Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Caleb's Birth Story

I haven't blogged in almost two months. The last weeks of baby prep were very busy and now Caleb is already three weeks old!


39 weeks and 5 days


During my last weeks of pregnancy, I started talking with my primary Ob-gyn, Michelle Johnson, about a possible  induction. Emily was a big baby at 8 lbs 14 oz, and I figured Caleb would be just as big or bigger (I was right). At my 38 wk. ultrasound, they estimated his weight at 8 lbs 10 oz. Ultrasound measurements aren't exact with weight. My doctor said it could be +/- 20%, but still I was getting a little worried about his size. However, there was really no other need to rush into an induction. My blood pressure was good; the baby was moving well. Other than being VERY pregnant, things were fine. However, I finally decided to go ahead and plan an induction for convenience with our plans for Emily and because he was full term and only getting BIGGER by the day! Also, I was 4 cm dilated already so I was "favorable" for an induction as they say. We had a difficult time setting the induction date due to a lot of back and forth with the doctor's office. Originally, Dr. Johnson said she could induce Saturday September 22nd three days before his due date, but then her on-call weekend changed. She later offered to do Sunday, but we had already told family that we were waiting. We finally decided we would try to induce on Monday the 24th if the baby didn't come on his own before then. Jeremy and I were looking forward to one more weekend to get some things accomplished and a nice quiet Sunday.

Or so we thought. Baby boy decided to come on his own. Early Sunday morning at about 1:30 am, my water broke while I was in bed asleep. The same thing had happened with Emily so I was sure of what I was feeling. However, it was not as massive of a gush as I had had with Emily. (Gross, but true.) It was a small amount and so Jeremy and I were left thinking, should we head to the hospital or wait for contractions to start? We called the on-call service and of course she told us to head to the hospital. Yuck. Neither of us had slept for more than an hour or so. We knew we were in for an extremely long day and night. Jeremy's parents came over right away to stay with Emily until she woke up. We called my parents in Bowling Green to tell them we were going to the hospital, but that they didn't need to rush. I stayed in bed for awhile longer and ordered Jeremy around as he ran all around the house picking up the last few items I needed for my hospital bag. (I was afraid to walk around too much because I didn't want my water to break some more and mess up my clothes and house!) We finally got to the hospital at around 3 am or so. 

Right away the nurses did all of the check-in stuff and gave me orders to stay in bed. After the bag of waters breaks, they don't want you walking around at all for fear of cord prolapse. (This is extremely rare and there is little evidence that bed rest prevents this anyway, but whatever.) Also, they don't want you to eat anything and you can only have ice chips to drink or popsicles. After several hours in the hospital, my contractions were getting strong enough to be uncomfortable, but my cervix wasn't dilating much more. When I checked in, the nurses wanted me to start a Pitocin drip, but I was hesitant. During my first labor, Emily arrived 12 hrs. from the time my water broke until she was delivered. With this being my 2nd child, I was thinking that he would come even earlier, right? What's the hurry? I didn't want to start the Pitocin if nature would take its course anyway in a few hours. To everyone who said that my second child would come faster, this is a lie! :) After hours of no further dilation and fairly intense contractions, I decided to get my epidural at 9:15 am. We started the Pitocin at 12:15 pm. Apparently, my bag of waters didn't completely rupture and they kept saying they felt a "fore bag" that was preventing the baby's head from naturally placing pressure on the cervix to make it open. However, they felt confident that the rest of it would rupture once my contractions got strong enough which is exactly what happened. By 3pm, I was 7-8 cm dilated and fully effaced. It was amazing how fast the cervical dilation happened after starting the medicine to get my contractions stronger. 

I have great appreciation for natural childbirth, but I knew that this wasn't in my plan. Give me the epidural! It was perfect with Emily. I could feel pressure and touch, but no pain. This time, the epidural was a bit stronger than before and made my left leg feel very numb and heavy, but I could still move it. For some reason, when I would try to change positions, the baby didn't like me lying on my right side and his heart rate went down too much. So, I had to keep turning to the left and more of the medicine went down into my left leg. Let me just say that I HATE all of the monitors they put on you in the hospital--IVs, BP cuff, fetal monitor, catheter, epidural in the back, etc. It is A LOT. But, I guess that is the price you pay for a relatively pain free delivery in a safe environment. However, I think a lot of it is unnecessary. If I was allowed to walk and move around, my labor would have progressed faster on its own. Taking a BP every 30 min. is overkill if you ask me. I had to have a catheter because I simply could not pee into the bed pan. I kept feeling intense pressure on my bladder, but couldn't go. No joke--when I finally got a catheter, they drained off more than 1200 cc of urine. Crazy! I felt a ton better! 

I started to feel emotional at one point during the labor. All of these emotions are building up inside of you and you are about to give BIRTH for crying out loud! I had been worrying earlier that day about what if my labor stops progressing and I need a c-section? It wasn't the actual procedure I feared as much as the recovery. My little girl needs me so much. My house has tons of stairs and I had no one that could stay with me to help all the time. (Jeremy was only taking 5 days off from work.) I knew that the baby was probably big. I needed a vacuum extraction with Emily and I REALLY didn't want that again. My labor nurse, Heather, was great. She just said, "Let's pray about it." So, Mom, Jeremy, Heather and I held hands and she said the sweetest prayer. I immediately felt better to have someone intervene for me. 




Sweet baby boy!

I had teased Mom all day about if she would be granted permission to stay in the delivery room while I was pushing. I wanted her to see at least one of her grandchildren being born. However, I didn't want her to witness any complications. I couldn't help but think that it would make our baby boy special because even though he was the 6th grandchild, he would be the only one she saw come into this world. I decided she could stay and crossed my fingers that I wouldn't regret it! I pushed for about 40 minutes and then he was here! Dr. Terassa was great. I really liked how she instructed me. Her cues and encouragement really made me feel focused and empowered. We used a mirror which allowed me to see him come out. I was way too scared to do that with Emily, but it didn't bother me this time and it actually helped. Our "nameless" baby boy was born Sept. 23rd at 5:44 pm and weighed 9 lbz, 3  oz. He was 20 3/4 in. long. He had a head full of black hair. I was so happy and proud that I delivered this big baby boy!

We introduced Emily to the baby first. She was quite hesitant and kept asking me to get out of the hospital bed. She didn't cry, but she looked like she wanted to. Then, we brought back the rest of the family that had been waiting--Jeremy's parents, my parents, Laura and Stephen. Everyone got to see him, but they couldn't hold him just yet.  (He still hadn't been cleaned up that much and was resting on my chest for his "kangaroo" time.) 

Normally, you get moved up to mother/baby unit pretty soon, but they kept me in the delivery room much longer. I had a lot of bleeding after the baby was born. I won't go into details, but it was enough to make my nurse kind of nervous. Also, my blood pressure and heart rate plummeted. I was asymptomatic and didn't know there was a problem. I got pumped with more fluids and was given a shot to help my uterus contract faster. The bleeding was monitored and I got to wait around for several more hours until I was given the all clear.  Finally, I got to eat and drink something at about 10 pm that night. There is nothing that tastes better than a cold soft drink after hours of labor!

We didn't name our baby boy until the next day. We had narrowed it down to two names, but it was very hard to decide between them. We didn't think it would be wise to to make a final decision while we were so exhausted. So, we went to bed and didn't talk about it much until the next day. Jeremy and I really didn't know what to do or how to come to a decision. We literally had to make a pros/cons list about our two names and we talked for a long time about how each name made us feel. While praying very intently for direction, Jeremy felt led that his name should be Caleb Oakley. This was one of the names we had been thinking about for a long time, but had difficulty committing to it. We picked it because Caleb is a strong, faithful man in the Bible. We liked the sound of it. We liked that the name had history and had stood the test of time. It wasn't trendy. While this name is gaining in popularity, Jeremy and I know only one Caleb and none of our friends had used this name for their boys. We picked Oakley because it is a family name--Jeremy's mother's maiden name. I liked that it was the last name of Jeremy's Poppy (Nancy's father) who was the only one of Jeremy's grandparents that I ever got to meet. I knew how close Jeremy was to his Poppy. As a coincidence, we found it interesting that I grew up in "Oakland" and my maiden name is "Lee." How cool! I feel more at peace with his name, but after months of calling him "brother," it has been hard to make the transition. Emily and I still call him baby brother most of the time!




A little present for the Big Sis from baby brother


Dad gets to hold his 4th grandson!


Mom and Dad didn't waste any time driving up from Bowling Green for Caleb's birth. They even slept in their car for a few hours out in the hospital parking lot once they realized they had plenty of waiting time left. 



New family photo


Emily was a great big sis and posed for lots of photos while holding Caleb.


Jeremy looks pretty proud to hold his boy.


Joyce, our children's minister at church, visited us while at the hospital.


Poppy holding his first grandson. Caleb carries on the Reiss name. 


Dinkney and Caleb 



Getting ready to go home.


Caleb's sweet "going home" outfit


It is hard to overestimate how much Jeremy is going to love teaching his boy about baseball.



 Emily LOVES her brother.





First bath at home


Look at those cute little piggies!