As Dave and I were driving to Hillcrest Hospital for my scheduled induction, it began to pour rain outside. A few drops rolled down my face as well. Even though I was a week and a half past my due date and so ready to be done being pregnant, the reality that this little guy would no longer be in my belly set in. I wouldn’t be able to feel his movements all day long as he squirmed inside, or see the wave of his foot across my belly. This ride was the last one before I met my son. The moment of sadness soon passed as it was replaced with fear of what was to come in the next few hours, and excitement of finally getting to meet our baby boy. Dave and I listened to some calming music and enjoyed one of our last moments as husband and wife before we transformed into father and mother. Just as we arrived at the hospital the rain stopped, as if to remind us how quickly things were about to change in our lives as well.
Dave, my mother and I arrived at the hospital a few minutes early for my midnight (yes midnight!) scheduled induction. Dave was able to catch the end of the NCAA National Championship game just in time to watch Michigan lose to Louisville as we waited for everything to get set up and ready in my room. It was two hours before things got started, so we had quite a bit of time to kill, which only added to the anticipation.
There were two things I was anxious about coming into labor: getting an IV and getting the epidural. I know that in the grand scheme of child birth, and IV seems like a silly thing to have anxiety about, but I had never had one. Couple that with my dislike of veins (particularly in the wrist region), and I had some fear about that moment. I was reassured that it is quick and painless, and not something to be concerned about. Well it appears that I knew something everyone else didn’t, because, according to my nurse, I have “tough veins”. She had to try 3 times to get the IV into my hand, and had to eventually call in an anesthesiologist to do it, who right before she did said “Now this is going to hurt”. It did. First hurdle completed though.
Finally at 2 AM, they started my Pitocin (oxytocin). My contractions kicked in right away! It was much faster than I had thought. Before long I was using the breathing exercises we had learned and practiced in our child birth classes, and was gripping Dave’s hand so hard I was afraid I might break it! The contractions went on 4 hours, coming at about a minute apart but only lasting for about 45 seconds. An epidural was in my birth plan, but I wanted to hold off as long as possible so that I could get out of bed. After 4 hours of contractions a minute apart, I was ready for that sweet, sweet epidural. As I mentioned before, the epidural was one of the two moments I was anxious about coming into delivery. After how great the IV had gone, I was even anxious, but I figured it couldn’t be worse than the contractions I was currently experiencing. My Mom and Dave left the room as the anesthesiologist game in. My experience getting the epidural mirrored the IV experience. It took her three tries, having to start over each time, to get the epidural in because she couldn’t get the catheter to thread. It was uncomfortable, but as far as pain goes it was no comparison to the contractions. As soon as it was in and the first chilling dose was administered, I felt the sweet relief that had been described to me so many times. When my Mom and Dave came back, I was MUCH more comfortable.
Two hours later, my doctor arrived to check on my progress. When I had arrived (and for about the past week) I was 2 cm dilated. 6 hours into labor, I had only progressed to 4 cm dilated. The doctor decided to break my water to try to help things speed along. When she did, it was meconium stained. Due to this, the fact I hadn’t progressed far, the fact that the baby hadn’t dropped much and his size, the doctor said the possibility of having a cesarean section (c-section), which we had previously discussed, was likely going to become a reality. She was going to wait 2 more hours to see if I would naturally progress any faster now that my water was broken, and if not I would go in for a c-section. 2 hours came and went, and I had major contractions that I didn’t feel thanks to the fabulous epidural. However, when the doctor came back I had not moved from 4 cm. She informed me that I would need to have the c-section. I thought I would be more upset, but at that point I was just ready to meet my son, and to make sure he came into this work in the safest way possible. While waiting to be prepped for surgery we got to visit with Dave’s parents, as well as allow for Jackie to start getting some pictures. Jackie would be joining us in the operating room to capture our son’s delivery. It was amazing to have her there through the whole process because not only had she been in on countless deliveries as a NICU nurse, but she herself had delivered her two amazing twins Jackson and Riley by c-section just over 2 years ago. Having Jackie there to tell us in detail about what was about to happen helped to calm both my and Dave’s nerves. Before long I was all prepped and being brought into the operating room. I had Jackie there by my side comforting me until everything was set and Dave was allowed in. It was go time!
Finally, at 11:54 AM on April 9, 2013, Patrick David Kelly came into the world! He was perfect! As soon as we heard him cry, Dave and I looked at each other and both shed tears of our own. Dave left my side to meet our son for the first time. I heard him ask over and over again “Is he healthy?” and could hear the nurse answer him “He is perfect!” His APGAR scores were great (8 and 9). I was getting put back together, but Dave, Jackie and the nurses kept communicating to me to keep me in the loop. The told me that he was 10 lbs exactly and 21 3/4 inches long! I couldn’t believe it! I knew he was on the big side, so I was prepared for maybe a 9 lb baby. I had no idea I had been carrying around a 10 lb boy inside me! (No wonder the last month of pregnancy had been so rough) When Dave brought him over for me to meet him for the first time I was in for another surprise. Patrick had a full head of curly, dark hair! Another thing I had never expected since I didn’t experience any heart burn throughout the pregnancy (old wives tale?) The time it took for the doctors to close me up and get me to recovery seemed to take forever, because all I wanted to do was hold my baby.
Finally I was in recovery, and they brought him in. As I held him for the first time I began to cry. I was so happy to finally meet this little (or not so little) guy. It had been 41 weeks and 4 days, but it was well worth the wait.