Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Owen's Birth Story

Owen's birth story

Owen William Alford was born on December 13, 2014 at 4:50 in the morning.  His birth story, however, began more than a week before he made his arrival!

My first REAL contraction (none of that braxton hicks mess) hit me like a ton of bricks while we were at Margarita's in Waltham with our friend Emily.  One second I'm ordering a chicken chimichanga, the next I'm having excruciating pain in my back!  After hobbling to the bathroom a few times (to avoid a scene) and suffering through 45 minutes at the table, we apologized to Emily for being such terrible dinner partners and headed home to call my OB.  That's when I learned back labor can come in waves, or can just be constant.

After 4 hours of contractions that started in my back and wrapped around to my belly, I got the most wonderful text from my brother. He had just made plans to go to Atlanta to buy an engagement ring for his AMAZING girlfriend, Megan!  This was literally the only thing I would have wanted to talk about (mostly listen to) while having contractions.  30 minutes after getting off the phone with my brother, the contractions completely stopped.

These 4-6 hour contraction sessions happened 3 more times throughout the next week, getting stronger each time, until Thursday December 11, when they finally "stuck".

I was working from home that week (since the last place I would want to go into labor was at work) and had just finished up a meeting, when the back labor hit me again.

**Side note - my office-mates were all hoping I would go into labor at work.  There was a "Lauren Extraction Plan", and every time I'd stand up to go to the bathroom (every 45 minutes), someone would ask "OMG...are you having the baby?"  I was (not) sorry to disappoint.  This story would have been a lot more exciting had the "Lauren Extraction Plan" actually happened.**

I didn't want to get my hopes up again, since I'd been here 4 times before, so we settled in to breathe through it and see if it would go somewhere!  By 5pm, things were getting stronger, so my OB requested we come in.  They hooked me up to a monitor and said "yep...you're having contractions", but sent me home to rest.  The nurse said "you'll be back here soon!  Go to a restaurant and enjoy a nice last meal".  How in the world was I supposed to sit in a restaurant while I'm having contractions??  Crazy lady.  Instead we went through the drive thru at Wendy's and headed home to snuggle with the puppy.

Toby cuddled with Owen even before he was born
By 11pm, we were finally at 5-1-1, so we loaded the car and headed to the hospital!  We got checked in and hooked up to a monitor in antenatal, and were told we'd likely be there for good.  After walking the halls for an hour I was finally at 4cm and could be admitted, so we called our families and gave them the green light to head to Boston!

We were rolled down the hall to Labor & Delivery and met our new nurse.  Since walking helped me progress before, we decided to do another dozen laps around the floor, stopping each time at the nursery windows to see the babies.  It helped to remind myself of the "prize" at the end of all that pain!

A few more hours passed and I'd only gotten to 4.5cm, so they decided it was time to break my water.  I was thankful the physician on call happen to be MY doctor - she knew me...I knew her...I felt certain she'd be delivering Owen!  When they broke my water, we found out Owen had passed meconium, so a special care team would need to be present to work on him as soon as he was born.  This meant no skin to skin immediately.

My doctor gave me 3 more hours to see what kind of progress could be made.  When she came back, we were to 6cm!  Fantastic!  She came back in another 3 hours.  Still 6cm.  CRAP.  It was at this point we had the "pitocin and epidural" talk.  She gave us another hour to think about it and I eventually agreed it was best.  I don't know what came over me this whole time (my birth plan was "get an epidural, do what has to be done, please please please don't have to have a c section"), but I did NOT want the epidural when the time came.  I think it was a mixture of "please don't make anything else hurt" and a worry that if I was stuck in the bed the contractions would stop again.  In the end, I'm so glad I did it.

It took 3 tries for the anesthesiologist to get the epidural placed correctly, and by the time he was finished I couldn't move my left leg.  I was good and numb.  Once the epidural was in, they turned on the pitocin and Travis and I got a few hours of sleep.  Things continued for the next twelve hours or so the way they'd gone before.  A little progress, then nothing.  A little progress, then nothing.  Then nothing...nothing...nothing.

It was at that time they started talking c section.  It had been about 30 hours at this point, and I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of surgery.  Since Owen was just as happy as can be, they agreed to let us wait a little longer.  By now, the epidural wasn't as effective, which wasn't as much fun.  After finally making it to 9cm, it was time for my OB to rotate off call.  I was so bummed.

More time passed, and the nurse finally said I was fully dilated, so it was time to push!  HOORAY!  We called the parents and told them Owen would likely be here in the next few hours, so they should be ready for a call!   We had been pushing for about 30 minutes, when my new doctor, Dr Ngo (pronounced Dr. No...Travis was pretty excited about her name) came in to check on me.  When she saw us pushing, she wanted to confirm the nurse's assumption that I was fully dilated.  Thank God she happened into my room, because I actually WASN'T fully dilated, and apparently pushing before you're ready can cause you to hemorrhage.  Woah...

It had now been about 35 hours, and I was done.  The last scare convinced me the c section was necessary - we'd tried everything else - so they started prepping for surgery.

While I was being rolled down the hall, we passed one of our favorite nurses, Nora, who was back on her next shift.  She couldn't believe we hadn't had Owen yet, so she decided to crash my c section.  This turned out to be the biggest blessing.  I was freaked out...Travis was freaked out...we were both exhausted beyond measure.  Nora waited with Travis in the hallway while I was prepped for surgery, then came in with him.  She grabbed our camera and said she'd hang out with us and take pictures so Travis could just "enjoy" himself.

The c section was really fast (10 minutes to get Owen out, 45 to close me up).  I was numb up to my neck and covered in hot blankets because I couldn't stop shaking (brrrrr...).  I couldn't really hear what the operating physicians were saying, but was calmly kept in the loop by the most amazing anesthesiologist and our friend, nurse Nora.

Owen was born at 4:50am and rushed to the other side of the room by the special care team, who suctioned the meconium from his lungs and belly.  Travis went over to see Owen while they worked on stitching me up, and after about 5 minutes we heard the sweetest cry ever!  Then they wrapped Owen up and brought him over for me to see.  It was love at first sight!

After spending some time in recovery (where Travis' parents got to meet Owen!) we were taken to our "home" for the next 4 days.  A nurse came in and asked if we would be ok with CBS coming to talk to us about Owen being born on 12-13-14.  In my "just had a baby stupor" I said "uh, yeah, sure", and an hour later we were being interviewed by a cameraman for the evening news!  They made several different spots with our interview - one can be found on their website here!

Jenny (Trav's mom) meeting Owen
Travis, Terry, Jenny and I with Owen

Breaking my leg this summer got me this nifty fall risk sign on my door.  
Shortly after the cameraman left, my family came to meet the newest Alford!

Mark and Owen

Megan, Dad and Owen

Mom and Dad entertaining the baby

Sorry this was so long...it was a crazy long 3 days.  If you made it this far, you get a gold star!

Next up, coming home, enjoying our sweet baby, and the worst Christmas day ever!

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