Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chronicling Benjamin's Birth Day

Since I began blogging more than a year after my son was born, I never thought of chronicling his birth until I was given the opportunity to participate in the SV Moms Book Club. This month, we read a book by Mark Sloan, M.D. titled Birth Day, a book which "explores the wonder of childbirth". So what better time than now to explore the wonder of my son's birth and what a wonder it was...

A day I thought would never arrive did on a snowy Monday morning in February. I was at that point when you are just OVER being pregnant. At an appointment earlier the week before, I had explained this "feeling" to my obstetrician, Dr. Yeum, and she suggested I meet with her partner Dr. Pittman, also fondly known as "Pitocin Fingers." Note: I would not think of her fondly during my exam. That Monday morning, as the snow continued to fall, my husband Wally and I took separate cars to the doctor's office to see if we could "get things going." The plan was to have Wally there for moral support and a hand to squeeze really hard if the exam got too intense, then for us to go our separate ways off to work. Well, that was the plan.

I won't get into the gory details of the exam. Needless to say, when the exam was over my belly was visibly contracting and Dr. Pittman had earned her nickname. I was then put on a monitor for about 10 minutes. When Dr. Pittman returned, she said, "okay this is it. I will see you at the hospital." She might as well said to my husband and I, "okay this is it. I will see you at the planet Mars." We couldn't process "this was it." My next response, after we picked our jaws up off the floor, was, "so, we'll go home and wait, right?" It was then her turn to look at us like we were speaking in foreign tongues, "no you need to go the hospital." It was now my husband, Wally's turn, "ok so we will get our bags and wait for the contractions to get intense and get to the hospital - probably later today, right?" The frustration started to build on Dr. Pittman's face, "no, guys you need to go to the hospital now." Me, "can we at least get our bags?" Dr. Pittman, "how far are you guys away?" Me, "only Morristown." Dr. Pittman knowing I can't fathom going to the hospital at this very moment says very kindly, "go home and then go directly to the hospital - no waiting around - get there as soon as possible."

Still not understanding the full magnitude of what was happening, we go out to the parking lot and realize, "oh shit, we have two cars." Wally turns to me and says, "do you think you can drive?" Keep in mind my contractions are 7 minutes apart and there is snow falling pretty heavily on the ground, my response, "sure." Wally assures me he will stay on the phone with me and will follow close behind. Yes, I am the woman who drives during labor, during a snowstorm! I think I need to get a medal or something for surviving that feat. No medal yet.

We make it home safely and I decide there is no need to rush. I take another shower. Wally takes another shower. I do my hair and makeup. I check to make sure I have everything. Of course, I have about four armfuls of things we are bringing with us to the hospital. We make a few phone calls. We kiss our pooch goodbye and head back to the hospital. We don't arrive until after 12 pm. If Dr. Pittman was at home with us she would have only allowed us to grab our bags and leave but I thought, "I've had worse cramps than this. This baby is not ready to make an entrance just yet."

We arrive and check into the PET unit where I get hooked up yet again. At around 2 pm, I get a message from Dr. Yeum saying they are ready to check me into the L&D and that they are going to start a small Potocin drip. To be honest, I thought I was going to be sent home as a "false alarm," but it seemed this was REALLY happening.

Then the crowds started to arrive, first my parents then my best friend and her husband, my mother-in-law then finally my brother (with a life-size giraffe for his new niece or nephew). All were gathered at the hospital before 5 pm that day. What I remember most from their visits in and out of the room was my Dad's sheer amazement of how good I was doing. He commented to my Mom several times that day, "I can't believe how great Jennifer is doing. She doesn't seem to be in any pain." To be honest Dad, you and me both. I too was amazed and not sure why, but I really wasn't in a lot of pain. Me, the girl who faints at the thought of pain was actually being tough as nails. By 6 pm still no epidural and only dilated about 2 cms my nurse convinced me to get the epidural. While she knew I wasn't in any horrible pain, she explained that it would relax me and hopefully get this show on the road.

Up until this point, things are going pretty smoothly. Enter the anesthesiologist's PA. I am handed a bunch of legal mumbo, jumbo to review and sign. Having to prepare to receive the biggest needle of my life (did I mention I have a needle phobia), I hand the papers to my husband who proceeds to look over. He asks the PA, very nicely I might add, why he cannot be present in the room during the epidural. Her answer, "germs." Wally, "germs? really? that doesn't seem to be a good enough reason considering people have been in and out of this room all day doing God only knows what to my wife." She then quips, "what are you a lawyer?" Not sure what happened after that I just know that my husband was trying to remain as calm as possible for me. Wally then decides to take up this argument with the doctor. The doctor tells him that we need to focus on the patient that this is a very delicate procedure, blah, blah, blah. Now, I appreciate the valiant efforts of my husband knowing how afraid I am of this GIANT needle, however, the doctor has now refused to do the procedure unless my husband and mother leave the room. I look at Wally and I say to him very calmly, "I appreciate what you are trying to do here but get out of the room now so I can get this thing over with." He then tells the PA, doctor and nurse that he is only going to stand right outside the door that if something happens he is coming back in. Everyone is fine with this and I get my epidural. To get the bitch PA back for her rude comment to my husband, I squeeze her with all my might during the procedure hoping she gets some nice black-and-blues on her arms.

Things start to really move now! They break my water (some random dude - still hoping he was a legit doctor) and I go from 2 to 8 in record time. Dr. Yeum is called and the nurse starts preparing the room for the arrival of Baby Kamienski. But instead of pushing out my child at 8 or 9 that night, I stall. At 11 pm, Dr. Yeum comes in and says I am going to give you another 15 minutes but that's it somethign about swelling and the position of the baby. With fingers crossed, I get one last exam and then the OR is booked. No pushing for me. I cry to Wally and my Mom who tell me how proud they are of me. My Mom tells me who cares how this baby comes into the world? I did, but in the end it doesn't really matter now does it? Before I head into the OR, I ask my Mom and best friend for a brush and mirror. They indulge me knowing full well that I am going to be putting a cap on to cover all my hair but they don't say a word. As I am wheeled into the OR, I get last words of love and praise from my parents, mother-in-law, brother and best friend and husband.

As I am being prepped, my friendly PA returns looking right over my head. Then it happens, "ummm, Wally I feel that?' Friendly PA, "you don't feel anything." Me, "ummm, I do feel something." Dr Yeum now peers over the curtain to look at me, "what's wrong? what is it?" Me, "Dr. Yeum I felt it when you started to cut me." The PA is about to talk back to me when Dr. Yeum shoots her a look and tells her boss to turn it up NOW. Dr. Yeum waits a little while and then proceeds. If we are being honest here, it sucked. I hated the feeling of being awake under the knife and to say "you are going to feel some minor tugging" is putting it mildly.

At 12:19 am on February 27, a shout rang out in the operating room announcing, "It's a boy!" Up until this point, I had no idea of the gender of this life growing inside of me nor did I know how awe-inspiring he would turn out to be nor did I even know his name just yet, all I knew at that very moment is that my miracle had finally arrived. After trying for almost 4 years and waiting another 9 months for Baby Kamienski, all our dreams had come true in in the middle of the night. The wonder of it all...

1 comment:

brett said...

This is fascinating.
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