Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Torin's here! The birth story.

Although today was Torin's original due date, it has already been a week since our baby boy got here. But because I've been living in a blur of feedings and diapers and doctor appointments, I am just now able to sit down and document how he arrived.

As arranged by my doctor, I arrived at the labor and delivery department of the hospital at 7:30 pm on Monday, October 5. He administered Cervidil, a drug to ripen my cervix. We waited for 12 hours, and in the morning, the doctor determined that the drug had not worked at all. Then he began the administration of pitocin, a drug that induces labor, via I.V. From that point forward, I was not allowed to drink or eat anything other than ice chips, and I was tethered to the bed while the monitored the baby's heartbeat and my contractions. Bedpans are the worst!

At first, the pitocin wasn't working. My cervix remained sealed shut. They kept increasing the pitocin dose, and by midday, things finally got going. However, the progress was still slower than my doctor preferred, and although he wanted to avoid doing a c-section, he wanted me to get an epidural so that I'd be prepared in the event that surgery was necessary. At 2:30 pm, as the epidural was being applied to my spine, my water broke. Then the REAL contractions began!

That evening was actually enjoyable, as I had plenty of company and plenty of pain-killing medicine in my epidural. My aunt Cherie and her husband Mike came by, as did my sister, my parents, and my good friends Andrew and Jennifer. They all stayed until around 8 or 9 pm. Then only my mother and Joey (of course) stayed on.

My cervix finally began to give way at a quick enough rate that my doctor officially ruled out the c-section. However, he had to leave for the night, and another doctor in his practice, Dr. Jones (whom I also adore), took over. As the night progressed, so did my condition. Around 2:00 am on Wednesday, my contractions were strong enough that I couldn't get enough relief out of my epidural. The doctor checked my cervix at that point and--it was time to push!

After an hour of my pushing, a perfectly healthy Torin Parker came into our world at 3:03 am, weighing 7 pounds and 12 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. I cried--out of relief, out of joy, out of wonder, out of exhaustion.

Then came the more difficult part--the afterbirth. I lost a lot of blood. A lot. Dr. Jones had to manually remove the placenta, which was far more painful than the birth of the baby himself. After what seemed like hours, she finally stitched me up and was finished. However, with my empty stomach and dire thirst, I kept vomiting all of the various pills they were trying to give me. Between bouts of vomiting, I drifted in and out of a deep sleep.

I have to say, I have never been so thirsty in my entire life. I have never known such a thirst. I was allowed a minimal number of ice chips, which did nothing to satisfy this degree of thirst. Finally, around 6 am, the nurse allowed me to have a Sprite, albeit only a couple of sips at a time. That was the best-tasting drink I have ever had.

A few hours later, I was moved to my postpartum recovery room, where Joey and I stayed until I was released, on Friday, October 8. During that time, the doctors were concerned with my low blood count and finally gave me a blood transfusion. After receiving two units of blood, my count was high enough for me to be able to go home.

Being discharged was a bittersweet ordeal for me. As the baby blues set in and my hormones took over, I found myself crying as the nurse wheeled me downstairs to our waiting car. I was so afraid to be on my own, alone with this precious, fragile new life. But there we were, suddenly out in the world as three, rather than two, people. And like so many people do every day all over the world, we set off to begin our new life as a family, with one eye on the rear-view mirror and another eye on the winding road ahead.