Our son his here, safe and sound and beautiful. This is my attempt to recall his crazy labor and delivery.
We got to Mercy at 7 a.m. to start our induction. By 7:30, the pitocin was started. I got up out of the bed as soon as possible, and spent the next four hours standing, rocking, swaying, and bouncing beside the bed. Baby looked great through all that, with a good heartbeat and no problems. Probably around 9:30 I had to put on my headphones and start getting serious to manage contractions. By 10, I was standing with my arms around Jay, rocking through each contraction. I would hum and/or pray through the worst of it, and realized it took one slow hail mary to get through a bad contraction. I think they were about every 2-3 minutes. Jay was awesome, reassuring me through the contractions and supporting me between.
At 11:15 Lindsey checked me and I was at 6. Baby was still in good position at this time.
Around 11:30, I said something felt different, I felt kind of pushy. In previous deliveries, I had gone from 7 to complete in a matter of minutes, so we were all kind of on edge to be ready. By 11:45, Jay was holding me up to keep me from squatting all the way to the ground with each contraction. Lindsey checked me again, and that's when we had a problem. Sometime in that half hour, baby had changed position and was presenting face first. Instead of the back of his head, she felt his face. Doc came in right away and confirmed a face presentation. I'm sure no one said it aloud, but I bet some silent cuss words were uttered.
Keep in mind, I still didn't have anything for pain. Doc started trying to manipulate baby's head, first to try to tuck her chin. (At this point, we still assumed girl.) I changed positions a lot, from left to right to hands and knees to anything we could think of. Doc tried between contractions to push baby back up enough to get that head to tuck, but then once the contraction started or I started pushing down, babe would come face first again. After an hour, at about 1:00, I couldn't tolerate anymore and asked for the epidural.
This was my best epidural ever. I could still move my feet, move my legs, feel to push, but didn't need to scream through every contraction anymore. And, in hindsight, it was inevitable.
With the epidural in place, Doc tried to again manipulate baby's position. And tried. And tried. He would push baby transverse and try to hold him in position, but with every contraction, baby would come back face first. Somewhere in there they had shut off the pit, too, to help give us more time to change positions.
At 2:30, Doc was going to check one more time, then we assumed c-section. But when he checked one more time, baby had shifted just enough that we had hopes for a forehead. And, through all this, baby's heartbeat was great through the contractions. And, so doc tried just a few more, just a few more, going through checklists, trying to come up with any other solution.
At 2:45, baby had decels with two contractions, low enough that I was done, doc was done, and we were headed to a c-section.
Then things we lightning fast. The epidural was topped off for a full numbness, I was prepped, Jay was dressed up in his gear, and we were wheeled down the hall. I was moved to the table, and baby was out by 3:07 p.m.
His apgars were 5, 7, 9, and he was as boogered up as the doc had warned us he'd be. He looked so swollen in his face, Jay thought he had a cleft lip at first glance. I thought he looked like he had been in a horrible fight, with his face and head all swollen and purple and red. But he was crying strong and he was stable. Truly, I was focusing on just getting through the few minutes remaining of the c-section. Oh, I hated that experience worse than anything, even though it was pain free. I felt too numb, my blood pressure had dropped, I needed to vomit but felt like I couldn't move my head. Thank goodness I still had my hands, or I would have probably freaked out.
I was moved to recovery, and then Jay brought John from the nursery. He already looked better, and he nursed like a champ from the get-go. His head was still football shaped on Monday morning, he had two shiners, refused to open his eyes, and was all scratched up. But just a day later, all the swelling is gone. He just has a road rash on his forehead and the back of his scalp. And through all that, I still just see my beautiful son.
A son. Wow. We have a son. I'm still in shock and pleasant disbelief. Our family was going to be complete no matter the gender, but it feels complete in an entirely different level.
In hindsight, now that the swelling is down, Doc thinks baby's head was just too big to fit. Cephalopelvic disproportion is the official term, and one common cause for face presentation.
So, John Augustus "Gus" Sleichter was born at 3:07 p.m. on 03/03/13 weighing 8 pounds 2 oz and measuring 18.5 inches long. He has blonde hair, dark blue eyes that will probably turn brown, and his daddy's appearance. We will go home tomorrow and continue our recovery, and get settled into our family of 7.