Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How to Induce Labor

Ever since we had Lincoln-the-Preemie, I've been so nervous to have another baby because I didn't want to endure the NICU process again, and I no longer trusted my body to hang on to a baby full term. 

From the moment we found out we were pregnant with #4, our prayers were filled with constant requests to keep baby put long enough so that he wouldn't have any complications at birth. 

My midwife knew of my nervousness about having another early baby and I frequently mentioned to her we were trying to keep this baby in until 40 weeks. Then she would wink at me and say things like, "Well, 38 weeks would be alright too." I felt like she was giving me permission to let baby slide a couple weeks early and not have to endure the last miserable weeks of pregnancy. 

With that, making it to 38 weeks became my new goal. As the final month approached, I cautioned my sister to sleep with her phone close. "You still have 3 more weeks!" She'd shout at me in denial, but I was growing anxious in my pregnancy, and intended to take matters into my own hands as soon as week 38 was upon us. 

I was exhausted. I was tired. Everything hurt. I couldn't make it through the day without spending the hours of 3:30 - 6:00 collapsed on the couch with my swollen feet elevated. I spent mornings stocking my freezer with baked goods as a way to expend my anxious energy about when baby would arrive. I was crabby. I felt huge. I was D-O-N-E! 
I spent every evening groaning in bed, reading pregnancy forums of all these other ladies who had successfully made it through the delivery process and were now posting pictures of their newborns, throwing me into fits of jealousy and rage. 

One lady posted a picture of her mowing the lawn with the caption, "Mowing the lawn got me my baby!" Explaining she went into labor the day after she mowed her lawn. 

Once the seed was planted, it couldn't be un-thought. With spring in full bloom, our lawn was ripe for a mow. I was a couple days shy of my 38-week goal, and I found myself with a free, sunny afternoon while Carson was at school and Lincoln was down for his nap. I decided to test the theory that mowing the lawn is an effective way to induce labor. 

I slowly chugged the lawn mower around the yard, heaving with each turn. I huffed as I hoisted the grass clippings into the trash. I kept my head down as cars drove by and undoubtedly stared. I graciously refused the offer from a concerned neighbor to assist with my yard work. I completed the task with stubborn pride, and got mildly scolded from Jeff when he got home from work. 

"Are you TRYING to put yourself into labor?" He questioned. "No." I lied. 
"Do you realize it's still my busy season?" He asked. "Yes." I didn't care.
"HAVE YOU SEEN HOW UNCOMFORTABLE I AM?!?!" I wanted to scream, but I played it cool and innocent. 
"I just wanted to help. I know how busy you've been at work and didn't want you to have to worry about the yard work." And with that I had him fooled.

That night my body hurt everywhere. I was so tired. Even while resting, I was having consistent contractions. Jeff insisted we time them, and for about an hour they were coming every 8 minutes on the dot. I sent a warning text to my sister, but then fell asleep and made it through another pregnant night. 

A couple days later, in another effort to get baby moving, I decided to go walking up the hills. I was slow. I was uncomfortable. Neighbors who saw me make the trek later told me I was visibly miserable. But I was DETERMINED to get this baby out. 

I went to bed without contractions, with my water still intact, and with my I'm-still-pregnant rage growing every day. 

But then it happened. I woke up to a pop. And I knew immediately what it was. I squealed in delight and shouted, "Jeff! Jeff! My water just broke!" I stood up and guuuuuuuuuuuusssshhhhhh. My other water breaks have always been a slow trickle, but this one was much more abundant. I checked the time, 5:00 AM on the nose. Much more reasonable than the 2:00 AM water leaks of my previous offspring. This baby was already being so accommodating. Coming 1 day past my 38-week mark, not completely in the middle of the night, broke my water just how I like. We were off to a great start. 

I called my sister who immediately answered with, "I was having such a good dream." Dream's over. It's go time!

Jeff and I frantically packed things for the hospital, things for the boys, attempted planning carpools and car seat arrangements and snacks and outfits and remembered at the last minute Carson's preschool was celebrating his birthday that day which involved Carson bringing a poster to school all about him. I was planning to finish it up Thursday morning, but I hadn't planned to finish it so early in the morning, in labor, and without Carson like what ended up happening. 
 My sister arrived and we were on our way!
They had barely gotten us settled in the room before the torture began. They gave me NO TIME to psych myself out about the impending needles before I was attacked with an IV. While the IV was being inserted through panicked giggles and squirms, the epidural arrived. It was just the worst. Well everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves at my expense, but for me THE WORST!
Life was good after everyone left me the heck alone and my legs were nice and numb. I arrived at a 5 and then once everything was in place, we waited. 

I wasn't progressing very quickly, so they ended up giving me some pitocin which really got things going. I was complete at 1:30 which my midwife thanked me for because she had joked with the nurses that it would be great if I could have the baby between 1:30-2:30 because that's when her lunch was. Well we did just that!

I started pushing around 1:30. Baby was out in 5 or so pushes, born at 1:47, and we were all cleaned up and saying our goodbyes to the midwife just before 2:30. See how convenient our little guy is?!?
Jeff and I kept joking that it was the most uneventful eventful day of our lives. Yes we had a baby, but it all went smoothly and without any issue or really anything of note (other than my expected overreaction to all things threatening to attack my veins). It was a dreamy delivery!
Introducing: Jonah Jeffery Excell, 7 pounds, 3 ounces, 21" long. 
 He didn't even cry for the first 2-3 days of life. He just kind of constantly squeaked which everyone was amused by.

Ignore my numb feet in the picture below. Ha. 

Things were looking good for us until we hit a blood sugar issue. About 12 hours after he was born, the nurses tested his blood sugar and it was low. Panic ensued. I heard words like brain damage and formula and IV and YOU HAVE TO FEED HIM NOW! 

Well problem was, I had been trying to feed him for several hours but he would not wake up to eat. No matter what I tried, he was konked out. And then there were problems like if he got too cold his blood sugar would drop lower, so you have to wake him up but keep him warm. And I have to nurse him, but if he's not getting enough milk, he's burning more calories trying to nurse than what he needs to actually get his blood sugar levels normalized. It was this weird balancing act and I had no idea what to do. 

The nurses seemed to think the issue was I didn't know how to breastfeed, so I spent the whole first night with different breastfeeding specialists cycling through my room giving me pointers and tips on how to breastfeed my baby, but we all had the same problem: WE COULDN'T WAKE HIM UP!

It was less a breastfeeding issue and more a my-baby-won't-wake-up-because-he's-so-tired-because-his-blood-sugar-is-low problem but no one was effectively addressing the low blood sugar problem. 
One of the nurses finally decided to take Jonah to see the NICU team for pointers on getting his blood sugar up. They gave him a feeding tube and pumped one feeding's worth of milk straight into his belly. They brought him back to me and he was a different boy!

His eyes were open, he was actually rooting, he began indicating he was actually hungry, and much to all the lactation specialists' surprise, I know how to nurse so long as my baby is capable of waking up long enough to feed. Bleh. It was a frustrating day. 
What magnified the frustration is I was hoping to get discharged from the hospital 24 hours after birth to relieve my sister from some extra hours of babysitting, and to relieve myself from having to attempt to sleep in a hospital bed again, but with the low blood sugar issues, the pediatrician wanted Jonah monitored another night.

Jeff softened the blow of the family being split up for one more night by bringing the boys to the hospital for a visit.

The boys were instantly in love with their new brother.
 Eli was the protective older brother.
 Carson was the adoring older brother.
And Lincoln was the skeptical older brother.
Night 2 in the hospital was much better with baby's levels up and much improvement in the nursing department. I anticipated another full day in the hospital, but Jeff and I were both surprised to see the pediatrician first thing in the morning which led to a speedy morning discharge. Wahoo!
 Jeff got Jonah dressed in his going home outfit.
And all buckled in a we-know-the-straps-aren't-tight-enough-but-couldn't-figure-out-how-to-tighten-them car seat.
 We offered to pick the older boys up from Becky's house on the way home, but she was generous enough to grant us a couple hours of peace at home before throwing us into the fire.
We let Becky hold Jonah for payment for all her hard work watching our boys. 
 The boys were very excited to find "Poppy" was at our house upon their return. They repeatedly fought Becky for turns holding the new baby.

With a sigh of relief, Becky passed the reigns over to Jeff who became Mr. Mom for the next week. Stay tuned to see how he did!


Rebecca said...

I love a good birth story complete with adorable newborn photos! Jonah is perfect! I can't wait to snuggle him again. I also can't wait to hear all about Jeff taking over the mothering and fathering duties!

Melissa Smith said...

I'm sure you heard this many times before but you had a baby right before tax day?!? Lol my dad was a CPA and my birthday is March 28th so I know what it's like being a tax season baby. Congrats, he's beautiful

Kim said...

You told yet another fabulous story. And the ending turned out so cute. Really! Jonah is adorable!! Something else adorable is Lincoln sitting by Rebecca looking at his little brother. Loved all the baby pictures. Keep them coming!! Can't get enough of them!!

So glad all went well for the delivery and birth. And so glad your sister came to your aid. She's wonderful, as are you!! And Jeff!! I, too, am looking forward to the next installment to hear all about his heroic efforts at home with you and the boys.