Monday, April 14, 2008

it's "happy's" birthday!

one year ago today, at 9:28 am, our family grew from two to three.  what an amazing experience that was!  i remember feeling, and i still feel, so privileged that God would allow little-old-me to be apart of something so miraculous.  

as i stated before, i was past due, so i thought i'd make the best of it.  it was a friday night and we invited jer's brother, zach, over for dinner.  i made stuffed pork chops.  after dinner the boys went to do "boy things" and i vacuumed the house.  we eventually settled down to chat and i casually told zach, "it's going to happen tonight".  no fear.  no worry.  no excitement or anxiousness.  just a plain, simple fact.  and i was right.  

we climbed into bed at 10:30.  by that point in my pregnancy i had to give myself a serious pep talk before getting into bed each night.  our bed is really high and it took major effort to heave my body up.  jer always laughed.  a very supportive laugh, of course.  but we weren't laughing when, at 10:45, i had my first contraction.  i wasn't too worried because we planned to wait until they were 2-3 minutes apart before going to the hospital.  and, for some reason, i expected them to start slowly.  every 30 minutes...then every 20 minutes...then every 10.  i suppose i was hoping to ease into it.

nope, not me.  my contractions were 5 minutes apart from the get-go.  and there was a TON of pressure...and bleeding.  (sorry if that's TMI).  we called the ever-wonderful, ever-knowledgeable, ever-present 24-hour nurse hotline.  "get to the hospital", she said.  she was concerned about the pressure. 

off we drove.  contractions getting worse.  contractions are not fun.  i was breathing, though. thank God for breathing.  arrived around 11:30, were put into a very lovely birthing room.  i was very much looking forward to getting into the whirlpool tub.  but my dream of easing the pain of contractions with the firm pressure of a water jet would not be realized.  

they hooked up the monitors and checked me over.  i was only dilated to 3.5.  are you kidding me?  i'd been at a 3.5 for a week!  but everything was good.  jer was being very supportive, just like we'd practiced.  he rubbed my back during contractions.  and i kept breathing.  then, in the middle of a contraction, jer decided it would be nice to make conversation with the labor & delivery nurse.  "do you watch grey's anatomy?", he asked.  this did not make me feel very comforted and i yelled, "do not talk during my contractions!".  hmmm.  after the pain and pressure subsided, i apologized to my sweet hubby and to the nurse.  but they still were not allowed to talk during my contractions.

i'd been laboring for about an hour when "happy's" heartbeat dropped.  i did not know anything was wrong until, literally, 7 people ran into the room, and a man i'd never met instantly became my "friend" as he was checking to confirm that i was still at a 3.5.  they weren't certain what the issue was, but assumed that the occasional contraction just "crunched" the baby a bit too much, making his heart rate drop.  they were not too fearful because our baby boy really looked and sounded like a champ, and recovered from the drop very quickly.  but, this meant i had to stay hooked up to the monitors, and was not allowed to get out of bed.  i was okay with that...i just assumed i'd be able to get up, and into the whirlpool, eventually. 

then came the 3-minute-long contraction.  now, when we attended our birthing class, the very nice, yet very honest, instructor warned us about some of the longer contractions.  she said they may even last up to 90 seconds.  i didn't think 90 seconds sound all that bad.  and, really, the contractions went as quickly as they came.  i was okay with the contractions.  it's all the pressure that was killing me.  but 3 minutes?!  now that's just mean!  our nurse commented that it is a rarity and she thought i was a champ to make it through.  "happy" didn't make it through so well, though.  his little heartbeat slowed again.  

this happened one more time during the course of the night.  and, now, the doctor's were mentioning the word "c-section".  i'd been laboring for 7 hours, was only dilated to a 5, and they were concerned about "happy's" heart rate dropping again.  the question of an epidural came up and i really struggled with it.  in the end, i chose to get one...and it really worked out to be the right decision.  (had i not gotten an epidural, they would have needed to give me a general anesthesia and i would have missed our son's arrival altogether).  

let me just say this.  i wanted to name our son after my anesthesiologist.  epidurals are THAT good.  i was able to sleep for two hours, which i desperately needed.  and, after all is said and done, when the nurse massages your uterus to make it shrink, the epidural makes it not hurt as much.  it still hurts, but not as much.  really, can they legally use the word "massage" to describe what they are doing?  i think that could be considered false advertising.  it was certainly like no massage i'd ever received before. 

so, after sleeping for a bit, the morning shift change occurred.  we said good-bye to the nurse that helped us all night and hello to the nurse who would help welcome our boy.  the doctor gave us a serious chat about considering an elective c-section.  he was certain i was going to need one anyway, and told us we can take the "risk" out of it if we don't get put into an "emergency" situation.  he gave us time to think it over, but told us if "happy's" heart acted up again, we were going to get him out. 

jer's parents were able to come back to the room.  as we were chatting, the alarm went off - warning us that "happy" was not so happy.  i rolled onto my left side, the team came in and wheeled me to the operating room.  because "happy" recovered so quickly, the c-section did not need to be an emergency.  it did not feel scary or rushed.  the anesthesiologist could not believe how calm i was - really great heart rate and blood pressure.  i, honestly, was absolutely fine with everything.  i knew i was going to meet my son and that was all that mattered to me. 

jer took 3,000 pictures.  of everything.  it's pretty amazing to see how they pulled harrison out of my body.  and there he was - our perfect boy.  apgar scores of 9 and 9.  7 pounds, 15 oz.  19.75 inches long.  healthy, strong, cute and very alert.  harrison was here!  

and he's every bit the same today as he was that first moment.  healthy, strong, cute and very alert!  we praise God for blessing us with such an amazing treasure! 


Dalene said...

WOW!!! I love hearing birth stories! It amazing to me how Mom and Dad bond together, and when it comes right down to it, our attitudes are happily "whatever it takes" to see that baby. What a neat story! 3 minute contractions? You da MAN! Happy
Birthday, Harrison!

Becky said...

Sorry about that contraction!!! I think I may have died! My kids, all but Jason, had heart rate problems during my contractions.

Christy said...

Thanks for sharing Harrison's birth story. I had always wanted to hear it. (: BTW, I love epidurals too. I always think, this time, I'll be brave and go ah-natural...but when the rubber hits the road, I just can't take it.
I also was aware that there was a possibility of a c-section, so... then you KNOW you'll have an epidural. Might as well, right?? (: