I was ready to push.
Of course, at this point, the doctor from my OB's practice wasn't at the hospital, but about 20 minutes away. My regular doctor was off duty until 6:30 that morning. So a stand in doctor from the hospital showed up just in case. They gave me a dose of epidural to slow things down and it pretty much killed my drive to push, though not the pain. We all hung out chatting (seriously) until the doctor finally arrived. At that point I couldn't feel when to push very well, so we shut off the epidural.
Pushing took about 2 hours. Grayson was a champ and had been for most of the labor. I did have to have oxygen for a while to make him more active, but that was it. Pushing didn't stress him out at all. I actually found most of the pushing part to be stress-free and easy to do, until later on when he started crowning. It burned horribly, and it felt like he was right there, ready to come out but stuck, forever. For-ever.
Finally, his head came out, then the rest of his body with a few pushes. He took a little while to cry, but then he just cried and cried and cried. He was born at 6:10am. My regular doctor arrived just after he did. He was 6.3 pounds and 19 1/2 inches long.
I didn't get to hold him very long at all as they took him away to get checked out. I remember that being a horrible time. I could barely see him behind everyone, with Dave, while I was poked and prodded. I needed a few stitches for a small tear, had to deliver the placenta, and they pushed on my belly to get fluid and clots and such out. Of course, my epidural had completely worn off, so I felt the stitches and everything clearly. I felt like it was forever before I was able to hold him again, and by then he was so wrapped up I couldn't see him. I wanted to breastfeed immediately and do skin-to-skin, but nurses were taking a long time to get some warm blankets so we could. This all was unbelievably frustrating for me.
The rest of the day is a huge blur. They had to give me a magnesium drip to prevent seizures, which made me incredibly woozy (they said it would make me feel like I had the flu). I got more antibiotics for a fever. I remember having to ask to hold Grayson - he was getting passed around and he was crying a lot. I felt such relief when I got to hold him. I remember being so happy and so tired.
Breastfeeding was going well, at least. He was such a champ at it. He had such a strong rooting reflex, as evident by his attempts to eat his blanket.
I wasn't able to have anything but fluids until the morning. Jello became my best friend. At some point, I'm guessing due to being bed-ridden, my feet started to swell horribly. They were absolutely huge. My arms started to get sore, especially the right one, from the blood pressure machine, which had taken my blood pressure every 15 minutes since I arrived.
The rest of the day passed pretty much like that.
Saturday, June 5
That morning, they turned off the magnesium drip, and I was allowed to go to the bathroom and have a real breakfast. The eggs, sausage, gravy, and biscuits were sooo good. My body felt so weird and swollen, but I was feeling better. As long as things went well, I'd be allowed to leave in the morning.
Sunday, June 6
Unfortunately, my blood pressure didn't go down as quickly as hoped and I didn't get to go home this day. I don't remember a lot of what happened besides the fact that I cried a lot. I wanted to go home with Grayson so badly. I began to dread the blood pressure machine entering the room (at this point they were checking it a bit less often). Luckily, by the end of the day it was better, below 170/100, at least. Since we had a blood pressure machine to check it at home, my doctor cleared me to leave.
Monday, June 7
As we got ready to leave, we began to notice that Grayson was turning a little jaundice. They did a blood test and his bilirubin levels were high enough to warrant him needing to go under the lights. I was devastated. Here I was finally able to go home and now Grayson couldn't.
We had the hospital room for the rest of the day, so I spent all of Monday pumping what little milk I could get out and feeding Grayson when they would bring him. We only got 30 minutes to feed him before they would whisk him away to go under the lights again. So I would feed him and then pump afterward. It was terribly difficult and I got engorged really badly the day after, but it was worth it. I got enough milk that he didn't have to be given formula that night.
We had to get out of the hospital room at midnight. I fed Grayson at midnight, then headed home with my mom for about 4 hours of sleep while Dave stayed at the hospital to look over Grayson and give him the breast milk I had pumped. It was heartbreaking to see Grayson under the lights with only a diaper and the little glasses on, but he actually really loved it. He was always so calm - I think it was the heat.
Tuesday, June 8
Grayson's bilirubin levels dropped easily. They took Grayson out of the lights to make sure they wouldn't go back up and instead they continued to drop. Finally, sometime in the afternoon, we were able to take him home. I was thrilled!
Overall, the experience was exhausted and emotionally challenging. I was lucky that labor lasted less than 12 hours, and that I was able to deliver vaginally, but I felt cheated that I had to get an epidural. If I'd been able to move around and deal with the contractions, I feel confident that I could have done without it.
My blood pressure was stubborn and took a while longer to go down. By the time Grayson was two weeks old, however, it was back to normal and I was allowed to go off medication. Yay. Not being able to do anything was so frustrating; I was pretty much allowed to only breastfeed and that was it. I really don't like not being able to take care of myself.
I hated being in the hospital. You really aren't allowed to make decisions for yourself and you're pretty much manhandled. There's a supreme lack of communication with us and the nurses amongst themselves. I often felt confused and lost as to what was going on, and that was with all of the research and reading I had done during my pregnancy. I had no privacy when it came to breastfeeding, or anything really. The preeclampsia thing terrified the both of us. I went from being fine to being in the hospital in less than 48 hours. I'm just thankful that Grayson was fine and the preeclamsia didn't develop earlier in pregnancy. It's certainly a concern for the future, but for now we're all doing fine.
Once we were home, we were able to have our friends Chris and Adrienne Scott come over to photograph our week old son. I'll finish this post with a few pictures from that session. They're terrific peeps. Check out their site.