The newest member of our family is 2 weeks old today, so I am a little late in getting this out. I am fairly certain most of you already know about him anyway, but I still must write about it in the blog!
Luke Edward was born on 11/10/09, at 3:35am. He was over a week past his estimated due date, and we'd had a prenatal visit Monday afternoon, I was dilated to 4cm then, and everything looked fine in the NST, but we had planned to induce by that Friday if he hadn't been born by then. Monday evening was normal, uneventful, we went to bed, but at 11:39pm I was awakened by a VERY INTENSE contraction! I went to the bathroom, climbed back into bed, and about 10 minutes after the first one, I had another one. I stayed in bed until the 3rd one came a little less than 10 minutes later, but these were so very intense and obviously the real thing that I woke Matt up - "It's time!"
He ran around the house getting things put in the car while I attempted to get dressed (not too easy when you are in labor!). Finally I was ready to go, we got in the car and called his parents (12:44am) who live across the road to come and stay with Cora, and we were headed to the hospital. It's about a 40-45 minute drive to the hospital depending on traffic conditions, but my dear husband made it there in just over 30! His strategy: travel at a reasonably super fast speed to avoid getting a ticket for reckless driving, but he wasn't going to slow down if he saw another car - he thought that if we did get pulled over we'd get a police escort the rest of the way!
When we got to the hospital they let us in, we rode the elevator up to the second floor, and then had to walk the rest of the way to the birthing center, while a tech escorted us. I had to stop about every 50 feet for a contraction! Finally we made it, and they gave us a room, and it seemed like from there nothing ever slowed down. Nurses and techs asking questions, getting a heart rate reading from the baby, getting my blood pressure, me changing clothes, our doula arriving, them saying we had to move our car (thankfully, our doula was there and was able to get most of our stuff inside, then move the car....I could not have been without Matt at that point - those contractions were coming hard and fast and just would not let up!).
I was officially admitted to the hospital at 1:55am. Labor was really intense and never let up - with Cora I had a big contraction, then got to rest for several moments between the contractions. Seemed like with Luke's birth - I'd have a big contraction, just barely catch my breath, and then the next one would come. People were always asking me to do things in between contractions (reasonable things, really, but I was in labor and just wanted to rest!).
I spent a lot of time on a birth ball while Matt sat on the bed and I leaned on him and rocked back and forth, and was sooo glad we'd brought the exercise ball from home that I was used to - the one they had at the hospital was TINY! After they asked me to get in the bed so they could check my dilation, I then mostly was sitting up on my knees, facing the back of the bed, leaning over the back with it raised up for support. At some point, the doctor checked me and I was fully dilated, and I pushed for a little while in that position, until they had me flip over and sit down to actually birth the baby. I am not for sure how long I actually pushed - things were going so fast and I had no concept of time, but Luke was born at 3:35am.
They gave him right to me, and I was able to hold him for a little while, but I ended up hemorrhaging pretty badly, so the nurses took him to the warmer while the doctor worked on me to stop the bleeding, deliver the placenta, and stitch up my small tear. I ended up with a couple of shots, and they had to start an IV because I had lost so much blood. After I was taken care of, Matt brought Luke over (sometime around 4am) and he nursed for a little over an hour. Around then, the baby nurse came back to check his respiration, and it was in the 60's and higher (normal is in the 40s). She was concerned and was going to ask the head baby nurse, and it turned out they wanted to keep him for monitoring for a while until his breathing slowed to a normal rate.
Turned out what Luke had was TTN, which is basically just a fast respiration rate - it looked like he was panting. It isn't something that's preventable, or predictable. Sometimes it happens because the baby inhales amniotic fluid on the way out, sometimes it happens in a fast birth (like his was!) because the baby doesn't get enough time in the birth canal to squeeze the lungs and get them cleared out. There was no treatment for it, just time - as the baby adjusts to life outside the womb, he gradually begins to breathe normally. He didn't need to have oxygen, or an IV, just stayed on the monitor to track his respiration rate, heart rate, and oxygen levels. Since he was breathing so fast, it wasn't safe for him to be fed by mouth - there is a risk of aspiration which could lead to pneumonia. So, I pumped every 3 hours, and he was fed by a tube.
This went on until Thursday morning, around 9am, when finally his breathing had slowed enough that I could breastfeed him again! This was such great news - we'd been told that once his respiration got down, and once it was clear he was nursing well, that we could go home!
Unfortunately, I had to be discharged from the hospital by midnight on Thursday, so the remainder of that night was spent in the 4th floor "boarder parents lounge" which was an unsecured room in an unused wing of the hospital next to Pediatrics that had fold-out couches and a bathroom with a toilet and sink. My mom stayed with me so I woudn't have to stay alone and haul my stuff back and forth each time. Whenever Luke woke up and was ready to eat, the Nursery called Pediatrics who came down the hall to get me. I'd wake up, use the bathroom, stumble down the hall to the elevator, weave my sleepy way down the hall, request entrance into the birthing center, knock on the door to the nursery, wash my hands, and finally, 10 minutes after first learning he was hungry, nurse my baby. It was not at all ideal, but it was definitely better than him having a bottle and unlearning how to breastfeed!
So, after having been up all night on 11/10/09 when Luke was born, the longest stretch of sleep I had in the hospital was Wednesday night (or early Thursday morning) when we went from 1am to 6am and just skipped one pumping to try to get some rest. Other than that it was more like 2-3 hour stretches of sleep at a time, and by Friday morning I was EXHAUSTED! Being newly postpartum, hormonal, spending all that time awake, and in the nursery, with the monitors that beep nearly constantly, and having to be super careful of the wires strapped to your newborn anytime I held him - it was super stressful! We were VERY glad and so grateful to be discharged from the hospital Friday afternoon, we finally got to introduce Cora to her little brother, and started being a family of 4 at home!
Now that Luke is 2 weeks old, we're starting to get into the swing of "normal" - he's a really great eater (birth weight was 8lbs, 1oz, at discharge was 7lbs, 11oz, and on Monday at his first weight check was 8lbs, 9oz!), his big sister is very understanding that little Luke needs a lot of attention from Mommy and Daddy because he's a newborn. And really, even with such a rocky start, things are going pretty smoothly now - what a wonderful blessing from God!
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