Friday, May 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tobin!

At 5:32 P.M. today, Tobin turned one year old. Tomorrow is the official celebration, so a full report will follow, I'm sure. Today was spent with all of us at home, hanging out with family, welcoming more family in town, and buying groceries and other party necessities. Tobin was delightful, entertaining his guests with lots of smiles and by showing off his new tricks. He even waited up an hour and a half past his bedtime to welcome his Great Grandma Yardley. Of course, it doesn't take much to impress this crowd; they're all huge fans.

In keeping with Matt's reflections on what was happening a year ago, I think this would be a good time to write Tobin's birth story. . .

I woke up around 4 A.M. with contractions. This wasn't alarming because this was the third consecutive night that I had been wakened by them. Earlier in the week the contractions would come regularly for a while and then taper off, so I half expected these to do the same. But they didn't. By 5:30, we were timing them and they were only about 3-4 minutes apart. I went and took a shower, which was tough to do with the frequency and duration of my contractions. We decided it was probably time to go to the hospital, so Matt called work to let them know he needed a sub and called our friend Caleb to tell him that we probably needed him to come pick up Hannah after school that day. We headed out to the hospital around 7 A.M. with my contractions continuing to come strongly every few minutes.

At the labor and delivery triage, they checked my dilation. I was at 4 cm, so they told us they would admit me because I was definitely "in labor." (We had had a false run to the hospital nearly a week before, so it was kind of a relief to know we had read the signs correctly.) The next few hours are kind of a blur. We waited a while for a room. Once we were in the room, they hooked me up to the monitors, which I remember being really uncomfortable. I had the thought that since the contractions would only get worse, maybe I should try to eat something. I took one bite of a granola bar and decided I didn't really want to eat. Almost immediately after, I had a really intense contraction and vomited. I remember this kind of freaked me out. A doctor came in (I saw many doctors, residents, interns, etc. through the course of the day because we were at a teaching hospital) and asked if I would like to speed things along by breaking my water. Then he said they could do that before or after I had my epidural. I had previously been undecided about an epidural. My plan had been to go as long as I could without it, but I never was completely opposed to it. I remember feeling a little panicked because I was so uncomfortable and the thought of breaking my water was scary, so I said let's go ahead and do the epidural.

The doctor came in and did the epidural. I don't remember the insertion or whatever of the epidural being too bad. What I remember more distinctly is how relieved and relaxed I felt when it started to work. There was such a release of tension in my lower body. My labor did slow down, but other than that my epidural was perfect. During this lull in my contractions, I sat back and relaxed. Matt and I watched an entire Braves-Rockies baseball game. Looking back, I appreciated this time of relative rest. My best guess as to the timeframe was that the epidural was administered around 12-1 P.M. Then we waited a while for someone to come back and break my water.

I'm not sure when they broke my water but I guess it was about 2 hours after the epidural. My contractions picked up again, and gradually intensified (through the course of the Braves game as I recall). Of course, because of the epidural, I didn't feel much for a while, but would just watch the monitor. After the Braves game finished, we watched Oprah. I remember my contractions intensifying during this time such that I started to get really uncomfortable again. By around 4:30, I told the nurse that I thought I was ready to push. The nurse started to prepare the birth kit at what seemed like a leisurely pace. At some point, she was actually talking to the TV (still on Oprah), saying how if she was in that woman's position, she would have left her husband a long time ago. I was extremely annoyed by this and asked Matt to turn off the television. The nurse finally checked my cervix. I was fully dilated and could start pushing. It was around 4:45.

Pushing seemed to go on forever and was largely a frustrating experience. I was definitely in pain again and felt my nurse was not terribly helpful. For example, I told her I wanted to lay on my side and push. She asked why would I want to do that. I don't know if I explained that I had read it was a more comfortable position. I just remember being perturbed that she even asked that question. So I tried pushing on my side for a few minutes, but it was really awkward, so I returned to my back when the nurse suggested it.

When the O.B. (unfortunately, my doctor wasn't on call) arrived, she said something like, I'm sorry I didn't get here until the very end. I didn't care that she was late in getting there. I was just thrilled to hear that she thought I was nearly done. Throughout all of this, Matt was so great, telling me how good I was doing, helping me count and breathe. I pushed about 5-10 minutes more. When he crowned, the doctor asked me if I wanted to feel the top of his head. For some reason, I didn't; I just wanted to push some more. Tobin was born at 5:32 P.M., after about 45 minutes of pushing.

The first thing I remember is one of the nurses saying, that's a big baby. Then they handed him to me. He was kind of gray and slimy and beautiful, looking at me with his already big, wide eyes. He was so peaceful but also alert. I was overcome with happiness. Absolutely giddy. My first words to Tobin were something like, we're so glad to meet you, little guy. I didn't shed a tear; I couldn't stop smiling. Matt was crying and telling me how wonderful we both were. When they called out his weight--9 lbs., 2.5 oz.--I think I laughed a little.

For some reason, we didn't get around to calling our parents (and then others) until after 8 P.M. We were enjoying our time with Tobin, and I was undergoing the obligatory stitching (3rd degree tear) and post-delivery care. We were both starving, so Matt picked up food from the Wendy's in the hospital. (I honestly don't remember if I ate before or after we made the first call.) We moved rooms to the post-partum unit. I had planned on Tobin staying with us all night, but realized how exhausted I was and that if he was in the room with us we would both be checking to see if he was breathing every 5 minutes. I had already attempted an unsuccessful breastfeeding, so once I was ready to try to sleep, I just asked the nurse to bring him back in two hours. I spent the night waking every two to three hours to try to feed him and catching some surprisingly good sleep in between. When morning came, it was great to have him in the room with us continuously. Breastfeeding was a team effort, as I worked on getting Tobin to latch on while Matt tried to keep him awake to feed a little. Matt has been absolutely the best partner and father I could have hoped for, and I remember fondly how helpful he was during labor and the precious first hours caring for our son. It was actually Matt who changed Tobin's first diaper. I like to joke that he took advantage of me being laid up in bed to beat me to it.

So that's my memory of a year ago today when we welcomed Tobin Lee.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I truly enjoyed reading that. Thank you for sharing that story. It was wonderful to see Tobin Lee (and his parents) yesterday.