40 Weeks

A mother's seventh (and final) journey through the wonders of pregnancy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Welcome, little one.

30 minutes old.

When we got to K's office on the 19th, baby was head down, so we immediately headed for the hospital. We weren't going to give him time to change his mind again! I had K call the office, hoping receptionists and the like would pay more attention to a doctor than to a mother-to-be. It seemed to work, and we were told we could go ahead to the hospital as long as we understood that my doctor wouldn't be the one to deliver the baby. Fine, doesn't matter, let's just go! So we did, with me holding my belly in such a way that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for baby to shift again.

We arrived at the hospital and got settled in my room, then waited for the doctor to come do a scan to check the position. Still head-down ... good boy. Risks explained: if we get the IV and the epidural and he shifts again, I either go home and suffer all those punctures for nothing, or we get a C-section. If the membranes are ruptured and he shifts again, automatic C-section. Yeah, I was a little nervous at this point, but being determined (aka stubborn,) I just held my belly more firmly while the nurses chuckled to themselves and went ahead with it. The IV took two attempts, which I hated, but it hardly compared to the five attempts it took with Mina. The epidural is always as bad as I expect it to be, but certainly well worth it in the long run. The anesthesiologist gave me a test dose through the epidural so the rupturing of the membranes wouldn't be so bad. Thank goodness for that, because that part was awful with Maya, and with this baby even higher and less ready to make an appearance, I knew it would be even worse. The rupturing went fairly smoothly, considering, but the doctor had some trouble attaching the fetal monitor to the baby's scalp. He finally got it after several attempts, which left me free of those horrid belly monitors (and better able to keep holding the baby in that head-down position.)

The epidural medication and the pitocin were started, and we were off and running. I felt that it was safe to call my mom at this point and let her know she could come to the hospital after work. I was sure there was no rush, since my babies have never come in under 12 hours, and it was just after noon by this time. By 4pm, I was 4 centimeters dilated, and though I know my body, and it always takes me ages to get from 4 to 6, then I zip through the last 4cm in about an hour and deliver with one or two pushes, I was still hopeful that maybe this time it would be quicker. Silly me. At 8pm, I was still 4 centimeters, so we watched Pride and Prejudice to pass the time. We had to pause a lot for nurses, so it lasted quite a while. Just after 10:30pm, I reached the magic 6cm mark, and I thought I might deliver before midnight. Just before midnight, just about the time the movie finally finished, I started feeling the contractions a lot more than I should have. I really didn't want to feel them, and since I'm an expert pusher by now, I really didn't want to feel anything when it was time to push, either, so I begged the nurse anesthetist to give me more medication through the epidural, which she said she did, though it never did a bit of good. Just after midnight, it was time to push, and I was feeling everything. At least I remembered how to breathe, but I wasn't very happy, and no one was moving very fast to get set up so I could push. Fortunately for everyone around me, I was too busy breathing to yell at anyone. I finally managed to gather the strength between contractions to ask if I could go ahead and push. I heard a "yes" from somewhere, I pushed once (ow ... I really didn't want to feel that,) and Rayan was born at 12:13am on Saturday, May 20, weighing 6 lbs, 14 oz (my first one under 8 lbs ... I didn't know I could have one so tiny!) and measuring 19 inches long. It turned out that all the shifting from side to side the nurses had me doing to encourage baby to come down had dislodged the epidural catheter, which is why I was in so much pain at the end. At least it didn't happen until the very end, although maybe they could have fixed it had it happened sooner. Either way, once the baby was out, it didn't even matter anymore. Upon examination of our little bundle of joy, we could see all the tiny marks where the doctor had attempted to attach the fetal scalp electrode, and from the position of the marks, we could tell that although baby had been head down, rather than tucking his chin down, he was presenting his face, which was why it took him so long to move down and dilate the cervix. One of the marks was frighteningly close to his right eye. K had to point out that we were lucky it didn't damage his eye, the very thought of which nearly makes me cry.

We had agreed on the name sometime after arriving at the hospital. I told my mother the name when the baby was born, she passed it on in her phone calls, and I was content. More on that in a moment.

When Maya was born, we had missed the grand opening of the newly remodeled rooms and suites by a week, and K promised me that if we had another one, he'd get the suite for me, so he did. We were a few hours late getting there, because the postpartum nurse in charge of me was scary and didn't want to be bothered with me until she was good and ready, but the suite was wonderful. My sleeping area was about the size of a standard postpartum room, with a small flat-screen television and DVD player. Adjacent to my sleeping area on one side was a bathroom of about the same size, with a huge bathtub, a great shower area, and lots of counter space. Adjacent to my sleeping area on the other side was a large living area, with a fold-down Murphy bed for K, a sofa, a rocking chair, a recliner, a large flat screen television and DVD player, and a small kitchen area with a sink, refrigerator, coffee maker, and about 20 different kinds of tea. This particular hospital also prides itself on its room-service menu, which rivals a hotel room-service menu. You call when you're hungry, order whatever you want from the menu, and it's delivered in about 45 minutes. I'm sure everyone will understand why I didn't want to go home.

1 day old.

K went home to get his parents and our children, and wasn't supposed to bring them until they had finished the inevitable battle over the baby's name. It seems they were as afraid to ask as we were to tell them, and it wasn't even discussed. However, K found the name in Arabic, which is the only way to know the true pronunciation, since any English spelling is just a transliteration and could be mispronounced. K informed me that it should be pronounced "ray-AHN," rather than "RAY-un," which I had agreed to. Not a good time to tell me that. I didn't like the new pronunciation, rejected the name, and felt at a complete loss about what to name the baby. Now I had a nameless baby. A nameless baby who was battling jaundice just as much as his sister did. The pediatrician wanted him to stay in the hospital an extra day or two for phototherapy. I insisted on being able to have him in a room with me while he was under the lights, which the nurses agreed to, but only if I left my suite and came down to the floor where the nursery was. Deal. I hated leaving the suite, though!

Baby tanning bed? Blue light special? Nope - phototherapy.

We re-read the baby name books, K looked online again, but we had already done all that, and were no closer to agreeing on a name than we had been before. I lost count of the number of times the birth certificate lady called to see if I had the paperwork ready for her yet. The baby responded so well to the phototherapy that we were sent home a day earlier than I expected, on the 23rd. Shortly after finding out we were being sent home, the birth certificate lady called again to tell me she was leaving at 2:30pm and needed the paperwork by then unless we were prepared to go through all the red tape that would be required if we left the hospital without having turned it in. I was in tears, and K and I were at an impasse. At the very last possible minute, I wrote Rayan on the form, which we had agreed upon, even though we still disagreed on the pronunciation. I've expounded upon that at
Watermelon Roses.


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