Monday, May 29, 2017

Introducing William | A Birth Story

Our sweet baby boy will be 7 weeks old tomorrow and my gosh, the weeks have flown by! William, also known around these parts as Brother Bear or brother, was born at 11:20pm on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 weighing 7lbs 9oz and was 20 inches long. He is such a calm and beautiful little guy and was born with a full head of fluffy dark hair! He is super alert and bright-eyed and loves his mommy’s breast milk almost as much as he loves watching his sister and puppy play and family cuddles.

:: Here is the story of how this little love came to join our family ::

In the weeks leading up to Will’s birthday, we were told in nearly every ultrasound, which were happening on a weekly basis, that he was a BIG boy! Our OB even went so far as to say that Georgia should be prepared for a possible c-section because Will was projected to get up to 10 pounds if he cooked all the way to his due date. This turned out not to be the case, but the thought of delivering a 10-pound baby, or having a c-section after trying to deliver a 10-pound baby were both scary thoughts for Georgia and thus the discussion of induction began.

M O N D A Y | April 10th

Georgia was induced on April 10th at 9pm at 39 weeks, 4 days. Per the usual for our little family, we were running a bit late leaving the house but somehow managed to drop Gracie off with her grandparents and grab some dinner before heading to the hospital. On the drive over, Georgia and I were all smiley, excited and nervously talking about how we couldn’t believe the time was here and we were finally going to meet our son. It felt surreal after years of trying to give Gracie a sibling + all those months of appointments and specialist visits + so much waiting in the final weeks, to finally be at the finish line – or nearly at the finish line. We were definitely feeling every emotion you could imagine, but the biggest feeling of all was HAPPY!

When we pulled into the hospital parking lot, we snagged front row parking, something that’s never happened at a hospital we’ve visited about a hundred times (so I took it as a good sign) ha! On the way in, I snapped one last picture of Georgia’s beautiful belly and helped carry our many bags in to where we were being induced. This time around, we didn’t know what to expect, but wanted to be prepared for a lengthy stay. With Gracie’s birth, we would have never imagined that Georgia would be in labor for 2 days or that our baby girl would be in the NICU for several days following her birth. When we walked into this same hospital 5 years ago, we most definitely didn’t think it would be nearly a week before we headed home with our daughter, but that’s how things turned out. We hoped with all our hearts that things would go differently this time around, but wanted to be prepared just in case. That and we over pack for everything, so why would this be any different. ;)
We had no idea what to expect with Georgia’s induction. We actually didn’t even know where to go to check-in but figured things out pretty quickly, and soon enough we were being shown to our hospital room. The floor was super quiet as we were 1 of just 5 couples occupying rooms in the labor and delivery unit, so the atmosphere was really peaceful. Our room was nice and big but I quickly noticed that there was no bed for me, just a padded bench. Now I know that may seem insignificant, but it was late at night and sleep was already on the brain. That and nobody likes to sleep on a bench, lol!  

To get the ball rolling, the nurse administered Misopro.stol medication, which is a small pill placed in the vag.ina that causes uterine contractions and the ripening (or thinning) of the cervix. This began at 11pm and we were told that things would go slow to start, so the best thing we could do was sleep – so that’s what we did. Well, that’s what I was able to do and what Georgia tried to do. Apparently there’s a lot of monitoring that comes along with the use of Misopro.stol, so we had a nurse coming in every 2 hours to check Georgia’s vitals. I was so tired from not sleeping the night before (I don’t sleep well when I’m nervous) that I slept through all of the nurse’s visits. G actually said that both her and the nurse laughed at how hard I was sleeping on that bench despite the buzzing and beeping of the machines, the lights being turned on every two hours, or the conversations they were having. I was really tired I guess, haha! The nurse on that first night was named Sara and I didn’t know it at the time, but she would come to play a very important role in Will’s birth story.

T U E S D A Y | April 11th

Tuesday morning we woke to a visit from the morning shift coming in at 6am to check Georgia’s progress. The good news was that despite the frequent check-ins the entire night before, Georgia got some good sleep and said she wasn’t feeling any pain or much of anything below the waist. The not so good news was that not much, if any progress was made. We ordered breakfast that morning, which was fun (because we’re dorks and enjoy ordering from menus of any kind). We checked on Gracie and watched TV. The Dr. who visited us that morning was an interesting character… She came in to check G’s progress and immediately said she knew me. She was convinced that she knew me, so I proceeded to ask her where she went to HS. She thought this was funny saying she was not from NM and was much older than me, but still wanted to figure out how she knew me. The oddness of our interaction was that she spent little to no time focusing on Georgia, but rather chatted me up wanting to figure out our connection. She eventually updated our nurse and us on what the next step would be to keep the momentum going. At 1 cm dilated, Pitocin was then administered at 10:45am that morning.

Things seemed to pick up at this point but still remained calm and non-climactic. If you know my wife, this comes as no surprise, I’m sure. She handled pregnancy like a champ with both kiddos, only really experiencing crankiness and fatigue in the final 2 months. She’s not one to complain or draw any kind of attention to herself in any aspect of her life, and pregnancy and delivery were no different. Even so, I was worried when the Dr. suggested they place a Cook Catheter to assist with cervical dilation because this was the most painful part of G’s delivery with Gracie. So painful that I still have vivid memories of her in agonizing pain when they placed the catheter all those years ago and my no-drama wife has said many times that it was almost a 10 for her on a 1-10 pain scale with Gracie’s delivery. Still, G was brave enough to try it again and the Cook Catheter was placed at 12:45pm, that afternoon. This time around, Georgia said that while it was an uncomfortable procedure, it didn’t hurt her at all. I was so relieved!

This is when things really picked up! By 3pm Georgia’s contractions were intensifying and by 5pm her Cooks Catheter fell out like it’s supposed to because she was 5cm dilated, 60% effaced. We were officially halfway to meeting our son! With Grace, G’s water broke on its own and she doesn’t remember really feeling any contractions with the labor. As odd as that sounds, I don’t remember her experiencing any painful contractions with Gracie either. Baby boy on the other hand – totally different story.

Georgia said jokingly, that first night that we were being induced, that it would probably be a good idea for her to You.Tube some breathing techniques because she completely forgot how to breath through a contraction. The thing was, she was being totally serious! This time around, she didn’t want to attend Lamaze classes, didn’t want the assistance of a birth coach or doula or really anyone in the room besides me. When she said this, it made me stress a bit because I know how much things like breathing techniques help with pain management, but there was no use worrying as it was go time.

As G’s contractions continued to get worse, she asked our nurse Sara (the one from our first night) about the epidural. Georgia was worried that she would miss her window, so she asked about the epi several times on day 2. Every time G would ask, we were told that we should wait and that she need not worry because the anesthesiologist would be available when it was time. 

By 6:30pm, G’s contractions were coming every 2 minutes, 30 seconds and lasting around 47 seconds each – and they were tough. G was trying her best to breath through each one but told me that she felt like she needed to thrash her arms and legs about, every time she was having a contraction. I told her – thrash woman! Thrash! It got to the point that we both felt it was epidural time, so I made the request. We were told that the anesthesiologist had just gone into a surgery and would not be available for an HOUR. Georgia was pissed. I was not a happy camper either! All day we were told not to worry and that when the pain became unmanageable, the epi would be readily available and yet here we were left waiting. The next TWO hours were the worst. Georgia was in so much pain and her contractions were kicking her butt! I felt like Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment going out to the nurses’ station every 15 minutes once the hour they told us she would have to wait had long passed. In the nearly 11 years that G and I have been together, there have been very few times that I’ve seen her truly in pain and it was hard for me to watch. They promised us a one-hour wait that then turned into an hour and 15 minutes and then an hour and 30 minutes and then 2 hours… Finally at 7pm, Georgia’s epidural was administered. I was asked to leave the room while the anesthesiologist worked her magic and the wife I came back to following her getting the juice was a completely different wife then I left beforehand. Thank gawd!

Once G had her epidural, everyone seemed to just disappear. There weren’t check-ins by our nurse or Dr. visits for the next 3 ½ hours and it made me very uneasy. One thing that I’m not sure if I mentioned in Gracie’s birth story was that there were moments in those days that we were in the hospital with Grace, that I let my anxiety and emotions get the best of me and failed to be as supportive as I could have been. Basically, I had some bitchy moments of frustration. This time around, I was determined to do better and just be there 100% for Georgia without letting my fears or anxieties surface. I did this successfully until around 10pm on night #2. I didn’t understand why G wasn’t being checked. I felt like the floor was empty and there wasn’t a nurse in sight and it was starting to sink in that William was likely not going to be born that night but rather, on day 3. I voiced this frustration to Georgia who basically looked at me like, are you f-ing kidding me with your complaining while I’m here birthing a child, haha! I had my little pity party, washed my face, ditched my bra and climbed into bed (or bench, should I say).

Not even 30 minutes later, around 10:30pm, our nurse Sara and another nurse came in to check Georgia. They turned on all the lights and had her scoot to the edge of the bed to check her cervix. This was followed by two very shocked faces staring back at us! Sara told us that Georgia was 10cm dilated, +1 station and immediately paged our Dr. because it was go time! They told her, whatever you do – don’t push! We both looked at each other like, say what?! In an instant I was searching for my bra and glasses while the room filled with people preparing for our son’s birth. They were rolling in tools on dollies and laying out blankets while starting the heating lamps on Will’s little bed. It all happened so quickly and was pretty intense and so exciting!

Our Dr. arrived about 15 minutes later and began explaining to me what he would be doing as he was getting everything set up. It was just Georgia and I, Dr. G and two nurses in the room and everything was happening so fast! I was put in charge of holding G’s right leg, giving me a full view of everything, which was awesome!

As irony would have it, the Dr. on call for our practice that night, who was to deliver Will, was our Dr. from Gracie who we essentially fired this second time around, lol. He was the Dr. who was super rude and dismissive to me and told us that G would need a c-section at our very first prenatal appointment with him when Georgia was just 6 weeks pregnant with Gracie… I’m not sure what transpired in this guy’s life and career over the past 5 years, but he was a completely different person. He was attentively listening to all of Georgia’s questions and actually making eye contact with me and talked to me directly. As Dr. G set out his instruments, he explained what each was for and what we could expect. He gave clear instructions on what Georgia and I were to do during the delivery and he was actually pleasant! Through all of this, Georgia just keep breathing and remained calm, so I guess she didn’t really need those classes after all.

Things moved fast. Like, really fast and Georgia was amazing, even when the Dr. accidently broke her water while checking her! Yes my friends, that happened and I got to see and hear all of it! Before pushing began, Dr. G went in to check things out one last time and seconds later we heard a weird sound and in an instant Dr. G was covered in amniotic fluid, lol! He said that in all the years that he’s practiced, that had never happened before!

It was finally time for my beautiful wife to push and my heart was racing. I’m sure G’s was too! Dr. G was very clear in his direction to Georgia on when to hold off and when to push, all the while explaining everything he was doing to me. Georgia had pushed twice before we saw it! A full head of dark hair and at the sight of baby boy’s head I let out a gasp! That was probably the worst thing anyone could do when watching a baby be born, but I couldn’t help it… G looked at me with the most worried face but I was too excited and squealed that the baby had a full head of dark hair! That’s when she went to push for the third time and my excitement was instantly gone. The umbilical cord was wrapped around William’s neck and in that moment Dr. G went silent. I knew better than to gasp this time and watched as he pushed Will’s head back in to the birthing canal just a bit and then twisted his neck so much to the side that I thought he was going to break his little neck while also pulling up on the cord. It was absolutely terrifying but I remained calm because Dr. G was so calm and I didn’t want to scare Georgia. I’m sure it only took our Dr. seconds to get Will’s cord unwrapped but it felt like minutes. Once he was free from it, Georgia pushed two more times and he was here! 4 pushes total! She did amazing!

Our beautiful boy entered the world at 11:20pm that night with the sweetest and softest cry and a full head of hair. My first observations were that he had the most beautiful lips, dark skin and was absolute perfection. Dr. G handed me the tool to cut the umbilical cord not once, but twice, in two different places and it felt just as squishy and cool as it did with Gracie. I cried and I think Georgia cried too, but honestly, those first few moments happened in such a flash that some of my memories are already blurry. William was placed on Georgia’s belly and was immediately wide-eyed and looking all over. He was just beautiful.

I didn’t know what it would be like without having our families in the room for Will’s delivery, but the whole birthing experience was amazing. I felt so present. I wasn’t taking a ton of pictures, because I was holding G’s leg. There are no pictures of Will crowning or me cutting the cord or those immediate moments following his birth. There wasn’t any commotion because there were very few of us in the room when our precious boy entered the world and there was something so magical about the sense of calmness that was all around us. The best thing of all was that our sweet baby didn’t get taken from us immediately after he was born and whisked off to the NICU. I immediately did skin to skin with my sweet little guy while Georgia delivered the placenta and I just couldn’t believe it was all really happening – even as I held him in my arms. We were all there and so present in the moment and it was just so special. The only thing that could have made it any better was if Gracie were with us but we knew she was fast asleep and would have the chance to love on her baby brother the next morning.  

After measurements and footprints were taken, our amazing nurse Sara took Georgia to the bathroom and assisted her with getting washed up. I had never heard of a labor and delivery nurse doing this and it certainly didn’t happen with Gracie, but Sara was amazing and there for us, every step of the way! She literally cleaned G’s body along side of her and then ran downstairs to get her a sandwich and chips because she knew G was starving. See – amazing! My mom and sister came right over when we called them around 12:30am because they just could not wait until the morning to meet Will. They visited (my sis tried eating G’s sandwich, seriously…lol), they helped us pack up our room and just like that, we were being transferred to recovery.

My amazing sister flew in from Vancouver BC the day we were induced! She was the first of our family to meet Will!

The nursing staff was amazed that less than 2 hours after giving birth, Georgia was up on her feet packing stuff and walking around like some kind of super human mommy! They even had to insist that she go to her recovery room in a wheelchair because she tried just walking on over to our new room (while holding several bags)... I’m used to Georgia being this way so I didn’t think anything of it until the staff looked at us like a bunch of crazies and insisted that G sit down and chill, haha!

Our first night together was one with little sleep because we were both pretty wired from the whole experience and G’s milk had not come in, so our sweet boy did quite a bit of crying. Still, we were all in good spirits that next morning when Gracie arrived with Gaga and Papa. There are no words that can describe what our hearts felt watching Gracie meet her brother for the first time. It was everything we ever dreamed it would be and was one of the most precious moments in my life. I recorded the meeting, so enjoy!

Will had a special gift for his sister that she got to open the day they met. This was something that we knew would help our gal to feel special and more a part of the welcoming of baby brother. She was so excited as she opened her gift, as you can see in these pictures, haha! She held Will that morning and just kept saying, he’s so cute! He’s just so cute!

The days since these first moments as a family of 4 have been incredible. Sleep deprived for sure, but incredible! We’ve loved on each other in our little nest at home, cuddling every day, all day. We’ve nearly completed our summer bucket list going on several adventures each week with friends and family and even though Will’s slept through most of them, I think he’s had fun. ;) Our little guy has already visited the Zoo, the Aquarium, our favorite public pool, the dog park, the Natural History Museum, our neighborhood park; he’s been bowling, he’s gone to his first movie in a theater and we’ve taken our first family road trip. I’ve already taken about a zillion pictures of our adventures and plan to share them in one big summer bucket list post, soon! We’ve had a little one month old photo sesh that I can’t wait to share and had newborn pictures taken of our little guy when he was just a few days old. Below is a sneak peek of his first professional photo session and a few more pictures of our main man’s first 48 hours on planet Earth! 
I’ll write again soon. :)

:: Our family headed home from the hospital ::

I loved brother bear’s coming home outfit!
Hi! I'm new here! :)

 Our babies | then & now

Our hearts are so full.

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