Sunday, 19 September 2010

Colt's Birth Story

In the 12 days since my last post, I've had a baby! Here is the story of how he entered the world. :)

The due date came and went. On Friday the 10th, I went in for my last OB check-up. The news? No progress had been made since the last appointment. I was still only 1cm dilated. This was pretty disappointing and made the induction more likely. I know the end result is the same, but I had really hoped to go into spontaneous labor and let the baby decide when he wanted to come out.

The induction kicked off on Monday, Sept 13 with the placement of a Foley catheter balloon. This balloon is placed in the cervix and filled with water until its diameter is 4cm. The idea is that it mechanically opens the cervix to at least 4cm (at which point, the balloon falls out). It's a very weird sensation - not exactly painful, but not the most comfortable thing to sleep with. I was very excited when it fell out around midnight that night. Whoo hoo! Dilated to at least 4cm finally!!

All hooked up, ready to go!
The next part of the induction started at the next morning. We arrived at the hospital on Sept 14 at 0630. I was so excited - that was the day I'd finally meet our baby! I got all strapped into the hospital bed, with a monitor for Colt's heartbeat and a monitor for my contractions. They started my IV and got me all hydrated before starting the Pitocin at 0800. Then, we sat there and waited for the contractions to begin. I also learned that I was dilated to not 4cm, but 6cm!! We started to get excited, hoping our little man would be with us in just a few short hours. However...

Waiting for the Pitocin to kick in
Last pic before we're parents
...the rest of the morning was actually pretty uneventful. My contractions did get more intense, but they were manageable. I had really wanted to avoid having an epidural, and I was pretty pleased with how I was doing with the pain so far. And water broke. At 1:00, we heard a pop (Bryce even heard it) and then a huge gush of liquid. It startled me so much I almost started crying! The nurse advised me that my contractions would get more intense and painful, since I now did not have the amniotic sac to dull them. Boy, was she ever right. I tried to manage the pain with my breathing, but by about 2:30 I couldn't take it anymore and asked for the epidural. Now that was painful. In between contractions, I was getting poked in the back with needles and cords. The anesthesiologist had to do it twice because the first one only went down my left side, leaving me with lopsided, painful contractions on my right side. Because I had held out for so long (my midwife said I lasted longer than about 90% of women before requesting the drugs) and apparently have a high tolerance for pain, they had to dose me with quite a bit of meds to catch up to my pain. The result? Complete and total numbness from the waist down. It's quite a freaky experience - I had to try really hard not to think about it or I'd freak out!

Anyway, besides freaking me out about my legs, the epidural also rendered my contractions painless. Sweet relief! It also helped me dilate from about 7cm to 9.5cm in a few short hours, since I was so relaxed. At 7pm, they dialed the pain meds back because I started pushing! Since I couldn't feel anything, it was hard to know if my pushing was doing anything. After about an hour, I started getting some feeling back and it made pushing easier. Bryce and one of the nurses had to hold my legs for me, since I couldn't feel them let alone hold them up! After an hour and a half, I was really frustrated with what I perceived as a lack of progress. One of the nurses set up a mirror so I could see the action...and I realized I was much closer to holding my baby boy than I'd realized. I could see and feel the top of his head. This definitely helped motivate me, and at 8:59 pm Colt Bryce McCall entered the world.

Colt Bryce McCall
Our boy was a strapping 10lb, 3oz and 22 inches long. How this man-child fit inside my 5'6" frame, I'll never understand. But I'm so glad he did, because he is absolutely perfect. He came out with a good amount of dark brown hair, and so far his eyes are a dark bluish-gray. I think he has my husband's eyes and lips, and my nose and dimples. He's not chubby, like you might expect from his birth weight. He's very solidly built and perfectly proportional. We're not sure where his size comes from, because there is no history of large babies or tall people on either sides of our families.

Our new family
I instantly fell in love with this handsome little man. Nothing in the world matters to me when I have him in my arms. Going through this experience with my husband bonded us in a way I hadn't imagined - he was an amazing birth partner and already is an incredible Dad. My "Next Step" is finally here, and it couldn't feel more right.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Waiting Game

Well, the due date has come and gone, and still no little man! I'm not too surprised, given that my original due date was 12 Sept and they changed it to 6 Sept after the first ultrasound. In fact, one of the OB docs told me I would probably go past the 6th - something about the providers being more confident in their ultrasound skills than trusting in Mother Nature! Which made me chuckle a bit, because I've had similar thoughts. That stupid wheel they use to set the due date assumes every woman has a regular, 28 day cycle, which is so far from the truth. And, when the provider set our due date of 6 Sept, it literally took her about 10 minutes to decide whether it should be the 6th or the 7th. Bryce and I sat there and looked at her while she deliberated with herself, trying to choose the date. We were like, Really? Does it require that much thought? 'Cause the chances of him actually coming on either one of those dates are slim to none. And, since today is the 7th, it's sliding more towards none. :)

While we're waiting, we're trying to show my parents what it's like living in England for us...which is a lot mellower than they're used to, I think! On the days that Bryce works, we're pretty much stuck on Feltwell since we only have one car. I can take him to work and keep the car for us, but I'm afraid to venture too far from base without Bryce ('cause if I went into labor, there'd be no one to drive us home!). I think they're adjusting to my sleepy home life - taking walks, watching TV (college football season started, so that's keeping my dad occupied), reading. At home they're usually go, go, go, so hopefully it's a nice break for them! They had their first pub experience on their second day in the country - fish & chips all around! We met our friends Kaitie & Austin, along with another England newbie, Carley, who had just PCSed into Lakenheath that day (literally - K & A picked her up at Heathrow and met us at the pub not long after they got back to the village!).

Last weekend, we did try to pack in some sightseeing. On Saturday we went to Bury St Edmunds, since they have their market then. We toured the gardens and the cathedral, as well as showed them Asda (one of our favorite places to buy produce, lol). Sunday, we spent walking around Cambridge, checking out all the colleges and architecture. It's nice to do all this again with my parents, who are seeing it with fresh eyes. I guess we've gotten a little blasé about buildings that were built before America was even discovered, which is kind of sad to say. The other highlight of our Cambridge trip was lunch at Nando's - oh, how I love the peri-peri chicken at Nando's. Super delish. Bryce actually had yesterday off for Labor Day (often, the flightline workers won't get days off that the rest of the base does), so we had lunch with a bunch of friends at Webb's in Mildenhall village. Webb's is our go-to place for lunch at the vet clinic, and Bryce had never experienced it. Best paninis in the world. I'm sure the rest of their menu is phenomenal, but I've never been able to resist the call of The Italian to experience it. :)

Whoops, sounds like my man just snuck in the door a little earlier than I thought he would. Let's hope his son follows suit...LOL. Cheers!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My parents are here!

My parents arrived safely in the U.K. today! After some terminal snafus at Heathrow, we collected them and made the long drive back to Lakenheath. We gave them a quick tour of Lakenheath before heading over to our house on Feltwell. They're pretty exhausted after the 10.5 hour flight, so not too long after making it home they disappeared for a nap. It is so nice to have them here!!

On the baby front, we're making progress! I'm 1cm dilated as of the OB appointment yesterday, which is super exciting! I don't know when I'll go into labor, but at least I know my body is thinking about it! Now that my parents are here, I'm ready for him to come - bring on the long walks, lunges and squats!!