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Friday, December 31, 2010


It's 5:45 in the morning, and I'm sitting here with my 9 day old baby boy. There were certainly times where I doubted this would ever be able to happen. But it DID finally happen! He's here, he's beautiful, and I couldn't be happier.

This blog is slowly evolving into something more personal. At first, all I did was blog about stupid criminal stories. They were fun, I enjoyed them, but it just seemed like there should be more of me to this. As I have blogged more about my life and the world around me, it's seemed a little empty without pictures that were actually part of that world. It was also very hard to find pictures that actually worked with my topics, and I've worried about copyright issues. If I use my own pictures, that's not an issue.

I've found so many blogs out there where people use actual pictures of their kids, they just don't use their real names. I was still debating the issue when I sort of accidentally posted a picture of the new kitten. I didn't even think about it, and didn't realize what I'd done until a couple hours later.

So consider yourselves lucky that you get to see real pictures of my real family now. :)

And isn't that little tiny person up there just plain adorable??

His birth was quite an adventure:

Pirate Munchkin had gone to bed, and Surfer Pirate and I were standing in the kitchen talking. It was Tuesday, December 21st. I had finished my last shift for the week, and I was really looking forward to the few days I would have to get things done before Christmas. Originally, I was only going to be working up until that week, but we were still so far behind I had promised to work two more days the next week. My house was a mess because I'd been so tired with my job, so I was looking forward to getting the kitchen nice and clean and doing some baking.

Suddenly, everything was very wet. With just a second's thought, I knew I needed to get upstairs to the bathroom to see what was going on. I said to Surfer Pirate "We have a problem", and took off like a bullet up the stairs. The entire way across the main floor and up the stairs, there was more and more. I got into the bathroom, and the flood really started. (Sorry if this is TMI, but I did warn you that this was a birth story!) Being more than 4 weeks early, I was more than a little concerned that my water had just broken! I picked up my cell phone - thankful that I'd had it with me - and called the midwife. She had told me previously that I would most likely know I was in labor before my water broke. But there were no other signs of labor. She told me that sometimes the cervix can open a little and let some fluid out, but then can close up again. We decided together that I would put myself on bedrest and wait and see. I had already set up an appointment with her for Thursday afternoon, so if nothing else happened, at least she would be there soon to see what was going on. In the back of my head, I knew there was too much fluid for it to be something like that, but I didn't want to panic. That was 8:45.

For the next few hours, I laid in bed and watched TV, had a little snack (a big ol' bowl of Malt-O-Meal's Marshmallow Mateys, thank you very much!), and dealt with a VERY stressed husband! He was basically having a panic attack. He was scared to death that he was going to have to deliver this baby by himself. I finally had to call a member of our ND (surrogate) family over to help him calm down. It worked, and Surfer Pirate was able to go to bed next to me and fall asleep.

At 11:45, the contractions started. It was obvious now between the contractions and the fluid that still kept leaking that this baby was ready to come out now! I called the midwife again, and we decided together that with it being so early, it was best that I go to the hospital. I woke up Surfer Pirate and started gathering up anything I could think of that I would need in the hospital for the baby and me. He went right back into panic mode, poor guy. We found someone to be at the house for Pirate Munchkin, loaded up everything in the truck and left town. I had been timing the contractions since they started. While they weren't intense, they were getting closer and closer together. We were only a couple miles out of town when they became pretty steady at 2 minutes apart. We decided to turn around and go back to our local hospital. They don't deliver babies there, but in an emergency, they're sure better than delivering the baby somewhere along the highway in the truck!

The doctor came in to the little ER exam room and checked me out. He didn't believe me that I was in labor! He kept talking about making sure my water really did break, and he checked to see if the baby was in position for delivery. He was pushing so hard on my stomach with that part that I almost punched him! But then the frosting on the cake was when he checked my cervix! If you've never had that done, you're missing out on one of the most painful experiences ever! Only the heaviest contractions equaled that amount of pain! He declared that I was dilated to less than 1 centimeter, and I would be safe to make the 1 hour drive to the nearest hospital that delivers.

Meanwhile, Surfer Pirate was so stressed and freaked out about the whole thing that he started hiccuping and didn't stop for over an hour!

Back in the truck and back on the highway. The snow was drifting all over the road. There was fog so thick that you couldn't even see the side of the highway. Surfer Pirate was doing his best to drive safely, hiccuping the whole time, while I said silent prayers through the contractions that we would arrive safely at the hospital before the baby was born. I kept my mother updated via text message. She and Dad were scared and worried, and feeling very helpless that they were so far away. Thankfully, the only animals were saw on the road were staying out of the way. We saw four HUGE snowshoe rabbits, and my mom was amused that even in during labor and a very stressful drive I managed to inform her about the bunnies. I saw one deer as he was leaping off the highway, but Surfer Pirate saw a large herd of deer in one of the places where the fog was lighter. Luckily, this drive is one I do to get to church every week, so I am very familiar with the drive. I was able to keep Surfer Pirate (and the parents via text) how many more miles we had to go.

Finally, the lights of the city were in view! We got into town and found our way to the hospital. (Previously, we didn't even know where it was, so they printed us a map at our little local hospital.) While it was tricky to find the emergency room door, we were thrilled to get there in time. We got inside, answered what questions we needed to to get me admitted, and they brought me a wheelchair. (Thank goodness! That was a LONG hallway to the maternity ward!) I was taken to a very nice, modern birthing suite and introduced to Laura - world's greatest nurse. She told me she actually worked full-time in the bigger hospital 90 miles away. She filled in part-time at this hospital. The doctor checked my cervix (OW! OW! OW!), had me sign a bunch of paperwork, and then he left the room. Surfer Pirate went out to our truck to see if he could take a little nap. When the doctor came back, he told me that after checking my delivery date, I was only 35 1/2 weeks, meaning my baby definitely qualified as a preemie. They didn't have a NICU unit in their hospital, so they would need to send me via ambulance 90 miles away to the other hospital! I was pretty upset about that, but I knew it was for the best. Laura told me she would be working the next night there and would see me then.

For the record, if I had known this hospital didn't have a NICU, I would have gone to the other hospital in the first place!

Surfer Pirate decided that he would go home first so Pirate Munchkin would find out from him what was going on. He was going to see her off to school and bring back the baby's car seat since we'd forgotten it in the rush to leave the house.

I was strapped onto the ambulance gurney and loaded up. The car lover in me was very interested in the hydraulics on the gurney and how it smoothly loaded into the ambulance with very little jostling of the patient. By now, it was REALLY early in the morning and I had been awake for almost 24 hours. The contractions were exhausting, and they were just getting more and more intense. The EMT kept talking to me throughout the ride, keeping my mind moving as much as he could while timing the contractions. I was so tired that I even dozed off between contractions while we were still talking. Let me tell you, contractions and bumpy, snowy, rural North Dakota roads in the dark of the early morning are not a good mix. Most of the hard labor happened on the ambulance ride.

We finally arrived, and I was hurried down the hall and into an elevator. Through the pain, I was still able to see the humor in the people who were waiting to get on, but chose not to climb into the elevator with the woman in labor! Smart thinking on their part because I had a contraction start right as we got on and spent most of the ride screaming. I was brought into a much more industrial-looking delivery room, but it didn't matter because the exhaustion and the contraction pain made it almost impossible to open my eyes. Tammy (a great nurse, but not as great as Laura) told me that all the screaming and moaning weren't helping my labor along and I needed to focus on just breathing through the contractions. She was my cheerleader and my coach through the contractions, and she was there waiting with a spoonful of ice as soon as the contraction ended. When I got there, I was dilated to a 6, and it didn't take long until I was up to a 9 - about 10 or 15 minutes, I think. At one point, the nurse had just given me my ice when the next contraction started. She told me to breathe, but I couldn't because of the ice. I finally just spit the whole mouthful out onto the bed.

Then came time to push. With each contraction, I was to push 3 times. Then, rest. I did that several times. Then at one point, I could hear Tammy telling me to push, and I realized I'd blacked out. A few more pushes, and another blackout. I kept listening to the conversation the doctor was having with the nurses. They kept saying how well I was doing, and how this was a perfect birth. That was really nice to hear because they weren't talking to me, so I knew they meant it and weren't just trying to cheer me on. I got to the point when I could feel the head and I knew we were almost done. Tammy told me to rest, and I said no. She told me it was okay, that if I felt the need to keep going, I should keep going. I pushed 3 more times, and the head was out! One last push, and the baby was all the way out! The little cry was immediate! It was the greatest sound in the world! I sat up and looked at my gorgeous baby. My first feeling was recognition - that I'd seen him before. Someone said "He looks great", but no one had announced if it was a boy or a girl. There were so many hands around him that I couldn't see for sure. I asked if it was a boy, and someone made the announcement official. I had a son!

Pirate Baby was born at 8:59am, weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces. He was 20 1/2 inches long, but they didn't actually measure his length until the next day.

From there, everything was a blur. H was taken to be cleaned up and evaluated. I kept watching him and all the action around him. I got to hold my baby. I kissed him and talked to him. He was kind of gray, and he kept grunting. They said he was struggling to breathe and took him back from me. I was disappointed, but I knew his health was more important than my need to hold him. The doctor told me I needed to push again because the placenta was coming. He said I had a small tear and would need a few stitches. Stitches were done (OW! OW! OW!). The doctor kept saying "Everything we do down here is painful." I was cleaned up and was able to sit up. I sat there eating my ice with a spoon and watching everything going on around me. The nurse asked me what his name was, and I spelled it for her so she could put it in the computer.

Meanwhile, poor Surfer Pirate was trying to get to the hospital on nasty roads while functioning on no sleep. He had checked in with his job, made arrangements for the dogs and our daughter, got Pirate Munchkin up and off to school, grabbed the car seat and was on his way. He was about a third of the way there when I called him and told him we had a son. He didn't process what I said at first because he was distracted by hearing Pirate Baby crying in the background. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about how he choked up when he realized what was going on. I filled him in on what details I could and encouraged him to pull over if he needed a minute to regroup before finishing the drive (he didn't). Next, I called my mom and told her about her new grandson.

Eventually, Pirate Baby was taken to the NICU, and I was taken to my regular room.

*There is much more to the story, since we were in the hospital for 5 days - over Christmas. I'm not sure yet how much detail to include, so Part 2 will continue sometime in the future.


B. said...

Wow! I know you told me the story over the phone, but this had a little more drama and detail, and was very fun to read! :-)

MTGrace said...

Glad you enjoyed it. It was definitely an adventure!