Monday, May 3, 2010

Rhys' Birth Story

Can I type a blog post with a sleeping baby on my chest? We're about to find out!

Rhys was due on 4/25. He was breech, so we knew he'd be delivered via csection. Luckily, our incredible doctor was willing to wait for me to go into labor rather than scheduling surgery; a plan I was infinitely more comfortable with. File this under "Things I didn't realize about pregnancy" though: After the 40 week mark, pregnant moms are subjected to once or twice weekly testing to make sure the baby is still doing ok. Nothing invasive, just a sequence of ultrasounds and heart monitoring sessions, but enough to make me question what we were really waiting for. As the days passed and I made no progress towards labor, I realized that Rhys was perfectly healthy and I wasn't willing to wait for something to go wrong to cue us to get him out. Paul and I tried everything we could to get me into labor on my own, but scheduled a csection for Friday morning.

We left for the hospital at 5am Friday. The fact that I was utterly exhausted and hadn't been able to sleep much the night before actually helped me keep calm. We checked in and got me situated in a prep room. And then all hell broke loose.

My blood pressure was high. Fairly alarmingly high. High enough that our nurse couldn't get an IV in me . . . my veins kept blowing. She tried twice then called in a second nurse. She tried three times then called in an anesthesiologist. He tried four more times, including one prolonged digging session in the bend of my right arm. Then they called in a second anesthesiologist and started talking about an IV "team".

Finally, finally the second anesthesiologist got an IV in me. He also took blood to run tests for preeclampsia, since by then everyone had started to worry.

The preeclampsia tests came back negative and from there everything started moving REALLY quickly. I was walked into a surgery room, Paul was told to wait in the hallway while I was given my spinal. The spinal wasn't so bad ... but for some reason I hadn't realized that it would make me feel paralyzed. I'd imagined the whole procedure but never considered that I wouldn't be able to feel my feet. When the feet started to go numb I kind of freaked out. Paul was still stuck in the hallway, I had about a dozen people in the surgery room prepping me and I was telling anyone and everyone who would listen that I "didn't like it", "didn't want to do this" and "WANTED TO GO HOME". The anesthesiologist asked if I wanted any extra medicine to calm me down and I said no and tried to relax. They'd told me that I'd be able to hold my baby while they were finishing the surgery and I didn't want to be too drugged to get to do so.

They finally let Paul back in the room and I found out later my OB had gone to see him in the hallway to warn him that I wasn't dealing so well with the anesthesia. Paul sat down right next to my head and I started to feel tugging and pulling. Fortunately I didn't realize those sensations were, you know, SURGERY until I heard my doctor say "He's a moose! And he's pooping! And peeing!". Paul stood up to take a photo and they lifted the baby high enough that I could see him over the screen. He started to cry.

The baby warmer was only a few feet away from me . . . I could see the doctors and nurses working on the (still wailing!) baby, but couldn't see his face since my table was lower than the warming table. Paul went over to take pictures. Someone asked if he wanted to cut the cord and he did, even though we'd talked about it before and he'd said he didn't think he'd want to. Paul came back over with the camera and showed me photos so I could see the baby's face. Someone said "9 pounds, 13 ounces" and I thought they couldn't possibly be talking about my baby.

Things get a little trippy at this point . . . I remember there being a mirror on the ceiling. Paul was sitting in a stool by my head holding the baby and I was watching them in the mirror because I could see Rhys' face better that way. I remember being worried that I might see myself on the other side of the curtain but I never did. Paul and I decided on his name . . . we'd been 99% sure going in but wanted to make sure the name suited him before we made it final. I asked the doctors how much longer and they told me just a few minutes . . . that they didn't want to leave any leftover parts. I said something about not being an Ikea bookcase.

Pretty soon thereafter the surgery team was moving me to a hospital bed. I had started shaking pretty badly and hadn't been allowed to hold the baby yet. I couldn't tell whether my legs were straight or bent. I asked and everyone laughed.

We were wheeled into a recovery area. My nurse offered me something for the shaking. I took it because I wanted to hold the baby. Paul handed him to me a few minutes later. To say he was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen would be a gross understatement. There really just aren't words, are there? I fell utterly and completely in love.

Annnd . . . with that much said . . . I've got a little tree monkey in my lap who needs to be fed. I'm going to going to go attend to that :)


Amy said...

Oh my...OH MY GOODNESS, HE'S CUTE! Those eyelashes! And the cheeks! You done good, Holly! I'm so happy for you and can't wait to hear how life with a newborn is. I have no doubt you'll handle it like a pro. CONGRATS!

leenie said...

long time lurker-- de lurking to say CONGRATS!!! he is just beautiful! big warm congrats coming your way from atlanta.

Natalie J said...

I'm still giddy for you guys. I'm going to have to coordinate a good time to drop by shortly. He must meet his Auntie Natalie soon!! :)

P.S. I knew you were going to have a big boy.

KT said...

Holly, he's beautiful! Congratulations.

Andrea said...

Not quite sure how I ended up here, but I've been reading for quite a while now and wanted to send a big Congratulations to you guys. He's absolutely gorgeous. Enjoy these first days and weeks!

Sarah said...

He's a gorgeous baby!! Congrats!

Rhiannon said...

Hurray for baby boys! I love his name and think he's an absolute doll. Congratulations, mama!

Nutsy Coco said...


Brenda said...

beautiful boy. sorry nobody warned you about the anthesia. it can do weird things to you. After my brain tumor surgrywhile I was in recovery. I asked the nurse if I sill had my filters and hadn't swore at anybody. not like I swear on a daily basis, but there had been a tumor in my head an they cut it out. not like a baby, but till anthesia and I know how I get with that stuff.
Glad he's here safe and sound and you're all getting use to each other.

Domesticrazy said...


What a gorgeous guy. Good job, mama, and we are all so happy for you here in the midwest! He's beautiful, and I hope you're doing well. Congrats on joining the club, and welcome. You have two lucky lads there, make sure they take good care of you. And let me be the first to say:

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! You rock, lady. So proud of you and happy for you. LOVE the name!

Meaghan said...

He's so cute! Congratulations & happy (early) mothers day!

Rachel said...

I'm so happy for you!

I've been reading your blog after finding it via googling for jewellery (silversmithing go!) and I love that it's a happy ending for everyone including Rhys.

Congratulations! "He's a moose!"

ReFabulous said...

Oh, Holly -- he is soooo beautiful! And chubby and healthy and perfect! Welcome to the most wonderful journey on earth. Congrats to you and your family!