Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome to the World Jackson James Koester - Day 3

My Labor Journey

Our son Jackson James Koester entered the world on Sunday, April 15 at 4:30 p.m. He weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 21 inches long. He came out perfect. And that's one thing I remember saying over and over again when he was handed to me. "He is perfect!"

Jackson's Labor Story
Thursday, April 12
Karl and I both got home from work and decided to go on a walk. It ended up being a lot longer than I thought. I had to start shortening my walks to only around the block. I could do stair climber just fine, but walking killed me. But Karl's dad called and they talked for a long time and we both decided we still needed some time to talk to one another about our days and whatever fears we were having before the baby came, so we went a total of a few miles. When we got home, I felt sore. I thought I overdid it.

Friday, April 13 (yes Friday the 13th)
I woke up and headed into work. I heard a lot of..."Let's hope your baby isn't born on Friday the 13th! Not a good day."

Not funny to me. I was crabby. I was also tired and very very very sore. I slept like crap. But the Friday before I was crabby too. I think I was just giving my all to get everything done at work, that when Fridays came, I could barely focus I was so dead tired. I noticed every time I stood up or got out of my chair, pain shot through me. Everything hurt and it seemed everyone needed something from me. It was hard to keep it together.

I headed home and Karl was all excited for my brother Mike to get home so they could have a couple of drinks. He also brought home Papa Murphy's pizza. The three of us talked a lot about anything and everything and had a bunch of laughs, but I felt very tired again and headed over to the couch. I hated leaving all the fun, but I just wanted to sit down. Mike and Karl headed over in the living room to join me. We continued to talk...they continued to drink... And all of a sudden around 9 p.m., I felt my first shot of pain zap through my body. "Ouch!" I yelled.

Mike looked at me. Like he just knew. Karl laughed and said, "Braxton Hicks babe. Braxton Hicks."

I didn't think Braxton Hicks felt like that. This pain was different. It was like someone grabbed hold of my ovaries with a rope and was trying to pull them out through a pin hole. But it went away pretty quick.

30 minutes later... Bam! Same pain. "Ouch!" I yelled again.

Mike looked at me again. "What?"

"I felt something again."

"Yep, baby is coming tomorrow," said Mike.

"No way," I said.

Karl chimes in, "Braxton Hicks babe. Braxton Hicks."

Two more times the pain came and went and I headed up to bed. Nothing. Phew. Must've been nothing. Maybe Karl was right....

Saturday, April 14
2:18 in the morning and I jumped awake. "OUCH!" The pain was back again and this time a whole lot more intense. My intuition took over and I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and watched the clock. Nine minutes came, same bit of pain hit and lasted for 30 seconds. For the next four hours the pain came and went like clockwork. Always nine minutes apart, lasting 30 seconds. The body is truly something amazing. But let's  just say I didn't sleep. I don't think Karl slept a whole lot either, enough where he got out of bed and studied for his school exam coming up and paid a bunch of bills and then took his exam.

Part of me was so thankful it was Saturday and I thought in my sleepless state of mind I could sleep the rest of the day. Right. The clock hit six and the contractions became stronger. A lot stronger and a whole bunch closer together. I found a couple of books from the classes we took and read through them. All of them said I had to wait for the contractions to be 3-5 minutes apart and for them to be about a minute in length. I became nervous when they went down to 7 minutes apart, then 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and then back up to the point they were 5 minutes apart for a good steady 30 minutes and then back to 9 minutes they went. And remained that way allllllll day and afternoon.

So I did laundry. I put clothes away. I'd have a contraction up the stairs on the toilet over the bed. We both made sure we had everything together and ready. Karl insisted I call my parents. I did. They were going back and forth on if they should leave and head up - I don't think any of us could believe this was really happening. I could barely talk to my mom on the phone when a contraction came. And when people started calling, I couldn't even imagine talking to anyone. I WAS IN PAIN! I avoided picking up the phone all together.

When Karl felt like he was all organized, he pushed me to call the hospital. I talked to the nurse on staff and told her I was dying but knew my contractions had to be 3-5 minutes apart. I also made the mistake of telling her I was doing laundry. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. She didn't know I'm a freak of nature that way. I keep busy to keep my mind off pain. She told me I had to wait for my contractions to be 3 minutes apart for TWO HOURS and I had to be in serious pain!!! But I was!!!

Was she kidding!?!??!?

Two hours came and went of 5 minute contractions lasting over one minute. Karl went up to take a nap. I tried to deal with the pain. I sat on my exercise ball. I tried walking around. I couldn't do anything anymore but die. Karl suggested we walk to DQ to get dinner. Part of me thought he was crazy, but part of me knew what he was doing. I thought it was going to be impossible, but I've heard of so many people who go out walking to get things moving further along. I got as far as 20 feet and almost collapsed in the grass. I told Karl I couldn't do it. So I turned around. Another one hit. And as I was headed up the stairs, another one. This time the contractions felt like a thousand pound steel block being unloaded full force on my ovaries, then being squashed.
Moments before we headed out. Last pic - April 14 at 39 weeks

I tried to eat my dinner, but I couldn't. I was beyond uncomfortable. Karl called the hospital again after taking record of my contractions for an hour and told the nurse, "NO, her contractions aren't three minutes apart but she is beyond uncomfortable. They are five minutes again." We were told to come in, but needed to know that I might be sent back home. How?? Could they at least give me something for the pain? There was no way I'd be able to survive another night feeling this way.

I was sure I was dilated 10 cm and the baby's head was going to fall out.
And we're off!!

When we pulled up to the hospital, Karl had to wheel me in. I couldn't even walk. I was so embarrassed. Finally we made it to the Birthing Unit and I signed some papers. Sweat was pouring off me. I was hooked up and checked. And let me just say getting checked isn't the most pleasant feeling in the world. Ouch.

"You are one centimeter dilated. We'd usually send someone home..." The nurse looked at me.

"SAY WHAT!?!?!? ONE!?!?" I wanted to cry. Or die. There was no way I could make it back home. No way I could deal with the pain anymore.

Nurse could see the look on my face - and thankfully saw me go through a series of contractions. "Actually you're doctor is on call. I'll bring him in and have him decide."

He came in. I was relieved to see him because I wanted him to deliver our baby, but knew our chances were about 20 percent. Luck was on our side. He took one look at me and said, "You are in labor. I can see that."

Thank you! Thank you!!!

"We'll admit you."

Thank you! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I looked at the nurse. "Now, what can I do about the pain? 1 cm!?!?!? And I have to go to 10?? How will I handle?"

She grabbed my hand. "Honey, what's going on here? You are tense and look scared. Tell me what's going on?"
I don't know how I didn't bawl but I bit my lip and said, "I'm scared of everything."

"You have to let that all go. It's going to be okay, but you have major anxiety going on." She gave me some options. All I wanted was the epidural but she said it might be too early. She gave me a shot of something that made me think of the time I drank a whole bunch of beer and smoked a cigarette (like my second time smoking....ever....gross). I felt buzzed and loopy. She had me jump in the bath and lit some candles. I had this whole aromatherapy thing set up. My tall body couldn't fit in the tub very well, but I will say the warm water felt great. And this is when all modesty went out the window. I didn't care who saw me and my extra 35 pounds. The shot of medicine wouldn't take away the pain but it would at least calm me down. It worked for what felt maybe 30 minutes but those darn contractions still took over. I got another shot. Didn't do as much. I needed more.

The nurse looked at me again. "You know...being you're going through this for the first time and it usually takes longer, I think we should do the epidural."

I wanted to hug her.

The epidural came. Supposedly I was the fastest one they ever did. I guess I have a long back or something. I was always nervous about a needle going through my back, but it's not so bad. Felt three more strong contractions and then NOTHING!!!!! OMG!! I wanted to cry and rejoice. I told everyone I could in our room I was going to write the person who invented the epidural a thank you card. I loved him/her.

Sunday, April 15
I don't know how many hours later... many...many...many... I was told I was dilated to six. YES! I was able to sleep a few hours. THANK GOD. I was going on empty. Doctor came in around 9:30 Sunday morning and checked me. He said I was only a 4 and he didn't know where 6 came from. The baby's head hadn't moved down anymore. He wished he had broken my water the night before.


So he broke my water. This is the part Karl thought was the grossest. I didn't know what was going on. Couldn't feel much, but I knew there was a lot of water because the doctor kept saying, "Oh wow. Oh wow. That is a lot of water. Jeez. This is a lot of water. Baby will be moving now."

Nurses would come in and out and check me. I started to feel my left ovary tense and pressure down low. The nurse suggest I bump my epidural. I never thought I would. Then she looked at me and said, "You have to push yet honey."

Pushing. Ahh, yes. I had yet to do that. For some reason there isn't a ton said about pushing but all the while I was getting text messages from friends saying, "Remember to breathe during pushing. You can do it." My friend Sheila told me it's a bit hard. How can it be hard, I wondered. Now I know.

I bumped. And bumped. And bumped the epidural so much that they had to put in a whole new bag! The nurse said she never had to do that before. Uh-oh.

Then the shakes began. Major shakes. Major. I couldn't lay still. Karl's parents and sister arrived and came in. My mother in law tried patting me down and massaging me so I could stop but nothing was working. I was checked and was dilated to 7. Then was told Mike was coming in before he had to fly out for work. This is when the out of body experience kicked in. I didn't even feel like me. Karl and Mike talked and I just kept thinking...what was going on here? I'm going to be a mom. I'm really going through this. But am I? Who am I? Is this really happening?

Totally whacked out goofy.

Then I was checked again. I was a 10. OMG. Mike left and I was told I'd begin pushing. Then I was told that usually pushing lasts about 3 hours for first time moms. I almost cried, but Karl reminded me I told everyone in the room I loved them. OK...

A mirror was wheeled over and set up so I could see what was going on down there. I gave my first set of three pushes. And saw just a little piece of the head. To me it looked funny. Like it was the world's smallest head. I couldn't quite comprehend how the baby would come out and where. I saw the videos but this was me. This was different.

A few more pushes and I felt like my head was going to pop off, eyeballs were going to roll out of the sockets or a few blood vessels would jump out of my neck. Karl said my face was as red as a Coke can. But every part of me was like...dude you better do this. You workout. You can handle.

Then I saw the outline of the head pressing through my skin. OMG. OMG. OMG. I was going to push that giant round object through what small space!?!?!? But seeing this was good. I knew it was only going to be a few more pushes when the doctor came in and the nurse said, "Girl, you are a champ at this pushing. You're going to have this kid out fast."

I had to skip a few contractions until our doctor could get on his gloves. And then the real fun began.

The pressure. Intense. The moment. Surreal. The pain...oh, I felt it. Even after all those epidural pumps. I was one push away from throwing up. I thought, how can I do this? I don't want to do this. OUCH! But I cheered myself on. I said, "Christie come on! You CAN DO THIS!" Karl laughed, but it's what I needed.

Moments before the nurses, Karl and doctors were sharing funny stories and they weren't very funny to me at the time. I wanted baby out.

One last push and baby came out alright at 4:30 p.m. 50 full minutes of pushing. Thirty eight and a half hours later from my first contraction on Saturday morning!

And all the pain, fear, worry, anxiety, sleep deprivation, etc., didn't matter when I saw our little guy. My heart melted.  

Karl cried, "It's a boy." We both bawled and I held Jackson to my chest and melted. He IS PERFECT!!!!!!!

The nurses cried and hugged both of us. It was so emotional. So wonderful. So perfect. Then I think I told everyone I loved them again.

More to come on the rest. I have a baby to feed. Life has changed in a way I never could've prepared for. Wow. A lot more to come on this. Oh, how things can change in an instant.