I have thought about writing again recently to not only document the arrival of baby Jenson, but to also help me cope and sort through the range of emotions since his arrival at 1:41a on December 8.
This first post is LONG. It's probably way more than anyone cares to read. I originally was writing it just for me to read but I have been urged to publish so here you go:
I noticed on Friday in the evening, which was the snow day, December 6, that baby (he wasn't publicly Jenson yet) wasn't moving very much. I started to get concerned and called my doctor and she told me to come in and get checked out at the hospital.
I must back up a little. We decided as a family that Dustin should make one more work trip before Jenson was born and he went to work the 25 Hours of ThunderHill in California on Thursday. We had been to the doctor every week for the last month and had her blessing that labor was far in the distance. We even went in one last time on Wednesday afternoon just to make sure and the doctors said, 'go, no problem, this baby isn't likely coming on his own...' so we felt sure confident in sending Dustin off for one last job this year.
I was scheduled to start Cervadil on the 10th and Pitocin on the 14th so we were geared up to have a baby by the 15th. But, as all parents know, babies have their own schedule and do what they want when they want and it was no different with Jenson.
So I came in on the evening of the 6th. Katelyn and Clay and our friend from Michigan, Ashley came over. Clay stayed with Afton and Katelyn and Ashley drove me to Mercy where they monitored us both for several hours and then sent us home. His movement was down but his heart rate was stable and otherwise we looked good. So went home and got some rest.
Starting having contractions about 2a that night but nothing I couldn't handle. Not fun, but not debilitating. Every 10-15 minutes fairly consistently. By the morning things were getting pretty uncomfortable and I had my Dad pick up Afton and my Mom and Mark stopped by to watch the OU/OSU game. By this time I couldn't focus much on anything other than breathing through the pain but I was determined to stay strong and also knowing that if I went to labor and delivery having contractions every 8 minutes they would pat me on the head and say 'buck up sweetheart' and send me home. My mom insisted that we pack up and go to her house, so we packed a very small overnight bag for myself and Afton (we didn't have a hospital bag) and loaded up Karma and headed to my Mom's in Edmond. By 5p Saturday night I had reached the every 5 minute mark, which, if you haven't had a kid, is the number they tell you. If you are having contractions that last a minute, every five minutes, for over an hour, you should go to the hospital. I called the nurse and told them I was coming in and she politely told me, 'Even if you are having contractions every five minutes, it doesn't necessarily mean you are in full labor. You shouldn't come in until you can't talk during the contractions, want to throw something, or yell out loud." I was like, ummmm, I've been that way for 8 hours, see you in a few.
My step dad, Mark, took me to the hospital, my Mom stayed with Afton, and we called Dustin with an update. He was a few hours into the 25 hour race but started to head to the airport in Sacramento in case it was time. When we got to the hospital my contractions were every 1 and a half minutes which is NOT VERY MUCH TIME TO GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER IN BETWEEN. You start to lose it when you only get 90 seconds of relief for hours upon hours. My worst fears were confirmed when the nurse says, 'you may be having regular contractions but your body hasn't progressed at all. Do you want some narcotics?' NO I DO NOT WANT SOME F'ING NARCOTICS YOU CRAZY B, I want to have this baby. And real drugs. I said this very politely without any yelling. I promise, I am a model patient which may surprise some of you. Mark was really helpful through all of this and maintained composure until Katelyn and Ashley and Clay could make it. I then sent Mark home when his eyes became the size of saucers and he started pacing.
They finally agreed to admit me which was a huge relief, as both me and the baby weren't tolerating the contractions very well. WHO WOULD?! Jenson's heart rate wasn't stable and my blood pressure was dropping. We moved upstairs to delivery and got settled in our room. Katelyn (the girl who can't handle going to the dentist or fake blood let alone HOSPITALS) put on her nurse face and took charge. She made me put on essential oils behind my ears to calm me down, let me squeeze her hands off during contractions, taught me yoga breathing, fixed my hair, got me every drink they served in the hospital, and most importantly, kept Dustin updated as he tried to make his way back from California. When I cried she held my hand and somehow knew the exact right things to say when even I didn't know what I wanted to hear. Katelyn never panicked, even when I was, and was my rock when I needed one the most.
At this point we find out there are no flights out from Sacramento Saturday night so Dustin has to stay at a hotel by the airport and fly our first thing Sunday morning with a scheduled arrival time of approximately noon. We kept asking the nurses if they thought I would make it that long but nobody would answer. We pretty much knew what that meant and came to terms with it. We came up with a game plan and agreed that the most important thing was to deliver a healthy baby and if he wasn't here, he wasn't here. There are worse things.
At almost midnight, bless my nurse's heart, she told me I could have the epidural. I was dilated to a 3 (on a scale of 10 people!) which isn't much but traditionally the epidural slows down labor and that would give Dustin a little more time to make it. An epidural is a miraculous scientific advancement and mother's who choose to not take advantage of this gift from God are an enigma to me! I asked Katelyn if she thought she could handle it, but she wasn't so sure at first. Then she dug deep and the nurses put pillows around her chair (I am sure they are used to this with all the wimpy Dads) and the anesthesiologist came in. I thought we were never going to have enough time to get it started b/c I was contracting so often but Katelyn and I held hands, she sang Christmas songs, we almost drew blood on each others hands, and then we were done. I told the anesthesiologist that he had the best job b/c all the women love him since he immediately takes away the pain. Sweet relief. It's like you can take a deep breath for the first time. We were so exhausted we almost immediately passed out from exhaustion. Clay and Ashley went home for the night and we tried to get some rest. Lights out, tv off, Katelyn snoring (NO, just kidding!) and then at about 1:15a, the nurse comes into check me one more time. My doctor was on the phone and wanted one more update before she turned in as well. I swear the nurse almost gasped and she said, "well, you're dilated to a 10 and 100% effaced (AKA good to go). So she say to the doctor, I'll see you in a bit, and BAM! Lights on! Nurses in and out bringing all kinds of carts and shit. Lots of activity, masks, noises. Katelyn and I look at each other blurry eyed and groggy not really knowing what's going on (OK, REALLY now with it) and then I'm like, 'so we're doing this NOW?' and she says yes. I swear the stirrups were already out. Still no panicking from Katelyn.
Me? Instant convulsions. I need some time! I need to get a plan together in my head! How is this working? I am sure the sheer panic in my eyes was enough to send Katelyn running but NOPE! If you're reading this and noticing a lot of fear-related emotions throughout this process, congratulations, you are very observant. Yes, I was scared. even though I have already had one child and everything was relatively easy and 100% successful, it's still scary as SHIT. Especially when things don't happen as you expect.
Katelyn puts lavender oil and "gentle baby" oils on me and we try to call Dustin. But he's asleep and not picking up. She calls Ashley to take pictures of the baby (NOT OF THE DELIVERY, DO YOU THINK I'M CRAZY?!) and Katelyn will stay by my head and hold my hand. Doctor Wayman arrives and says 'Well, this didn't quite work out as we thought..." and immediately is all business. Katelyn, you hold her leg, who is taking pictures, do we have a video camera??!! Has anyone talked to Dustin? Someone call Dustin! Lots of activity. OK, here we go, push 1.5 times, here he is! Jenson Dean! Nervous laughing from Katelyn, Dr. Wayman: "Katelyn, are you getting this?!" She gave her more orders than me. Dr Wayman; "Who wants to cut the cord?" Katelyn and I look at each other- crickets. Ummmm... Dr. Wayman: "Ok, I'm doing it." Ashley sweeps in at the very end, probably traumatized for life, take more pictures then we think we're all good to go.
This is when I get confused. They say something about Jenson's breathing. They take him to clean him up, I order Katelyn to stay with him. He's still in the room but on the other side and I can't see him but I can hear him and he sounds good! He looks like a mini- Afton, and weighs in at 6 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long. Small, but not real small. Afton was smaller.
They put him on oxygen straight away but everyone was playing it cool and I was not given any indication there was reason to be concerned. My doc said he was having a hard tie breathing and they needed to check him out and possibly take him to the NICU. I'm like, 'go ahead, do what you need to do...make sure he is okay!; but of course I thought he WAS okay and expected that they would check hi out as a precaution and then bring him back to me. I barely got to hold him, maybe 30 seconds, no first happy pictures together right after he was born, nothing. They took him away to the NICU and I told Katelyn to stay with him. Which she did for the next 4 hours.
20 minutes after I delivered, I spiked a fever of 102. They said this was normal. I was shaking so bad and my teeth were chattering and my whole body was tensed up and my jaw was locked. That was something new. It freaked me out but they said it was the fever and shock and after about 30-40 minutes it went away.
At some point someone (NICU nurse maybe?) called and told me they were admitting Jenson. I went down to the NICU to see him at about 4a and he was in the isolette and nobody could hold him. It was very very sad to see him in there and not be able to comfort him. Heartbreaking I tell you. I finally went back up to my room and fell asleep for a bit but didn't get more than a couple hours I was so upset.
Dustin was set to get on a flight at 5a west coast time and get to OKC around noon our time. So he was in the air traveling all Sunday morning and I couldn't talk to him. I got a call around 6a from the NICU doc saying that Jenson had an elevated CRP score and that he had signs of infection. He asked me did I have an epidural? I told him yes. He said, 'we need to do a procedure that is very similar to your epidural on the baby to do a test.' I was like, a spinal tap?!?!?!?! Why don't you just say that instead of trying to sugar coat it? Tell me how it is! I didn't understand why the need, what kind of infection he had, where did it come from, lots of questions. Never got them answered. Not for days. I wanted to scream, 'talk to me like an adult, tell it to me straight, quit bullshitting me!' but if you say things like that right after you've had a baby they wheel you up the the pysch floor. At least that's what I think. So I consented for the spinal over the phone and the doc told me it would NOT be helpful if I came down to hold his hand/watch. So I didn't. I visited him that Sunday as much as I could. Got to hold him briefly. That helped. We started to get to know each other.
Friends and family started arriving Sunday morning. This was a new thing for us. I tried to be chipper and gracious but the fact of the matter I didn't want to see anyone. I wanted my baby in my room and my husband on the uncomfortable fold out couch. So if you are reading this and you were one of those early visitors, please know that I appreciated the concern and support and know it wasn't personal. I was a very angry momma.
Afton was a shiny star, of course. He brought me flowers and a Mickey for his brother. We waited to take him down to meet his new brother until Dustin made it in, at about 2p. We went down to see him and Afton was so excited. SO EXCITED! It was so fun to see. He is so grown up and understands so much. He at one point asked the nurse, 'when will my brother get to come home?' and the nurse said she didn't know. He actually had tears in his eyes and told her that he wanted him to come home now. I am not making this up.
Fast forward a bit. I got discharged Monday evening, we went him without a baby. Single hardest thing I've ever had to do. It was not right. NOT RIGHT! I kept trying to focus on the fact that Jenson was probably the least sick baby in the NICU and definitely one of the biggest. I went in every day at 8a and left around 7p that whole week and Dustin woudl take Afton to school and then come up. We were with Jenson every moment we could be. It was exhausting but once we were able to hold him and change him and do some normal things (even though he was hooked up to wires and machines) and it helped us. His test results came back inconclusive for infection but he was started on IV antibiotics anyhow the very first day he was admitted. They said this was the ideal situation but I still didn't understand what was wrong with him. He didn't look/act/seem sick at all.
I never felt right but chalked it up to such a hard early stage of labor but by Wednesday I was having really high fevers again. My doc checked me out but said I was fine (you can't have a fever in the NICU without getting checked out to be sure you're not contagious, obviously). By Friday the NICU nurses insisted I go the the ER so we just went downstairs and the doc there said I WASN'T fine but got me the right meds and fixed me up. I'm still not 100% but on the way.
Dustin has been freaking awesome throughout everything. Like seriously. Mad props.
That's all for now. If anyone is even still reading at this point. It's really not nearly as dramatic and spectacular of a story as people were probably expecting. But, for those of you who wanted to know the first part, there you go. Now we're at home and a family of four and that will be fun to write about. Next post.