Wednesday, April 8, 2009

So...did we mention we had a baby?

We did! On Friday, we had a baby! Owen Alexander (although he didn't get that name until Saturday afternoon).
We had joked recently that maybe Petey, as he was then known, would wait for the rain. Good things happen to us in the rain. The day Rhia and I fell in love, I showed up to meet her a sad looking bedraggled mess. And it poured on the day of our wedding and did not stop for three weeks. Well, Owen did wait for the rain. It was foggy most of Friday, but it began to come down around the time he made his way into the world at 8:44 p.m. and I'm told it poured buckets through the night.

video

According to the time stamp on this video, Owen was seven minutes old!

Anyway, it all started when...well, it all started quite a while ago. But this part started last Wednesday night when Rhia developed a slow leak of amniotic fluid. This was confirmed at her scheduled doctor's appointment Thursday and the doctor said we had the afternoon to try get labour going by itself. They like to induce people who have not begun labour within 24 hours of water breaking due to a risk of infection.

We did a lot of walking. (At one point we passed a guy who was trying to light a cigarette behind his hat. He looked at me and said, "If my fedora catches on fire, should I sue the city of Halifax...for too much wind?" I was too preoccupied with the Holy-Crap-we're-going-to-have-a-baby stuff to come back with a witty answer) We ate spicy food. Rhia drank raspberry leaf tea.
None of this seemed to spark anything significant. We went in to the IWK for assessment mid-evening. Mum and baby were doing fine and the hospital was busy. So they sent us home to await a call to come for induction.

A long sleepless night followed. Finally, at 11 Friday morning we got the call.
Rhia asked if the doctor could break her water properly to see if that would start things. The doc agreed. There was a big gush and we set to pacing the halls of the birthing unit.

Things did seem to happen--strong contractions. But at about 2:30 p.m., it was decided that they would begin induction with pitocin, because I guess it wasn't happening enough.

The next few hours were very tough on Rhia and hard to see for me, although I tried to be supportive. The pitocin made the contractions pretty relentless and Rhia was already exhausted from the sleepless night. I've never seen a person work so hard, although she would muster it all again for the pushing stage.

With sheer will, movement, a wacky machine that electrocutes your muscles, showers and baths, the help of Shannon our doula and eventually an epidural, Rhia made it through all that and recovered enough energy to deliver our beautiful boy.

Again, she completely wowed me! I was a little concerned at one point that Petey was going to be absolutely minuscule because the bit of his head that I could see was so small. Turned out it was just the point of his conehead!

The next bit was all full of activity and me weeping happy tears. I managed to cut his umbilical cord through that. Actually I did it twice, separating him from Rhia and then trimming the end.

The next couple days of hospital stay were full of bad sleep, visits from wonderful friends and family and Subway sandwiches.

And here we are now, a family. He's nursing successfully, though it's taken some learning on both parts.

I'm getting this diaper business down to a science. He actually didn't poop for more than a day after leaving the hospital, so we were pretty happy about the gooey little bundle of joy he eventually did produce. Today I even had the delight of changing one diaper only to have him immediately fill the fresh one. And Rhia has been peed on.

He lost his cord stump. I wondered for a while what to do with it and eventually just pitched it out. Afterwards I thought perhaps I should have mailed it to the winner of the date/size pool. Sorry, Blair, you missed out!

***

To wrap up, a few random things I wrote down during labour and delivery:

When Rhia arrived, she was handed a Johnny-shirt (I resent that name) stamped Yarmouth Regional Hospital and laid down on a pillow stamped "Removal from St. Martha's Regional Hospital is theft."

The second time our (first) nurse, Beth, came in she smelled strongly of chocolate chip cookie dough.

It was foggy and our birth room looked out over the corner of Robie and South. There were lots of buses going by.

At 7:25 Rhia was fully dialated and ready to push.

At one point she said, "I don't feel like I'm going to have a baby. I just feel like ow."

***

And I totally just sang Owen out of a major meltdown with My Home from my Lord Selkirk Boy Scout Pipe Band days!

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