Monday, May 28, 2012

The Moment My Whole World Changed

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.

At my final OB appointment I discussed with Dr. Twombly the different birthing options given the reality that my baby was going to be over nine pounds. We agreed that to try for a natural birth seemed to be the best option, but also that if Dayton didn't come on his own by Saturday that I would be induced. The plan was for me to go to Saint Luke's on Saturday evening and be administered a drug that would help my cervix to dilate, and then to be given potocin on Sunday morning (May 6th being my official due date). I was done at work so I spent that week at home trying to figure out how to start contractions and get my water to break or something. Nothing worked. So Saturday evening Curtis, Mom and I headed to the hospital. Mom stayed just long enough to make sure we were settled, but Curtis and I were, obviously, there for the long-haul. Around 10:00pm the nurse finally came in to begin administering the drugs, but because hospital regulations required that they had to start me on the potocin and skip using the other drug all together as Saturday night I was only 39 weeks and 6 days, not officially 40 weeks. I agreed to a sleeping pill, thinking I would need it for nerves, and Curtis and I settled in for our last night as non-parents.

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!

We decided to have Dayton sleep in our room that night. He hadn't eaten much so I was hoping he'd wake up and want to eat. He was sleeping in his little bassinet next to my bed, and I barely slept a wink. I just kept looking at him. I had a pillow pulled over the edge of the hospital railing so I could lay my head down and look into this bassinet. I laid my hand on his little chest and fell asleep. Of course every time he made a noise I woke up, hoping he was hungry, making sure he was okay. This first night with my son is one I will cherish in my heart forever. It was the night I knew my whole world had changed. There was no getting back to normal, there was a new normal and this beautiful baby boy was going to define that new normal.

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.

I've spent fewer than 20 hours away from my son since he's been born. He slept in the nursery one night at Saint Luke's and again at Wood County, and I suppose a couple hours have added up at home with showers and things like that. But for the most part, I have been with my son 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since May 6th. The nights have been better than expected, but there have been some rough ones. We've had a couple fussy days, and I've had some desperate moments when I have felt like a complete failure. All of this is normal, as far as I can tell from the rest of the world. Dayton hasn't just changed my whole world, he's changed me. The world is different with another life needing me so much. I have to be stronger, smarter, and kinder. I have to give more of myself than I ever have before. And I don't think twice. I wouldn't deny him anything he needs, and at this age, anything he wants. I can't be in control anymore but I do have to be the one with a plan to make sure he gets what he needs.

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. 

1 comment:

  1. Full circle indeed. Welcome to the Motherhood club. What you feel now for Dayton will only intensify, never decrease. He may try your patience through the years but never your love. You'll sometimes wonder what to do, and sometimes realize that you don't have it in your power to do enough but you will always, always have that love to give and as long as you do, he will know beyond a doubt that he has an amazing Mother. A Mother made and in-training by God. You have my overflowing thanks for allowing me to be a part of those first 12 days.


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