Saturday, December 13, 2008

Riley's Arrival ... all the dirt!

Ahhhh. I've finally found the time to write out the details around Riley's big arrival. It isn't that I have been so overwhelming busy with her (as everyone told me I would be) - it is that I can't stand the thought of doing something that makes me take my eyes off of her beautiful face for more than a couple of minutes. Thanks to BabyBjorn, I can at least have her resting her sleepy head on my chest now as I write this all out. I'll take all I can get.

It is so hard to believe 12 days have already passed since she was born. Last Friday when the clock hit 8:14pm, Kevin and I wished her "Happy Birth-Minute". We'll probably be corny and do it again this week.

While in the hospital, I did my best to timeline out what was happening to me and when. I wanted to do this for several reasons. Several of my girlfriends are pregnant right now and getting very close to their own due dates - I thought this would help answer any questions they had about my experience. I also knew that my memory would most likely be foggy of the small details of that day and wanted to make sure I never forgot a moment of it. Sit back and enjoy - this could be long.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

- 7:00pm: Kevin and I are to arrive at Lake West Hospital for me to be admitted for my induction. We were too anxious sitting at home waiting to leave, so we left around 5:30pm, went to Target on the way, returned some movies, and still got to the hospital around 6:40pm. When we rang in to the maternity floor, they told us we were too early and we had to go sit in the waiting area until 7:00pm anyhow. That was a long 20 minutes.

- 8:30pm-ish: I am currently 0 cm dilated, 60% effaced, and at a -1 station. My IV is in and the Cervadil has been inserted. The rest of the time up to this point has been dealing with paperwork and all those formalities. Thankfully the nurse who handled my IV was willing to honor my request to insert the IV in the crook of my arm rather than my hand. Is it odd that of all things to do with labor and delivery, I was dreading the IV the most?

- 11:00pm: I finally drift off to sleep. My blood pressure cuff was set to take my BP every hour, so I didn't sleep too well. I am sure the anxiety of meeting my daughter had a little to do with that.

Friday, December 5, 2008

- 5:00am: Kevin and I both wake up. We're ready for the day to come!

- 6:00am: The Cervadil is removed. I am now 0.5 cm dilated, 60% effaced, and at a -1 station. Obviously there was little progress made through the night.

- 6:35am: The Pitocin drip is started. It is to be increased every 15-30 minutes. Nurse shift change. Our night nurse, Julie, leaves and our day nurse, Katarina, arrives. Both were incredible and we're so thankful for them!

- 7:30am: Dr. Brzozowski arrives to break my water. This was extremely painful. Dr. B promised me that it would be the most painful exam of the day. I prayed that he was telling the truth.

- 9:00am: The contractions have increased in intensity and frequency. I am not dilated enough to receive my epidural. I am told that I need to be 3-4 cm first. Instead, I am offered Nubane for the time being. Katarina tells me that it won't take away the pain of the contractions, but it will take the 'edge' off. She said it will make me a little woozy, though. I accept it. Within about 20 minutes I am talking to my mom and Kevin and all of a sudden I feel drunk. The Nubane is working.

- 10:00am: The Nubane is no longer taking the edge off and the contractions are in full swing. They're about two minutes apart and lasting around 30 seconds each. I am currently 1cm dilated and 80% effaced.

- 11:30am: The contractions are reaching their strongest peak and I am beginning to think there is no way I can continue to do this. I am currently 1.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. At this point a c-section is definitely a possibility and I begin to think that is how it'll all end up. Katarina now tells me if we can just get to 2 cm I can get my epidural. She thinks the epidural will allow me to relax and progress. Our parents have left for lunch and I am now allowing myself to cry through the contractions. Kevin is helping me through them and being such an awesome supporter, but I am in maximum pain. The contractions are now about 1 minute apart and lasting about 45 seconds in length.

- 1:15pm: Katarina sees how hard the contractions are hitting me and makes the call to ask for the epidural. I am only 1.75cm dilated, and she is a SAINT for making this decision.

- 1:40pm: The epidural is in. Next to the IV, this was my next biggest fear. It was so much easier than I ever imagined. It really did feel like a bee sting, then a burning feeling for about 10 seconds and then pure relief from the pain of the awful contractions. It was comical looking at the monitor and seeing these monster contractions and not feeling a thing. One thing I didn't know to expect was how the epidural would give me the shakes. I felt like I was freezing, but apparently my skin was very hot to the touch. My mom is so wonderful and sits down in front of me and rubs lotion on my feet - combined with the epidural, I am completely relaxed.

- 1:40pm through 6:00pm-ish: I am completely relaxed from the epidural and even able to take a nap.

- 6:30pm: I am progressing nicely and around 7cm dilated. I begin vomiting. While it made me never, ever want another cherry or grape popsicle again in my life, the nurse was excited about it. Apparently this is a 'good sign' that you are transitioning into active labor. I had three spells of vomiting and then I was given some Zofran through my IV to keep the nausea at bay. It works wonderfully.

- 7:00pm: I am now 9.5 cm dilated. Katarina calls Dr. Brzozowski - who has gone home for the evening - to let him know I am ready to begin pushing once he arrives. A shift change occurs and we're so sad to see our day nurse, Katarina, leave. However the new nurses are just as kind and ready to get into action. They begin to transform the room, table, and setup for pushing to begin. My epidural is wearing off and I can feel the contractions as they come on, but not nearly as intense as prior to the epidural. The nurse suggests that I hold off on getting any more epidural medication so that I can feel the contractions come on and have more of an urge to push. I gladly accept her recommendation and allow myself to begin to feel the contractions. (There I am, celebrating the news that I am "9.5 cm". I should have raised half of my thumb to symbolize 0.5)

- 7:30pm: Dr. Brzozowski arrives and checks my progress. He says we're ready to go and that her head is "RIGHT there". He leaves to go get changed into scrubs.

- 7:45pm: Let's get this show on the road! We're all set to start pushing. We make it through the first contraction and my only complaint pain-wise was that my eyes felt like they would pop out of my head from pushing so hard. The nurse is very happy with how I am pushing and says they can already see the top of Riley's head. Wow. Dr. B isn't back in the room yet, but we continue to push through contractions. We get quite the system set up. I push during a contraction, then immediately after Kevin puts a cold washcloth on my forehead and feeds me exactly three ice chips. I was picky about the 'three'. Ha!

- 8:00pm-ish: Dr. B arrives in the room. I've pushed through about 4 contractions at this point and can tell that we're getting close from the pressure I can feel. Still not feeling any "pain", though. Dr. B comes in the room and says "WHOA! Stop pushing, stop pushing!". He actually tells the nurse to push the head BACK IN! He jokes quickly that he cannot catch a baby in bare hands as he hurries to get his gloves on, get the table disassembled and get into position. I push through two more contractions, just as hard as I had been from the start ...

- 8:14pm: Riley Elayne Balaban is born! She is absolutely perfect. The doctor lies her on my chest immediately and she cries and I cry along with her. She and I lock eyes and while I know a newborn's eyesight is very poor at birth, the connection made at that moment sends a shock through my body. This is my daughter. My baby. What a feeling. She weighs 7 pounds, 1.3 ounces and is 19 1/4 inches long. She scores a 9 on the APGAR. I watch in awe as the nurses clean her up and don't even realize that I am being stitched up and can even feel a little bit of it from the epidural wearing off. I realize that my life is forever changed and in the best way possible. Thank you, Jesus, for the most perfect gift I could ever be given.

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