The birth of Wyatt: Part 3: Shock and "aww"
The mayhem around my hospital bed seemed to last forever. I was freaking out and wondering why the heck I wasn't being wheeled down the hall to the OR for a C-section. Then I saw my midwife, Sage, smile at the anesthesiologist, and I began to calm down.
The extra hands left my room almost as quickly as they entered, and I was once again left with Jeff and my nurse. I took off my oxygen mask and asked what happened. The epidural made my blood pressure return to my normal levels (it had been high all labor). When that happened, the baby's heart rate dropped dangerously low. A shot of epinephrine brought things back to normal, thankfully. The human body never ceases to amaze me. I was aggravated all evening that my blood pressure was so high. But ironically, my high blood pressure is what my baby needed to stay healthy.
For the next hour, Jeff and I were left alone. Had I known this would be our final hour as a family of two, I'm sure we would have talked about something slightly more meaningful. Instead, I just rattled on about how hungry I was for a spicy chicken biscuit from Chick-fil-a (something I had only eaten once or twice ever). I told him it was my goal to get the baby out before breakfast hours at the fast food joint were over. But I knew that wasn't going to happen. Epidurals always slow down labor, so I ruined my chances to get my greasy, yummy breakfast.
Jeff stayed positive as always. He said I'd have the baby around 6:00 a.m. and I told him there was no chance he'd come so quickly. But he encouraged me to be optimistic and pick the time I wanted our son to arrive. I said before 4:00 a.m. Like that would happen…
At 2:40 a.m., my nurse came back into the room to check how dilated I was. Then she asked how I felt about pushing. Pushing?! I was given the epidural an hour ago! How could I have gone from 5cm to 10cm in an hour when epidurals are supposed to slow labor?!
I was furious with myself for not hanging in there and holding off on the epidural one more hour. But my nurse said if I had not gotten the epidural, I would not have made progress. Apparently, I was fighting my contractions so hard because I didn't want to keep having diarrhea. At that moment, I completely changed my opinion on epidurals. I'd spent my entire pregnancy with the mindset that epidurals= bad, but now I was incredibly grateful for the drug.
I enjoyed the pushing phase of labor so much. Jeff and my nurse had to help hold my legs because of the epidural, but pushing was fun. I felt my contractions enough so I knew when I needed to push. I pushed 3 times whenever I felt a contraction, about every 4-5 minutes.
The baby's head kept going out and in, and Jeff, Sage, and the nurse kept trying to figure out what color hair the baby had. They concluded it was brown which shocked us. I was born with auburn hair and Jeff with blonde. How our son came out with brown hair is beyond me (it's getting lighter now though).
After about a half hour, I felt a lot of pressure below where the baby's head was coming out. I realized I was tearing, and once again felt thankful for the epidural. I was truly enjoying this moment, and was so glad the pain of tearing wasn't overshadowing it.
Then my nurse told me the baby was tolerating the pushing a lot better than the breaks between pushes, and I was put on oxygen again. That was all the motivation I needed to push harder. On the next set of pushes, I gave all I had for the first push. During the start of the second push, everyone screamed "stop!"
At 3:28 a.m., I looked down and saw my baby's head and the rest of his body come out. Then, I heard him crying which was a truly incredible sound. Before I knew it, he was thrown onto my stomach. He stayed there and got dried off until his umbilical cord stopped pulsating. Finally, he was thrown onto my chest and I was in complete shock.
I cannot properly describe what I felt in that moment. The goal was never ovulation, a positive pregnancy test, a beating heart on an ultrasound, meeting my kick counts, or reaching full term. The goal was this moment: when a crying baby was placed on my chest. I could not believe it actually happened to me. It was the most surreal moment ever.
I didn't cry, and sadly I cannot remember what I first said to him. I'll never forget what Jeff said though. After cutting the cord, Jeff walked up to my head and kissed me. Then he kissed Wyatt on the head and said, "you're not an immature egg." (Check out that story here.)
For the next hour, the shock continued. I could not get over how adorable and perfect he was! I heard his APGAR scores: 9 after one minute and 10 after 5 minutes. He quickly started sucking and attempted to nurse. I couldn't believe a baby who was born 2.5 weeks early was this healthy. I couldn't get over how small he was at 6 lbs. 15 oz. I was told all pregnancy he'd be a 10 pounder.
I also couldn't believe how long it took my midwife and other nurses to stitch me up: a good hour. I was so confused as to how a small baby could do so much damage. It turns out, Wyatt entered the world sucking his thumb!
Not much of Wyatt's birth experience happened like I expected, but it was better than I could have ever imagined. And the cliché is true: I cannot believe how much I love him, and I already cannot imagine my life without him.
Thank you so much for making me a mommy, Wyatt. <3