FYI: I am losing my hair. So much hair. It is all over my house, all over me and all over my baby, and every time I put my hand to my head I come away with a fistful of hair. My ponytail is half size! I know this happens to some degree after I have a baby, but this is nuts! I can see my scalp! I can never see my scalp because I normally have so much hair.
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest, it is making me batty.
So my Monkey boy is 5 years old today. His journey to this earth started on Kalila's first birthday in April 2003 and unfortunately, her death coloured most of my pregnancy with him. To put it mildly, I was scared to death. When we had told the boys that we were pregnant with Kalila, they jumped for joy and cheered. A year after her death we announced to them that we were pregnant again and they said, "Oh." They were scared too. Afraid to hope that they might get another sibling, a live sibling and that made me so sad. They were far too young to have so little hope.
As Monkey grew in my belly and the boys saw how big my belly was getting and felt him moving around in there, they did get more and more excited. It was really a wonderful time in our lives, our first year of homeschooling, doing a ton of fun activities with our best friends and other homeschoolers. And our best friends were also expecting a baby, 3 weeks after ours. Shay and I spent a lot of time together eating ceaser salad, steak and chips. A lot of chips.
I had many scared moments, thinking my baby had died inside of me. Every doctors appointment was filled with apprehension. I only went to emergency for a non-stress test once though, Monkey was an active baby and managed to assauge my fears usually before I freaked out too bad. It was a pretty wonderful pregnancy though. I was healthy and active and I only gained, like 12 pounds. I loved the way I looked!
As we neared the end of my pregnancy the doctors kept close watch over me, sending me for lots of ultrasounds to keep an eye on my fluids which seemed low and to make sure that my womb was still a hospitable environment for Monkey. Just after Christmas, in a better safe than sorry move, they decided that it was time to get my Monkey out of there. He was due on January 9, 2004, but on December 30, 2003, I was taken in for induction. Because there was a bed, the doctor decided to start me on the oxytocin drip immediately, rather than doing a cervical ripening first. If I could do it over again I would have insisted on the ripening first. I also would have asked them to wait a few days so that he was born in January, but that is neither here nor there.
I have little to say about the first 12 hours of labour other than that they were excruciating and unproductive. It would be an understatement to say that I was frightened and tense. I was so tense that every contraction (They happened every 90 seconds and lasted about 30 seconds for hours and hours) was extremely painful and did absolutely nothing. I would brace myself against the pain, my thighs tightened up and I tried not to cry. The doctor kept suggesting an epidural, but I was afraid of that as well.
At some point in the evening, we started to lose Monkey's heartbeat with every contraction. The doctors talked me into having an epidural so that if they had to do an emergency c-section, I would be ready. So I went for it. It did dull the pain and help me relax a bit, but I was still breathing through contractions so they turned it up and gave the (regulated) controller to add an extra burst now and then.
Finally I started to progress, started to open up. But as that happened, and while my nurse was on her lunch break, the alarms on Monkey's heart moniter went off. No heartrate measured, it didn't come back when the contraction stopped, or when I rolled to my side. Brent called for the nurse, screamed actually, and I was crying. The replacement nurse came in and yelled at him impatiently and told us that we were getting upset over nothing. "First-timers," she muttered under her breath. Well, my hubby gave her a piece of his mind, telling her that this was our fourth baby and the last one was born dead, so she better make sure that this one was okay.
She couldn't find his heartbeat and called for the doctor who ran in and called the neonatal resuccitation team.
They told me to push, she wasn't sure I was fully dialated yet, and we couldn't get my contractions to show on the moniters, and I couldn't feel anything. But I was to push, push for my baby's life. And I did, I just kept pushing until his head was out (at 1:47 am). Then they made me stop as they unwrapped the cord from around his neck. And he didn't cry. "Why isn't he crying??" I kept repeating it, but no one would answer me. No one answered because my baby was fine! His apgars were 9, he was just fine. They let me see him for a moment and then whisked him off to the table to make sure he was okay.
It turned out that he was so teeny that he turned around in the birth canal and wrapped the cord around his neck, so during the contractions the cord was compressed, cutting off his lifeline. He came out face up and even though he was 2 pounds smaller than his siblings, at 6lb6oz, he ripped me up nicely.
But he was safe, and healthy and perfect and exactly 5 years ago, this moment, I was begging my doctor to let me take him home to my family, so that I could spend New Year's with them. And she did.
Happy New Year's everyone, I hope you ring it in with those you love. We will be. I had hoped to go to Monkey's fireworks this evening (they have early one's for kids in a nearby neighbourhood) but it is blizzarding out, so we may miss it. But we will be together, ringing in the New Year and celebrating the birth of our amazing Monkey. Love!
For a Christmas photos link (I am super lazy) and a cute layout of Zed, go here