Friday, February 15, 2008

2 weeks

Tomorrow Pasquale celebrates two weeks of life outside the womb. He is doing really well - a very healthy little boy. Lisa, our midwife, came over last week for his one-week checkup and he had already re-gained the normal post-delivery weight loss and was up to 8 lbs. 11 oz.

Sam has been off work the past 2 weeks, but unfortunately will be going back to the office on Monday. We work hard together to keep up with all the breastfeeding, diaper changes, spit-up wipe up, making meals, laundry, etc. Sam has been taking wonderful care of me while I build blood and rest. FYI, Lisa also tested my blood and my hemoglobin level went up to 9.25 from 7.0 in one week! That is speedy! I'm taking lots of iron, Chinese herbs (dong quai), teas, etc. to get myself back into the groove.

Also, my midwife's assistant was kind enough to dry and grind my placenta, so I can encapsulate and take them in pill form which I feel is working very well to ward off postpartum depression, anxiety, blues, etc. You can read more about this at Placenta Benefits. I highly recommend looking into this - postpartum depression is serious and quite overwhelming. It's not something you ever want to have, especially when you have a little baby to care for.

...Pasquale loving the bath...
...Pasquale loves the sunshine...
...the boys...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

More first days for Pasquale...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Pasquale's here

Sorry for the delay in posting this. The last two days are a blur. Lane’s water broke at 12:45 Saturday morning just after going to bed. Contractions started soon after. Lane talked to Lisa (midwife) and they decided she should be in Corvallis sooner than later. By the time we got in the car contractions were five minutes apart.

We rested in Lisa’s backyard cottage during the early morning hours, but not too long because contractions were soon only two minutes apart and picking up in intensity. At 6:00am Lisa came back to check on us and was somewhat surprised that ‘active labor’ had begun. By 10:00am Lane was smoothly transitioning into a pushing labor (where contractions are accompanied by uncontrollable pushing urges). Lane asked for a physical check of her uterus that revealed full dilation. Things were going well.

Three hours of intense pushing through numerous laboring positions and the baby was still an index finger-tip away from crowning. Lisa informed us that we were moving beyond average ‘pushing labor’ time, and suggested the hospital as a potential resource (forceps/vacuum extraction). Physical exhaustion and painful hemorrhoids were not enough to dissuade Lane. We decided to go one more hour before revisiting the issue. Lane’s strength and determination brought me to tears several times in that last hour. I have never experienced a situation of such intensity and focus.
Still no crowning. We left for the hospital at 4:20pm with Lane continuing to manage waves of pushing contractions. The folks at check-in quickly had Lane in a maternity ward bed and examined by the doctor. The baby had ascended on the drive over and Lane’s uterus was fatigued. The doctor instantly recommended a c-section and Lisa agreed. The O.R. team was quickly assembled, but the anesthesiologist was dealing with another patient’s complications.

We waited almost an hour before Lane was administered the lower body-numbing ‘spinal’; a welcome relief given that during that hour contractions came continuously one after the next with little strength available to feed the accompanying push urges. Once in the operating room things moved very fast. Plenty of the usual doctor-nurse banter. Lane was shielded from the chest down by a small curtain. I held her hand and talked to her as the team cut her open and removed the baby. “It’s a boy!” was surreal. They showed me Pasquale and what a cone head!!

The pediatrician cleaned him and put him in my arms. Lane said a quick hello before I was led to the nursery for measurements. The hospital folks let me hold or touch Pasquale the entire time (8 lbs – 8 oz, 21.5 in. long, and 13.75 in. around the head). Meanwhile, Lane’s uterus was removed from its cavity, sewn, and replaced, but was hemorrhaging because there was no muscle strength remaining to contract the organ. Thankfully, through a combination of compression and administered pitocin, blood loss was stopped at 1.3 liters (much more than the average for c-sections).

I met Lane in our maternity room and placed Pasquale in her arms. He breast-fed immediately. Lane is well after six bags of intravenous fluid, one bag of blood-thickening starch, two bags of antibiotics, some kind of contraction aiding pills and a few percocets. She should be able to walk on her own tomorrow, but according the doctor may not pick up more than her toothbrush or her baby for the next two weeks. They make a smallish incision for the cesarean in order to mimic a real birthing experience for the baby. Lane is experiencing intense pain on the edges of the incision where some tearing must have occurred.

Pasquale is great. It is worth noting that throughout labor (at Lisa’s and beyond), we were able to monitor Pasquale’s heart rate. During large contractions the rate would dip to low hundreds, then Lane would take a few deep breaths and the rate would jump up to mid one-forties, almost immediately. What a little badass. Did you see that cone head? The force it took to compress his head must have been incredible. Towards the end, at the hospital when contractions were constant, the heart rate started dropping to high twenties and thirties. We are grateful for a medical team and procedure that allowed baby and momma to get through the experience safely.

The official ruling is ‘failure to descend’. The doctor and Lisa agree that the baby was just too big for Lane’s pelvis. (Seems odd to us that an animal (lane) would grow a baby too big for natural birthing, but then the doctors and Lisa remind us that there were plenty of not so favorable outcomes in previous centuries. We sure are happy we have a healthy, happy Pasquale to take care of. We hope to be out of the hospital and home by Wednesday evening. The energy of friends and family was and is felt by all.