Our son Ansel Thomas was born at 10:47 AM on Wednesday, June 25th. At birth, he was 9 lbs 8 oz and 21” in length. Both Ansel and I had to stay at the hospital for a little extra observation (him in the neonatal ICU and I under bed rest). Now we are finally all at home, a happy family. We are really enjoying the experience. He is, of course, amazing and cute and all things that babies are.
For those who just want to see pictures, click here.
For those interested in more details, here’s the story of his arrival:
6.23.08 17:00 – With me six days overdue, contractions (which had been going on without pain for a few days) begin to be accompanied by pain, especially in my back. We wonder if I am just getting tired from the extended pregnancy or if this is the real thing.
6.24.08 03:30 – The contractions bring pain strong enough to keep me awake (for the long haul, as it turns out). In our last ultrasound, we found out that he was sunny-side up, with his back on the same side as my back, which often means more back pain during contractions.
6.24.08 15:30 – After talking with the receptionist at the OB/GYN office about my status, we took a bumpy cab ride to see my doctor who confirms labor has begun and I am 3 cm dilated. (We’ll start the labor clock right here.)
6.24.08 16:00 – From the doctor’s office we took another cab the short distance to the hospital! It was an even bumpier cab ride.
Ben with his pregnant friend at the hospital (these two obviously don't know what lies ahead)
Ben is ready to help out!
6.24.08 22:00 – After getting checked in and doing some exercises in hope of easing the labor process, my midwife checked me out and found my cervix 4-to-5 cm dilated. :( The midwife says she expects I should be dilating approximately 1 cm per hour…we are not on track.
6.25.08 02:00 – Another cervix check and it is at 5-to-6 cm. :( :( Time to break the water! Nurse Melissa was impressed with the amount of amniotic fluid: “I’ve never seen so much!” (Probably not much fun for her…) Following this augmentation, pain escalated (likely due to baby’s sunny-side up position) but contraction strength did not.
6.25.08 04:00 – I opted for the epidural anesthetic – make it work faster! Once it set in (and an extra bolus was administered), I was able to get some much-needed rest. Then pitocin was initiated. But still labor did not appear to be building. Pitocin was increased. The tone of the midwife said “c-section” to all three of us (though we only discussed and acknowledged this afterwards).
6.25.08 07:30 – Nurse Sue comes on duty, and directs me to a position that was supposed to help allow the baby’s head to move down. By some miracle, minutes later, it felt to me as if the baby’s head turned and settled low.
6.25.08 08:00 – An exam confirmed what I thought I felt: 10 cm diluted and we can touch his head! Start pushing!! From here on, pushing was coached wonderfully by nurse Sue and midwife Mary, and supported lovingly with encouragement from Ben and my mom (they were GREAT throughout, taking turns helping me and getting rest).
6.25.08 10:47 – After 20 hours of labor, Baby Cosgrove is born!! 9 lbs. 8 oz., 21”, 10 fingers, 10 toes, boy parts, a bunch of strawberry blonde hair on his head, and quite purple in color (at least at first).
After cleaning him up and an initial feeding session with me, he was taken away to the neonatal ICU to begin a course of the same antibiotics I was on during the labor (due to a fever). We were told that he’d be in the NICU for as little as an hour to start the antibiotics and could spend the rest of the time in the nursery near our recovery room. Soon after I was moved to our recovery room, we got word that he had low blood sugar (common in large birth-weight babies) and that he’d need to say in the NICU until they could get that stabilized. So we visited him in the NICU every few hours to attempt to feed him (with success, mostly) and the NICU nurses supplemented with formula to help his blood sugar. He sure didn’t appear or sound like he should be in the NICU; he was probably the biggest and loudest baby in the NICU, since most of the babies there were premies.
The first day after his birth we continued to visit him regularly and spent time thinking about his name. We came to the hospital with a list of thirty names in consideration and decided to call him Ansel Thomas.
Life in the NICU is tough!
(Blogger insists this picture is landscape)
(Blogger insists this picture is landscape)
The next day -- the day we thought we’d both be coming home -- was pretty eventful. My blood pressure started testing fairly high, to the point they wanted me on bed rest. Pretty much immediately after the bed rest order, Ansel was cleared to leave the NICU and was brought to our room. With me on bed rest, Ben had to do his best to calm Ansel (team member Grandma Barbi wasn’t allowed to come and visit until 1 pm!).
After another high blood pressure reading, the doctor ordered me to be relocated to a new room where they could monitor my blood pressure more consistently. This meant that Ansel was going back to the nursery. My monitoring continued and the doctor, who never came in to actually see me (he was working through the midwife), ordered 24 hours of magnesium treatment. But thankfully, another doctor stepped in and actually checked on me and said we should delay the treatment in hopes that the readings would settle down. Luckily my high readings steadied somewhat. During this time we got word that Ansel had been rushed off to an ultrasound: the doctors couldn’t find one of his testicles. Oh no, he’s gonna need that! That news did wonders for my quest for relaxation. The ultrasound confirmed the doctor’s suspicions -- they found his missing testicle in his abdomen; it just hasn’t descended yet (apparently this is relatively common). Give it time, they said, and so we will.
With my blood pressure more stable, we got to move back up to the recovery room only to find out that Ansel was brought back to the NICU pretty much right after his trip to the ultrasound. He had a “dusky” episode (purple coloring around his mouth) upon returning to the nursery and the doctor wanted to monitor him more closely for low oxygen levels. So back to the routine NICU visits for feeding and such. The next morning I got discharged, but Ansel would spend another day in the NICU before they cleared him for release. One thing we learned: once you are admitted to the NICU, it can take some time before you can get out, even if your baby is perfectly healthy (as pretty much every NICU nurse told us was the case with Ansel).
The in and out of the NICU and the somewhat automatic response to my high blood pressure were frustrating, but overall, the multitude of nurses we interacted with were wonderful throughout our stay, giving great care and being very friendly and warm. We did encounter a certain breed of nurse, the certified lactation consultant, that differed from the rest in their dictatorial breastfeeding speak, but they did have some helpful things to say as well, and we just disregarded the rest.
On Sunday morning, after we spent the night in our apartment without baby, we checked out a Zipcar and installed his carseat. After some discharge activities in the NICU, we got to load him in the car and take him home. Like a true baby, he fell asleep on the short car ride. It felt wonderful to get him to the apartment and show him (while he slept) his home. We took him out of the carseat and placed him into his bed and he continued to sleep, like a little angel.
I am incredibly grateful for the amazing support provided by my husband and my mother; I don’t know how I would have done it without them.
Welcome little Ansel, we are so happy to have you here!!!
P.S. For more photos, visit our Picasa album here.
P.P.S. Grandma Barbi has been posting blog posts and photo albums along the way. Follow the links if you are interested.