So it's been quite awhile since I've blogged...I'm sure you can all understand why ;) Luca Matthew entered our lives on May 2nd, just one day (actually just 2 hours and 4 minutes) before his due date. The birth story on the website doesn't give much detail, so I'll give some more here. Those of you who know me know that I have a tendency to give too much detail sometimes, so feel free to skip this blog entry if birth/delivery stuff makes you go "ewww". I'll try to keep it vague though ;)
Grandma Deb came to play with the girls for the afternoon, so I went to pick up Luca's curtains in St. Charles. I stopped at Mackers (Australian for McDonald's) for a chicken sandwich and some fries and headed down 94. I felt a pain in my stomach area (enough to bear down on the steering wheel), but attributed it to the spicy sandwich and my lovely IBS. While I was at the lady's house getting the curtains (she was telling me some awfully long story about her daughter serving in the Peace Corps and losing her arm to a crocodile in Africa somewhere), I felt another pain. Now I start thinking that perhaps these are contractions...but they are still pretty far apart. No worries.
So I finally leave the curtain lady's house and head to Old Navy in the hopes of exchanging some shorts for P&E (they were mislabeled, so instead of size 18-24, we ended up with size 6-12). No luck. On to JCPenney's to return an extra valance from our kitchen. While I'm waiting for the incredibly dumb cashier to figure out how to do a return, I feel a few more pains. On the way out you walk right by the kids' clothing section, so of course I stopped to look at some clothes for the girls. While I'm trying to decide if I should get matching or coordinating, I have to sit down on the floor while I have some more pains. As I'm paying, the cashier asks me when I'm due, I say "tomorrow, but I think I'm having contractions right now". She looks at me as if I'm crazy and I head next door to Target. I called Dave (3 PM) and told him that I was having some pains but didn't think I was in labor, but I would call him if they got worse...so make sure to answer the phone. Shopping at Target has never been so unpleasurable in my life. I had to stop and bear down on the cart a few times.
I head home, still convinced I am not in labor, have a conversation with MIL (mother-in-law), and she heads home. By 4:30 the pains are so bad that I call Dave. I still didn't think I was in labor, but I knew something wasn't right and I needed to be checked out (I was actually thinking...there's no way I can sit and watch American Idol tonight through these pains). I get the girls up from their nap, get them dressed, finish packing my hospital bag, and pack up some snacks/dinner for the girls. Dave gets home and changes clothes and we are off to the hospital a bit before 6. Our neighbor is outside and yells "Are you going to the hospital?". I am mortified at this point because I was POSITIVE we were going to be sent back home due to false labor. So now the whole neighborhood will know I'm the dumb girl that doesn't know real contractions from fake ones. Oy.
We go the ER and I tell the receptionist that I think I'm in labor. She looks at me like "yeah right". I said "well, I don't look like it now, but in a few minutes I'll have a contraction and then it'll look like I'm in labor." She gets a wheelchair (totally unneccessary, but whatever) and wheels me while Dave wheels the girls in the double stroller upstairs. The nurses are sitting there twiddling their thumbs as they have only delivered 15 babies in over 2 months. They take me into the triage room and tell me to change into a robe but once they learn that Dr. Kuebel is my doctor, they decide to admit me to an L&D room. Apparently Dr. Kuebel has a reputation for not sending very pregnant women who are having contractions home...smart man.
The nurses and receptionist from the ER have a very long conversation about if I am registered with the hospital or not (I pre-registered through the internet)...but apparently the receptionist did not check me in properly. Whatever ladies, I'm in labor here, can we discuss this later? The nurse checks me and says, "She's a 5, but I could stretch her to an 8". Um, what? Please don't do that, there's no doctor here! They start the IV and apparently you have to get 2 bags of fluids in you before they can start the epidural...nice. Mental note, don't wait so darn long to go to the hospital next time (yes, there might be a next time).
Meanwhile, Dave is feeding the girls some snacks and the nurses are blowing up gloves as balloons and drawing faces on them for P&E to play with. Good thing we picked Progress West :) Unfortunately, I also had strep B this time around. It's normally not a big deal, they just give you 2 doses of antibiotics (penicillin I believe) before the baby is born to make sure it isn't passed to him. Well, due to the quick labor I was only given 1 dose of penicillin which meant Luca had to be checked on quite a bit that first night. For more scary details on strep b, visit http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/pregnancy/prenatalhealth/1647.html
Grandma Deb and Aunt Angela are the first on the scene and take P&E out to the waiting room. Grandpa Steve and Uncle Andrew arrive next, as well as Grandma Kim and Grandpa John. Around 7:30 the epidural lady (anasthesiologist) comes in. I am ready to bow down and kiss her feet. She gets everything set up, I'm sitting on the side of the bed, and Dave is kneeling down in front of me to hold my hands (and the nurse/dr said for him not to look at the needle...no need to have a passed out husband during labor). I'm not positive of the procedure, but I do know that she has to get this needle into a pretty exact location...it cannot be too much to the right or too much to the left. The first time she stuck it in she asked if I felt anything. By this time, my left foot had gone a little numb from dangling it over the edge of the bed, so I tell her that. She decides to try again with the needle. This time I feel a shooting pain through my right leg (I've never been struck by lightning, but I imagine that's what it would feel like). So now I'm thinking that the first time, she probably had it in the right place...whoops. Not entirely my fault though since she didn't tell me how intense of a feeling it would be. So the needle comes back out and back in again, maybe about 5-6 more times. Not kidding. Each time, I have the struck by lightning feeling in one of my legs.
Meanwhile, I'm having contractions through all of this. So every 5 minutes or so, we have to stop so I can scream/breathe my way through the contraction. After about 45 minutes, I'm yelling that I don't want the epidural anymore. The nurse looks me dead in the eye and says "Are you sure?". Hell no lady, I'm not sure. I want the damn epidural, I just don't want to go through this ordeal anymore. I ask the anasthesiologist how much longer she thinks it will take, just so I can get in the right mental mindset and she pretty much yells at me that my nerves are in the wrong place or something. Um, hello? Did you not take anatomy in med school? I'm pretty sure everyone has the same nerves. Anyway, about an hour later, at 8:30 PM, the epidural is in and I'm on my way to happy land. I push that "extra juice" button a couple times, just for good measure.
I should also mention at this point that when we got to the hospital, the nurses paged the on call doctor from my practice. It was Dr. Snowden, the doctor who delivered the girls. Now, he did a fine job delivering them...they are healthy, happy, etc. However, the experience with him wasn't an extremely pleasurable one...our personalities don't exactly mesh. Or maybe he wasn't so happy to be called out on a Saturday night in the rain? So when I find out he'll be delivering Luca, I'm a little disappointed, but rationalize it by the fact that all 3 of my kids will have been delivered by the same doctor. When the nurse left the room, Dave and I had a discussion about whether or not to page Dr. Kuebel (he had given us his pager number at my 37 week appointment and we *should* have paged him on our way to the hospital...but because I was stubborn and didn't think I was really in labor, we didn't. I didn't want to bother him at that point since he obviously wasn't on call, but then I started thinking that I'd end up at my 6 week post partum appointment and he'd say "Why didn't you page me? I would have come". So Dave takes his cell phone and goes out into the hall and pages Dr. Kuebel. I am SOOOO happy we called him. It just made the entire experience so much better, especially after the epidural drama.
So it's 9 PM, I'm dilated 10 cm, and Dr. Kuebel is on the scene. I warn him that I've been whiny for the last hour or so, but immediately I am in a better mood just knowing he's there. My contractions were the exact same as they were with the girls...about 3-4 minutes apart, but LONG. So we sit there twiddling our thumbs in between contractions, but I can get a good 4-5 pushes in during one. Not too much exciting stuff happening at this point. Dr. Kuebel asked if we had a name and I say "Oh God". He and the nurse say "That's an interesting name". :) We had a name of course, we had decided on Luca back in January. However, we did not have a middle name. We had 4 choices but never chose one. Paul, for my mom's dad...Jonathan, for my dad's dad...Matthew, because we liked it...and Thomas, so his initials could be LT. The nurse tells us we don't have to make a decision right away, which is comforting...but I still cannot believe that my child didn't have a middle name for the first 36 hours of his life. This is me we're talking about. I make checklists for people to take care of my kids. It's not like me to not have my child's name picked out before he is born.
Somewhere during the pushing, Dr. Kuebel informs us that Luca is "sunny side up". I ask if that's bad for the baby and he says "No, but it'll be harder for you". Great. Already this kid is causing me problems. Around 9:50 I suppose, Luca is starting to make his entrance into the world. Of course the nurses and doctor tell me to look at his head coming out. Uh, no thanks. However, I do catch a glimpse and Mr. Luca is coming out with his arm up in the air, waving hello to everyone. Such a social boy.
9:56 PM - Luca Matthew is born.
The girls were placed on my chest for maybe 1 minute before being whisked off to the NICU. Luca was allowed to lay on my chest for what seemed like hours. I actually had to ask the nurses to go get him cleaned up and measured so we would know how big he was. Having a healthy full-term baby was certainly a different experience for us.
After the doctor finishes working on me, Luca is cleaned up, we take some pictures, etc...our families come in to meet Luca. Perry and Ella are still awake at 11 PM! More pictures, "oohs" and "ahhs", and then everyone heads home around midnight. Dave and I are left alone with our new son. He actually gets to sleep in the room with us instead of down the hall in a specialized nursery with breathing tubes hooked up to his face.
The pediatrician on call at the hospital comes in to talk to us about the strep B issues and I believe they ran some blood tests on Luca as well. Everyone was very informative and I felt like we were in great hands.
Most of you know that I am not the crunchy/granola type of mom and I wasn't that *into* the thought of breastfeeding, however, I was willing to give it a try if Luca figured it out in the first minute or so. Of course he did! Very smart boy. That first night he ate about every 2-3 hours and slept the rest of the time. Of course I was so excited and high on adrenaline, so I sent out a mass email about Luca's arrival at 4:30 AM. Still getting made fun of for that.
Anyway, I'm sure there is much much more I could write about...but this blog entry is already very very long and it has taken me several days to write it. So I will end it here. In all, the experience was a good one. After the girls were born I wondered how people ever had more than 1 kid...who would go through that awful experience more than once? But I realize now that their birth was tainted by many things...prematurity, high blood pressure/magnesium, the NICU. Luca's birth couldn't have been more perfect. And that's how I'll leave this blog entry. He's perfect.