Baby Ari is born!
He arrived on his due date on June 17th, at 10:43am. He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.
I’ll hold back on all the disgusting and excruciating details of the labor, but I will say it was way worse than I could have even imagined. I would like to say it was an amazing, miraculous experience and I’m so glad I didn’t get an epidural so I felt every bit of it, but I feel much less negatively about epidurals now than I did before! I’ve started to forget how it all felt, but during and afterward I thought, no way am I having another baby and I should warn all the women out there that they should NOT get pregnant! No one should ever go through this, ever! The first night afterward I was having nightmares about it when I managed to drift off to sleep.
If I sound dramatic now, you should have heard me during my contractions… Anyway, at least it was short! I don’t know how long I should say I was actually in labor. I worked the night of the 15th and started having more consistent contractions the morning of the 16th before I left work. I slept that day and was having fairly painful contractions and back pain in the evening, but I didn’t want to get too excited about it. I couldn’t sleep that night but I was still on a night schedule anyway. I used a contraction timer app to time contractions most of the night just to entertain myself, and they were consistently 3-4 minutes apart but I still didn’t think I was in labor. At 2:30am I thought my water might have broken (it probably didn’t) but I didn’t want to wake anybody up so I waited until 5:30am and called the midwife on call at the hospital, who told me to keep monitoring things and call back in an hour, so I woke A. up and told him the plan, and in that hour suddenly it started to get serious. By 6:30 I was doubled over with the contractions and called and said we were coming in, even though I was still afraid I was leaving the house too soon.
When we got there, I said to leave the hospital bag (and the birth plan) in the car because I didn’t want to feel stupid carrying that stuff around if they sent me back home. I walked super fast from the car to the elevator, from that elevator to the next elevator, and from there to the labor and delivery unit, stopping just once for a contraction, because I didn’t want everyone to see me in the halls and know I was in labor, even though they obviously did.
They put me in a room and said I might have to wait a few minutes because it was 7:15 and they were changing shift, and I thought, duh, why did I decide to show up at change of shift?!? When the nurse saw me, she called the midwife to come right away, saying I was having really strong contractions. It seemed like it took a while for her to come, though. Somewhere in there they must have got me checked in at 7:43, because later they said that’s when I got there. When the midwife arrived, she checked me and said I was 6 cm dilated and that, no, I did not have to go home, I was going to have a baby. They didn’t even try to start an IV, they just stayed there and let me do my thing.
At first I was on my hands and knees on the bed and the midwife said I was having back labor so that was a good position for me to be in to try to turn the baby. Someone (turns out it was both A. and the midwife) was massaging my hips and giving me cool washcloths, both of which really helped, and A. kept giving me sips of water too. I screamed my head off with every contraction and then in between apologized for being so dramatic. A. says I was semi-conscious with my eyes glazed over between contractions. The one time I remember looking at the clock it said 8:15, and I thought, okay, time is passing, I’ll be there soon, if I can get through another hour or so it’ll probably be too late for an epidural anyway.
I got up and went to the bathtub for a little while and I think my water broke in there, and I spent some time on the bathroom floor before going back to the bed. I was so careful to pack flip flops so my feet wouldn’t have to touch the hospital floors, then I was lolling all over the bathroom, gross! While I was in there I said I probably wouldn’t protest if they said I needed a c-section, and the midwife said, “ha! It’s too late for that anyway!”
I went back to the bed when I started pushing. Later they said that was at 9:43, and he was born at 10:43! A. says I was asleep for like 10 min. at a time in between pushing, which is weird because the experience did not seem very conducive to sleep.
Toward the end I guess his heart rate dropped and they started telling me I needed to actually push him out, which seemed impossible, but out he came, white and floppy apparently, and suddenly a pediatric team was in the room and they took him to a resuscitation area and gave him some air and pretty soon I heard him cry and they told me he was okay. There had been a nuchal cord issue and his first Apgar was only 2.
They brought him back to me to start breastfeeding and after we got that figured out they took him to the NICU to be monitored for four hours per protocol because he had needed resuscitation. A. went with him, my parents showed up and I sent them there, too, and I had my lunch and got moved (in a wheelchair!) to a recovery room on the mother-baby unit, where we stayed for two nights, with Ari in the room with us. Here are some pictures from those first couple of days:
On the last day, we put him in his going-home outfit and strapped him into the car seat:
We brought him home and introduced him to Andrew and Luna, who both just sniffed and licked him gently:
We tried out his bassinet:
And his sunglasses:
A couple days later, he had his pediatrician appointment and we walked there, using his carrier. I still looked 6 months pregnant!
At home, I noticed I had some other gifts from my shower that I think I forgot to photograph and post before:
My aunt Lynn and A.’s parents all visited and between them all, the cover got installed on our patio thing, we got a patio table and it got set up, and we got a dresser at a nearby thrift store:
The garden continues growing:
We took Ari to the dog park and Andrew acted very protective – of either us or his ball:
Ari made some cute faces:
And he turned one week old!
When Ari was 9 days old, we left for A.’s brother’s wedding in Vancouver, B.C.! I’m not going to post pictures of all the family members, but it was a great time and everyone got to meet Ari. Here’s Ari in the gondola up to the mountain-top wedding:
Here are some more pictures of Ari:
In Vancouver, Ari’s grandparents and his great aunt and uncle gave him some gifts! Sophie the Giraffe is a well-known teething toy that’s been around for a long time:
Later, we had another nice evening in the backyard. The tomatoes have started to ripen!
And Ari turned two weeks old!
It’s hard for me to write about how it feels to have a baby; I still feel stunned and kind of suffocated with responsibility and worrying about him every second. I was thinking about how to describe it and came up with the thought that newborns – or babies – are just so “needy.” It felt like a new concept, then I realized that I’ve heard and read that description many times before but it never had the same meaning.