Thursday, October 14, 2010

A brief history of Elliot who has lost a "t".

I had quite the ride in the maternity ward. I think it's terribly ironic that you can choose your ob/gyn, but must play russian roulette for your nurses. Your nurses essentially define your experience.... your doctor catches the baby, sews you up, and if you're lucky checks on you once before you go home. I have had 4 wildly different nurses, to the point of almost feeling like I was in a totally different hospital every 12 hours.

Percoset makes me alarmingly incoherent. I hope I'm remembering everything with some degree of clarity.

Sunday morning Mr Renn and I arrived late for my induction. I had a much harder time feeling prepared enough to get myself out the door than I was anticipating. We discussed the paradox of being late to an appointment when Mr Renn has a relatively low tolerance for late patients as we drove in.

Let's have a baby already

I flew through registration and less than 30 minutes after being admitted I was donning a lovely IV and the pitocin started - nice and low at a 1.  Enough to make the contractions regular, not enough to make them any more intense than they had been on their own.  Because we are in Utah, we had the opportunity to take the Sacrament while in labor, which is both a blessing and hilarious. My cousin Samantha arrived to document, and to keep Mr Renn company, and I thought we were good to go.

Let's have a baby already

Mr Renn is a world-class avoidance technician.  He did not want to have the requisite conversations for narrowing options and naming this baby.  I pinned him down and made progress a couple of times as my pitocin level was raised to a 4 then a 10.  But no further.  I managed to get my epidural placed before they checked me and noticed I was dialated to a 6, and was beginning to get so uncomfortable during contractions that I couldn't carry on a conversation through them (which killed the progress on the naming front).  The anesthesiologist was very nice, and very busy, but for some reason her block didn't work for the right side of my abdomen.  I was not happy about this, I'd heard so many stories of epidurals only working on one side, and I don't handle pain in a particularly calm manner.  I didn't want to be a self-absorbed mess through labor. (Oh well....)

I tried rolling onto my right side, to see if gravity could help me out. (I also pushed the "increase dose" button a time or 10).  It seemed to be working ever so slowly, but then the 3rd year resident arrived with orders from my (still not physically present) doctor to break my water.  He was a very pleasantly-demeanored red-head with an aura of calmness, and will make a great doctor.   After my water broke the baby's heart rate announced that laying on my right side was no longer an option, and I realized that I was going to have to make it through to the other side of delivery before I would be remotely comfortable again.  To my credit I did not ever scream or mangle my husband's hand.  I should get lots of points for this.

I received word that my doctor was on her way, and would be there in 10 minutes or so.  15 minutes later I had to tell my nurse I was certain I was crowning and didn't know how many more contractions I could go without pushing.  I had graciously been given oxygen again, and I tried to focus on holding my oxygen mask in place with one hand while I violently shook a bar on the side of the bed with the other hand through each contraction.   The nice red-headed resident appeared, and was informed he'd most likely be delivering my baby.  He confirmed that I was "complete" and through my self-absorbed pain I was aware of bodies bustling around getting instruments in place and moving my body into the proper position for pushing.

Just then my doctor walked in.  No time for fully scrubbing in, she grabbed a pair of gloves and joined the resident at the foot of the bed, she was telling me to push before she even sat down.

I don't actually remember pushing.  I couldn't tell you who was there or what they told me.  I had the noise of the oxygen washing out 85% of what was being said to me, and all I could think was how grateful I was that at least the epidural was working down there where it counted.  I pushed, someone counted to 10, I hyperventilated, then took a deep breath, then we started over again.  At one point I realized that I could feel that there was no longer a baby up in my ribs, and a few pushes later I could hear the long-awaited wailing of a baby that was all mine.

My great grandmother gave birth to her first born, a daughter named Caroline, who never cried.  Somehow her neck was broken during delivery and she only lived a month or so.  My great-grandmother used to say that the sound of a new baby crying is the most beautiful sound in all the world, and that when her second child, my grandpa, was born she had never been so relieved or happy as when she first heard him cry.

Baby E

This was the first time I'd given birth where kangaroo care was promoted.   I had the baby across my chest within moments of giving birth, and they only took him from me once to cut the cord and take quick vitals before he was back again.  I got to watch as his face slowly lost its puffiness from the trauma of being born, and feel his first wiggles.  Despite the messiness of this approach, I think I'm a fan.

Shortly after I was all sewn up and loaded with anti-hemorrhage medication my parents arrived with the boys.  They had brought me a meal, but I was shaking so badly that I could hardly eat it.  Mr Renn kept laughing at me because he'd never seen anyone shake so violently, let alone with a spoonful of soup in their hand.   I had wanted to introduce the boys to their brother by name, but that was just not to be.  Sir O was very aware of and interested in this new baby brother, whereas the Captain was oblivious and mostly just interested in the novelty of a hospital room.  Unfortunately Sir O was also a little concerned about the blood he was seeing everywhere, and when they tried to help me to the bathroom my left leg wouldn't hold me up and blood went everywhere.  That one took some explaining, and the promise of a very large bandaid finally calmed Sir O's concern.

Baby E

A ridiculous parade of the 9 of us, plus a nurse, made our way to my room in the maternity ward.  My parents took the boys for a long walk to try to give us time to choose a name, but at that point I was way too drugged to have the coherence to cut through Mr Renn's avoidance technique, and just a little narrowing progress was made.  Mr Renn insisted that he couldn't decide on a name until after they bathed the baby and we saw him all cleaned up.  So naturally it was another 2 1/2 hours before anyone showed up to bathe him.  At that point there was meconium all over his blanket and he's peed 4 or 5 times without ever being diapered, so we figured whomever was that late to bathe a baby got their just reward in additional mess to clean up.

He cleaned up awfully cute.

Baby E

We had narrowed the field to two first names and about 8 middle names, and were crossing them off at a painfully slow rate.  We kept having visitors, and because the hospital was a learning institution there was a steady stream of med students and residents passing through (both day and night, for my entire stay....)  The baby was looking to maybe never be fully named.

Captain meets his new brother

Around 6:30pm my Grandma called and after asking if we'd already named him, announced prophetically that she'd had a dream and knew what his name was supposed to be.  Wouldn't you know that Samuel was still on our middle-name list, and only worked with one of the two first names we had left.  Just like that his name was decided and relief flooded the room.  (Only to be replaced with consternation over how to spell his name - after 3 days we decided on Elliot - and also decided that in the future we'll teach him to accept all the acceptable spellings of his name).

Renn had to go home to be with Sir O and the Captain, and the remainder of my hospital stay is a lonely blur of interruption and contradiction.  When I did manage to get the baby to the nursery and sleep, I slept hard and deep, but usually only for 2-3 hours.  I learned quickly that it was worth it to stay ahead of the pain with my meds, and I had 4 different nurses with 4 drastically different opinions about how my breastfeeding was going.  I also had some drama concerning the shades to my window going missing, and my nutrition order being entered as a liquid diet..... both of which nobody seemed to know how to fix for a while.  There was never a dull moment.  Unfortunately  dull moments were kind of what I was hoping for.  I really wanted quiet uninterrupted bonding time and didn't get very much of it in.  Luckily I'm not as worried about bonding as I was with the Captain.  I know it will happen.  I know that a million tiny moments will slowly turn into memories and that before I know it none of us will be able to imagine life without this baby in it.

Baby E

In the meantime my milk has come in and my uterus continues to contract beautifully.  Good, painful things.

So it goes as we enter a fuzzy, transitional phase.  There are so many people who have so many adjustments to make before we'll start recognizing our new normal.  Despite the discomfort of change, I'm pretty wildly excited about the prospect of this new normal, and I fully expect to love it with my whole soul.

And my Grandpa informed me that the baby's web-alias ought to be "Wild Bill", but he's so far from wild right now that I'm inclined to call him "The Gentleman."   I guess we'll see in the coming days which pseudonym he earns.


aLi said...

What a beautiful post!!! So happy for you. What a handsome fellow, too. I did kangaroo method/style/whathaveyou when I had Amelia, though they just called it skin-to-skin, and it was awesome. She didn't cry when she first came out. Scary. So they took her away to check her, and gave her back saying she just needed lots of skin-to-skin contact. Interesting stuff. But I highly recommend it, it is wonderful. I wish you could have had some wonderful quiet time!!!! Oh you needed it!!!!

Lizzie said...

I also loved the skin-to-skin right after Abby was born. I really think it helped with everything.

Okay, this is weird. Did the red head resident's hair curly? He was a resident that helped deliver with Dr. Tilly... actually he did the delivery under Tilly's supervision. That would be funny if he was there for yours too.

I love all of the pictures and memories from this special moment. Hope you get rest and recover quickly from all that yucky painful stuff.

Lizzie said...

PS - that first picture has got to be THE cutest about-to-have-my-baby pictures. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Yay! I love your story. Birth stories make me happy.

Looking at the picture, it's a reminder that Bean and Jeff were the same age and Sir O and the Captain when I had Abby. Sweet memories. Four years has sure gone fast...

Love you all.

Em said...

@ Liz: yes, curly. I'm glad you had a recommendation for me. I would have been lost without it!

Ashley said...

Em this was so beautifully written and he is so SO cute. Wow. You make some darling little babies. The pictures are beautiful. Congratultations. Hope you feel better soon!

Jessy and Adam Baird said...

He is so cute! Congrats!!

hairyshoefairy said...

He is just the more beautiful little guy. The photos of him on your chest are my favorite, especially the one with his little eyes open and he's looking at you. I love birth stories!

pepper said...

Oh I love the story! And I'm hoping you stick with The Gentleman, it suits his name so well... and I must say I love the name (seeing how I share it with him!) and I think you pick the perfect spelling, I always believe in going with the most common spelling, so for that I say Bravo! I too love skin-to-skin had that with both my babies, I feel it's super important. Anyway again congratulations. I'm so happy for you and wishing for you a miraculous amount of sleep.

Miss Crys said...

That was a very wonderful story to read! I loved every word! I am thrilled for your beautiful family. I really like The Gentleman! Take care of yourself!

Katie May said...

Oh, I love it all! He is just so sweet. I'm glad everything went relatively well and you're on your way to your new normal.

Devon said...

Oh my! What an experience, and I loved hearing all about it! I think his name is perfect, and I hope you're doing well with all the nursing/sleeping!

Lauren and Tyson Fiala said...

Congratulations. He is beautiful. What a great story...thanks for sharing. So glad he is here safe and healthyl.

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