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Archive for the ‘Labor’ Category

A week ago today I was wearing scrubs. I was in Operating Room #3, leaning over Leigh Ann, holding both of her hands, telling her that everything was going to be all right.

On the outside, I probably seemed cool and collected. A dozen surgeons about to slice open my laboring wife? No sweat. But on the inside, what I was thinking was this: “Am I going to pass out?” Something was going wrong in my chest. My heart was skipping beats. Palpitating. Fluttering. And I was starting to get light-headed. The two thoughts that kept me on my feet were (1) your wife really needs you right now, and (2) if you *do* have a heart attack, at least you’re already in a hospital.

Considering a Caesarian section was about 110% against our birth plan, it’s worth talking about how we ended up in that operating room. Actually, it’s worth talking about “birth plans” in general, a term I now rank up there with other notable oxymorons like jumbo shrimp, airline food, and compassionate conservative.

In no particular order, three things we wanted to avoid were:

an epidural
fetal scalp monitors
a Caesarian section

And, in no particular order, here are the things we ended up doing:

an epidural
fetal scalp monitors
a Caesarian section

So were we spineless labor sissies? Not exactly. We were up against a host of medical issues and held out as long as we could.

For starters, Nathan was sunny-side up and wouldn’t budge. This meant that the back of his skull was pressing against Leigh Ann’s spinal cord, and every time she had a contraction, it felt as if someone were “sticking a god-damned knife in [her] back!” Or so a reliable source informed me. Add that to the extra large size of Nathan’s noggin — sunnyside up babies come out face first and often require episiotomies — and we knew were in for a long delivery.

But there was Leigh Ann’s cervix to worry about as well. It stalled out at 8 cm. We have no idea why, although a reader (thanks, Connie!) left an interesting comment here about how prior cervical procedures can leave scar tissue and prevent full dilation. As it so happens, once upon a time Leigh Ann did have a polyp removed. So that might have been a factor. But massaging her cervix didn’t show much improvement, and there was also this . . .

. . . Nathan began showing signs of fetal distress. I don’t blame him; he had been in labor for almost 21 hours, was a week past due, and was still in the wrong position. If there’s a more terrifying feeling that watching your son’s heart rate “decelerate rapidly” on a fetal monitor, I don’t know what that feeling is. Honestly, I would have rather watched my own castration. It would at least have had a few laughs.

So to recap, Thursday afternoon, we knew the following: Nate was sunny-side up, Leigh Ann’s cervix was stuck at 8 cm, and there were some ominous clouds appearing on Nate’s heart rate horizon.

We asked the doctors if we could wait a couple hours to see if anything turned around.

Unfortunately, it did not.

So a compromise was in the cards. I don’t care how principled a dude you think you are. Do Caesarians suck? Yes, they do. They’re unnatural and just a wee bit invasive. But at the end of the day, the only principle you end up caring about is that the doctors deliver your kid alive.

And as long as they do that . . . then that epidural you promised yourself you wouldn’t have . . . and those fetal scalp monitors you swore you wouldn’t use . . . and that Caesarian section you vowed to avoid?

Small change.

Little Man Nate

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The C Word

So the doctors are starting to get a little worried about us. We’ve been here almost 16 hours and Leigh Ann is still only 8 cm dilated. There’s a pow-wow in our room in about 30 minutes at which point we’ll discuss our options.

We were hoping to avoid a caesarian. But also we were hoping to win the lottery, climb Mount Everest, and a negotiate a Middle East peace treaty.

Sometimes you take what you can get.

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I know I give California a lot of crap, but how many kids get to be born in a delivery room with a skyline view of the Hollywood Hills?

How’d we end up here? Well, shortly after dinner, Leigh Ann started having contractions. When she was still having them two hours later, we headed for the hospital.

Normally they don’t admit you until you’re 4 cm dilated (we were only 2.5), but Leigh Ann’s contractions were so regular (every 3-4 minutes) and so intense (she peaked the needle at least twice) that they changed their mind. I believe the turning point may have been when Leigh Ann screamed the title of this post.

So here we wait. Probably until morning. Leigh Ann’s taking a nap, and I’m sitting at the window, watching the houselights above Sunset Blvd twinkle like dying stars.

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“Give me the freaking epidural!”

We’ve been admitted, folks.

I’ll try to make another post when we get moved to an active delivery room. But there’s a chance we won’t talk again until I’m a Dad. Wish us luck.

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Who knew it would hard to maintain a blog when (a) your in-laws were sleeping in the living room of your apartment, (b) your wife was 9 months and 6 days pregnant, (c) your apartment was flooded, and (d) the only way you could connect to your hotel’s router was by holding your laptop two feet off the ground while standing in the bathroom?

For my next act, I will try something easier, like . . .

But, seriously, I’m not posting to complain. I’m posting because we just had an hour of contractions, each 4 to 5 minutes apart.

One more hour of this and we’re grabbing our bags.

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