Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Welcome to the World Baby Tyler!

Welcome to the world baby Tyler! We're thrilled to have you join our family!

Baby Tyler was due on Thursday May 23rd. Generally due dates are just a rough estimate since people rarely know their actual conception date. We definitely knew ours, though, since we'd conceived our baby through an IVF procedure on Thursday, August 30th. Although I had a relatively easy pregnancy as a whole, by the "lusty month of May," I was getting ready for Tyler to make his appearance. May 12th, Mothers' Day, was my last day of work, and I picked the perfect time to stop working. My "nesting instinct" kicked in 2 days after. I spent all day long being super productive and preparing for a new baby. After that day I was pretty much constantly useless and miserable. I dreaded waking up, going to sleep, sitting, and every kind of activity. I was incredibly tired all the time due to exhaustion and extremely poor sleep. The discomforts of sleeping with a large, heavy belly combined with horrible acid reflux when I laid down made for the worst sleep I've ever had in my life, even worse than now that I have a newborn to care for. I love sleeping on my back, and I missed it terribly since I could only sleep on my side while pregnant. When I'd lie on my back, I'd quickly feel like I couldn't breathe. I had about 6 weeks straight of fighting to fall asleep in a position I didn't like, and then waking up with my leg painfully asleep (sometimes only a short time later) and desperately needing to go to the bathroom, even if I barely had anything in my bladder. Since being pregnant makes your bladder feel full long before it is, the rare occasion it actually is full is quite painful from all of the pressure weighing down on it. I remember one time waking up incredibly refreshed to have actually gotten several hours of uninterupted sleep, then nearly collapsing after getting out of bed as gravity forced all my upper body weight on top of a nearly bursting bladder. Plus the act of getting out of bed was like doing a killer sit-up with weights while being super tired. It also didn't help that I picked up a nasty sore throat and painful cough at 37 weeks pregnant. Walking or any form of physical activity wore me out quickly, sitting was painful from all the pressure as well as boring from being on my butt all day, and sleeping was exhausting from needing to constantly change positions to get comfortable. It was also in the 80's without air conditioning. Everything was difficult and nothing was relaxing. How do mom's with little kids running around handle that last month of pregnancy?!!!

I'd heard that first time moms deliver an average of 1 week late. That thought mortified me! Things were hard enough already, particularly after baby dropped mid week 36. On Friday the 17th I learned that I at least would not deliver late. I ended up getting slightly high blood pressure at my last two doctor visits (134/90), and I gained 6 pounds in 6 days at my final visit. I also had my cervix checked (ouch! It was like my reproductive organs were having a beating!), which showed I was at 2 and 1/2 centimeters and 70% effaced but not ripened at all (for a good explanation on what that all means, refer to this article). The rapid weight gain and the high blood pressure were a bit of a concern to my doctor. Pre-eclampsia (symptoms precluding kidney failure during pregnancy) is diagnosed when blood pressure is at least 140/90 and there is too much protein in your urine. My blood pressure had always been around 118/70, so this was a huge spike, but it wasn't quite up to 140. Fortunately my urine test was normal or they would have induced me that day or the next. Since my symptoms were concerning but not yet conclusive, my doctor told me they would induce on the 23rd if I hadn't gone into labor on my own yet. I didn't want to be induced since that comes with its own challenges (increased strength and frequency of contractions), but I was relieved to know the end was in sight. After that we prayed and prayed that Tyler would be safe and ready to come join the world, and ideally, but still according to the Lord's will, that labor would start on its own.


Ask and ye shall receive! Labor began for me on the evening of Monday May 20th. We'd begun doing everything we could think of to get labor going on our own. Regular walking and eating fresh pineapple are two things that can help pick things up, both of which I made sure to do that day. I even tried sprinting at around 3pm (which at that point was an enormous 4 mile an hour big waddle that I could maintain for about 8 seconds). 


By that Monday I was EXTREMELY uncomfortable. I had a lot of difficulty sitting in the hard, high chairs we have at our table, and I was using the bathroom a lot (for multiple reasons...). The baby was super active on that and the preceding days, so much so that it became hard to distinguish his sleep pattern (which I now know is because he stretches a ton while he's sleeping). Later on that night, the pressure of his movements made it difficult to tell when my contractions were starting and stopping.



That evening we had the Sister missionaries over for dinner. I had to get up from my chair every 10 minutes and walk around. Sister Chaqui said the prayer at the end of the visit that the baby could come on time without complications. She wanted to pray that I would have my baby that night in order to give me some relief, but she didn't feel she had the authority to ask for something so specific.

Fortunately God still knew the desire of her/our hearts, and labor began at 8:20pm, less than an hour after the sisters left the house. Oscar had downloaded a contraction app on his phone. For the past few days we'd started using it to record my contractions. The contraction at 8:20pm was the first I suspected might be real labor. It was more intense than any others I'd had. I get very painful menstrual cramps during my monthly period cycles, and I'd yet to have a contraction that was as painful as those. This was the first time the pain was comparable. I realized if it was real labor I'd want to get as much sleep as possible. I went to bed immediately and was woken up by a bad contraction around 10:30pm. That was when I knew it was real labor. I was unable to sleep for the rest of the night and labored at home until around 4:00am. 

I'd been told that one way to tell true labor contractions from false labor contractions was that walking eases false labor contractions but either won't help or will make true labor contractions worse. This was definitely true for me. At first walking didn't help or hurt the contractions, but later on it was definitely making them worse and would even bring on more contractions.



We'd learned in our birthing class that many women come to the hospital too early for labor. Labor is long, particularly for first time moms. Most first time labors are 12-24 hours, and I was no exception. Mine ended up being 21 hours and 5 minutes. The hospital is much less comfortable than you'll be at home, and you can't get on serious medication until you're at least at 4 centimeters, nor are you allowed to eat anything once you've been admitted. They encourage you stay at home until your contractions are no more than 5 minutes apart for 2 hours, and ideally they should be 2-4 minutes apart and lasting about a minute.

I knew I was in labor, but I also knew I wasn't yet ready to go to the hospital. My contractions were painful but not consistent. They could be a quick sharp pain or they could last a full minute, and they could be anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes apart. My friend Marianna, whose mom, Ann, was the nurse that taught our birthing class, had given me a weighted stability ball for my birthday. That helped a LOT. Sitting on it dulled the pain of the contractions considerably, so much that it made it hard to tell when they were over. If I felt pain when I stood up, they weren't done yet. By 2:00am they had become 5 minutes apart, and by 3:00am they were 2-4 minutes apart. That last hour was miserable. I had to pee a lot due to the pressure on my bladder, and every time I peed or needed to walk it brought on another contraction.

Oscar called the hospital at around 4:00am to let them know we'd be coming in. The nurse asked to talk to me and tried to convince me to stay at home longer. The fact that I could talk to her made her believe I wasn't as far along as I was. I wasn't actually having any contractions in the 2 minutes I was on the phone with her, which is why she didn't realize how much pain I was in. I told her I was sure I was ready to go, so she gave in and said if I got there and wasn't at 4 centimeters yet, they'd have me walk around for an hour. Since every time I walked it brought on another contraction, the thought of doing an hour of walking was horrifying. I was pretty afraid of getting there, being examined, and then being told I wasn't in enough pain yet.

After I hung up the phone I had some food since you're not allowed to eat once you've been admitted to the hospital. You can have popsicles and liquids, but no solid foods. I also started having some really nasty contractions, the kind the nurse wanted me to be having before I came to the hospital. It was about 4:40am when we got there since it took us a bit of time to get everything ready to go and drive the 10 miles to get there. On our way we called my sister who was coming to the labor, Ann, who'd taught our birthing class and said she'd be happy to be at the labor, my parents to let them know real labor had begun (I had a really hard time talking to them since I got a contraction during that phone call), and Oscar's parents who'd planned to start driving up as soon as we called. They'd been waiting on our call for the past few weeks already (we even gave them a few test calls just to see how responsive they were). After we learned we wouldn't be having the baby late, Oscar's dad told the neighborhood kids at a park he frequents that he wouldn't be seeing them the next week since his son was having a baby. One of the little girls knew that couldn't be right and helped him understand that only women can have babies. Now he knows better :)

On the way to the hospital, it was pouring rain in spite of the entire day being sunny. It stayed raining the entire time we were there and on our way home with the brief exception of about an hour before Tyler was born to a half hour after he was born. The sun came out for his birth! When we got to the hospital I was admitted to Triage, and Oscar had to go move the car since he'd originally parked in the emergency area but figured he shouldn't stay there the whole time. The same nurse who'd encouraged me to stay home was the one who examined me. She said I was at 4 centimeters, 90% effaced, and completely ripened, so I was definitely ready to go. Phew! I'm so glad I didn't come to the hospital too early and get told I wasn't in enough pain yet! The bed she examined me on was horribly uncomfortable (that miserable face above isn't just from the contractions), and the contractions were intense and coming constantly at this point. I was really hoping this wouldn't be the room where I'd have my baby. How horrible if I'd had to spend the rest of my labor there!



My sister made it to the hospital but wasn't allowed in the Triage room (only one guest is allowed and Oscar was already in there with me), but she met up with us on the way to my own hospital room where I would remain for the rest of my visit (thankfully with a much comfier bed!). I had enough of a break between contractions to smile for this picture. My nurse was a young, pretty blonde named Shannon who stayed until 7am. The delivery nurses work in 12 hour shifts, and she was relieved by a young, pretty brunette named Lacey. Fortunately for Lacey, I delivered before her shift was over, which made her happy since she'd just barely missed the baby's birth on her last shift.

Originally I'd hoped to get through labor without an epidural. I wouldn't have been disappointed in myself if I ended up getting one, but there are risks. A friend of mine had to be on bed rest for a month due to a mistake that hit her spine the wrong way. That's one of the worst possible complications. A more common one is that the longer an epidural is in your system, the more likely it is to affect the baby. He may be too groggy to immediately nurse after he's born, which can complicate your ability to nurse him overall. It can also numb you so much that you can't push very well since you can't tell how hard or which muscles you're pushing. And then, of course, it can always wear off early or not work for you at all. Plus it's expensive (it was $4,650, but to my great relief, our insurance covered all but about $130).

After the intensity of my contractions by this point, I was definitely leaning towards an epidural! I desperately needed a break. I had some time before an epidural would be available, so Shannon offered me an analgesic - Fentanyl. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, so it definitely takes the edge off, but the effect wears off quickly. On the pic on the left, my sister is enjoying watching me drugged out for the first time in my life. It was nice to finally get some rest after having contractions through the night (it was just after 6am by the time I got the Fentanyl). The pain gradually comes back, so the pic on the right is me using a support ball to cope with the returning contractions. Ann coached us and Oscar and Lia held up fingers and counted to three while I breathed "He-He-He-Who, He-He-He-Who."


In between contractions I was encouraged to walk around the room as much as possible to get the blood flow going. I didn't need to stay connected to the IV, but I couldn't take the cords off. My sister had fun walking me around like a dog on a leash. Above on the right you can see my stats 3rd line down. Green are my uterine contractions and blue is my heart rate. The rest are the other ladies in labor on that floor (and in case you're curious about the lady with a purple line, that's her baby's heart rate. They had a tool picking up my baby's heartbeat audibly, so the purple line wasn't necessary since I could hear his heart beating away throughout my labor. That lady's baby's heart rate wasn't coming through clearly with the same tool, so they had to monitor it this way instead). Apparently the peaks have nothing to do with the intensity of your contractions. They have more to do with the position you're in. They're watching for a consistent pattern on the green line. Mine were pretty darn consistent!



Here I am relieved to get the 2nd round of Fentanyl at 7:30. Before that dose the nurse examined me to see how far along I'd come. I was now 100% effaced, but I hadn't even gained a centimeter. That was when I knew for sure that I wanted to have the epidural. All that pain after the first Fentanyl wore off hadn't even gained me a centimeter, and I still had 6 to go. Another reason I'd wanted to avoid the epidural is because I wanted to fully experience what labor was like, but by then I'd already had enough contractions to know what was coming - everything I was already going through but worse and even more intense during the pushing phase!  You're not allowed to have analgesics like Fentanyl once you've reached the pushing phase since there's a strong chance they'll affect the baby, and you're not allowed to have an epidural once the baby has crowned, so the pushing phase would have been even more intense with no relief whatsoever. If I was going to have the epidural, I figured now was the time to do it. It was around 9:45am when I asked for the epidural, and I received it around 10:15am. Ann and Lia had to leave the room since only Oscar was allowed in there with me while it was administered.

Oh sweet, sweet epidural! I had no idea labor could be so blissful! I slept through an entire 6 centimeters. How incredible that modern science can make child labor so easy! However, having it put in was very unpleasant. It was difficult to maintain the position he needed me in, and it made me feel nauseated. I threw up some liquid into a bag, but the nausea went away immediately as the epidural began to take effect. The anesthesiologist had said I would be itchy for about 30 minutes but that the epidural would take the itch away. He was right about the itch, but it only went away in the lower half of my body. The upper half of my body remained itchy for the rest of labor. But it's a small price to pay for the relief and the sleep the epidural gave me.

Overall I reacted pretty perfectly to the epidural. They had to have me change positions about every 45 minutes, and everyone was pleasantly surprised by how much mobility I still had in spite of the numbing effects. I wasn't complete dead weight when they helped me put my leg up (left pic). My right leg was more numb than my left, but I could still do my part in changing position. It was actually while putting me in this position on the left that my water broke around 1pm in a big gush. It was a weird feeling, like a sudden flood coming out of my pelvis. After the "bag of waters" broke, they predicted I would have Tyler before it was dark.

My nurse Lacey, right pic, was in and out of the room while I was on the epidural. I was surprised by how much more I saw of her than I saw of the doctor. A lot of people insist on having their delivery doctor be the same doctor who'd examined them throughout their pregnancy, but in my case the doctor was only a small part of my labor. All of the delivery OBGYN's work together at the clinic at Providence, so the doctor who delivers your baby is whichever doctor is on call the day you go into labor, and I didn't meet him until that day. He came in and introduced himself when I first got into my room, and then didn't come in again until I was at my final pushes. The nurses did the bulk of the work, but even they were only in the room when it was necessary. Most of the time in my room was just me with Oscar, Lia, and Ann, and I was really happy with my choice of hospital guests. They all gave me great moral support and assistance, and Ann answered a lot of my medical questions when Lacey was out of the room.

While I was in and out of consciousness, Lia and Oscar took pictures and made facebook updates. Lots of people sent their love and well wishes, all of which I got to read after delivering Tyler (though in pieces since the hospital internet was sketchy). Oscar tried to get some sleep but wasn't terribly successful at it. He slept worse than me since he didn't have drugs helping him out. When he wasn't trying to sleep, Lacey introduced them to a silly word game called hinkety pinkety. You have a clue and the answer is two words that rhyme and have the same number of syllables as the type they are (Hink, Hinkey, Hinkety, and Hitinkety combined with any of pink, pinkey, pinkety, and pitinkety). For example, Q: Hinkey pinkety - calcium fortified lunch meat - boney boloney. At one point they started making them about labor. Their best were Q: Hitinkety pitinkety - Nuclear baby poop - plutonium meconium, and Q: Hinkey Pinkety - Phosfluorescent Mucus Discharge - glowy show. I don't remember the clue for this one, but it was dialation compilation.



One detriment of the epidural is that you're not allowed to leave your bed or consume anything but ice chips. Even though you can't have food after being admitted, you can still have liquids and popsicles. But with the epidural you're only allowed ice chips, which I'm assuming is because they have to collect your urine through a catheter, and they don't want to significantly increase the amount of liquid coming out of you. It's difficult to take in excess liquid from ice chips alone, but it's enough to help prevent you from getting too dehydrated. When Ann and Lia came back after the epidural was successfully put in, they brought food and drinks for themselves and Oscar. Even though I watched them eat, I wasn't really jealous of the food. What I really wanted was a big glass of ice water. Those ice chips weren't doing it for me. I was salivating over my sister's drink, even though I think it was Diet Coke, which I can't stand! I was crazy thirsty towards the end, so Marianna brought me an ICEE. We placed it in my view on the counter to help motivate my pushing.

One huge benefit of the epidural was the joyous relief of no longer feeling like I had to urinate. After several months of feeling like I had to pee all the time, even right after using the toilet, particularly during those final weeks and especially during contractions, it was so nice not to have to think about it. That's something I hadn't even thought about before that would have certainly influenced me to choose the epidural if I'd realized it.


After I'd reached 10 centimeters, they had me sit up for awhile to bring the baby down into the pelvis as much as possible. I ended up getting a fever around this time, which I would have been completely unaware of if they hadn't been taking my temperature. The nurse encouraged Oscar and Lia to cool me down with cold rags and by fanning me (hence Oscar's blurry hand). Unfortunately it didn't work (my fever only went up), but both the fever and the high blood pressure went away soon after I delivered Tyler.



At 4pm came the pushing phase. It was considerably easier than I was expecting. This was probably mentioned in the birthing class or in my pregnancy books, but somehow I missed that you push through contractions. I always assumed you just pushed whenever you felt like it, but pushing through contractions helps ease the contractions and gives you adequate rest in between them. I couldn't feel pain, but I could tell when all those contractions were coming because I felt plenty of uncomfortable pressure from the baby being right in my pelvis. I was limited in my positioning, so Anne held up one leg and Lia held up the other while Oscar filmed video and encouraged me. Fortunately I felt pressure but not pain thanks to the epidural, and I was able to push pretty well. He kept telling me to "pretend you're making a huge dumpy and you can't let it retract!" This was hilarious, but the imagery caused me to tense some muscles that I didn't need to. Lacey told me to "bear down" instead, but then I stopped pushing as effectively, so we went back to the "dumpy" imagery. At the beginning I either pushed the right muscles plus a few extra, or I didn't push the right ones. As time went by my technique improved to only pushing on the necessary muscles.

I asked for a mirror to help me know how things were going along. It was so weird for me to believe that my baby was okay during all that pushing. I kept asking "how's my baby doing? Are you sure he's okay." His heart rate stayed normal, though after delivery they found that the cord was close to his neck, which usually would cause fetal stress. At 5:05, my sister saw the baby's head from the front and cried out in tears "you're making a baby!" It was a great moment, but it still wasn't fully real to me yet. Later the head was out far enough that I could touch it, but I still hadn't processed it. But on the 3rd to last push, Tyler's face started coming through. That's when it became real! I had to get my baby out! I pushed as much as I possibly could through that contraction. If I'd been standing up I would have collapsed since I literally gave all I had in me, and I was in tears at the end of it. I felt horrible that I hadn't been able to get him out. My baby boy was so close! At the tail end of one of those final pushes, my mom called the hospital to get an update since my sister had stopped sending them once we'd reached the pushing phase. They handed me the phone, but I turned it down. I couldn't talk to her in that state. I had to focus on getting my baby out!

Neither of our moms were present for the birth, but they were there in spirit. Tyler was born at precisely 5:26pm. Oscar videoed the final push, and you can hear his phone ringing just before Tyler is born. His mom was calling to leave a message that she thought Tyler was coming soon, within the next half hour. And at 5:25pm, my mom posted to Facebook this status update - "It's been such a long day since Stacy went in to have the baby. We heard from Lia that she was very close to delivery, but I must say it is so hard waiting here in Utah to find out when little Tyler will arrive. Hopefully it is soon."

The doctor came in towards the end. He spread me out with his hands to help move things along. It seemed like the head did not want to budge, but when it did, so did everything else. I'd been expecting my final push to be the most exhausting one since that's what you see in all the movies and TV shows, and I also assumed I'd have another push after the head to get the rest of the body out. It ended up being a strong push, but I'd had stronger before then. I'd say the push I made once I saw his face was at least twice as strong as my final push. The body and a whole bunch of fluids came falling out with the head, as if his head had just been a big plug preventing the rest from getting out.

Oscar cut and trimmed the umbilical cord, which he says was like cutting chicken fat. Tyler had some meconium come out in utero, so I couldn't hold him immediately since he had to have it suctioned off. I couldn't even see my baby from my bed, which was so hard. While that was happening the doctor stitched up a small tear I'd had and massaged my belly until the placenta came out. That surprised me too since I'd assumed I'd have to push for the placenta. It looked like an enormous liver. He and later the nurses would continue pressing on my belly to help the uterus go back down. The pressure was a bit painful, but it helped a lot.




Once Tyler was sufficiently cleaned up, I finally got to hold my precious baby boy. Here come the waterworks! I was so happy to finally have him in my arms. I never wanted to let him go.



We're a happy family! And I have a lovely deflated belly in these pics. 7 weeks later I still think I look deflated.


After this was time to nurse him, which was incredibly difficult due to the exhaustion and the fact that I was still feeling the effects of the epidural. I had Ann and Lacey on one side and my sister on the other side all helping me to nurse, and I did not want to do it at all. I was terrified of dropping him and had zero energy. It was definitely a struggle at the beginning, but now things are much nicer. It's a miracle how babies automatically know how to suck and how to swallow. After all that time being nourished through the umbilical cord, how do they make that sudden switch to sucking and swallowing?


Oscar and I are both of the opinion that most newborns aren't very attractive. They're often still yellow or gray, wrinkly, and have little cone heads from the birth. They become cute after a few weeks/months as their heads round out and they get more color, but they're rarely cute when they're first born. For that reason we prepared ourselves for an ugly child. Boy were we pleasantly surprised! Tyler was already super pink, and his head was so round that 3 days later people asked if I'd had a C-Section. They couldn't believe his head could be so round after a vaginal delivery.

For those that are wondering how we chose Tyler's name, there's really not much of a story behind his first name. Tyler was one of the few boy names Oscar and I could agree on. There's much more of a story behind Tyler's middle name. Oscar has been going by his middle name since he was 18, but he didn't legally change it until last year. When he did he chose the middle name of Alma. Alma is a name from the Book of Mormon for 2 prophets who dedicated their lives to preaching the gospel and serving God and their fellowman. Oscar chose this name as good motivation to model his life after their actions and to promote missionary work when people ask where it comes from. We hoped to encourage the same behavior from our children. Helaman is another Book of Mormon name, again for 2 righteous men. One was a great war general who led his 2000 untrained stripling warriors to victory without losing a single soldier in battle. He's named after his father, Helaman, who was Alma the Younger's eldest son. We felt it was appropriate to give Oscar Alma's eldest son the name of Tyler Helaman.

It took awhile to get Tyler to give his first real cry. When the meconium was being suctioned off he gave a little whimper, but then it was a good while later before he had a significant cry that they could measure.


He looks like a little elf in this pic.

Man this kid is cute! Oscar sent this one out to the Facebook world just after birth. His first online picture!



It didn't take him long to start discovering his hands. They're so interesting! And this "I'm strong" pose on the right has become standard. He generally sleeps with his arms out like he's flexing his muscles for the camera.



 Here's daddy peering over at his baby boy.

They had us do a bit of skin to skin time. My sister in law, Shannon, fancied up this pic for me as a Facebook birth announcement.

I still can't stop kissing my little guy. And I LOVE that newborn smell!


At 7pm, nurse Shannon showed up to relieve Lacey. She thought Tyler was adorable. She even told me she thought he was much cuter than her other baby that night. She didn't get to see much of the labor or any of the birth, but she was there for the "clean up" afterwards and to help me nurse Tyler. I hadn't realized that post-labor was such a huge mess. I wasn't allowed to clean myself up at all due to the stitches. She had a young male CNA that night, which they'd checked to make sure I was okay with before letting him assist in the cleaning. It really didn't bother me. At that point I was too overwhelmed with everything that had happened to even be concerned with modesty. Around midnight Shannon was called out for another patient who was going into labor, and I was handed off to other nurses who work with you post delivery. Those nurses changed a bunch the next day. I'm not sure why they kept giving me new nurses.

Tyler did not want to nurse that night. He just wanted to sleep. Shannon was able to help us for the midnight feeding, but he would not wake up for the 3am feeding. We tried calling the nurse to help us, but Tyler was completely zonked. She checked to make sure his blood sugar was high enough. If he was under 45, they'd have to supplement with formula. He was at 55 so she said it was okay to give him a couple more hours. I learned from the lactation consultant the next afternoon that the first milk moms get, colostrum, is actually very concentrated, so a baby only needs about 1/4 teaspoon per feeding during the first 24 hours. Most people get overly worried about a baby not eating, but it's completely normal since they've just had an exhausting day as well. Every one of those contractions was like having an enormous bear hug, so they weren't able to get much sleep either.

Oscar and I were too out of it and overwhelmed to realize that the hospital cafeteria would be closing at 7 (in spite of my sister informing us of it repeatedly), so unfortunately we weren't able to get anything to eat until late. Oscar drove to a Mexican restaurant for takeout and said he was so tired it was the equivalent of driving drunk. Fortunately he made it back safely and we had our enchiladas around 10pm. It was nice to eat even though I could barely eat anything.

Grandma and Grandpa Hunt showed up around midnight. They'd started driving a couple hours after we called to tell them we were in labor. They'd hoped to visit him in the nursery while we slept, but Providence actually doesn't have a nursery. You keep the baby in the room with you. Even though it was late, they spent several hours at the hospital quietly holding and cooing over their new grandson in the dark while Oscar and I slept.
The next day there were several tests for me and baby to make sure we were doing normally. Even though everything looked good, it still took until 7pm before we were discharged. There was lots of observation and checking of wristbands, which I'd think would be less necessary in a hospital without a nursery where the baby stays with you. He only left the room briefly for his circumcision. I was still mostly in bed that day, though I was able to get a short walk and a shower. 



He's just so precious!



He had the little white nose acne that a lot of infants get. I thought it was cute!



Malia brought Hana up to meet her new cousin. She also brought Thai food!






Hana is in deep smit!


In the craziness of labor, we forgot to grab an outfit to bring our boy home from the hospital in. Fortunately Marianna picked up several outfits and receiving blankets for him that she dropped off with the ICEE. This little red polo is what he wore home, and he just grew out of it. I put it in storage just a few days ago for if we ever have another baby boy.




I love the pic in the middle. Oscar's gazing longingly at his son while his mom gives me a foot rub.



Here are some self photographed family shots.


And a cute family shot Oscar's dad took. They stayed and adored Tyler until about 4pm. Then they went back to our house to get dinner ready for us. They're so sweet! A lot of people complain about their in-laws, but I really can't!

Mommy and daddy adoring their new baby!


And Grandma and Grandpa just can't get enough of him.






Martha went up to Ty's circumcision to make sure he was okay. Apparently he gave just a tiny little cry and happily sucked on his pacifier. He also didn't seem too bothered by his heel prick blood test. As long as he's being held or sucking on something (or ideally both), Ty is difficult to disturb. He has an eye infection right now, meaning I have to put medicine in his eye and wipe off the gunk several times a day. I make sure to do it while I'm nursing. He barely even notices it then.



Triple generation photo


And here I am wheeling my baby out. We'd purchased a convertible car seat that has infant, toddler, and booster settings, but the infant one isn't terribly practical. It's nice and comfy, but it doesn't come out of the car. We'll use that car seat when he's a bit older. Infant car seats are designed to come out of the car so you don't have to wake up the baby when you take him out. My brother had one to give me that attaches to a matching stroller, meaning you can take baby right from the car seat to the stroller without having to take him out of his seat. My mom drove it up to Oscar's mom to bring up to us, but she accidentally left without it. We had to use the infant setting on the other car seat we'd bought until my mom brought up the other a week and a half later. Oscar and his dad figured out how to install it while Ty was having his circumcision.

When it was time to go, we weren't allowed to carry him in our arms, so we were given this cart to push him down in. A hospital employee escorted us out and was afraid that we hadn't brought a car seat at all. I tried to explain the situation to her, but I'm not sure it was understood with the language barrier. The car seat functioned alright for the week we used it, but it was pretty annoying to have to constantly carry him and take him in and out whenever we had to use the car. This was especially annoying in the pouring rain when we were leaving the hospital. But fortunately the rain let up as we pulled up to our apartment and Ty made it home safe and sound.





I asked my sister to send me an account of her memories of the birth hoping she'd remember some details that I'd forgotten to help me write this blog. She went above and beyond and, like the fabulous writer that she is, wrote her account in short story format. Here it is in its entirety. 


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When the phone rings at 4:30 in the morning, it’s birth or death.  This time, thank heavens, it was the former.
I was dressed and in the car before I was quite sure what was going on.
Oscar.  Phone.  Baby.
Tyler!
I put my headset in my ear and headed north.
I called my father on the way, having told him I would do so.  He’d already been called by Oscar, but he thanked me and asked for more updates as the day went on.
Arriving in Everett, I had the presence of mind to pull into a drive through Starbucks for some hot Chai support.  The woman at the window smiled at my bed hair.  I gave her a return grin and said, “Nephew being born.”  Her smile became sweeter and she said “Good luck.”  I told her I didn’t need it, but I’d pass it on.
Warm Chai and a warm interaction made the cold morning more welcoming. 
I pulled up to the hospital, and after getting lost in the parking lot twice, I found a spot in the valet lot.  I took it and crossed my fingers that they wouldn’t have me towed when they arrived.
I sprinted in, got checked in by the yawning guard downstairs, and got a sticker with “triage” on it.  Working my way upstairs, I was guided by a sleepy-eyed nurse to the outside of the triage area, where I was informed I could not go, as only one person could be in there with my sister at a time.
I sat out on the bench and pulled out a cross-stitch project, while I listened to the hum of their voices.  Everyone sounded pretty calm, and I was told every few minutes that it would only be a moment before she had a room.
Finally, someone came out and told me that they’d already headed up.  I ran to the elevator.
I got out on the right floor and saw them almost immediately.  Stacy was nearly doubled over with pain from a contraction, leaning on a piece of equipment, while the nurse and Oscar stood nearby.  The look on her face was so familiar to me.  Pain, and fear purely from the pain.  This was not a woman afraid of labor.  This was a woman unprepared for the intensity of this level of pain.
I had gone through the same thing during my own labor, and it had ended up causing huge complications as I tensed my whole body during contractions, and fought my own instincts almost to the point of needing a C section.
I didn’t want that for her.
We got her settled in the room, but each time she had to stop moving for a contraction, I could see the same thing.  Pain, waves of pain, and the touch of fear, and the body tightness.  She was fighting these contractions, and it was only starting to get serious.  On top of this, she looked exhausted.  I asked Oscar when the contractions had started, and it had been at the beginning of the night, so with only a few moments exception, she had been up for almost 24 hours at this point, and fighting hard with pain for most of it.
I didn’t know where she would find the strength and energy to push when the time came.
It was only a few contractions later, with Oscar the only other person in the room, that I suggested that she take some pain meds.  My hope was that she would find some relief, and possibly be able to sleep.
She thought long and hard about it, but I think a particularly strong contraction a few minutes later decided her.  She asked for the Fentanyl.
In hospital time, it was only a few minutes later that the drug arrived.  (it was probably closer to 20)  I will never forget the relief that flooded through me as her body and her face relaxed and the fluid flowed into her from the IV.   She looked up at me with the first real smile I’d seen that day and said, “Oh!”
I laughed, and said that now she understood me – and other people who drink and so on - a bit better.
It wasn’t too long after that that her doula arrived, and I don’t think that she was thrilled that I’d “talked her into drugs,” but I cannot be sorry.
Hours passed.  Hours of ball sitting, counting, breathing, pain, pain relief, and exhausted sleep for her and Oscar.  I alternated reading, sewing, and texting updates on Facebook.  Once, while Stacy was napping, Oscar and I looked at the monitor and were amazed that she had slept through contractions so strong and frequent.  We found out later we’d been watching the input from a different room.  
Finally, it seemed like she woke up all the way.  She’d asked for an epidural after the second dose of fentanyl offered little relief, so she was numb, but as she’d napped, she was no longer drooping with exhaustion.  And the numbness was far from total, so she was able to move around quite well – well, as much as a ten month pregnant human on a wheeled bed/cart can!
When the time came to push, I put one last text on Facebook that I wouldn’t be back until he was out!
The pushing was excruciating.  I earned a lot of respect for the people I had asked to be in the room with me when my own daughter was born.  It is so much harder emotionally to be holding a leg than to be pushing.  When you’re pushing, you know you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.  When you’re just there, you have no idea how to help.  You feel useless in the face of immensity.  I was incredibly impressed by my sister’s stamina, strength, and emotional surety.
About halfway into the pushing, the nurse called the doctor.  There didn’t seem to be a rush on his part to get there, which was odd for us, as Tyler was clearly coming closer with each push.  Around this time, I moved from the bottom of the bed to nearer Stacy’s head, so Oscar could get a better view – and film the event!  I didn’t know what to do but squeeze her leg and, over the volume of her pained push scream, nearly shriek encouraging things at her during each push.  It was a tremendous emotional wash for me, and I have no idea what I said except for saying over and over again what a good job she was doing and how amazing she was.  And she was. 
During some of the pushes, her vagina opened like a flower, and you could get a glimpse of something in the heart of her that clearly wasn’t her.  The nurse had someone bring in a mirror so that Stacy could see.  I remembered this being one of my favorite parts of my own labor, so I encouraged her to get into whatever position she needed in order to see.
The mucus on Tyler’s head came through first, though none of us knew that it was just mucus, and thought it was head, so it was terrifying when the doctor finally arrived and wiped some of it away.  (Oh my god!  The doctor wiped his head clean off!)
But then we could see the hair.  Stacy cried once after a push at this point, but I don’t know if it was from pain or emotion.  Both were on high alert, but the pain may have been higher, as at this point in the pushing, his head was lodged right in her vaginal opening during the rests, so they were not very restful.
With a twist that brought a cry out of her like I’ve never heard a human make, the doctor turned Tyler in a way that brought his face into the light on the next push.  I was holding Stacy’s left leg and pushing against her pushing, so when I saw his face, I was able to look straight up at her face after that.  That was a truly intense moment of eye contact, one I will never forget.  She cried from emotion then, and grabbed my hand.
I remember asking Stacy if she wanted Oscar to “follow” the baby or stay with her.  She asked him to stay with the baby, so I kept focused on her.
It was only one or two mighty pushes after that when Tyler came out.  He didn’t cry right away, and, as there had been some concern about meconium in the labor fluid, they took him to a pre-prepped table.  They wrapped him up and cleaned him off while toweling him and trying to get him to cry.  Oscar could not get to him because of the doctor delivering the afterbirth, so I focused on Tyler and let Oscar move up to her head and take over any soothing needed as she finished her work.
I got a couple of pictures as they finished cleaning him up and finally got his first cry.  His apgars were good, so they brought him over for some skin to skin contact with his mom.  I took the opportunity to wipe my eyes and head out to the waiting room to share the happy news.  Baby boy Hunt was born! 


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