.  His eyes got really wide and he said, "Like, contraction contractions??"  I told him I really didn't know, but I just kind of felt crampy and it will likely be August before this baby comes.  Just for fun I downloaded a contraction timer app to my iPhone.

7pm  Started using the contraction timer on my phone.  Contraction contractions confirmed.  They were anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes apart and lasted about 30 seconds.  I have always been a little skeptical of contractions coming always seemed weird to me that my body could be capable of  contracting like clockwork.  But it's true.  (I used to be skeptical about anesthesia too....I had heard too many horror stories about it not working, so I thought maybe it's a mind thing and you have to kind of buy in to it or believe in it.  Then I got my appendix out.  Turns out anesthesia works fine.)

Contraction timer!

9pm  I really didn't feel so great at this point.  I had to go to the bathroom every other minute, and I sort of realized how those girls on that show I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant could mistake labor for gas pain.  (How they didn't know they had a seven pound baby inside them however, still confuses me.)

9:30pm  Very strong contractions.  I paced around the house.  I leaned over chairs.  I sat in the La-Z-Boy.  I kept track of everything on my iPhone app.  Contractions were still anywhere from 3 to 7 minutes apart, but getting longer.....anywhere from 30 seconds to almost a minute.

10pm  I called in to my OB nurse line.  The contractions were pretty bad, but I kept thinking that it just feels like really, really bad menstrual cramps.  And I'd never had contractions before, so I kept thinking it is supposed to be reeeaalllyy bad before you have a baby.....So maybe this really isn't so bad and I shouldn't be calling the hospital right now...  I had never been in labor before, and the contractions were tolerable, so I felt kind of dumb calling in.  It's probably going to get waaayyyy worse than this before they will want me to come to the hospital!

10:05pm  Wrong.  Nurse recommended we go to the hospital.  Telling Rob that we needed to go to the hospital was kind of like telling him about the positive pregnancy tests.....we both just looked at each other for a second like omg this is really happening!  And I couldn't help but think I am so NOT going to that OB appointment next week!!  YAY  

10:30pm  We arrived at Iowa Methodist.  Of course you can't just walk in the door and go up to the maternity floor.  You have to stand at the entrance in agony while you call up and get buzzed in.  We made it up to the 6th floor, I checked in (they already knew I was coming from the nurse I talked to, and they had all my information from the stuff I had filled out online months ago), and they sent me in to a tiny triage room.

11pm  Got in to a hospital gown and got hooked up to monitors that showed my contractions and the baby's heartbeat.  The contraction monitor was fun to watch when I wasn't having a contraction.  The scale went up to 100, and my contractions would make these mountains on the monitor that went up to about 60.  A nurse checked my cervix.  Not fun.  This was the beginning of several things that NO ONE TOLD ME about labor and delivery.  The nurses and doctors all have a few phrases they like to use to comfort? relieve? motivate? patients.  In the tiny triage room is where I first heard the phrase, "Okay, a little bit of pressure....."  and then the nurse proceeded to check my cervix and made me want to just be done with the whole thing.  Not really my definition of a little bit of pressure.  The good news was that I was dilated to 4 or 5 centimeters and I was really in labor.  The baby is really coming soon!

11:30pm  We got the LAST room on the maternity floor.  It was in the overflow section where they are remodeling and building a new nursery.  The room was small, but I was happy not to be in the hallway. (We found out that mothers coming in after us were stuck on an entirely different floor.)  A nurse stuck me about ten times trying to get an IV in my arm after I'd already told her exactly where to put it (not many people can find the veins in my arms too well).  "A little prick"... (another great phrase)....over and over again until I was bruising.  I called my mom and told her we were in the hospital.  She understandably was probably as shocked as I was because I had already talked to her after my doctor's appointment about how it could still be quite a while before the baby came.

11:45pm  My favorite doctor from my OB group was at the hospital that night.  *relief!!*  He came in to check me and broke my water.  A little bit of pressure....and GUSH.  That was THE most disgusting thing I have ever felt.  And I was just expected to lay in bed while all this stuff came out.  Yuck.  The good news--I was progressing quickly and was at 6 or 7 centimeters dilated.  The bad news-- there was meconium in my amniotic fluid.  This meant there would be several NICU nurses in the room with us to get the baby suctioned out right away after birth to be sure he was breathing okay.  Then my favorite OB doctor said, "Okay, I'll be back in a bit to check on you!!"  Great, I'll just be here laying in this disgusting mess....awesome!  Thankfully my nurse (after a little direction) got things cleaned up a bit.

Time to get this baby born....

Thursday, June 21st, Mace's birthday

12:30am  I had finished a bag of IV fluid, so the anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural.  (I had not even considered NOT having an epidural.  I think modern medicine is great!)  My contractions were really hard to get through at that point....and I was progressing so quickly that it was basically now or never for the epidural.  This guy was by far my favorite doctor.  He didn't mess around.  He bossed my nurse around which I thought was great since I was already not too hot on her from her stabbing my arm so many times.  She also couldn't seem to figure out how to get the blood pressure cuff from making my arm lose all feeling whatsoever.  Anyway....the anesthesiologist had me sit on the edge of the bed.....which was nearly impossible to do considering I was still just leaking stuff all over the bed and it felt so gross that I didn't want to move.  But then I had another contraction and figured I could get over the gross part for a minute.  I sat on the edge of the bed and leaned all the way over, which was really difficult since I was having contractions and my belly still had a baby in it!  I didn't feel much when he stuck me, but I could feel the liquidy stuff that he injected going through my back.  Soon my legs and belly were feeling tingly and I was feeling great!  I even had to ask Rob and the nurse when my contractions were coming on--based on the monitor (which Rob said now my contractions were off the charts.....he couldn't see the top of the mountains anymore!).

1am-2am  I let the epidural do its thing and Rob and I watched an awful midnight news program on ABC.

2am  My nurse said I could push when I felt like it.  Rob would let me know when a contraction was coming, and when I felt like I needed to push, I did.  I didn't really know how to push--I thought I would have to push through my middle.  Turns out it's just like I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant--you push kind of like you are pooping.  Too much information?....Not for me!  I wish someone would have told me in advance.....but my nurse was good at this part at least, she knew how to give directions for pushing.  So, you feel like you are having a bowel movement......oh, and you are not expected to breathe at ANY POINT during pushing.  When I was out of breath, my nurse would use another great phrase, a little more, a little more, a little more! and that is how I broke blood vessels in my eyes.  Awesome!

3am  I had been pushing for a while whenever I felt like it with just the nurse and Rob, but when my doctor came back, I was at 10 centimeters and ready to have the baby.  The NICU nurses assembled in the room which kind of freaked me out, and they hauled in a bunch of carts and lights and equipment.  Then it wasn't really pushing when I felt like it, it was pushing until the baby was BORN!

4am  Even though I could barely feel my contractions, I could sure feel the baby coming all the way down my back and sitting right on my pelvis.  It was extremely uncomfortable.  It didn't exactly hurt because of the epidural I suppose, but it just felt like the baby was on the verge of staying in or coming out.....and the nurse had been saying a little more, a little more, he's almost here, he's almost here! for the last 45 minutes or so.  Finally I caved and through my tears said, "What does almost mean??!  Like five minutes?!  Or like an hour??!!"  (If the answer was an hour, I planned to give up for a while, although I don't think that would have been allowed at this point.)  I don't even remember what she said, but the doctor broke in and said that his head was right there (and Rob even looked and somehow isn't scarred for life).  Rob agreed and told me that the baby really was right there and it was time for him to be born.  I was crying and I just wanted the doctor to pull the baby OUT!

4:18am  Mace Martin Brown was born!  After a few more pushes, Mace was here.  The NICU nurses whisked him to the far side of the room, suctioned him out, cleaned him up.....and then he started to cry!  Rob watched, made sure he was okay, and cut the rest of his umbilical cord off after he was cleaned up.  I just wanted to hold him, but the fun was not over for me yet.

4:30am  I delivered the placenta (EW) and my doctor stitched me up.  I cried uncontrollably at the stitches, so he gave me some sort of numbing shots.  No one told me how much that part was going to suck.

4:35am  After what felt like forever, I got to hold Mace.  Rob and I were elated that he was finally here!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Mace spent the first couple hours of his life wide awake, looking around, taking everything in.  Our parents came to visit later in the morning.

His name--it's hard to say exactly what our style in names is, but we knew we wanted something fairly normal, yet not too common, since our last name is so common.  I love short names that are more like nicknames.  When I looked at the Social Security list of popular baby names, the name Mason was always near the top.  Mason made me think of Mace and I started Googling it to see if it was really a name.  Ironically, the only Mace Brown I found was from Iowa, was a Hawkeye, and played baseball for years with the Red Sox.  I guess it was a sign that we should stick with that name :))

After wishing my pregnancy away day after day, it was really strange not to feel my little baby kicking me anymore, and I kind of missed it.  As I tried to sleep in the hospital that first night--Rob at home, Mace in the nursery, bright lights shining in the window, weird hospital sounds keeping me up--I missed the feeling that had been making me so uncomfortable, but was so familiar.  I got over that fairly quickly though--I would much rather have Mace here to hold than kicking me all night long :))

I was lucky to have had such a fast labor and delivery.  I was preparing myself for hours, maybe days of laboring--I think that's why I was never really sure when I should call the hospital when I was having contractions.  I kept thinking are these bad?  does this hurt as much as it's supposed to right now?  Everything turned out great.

We were grateful to have the NICU nurses right there in the room with us to make sure that Mace was breathing okay once he was born.  I'm glad he was right there where we could see and hear him.

The aftermath of giving birth is ridiculous.  I couldn't move.  I didn't want to move.  My favorite nurse told me I needed to use the bathroom.  I told her I was never going to the bathroom again for the rest of my life.  She wanted me to order food.  I was too scared to eat! It meant I would have to go to the bathroom eventually.  It was quite a dilemma that lasted for several days.

We cleaned out the hospital room (my nurse helped) so that I could make my bathroom at home look like the hospital's and have all the necessities for my lovely postpartum experience.  

Coming home I was a basket case for at least a week.  The hormone changes after birth are real, just like anesthesia.  And I consider myself a pretty reasonable, mentally stable person.  I cried a lot.  I put off visitors.  I looked in the mirror constantly to see if my tummy was going back to normal any more.  I ate next to nothing.  My mind raced about all kinds of worries even though I knew in the back of my logical brain that it was ridiculous.  I cried even more.  I cried about the biliblanket.  I cried about Mace getting blood taken every morning to check his bilirubin.  I cried about Rob's mom not being here.  I cried about the things I wished we would have asked her before she was gone.  I cried about our parents not being able just to run over if we needed something.  I cried about being in pain, about missing a few socks when I washed whites, and about putting detergent in the dishwasher and later realizing I never started it.  I told Rob I was not going back to work.  He told me I had to.  I told him, no, really, I'm not going back.  He decided to stop trying to reason with me.  So I cried some more.  A couple weeks later, and getting back to my normal self, I can see that it will be very hard to leave Mace at daycare when I go back to work mid-September, but I wouldn't really be the type of mother I want to be if I didn't work and keep that fulfilling aspect of my life going.

Dressing for nursing is 100 times harder than dressing for pregnancy.  Maternity clothes were so awful that I usually just bought larger, looser versions of things I would wear normally.  I was pretty psyched about not being pregnant anymore, getting skinny, and wearing whatever I wanted again.  Yeah, that's not gonna happen any time soon.  Nursing tanks and yoga pants are what I live in right now.  And I reeaaally hate that.  Wearing what I want to is important to me, even when I have a new baby!  I haven't yet figured out how I'm going to deal with this problem.

Losing weight has been okay so far.  I gained 40 lbs (whoops), and I've lost 25 of it so far.  The good thing is that I've already lost 15 lbs once before in my life (after I went ahead and gained the freshman 15.....when I was a sophomore.....).  And this is a different kind of 15....(like not completely made up of beer and crappy food).....and it seems to be falling off pretty far!

We are guilty of already going a bit stir crazy, and we're already planning spring break for March.  Mace is going with us.  A nine-month-old will love the beach, right?!!


  1. kris shonka11:40 PM

    didnt I tell you ,you wouldnt lea
    ve the baby with us and go on vacation?

  2. kris shonka11:42 PM

    our 40th anniversary is next year. we will go along and babysit.

  3. Wow. No man on this planet could go through something like that. Respect!

    I really like the name 'Mace', by the way.

  4. Love this story! Nope, no one talks much about the aftermath of a vagional birth. It's barbaric! I was traumatized from all the stitches, etc. So nasty.

  5. Ugh, after I had my daughter, I never wanted to get up either. And I hated wearing those huge pads and hospital underwear lol! That was the gross part. The nurse literally had to help me go to the bathroom because of the stitches. Thank goodness I liked her!

  6. I loved reading this story! I am now a new follower. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love meeting new mommies and it's very cool that our sons are close in age. I really like the name choice and totally agree on your postpartum assessment. Ugh, not a fun time!