How Our Quarterly Baby Became an ArtPrize Baby – Part 4

Ouch ouch ouch another contraction, one on top of another…Cue the amazing anesthesiologist Dr. Shin. He was my shining star, he was amazing, he was wonderful, he was funny, he was nearly painless, he was fast, and he delivered sweet medical numbness that would allow me to rest and delivery this baby safely. For each procedure they had we go through they had me recount which ArtPrize entries I liked best, after reciting this by the 6th time I wish I had it tape recorded so I could click on and I could click off.

Dawn instructed Adam and me to take a rest for a bit so I had enough energy and he enough stamina to get me through what was awaiting us at 7:00am. She checked out for about 15 minutes to grab a bite to eat, I shut my eyes and fell into a semi sleep. at 3:00am I posted the following status update to Facebook, “started the evening at ArtPrize w/ Mom & now enjoying a night at Spectrum waiting for Hercules to arrive.” T-4 hours, or so we thought.

She reappeared around 3:10 (having eaten the fastest meal on the planet), maybe she decided to check me before she headed in for that quick bite. All I can say is she was smart enough to have prepped my room for when it’s time to deliver, because we weren’t expecting her to say the following, heck I don’t think she was expecting to say it… “you are at +3, you need to start pushing now.” Whaaaa??? You told me to sleep, that is what we were trying to do, why why oh why would you tell me I am at this mysterious +3?

Within minutes the room was coming to life. Dr. Leazenby returned, Dawn the RN back in the room as was the nameless medical student. Another thing I learned about that night is that on TV they have the actresses sweating it out under those courtesy napkin on their laps, for me this wasn’t the case. I also had the mirror to contend with. Zen Calm Caroline was still in check I will be fine, I knew it, I felt it in my bones. I actually wasn’t afraid of this experience, though I feared it for many years prior.

I pushed three times… one, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Okay rest. and rest I did. I was being told that I was doing really well that I was pushing well (kinda hard to gauge when you don’t feel anything from your belly button. Correction, I could feel my skin but my legs were only able to flop around like fish out of water. They brought in extra lights, the search lights were pointed on my lady bits, they were going to find our baby in there. Unfortunately, the search lights reflected in the damn mirror and I looked up, the doctor’s head didn’t block enough. I saw more than enough. I can’t undo what I saw.

I pushed a total of three or four times (counting to ten each time.) And I was being reassured that I was doing really well. They marveled at my labor it was progressing quickly, efficiently, and the baby was doing great. I live off of positive praise so naturally I was aiming to impressed.

Suddenly I felt a big relief of pressure and a funny shaped item came out.

I had three things in mind for my birth plan that I ran out of time to create. 1. I didn’t want to see my lady bits in a mirror. 2. I didn’t want to see the child coming out of me. 3. I didn’t want a baby on me until it was scrubbed clean. None of these things happened as expected. But in all honesty I didn’t care. Sarcastic Caroline disappeared, cynical Caroline faded away. Love struck Caroline appeared. I saw the baby exit, I saw the aftermath of the birth in the mirror (eww gross) and I saw my baby placed on my chest (I don’t hold babies this tiny and floppy, only to learn that we will hold this tiny child AND we will need to raise it). Holy crap he is here and he is perfect. I was happy I was teary-eyed. I was becoming “Hallmarky”

Henry Adam Ramseyer arrived into this work on September 27, 2011 at 3:24. The actual delivery took about about 15 minutes. I just survived a fast and easy labor and birth, which resulted in the birth of a perfect baby. I felt so alive and awake, I decided I would call my mom. Adam called his family, only double checking with me right before the call that the baby would be named Henry (we didn’t know his size nor his weight at this point.) After getting to know our newest relative I asked for specs. After weighing and measuring our screaming little infant we learn that I gave birth to a tiny little peanut, weight only 6lbs 13 oz and measuring a lofty 19.5 inches.

I called my mom who was surprised to hear from me. Here is how that conversation went:

Mom: “What happened? Why are you calling?”

Me: “We had the baby!”

Mom: “Wait, you weren’t supposed to have him until around 7:00am!?”

Me: “I know! But I just had him 15 minutes ago!”

Mom: “Oh my Gosh! So what’s his name?”

Me: “Henry Adam Ramseyer.”

Mom: “What a lovely delicate name!” (I don’t think she was thinking of a particular Henry, a Henry the VIII who was anything BUT delicate.)

We were truly blessed, our son had arrived and the fun, challenges and new experiences were just about to begin. We were as clueless as our newly birthed infant, but we were excited, we were now parents!

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How Our Quarterly Baby Became an ArtPrize Baby – Part 3

We are now in Triage, I’m wearing a hospital gown and the nurse just confirmed that yes, my water had broken (oh really – I thought I just drank a lot of water). I am still 2-3 cm dilated. Hmph I was that last week, but that’s okay I have another 22 hours before things get serious… except the nurse just told me that the doctor on call would like me to get some Pitocin. Whaaa??? Why? I just got here?! Thankfully the nurse agreed and we would continued on our way without any additional intervention at least for now. I’ll show him!

Yep, things are getting more uncomfortable, things are still leaking but I am now getting my brain wrapped around the idea of me delivering a baby with a 9/26/11 birthday. Until Adam pointed out that unless I had said baby in the next 15 minutes this child would have a 9/27/11 birthday. Oh right, man my brain was off.

Minutes ticked by and Adam told his parents I was in labor. They drove in from Muskegon. So crammed into my triage room are his parents, my mom, Adam, a nurse and swollen me (wearing two gowns one facing forward and one for modesty sake.) Everyone is excited, meanwhile I need to get moving. I can’t sit still it makes me focus on the contractions a bit too much.

At some point that night the three of us are pacing the 2nd and 3rd floors of labor and delivery. I am escorted around with a clear bag of liquid that is hooked up to my wrist. Still not sure what it contained, whatever it was… it wasn’t a pain reliever. We pace and we stop, I think through the contraction, we pace and we stop some more. This is getting worse, I realize now I need a room… pronto!

I land in a room (nice and spacious with neutral decorating taste.) Cue the mental check list: bed [x], heating table for baby [x], bathroom [x], big ass vanity mirror permanently affixed across from my delivery bed [x]… SHIT. I didn’t want a mirror, like all the other couples taking the tour on 7/28/11, we said no to the mirror. I trust the medical staff. I normally don’t see that um side of myself why would I want to see it now, when things will get stretched and scary. there is no way to remove the mirror and Spectrum doesn’t have a courtesy curtain to cover up the offending mirror. My only hope is that the doctor who will deliver my baby has a big enough head so he will be able to block my reflection.

I am still able to move, but I have since forgotten about any of the birthing positions, the special breathing, the massages and quite frankly anything else that is helpful. I am taking deep breaths but I am not doing anything else to help the pain. I stare at Adam and squeeze his hand. “Man, that was  a strong one, ugh I will need that epidural soon.” I meet my labor and delivery nurse, Dawn, she rocks, she is amazing and she is sarcastic. I can tell we will be friends even if she will see me naked from my belly button down. I also meet a medical student, I thought he was just taking down my name and basic vitals. I realize later he is part of my delivery team. Here is how that conversation goes, “Hi my name is [insert random student name] I will be observing your delivery tonight.” “Oh nice to meet you, [would you like some pop corn and a front seat to the freak show, anyone else joining this little session?]” Clearly that part of the conversation only occurred in my head. I might be in pain, but I still have my biting sarcasm. My dignity, however, was checked at the door.

Nurse Dawn checked my progress, thankfully I am now 5cm. Suck it pitocin, I won’t be needing you. But we realize that this process will take a while, Dawn expects me to progress about 1 cm an hour, meaning? It would be after 7:00am before Hercules joins the family. This information was given to us at 2:00am, by 2:30am we sent home our parents. Adam’s mom needed to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 5:00am for daycare, my mom needed to let the dogs out and needed rest.

By now I’ve progressed enough that my contractions were kicking my ass. I was still taking deep breaths, but now I am moaning, I am looking straight through Adam… this isn’t pretty bring the EPIDURAL STAT!