Friday, November 16, 2012

A is for Alexander

If you read our blog odds are you already know that we welcomed a perfect little boy into the world almost two weeks ago!  Alexander Henry Gibson was born on Monday, November 5 at 8:30 in the morning at Danbury Hospital.  He weighed a whopping 9 lbs, 3 oz and was 21 1/2 inches long.  He is beautiful and perfect and there aren't words to describe how amazing it is to finally have him here with us.  It's been a whirlwind of a first week, but we are so incredibly blessed that Alex is finally here and he is happy and perfectly healthy.  We couldn't have asked for more.

I'd like to write his birth story down while it is still fresh, so if you don't feel like reading this long tale, just stop here!  It's mostly so Chris and I can remember that night and those first few moments with our son.

Alex was due on Sunday, October 28...the day that everyone was preparing for Superstorm Sandy to make landfall on the east coast.  Needless to say, Chris was extremely nervous about potentially driving me to the hospital during the storm.  He put me on unofficial "bed rest", hardly letting me do so much as get up from the couch to get a glass of water!  Lucky for all of us, Alex decided to stay put through Sandy.

On Sunday evening we lost power, which made us nervous all over again.  Would we end up going to the hospital only to bring a newborn home to a house with no electricity, running water or heat?  But being the smart little baby he is, Alex wisely decided to stay in my tummy for a bit longer.  We got power back on Friday!  We were able to pick up the house and re-stock the fridge on Saturday, even making a big pot of soup and batch of spaghetti sauce and meatballs so we'd have something to eat once Alex came.

We were scheduled for an induction on Monday, one day past 41 weeks.  But as it turns out, Alex wanted to come on his own time.  Sunday morning we woke up and got ready for church.  Our friend came over to get Bailey, thinking we'd be going to the hospital sometime the next day.  Riding to church in the Porsche, I started noticing "squeezes" way down low in my tummy.  They were uncomfortable, but not necessarily painful, so I didn't realize at first what they were.  Somewhere along the way, I noticed that they were almost exactly 6 minutes apart.  Hmm...maybe these were contractions after all!  I mentioned this to Chris but neither of us wanted to get too excited just in case, so we continued going about our day.  We went to church, then out to lunch with friends, and all the while I was still having contractions.

When we got home that afternoon we tried to rest and distract ourselves with a little Hulu.  Thank goodness for Saturday Night Live, as the contractions were starting to get painful!  :)  I called my doctor early that evening and she told me to come in with the contractions were about 4 minutes apart, or when I could no longer talk through them.  After a little more waiting at the house, I called once again a little after 7:00 to let them know we were on our way.  Was this really it?!  Or would they send us back home?  We had no idea, and couldn't wait to get to the hospital.

Leaving for the hospital...last time to be this big!

Chris is looking ready, excited, and a teeny bit nervous!

Once there, I was checked and found to be 3-4 cm already.  This was great news!  And meant that we were definitely not leaving the hospital again until we had a little baby with us.  :)  My doctor thought since I was doing so well that I shouldn't officially get checked into a room yet.  Rather than go home, Chris and I headed up to the 5th floor of the hospital to hang out near the conference room where we took all our classes.  Then we headed down to the first floor.  Then we sat outside, but only briefly as it it was REALLY cold that night.  Then back up to the 5th floor.  Lots of walking, lots of contractions!  Finally at around 10:00 I told Chris I was ready to be admitted.  Back up to the 3rd floor we went!

Over the next hour, we settled into our room and waited for our doula to arrive.  The nurse was monitoring me intermittently to make sure little Alex (though we didn't know he was Alex at the time!) was doing okay.  My doctor came in around 11:00 and found that I was now 5 cm.  Halfway there!

Once I was off the monitor, the nurse suggested I try out the tub.  Wow....did I love that tub.  They even had a monitor that could go in the water so I didn't have to get out for the nurse to monitor the baby's heartbeat!  It was great.  The lights were dim in the room and it was all very relaxing, or as relaxing as having contractions can be.  :)

Our doula, Monika, arrived around midnight.  She was terrific, had such a calming presence and really took care of both of us.  I was worried because Chris hadn't eaten dinner, and Monika brought him a sandwich and drinks (from where we still don't know!).  After the tub, she suggested I try a rocking chair, which I would never have thought of but was terrific to get through each contraction.  She turned on some relaxing music for me, got Chris a blanket and pillow so he could try to nap, and we all waited a bit until it was time to be checked again.

Around 4:30 a.m. my doctor came back.  I was 6-7 cm, which was progress, but considerably slower than they would like considering we were doing this all naturally.  My doctor suggested we either try Pitocin (which I really, really didn't want) or that she break my water to get things moving.  After a bit of debate, I decided she should break my water and Chris agreed.

I knew breaking my water would make the contractions stronger and more intense, but I had no idea how fast that would happen!  By 6:00 a.m. I was back in the tub but already wondering why I hadn't gone with the epidural.  :)  It wasn't quite the serene tub experience I'd had a few hours before!  But Chris was fantastic, and somehow we got through it.  The next time I was checked, maybe an hour later, I was already at 9 cm.  By this time I was out of the tub and on the bed.  Alex was turned the wrong way, not breach, but what they call "sunny side up", so I felt every contraction in my lower back.  Monika and the nurse had me turning this way and that, standing up, leaning over, doing everything they could think of to make the baby turn.

At this point the back pain was more than I could bear, but deep down I still didn't want an epidural (even though I was telling Chris I did).  Chris suggested the IV pain reliever was a good comprimise, which we were told would last about an hour and would slightly take the edge off, though I would still feel most of the pain.  It was just the thing to help me get that final centimeter.  It was still intensely painful, but more bearable.  At 7:00 a.m. we had to bid our nurse Tanya goodbye, who had been so great, and in came Virginia.  Shortly after she came on, I told her I feeling the urge to push.  She got Dr. Mirza, who told me that, at long last, I was at 10 cm.  It was go time!

We started pushing and during all this I must have heard the bell ring at least three times signaling that another baby had been born...very frustrating!  Pushing is no joke, and there were definitely times when I didn't think I could do it.  But Chris was so encouraging, as was Monika, the nurse, and doctors in the room (my doctor, a resident, and a med student).

The doctors asked me several times if I wanted a mirror so I could see, and I repeatedly told them "I really don't", which everyone in the room seemed to find funny for some reason, even my husband. Can't say I was laughing with them though!  :)  I had been told throughout the night that the baby would have his or her own nurse, but all the while I was pushing there was no baby nurse in the room.  I was thinking "they must think this will take forever if they haven't called for the nurse yet!".  I didn't realize they called the baby nurse only right before the baby was out. 

After about an hour of pushing, I heard someone say "call the baby nurse", and I saw my doctor and the resident doctor cover up their scrubs and I knew we had to be close.  After just a few more pushes, I heard everyone telling me to open my eyes and suddenly there was our baby right in front of me!  I heard Chris announce "it's a boy!" and they put baby Alex right on my chest.  It's a feeling that I can't even begin to describe and still makes me cry to think about.  He was so beautiful and perfect, and so BIG!  I couldn't believe how big he was.  The hospital staff was guessing high 8s, but when they finally took him away to be weighed he was 9 lbs, 3 oz.  What a big boy.

Beautiful baby boy :)

Wow, he was BIG!

Proud Daddy

Sweet baby all bathed and swaddled

First shot of the Gibson Family!

I loved watching Chris hold our son for the first time and seeing the joy that I felt mirrored on his face.  What an incredible experience.  We're of course exhausted and still getting the hang of this parenting thing, but we wouldn't change it for the world.  Alex is here, we are so in love with him, and we're now officially a family.  :)

Getting ready to go HOME :)