Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Camden's Birth Story

Happy one month Camden! Here is his birth story:

As is normal with subsequent pregnancies, I had been having noticeable Braxton Hicks contractions for the last month of my pregnancy. The night of Wednesday October 2, one week before Camden’s due date, they were strong enough to kept me awake at night. I was excited thinking this might mean I would be dilated and on my way to starting the birthing process. The next morning I had a doctor’s appointment and I was disappointed when the doctor told me I was “not quite a 1 still,” and that is probably just what I am normally at. All those annoying contractions and a sleepless night for nothing!


That weekend Robert’s dad came out to help Robert with a home improvement project that we have been trying to get done for a while, remodeling the upstairs bathroom. They worked all day Saturday and Robert even put off doing some things for his job he had to have done by Monday so he get could stuff done on the bathroom. Meanwhile, Julia, Micah and I watched a very uplifting General Conference.


Very early Sunday morning, like 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. I started having contractions again. They were not very consistent, but did start to get stronger as the night went on. Since I couldn't sleep I went downstairs and had some cereal, but mostly just paced around all night. Then, around 6:00 a.m., the contractions stopped and I was finally able to go to sleep.


Robert’s dad was suppose to fly back to Arizona that morning at 9:45 a.m.. I told Robert that I had been having contractions all night and he asked if we should ask his Dad to stay another night in case we had the baby that day so he could watch the kids for us. Since the contractions had stopped, were never really regular to begin with, and given that this was the second time this week that I had Braxton Hicks contractions keeping me up at night, I told him no, we probably weren't going to have the baby that day. Of course being very pregnant I really wanted to have the baby ASAP, but I guessed that best case scenario we would have it the next day or day after.


So Robert’s dad went to the airport and got on his flight. Then around 10:00 a.m., the contractions started up again. This time they were strong and closer together, although still not completely regular…so I still wasn't convinced I was really in labor. I couldn't concentrate enough to watch conference though, so I walked around making sure things were in order in case we went to the hospital.


At one point I came into the kitchen and told Robert he should probably take a shower and be prepared to go to the hospital. I think I’ll use that line again in future pregnancies when I need Robert to get stuff done, even if I’m not really in labor. After Robert heard that, he was up off the computer and showered and mopping the floor and taking out the trash and doing all kinds of housework. I don’t think he had mopped or vacuumed in years.


After a while I decided to put my visiting teacher on alert that I might be going to the hospital since she had told me she could watch the kids if the baby came while I didn’t have any family in town. After I called I became more and more sure we were going to the hospital that day.


An hour after I called her the first time I called back. My contractions went from every 5-8 minutes down to every 3 minutes or so, and it was starting to get hard to think up a coherent sentence during my contractions. I became a little scared that as fast as the contractions went from 5-8 minutes apart down to 3 minutes that she might not be able to get to our house in time before we needed to go! She was on her way to her in-laws to watch conference and needed to drop off her family there before coming to pick up my kids at our house.


Luckily, her in-laws live close and she was at our house within 15 minutes. When she got there I showed her around the house and gave her the rundown on the kids’ routine (she was going to take our kids with her over to her in-laws and then come back in the evening so Julia and Micah could sleep in their own beds). During this time I had a couple contractions and had to stop speaking. One of which I was already kneeling on the floor for some reason, so I just stayed on my hands and knees during it. It was pretty obvious to everyone at this point that I was in labor.


Robert and I were soon out the door and getting into the car. Just before I got into the car I felt a contraction coming and I stopped to go through it outside the car where I had a little more mobility. By this time Robert was a little freaked out that I might be too far along and urgently told me (I won’t say yelled…) to get into the car so we could go. I told him essentially to chill, we still had plenty of time. The hospital is literally five- or less- minutes away so we got there quickly, then headed up to labor and delivery and let the receptionist know, “I think I’m in labor.”


I have always wondered why they make ladies in labor go through the whole check in process at the hospital. I’ve always “pre-registered” but it still takes a good 20 minutes to sit down and go through all the paperwork you need to get done that day. This was definitely the most difficult check in I’ve had since I wasn’t even feeling contractions with the other two during check in!


Then it was on over to get monitored and get vitals at about 2:00 p.m. The nurse there could tell pretty quickly that I was ready to be admitted. She checked me and told me I was a six. My reaction was, “Thank goodness!” I was a little scared she would tell me I was only a four or something less. Six was not too bad. Far enough along that labor is moving along, but still enough time to get my epidural.


The nurse started getting a room assigned for me. Apparently it was a busy day in the labor and delivery unit even though there was only one other person in the room with me getting monitored. Once I got into my own room I never even noticed though. My nurse was great and was always there when I needed her. She got me hooked up right away to the IV since I needed to go through two bags of saline in order to get an epidural. That was the worse part of laboring since I had limited mobility with the IV and my contractions were getting stronger.


When the anesthesiologist came in I hadn’t quite finished one bag of saline yet, which was a little disheartening. But he looked at the bag and said that was good enough to get everything set up and he started getting everything ready. I don’t think I had even finished the first bag before I got the epidural. A few minutes later and those contractions just started fading away...ahh…relief!


Soon afterwards my doctor came in to check me, Dr. Cropper. She was not my actual ob/gyn, Dr. Chiang, it was one of the few days he has off. I ended up seeing this ob/gyn only twice that day anyway so I hardly even noticed. She checked me, told me I was a seven, and broke my water. After she broke my water I could tell the contractions got stronger because I could feel them a little even with my epidural.




The nurse told me that my contractions were only coming about five minutes apart, but they were lasting a really long time, like four minutes each. And the baby did not like that. So just like with my other two births, they put me on oxygen to help the baby’s heart rate stay steady. The oxygen made him a lot happier so I stayed on oxygen while resting on my left side the rest of my labor.


The nurse also asked me if I was a runner because my heart rate was really low too. I get this all the time, I do have a low resting heart rate. So I said yes, and anytime someone would come in and ask about my heart rate she would tell them I was a runner and they would say, “oh, okay.”


The only other thing going on was that the machine that checks my blood pressure wasn’t working right, so every time it automatically checked my blood pressure it would spaz out and start beeping for the nurse to come check it. After the first two times it did that Robert just watched what buttons the nurse pushed when she came in to reset it and he would just reset it himself every time it started to beep.


At about 4:20 p.m. they checked me again and I was  8 ½. I told Robert that I bet we would have a baby by 5:00 p.m., but I don’t think he believed me. Also, the Dodgers playoff game was starting at 5:00 it wasn't the best time to be having a baby in Robert’s eyes. A short while later I told the nurse I was feeling some pressure “down there,” so she checked me again and I was at a 9. Not time to push yet.


Sure enough around 5:00 p.m. I was a 10 and ready to go. Since I had been lying on my left side for the past hour I could move my right leg, but all the medicine had pooled to my left leg and I couldn’t move that leg at all. It was a pretty weird feeling trying to move my leg and not being able to. I could still feel enough pressure to push, but I didn’t feel any pain.


They called the doctor in and as she was putting on her gloves someone said, “I see a head full of hair,” and the doctor said, “Don’t push yet, don’t even sneeze.” This baby was right there and ready to come out! I think I pushed through two contractions for a total of less than five minutes (probably more like two or three minutes) and at 5:11 p.m. our baby Camden came into the world. As soon as Camden was born they put him on top of me bloody and all and Robert got to cut the cord.




When they broke my water there was a little bit of meconium in the fluid, so they told me that they were going to have me pause for a minute once his head was out and before the rest of him came out so they could suction him in case he had swallowed meconium. But he just popped right out, so they didn't get to suction him until afterwards. They said he looked fine though.




This was undoubtedly my easiest birth so far (although none of them have been too bad). I didn't really tear, I just got what the nurses described as “skid marks “ that didn't require stitches. This was a little surprising since Camden was a full pound bigger than Julia (7 lbs 11 oz), almost two pounds bigger than Micah (7 lbs). It was a good thing he was my third baby! Before I started pushing one of the nurses asked me how big I thought the baby was going to be. I told them I had no clue. I didn't feel any bigger or smaller than my other two pregnancies.


As soon as Camden came out the nurses said, “Wow, what a big baby! He’s eight pounds at least.” To Robert and I he looked small, but we don’t hang around newborns all day, so our closest comparison would be Micah at 18 months, and this baby was definitely much smaller than an 18 month old. Camden weighed 8 lbs 13 oz. and was 19 ½ in. long.


 The nurse said his feet were so big she was having a hard time getting his footprint inside the lines.




We hadn't told any family members we were going into the hospital, and by the time we got checked in and had a spare moment the birth was so close that we decided to just not tell anyone until after the baby was born. So an hour after Camden was born-- once we had taken pictures, nursed him for the first time (he did great, no problems there and he continues to be a voracious eater.), snuggled a bit, and got some food for me-- we called our parents to let them know they had a new grandson. Surprise!


The worse part of recovery was the after-labor contractions for the next four days while I nursed. I had no idea that with each pregnancy they get worse. I didn't remember having any with Julia, and I had some mild contractions with Micah. With Camden they were almost like I was in early labor again, but only when I nursed.


I had taken a Motrin when my epidural started wearing off, but when that wore off I didn't feel like I needed any pain medication because I felt fine, except when I was nursing. I finally started taking acetaminophen on the third day so it wouldn't be so painful to feed Camden. Then after the fourth day they weren't as painful anymore. The sad thing is it isn't more painful on subsequent pregnancies because your uterus is shrinking any faster, it because your muscles are looser and have to work that much harder to get the job done.

For details on bringing Camden home you can read my other blog post here.

Having three kids has been hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. It has actually been nice to have Julia around to entertain Micah. When Julia is at preschool it seems I have to work that much harder to keep Micah entertained while taking care of Camden. While Julia still needs help with things, she has the capability to do a lot of things on her own and help out. We are slowly getting into the groove of getting things done while also taking care of Camden.

Some more pictures:

Robert with Camden in the delivery room. In Robert's hand he is holding his phone with the current Dodger game score on it.



Later that night. All my kids have been born in the evening and I've stayed up most of the night with them, so it will be weird for me if the next one is born at any other time.





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