Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mack's Birth Story

In case you haven't heard, we welcomed a new addition to our family on February 18th, 2010. His name is Mack Warren Sykes and he joined us at 8:58 am weighing 8 lbs, 2 oz and measuring 20 inches long.

We had gone to bed on Tuesday, Feb 16th, but I couldn't really sleep, so I stayed up and finished a book I had been reading. Around 3 am, I started having mild contractions that were pretty consistent at 7 minutes apart around 1 minute in length. Around 5 am, I told Andy that I thought we were going to have the baby that day which by this time was Wednesday. We called the grandma's and let them know and Andy called into work letting them know we thought we were going to have the baby.

The rule you are told by the hospital is to not come into the hospital until you are having contractions 5 minutes apart for 1 minute in length for at least one hour. So I was timing contractions waiting for them to get a bit closer. That said, as soon as we called anyone telling them we thought we were about to have the baby, my contractions started going all over the place - from every 7 minutes to every 15-20 minutes.

I was a bit disappointed and didn't know what to think of it. The contractions really hurt, so I didn't think it was false labor, but it definitely wasn't progressing like we had read and been taught in our birthing classes. Andy suggested we go for a walk around the pond by our house so we did. So we would walk and every 15 minutes or so, I would need to stop for a bit when I had a contraction. And it didn't really seem to be helping move things along.

I called my sister and she said that she had random contractions for a long time before actually going into labor - which really bummed me out. I was not into having contractions for days before going into labor. And a friend from MBA school told me that she had labor like what I was going through for 3 days before she actually had her daughter! At this point, I was freaking out. I mean, I felt like I was finally about to be done with this pregnancy thing and was going to meet Mack and then - Suprise! - I was going to have several days of painful contractions before the real party was going to start. Uggh. I was very upset. And felt tricked - no one had told me this was a possibility.

I also had a hair appointment that day for haircut and highlights. I was trying to get everything out of the way before the baby arrived. So I figured, that was the one positive of my contractions not being consistent and getting closer together - I could still make my appointment! So I went to the hairdresser, and told her I just wanted the cut since I was worried that something might happen (like my water breaking) if I did something that would take as long as highlights. I told the hair dresser that I was having contractions and asked her if she was okay with giving me a haircut even so. She was, but now I think she was probably a little nervous as my haircut is actually pretty awful - bummer. Oh well!

In any case, Andy was so sweet. I told him he could go to work since it didn't look like I was going to be going to the hospital anytime soon, but he stayed with me all day and just helped me as I had contractions. I continued to have contractions, but not close or consistent enough to warrant going into the hospital - but I have to say, they hurt, badly!

So that night, nothing different happened - contractions kept coming every 15-20 minutes. So we tried to go to bed. Andy fell right to sleep, but I hurt so I lay there awake. I would move around when I had contractions trying the different positions they taught us in birthing class. When I started having a contraction around 11:30, it was a really big one, and so I got on my hands and knees in bed... And, all of a sudden I felt a gush of water - my water had broken. I was so happy b/c it meant the end was near - I could imagine nothing worse than not knowing whether you would be in this sporadic labor for days on end.

We called my Dr's office and they told us to hurry and get into the hopsital when we told them I had been having contractions all day. So we did. I took a shower to wash off and so did Andy, but contractions were really coming quickly then and without the amniotic sac to cushion them, they were killing me.

So we drove to the hospital and checked in right after midnight. Contractions were out of control and I could not function at all when one would come. Our nurse directed us to a room and when we got there, there was no bed. So she was like - okay, let's go to this other room which was all the way down the hall. I was like - ohmigosh, there is no way I can make it to the end of that hall and at that same time, a major contraction came and I started crying.

Finally we got to the room and they checked me and I was 5 cm dilated which made me feel great b/c I was like - yay, I am progressing and he is almost here. I was in a lot of pain so I asked for an epidural right away. I had a great nurse who made it happen quickly. She was like - well all your paperwork has to be progressed first and you have to be in the system, but let me see what I can do to make sure that happens. Since we were there during the night, apparently it takes a while to get your paperwork into the system. She made it happen, though, and I was able to get an epidural what seemed really quickly. After I had the epidural, I was euphoric - to have been in pain for all that time and finally have it go away was heavenly. I was estactic. I could still feel the contractions, but not the pain associated with them.

They checked me again and I was 6 cm in less than an hour so I was very happy.

At that point, they had me lay on my side, though, and with the epidural the contractions really slowed down. I think they were trying to make them slow down so the doctor wouldn't have to come in the middle of the night. I actually kinda drifted in and out of sleep for an hour or two.

Andy, throughout all of this, had a stomach flu and was in the bathroom pretty much every 10 minutes. Poor, Andy. So he was passed out on the couch when he wasn't in the bathroom. I sat there awake in the dark for pretty much the night. The nurses kept coming in and checking in on me - they were measuring my contractions and the baby's heartbeat. I kept an eye on it and could tell the contractions had leveled off.

The nurse came back in and said, let's try a different position to get these contractions going again and I told them I was okay with sitting up since in that position the contractions seemed to really progress. So, they sat me up and they got going again. I started dilating more - and I was happy.

Around 8 am, the doctor actually came in and checked me and they could tell that I was basically ready to have the baby. I was feeling a lot and so the nurse had them put more in the epidural and I am glad they did. I think it would have been pretty painful if they hadn't.

So, it came to the point where they told me to push and so I did. That went on for a while and the Dr. kept asking me - how big did your doctor say this baby was going to be - I kept telling her 8.25 lbs and she seemed to think he was really big. Apparently, even though Mack was heads down, he wasn't the ideal position to come out and the broadest part of his head was having to come through. I was really stressed at this point, because the doctor kept seeming nervous that his head was going to be too big for him to come out and I know that they are pretty quick to opt for Cesarean whenever they think there is a problem. Because of that, I put everything I had into pushing. There was no way I was going to have gone through this labor to end up with a C-section in the end!

While I was pushing, they could see Mack moving his head back and forth trying to get through - isn't that funny? He does that now, when I put shirts on him, and it makes me think of him being born every time!

Because he wasn't coming out, they had me switch to another position on my side to push to try and get him to turn the right way. That did the trick. It didn't take long and Mack made his appearance.

He was so beautiful right away. I was really surprised - the doctor even said so. It was amazing and so wonderful to see our beautiful and healthy baby boy. He did great on the Apgar tests - had beautiful color and did a good job of crying. It took them a while to clean him up - I got a bit impatient, but didn't say anything - but I couldn't see him well from the bed and I wanted to see our little boy!

Finally, they gave him to me and he was SO beautiful. He fed so great right away - it's amazing how they know how to do that instinctively.

We really had such amazing labor and delivery nurses who made the experience so much easier and enjoyable. I am actually in awe of them and the job they do. I can't imagine the experience without them there. Andy was really great the entire time - especially considering how badly he felt.

Honestly, I am in awe of the miracle of birth and the blessings the Lord has bestowed on us with giving us Mack. He is so perfect and beautiful. We feel so grateful!