Alden’s Arrival

Okay, so 11 days later and today I just found my way into the shower at 5pm. Still, I think I’m getting my feet under me a little each day. There’s so much to say, and much I’m still not able to articulate well. So for now I’ll just do my best to document the day that he arrived.

Monday the 8th was my final pre-natal checkup, which was officially one day overdue (which we all know isn’t really worth much). I knew it was a post-due checkup because both the doctor and the midwife were involved, when usually I got one or the other. It’s a practice that is uncomfortable with overdue babies. I didn’t ask why, but am guessing that it stems from anecdotal experience of babies going bad. At least that’s my guess. My touchy-feely, birth-center-centric doctor told me on my very first visit that the one thing she’s not comfortable with is overdue babies. So here’s what I learned at that appointment:
— They’d give me one more week. If I didn’t go into labor I would be admitted to the hospital the following Monday night for induction, for a Tuesday delivery.
— In the meantime, they wouldn’t let more than three days go by without seeing me for a non-stress test and amniotic fluid measurement.
— My doctor only delivers on Tuesdays.
— My insurance only covered the doctor, not the midwives. So if I didn’t give birth on a Tuesday then I would be delivered by someone I’d never met.
— I was 3.5 cm dilated, not at all effaced.

So we went home and I did a lot of complaining about the fact that I didn’t want a stranger to deliver the baby. As a result, much of that evening was spent staring down a bottle of castor oil. I’ve read a million arguments for and against using it. Normally I wouldn’t have considered it, but the midwife told me she was comfortable with it and I really, really wanted my doctor to do the delivery. But ultimately, I returned it to the pantry and drank the shake Damon bought me straight. I was just too worried about starting a labor that was harder than it had to be.

That turned out to be the right choice. Tuesday morning around 1:30am the contractions I’d been having for weeks became regular and uncomfortable enough to wake me up and keep me up. Six minutes apart and closing. So we hung around the apartment waiting. I sat on the birthing ball, did stretches, Damon massaged my back. You know, all the tricks you learn. The only thing I wasn’t able to pull of was making sure I got some food. I was in no mood for anything more than sips of water.

Around 5 my contractions hit the magic 4-1-1 (4 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for at least an hour). I felt like I could wait a little longer, but I knew if I didn’t go immediately I was looking at Midtown rush hour traffic until at least 11. The pain was bearable, but getting worse. So we paged the doctor to let her know we were on the way and then we called the car service. And they insisted they didn’t have a car for us! Damon made the mistake of telling them we needed a ride to the hospital and they quickly put two and two together and wanted no part of that. So we hustled down to the lobby, which as a 24-hour concierge. She took in the situation and then went bolting into the middle of the street waving her arms screaming, “Taxi!Taxi!Taxi” even though there were no cars. Damon went down to 2nd Ave. where there was more traffic and I leaned against the building shouting, “Be careful!” at the concierge. When she wouldn’t come out of the middle of the street I resorted to yelling, “If you get hit by a car we’ll take you to the hospital with us.” Finally Damon got a cab on 2nd and was smart enough to throw our bags into the car before revealing his heavily pregnant wife and breaking the news that this wasn’t an airport trip, but a hospital trip.

Many times I’ve watched those birth shows and wondered why women in labor seem so much more miserable in the car. I still don’t understand all the mechanics, but I can attest that it’s true. My contractions went from painful-but-manageable to through-the-roof miserable. I clung to the leather hand strap and gritted my way through them, but Damon was counting down blocks for me and I knew things were escalating.

Finally we got to the hospital and crossed paths with two paramedics leaving the building. They took a look at me and then popped me up on their stretcher and gave me a ride to OB triage. We were treated to a little foreshadowing when they kept laughing and saying, “Oh, they are going to love us up there. We just brought them another woman in labor.” in the same way you might say that you just brought someone a huge pile of onerous work or smelly garbage. And, indeed, that’s kind of how we felt in triage. The residents and nurses could not have seemed more bored or less sympathetic. I do know that they probably see all manner of drama and bad behavior. But still, I wanted to say, “You don’t know me. I’m actually very good with pain and rarely panic. I’m still not panicking. But I’m in a shocking amount of pain and would appreciate a little compassion.” But instead I just laid in my little hard bed and clung to the railing. A resident came by to tell me that I was at 4cm and 50% effaced, but that they still thought I should go walk around a little… and maybe go get something to eat! Her reasoning was that I’d told them I was at 3cm the day before, so I could still be dilating for days. It was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard, but at this point we were miserable and demoralized so we let them chase us out to “walk the halls.”

The hall walking lasting for about five minutes, before I asked Damon to page my doctor directly. She called him right back and said, “Where are you?” And he said, “We’re walking around the hospital.” And she said, “I’m AT the hospital. Go back to triage right now!” So we went to the triage waiting room and sat down. Two minutes later my doctor came in. I’ll never forget her coming over to me and squatting down, saying, “I’m sorry for this.” And then she turned to the desk clerk and said, “This is my patient. Admit her directly.” And from then on everything was exactly as we had hoped. She was an absolute life saver. For the duration of my labor she was a frequent visitor, each time making sure I was getting everything I wanted and needed without delay or complication.

Before we were even out of the waiting room she asked me what I wanted to do for pain. I told her I didn’t want any IV narcotics, but was interested in an epidural. So while the wonderful L&D nurses (as opposed to the horrible triage nurses) settled me in, my doc called down to anesthesiology and requested someone come up immediately. So while they squeezed two bags of fluid into my IV, the epidural was being set up and they were ready for me as soon as the final drops went in. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about the epidural, both wonderful and horrible. Fortunately, I’m in the wonderful camp. It didn’t hurt at all going in and it rendered me happily pain and side effect free.

It was about 9am at this point, and Damon and I were both able to get some sleep. When I woke up, the doctor came by to ask if I wanted her to break my water. I said, “Sure!” That done, she took off to do a C-section. An hour later my nurse came by (I had several, but this one seemed to be in charge of me) to say that the doctor suggested some light bumps of Pitocin. I said that as long as they kept them small and gave them time in between I was game for that as well. So whenever my contractions started to kind of meander, they’d give me a little hit to put me back on track.

Around 4, the epidural ran out as planned. The nurse explained that they did that so I could push effectively. I explained to her that all I was going to do effectively with this kind of pain was cling to Damon and pray for death. So after I said, “You turn that back on and I swear I will get this baby out!” they gave in and turned on the spigot again. Much relief.

One of the wonderful things about our hospital is that it’s a major center for obstetrics, including obstetric analgesia. So what I was getting was the “walking epidural.” Now there’s no way I could actually walk, but I was able to feel my legs enough to move them. I didn’t feel any pain from the contractions, but I could feel them as pressure.

I also want to take a moment to note that my transitional, Pitocin-induced contractions felt exactly the same as my triage 4cm contractions. So those triage bitches can bit me.

Anyway, shortly after they re-started the drugs my doctor and nurse came by to take a look. Doc took one peek and laughed, “Oh, I see him! We better break down this bed!” The nurse was giving me the scoop on what to expect and how to make the most of each contraction. She said, “Don’t get discouraged. Often times new moms have to push for about two hours before we get the baby out. That’s normal.” I know she also wanted to say that new moms who don’t demand their epidural get turned back on go faster, but bless her for restraining herself.

I have to note here that Damon was absolutely heroic through the whole event. He was calm and patient and supportive. One of our early nurses actually came back after her shift was over to ask if she could stick around for the delivery. She said she was so touched by how well Damon and I were working together and she’d like to see us have our baby. I say that not to say how awesome I was, because all credit really goes to him. Anyway:

Once they were all set up my doctor said, “Okay Jillian! It’s 4:30 and I’m off at 5:15. So let’s get this baby out before I go!” (This, by the way, was a total lie as I know she went off to do surgery after she left me. But it was very motivating.) I started pushing and I’ve never felt anything like it. I was sort of searching around my muscles trying to figure out what to squeeze where, when suddenly I felt him move. I literally felt the baby slide down a little bit. And after that we were off. I remember the doctor using oils and massage to try to keep me from tearing. She was chanting, “Come on baby. Come on baby. Come on baby.” more to herself than to me or to him. I was watching the whole show in the reflection of the television screen, which turned out to be perfectly positioned. Very quickly (third push) the top of his head was out and I reached down to palm it. He was so soft and I could feel tons of hair. After that there was no hope of moving slowly or easing him out. I wanted him and I wanted him immediately. After almost ten months of patience I didn’t have any more waiting left in me. So two more massive pushes and a quick episiotomy as I began to tear, and out he popped. Five sets of pushes total, 5pm on the dot. Total euphoria. I don’t quite remember the next few seconds, but I know I lunged forward and Damon says I kept saying, “Give him here! Give him here!” Which they did pretty much immediately and I pulled my son, sticky and pale, up onto my chest. I won’t make it trite by trying to describe that moment. But I do have a photo:

There’s so much more. 36 hours after his birth, we left the hospital. Breast feeding is hard and wonderful, and that should get its own entry. There will be plenty more where this came from, so those who don’t care to read about babies should probably give me a pass for a while. In the meantime, here are a few more photos of my guys:

I know Alden is sleeping in all of them. But I’m too busy kissing him when he’s awake to take his picture.

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91 responses to this post.

  1. Congratulations!!!
    And what wonderful photos. All the best to the three of you. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  2. Congratulations!!!
    And what wonderful photos. All the best to the three of you. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  3. Congratulations!!!
    And what wonderful photos. All the best to the three of you. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  4. Congratulations!!!
    And what wonderful photos. All the best to the three of you. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  5. Congratulations!!!
    And what wonderful photos. All the best to the three of you. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  6. Congratulations!!!
    And what wonderful photos. All the best to the three of you. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  7. Congratulations!!!
    And what wonderful photos. All the best to the three of you. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  8. He’s just beautiful, and I’m proud of you. πŸ™‚ And it’s hard to impress those women in triage. I had to go in an ambulance with Monster to do it, and the second time I just sat there being snide while she typed my full biography. You’d think there’d be a better system in place.
    I love the picture of him and Damon sleeping. That’s just beautiful.

    Reply

  9. He’s just beautiful, and I’m proud of you. πŸ™‚ And it’s hard to impress those women in triage. I had to go in an ambulance with Monster to do it, and the second time I just sat there being snide while she typed my full biography. You’d think there’d be a better system in place.
    I love the picture of him and Damon sleeping. That’s just beautiful.

    Reply

  10. He’s just beautiful, and I’m proud of you. πŸ™‚ And it’s hard to impress those women in triage. I had to go in an ambulance with Monster to do it, and the second time I just sat there being snide while she typed my full biography. You’d think there’d be a better system in place.
    I love the picture of him and Damon sleeping. That’s just beautiful.

    Reply

  11. He’s just beautiful, and I’m proud of you. πŸ™‚ And it’s hard to impress those women in triage. I had to go in an ambulance with Monster to do it, and the second time I just sat there being snide while she typed my full biography. You’d think there’d be a better system in place.
    I love the picture of him and Damon sleeping. That’s just beautiful.

    Reply

  12. He’s just beautiful, and I’m proud of you. πŸ™‚ And it’s hard to impress those women in triage. I had to go in an ambulance with Monster to do it, and the second time I just sat there being snide while she typed my full biography. You’d think there’d be a better system in place.
    I love the picture of him and Damon sleeping. That’s just beautiful.

    Reply

  13. He’s just beautiful, and I’m proud of you. πŸ™‚ And it’s hard to impress those women in triage. I had to go in an ambulance with Monster to do it, and the second time I just sat there being snide while she typed my full biography. You’d think there’d be a better system in place.
    I love the picture of him and Damon sleeping. That’s just beautiful.

    Reply

  14. He’s just beautiful, and I’m proud of you. πŸ™‚ And it’s hard to impress those women in triage. I had to go in an ambulance with Monster to do it, and the second time I just sat there being snide while she typed my full biography. You’d think there’d be a better system in place.
    I love the picture of him and Damon sleeping. That’s just beautiful.

    Reply

  15. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and Damon!
    …and I love Alden’s fashion sense! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  16. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and Damon!
    …and I love Alden’s fashion sense! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  17. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and Damon!
    …and I love Alden’s fashion sense! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  18. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and Damon!
    …and I love Alden’s fashion sense! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  19. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and Damon!
    …and I love Alden’s fashion sense! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  20. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and Damon!
    …and I love Alden’s fashion sense! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  21. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and Damon!
    …and I love Alden’s fashion sense! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  22. Oh, God. He’s perfect. I can’t stop crying, he’s so beautiful.

    Reply

  23. Oh, God. He’s perfect. I can’t stop crying, he’s so beautiful.

    Reply

  24. Oh, God. He’s perfect. I can’t stop crying, he’s so beautiful.

    Reply

  25. Oh, God. He’s perfect. I can’t stop crying, he’s so beautiful.

    Reply

  26. Oh, God. He’s perfect. I can’t stop crying, he’s so beautiful.

    Reply

  27. Oh, God. He’s perfect. I can’t stop crying, he’s so beautiful.

    Reply

  28. Oh, God. He’s perfect. I can’t stop crying, he’s so beautiful.

    Reply

  29. *happy sigh*

    Reply

  30. *happy sigh*

    Reply

  31. *happy sigh*

    Reply

  32. *happy sigh*

    Reply

  33. *happy sigh*

    Reply

  34. *happy sigh*

    Reply

  35. *happy sigh*

    Reply

  36. I was tearing enough reading the story…the pictures did me in. Congrats lady! And you wont ever stop wanting to kiss his little head…

    Reply

  37. I was tearing enough reading the story…the pictures did me in. Congrats lady! And you wont ever stop wanting to kiss his little head…

    Reply

  38. I was tearing enough reading the story…the pictures did me in. Congrats lady! And you wont ever stop wanting to kiss his little head…

    Reply

  39. I was tearing enough reading the story…the pictures did me in. Congrats lady! And you wont ever stop wanting to kiss his little head…

    Reply

  40. I was tearing enough reading the story…the pictures did me in. Congrats lady! And you wont ever stop wanting to kiss his little head…

    Reply

  41. I was tearing enough reading the story…the pictures did me in. Congrats lady! And you wont ever stop wanting to kiss his little head…

    Reply

  42. I was tearing enough reading the story…the pictures did me in. Congrats lady! And you wont ever stop wanting to kiss his little head…

    Reply

  43. Congrats! The child looks good.

    Reply

  44. Congrats! The child looks good.

    Reply

  45. Congrats! The child looks good.

    Reply

  46. Congrats! The child looks good.

    Reply

  47. Congrats! The child looks good.

    Reply

  48. Congrats! The child looks good.

    Reply

  49. Congrats! The child looks good.

    Reply

  50. Beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  51. Beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  52. Beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  53. Beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  54. Beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  55. Beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  56. Beautiful. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  57. Oh man, he’s gorgeous!

    Reply

  58. Oh man, he’s gorgeous!

    Reply

  59. Oh man, he’s gorgeous!

    Reply

  60. Oh man, he’s gorgeous!

    Reply

  61. Oh man, he’s gorgeous!

    Reply

  62. Oh man, he’s gorgeous!

    Reply

  63. Oh man, he’s gorgeous!

    Reply

  64. Thank you! I’m sure your comment is more about emotional content than composition but I’ll take a photo compliment from you any day.

    Reply

  65. Thank you πŸ™‚
    The sleeping photo is my favorite as well. I wish I could have that moment over every single day.

    Reply

  66. Oh my gosh, those clothes turned out to be CRITICAL. We did not have nearly enough tiny stuff. Thanks to Rocketboy for his generosity!

    Reply

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