Nate's birth

I've thought about writing this many times. I blogged about Ben's birth right after he was born (read it here - all of the links to the pictures are broken, that's what I get for copying image urls instead of uploading new pictures to the blog). Right after Nate was born, well, it was a lot different for me. Every time I try to write it, I feel like I focus too much on myself and not enough on him, so I delete it. Then there is also the fact that things went wrong, and when things go wrong people always tell you why it was your fault or what your doctor did to cause this or that, forgetting that things go wrong in childbirth, naturally, and always have. Maybe we really did handle it in the best way possible. Why assume we didn't? But anyway, I'm going to try again, with his 6th birthday looming at the end of this week. This is more the way I tell the story to him.

41 weeks pregnant, on our way to the hospital

Nate was past-due. And huge. I started feeling like I couldn't possibly handle him growing any larger 3 weeks ago, when I was 38 weeks along. I could literally feel each of his body parts through my skin. We checked in to the hospital the night before, and the night before that, we went out for a steak dinner. And had great fun telling the waiter that I was due a week ago and watching the look of alarm and horror on his face as he asked, "Are you sure you're supposed to be eating?!"

After checking in to the hospital, they started working on preparing my body for labor, planning to officially induce at 6 am. Around 4 am, I realized I was in labor. What they gave me had jump-started my body, which was why they chose that particular drug.

his first portrait

There was a lot of concern about Nate during my labor. His heartrate wasn't rebounding between contractions like it should. They had me change positions regularly to see if we could find a position that he would be ok in. They added the heartrate monitor on the top of his head after my water broke. But the readings were clear: he wasn't coping well.

Around 11:15 am, everything changed. My OB was in the clinic, seeing patients, so one of her partners had been checking my progress. She said I was fully dilated. Nate's heartrate was dangerously low and getting slower. He needed to be born now to prevent death or brain damage due to lack of oxygen. The room filled up with nurses.

newborn Nate

My nurse told me the plan while they got me ready to move to the operating room. We might be doing an emergency c-section or we might be able to deliver with forceps, but we wouldn't know until we got to the OR and checked on Nate again (having me on my knees and elbows during the transfer was supposed to use gravity to give him some relief if it was a compressed cord that was causing the problem). Rodgers couldn't come in unless we could deliver Nate with forceps, so he had to wait until we knew. I would have to be put under for an emergency c-section because we couldn't wait for the anesthesiologist, and my already-wearing-off epidural was insufficient for surgery.

Seconds later we were in the OR. My OB had run from the clinic and was there by the time they had gotten me transferred to the table and re-hooked up to the machines.

the first time I held Nate - he was 2 1/2 hours old

Suddenly, the anesthesiologist popped his face into my line of sight. He said that he had just boosted my epidural so that I could stay awake if I needed a c-section. Later, someone asked him who paged him. He said no one. He "just happened" to be outside the OR when we rushed in.

My doctor determined we could try to deliver Nate with forceps. The knees-and-elbows position seemed to have helped. One of the nurses ran to our room to bring Rodgers. He arrived after my first push. Two more pushes, and Nate was out at 11:23 am. The doctor handed him over to the nurses, who sucked the fluid out of his mouth and nose with a bulb syringe. And he started screaming.

trying to figure out his dad

He became well known for that scream over the next months and years. My dad started calling him The Siren when he was about 18 months old because of that scream. It would become obnoxious, but that first time I heard it, I cried. I knew he was going to live.

It would be 2 1/2 hours before we could leave the OR because that big baby being delivered so quickly left my body severely damaged. I couldn't feed Nate on the operating table like that, and he was genuinely hungry, so Rodgers fed him from a bottle. I didn't realize it until I saw how newborn Ben ate, but Nate had a HUGE appetite for a freshly born baby. It's kind of normal for big newborns to eat that way (also something I learned later). He was a lean 9 lbs 7 oz, 21" long, with a 15" head.

on our way home from the hospital, and please note that Nate is wearing the "big" hat that we packed for him.

Rodgers held Nate almost the whole time I was being fixed up. He called my mom to let her know when Nate was born, so she could leave anytime. Since it was a 2 hour drive, we would be in postpartum recovery by the time she got there. Then he called her back and said that we wouldn't be in recovery for a while yet (vaguely because he didn't want to alarm her that we were in the OR for so long) - this is where I start talking too much about myself.

Everyone said Nate was a beautiful newborn. He really was. He didn't have that "old man" look a lot of newborns have. My mom used to say that I gave birth to a one-month old - not just in size, but being able to hold his massive head up, his alertness, the amount he ate, the way he slept!

Seeing him for the first time was weird for me. I thought I'd recognize him somehow from the beginning. But he didn't look anything like what I had imagined - though I couldn't really say what that was. Big dark eyes that seemed to miss nothing, long curly black hair, heart-shaped face, kissy lips. He hasn't changed so much.


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