Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When You Were Born

Harper Jane - Day 7

Dear Sweet Harper,

Our beautiful baby. You are the best gift we have ever received. You're kind of like Christmas and July 4th and Valentine's Day all rolled up into one... only so much better!

We fell in love with you the minute we saw you. I don't know how we'll ever express how completely we've fallen for you and how amazing you are. You are so alert, and we love staring into your eyes. We wonder about all of the possibilities for your future and the person you'll grow up to be.

When You Were Born: Your Story

I want to give you the story of when you were born. It's a long story that wasn't always pretty and sometimes was scary, but it was so miraculous and it's all yours.

For starters, you must have been very comfortable in your little cocoon because you were ten days overdue. The doctors told us that we'd better think about getting you out of there, so we scheduled the appointment for Monday, May 5. We thought that would be a pretty cool date for you to be born so we could have a Cinco de Mayo party for your day. Your dad likes Mexican food a lot, so we figured that would be a winner all around.

We called the hospital at six o'clock in the morning to see if they still had room for us to come in. They gave us the go ahead and told me to eat a light breakfast before we came in at 7:30 AM. After I got that news, I was trying not to think about how excited and nervous I was. I took a shower, got dressed and tried to eat some breakfast. I only managed to get down half of the bowl of oatmeal, one slice of toast and some milk. If I'd known how hungry I'd be by lunch time, maybe I'd have been able to eat more, but I doubt it. Your dad showered too and gathered up some last minute items to take with us. We certainly took enough stuff with us... a lot more than we needed, but we were prepared!

We said goodbye to your Grandma Jane and Grandma Ruby and started the drive to the hospital. I have no idea what your dad and I talked about on the way. I only remember checking the clock a lot because we were running a few minutes late. We arrived at the emergency room entrance at the hospital because I forgot to ask where we were supposed to check in if we weren't in labor yet. It turned out that we needed to go to the Family Birth Center part of the hospital instead, so we decided to walk through the hospital. It was quite a maze, but we made it. We got checked in and headed to our labor room LL04. Everyone who visited had to wear handwritten name tags with the room number, and we decided it looked like everyone was named Lloyd.

I started out with my cervix being 2 cm dilated and about 75% effaced. The nurse hooked up my IV and by 9:30 AM the Pitocin medicine was started to get contractions started. They weren't too bad at first, and after a few hours I was about 3 cm dilated. Your daddy was in charge of unhooking and rehooking up my monitors and IV. He really liked pushing the buttons on there. Around 2 PM the contractions were stronger, and the doctor decided to break my water. Things definitely sped up from there. The contractions got very painful... about a 5 to 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. I wasn't sure if I should get an epidural for pain or not. I was worried that getting one would slow down labor, but I wasn't sure how much worse the pain would get and if I could handle it. At 4 PM I was 3 cm dilated and 85% effaced. The nurse said that was great progress. It felt like I had a LONG way to go, and I decided to get the epidural. I was a little scared about the process, but it actually wasn't that bad, and the epidural medicine was just right. I could still move my legs and toes, but the pain of the contractions was greatly diminished. Being able to relax helped things move along. By 6 PM or so I was 6 cm dilated. By 9 PM I was fully dilated. The contractions definitely started hurting by then, but it was a different kind of hurt. Lots of pressure. The doctor had me do a few practice pushes with her and then I pushed with the nurse. You weren't turned completely into position... you had about an eighth of a turn left to go so pushing was very hard. You weren't really coming down to where you needed to be.

After I pushed for more than three and a half hours, the doctor was nervous about you because I was getting very swollen and very tired and you weren't making your appearance. She attached a special monitor to your head to be able to listen to your heartbeat. She calmly explained that she might have to use a vacuum to get you out and if that didn't work, we would have to go into a quick and probably difficult c-section. The nurse called for the anesthesiologist, the doctor prepared for the vacuum extraction, and I kept pushing. Very soon everyone was exclaiming that they could see the top of your head and your dark hair. I got worried because every time I pushed the heartbeat monitor would stop. Somehow I found some more energy and after about three or four more contractions everyone was telling me that they could see more of her head and that I was almost there. The doctor was so reassuring. Every time I looked up she would calmly tell me how I was doing. After a few more big pushes and a lot of exclamations from everyone, your head finally came out. One more push after that and you were here!

Because I had been pushing so long and you had been under some stress, I only saw you for just a minute before the nurses took you to check you out. Everyone was so glad and relieved that you finally arrived. You got pink right away and gave us some cries. Everyone checked you out while the doctor fixed me up. You weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces... the same as I weighed when I was born, and you were 22 inches long. After a clean up and a few photos, the nurse brought you over to me. Your eyes were wide open and we stared at you for a long time. You had so much hair! We immediately fell in love.

Welcome to the world, Harper Jane! We love you SO much and are so glad you are part of our lives!

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