So I didn't blog last week. As many of you probably figured out, I was in the throes of labor. After being sent home from the hospital as only being in "early labor" to which I responded with some not-so-polite language, only to return two and a half hours later at nearly eight centimeters and being told that they weren't sure if I was too far along to receive an epidural. Since my pain tolerance is a -4 on a scale of 1-10, no epidural may have created some more not-so-polite language on my part to a very flustered triage nurse. With my trusty tylenol bottle in one hand (to grip during contractions, not to make the pain of them relived ;) and Tim's hand in a death grip in the other (he took his wedding ring off to avoid physical harm to himself), they didn't even bother trying to make me get into a wheelchair, just wheeled me in the triage bed straight to delivery, while I demanded drugs about every 40 seconds. Thankfully, Dr. Scholl, the calmest person on the planet arrived, and since I was already laboring sitting straight up and leaning slightly forward (the position I'd been comfortable in all week while I puked nearly every night as my babe kicked me in the stomach regularly), the epidural went in like a charm and I took a nap. I labored for about 8 hours before the epidural went in, from about 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
My midwife arrived to break my water around 3 and was back again after some baby heartbeat complications by 5 p.m., at which time we started to push. The Bill Cosby labor comedy kept running through my head "push him out, shove him out, waaaaay out," appropriately. I would proudly like to say that I was pretty awesome at pushing. Baby boy was having some troubles though - almost every time I pushed, his heart rate dropped a little, so we'd wait a few minutes for him to get back up to happy range before pushing again. For some reason he wasn't quite moving low enough even with some pretty extreme pushing, so my midwife said "how do you feel about forceps?" To which I said "whatever you need to do, let's do it." She called in one of the MDs in the practice and we got the party started, first with a little vaccuuming, which apparently did nothing b/c the doctor literally tossed them behind her on the table. At this point my mom actually arrived - she had left a couple of hours after I phoned her that morning when contractions became regular, got stuck in some nasty traffic on a Friday afternoon in Reading, but made it to Lancaster with literally about ten minutes to spare. My L&D nurses were phenomenal, one who told it like is, which I certainly appreciated and the other who was constantly making sure I was comfortable and knew what was going on. With some expert forcepter-ing, the doc was able to get baby's head out, at which point everyone realized why his heart rate had been going up and down: the cord was wrapped around his neck. Three times. In the middle of a rather heartfelt push, amidst everyone saying good job, here he comes, I heard the doc say "Cherie, GO" to my midwife, and at the exact same moment my midwife said "STOP" to me, which, I like to semi-joke that because my dad taught me to listen so well at a young age, I stopped pushing on a dime when she said that. There were about 11 people in the room at that point, from Tim holding my hand (and, okay, leg as well) to the NICU nurse they called in just in case, and everyone in between. They had the OR on notice in case they had to wheel me down the hall for a Cesarean if I couldn't push him out fast enough to keep his heart beating at an acceptable rate.
So in about 3 seconds they spun the kid around like a corkscrew, Tim cut the cord, and Levi started screaming like a banshee. The NICU nurse pronounced him at an 8 on his first APGAR test, and everybody took a deep breath and started cleaning up. One of the L&D nurses took a moment to show me Levi's cute little bottom while she tested his legs for reflexes. He weighed in at 7 pounds and 5.5 ounces, and an even 20 inches long. Full name is Levi Michael John White, Levi both because we love the name and also in recognition of Tim's grandmother, Violet, Michael after my father and Johna after Tim's father.
I did have some stitching, as to be expected, and actually had some complications myself after getting through labor: my hemoglobin levels dropped pretty severely from a combination of severe dehydration before labor started, possibly some effects of the epidural and possibly just genetics, as my body's natural reaction to trauma appears to be either nausea, low blood pressure or both. Upon my first try to sit up and make it to the wheel chair to move to the recovery room, I turned white as a sheet and had to lie down. They pumped more fluids into my IV and threw a cold facecloth on my forehead, but it still took three tries before I could make it to the wheelchair to send m up the hall to recovery. The low blood pressure continued at least through the night, where I confess I almost fainted when the nurses helped me to the bathroom :)
For the first few days after coming home, we had my mom, dad, sister, Tim's parents and also my grandma around. Everyone left on Thursday, and we've been making it on our own. I confess to sleeping in most mornings while Levi sleeps and rarely getting up before 10 :) He's a pretty docile lamb, sometimes fussing but not very often, and easily calmed with some swaddling and being able to suck on someone's finger. At night he tends to be up until close to midnight, but falls back to sleep pretty quickly as long as he is warm.
We went on a little walk last night for the first time, since I've been unable to stand/walk for more than a minute or two at a time as my blood levels recover. Levi's not so happy when there's a breeze or with the brightness that is outside, but he endured it :)