Our last post was at 36+3 weeks. We made it 2 more days before the baby joined our family. Before we regale you with a tale of intrigue, adventure, and placenta, we are proud to introduce…
Miss Sutton Jean
Born 7/22 at 1:18 a.m.5lbs, 6oz
We thought for this telling you, dear reader, deserve both sides of the story. So, without further adieu, Sutton’s birth story!
11:30 p.m. Tuesday night at home
Sarah: We turned off the lights for bed at 11, but I just couldn’t get comfortable. I tossed and turned, but when I turned one way, it felt like a croquet ball had crushed my bladder. I hopped out of bed, thinking I needed to go pee. But it turns out, the croquet ball was Sutton’s head breaking my water.
Jess: I was dozing, not really asleep. I happened to open my eyes and Sarah was standing at the end of the bed, with a weird, lost-way look. “Are you ok?” I asked her. “Ummmm…. well, no. I think my water broke.” Ok. Explain. She informed me that she was laying in bed and when she rolled over she felt a big pop and lots of pain and pressure and it felt like she peed her pants. I got out of bed and started talking to her while she timed contractions. Previous to 5 minutes ago, she hadn’t had a contraction yet. Now, they were coming 3 minutes apart. I called my parents, they came over, Dad stayed with J, and Mom joined us for the ride to Labor and Delivery.
12:00 a.m. Wednesday morning at L&D triage
S: Arriving so late at night, Jess snagged a pretty sweet parking spot. Though we were spots from the door, on the short walk in I managed to have 2 contractions — pausing midstep to stop hyperventilating and allow my body to survive another tidal wave.
J: Parking the car and getting Sarah out, I began my first of many quick trips down memory lane. I remembered doing this same thing a year and a half ago on a cool December morning. I remembered having a contraction in the parking lot too. But Sarah’s were coming on much faster and stronger than mine were at this point, so I tried to hurry us along. The guard at the desk was kind enough to let us go to L&D without checking in. When we got to reception, the ladies there were. taking. freakin. forever. I mean, sweet lord, how long does it take to fill out some paperwork, have my wife strip, pee in a cup, and get blue discs wrapped to her belly? This isn’t your first rodeo, people! Another girl was wheeled behind us, saying she was in a lot of pain. I looked at Sarah, clearly well advanced in this whole process and laughed to myself. My wife is a walking, talking contraction.
S: I peered over my right shoulder to see the fully glammed up, wheelchair-ridden damsel. With just a glance back at Jess, we thought she was in for a long night, while we were unsure what would lie ahead for us. She was nonchalantly filling out paperwork, hotel check-in style, while I am shoving the clipboard at Jess during contractions so she could fill it out and keep the ball moving so we could get admitted.
J: Finally, after an eternity and half, they lead us to triage to get assessed. I remember this part too and wondering why it’s at this point that the nurse feels the need to move swiftly. You were taking a mental smoke break during paperwork time, but now that you need an actively laboring person to move somewhere, you’re Usain Bolt. We guessed at turns and finally found the nurse typing in random things into the keyboard. A weird barrage of questions happened during so many contractions, I lost count. We are losing time here. The epidural window is closing fast.
S: Remembering Jess’ labor and delivery, it was at this stage that the cervical checks occurred frequently. Granted, she progressed slower than I did, she had 3 in this room alone. I’d managed to slip on a gown, fling a urine sample into the sink, and hook up to monitors in record time. With just one check, they determined I was already 8 cm dilated. I knew soon it was on to the big show. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have hung nursery curtains that night.
J: I think the curtains were definitely part of the problem. That and being drug to Hot Topic by Fairy Godmother Amber.
S: At this point, the nurse asked me if I could walk to the delivery room because they were admitting me. I just laughed in her face. So away I was whisked in my white chariot.
12:45 a.m. Wednesday morning at L&D
S: Finally, we’d arrived on the main stage. Contractions were so close together, I could barely answer the second barrage of the nurse’s ridiculous questions. At one point I closed my eyes in between contractions and when I opened them, the room was full of 6 different nurses when previously there was one. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an IV inserted into my arm so quickly. In the 45 seconds between contractions, I had an IV but almost passed out from the next contraction while trying not to throw up into the KFC chicken bucket they gave me.
J: I think it was at this point that shit got real for me. I know every pregnancy and delivery is different, but you definitely go into it with some preconceived notions of how it will go. And this wasn’t it. Not at all.
S: At this point, the only thing going through my brain is “Has anybody seen the Mother F-ing anesthesiologist?!?” I asked the doctor, “Do you think there will be enough time for an epidural?” She sweetly looked back at me and shook her head, chuckled a bit, and said “No”. I put my hands on my head and started to cry. I distinctly remember saying, “I have so much work to do.”
J: Every nurse that walked by, I was asking them about the epidural situation. They said, after we get her blood to lab, then we can get it started. I remember the “blood to lab situation” too. When they did that on me, they lost my 2 vials of blood and had to Carmen San Diego hunt it down for 2 hours to no avail, only to draw it again. One of the nurses went so far as to get the epidural machine out and ready for Sarah. The next person to walk it, Sarah was convinced she was the anesthesiologist. She said, “Boy, we’re glad you’re here!” And the nurse was like, “thank you! How are you doing so far? I’m just going to get things ready.” I watched her opening up instrument packets and placing gauze and stainless steel bins just so on the open tray, moving at a glacial pace. Nope, not the anesthesiologist at all. I don’t remember her ever denying this to Sarah either. I think we both were so sad when the doctor told her it wasn’t happening. We weren’t shocked by any means, she already was passed an 8 and her contractions were coming like a speed bag. But the thought of ever doing this whole birthing thing au natural was never in our minds. What would she do now??
1:10 a.m. Wednesday morning at L&D
S: There was only one thing left to do. The urge to push was so overwhelming now, I could do nothing in my power to stop what was about to occur sans the nectar of the gods. At this point, it did occur to me that it was odd the doctor had never really left my bed side. Thinking back on Jess’ delivery, the doctor walked in with catcher’s mask and mitt when the nurse said it was time for the final push, stealing all the nurse’s hard work and glory. My brain had totally shut down and my body took over. I managed to not yell a single expletive, but I’m pretty sure I hit a note of baritone I didn’t know I had inside me.
J: After the final cervical check, Sarah was at a 9.75 and it was pretty much time for the big show. My Mom exited stage left, and we were getting down to business. At this point, I didn’t know what to do. The woman I love with all my heart is being ripped in half by a tiny baby and feeling every bit of it. The yells of pain she was emitting were visceral, animalistic. I was terrified for her. I’ve never been so stressed in my life. In order to be of any use at all, I decided to watch each time she pushed and report back her progress. Dear God, why? I’ve had a baby, but I watched none of it. The way all of it plops down when she pushes well is the stuff of Alien movies. But I watched, and dutifully reported when she had good pushes and when I could see the head. They make you hold your breath when you push for a reason. The baby would visibly move when she pushed like that versus pushing and sounding like a zoo during feeding time. I held her hand and rubbed her shoulder and tried not to cry.
S: After a solid 3 pushes, I was convinced I couldn’t do this and I was done — a phrase I angry cry screamed at one point. At this cue, a random nurse stepped up, moved Jess from her place at my bed side, got right in my face, and proceeded to tell me exactly what I was about to do. She said, “Yes, this is going to burn. You are going to push. And you are going to push right now.” It was similar to an overly aggressive middle school basketball coach. Not expected but warranted in order to perform the game-clinching performance.
J: That nurse kinda saved the day. Sarah was shouting that she couldn’t do this anymore and all of us were like, “no, you’re great. You’ve got this. Cat posters, rainbows, high fives.” This nurse turned her head and shouted, “What’s her name?” (because we hadn’t been there long enough for anyone to learn our names). And yelled 6 inches from her face, “SARAH!!” And Sarah’s head snapped right over in a “Yes sir!” drill sergeant way. And she got back to pushing. I can’t yell at her like that. I sleep next to her. It’s frowned upon. So, thank you, random nurse, for helping my wife keep it together for a couple more pushes.
S: With newly found courage, I breathed deep one final time and against all natural instincts, I held my breath and pushed, resulting in what felt like the most successful crap I’ve ever taken in my life.
J: The push after the drill sergeant yell resulted in seeing the baby’s head. So the next one, I moved in closer to better report back progress to Sarah. As she geared up for the push, she had barely got started when a tiny white thing literally shot out of her. The doctor, thankfully, caught the baby, while the nurses and I did the Eeekkk dance away from the carnage and splatter. I turned around to look at my child, who was not crying. She was covered in white, waxy vernix and had black eyes. Sarah had birthed a demon. But then the demon started wiggling and blinking and crying and I realized it was a baby. It was our baby. A perfect girl!!
S: I don’t remember what happened in the next few moments. All i remember is the doctor held up a GIRL. Remember, up until this point, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl. I was just thrilled that she appeared healthy. That feeling slide away because she wasn’t making stereotypical new baby noises. It turns out, she was just calm and relaxed and the nurses soon got a few muffled cries from her. I kept asking Jess “Is the baby ok? Is the baby ok?” Hell if she knew. She was wiping carnage off her face.* (I really didn’t shoot baby carnage on her face.)
J: But she did shoot some on my pants. I remember saying something about how did my jeans get wet. And one of the nurses looked at me and said, “Well she did splatter quite a bit.” OMG ew ew ew ew! There is placenta on my jeans! Get it off!!
S: I distinctly remember you didn’t change those pants until 5 a.m.
J: Distracted by tiny cute baby. And just some PTSD.
S: Sutton got a quick Jiffy Lube 40-point inspection and we had an hour of skin on skin. During this time, since I had no epidural and a larger hole, it was time to have quality bonding time interrupted by painful sutures. The localized anesthetic failed to do a superb job and I believe at this point, only my inner Xena Warrior Princess got me through the last part of this delivery.
J: When they weighed Sutton, we were so excited to hear she had hit 5 pounds, 6 ounces. That was way bigger than I was expecting! She looked like a real baby. Small, naturally, but not scary small.
And that, in a nut shell, is how we spent our Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. From water breaking and first contraction to baby girl took less than 2 hours. That is how you get in and get it done!