Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First Weeks as Parents

So I am sure every mother (and father) can identify with the first week or two of parenthood being a whirlwind of learning and emotions. We are adjusting to having a little one in the home. I am really grateful right now to be home resting with Caedmon every day. Unfortunatley Paul was back to work right away, and unfortunately he has to work long long days at the job he is at now, but we are both learning and spending as much time with our little one as possible.

Here is what I love so far:

-Little sighs that Caedmon makes while nursing and afterwards

-The little fleeting smiles that pass his face as he falls asleep when full

-His smell, of course

-The periods of the day when he stares and tries to take in the world around him

-Having a sleepy newborn on my chest.

So far he is really pretty calm. Perhaps I am jinxing things to say that. No matter what happens, Paul and I feel extremely blessed. God has given us a beautiful, healthy child. As my mom told me, my job right now is to just take care of him and myself and to love him. There is no need to be anxious about that. ( I was definitely really nervous last week). Plus I was reassured this last Sunday that God would not give me anything I can't handle. I have all the tools to take care of him: my body, my love, a loving father for him, a safe place to sleep, and lots of support from family and friends.

Here are some fun pictures of our first week! Yes we are obsessed parents.

I did make a baby website for him but I am debating whehter to keep it. They don't allow that many photos to be put on it. We'll see.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Birth of Baby Caedmon

Well it had been a week of weird sleep- I would go to bed at 2:30 and sleep in until 11 or so, I couldn’t quite get on a normal sleep schedule. This turned out to be quite unfortunate for my water breaking at 6 in the morning; I had only gotten 3 and a half hours of sleep. So I woke up Saturday morning on the 16th to what felt like a gush, like when you start your period and there is a gush of blood. I stood up, went to the restroom, and sure enough more and more came! The water kept coming and coming all day too. I didn’t know what to do, I was just soaking, but I managed to get into new clothes. My usually sleepy Paul awoke with a start when I told him my water broke and he jumped up to kiss me, so happy we would soon have our baby!

I called the midwife on call to let her know, and Jen told me to come in so they could monitor the baby and make sure he was alright. I then called my mom who promptly changed her Tuesday flight to that day so she could try to make it out in time. Next we called the doula, Julie (our labor assistant) to let her know we were on our way to the hospital and she left to meet us there. After some quick clean up and bag packing, we headed to the hospital. At this point I was only feeling very mild contractions. The midwife on call (now Maggie, Jen went home) allowed me the option of laboring at home until 6 that evening to see if I could try to get things going on my own without interventions. Our doula was really supportive and her and my midwife suggested alternating vigorous exercise with rest.

So I did all these things but by 6 o’clock not much was happening but a few stronger contractions. After getting to the hospital though, they pretty much stopped. Unfortunately I hadn’t progressed since earlier that week, I was only 1 cm dilated and 50 percent effaced still with a posterior cervix. It was so sad. So I was given the option of taking a sleeping pill and hoping my body would start labor, or using some induction methods. I was afraid of the sleeping pill (in hindsight a mistake?) since they knock me out for 12 hours at a time. I was afraid of being drowsier later. So I decided to do a very small dose of cytotec after a long discussion with the midwife about its risks. Later I took another dose when the baby and I reacted well to it. The rest of the night was spent alternating between attempts at sleeping and vigorous walking around the hospital. My mom arrived after some quick flight changes in the middle of the night and got in on the action of helping me through labor. Not much was happening though until early in the morning. My doula was great and SO encouraging and helped me to stay fed. I also took both a shower and a bath to try to relax through the gradually increasing contractions. More contractions were happening by 5 but not enough, so pitocin was started at 6. Being on pitocin meant I had to be continually on the contraction, fetal heart rate, and BP monitors as well as receiving a constant IV.

I labored naturally as long as I could and I am so glad that I did. It was hard being on a monitor and having regular BP readings, but my doula helped so much, as did my mom and Paul. I labored in all sorts of positions, especially those meant for back labor as I started to feel most of it in my lower back. We used all sorts of positions to relieve back labor and also to try to change the baby’s position. Paul and my doula did a great job of massaging me and talking me through each contraction and coaching my breathing and responses. My mom also helped me move around with the IV and did several labor positions with me too. However by about1 or 2pm I couldn’t take it anymore. I only made it 7-8 hours on the pitocin naturally. I could deal with each contraction individually, but they were so close together, every 2 to 2.5 minutes, and I was likely to still have 6 more hours to go. Plus I was getting exhausted having had very little sleep during the night and very little sleep the night before. So my doula and midwife and I decided getting an epidural might be helpful, especially as I had progressed to 5-6 cm. It hurt really bad going in, I have scoliosis and the anesthesiologist had some problems putting it in. It really scared me actually, luckily it was over fast. Then I got regular BP readings and a catheter. Boo. I relaxed quickly though and was soon able to take a nap.

After relaxing and napping I started feeling more pressure. The midwife was called in. There was no longer a midwife on call, Maggie had gone home, but Jen was so so so kind enough to come back in and see me through my pushing and labor. I don’t even know if she got paid for that, I’ll need to send her a big thank you. I was checked at this point and was at 10cm and baby was at +1. The midwife decided to help me save energy and gave me an hour to allow the baby to come down more on his own.

At 6 o’clock the midwife and an L&D nurse who is a midwife in training came in to help me start to push. I was moving pretty well with the epidural and could feel the need to bear down, but after a while of ineffective pushes, my epidural was lowered (perhaps stopped?) so I could feel it. BOY DID I! What a powerful feeling to push! I gave it my all. It was hard figuring out how to push, but I certainly tried and gradually got better. As time went on though, it got frustrating as he wasn’t moving much. The midwives started feeling around his head and figured out that he was sunny side up and with his head turned a little to the side. So the on-call doctor came in, who was really great and kind by the way, and tried her best to turn him inside of me. That was one of the craziest feelings I have ever felt, It was very, very painful, especially when contractions came on while she was moving him. She was up to his ears trying to turn him. Even if he did budge though, he moved right back. Stubborn baby! The hospital staff and the doula, Paul, and my mom were great though: they were so encouraging and didn't let me give up during contractions. I kept pushing in many different positions, with a squat bar, on hands and knees, on my side, leaning over the bed, but nothing was working. I also threw up really bad, which felt good afterwards but scared me with its force.

By about 3+ hours of pushing I was totally exhausted. The long day and lack of sleep caught up to me. I could no longer respond to questions from anyone and I wasn’t making sense. I couldn’t move myself anymore either, I was too exhausted to do anything but try to keep pushing. So they decided eventually to give me the epidural again so I could take a break. It still felt the urge to push though. Anyway after half an hour they came back in and gave me the option to either keep going a little longer while the doctor would try with the vacuum, or to go to a c-section. I wanted to bad to go straight to a C-section. I had given up pushing; I was so frustrated not feeling him move down at all. It was heartbreaking to me. I could even see the top of his head in the mirror sometimes but I just COULD NOT move him down. I wanted so bad to give up. Paul though, bless his heart, was the only one who could convince me to try a little longer. So I did. I gave every ounce of me I had left for those several contractions and then a few more contractions using the vacuum. I felt I would explode. But nothing happened. The vacuum couldn’t help get him down any further. So a c-section it was.

I was both heartbroken and relieved at the same time. I was so ready to just see my baby. In fact I just kept repeating that near the end of all the pushing. So they upped my epidural and prepared us for a C-section. I got the shakes really bad from the epidural, and the C-section was a little disturbing feeling so much pressure and pulling, but I made it through with my eyes in Paul’s eyes as we talked about our baby and what he was going to look like. Soon, his head was out and Paul shot up to see. His head was so large everyone thought he would be 10 lbs or more! Paul just kept saying how beautiful he was. Soon he was out and wailing in the most beautiful voice I ever heard. Paul went and took pictures right away so I could see on the digital camera.

Caedmon Lee Halsell was born at 11:03 on June 17th, 2007, Father’s Day! He was 8lbs 15 oz, 20 inches long, and with a big head. He was very healthy and needed no interventions except some suctioning. The doctors were amazed that after all those hours of labor there were no infections and he had no meconium when born. He really tolerated the labor well, his heart rate responded well to contractions and pushing.

We couldn’t get over how sweet and beautiful he looked. I cried so hard the anesthesiologist freaked out thinking I was in pain. The doctors and midwife and other attendees all agreed there was NO WAY he would make it out without help. His head was too big. The place they thought was molding to come through was a small section of his head. The suctioned part from the vaccuum was also crooked on his scalp, off to the left. If he was properly positioned they thought it was still doubtful. They all made me feel so good though, and tried hard to make me feel good about my effort, even though a c-section I wanted to avoid more than anything.

I was so happy he was here and he was healthy. I finally got to hold my beautiful baby Caedmon and have been absolutely in love with him ever since.

It was not an ideal labor and delivery; it was really hard and was nothing like what I wanted it to be. I made a lot of decisions that were really hard for me. Altogether it was 41 hours since my membranes ruptured which included 17 hours of active labor and four hours of pushing followed by a C-section. The reward was priceless though, and I don’t regret anything that happened. It was all worth it to see him out safe and healthy and absolutely beautiful.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Labor, delivery and our precious baby Caedmon!

Hello everyone! This is Paul posting on behalf of our family. Grandma Gibson stayed at the hospital with Lacey last night to give me some much needed rest. I'm sure Lacey will make a much more detailed post when she can, so check back in a few days. We hope you enjoy these photos of our exciting weekend at the hospital.