I had a fairly easy pregnancy with Thade. I was 22 and working full time at a job where I stood up all day long. But besides my feet killing me at the end of the day, I was doing alright. When I was about 8 months along I started getting depressed and having uncontrollable crying jags so my doctor put me on Wellbutrin XL.
I had decided to start my maternity leave 1 week before Thade's due date (Feb. 6, 2005) so that I could clean up our apartment and get everything ready. So my first day of leave was on Jan. 30th. My husband had told me to rest all day b/c we had just spent most of the night, until the wee hours of the morning, doing inventory at the store I worked at. I didn't fight him on that one. I was beat! So I stayed in bed sleeping most of the day. Before we went to bed that night I told my dog that I felt like doing the exact same thing the next day, too.
At 3am on Jan.31st I woke up from a dream that I was starting my period. I lay there for a few minutes before I realized that I was having some menstrual-like cramps. I figured it was just more Braxton Hicks contractions, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I finally woke up around 10am, I realized that they hadn't gone away. I decided to start timing them. They started out being far apart and varying between 13-17 minutes apart. I was starting to get excited, thinking, "This could be the day! This could be it!" As the day went on they started getting closer together and a tad bit stronger.
By the time my husband got home from work at 5:30pm they were about 6-8 minutes apart and I warned him that I thought I was actually in labor. Now you may be wondering why I hadn't called my doctor or gone to the hospital by then, but I had just seen too many women go when they weren't in labor or not far along enough to be admitted and they were sent back home. I was not going to be sent back home! So I was waiting until I was sure I was in labor. The contractions weren't hurting me, just uncomfortable. I guess uncomfortable enough to make me snappy. My husband was becoming very nervous, so he washed the dishes. Then he started straightening up the living room. He mentioned fixing me some tomato soup and grilled cheese and I eagerly agreed. My brain said, "I will not go up to that hospital on an empty stomach and them refuse to feed me anything but ice chips and popsicles!" And as I was eating I decided that I should call my mom and give her the heads up. She noticed that my breathing would change and asked me if I was having a contraction. I said, "Yes, but it doesn't really hurt, Mom." She replied with, "But you really are in labor and I think you should go to the hospital." That is when I explained to her about finishing my supper so they couldn't starve me. She laughed and we said our goodbyes and I promised to call her when we were admitted to the hospital, but not until.
At 7:30pm I started getting really snappy with my husband and he suggested I go rest in bed for a while. I dozed a little on and off until 8 when I had to pee. When I stood up in the bathroom a contraction hit me so hard that I had to grab the wall. I immediately changed clothes when that contraction left and got hit with another contraction. They were coming 3 minutes apart. My dog ran into the bedroom because she knew something was different. My husband followed and I told him it was time to call my doctor and let him know that we were making our way to the hospital.
The people at the hospital seemed to be taking their time with everything. It wasn't the rushing around put her in a wheelchair, kind of stuff you see on TV. A lady led me to a cubicle to be checked for dilation and left me so that I could get undressed. When she came back in she said, "Well, let's see if you have dilated any and if we should admit you." Then she strapped on a fetal monitor and checked me. 6 cm. "Well, we are admitting you for sure and you should think about whether or not you want an epidural. The doctors prefer that you get one before 8 cm and you could be there before the next time you are checked." I told her that I didn't want one and she loaded me up into a wheelchair and took me down the hall. My first ever wheelchair ride and all I could think of was, "Man, I could get used to this!" She helped me get positioned comfortably on the hospital bed and my nurse came in. I will never forget that nurse, Debbie Pettigo. She was one of the kindest, sweetest people I have ever met. When she tried inserting the IV into my left arm, she kept missing the vein. She actually looked like she wanted to cry because she couldn't find it. She finally told me that she would be right back with a smaller needle because it seemed that that one was too big. I was zoning out, which is what I seem to do when I am having contractions, so I said fine. She came back with the smaller needle and got it in on the first try on my right arm. She then asked me if I wanted the epidural and I replied again that I would rather not. I had made it this far, why give it up now? She said, "Well, you are much braver than I was. Let me know if you need anything. I will be checking in on you often anyway. You seem to be the only one having a baby tonight." By that time, my doctor had arrived and he checked me and broke my water. I wasn't expecting that gush of warm liquid. I don't know what I thought it would be like, but not that. I remember him mentioning that I shouldn't wait so long to get to the hospital when I have my next child. I was like "Yes, sir!" but in my zoned out world. Nurse Pettigo brought my husband some ice chips for me and our family started arriving. They would only allow 2 family members there along with my husband while I was in labor. And one had to leave while I was delivering. Since we both wanted our moms there, his mom decided to leave when it came time for me to push.
My mom suggested that I lay on my side and she would massage my lower back, which up until then hadn't hurt me at all. But as soon as I rolled over it started hurting pretty intensely. She asked if I wanted to hear some jokes and then laughed at me when I said, "Nuh-uh!" My husband did a wonderful job of feeding me ice chips after every contraction. He wanted me to squeeze his hand... do something, because I was starting to freak both of them out with how well and quietly I was doing. They both had this preconceived notion that I was a wussy when it came to pain. So, when I was going through all this pain, not only naturally, but also silently they were a little unsure of what to do.
Not long after turning on my side I started getting the urge to push. I tried to ignore it at first, but it was starting to get unbearable. I gasped my concerns to my mom and she said not to push. I was thinking, "Well, duh! I knew that already!" Then she asked me if I wanted her to go get the nurse to check me again. I gladly agreed with that idea. Nurse Pettigo came in and checked me at 9 cm. I wasn't quite there, but she asked if she could try to stretch out my cervix and help the process along a little. I was all for that! When she could feel my son's head she decided to get my doctor back in there and they gave me the Pudental Block. They expected to have to give me an episiotomy. But I don't think they expected to have to cut three times (and I still tore!) I only pushed for 20 minutes, starting at 11:20pm and my little boy was born. The first thing the doctor said was, "And you have a BIG boy here!" They passed him off to nurses so he could be checked out in a warmer because of the fact that there was meconium in the amniotic fluid. So my curiosity started getting the best of me, while he was gone.
While my doctor was putting in my stitches I looked at him and asked, "What do you mean, BIG boy?" He said that Thade weighed much more than he would have expected. "Well, how much do you think he weighs?" I asked, starting to get excited. He just replied, "We'll have to wait until he gets back from the nursery. They will weigh him there and someone will come back and tell you." In the meantime, my husband was holding our son for the first time and brought him over to meet me. I was so proud. Tears were forming in my eyes. And the doctor was done with my stitches and said that the rest of the family could come in then. My mom, sister (18), and brother (8) were the only family I had there. My dad was on a business trip and wouldn't be able to make it home until the next day. But my husband's mom, step-dad, sister, and one of his step-sisters were there too. Everyone was "ooo-ing and aah-ing". His mom pointed out that Thade had his daddy's red spot, which shows up between his eyebrows when he is mad or sick. I didn't think that that would be a genetic trait, but evidently it was. Then my little brother brought Thade his first Hot Wheels car, a blue and yellow SpongeBob Squarepants van. All of a sudden he surprised me by leaning over close to us and singing "You Are My Sunshine." That was his favorite lullaby when he was little and now he was sharing it with my son, who now cherishes the song just the same. That was the first time that tears actually streamed down my face. And they still do, everytime I think about that moment.
After they took him to the nursery, they took my husband away to show him where my room would be. Then Nurse Pettigo came back with Thade's measurements. He was 9lbs 6oz! Wow! What a whopper. 21 inches long and he had big feet, which he gets from his mommy.
Later on I struggled with breast-feeding. I used a lactation consultant at the hospital, but after Thade learned how to properly latch on he would fall into a very deep sleep. I mean nothing could wake this kid up! Then we got the problem of getting a proper latch only for him to detach after a few minutes and not being able to latch on again. It was getting very frustrating for me and I finally made the decision to give up and start him on formula after two weeks of fighting with it. Besides, I wouldn't be able to pump or breast-feed when I returned to work.
My final issue was the healing of my episiotomy. It took over 3 months to heal. And from the research I have done since then, that is a short time. Some women don't completely heal until a year later.
Now that I am pregnant with our second child, this time a girl due in Oct., I don't think I will change a single thing accept for getting to the hospital sooner. And to call my mom first thing because they have moved 5 hours away since Thade's birth. I am telling myself to expect a 10-pound baby this time around. Though, my doctor wants to schedule an ultrasound closer to my due date to see if we can ascertain just how big she will be. I really don't care about her size. I know that I can do it and I don't expect any complications, since there were none the first time.