Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Presenting Mr. Oliver Mars Raymond

He is here! He arrived at 2:05 this morning after a combined 90 hours of labor, 4 IVs, almost two dozen blood draws, 22 days of hospital bed rest, 35 pounds gained, 5 moves between labor and postpartum floors, and at exactly 32 weeks gestational age. Oliver Mars Raymond weighed in at 3 lb. 7 oz. and measured 14 inches long. And this tiny guy is worth every bit of the trouble.

Yesterday morning I started bleeding a lot more than usual, which in the past few weeks has usually signaled the start of another bout of crazy - meaning fresh IV, hours of contractions, etc. Most of the day was peaceful: my nurse wheeled me outside for some fresh air, I finally toured the NICU, and I went through my inbox and deleted emails dated back to 2007.

Around 5 p.m., contractions started up again. I figured it was another false alarm, so I didn't bother Scott; he was at work until 10. I'd told him I'd call if and only if I was having a baby. My friend, Mithu, stopped by the hospital around 7 to visit and we chatted through contractions. They continued to get more intense and closer together. The doctor came in and declared that I was dilating and progressing, and was looking like I was going to have a baby. So I texted Scott around 9; I figured I'd call at 10. There's still time, right?

He texted back one word: "coming."

The nurse decided I needed an IV and set about placing it. To her credit, the nurse did about everything she could to find a decent vein: she put warm packs on my arms, looked them over carefully, had me make fists and slapped my arms up and down, called in a second opinion. But it still took three pokes to get it in; Mithu got to see me freak out, sweat with fear, and claw at her arm with my free hand. Scott walked in around then and Mithu left, thoroughly traumatized by childbirth forevermore I'm sure.

Scott and I hunkered down for more contractions. We waited for them to stall out like every other time, but they just kept getting worse and worse. I remembered all those ridiculous childbirth books I'd read and actually employed some relaxation techniques, so I guess they weren't a complete waste?! As much as it all hurt, I was still thankful for the experience of it all; it's what trillions of women have gone through and I wanted to be a part of it. Now I can check it off my bucket list.

Just after midnight, the doctor gave up on labor stalling out and delivery was planned. The doctor on-call wasn't the doctor I'd seen throughout my pregnancy and didn't feel comfortable attempting a VBAC with my two prior C-sections, so preparations were made for another C-section.

I wasn't crying through contractions, but I started at the thought of another C-section. I had figured things would go that way, but I still held onto the dream of having a normal birth and bouncing back to motherhood and running and the fast lane of life. Not to be. I was rolled to the operating room and prepped.

I scraped together any shred of bravery left in me, but I still couldn't stop shaking when the anesthesiologist shoved the needle in my back. The first poke made my left leg flail. A second poke and I started going numb from the chest down. I was rolled onto the operating table and the sterile field set up atop me with the blue curtain in front of my face.

Scott had to sit in the hall while they poked me, but he came in and held my hand once I was flat on my back. The doctors got right to work. I didn't feel the cutting, but just lots of tugging - like a dozen people were putting their hands in my belly and yanking a dozen different directions. Scott supervised while giving me a decent hand massage.

When the doctor pulled Oliver out, I felt it. A few minutes earlier I'd felt his every kick and hiccup, and even though I was numb I felt an instant emptiness that even the anesthetic couldn't cover up. I was sad that the pregnancy was over, but relieved too. Like I said, this was one long marathon. I'm just glad he's here.

He let out a good cry, which made me cry; it's so comforting to hear a good cry because it means good lungs. Oliver was a little blue at first, but pinked up quickly while the doctor worked on him. Oliver got an oxygen mask and worked hard to breathe at first, but made quick progress. He looks absolutely perfect and in his first 24 hours is already weaned off the oxygen mask. He will be in the NICU for at least a few weeks; we will see what develops in the next few days. Thus far though, he is doing very well.

The doctor stitched me back together. She said the placenta looked "small and old," which sounds familiar and makes me think it might be to blame for all this drama. I need something to blame, yes?

Thanks for everyone's prayers. It is a miracle that he survived for so long in the deteriorating environment he was in, and it is a miracle that he is doing as well as he is right now. Thanks for the thoughts, silly emails, packages, and service.

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Blogger Deja said...

So so glad you are okay, and that Oliver is okay, and that you are through with the marathon. He's clearly an exquisite little guy. I wish for every sweet thing for you and for him.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Bryan and Lis said...

Oh he looks so sweet and so so perfect! Congratulations to you all!

9:15 PM  
Blogger Lizzie said...

You are incredible! What an amazing woman and mom! Little Oliver has no idea (yet) how blessed he is to have you as his mother. :) Someone should give you a rousing rendition of "For she's a jolly good fellow"....hm, wish we'd thought of that earlier. :) Congratulations again!

9:43 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Sounds like the C-section was a good idea given the state of the placenta. Still, I think I would feel frustrated after having to wait so long and hoping for a VBAC. But I am soooo glad he got here safe. I bet he will thrive well in the NICU and be able to come home soon. It was wonderful to be able to follow the experience with you. We will keep the prayers up.

9:44 PM  
Blogger The Piepers said...

Congrats! We're glad you made it to 32 weeks and that you get to get out of bed now!! He looks just like Bruce.

11:31 PM  
Blogger stephasauri said...

Hooray! He looks just perfect and so tiny! You are a serious trooper. Three weeks is a loooong time (but I don't need to tell you that)! You rock! I hope the next few weeks are smooth and you can all go home soon!

1:57 AM  
Blogger Suzanna and James said...

Wow, thank you for relating this miraculous experience. More prayers for a speedy recovery for all!

10:09 AM  

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