Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Happy Birthday Alexander!

The ubiquitous birth story.

It's 2:15 in the morning right now. Hello, insomnia.

So this time five years ago, I was sound asleep in a hospital bed. I'd arrived at the hospital hours and hours earlier, with not too painful contractions, five minutes apart. This was the third trip to the hospital in a week, I'd been contracting off and on, but they kept sending me home. Irregular, unproductive, etc. These weren't really productive either, but they were regular, so the nurses gave me something to help me nap while we waited to see if they progressed. This was about seven in the evening. My good friend Susan (Hi Ron and Susan! We miss you guys bunches!) showed up to keep Kev and I company. I dozed off and on while she hung out and chatted with Kev until about midnight. I closed my eyes to nap, and when I woke up it was the next morning. Nothing was happening, so Kev and I walked the halls for quite a while trying to get things moving. So so frustrating. My doctor arrived around seven, and gave me pitocin to get things moving, then left again.

Aaaaand we waited. And waited. And waited. I was progressing, but extremely slowly. By noonish, the pace started picking up. The contractions were much worse than anything I'd experienced with Elizabeth...I kept changing positions and crying because it wasn't helping. Looking back now, I'm sure I was in transition. With Elizabeth, I'd had my epidural by now, and hadn't had it yet with this labor.
The anesthesiologist finally arrived (I'm fairly sure I offered to marry him) with the epidural. Blessed, blessed pain relief. Yes, I'm an enormous wuss. It hurts a lot, I don't want it to. Hence, epi. I acknowlege my nonexistant pain threshold and I'm content with that. LOL It was wonderful. Except. Everything on the right side still hurt. Huh?? It hadn't taken on the right side, so the nurses told me to lay on that side to try and get the medication to flow that way. Yikes. The doctor checked me, and said we'd probably have Alexander around six or seven that night. It was around one thirty. Doc took off to do a minor surgery in another part of the hospital, Kev headed out to the parking lot to move the car from the emergency parking lot and get a book, and the nurses left the room so I could nap. Of course, that's when everything moved into fast forward.

I was trying to nap, and praying that the epi would hurry up and take on that right side. My nap got interrupted by major pain and pressure and an urge to push. But just on one side, which hey, weird. I was lying on the wrong side to reach the nurse call button, but the nurses station was just outside my room, so I just called my nurses' name. She arrived, and I announced that I wanted to push, so would she please have someone fix my epidural. NOW. Oh, also? NOW. Thank goodness, one of us was still calm and rational. She very coolly checked me, and in the same tone of voice, called a second nurse into the room. When the second one arrived, she said "How fast can you get her set up?" About .002 seconds later, I was ready to go. Bed raised to a semi sitting position, stirrups, instructed to pant. With my doctor several floors away performing surgery on someone, and my husband wandering around somewhere in the parking lot. Whee! So now I've got one nurse tracking down my anesthesiologist, one finding my doctor, and another one paging Kev. Of course, none of them were having much luck. I had completely lost it at this point, because that's pretty much what I do. (See my interview, re: excitable)

My parents waited just outside the hospital room for the birth of all my kids, and greeted them shortly after their birth each time. This time, though, we'd sent them away for a while since nothing was supposed to happen until that evening. So in my freaked out brain, I figured I'd call dad and have him get mom, letting him know that they needed to hustle if they wanted to be there. Dad was at work, he's a policeman, and I couldn't think of his pager number or his cell number. So what did I do? Called 911. 9. 1. 1. I think this may outrank the baseball glove incident as my most embarassing moment. Kev worked there then too, so they knew who I was, but still. 911, for pete's sake. And to top off the idiocy, I gave them the message to pass along to him, instead of just telling them to have him call. Yeesh.

Still no Kev or doctor by this point, but the wonderful, wonderful man with the epidural had arrived and fixed me all up. I was so much happier. The nurses weren't having any luck finding Kev, so two of them started heading for the elevator to see if they could find him in the parking lot. The elevator door opened before they got there, and there he stood, book in hand, ready to settle down for a long wait. Kev says one of them pointed and yelled "There he is!", and they started waving their arms and calling for him to hurry. At this point in the story, Kev always points out that he didn't hurry, he strolled. He's always very pleased with himself for this. "And then they told me I was about to miss the birth of my son, so I SLOWED DOWN. Cool, huh?" I've never actually understood that, but I'm sure he'll provide some insight. Anyway, they'd also managed to drag my doctor out of surgery, and he also strolled. Possibly moseyed. That's one of his trademarks. If he gets there in time, cool. If not, whatever. I've got friends who had similar experiences with him. Baby's crowning, nurse is hanging out the delivery room door yelling her head off at him to move it, and he stops to buff his nails or something. Aaaand that's why he's not my OB anymore. (Oh yeah, I forgot the other reason. He had broken my water earlier, and nicked something in the process. Yes. He managed to MISS the amniotic sac and got something else instead. It hurt like crazy, and I bled so much and for so long that the nurse actually told me she was getting a little concerned.)

So after all this panicking and trying not to push, everyone who needed to be there for the delivery was finally there. And Alexander had to make things difficult. That kid would. not. come. out. And would not come out. And would get the idea. Then he went into mild distress, so they had to screw that horrible monitor into his scalp. His heart rate was dropping with each contraction, so they wound up doing the vacuum extraction thing to get him out in a hurry.

Alexander Matthew FINALLY arrived at 2:40 PM, weighing 8 lbs 12 oz., on July 13th, 2000. Five years later, he's an awesome little guy. Amazingly cute - those big brown eyes just slay me. He's the biggest cuddler of my bunch, always up for a hug, kiss, and a snuggle. His preschool teacher just raves about how affectionate, well mannered, and fun he is. That saves him, because he's also my biggest mischief maker. There's no malice in him, he's just curious and impulsive beyond belief. There was the time I went to take a shower, and he egged the living room. Or the time he smeared peanut butter all over the sofa.
My best friend swears he's going to find a career in some crazily high paying technical engineering job. The child can take anything apart. Whether he means to or not. Back in February, we were at her house, and Alexander was riding a tricycle that Jula, my friend's daughter, had gotten for Christmas while Susan and I were making dinner for the kids. Five minutes after he got on the tricycle, Alexander came into the kitchen, handed Susan a tricycle wheel, and announced, "This fell off." That thing had NEVER fallen off before Alexander got on it. That's my guy.

His birthday party is tonight, and we've got so much to celebrate. Thanks God, for giving us such an incredible little guy.

(Pictures to come, I'm just too tired right now to remember how to post them.)

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