I've been trying to file as many memories as possible over the last three weeks. I don't want to miss or forget a thing from these precious days. I've been waiting to have time and energy to share some of these memories on this blog, and I figure now is as good a time as ever. I have to be honest with you--I fear that my writing will probably be choppy and stilted. My brain feels fuzzy and I struggle to find the right words to express myself, even more so to express profound feelings that I've never had before. But I want to try to freeze frame a few of these memories in writing, so here goes nothing.
Now because of that darned sleeping pill the next few hours are very fuzzy for me. Contractions started around 1:30 or 2:30am. By 5:00am I was fully dilated and my contractions were getting very intense. The anesthesiologist and my OB gave me the epidural around this time. As I lost all feeling from the waist down I remember thinking, what did I just do? Was this a mistake?? I was relieved to no longer have the pain but I didn't like not being able to feel the contractions at all. It was unsettling for me to have my body be in labor but for my brain to not know it, essentially. I'm not sure I would really do it differently, the not being in pain thing was really great especially since I didn't have any other pain management techniques.
Around 7:30am they had me push for the first time. They could start to see his hair! But as I didn't feel the need to push and they didn't want to rush the baby (I guess), they decided they'd wait a little bit longer and up the amount of potocin I was getting to increase the contractions. My in-laws came for a few minutes to talk before my father-in-law headed to work, and around 8am or so my mom arrived. One of the nurses had us take bets as to what time the baby would be born and how much he would weigh. Around 8:40am this same nurse came in and starting ask me whether or not I could feel any of the contractions or felt the need to push. I didn't. I wished I did but I just didn't. She upped the potocin. A couple of minutes went by and my OB, a resident doctor, and another nurse came into the room. Dr. Twombly briefly explained that the baby's heart rate was dropping and that they would need to deliver him quickly. I had two options--push and let them use the vacuum to expedite delivery, or go to an emergency c-section, and I had about 30 seconds to decide. I knew he was way down in the birth canal, after all they had seen hair at 7:30! So I decided to push. They put an oxygen mask on me, hoping that the extra oxygen would help the baby (something they had done several hours earlier, as well) and had me push like crazy. There were nurses all around my bed so Curtis and my mom couldn't get to me but I remember opening my eyes between pushes to look at Curtis and hearing my mom keep telling me to push and breathe. After a couple of pushes and a few short minutes, Dayton Curtis Milford Berry arrived at 8:57am and weighed 9 pounds 8 ounces. He was absolutely perfect, there weren't' any complications from his lowered heart rate. And I had only been five minutes off in my guess!
Dayton has changed my whole world. He was born on Sunday morning, on Thursday morning we took him to his pediatrician for the first time (his pediatrician doesn't go to Saint Luke's), and he was diagnosed with a strong case of jaundice. The doctor actually caught it just before it went into the danger zone. We spent 27 hours in Wood County Hospital with Dayton under ultraviolet lights for most of that time. I hated not being able to hold him except to nurse him, and I hated even more that he had to wear cotton pads over his eyes. When he would wake him, he would cry because he couldn't see and I could only imagine how scary that was for him. When the jaundice seemed to be coming back on the following Sunday, my first Mother's Day, we had to take him back to Wood County to the lab. And we took him again on Monday morning. For the first time in my life I had to fill out paperwork for another person, I had to consent for treatment, I had to be the mom.
Women will tell you that motherhood is the hardest thing in the world. And you think you understand it but you don't. Not until you've done it. I know that now. But it's worth it. It's worth it for every milestone moment and every tender moment. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was scared to death of losing him. I listened to the Matt Hammit song 'Every Falling Tear' over and over again. And now that Dayton is here in my arms I can vouch for that song's truth--he is worth every falling tear and facing every fear, and he is going to have all my love. I don't know a better way to close this post than to share the link for the post I wrote in September about those fears. It kinda brings the story full circle.