Monday, August 4, 2008
I speak, of course, of the end of pregnancy and the beginning of parenthood. That's right, faithful followers, the time has come for introductions.
Well...not quite yet.
Here's the deal. Meagan went to the doctor this afternoon (Monday, August 4, 2008) around 2:00. It was her 41-week appointment. For those not in the know, pregnancy is ideally a 40 week ordeal, but Meagan has been, however unwillingly, pushing onward. The doctor did his check (it was really fun to watch the look on her face as this happened, by the way), and told here that she had three options:
Option the First: Keep on waiting. The problem with this, beyond the fact that Meagan is ready to have this thing out of her body, is that the baby is getting big and is still being carried pretty high...so there's a chance it would just keep on hangin' out until things got dangerous. We declined this option.
Option the Second: Schedule a C-section. That doesn't sound fun. Though c-sections are incredibly safe these days, it's still more of a risk than we wanted to take.
Option the Third: Induce. This is done in a few different ways. First, Meagan was told to return to the office that night for "cervix stretching." THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD TIME. She would then report to the hospital where they would induce labor with a pitocin drip. The good doctor said that going this route, the baby would be here in the next 24 hours (!).
We, naturally, opted for the third option. The downside is that Meagan's body isn't giving any signs of wanting to be in labor yet. She has had very few contractions, and the baby is still pretty high up. The fact is that even with a pitocin drip, she has, says Dr. Feelgood, about a 50-50 chance of needing a c-section. While it's not the end of the world if that's what has to happen, we're both hoping it doesn't come to that.
So. This blog is going to be a long one. Here's my plan. We're going to keep this same blog constantly edited over the next 24 hours. I'm going to get on and put in any fun stories, interesting facts, and, eventually, the grand climax of the story. Just follow along, if you'd like. Think of it as an obstetrically-centered episode of 24.
That being said...away we go!
CHAPTER I: AT YOUR CERVIX!
We returned to the doctor at the appointed time. We were a bit nervous, especially Meagan, simply because "stretching the cervix" doesn't sound like a rollicking good time. I mean, I don't even have a cervix (I hope?), and I winced at the idea. All sorts of debate was going on. Would it be a manual operation? Does he have a neat machine (the Cervitron 2000!)? Would it take a long time? Would it hurt? Would it make labor happen, so the miracle drugs aren't needed?
We thought about all of this as we noticed that we were not by any means alone in the waiting room. It turns out that ol' Doc was having a regular cervix stretching fiesta that evening, attempting to induce labor on four different women. As the women debated what "stretching" really implied, I read an article about Italian grilling. SPLENDID TIMES FOR ALL.
The girl that got called in before Meagan came out about five minutes later, so we figured it wasn't a long process. She also gave Meagan the thumbs up and said, "It's completely painless," as she walked out the door.
"Meagan," I said. "She's lying."
"I hope not....she wasn't walking funny or anything..."
Meagan's turn came, Doc lubed up the happy fingers, and...well, it happened just about like you'd think. There was...um..."reaching" (the doctor), stretching (the cervix), and wincing (Meagan). There was also sitting (me) and comforting (also me).
After a few minutes of premium cervix expansion service, complete with filter change and new windshield wipers, Doc gave us our marching orders: be at the hospital between 8:00 and 10:00 tonight, and we'll get this show on the road.
CHAPTER 2: "I HATE TO BE THE BEARER OF BAD NEWS..."
A note to all doctors and nurses present and future: THIS IS NOT A PHRASE TO BE THROWN AROUND LIGHTLY.
I'll get to the history in a second, but here's the scoop for the moment. They hooked Meagan up to a fetal monitor that measures both contractions and the baby's heartbeat. They let this go for a while and saw a few of Meagan's contractions. What they saw afterward, however, was a drop in the baby's pulse. It's a temporary drop, and it comes right back up, but it's still significant. The nurse said that the fact that the drop is coming AFTER contractions indicates that the baby is in a bit of distress, most likely due to the fact that she's overdue. The nurse introduced this information with the title statement.
Ladies and gentlemen, this freaked me right the heck out.
I get strange when I worry. I get a bit withdrawn and pretty serious. I hope that goes away soon, because it's not a good mindset for me or for Meagan right now. The nurse says that this isn't a really big deal and that both of her kids did the same thing, which remains strangely non-comforting.
In any case, the nurses tilted Meagan up on her right side and got her on an oxygen flow. That seems to have diminished the drop in the baby's pulse, which is making me feel a bit better. Meagan and her mom (who is with us, by the way...I don't think I've mentioned her until now) are more upbeat. I guess I'm just really worried for the baby. I have my personal reasons, having to do with my views on God, etc., but I'm trying to do well with those.
OK, with that out of the way:
The doctor told us to come between 8 and 10. Meagan was excited to get here, but thought that she would "look like a dork" if she showed up exactly at 8. Thus, we opted to be "fashionably late" and aimed to get here around 8:15. It turned out to be a really good thing that this wasn't an emergency, because I had to circle the hospital once or twice before we found the entry for Labor and Delivery. We got here eventually, got her registered, and were ushered to a rather large birthing room. Pardon me, birthing suite. And sweet it is (PUNTASTIC)! It's a spacious room that looks as though the Marriott family designed the hospital (then again, this is Provo, Utah, and such a thing is quite possible, I guess).
Meagan got dressed (draped) in her special hospital "clothes" and the fun began. Her nurse seems like a feisty young lady. She needed the energy to check Meagan's dilation. Apparently Meagan's cervix...well, apparently it's pretty far up there. This nurse had to get REALLY involved to check the dilation (which, by the way, is up to two). As she threw away her soiled glove she exasperatedly said, "I'm sorry, I haven't had to be that rude in a long time!"
They got her strapped in and monitored, then all the big stuff spoken of up above ensued. You will recall that this was the freak out time.
Our nurse called Doc, who said that he wanted to observe her for an hour and see if anything would happen naturally before introducing a pitocin drip. And that, my friends, is where we are right now. Just waiting out the next hour to see if Meagan's body will go into labor and if anything bad happens with the pulse (which is looking better and I'm starting to relax about). Her contractions are starting to come more and more often. Right now she's having them about every two minutes or so. We're hoping that means things will go naturally, which would just be lovely.
And now...off to throw up!
CHAPTER 3: IN THE WHICH MEAGAN HAS WEAKSAUCE VEINS
It took half an hour, three nurses, seven needles (and the same amount of pokes), and Meagan almost shattering the bones in both of my wrists, but Meagan is finally fitted with an IV. Seriously, this was absurd. I would like to point out that the nurses here were not at fault. They were, in fact, very skilled. The problem, as they told her, was her anatomy. Apparently her veins are very sensitive to shutting off. She seems to have more valves in her veins than most people, which means that when the vein gets penetrated, it seals itself off. Good if you're bleeding...bad if people are trying to force you to bleed.
The whole thing the last post was about has gone away. Sorry for the panicked tone...I'm just pretty nervous about the whole thing. I'll probably freak out many more times throughout the evening, but I'll try to keep them in perspective for our viewers at home.
In other news, Meagan has a very strong grip. She used my wrist to take out her pain, and it changed to a very interesting shade of red.
CHAPTER 4: NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS?
I suppose that the baby's birthday is now pretty much officially August 5. Other than that, we haven't really realized anything new. We have a new nurse who seems to have slightly longer fingers, which will hopefully make cervical checkups a little easier. Unfortunately, Meagan has made virtually no progress in the last two hours. She's still dilated to a 2+, which just isn't that high. Nevertheless, she insists that the contractions are getting stronger and hurting worse, so...well, hopefully something will start happening soon.
Meagan's mom is trying to help her out in any way possible. She's trying to get her to relax during contractions, rather than tensing up. Meagan, however, said that that hurts even worse. "Mom, relaxing isn't the way to go."
Other important things that happened on August 5th:
1861: The United States Army abolishes flogging.
1930: Neal Armstrong born
1957: American Bandstand debuts on ABC
1962: Marilyn Monroe dies
1964: Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys born
Apparently this day was actually pretty boring. Give my daughter fifty years or so, and she'll have this named as a holiday.
CHAPTER 5: SHE WAS TIED TO THE BED WITH A MIRACLE DRUG IN ONE HAND
After suffering through a few hours of pretty intense contractions, Meagan's doctor approved an epidural for her. The vibe in this room has completely reversed. Where before things were dark and Meagan was writhing and wincing, the room is now just happier in general. As Meagan said, "That was not a fun place where I was...and the idea of it getting worse is just hell." Luckily, her doctor approved the anesthesia relatively early on, so she's really getting the good end of things. She's back to being herself again, which is just...well, things are much better now. By a long shot.
For those who have never seen an epidural, I have to recommend it. It was totally awesome to watch. That was one big ol' needle.
Basically, we're all in a much happier place now, especially Meagan. She even has a happy button, which will increase the flow of the drugs to her spine. Most excellent.
Meagan just got measured, and despite the rather frequent and painful contractions, she's no more dilated than she has been for the last number of hours. Her doctor just said that we'll wait for a bit and then he's going to break her water. Apparently...well, that's gonna be the dealbreaker. It's almost showtime.
But now, thank heaven, we get some time to sleep. Hopefully we actually can. Nerves are coming and going for both of us.
Well, regardless of anything else, Meagan is now and shall forever sing praises to the epidural.
CHAPTER 6: BREAKING WATERS FLOW LIKE RIVER
Most of this chapter will have to come from secondhand sources, as I was left completely and utterly unconscious through the entire thing. I'm a bit upset about that. Meagan says that they tried yelling at me and at one point her mom got up and was coming to shake me, but the doctor said that it was no big deal and that I should just sleep on. Seriously. I feel as though I've missed out on something.
The events go as follows: Meagan got a little bit of sleep. They checked her three or four times during the night and things looked good, except for the fact that her dilation had still only reached three by this morning. Not fast enough, they decided, and thus the hook was introduced.
For those not aware, water breaking is when the amniotic sac is ruptured and all the "water" (that's in quotes because it's a lot harder to say, "Wow, Meagan, look, your sac of grotesque goo is breaking!") rushes on out. This is usually a naturally occurring thing, but it can be done artificially to drive labor. And how is it done artificially? In essence...a crochet hook. The doctor reaches it up there, hooks the sac, twists it around the hook, and yanks. Voila! Instant rupture!
Apparently it's worked. They checked her half an hour later and she had dilated a full centimeter more. She's still got quite a ways to go. In fact, according to the dilation standards, she has only now officially entered "active labor" (4-7 cm). The baby is delivered at 10. We're hoping she can make it there on her own and in a timely manner. We'll keep this updated as to her hopefully speedy progress.
As a final note, it is with a very humble heart that I acknowledge a grievous error in my "No News" chapter. I said nothing much had happened on August 5th in history, but Meagan's dad corrected me with the information that the Beatles album Revolver was released on August 5, 1966. HOW DID I MISS THAT? I am now throwing around ideas for a Revolver-based middle name for the baby, like "Lydia Taxman Severson." Or "Lydia Dr. Robert Severson." Or "Lydia Tomorrow Never Knows Severson."
THIS IS NOT LIKELY TO HAPPEN. Alas.
CHAPTER 7: MO DRUGS MO BETTER
Well, they measured Meagan again and, alas, she hasn't dilated any more. As such, pitocin has finally been introduced. They have her on a very slow drip, hopefully just enough to get her body into more of a labor-y state.
And....that's about it.
CHAPTER 8: BREVITY
The baby isn't reacting well to the pitocin drip. Her heartbeat is sort of erratic, and Meagan's body isn't ready for labor. She's going in to have a c-section immediately. Will update later.
Meagan and Tyler are in the delivery room getting ready for the c-section. They seemed pretty nervous, but we're confident that everything is ok! They should be out soon and we'll be posting pictures of my new little niece.
CHAPTER 9: ALL IS WELL
Everything went just fine. Meagan and the baby are both doing fine. Thank you all for your prayers and concern. I'll post more later, but be aware that everything is just fine.
CHAPTER 10: BEGINNINGS
Well, she's here! Lydia Rose Severson was born at 10:24 AM on August 5, 2008. She weighs 7 pounds and 13 ounces, and is 20 inches long. She's mostly bald, but has some thin but hopefully promising strawberry blond hair. In fact, here, I'll start putting up pictures:
And there's our little girl.
Meagan's c-section went very well. Her doctors were very skilled and very fast with their work. Meagan had a curtain blocking her view, but I watched most of the proceedings. I guess anesthesia makes a man bold, because the doctors were just ripping into Meagan. Luckily, she was blissfully unaware of everything going on.
The doctors brought Lydia out and she tried a couple of pretty weak cries before really getting the hang of it. And then she kept going for a while, all through her cleaning and weighing. Apparently there was a little bit of fluid in her lungs that would only come out if she kept crying, and...well, she did. She's since stopped, and her breathing sounds much better. Now she's pretty intent on sleeping, even refusing the chance to eat in favor of catching some z's.
There has been a lot of emotion running around my mind. I had a really hard time controlling myself for a while. I don't really know exactly what it was, but it was generally good. I don't even think there was a lot fear there. Don't get me wrong, the fear came later, but while I was in the nursery with Lydia when Meagan was getting stitched up...well, there was a lot going on in my mind.
Now we're all together in the Mothers/Babies floor...I guess it's our first time together as a family. It seems to make sense. That sounds like an odd way to describe it, but that's how it feels. Nothing here feels illogical or strange. It just feels like this is the way it is supposed to be. It makes sense to my heart and mind.