Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Road to Meet Burke: part 2, the birth story

Don't worry, I'll keep this PG and do my best to avoid TMI.

As you know, I was trying little things to encourage Burke's overdue arrival in a subtle way before the pressure to medically induce was upon us. Saturday - water aerobics. Sunday - pregnancy/acupressure massage. Monday - the smoothie & yoga ball.

I guess I finished the smoothie around 11am. I think I mentioned to someone early that afternoon via instant messenger that I thought I might've felt a contraction. Nothing significant, but feeling like we were at least making progress.

5:00pm-ish -  I started preparing dinner. I'd read somewhere that you don't want to eat heavy foods prior to childbirth, so I improvised a broth-based kale & bean soup since it was a dreary rainy night. I made plenty, as I figured it'd be good for dinner the next few nights if labor was in the near future. J got home at 6, and we relaxed on the sofa to eat our cozy soup. It was pretty good, if I do say so myself. I had two servings.

6:12pm - The following text message exchange with my mother-in-law, who was checking in on me.

7:45pm - My tummy started to rumble. After a trip or two to the restroom thanks to the leafy green kale, I was sitting on the couch & hubs brought over some Oreos and milk. Around that time, I started feeling more cramps. I didn't have the appetite to even finish my three Oreos. We decided it would be a good idea to take our hospital bags with us to the next morning's scheduled Dr's appointment, just in case.

8:15pm - I decided to take a warm bath to see if these contractions would calm down any. They weren't intense at all, just felt like mild cramps. But they were consistently coming now. J called our doula and she didn't seem to think it was anything to warrant urgency. We had a Dr's appointment at 9am the next morning, so we figured we'd make it through the night and get the Doc's instructions at the appointment. J called my mom & she decided to hit the road early the next morning so she would be wide awake for the 8 hour drive. There wasn't any rush since we thought it could still be a few days till his birthday.

8:45pm - Out of the tub, relaxing, & catching up on Downton Abbey. I used the "Full Term" app to track the contractions.

9:30pm - Contractions still coming. Only lasting 10-30 seconds, about 8-10 minutes apart.

10:00pm - Realized I might be timing these suckers wrong. Maybe these contractions are closer together than I thought?

10:11pm - Called the doctor. She didn't seem convinced that I was in early labor. Considering I was still able to have a normal conversation, I don't blame her. She told me I could come on in & they would check me out but might send me home if I wasn't dilated enough to warrant sticking around.

10:30pm - We decided better safe than sorry and headed to the hospital. J packed the car & I called the doula. She wasn't convinced a baby was coming either because I was so laidback & conversational. I can't blame her--I wasn't convinced either.

10:45pm-ish - We arrive at the hospital. Some of the speed bumps made me a little nauseous, but I was fine when we parked. The maternity entrance was closed for construction, so we had to find a new way inside. While they were getting me checked in, J parked the car. I don't think the admitting nurses were convinced I was there to have a baby either. We chatted about purses, boutique shops, the weather, etc while my room was being prepared.

You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13b & 14.

11:45pm - We were settled in the room. I was rocking the sexy hospital gown & making frequent trips to the restroom. Maybe I lost the mucous plug during one of those trips. Contractions were still mild, but steady.

11:48pm - The nurse is about to perform the cervical exam to check dilation. As she puts on her 2nd glove, my water breaks on the bed. I'm dilated to 5cm. Guess we should settle in for the night & see how this goes. Contractions are still mild & steady.

Midnight - WHOA! The contractions are serious now. YEEEOUCH. We've called the doula and she's headed our way. I'm dealing with the contractions as best I can - standing up & leaning into J, gripping the side of the bed, whatever I could do. J is super supportive. Even offers to let me bite him if it'll help. I remember leaning into him and noticing his shoes. He was wearing suede bucs, and I asked him if he brought other shoes. I was afraid they'd get ruined. The contractions were intensifying. Quickly. And I'm only halfway to being fully dilated? Epidural PLEASE. Now. Forget this natural BS.

12:30ish - After what seems like an eternity, the anesthesiologist arrives. It'll take 10 minutes to administer the epidural, and 10 for it to take effect. While he's inserting the needle, the team arrives to get the baby warmer set up. I'm confused. I asked if this was really about to happen--I mean, we haven't been here that long. The OB looks at me and says, "Well, you went from 5cm to 8cm in under an hour. So yeah, this is definitely happening soon." So THAT's why the contractions were so much more painful. He was on his way!! [J's version of the events differs a bit here, and is probably more accurate. According to him, they checked my cervix at this time, and upon realizing that I was dilated at 8cm, rushed the anesthesiologist to the room before we missed the epidural window. I totally missed that part.]

1:00am-ish - Our doula arrives, surprised we're as far along as we are. I think we all are.

The epidural slowed things down a good bit. So much so, I got a good 2-hour nap. J gave the family updates, and his folks headed to the hospital to be there for the arrival of their grandson.

2:30am - I wake up. Amazed at how much more manageable the contractions are with the drugs. I watch them on the monitor, but the pain is very bearable. I still have movement in my legs & feet, but they are a bit numb.

2:40am-ish - The OB confirms I'm fully dilated and it's time to begin pushing. Our doula sneaks me a honey stick before we start pushing for a little natural energy rush. I push for about 30 minutes, but I'm not making the progress they want to see.

3:15am - We decide to dial back the epidural so I have more feeling in my legs & can be more active. We wait for it to settle in and take a breather. Family gets updates.

**I should mention that we totally bribed the labor & delivery staff. Baked goods including pumpkin muffins, cranberry orange bread, and all-natural granola bars were prepped weeks in advance & frozen in anticipation of the birth date. J delivered them to the nurse's station along with our birth plan & a list of ingredients in case of any food allergies. No doubt this played in our favor. The OB was incredibly impressed with the granola bars. We talked about how easy they are to make several times between contractions.**

4:45am - Time to begin pushing again. This time, game on. The pushes are spot-on, and I can feel progress as each contraction comes and goes. J's feeding me ice chips, squeezing my hand, coaching me to victory. Cynthya (our doula) suggests positions to the OB, who is open to letting me try whatever is comfortable. (I must add that my OB is part of a practice of 7 doctors, so we weren't sure who would actually be on call at the time Burke decided to join us. I definitely liked some of the doctors in the practice more than others, and there were 3 I was really hoping for. We scored one of them, and you better believe I was excited when it was Dr. Smith who returned my call to the answering service earlier that night. We won the lottery in that regard.)

5:15am - Where is this guy? Maybe he's "sunny-side-up" and is going to be more difficult to get out than we thought. About this time, a nurse strolls in with her arms casually folded and says "I'm just being nosy." Excuse me? This is not the time or place for nosing around--I'm pushing out a baby, lady. She leaves after a few minutes, and the OB explains that she was in there to see if she needed to prep the C-section team, just in case. But, once she saw the little guy's head crowning, she knew she could call off the C-section troops. Whew. That's good news.

5:30am - At Cynthya's urging, I reach down and touch his head. Whoa! There it is. That's not normally there. The most wonderful head in the world. I decline the mirror. And J maintains his position at my head at all times. There are just some things you can't un-see.

Even the hairs on your hair are numbered; do not be afraid. Luke 12:7
5:40am - The OB tells us that the delivery team will be coming in soon to get everything set up. Since I'd been pushing for a long time, they may need to run more tests to make sure everything's OK and that he didn't swallow to much fluid or whatever. She also tells me that I need to get angry & get this fella outta here. The activity in the room picks up. Let's do this! Afterall, my family motto is "Odoms finish strong!" as my sister reminded me via text that morning.

5:47am - The doctor puts on her smock and begins to glove up. A contraction comes, and I can't help but push. The doctor says "Wait, I'm not ready. I don't have my gloves on." Too bad, so sad. I wanna meet my baby!!! She catches him in the bed sheets.

5:48am - I see the most precious head of hair. And the sweetest ears. Then fingers and elbows. I see him bring his arms up over his little slimy head. And he just keeps on coming. Where are his legs? His feet? Wow, he's a big baby. I bet that hurt. I'm glad I can't feel it. And he's perfect. And I'm in love. Oh my God, how in love I am. Oh my.

I'm overcome by tears, looking at my wonderful husband next to me, staring in amazement at the best-smelling bundle of flesh lying on my chest. So out-of-touch with whatever is going on in the room around us. He is perfect. The moment is perfect. We are perfect. This is where I'm meant to be. My cup runneth over. This is joy by its very definition.

The rest is a blur. The OB assesses the damage & stitches me up (stage 3, ouch. Thank heavens for the drugs.). The nurses whisk him away to cuddle, prod, and coo. Apparently he's flirting with them. We may be in real trouble here...

Despite the pain, the scary unknown, the vomiting, the middle-of-the-night labor, the deviation from our natural birth plan, the tearing, the unpredictable bodily functions, and everything else, I wouldn't have it any other way. A supportive partner, a healthy baby boy. A beautiful family--I am undoubtedly blessed.


  1. There are too many things to comment on and love from this story that I don't know where to begin... your concern for J's shoes, how you were ready to meet your baby so he was caught in the bed sheet, your ability to take a two-hour nap. It's all amazing! Congratulations!!

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