02 December, 2011

Welcome, Soren!

A few hours old.
Välkommen, Sören! Our little Swedish meatball!

Born at 23:39, just minutes before Thanksgiving. And he is certainly a little butterball, weighing in at a whopping 8lbs. 11 oz. (nearly 4 kilos!) How did I carry such a big baby?!? 

Super Soren!

Momma's Little Turkey.

He's healthy and so far happy, and Stu & I are totally in love with him. Even when he wakes us up at midnight howling, and again at 2am, and again at 4am...if my stomach were the size of a walnut, I'd be hungry too!

Getting his zen on with dad.

My awesome hospital bed...Soren and I spent 5 days on that thing!

First trip to the pediatrician.

First family portrait with his eyes actually open.

Because I really liked reading birth stories while I was expecting this little gubbe, I thought I'd write about ours. It has the word "emergency" in it, but it wasn't particularly dramatic. 
I started work at the Smithsonian at the beginning of November (finally! and the job is great!) Because it's a brand new job, meaning I had no leave saved up, my plan was to work until I went into labor, and I essentially did just that. 

The baby was only 4 days past his due date, and I had gotten to work at 8:30 Wednesday morning, when my OB office called to tell me that they were waiting for me in Labor & Delivery at the hospital to start the induction process. I guess they had a spot open up and I was next on the list. So I turned right back around (after telling all my new co-workers "Surprise! I'm having a baby today!") and met Stu at home, grabbed all of our pre-packed hospital gear, and headed to the hospital.

Checked in and hooked up to the IV, they determined that I was nowhere near ready to start induction drugs, so they administered a topical cervical dilation hormone, and Stu and I waited about 9 hours for something to happen. I did a crossword puzzle, read a magazine, watched some HGTV. It was really slooooow. Even slower when all you can ingest is clear liquids and jello. I ate at least 5 cups of jello in that period.

But around 7:30pm, I went into active labor on my own. My water broke, which started the most painful breath-stopping contractions I could imagine, and I lasted ONE entire hour before calling for an epidural.

That thing was worth it. Oh man. And I was truly scared of the whole needles and drugs thing before. I was wrong to fear pain relief.

At that point, the doctor (never my own doctor, just whoever was on call. Thankfully, they were all awesome) said I was 100% effaced and 8cm dilated, and we just needed to wait a bit to start the pushing process. I was kinda blissed out on the epidural drugs, though I could still feel contractions and could still wiggle my legs. 
Through this whole process, the staff was monitoring my vitals and the baby's. The fetal heart monitor showed that many times, his heart rate dropped after I had a labor contraction (it should do the opposite.) They thought maybe he was sitting on or squeezing his umbilical cord in the uterus whenever the walls shrunk in, meaning he was not getting enough oxygen during those contractions. By 10:30pm, the doctor pronounced that if it were to keep happening, we should prepare ourselves for a Caesarean. At 11:00, after a particularly big contraction and low heart rate read-out, we were told that we needed to get the baby out.

So at 11:22pm, they wheeled me into the OR (thank goodness I got that epidural...they would have had to knock me out completely had I not!) I was awake, but I didn't feel a thing. Stu was nervous, but so supportive. And at 11:39, baby Soren was born, purple, slimy and screaming his perfectly round little head off. 

I know our case (fetal heart decelerations) is one of the more common reasons for emergency c-sections and maybe could have been prevented, but though it certainly wasn't the ideal delivery scenario for Stu or me, it was absolutely the ideal outcome: a healthy baby.
We stayed a total of 5 days in the hospital, and those 4 after he was born were priceless. The nursing and doctor staff were excellent and we felt so well taken care of. 

Soren is just over a week old now. I'll be home with him until early February (nothing like Sweden's maternity leave policies, that is for sure!)  Stu is on paternity leave for a short time, doing nearly everything except the breastfeeding. I am healing, but it is slow-going. I can't get out of bed very easily by myself. I am still on pain meds and anti-inflammatory drugs. The baby is the heaviest thing I can pick up (and with the way he is packing on the pounds, he may exceed my max weightload pretty soon!)

Soren's first Swedish cultural event will take place tomorrow, when we attempt to take him to the House of Sweden's Julmarknad in DC. I'm sure it will be a short visit as they tend to get crowded...everybody and their mother comes out for free lussekatter and lätt glögg, apparently. I love seeing the Lucia procession (they use real candles!) but I doubt if we'll last that long. You have to worry about things like germs, loud noises, and where to discreetly breastfeed as parents! So many new things with a baby!
And maybe more to come. Stu and I have had some comical new parenting moments...the not-so-clean first bath, the trauma of my milk coming in, learning how to swaddle...and we've thought about starting a new blog. One to keep track of the memories we make with this little guy. We'll keep you posted.