Settle in for a long story, because I'm a very wordy person and want to share all the details of our little boy's arrival.
So here's what went down:
On Monday (TJ's bday) I have a scheduled appointment with my doctor. I'm 37 weeks and can do a great impression of a beached whale. While I'm uncomfortable (and impatient) I know that I've still got time before baby arrives. Doc says the baby is looking good, but I'm still only dialated to 2 cm so I should just stay optimistic and take it week by week. Doc asks if I've been feeling any contractions. I don't know what contractions are supposed to feel like, so if I have been feeling them they haven't been significant.
That evening, after a yummy dinner with friends to celebrate TJ's birthday, TJ heads to the basement to study (2nd semester of law school happened to start on his birthday) and I head upstairs to try to sleep. I say try, because these days sleep is hard to come by. I'm big and uncomfortable and sleep isn't my friend. After laying in bed for a couple hours, I begin feeling a sharp cramping pain in my abdomen. I try switching positions, getting up to walk around...but nothing seems to help.
TJ finally comes upstairs shortly after midnight. By 12:30, the pain in my abdomen is enough to bring tears to my eyes. I start Googling "labor contractions" trying to figure out if these are real or fake. I don't want to be that person who runs to the hospital crying labor just to be sent home.
According to my late night Google research, I should time my contractions to see if they are coming consistently. I do...and they are. Every 5 minutes for 30 seconds. TJ says we need to call the doctor. This is when I begin to panic. I didn't know who to call! By now, it's about 1:30 am and the only phone number I have is for the doctor's office...no one is going to be there! I call anyway, hoping there is a message about who to call after hours. Sure enough, an answering service patches me through to the doctor who's on call. When I tell here about the timing of my contractions, she tells me to head on down to the hospital.
TJ kicks it into high gear...grabbing a bag and throwing things in it for me. I'm a complete wreck and so unhelpful in the packing process. I get myself dressed and brush my hair, pausing every 4 minutes to hunch over as a new wave of pain hit. We finally get out of the house and drive down the road to the Ohio State University Medical Center. In my mind, I keep thinking that as soon as we get there they'll tell me it's just false labor and send me back home.
We check in and head to triage so I can be checked out before actually being admitted. The nurse checks me out and lets me know that I'm dialated to a 4. The on-call doctor wants to wait an hour before admitting me to see if I progress any farther. The intensity of these contractions gets stronger and stronger...and they start coming every 3 minutes. Which means every 3 minutes, I cry for 30 seconds as the pain hits and then I'm just fine for 2.5 minutes. If I have to deal with this pain for another hour before being admitted, I might die...so I'm very happy when they tell me its time to hook up my IV and take me to a labor and delivery room.
By 5:00 am, its time for my epidural. I knew that as soon as I got the epidural, the pain would stop...but I knew that getting the epidural would not be painless. Honestly, this was one of the things about having a baby that made me most nervous. The thought of sticking a needle into my spine scared me. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be...until the needle hit a nerve in my back and sent an electric shock though my body. That hurt worse than all my contractions put together. But soon, the fabulous medicine started flowing and my toes started to tingle with numbness. Maybe delivering this baby won't be so bad after all.
Around 5:35 am, a doc comes in to break my water so we can get the delivery process moving. As soon as she broke my water, the look on her face dropped. "Baby's breach" she says as she wheels in an ultrasound machine. She double checks her assessment and confirms that baby is in fact breach...what we thought was his head is actually his booty. By now, contractions are coming every minute and we don't have time to wait for baby to flip. My doc is called and a c-section is scheduled. By 5:45, I'm being prepped for surgery.
At this point, I'm a mess. I was so unprepared for baby to arrive two and a half weeks early...but I was definitely not prepared for a c-section. I start making phone calls. Mom changed her flight and is heading to the airport right away. Lindsey is looking for a babysitter and will be at the hospital as soon as she can. Calli shares her vast experience of c-sections and tries to reassure me. TJ is next to me the whole time. He holds my hand and kisses my head and tells me everything is going to be okay. There are tears in his eyes, which does nothing to calm my nerves. TJ is not one to show his emotions, so if he's tearing up then it must be a difficult situation indeed.
Around 6:15, I'm wheeled into surgery. The room is smaller than I thought it would be (my opinion completely based on the surgical rooms shown on Grey's Anatomy). It all happened so fast, I wasn't processing it very quickly. The next thing I remember is hearing my baby cry and seeing his wrinkled purple body pass by me. TJ follows the baby, wanting to get a better look at our new son. As soon as baby is cleaned off and checked out, he's next to me. My doctor is still closing up my belly, so my first views of baby are upside down. But I can tell he's perfect even from that vantage point.
Our first family photo. Can I just say that I love this picture? I can just see the joy and pride in TJ's eyes.
After I was all closed up, we headed to recovery. The amount of drugs they had given me kept me numb for hours. Pros of being numb: I didn't feel any pain from having my belly cut open. Cons of being numb: They wouldn't move me to a room until I could move my legs. So TJ and I were camped out in a teeny little recovery room (which consisted of a bed for me and a chair for him...shoved into a 6x6 area. We were soon joined by my sister Lindsey. For those who don't know, Lindsey lives in Dayton (about an hour and a half away from Columbus). Lindsey drove out to Columbus as soon as I called her. (*Huge shout out to her husband Mike. Mike took an "emergency day" off work to stay home with their kids. Kids are not allowed to visit at the hospital, especially since Lindsey's baby has RSV, so Mike stayed home with the kids so Lindsey could be with me. Thanks Mike!*)
After being crammed into the recovery room for about 4 hours, we were finally moved to a much bigger, much roomier, and much more comfortable room. The rest of the day was spent staring at our new baby boy. It's ridiculous how much time I can waste just staring at his adorable little face.
He has a full head of dark hair, dark blue eyes (I'm hoping they stay that way), and skinny little legs. Baby literally slept all day long. He had no desire to wake up for anything. TJ had the honor of changing the first poopy diaper...which was a double win, since it was the first diaper that TJ had ever changed in his entire life. Luckily, Lindsey was there to help TJ out. I'll just make sure to let TJ have plenty of practice.
My mom was supposed to fly out on my due date, January 29th, but quickly changed her flight plan as soon as she heard that baby was coming early. TJ picked her up from the airport yesterday afternoon and brought her straight to the hospital so she could love on her newest grandbaby. I'm so grateful to have her here to help us figure out this whole "being parents" thing.
So there you have it. Riker James Grier was born on January 12, 2010 at 6:51 am. He weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and is 20 inches long. Even though I may not feel 100% prepared for him, I have never been happier. Yesterday was long, stressful, overwhelming, emotional, scary, tiring...but it was completely worth it. This little boy was definitely worth it all!