Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A birth story

Jared Carter Cropper
March 1, 2011
7 lbs. 13 oz.
21 inches

Here's the thing. I write really long birth stories. I like details for family history purposes. If you are still here by the end, then wow! You must really love me.

On Monday, February 28th I was 3 days overdue. I know a lot of women go 2 weeks overdue, so I won't bemoan being overdue too much. But. I felt useless. My round ligament was shot. I could hardly walk. I vowed to never make fun of waddling pregnant women again. I couldn't sleep at night. Whether I was up going to the bathroom or stirred awake by another bad dream of the baby falling out at home, I wasn't getting much rest. And I felt like I couldn't do very much for my boys. I'd decided to ask Dr. Binette to induce me on Tuesday morning.

At my appointment I was only 3 cm, but the baby very low. I told him I'd like to be induced. He told me the plan would be to come in at 6:30 a.m. and receive a cytotec tablet, which softens you for labor. He'd then break my water around 9 a.m. "You'll be done by noon," he declared. I knew it would be sooner. I'm really fast.

I spent Monday getting my ducks in a row. House tidied. Laundry done. Boys packed up for my mom's house. Rides arranged for B's preschool. (Thanks, Matt!) When Tay came home from work we took the boys to Mom and Dad's, got them going on carrot sticks and mac and cheese, sorted out car seats and instructions, and said goodnight. Then we went to Bonsai for sushi and tempura (we'd also been there the day the ultrasound confirmed he was a boy with a tearful Blaine!) to celebrate. While I blissfully ate my crunchy roll, Taylor looked up "March 1st" on his iphone, making sure it was a good date. (Taylor is really into having a meaningful birthday. His is Bastille Day. Blaine's is May Day. Rog's is "March Forth!") It turns out that March 1st is Wilford Woodruff's (fourth prophet of our church) birthday, which is fun. Also, March 1st 1803 Ohio became a state, which is significant to me because of my mission in Ohio but even more so because this baby was going to be named after Jared Carter, who had been a key member of our church in Kirtland, Ohio, in the 1830s. (More about his name later.) Before we went home we stopped by the hospital to check on Taylor's dad, Dean, who'd just had a knee replacement. He looked like he was in so much pain, I wanted to cry for him. I would give birth the next morning, just a few floors down.

Before bed Taylor helped me tidy toys and make sure everything was packed for the hospital. The last thing I had to do was take a shower and curl my hair. Yes, I am vain. But, come on, you know there are going to be a million pictures of you--you might as well be prepared! We finally went to sleep around 11 p.m.

I woke up with abdominal pain. I looked at my phone. 4:15 a.m. I thought about the fact that I ate my weight in tempura vegetables a few hours before and tried to go back to sleep. Six minutes later I was sitting up in bed checking my phone again. It wasn't the tempura. It was labor.

I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep so I got up and started getting ready to go to the hospital. I figured I was due there by 6:30 anyway, but maybe we'd have to check in early. Next comes Taylor's favorite part of the story to tell. I went back to the bedroom and woke him up a little. "Hey, Tay. It's 4:35 a.m. I just want you to know that I've been having some contractions. They're only about 6 minutes apart and they're not too painful." Groggy Taylor: "So what are you doing?" Me: "Oh I'm just doing my make up."

After my make up I put on my new Gilly Hicks sweatsuit (thanks, Bec!) and ate some cheerios upstairs while I watched Private Practice and part of Parenthood. (Good thing for DVR!) Taylor came up a little before 6. "Well, get ready," I said. "We need to leave for the hospital." {As it turned out, I was so grateful I'd chosen to be induced. Had I not planned on induction, I wouldn't have had my kids farmed out, etc. but would have gone into labor at 4:15 that morning and panicked about getting the kids taken care of, etc.}

At 6:11 on the way to the hospital I texted Brian, my anesthesiologist brother. "I think I'm going to need drogas soon. I've been in labor 2 hours. He wasn't going to break my water until 9 but I think the babe will be here by then."

When we walked in to the birth center I looked at the nurses at the desk. "I'm here to be induced. Except I'm already in labor. And I'm going home tonight." They all looked back at me incredulously. "Well," one of them said, "you have to have your doctor and pediatrician approve that." "I'm a cash payer," I said. "If I'm here one minute over 24 hours, I'll get charged for an extra day. Which is $10,000. I have to get home tonight!"

One of the nurses showed us to room 8, where I'd be delivering. I put on my gown, got out my West Elm catalog, and sat on the bed, waiting for the good doctor. In he came, wearing a bow tie as always, coffee cup in hand. He reviewed the time line we'd talked about the day before, and I looked Taylor like "yeah right." "I think you better check me before the cytotec," I said. "I've been having contractions since around 4. So he did. And he said, "Yep, you're in labor. You're at a 5. We're not going to do cytotec." Then he turned to the nurse and said, "Hand me that amnihook, please. We're just going to break her water now." Love it.

So he broke my water at about 6:55. Well that really got things going. My contractions really picked up--in pain, in length, in frequency. "You need to get my brother here," I said. I knew full well that I could be complete in a half hour, and if he didn't get there fast, I wouldn't be getting my epidural. Which I really wanted. The nurse--who was due to go home in just a few minutes--called down to the nurses' station. "Hi, I need some help in here. She's really in labor and I don't have anything ready. I need someone down here to prep an epidural tray and a baby bed and everything." If I hadn't been grimacing in pain I would have laughed out loud. It seems like no matter how many times you tell people "I deliver really fast," they never believe you. In came several of the nurses that we'd met at the door. "Wow," said the cute, short-blonde-haired one. "You really might get home tonight!" So the nurses scurried around prepping everything. One of them stabbed the heck out of me until the got the IV in right. Meanwhile I breathed through my contractions and started to feel a sense of panic. I knew I could start transition real quick. The doctor came in to see how I was doing. I started yelling. "Someone call my brother and tell him to get his booty in here!" Taylor loves to laugh at that part. He says, "Who were you talking to?!" Anyone who would listen!

Around 7:15 or 7:30 maybe Brian showed up in his blue scrubs. "I was in the shower when you sent your text," he said. "What's up with casually mentioning in a text message that you've been in labor for 2 hours and then taking your sweet time to get to the hospital?" I'm sure the nurses were getting a kick out of our sibling banter. We made sure to quote some Tommy Boy for them in between contractions: "Does this baby make me look fat?" "No, your face does." He told me to sit up and swing my legs over the bed so he could put in the epidural. "Now," Brian said, "Let's cover up everything humanly possible!" (Brian is hilarious when it comes to his sisters. Kind of like being grossed out when you realized that your parents have sex, Brian never wants to hear a word about a sister's period, watch her breastfeed, etc. He was relieved that the baby monitor strap I was wearing covered up my bum crack so he didn't have to see it while placing the epidural in my back!)

Now here is where I give some important advice to anyone who is actually still reading this and wants to have a medicated delivery. DO NOT LET A DOCTOR GIVE YOU TOO STRONG OF AN EPIDURAL. My first epidural was so intense that I may as well have not had any lower extremities. I couldn't lift my legs, couldn't push when it was time, couldn't feel anything from my ribs down. WORTHLESS. I told Brian, "I need it strong enough to take the extreme pain away, but I need to be able to feel the contractions enough and to control my muscles when it's time to push." So he did just that. A good anesthesiologist should know how to do that. It was ideal. I could feel when the contractions came but I was numb enough to feel calm and in control.

My epidural slowed my contractions back down quite a bit--back to 6 or 7 minutes apart. So the doctor gave me a little bit of pitocin to pick things back up again. Which it did. By about 8:30 I was complete and ready to push. And, thanks to my custom epidural, I could totally do it. It was new to me to push. With Blaine and Rog it was like 2 pushes and out they came. This time I pushed for about 20 minutes. I love that part because you know you're at the end and the baby is coming soon! I loved the soft nurse's voice in my left ear counting to 10 each time I pushed. I loved Taylor's hand on my right arm. By this point, I could feel pretty well. In fact, right at the end, as the baby was coming out, I actually screamed a little. I think my exact words were, "Taylor this hurts!" That was new for me, because I'd been so drugged before. But it was a good hurt because I wasn't dying but could feel everything my body was doing. {And now, a note about the good doctor: I didn't have the slightest tear because the entire time I was pushing he was massaging me. I am telling you, after the episiotomy I received giving birth to Blaine, I couldn't walk, sit, sneeze, laugh, or cough for about 3 weeks. It was torture. These last two doctors have been so much better. I am not exaggerating at all when I say I could have hopped on a bike the next day. It is that much better. Talk to your doctor from the very beginning about this. If he is old school and believes in episiotomy, kick him to the curb. Seriously though.}

I always close my eyes when I push, but with the last one Taylor said, "Open your eyes and look! There he is!" And there he was. (8:54 a.m.) Crying and darling. Dr. Binette put him on my chest and Taylor cut the umbilical chord (which surprised me, as he declined the first two times). The nurses rubbed him clean with a towel while I held him. He grabbed my finger. I just cried. I wish I could live in that moment again. The nurse was so darling. She kept saying, "You hold him there as long as you want. No pressure." But after a few minutes I handed him over so she could weigh him, etc. Then she gave him back, in just a diaper. She untied my gown and put him right on top of my chest. Skin to skin. It was marvelous.

The rest of the day was just loving up the babe and receiving visitors. Mary Anne, Taylor's mom, was the first to arrive. She'd been upstairs with her husband when Taylor sent out a picture text. She just started running through the hospital showing everyone the picture. When she got to the security guard at the birth center she held up her phone and said, "He's here! And he's my grandson! Please let me in to see him!" Brian came in to see him, also my dad. (It's cute to see your brother and dad both in OR scrubs at the hospital.) My mom came with Jill and little Rog, who was just as interested in the smoothie my mom brought me as he was in his baby brother! Blaine came later, after preschool. Cousin Katie came with Mary Anne later, too. Mary Anne had picked her up early from school and she almost died from the excitement of it all. We even picked up some visitors thanks to Dean's knee surgery. Chip and Laura came, as did Spencer, and later Nate with Uncle Eldon and Henry.

All of the nurses were fabulous. They took good care of me, but also left us alone! That felt nice--not to be bothered. Also. They really took me seriously about checking out that night. They had my discharge papers ready by noon, and did everything they could to get the pediatrician there and have everything in order for us to leave. I was immensely grateful for them. At 7 p.m. we said goodbye to the nurses that had been there for it all, and welcomed the new ones that would discharge us. Dr. Mary came to check out the babe. She was darling as always. After his PKU and Hep B were taken care of, we were free to go. We were out by 9 p.m. Nice.

A little bit about his name, Jared Carter (we call him Carter). Jared Carter was a mormon missionary who, with his brother, Simeon, taught the gospel to Taylor's ancestor, John Tanner. Jared Carter actually healed John Tanner's leg-- a very significant thing, as he was told he must amputate it if he wished to live, but he refused. John Tanner went on to become instrumental in funding the building of the Kirtland temple. This is all significant to us because it is family history, and also because of my time spent in Kirtland. There is actually a really nice movie (about 20 minutes) about this story, which you can see here.

Now we are just learning to add baby to our routine. The boys seem to be adjusting well (and they have had lots of play dates, sleepovers at cousins' and Nana's, thank you, thanks you!). And so far, although I'm tired, I feel like we can manage this. Carter is a really pleasant, mellow baby. So far he doesn't spit up, seems to have a pretty calm tummy, sleeps rather well at night, and is just generally happy. We are happy, too.


Katrina said...

Congrats, Anne! I totally read it all. :-) Great birth story. I loved all the little pieces of advice. This is pretty much the most perfect hospital, epidural birth I have ever heard. You've got it down! :-) Enjoy that baby!

Kate said...

Well I loved every second of that birth story... I must really love you ;)! So happy for you and Taylor. New babies really are the best. Sorry for all the messages I sent you that day. I thought you'd already had him, like days before. And then I realized you were having him that day! Oh dear. Sorry. Wish I could be there to bring you a meal and a hug and a chat. That would be fun. Let's talk when you ever find a free moment, like maybe months from now I suppose! Love you!

brittani c. said...

My first thoughts after seeing the baby's name: Kirtland. Congrats! Honestly, could you look more like a model having just given birth? Not fair. Enjoy your sweet boys, Anne. Hugs.

liz said...

Hi. I just wanted to tell you that I can remember what I wore to meet my teacher in 2nd grade. It's almost like we're related or something... Love your birth story and am so happy that everything has gone so swimmingly. Wish I was there! Love you.

Rachael said...

Anne, I was up half the night the other night worrying about what I would do with my other 3 kids if I went into labor in the middle of the night (I also go really fast and we live far enough from the hospital that some of my friends have had babies in the car). Can I just say it was so reassuring to read this?! You were so pulled together and confident in telling this that it made me feel better about my own impending labor. :-)

Rachael said...

plus that is a totally darling baby. Mmmm, babies!!

Joan said...

Totally cried. I always do. There is nothing more magical/incredible/surreal than giving birth. I love you and that new baby! What an awesome name sake he has! :)

jeanine said...

Oh I love birth stories! Congrats again!

Vicky said...

Anne, thanks for sharing Carter's birth story. I really enjoyed reading it, especially as I anticipate giving birth myself any day now. I'm hoping I can have enough warning that I can do hair and make up too! After my hideous hair when Benjamin was born (early-surprise!) I vowed to try to be picture worthy for future births! Great advice about the epidural, too. You're totally right. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy!

families are forever said...

So wonderful!!!!! Congratulations!!!!

Emily said...

Congratulations Anne. Hopefully Taylor gets some time off to cook you some awesome dinners and cuddle with you and Carter. I'm so happy you have so much family out there to share this little one and your workload with.

Sara said...

Congrats! He's perfect. :)

Marlo said...

Congrats Anne! He looks like such a little sweetheart. Have fun! This is making me excited for our new one. 6 Weeks!

Genean said...

I hope you don't mind I followed you over here from Bloom.

Thanks for sharing your birth story. The details are what make each birth beautiful, as well as unique.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery... and a tolerance of all things relating to sleep deprivation ;) You can do it!

Lacey said...

hey anne, its lacey (dalton)
i read most of it, i have to admit i had to skim the end, only cause i have to get to pick my daughter up. but congrats, i love hearing birth stories, especially happy ones.
So i was sitting in church yesterday and my friend asked me if i read the blog bloom, and i said no i hadn't heard of it, but come to find out i know the authors and they are famous! so fun to see you and see some of what you've been doing!

Chip & Laura said...

Ahhhh.... I feel like I just finished a really good book. A love story on so many levels. Thank you for sharing this incredibly beautiful story. Ahhhhh

Taylor's said...

So even though I really don't know you and I have only met your Husband once while we were river rafting - years ago with Emily {Clason} Yates - I still love to hear about you and your boys!

There is just something magical about your personality and love you show your boys - I love it - I look up to it!

And I so agree with you - a great OB is the perfect thing to no tearing!

And I commend you for being out in 24 hours - my little sister has to do the same thing because they too are cash paying people because of the rancher life and insurance.

And you made me tear all up about the name and where it comes from! I love that families still give children family names of importance! It gives the child a purpose I feel like.

Congrats again - I only wish I was so cute after giving birth!

Julietta said...

Congrats Anne--he is beautiful! And so are you--it is just not right to look that good after having a baby!

Tamara said...

Huge Congrats on your new little one! I just subscribed to your blog and have been checking out your pics - your family's adorable! :)

Carrie said...

Great story! I loved the part about Brian doing your epidural and love the picture of your parents with little Carter.

Melody Odell said...

Only you would look that beautiful after having a baby. I love his name and the meaning. Your sister forever, Sis. Coleman

Jill Clark said...

So I had a dream about you last night, and woke up missing you and missing Kirtland. Congratulations on handsome Carter. You are such a beautiful Mom and person. Do you ever get down to Utah? We need to schedule a meeting there sometime :) I hope you're enjoying every minute. Love you. Sis. Bailey