Monday, October 11, 2010

Mac's Birth Story

Better late than never, right? I wanted to capture the story of Mac's birth for everyone. I think this will be reader-friendly, without the gory details. But the nice thing about doing this a few weeks after the fact is that I don't really remember many of the gory details!

So let's just say that on Friday, September 17, I woke up and started to get ready for my 10:30 doctor's appointment. Over the course of the morning, I had reason to believe that my water may have broken. It wasn't obvious at first -- it's wasn't a gushing waterfall like you see in the movies.  So I figured my doctor would tell me when I got there. And she did. She was going to perform a couple of tests, but immediately confirmed. Yes, my water broke.

She told me to go home, get my stuff (fortunately, I had packed that week) and head to the hospital. I asked if I could get some lunch first, and she said that was fine. I called the MacDaddy to let him know it was go-time, which got him out of a boring meeting. I also called Gigi, who had already rescheduled her flight to arrive that night.

Then I went to Jamba Juice to get my favorite -- a Peanut Butter Moo'd. The girls behind the counter said I looked like I was ready to pop. I told them I was, in fact, ready to pop and that my water broke that morning. It was fun watching their chins drop to the ground. I explained that everything was fine, I had just come from the doctor's office and I had time before I had to go to the hospital.

Once I got home, the MacDaddy informed me that someone wanted to show the place. I said that was fine, but it would have to be AS-IS. Well, the MacDaddy didn't seem to understand "as-is" and spent the next hour and a half getting the place ready to show. When I told him he didn't need to vacuum, he said he was doing it for Gigi, who would be sleeping on the floor (on an air mattress, of course). Basically, he was frantic, and he was releasing his energy by cleaning. Oh, and it didn't help that he had slept for about 2 hours the night before -- he was up reading all night.

Finally, the MacDaddy got his bag together and we left for the hospital.  He was still tense -- he told me that he expected the next 24 hours to be alternately boring and stressful. It was about an hour from check-in at admissions until we got to my room, and the MacDaddy actually fell asleep. I was relieved -- he needed it.

Once we got into a room, we pulled out the computer and started watching Supernatural, Season 5.  At that point, the MacDaddy realized the whole labor thing would not be what he was expecting. In fact, it was kinda fun.  Around 5, my doctor stopped by and determined that, based on the smile on my face, I was not having contractions and would require pitocin to induce labor. I knew that would mean no food, so I asked if I could have dinner first. She said I could, if I did it within the hour, so I sent the MacDaddy off to get me In 'n Out Burger.

So it was 7 pm, about 12 hours after my water broke, that they started the pitocin. Gigi got to the hospital about 2 hours after that, and things were still pretty quiet. Then, about an hour after Gigi got there, the pitocin finally kicked in, and I started feeling the contractions.

After my nurse determined that I had made some progress, she offered me the epidural. For a split second, I considered deviating from my original plan ("epi-ASAP") because the contractions weren't that bad. Then I remembered my reasoning: if I waited until I needed it, I'd have to live for another hour and a half wishing I'd asked earlier. Thankfully, I stuck to the plan. It was only about half an hour to push the fluids, and then maybe another half hour for the anesthesiologist to get there. But by the time he showed up, I was definitely ready. Definitely. And it was definitely a relief.

Then Gigi, the MacDaddy and I settled in for the night at around 11, and I hadn't made much more progress. Until we woke up around 2:30 or so. At that point, the MacDaddy wanted to go home and take a nap in a real bed. But Gigi suggested that we should have the nurse check my progress first. Fortunately for us -- I was pretty much ready to start pushing!

At that point, the MacDaddy left to call Nana and invited her to join us. I was thankful to have her there to help -- it freed Gigi to take photos. And, of course, how special for Mac that he got to meet both of his grandmothers when he was born!

I won't go into too much detail, except to say that the pushing was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. Probably for three reasons. First, my nurse (Beverly) was fantastic -- a great coach and a great guide. She made sure I knew exactly what I needed to do. Second, I only had to push for an hour and nine minutes (Apparently, the MacDaddy was counting). Third, my contractions were several minutes apart at that point, so I had time to rest -- almost fall asleep -- in between.  (In fact, if my contractions had been 2 minutes apart, I probably would have pushed for about 20 minutes.)  (Well, there's also a fourth reason -- Mac was only 6 pounds, 4 ounces.)

I will always remember the moment that I first saw Alexander McKay. I will always remember that rush of emotion. But I will never have words to describe it, so I won't even try.

Mac was born less than 24 hours after my water broke. I had expected labor to be, well, laborious. Pretty miserable. But it really wasn't at all. In fact, it was a pretty positive experience. And the end was the best part.

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