Today was Zachary's one year doctor's appointment--where he got not ONE, not TWO, not THREE, not even FOUR, but FIVE shots!!!! Luckily, he's now done with shots until kindergarten (which I know will be here in about four seconds).
So his stats: Weight: 19 pounds, 9 ounces (10th percentile, gained weight now that he's healthy) Height: 28 inches (5th percentile, tho maybe not entirely accurate, as he was squiggling quite a bit) Head circumfrence: 47 centimeters (unknown percentile, but probably a huge melon)
Other than the shots, the appointment was very business as usual. Zach is making just the right progress socially and physically, and Dr. T said we should go ahead and keep trying milk as very few children actually have milk allergies...so we'll do it. He also said that we can turn the car seat around as soon as Zach reaches 20 pounds, so that will be exciting to do in the next month or so.
Dr. T also said that the hardest part is behind us, so we're good to go for number two.
A year ago today, we brought the tiny bundle known as Zachary James home with us for the first time.
I remember being overwhelmed by emotions and fear and hormones on the way home...and cried from the time we left the hospital and all of our nursing assistance, till we got home. And then I cried some more. I really couldn't believe that they would let us go home with this precious cargo that we knew nothing about taking care of.
Now we don't have to worry about him growing up an imbecile, unable to read or write or do trigonometry (at least that's what the JC Penney photographer was telling us would happen if he didn't crawl)....
7.22.05 The decorations... The food... The "clown"... The loot... ...and more loot... The guests... The birthday boy... The birthday cake... THE birthday cake... Zachary wasn't sure what to make of that candle... And wasn't sure what to do with the cake, so he took a break to suck him thumb...you could see him thinking, "hmmmm...this tastes different!!" And then he figured it out! ...really figured it out!
For the last four weeks or so of my pregnancy, I was confined to the house on modified bedrest due to pregnancy induced hypertension. I was going stir crazy, and even more so as my due date (7.16.04) came and went without so much as a Braxton Hicks contraction. At my last doctor's appointment on 7.15, Dr. L said he wanted me to come in for two non-stress tests (NST's) over the next few days and then schedule an induction for 7.22.04.
I was heartbroken. I knew that an induction raised my chances of having to have a c-section, and I had read that pitocin induced contractions were much stronger than natural contractions, so I was nervous. AND, I wanted to have that experience of having my water break, telling Chris "It's time" and heading to the hospital. But I reminded myself that the important thing was to get this baby here safely, whatever it took.
My first NST was on 7.17.04. We went to the hospital on Saturday morning and they hooked me up to some monitors for about an hour to make sure the baby was not stressed and apparently, he was pretty darn comfortable right where he was because he wasn't going to make his appearance for 5 more days!
My second NST was scheduled for 7.20.04, the following Tuesday. Chris and I went to the hospital at 800, I got hooked up to the monitors and waited. The nurses called Dr. L this time with my blood pressure numbers and he decides to come in to administer prostaglandin gel to my cervix in hopes of "ripening" it and moving things along a bit. He also decides to move the induction up to 7.21.04, the next day. It was my last day of being pregnant!! After the gel, I had to be monitored for another two hours, during which I had contractions that were about 8 minutes apart. They told us that there was a chance that my water could break and labor could start on it's own before the induction, otherwise, we were to show up Wednesday at 800 am.
That nite, Chris and I ate our last supper as a pregnant couple.
The next morning, we reported to the hospital bright and early. I cried a little as we left the house...a combination of nerves and hormones, I think. They did our intake, hooked me up to more machines than I thought possible, and away we went.
At 900 am, the pitocin started. At first, it was easy, and the contractions were merely uncomfortable. So they upped the dosage, and WHOA! The contractions got stronger and steadier. Occasionally, the baby's heartbeat would drop during an especially nasty contraction, so they turned the pitocin off. The contractions stopped. So they started it up again. And on we went thru the day. Also mixed in were occasional cervix checks, and I was lucky enough to have a nurse TRAINEE working my room, so when they did the exam (which was incredibly painful and caused me to cry and cry), the first time, I got to have TWO so the trainee could check it out. Luckily, Chris spoke up for me and asked that they keep the exams down to one person to ease my discomfort.
By 6 pm, not much was happening, aside from nasty contractions, so Dr. L broke my water. I can't believe I ever thought that my water had broken before (I'd had two false alarms)...there was a LOT of fluid! After that, the contractions worsened exponentially. The pain was unbelievable. Nothing I could even begin to describe. I was only dilated to 3 cm, but requested an epidural to ease my "discomfort" (yeah, like the grand canyon is a crack in the ground).
At 7 pm, the anesthesiologist arrived and became my hero. It was truly heaven on earth. By 8 pm I was dilated to 4 cm, and 5.5 by 830 pm, so things were finally moving along. Unfortunately, the epidural began to lose it's effectiveness somewhere around 11 pm, so the dr. came and re-dosed me.
By 11 pm, I was 7 cm, and hoping the end was in sight...was this baby going to be born on 7.21.04? Nope. Not by a long shot.
1220 am, and I was practicing my moaning like Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally"..."uuuuuhhhhh......uuuuuuuhhhhhh....." What is it about moaning that eases pain?? I don't know, but it seemed to work some.
145 am, and Dr. L returns to examine me. He says I'm at 9 cm, so maybe the end is in sight. I get my epidural re-dosed because altho I cannot feel my legs, the pain from the contractions is incredible.
At 3 am, I'm almost to 10 cm, so Dr. L suggests that I push a bit to see if we can hit that magic number. The pushing itself was amazingly hard work and the next morning, my neck and upper back muscles were super sore from the exertion. However, the pushing wasn't helping to dilate my cervix. The baby was not engaged in my pelvis at all, so I could have pushed until 2005 and it wouldn't have done me any good. So we stopped pushing, and Dr. L said he would return in about 45 minutes to check again, and dropped the "C" word: the dreaded c-section.
At 430 am, the nausea that I had been fighting for several hours came to a head. I won't say any more than that.
At 515, Dr. L came back and was discouraged about the lack of progress. He speculated that the baby was just too large to move down the birth canal and may have been facing the wrong way. His recommendation was to do the c-section. He said that we could push for a few hours and see if that made any difference, but that there was a good chance we would still be headed for surgery. By this point, I was so exhausted, that I was ready to have the baby no matter what it took, so we opted for the section (like we really had a lot of options...).
At 530, they prepped me for surgery and gave Chris some handsome scrubs to wear in the operating room. I was so scared I couldn't stop shaking. I remembered seeing the surgery room in our tour of the maternity ward, and I had shivered then...it was way too scary. And knowing how they did the surgery didn't help any either. They rolled me into the room, and I remember that the radio was on, and the nurses and doctors were just talking like it was no big deal...that struck me as odd, since to me it was a VERY big deal.
They strapped my arms out at my sides like a T, and the anesthesiologist came in to make sure I was numb. He poked me near my waist and asked if I could feel it. I thought I could, but I wasn't sure. He said that I shouldn't be able to, and poked me again...I was pretty sure I couldn't feel it. Then they hung the drape up to separate the conscious part of my body from the unconscious part, and it made me SO claustrophobic hanging to close to my face. And my arms were strapped down, so there was nothing I could do about it. I felt the panic rising up, not only due to the claustrophobia, but the whole experience. The anesthesiologist must have sensed my panic because he began talking to me a bit, and a nurse then moved the drape a bit for me.
From there, things get a little fuzzy...they told me to expect some pressure as the surgery progressed...I kept waiting for Chris to come in so I wouldn't be alone--after all, in all the Baby Stories I watched on TLC, the husband was always there for the whole thing. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen and knew they were cutting.
"Excuse me," I said, "but I can feel that...it's a sharp pain..." and the doctors all seemed befuddled by that. They asked if I wanted to be knocked out, but I declined...I knew that wouldn't be very good for the baby, and heck, I didn't want to miss the birth of my child after waiting for 9 months!! So they continued the surgery, and I continued to feel it and fight unconsciousness...and at some point Chris was there, and then, at 612 am on 7.22.04, there was the baby! All 8 pounds 2 ounces and 19 inches of him! Turned out, he had been pushing against my pubic bone, TRYING to be born, but he was stuck. Poor litle guy.
When he cried, Chris and I both cried. It was the most amazing moment of my life. I vaguely remember seeing the baby and thinking he was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. I looked at Chris and said rather weakly, "Zachary James?" and he said, "Whatever you want baby..." (at that point, I think I could have said, "Bermuda Zeitgeist?" and Chris would have agreed!)
Then I really don't remember much. They ended up knocking me out because...well, because I could feel what they were doing--and I don't recommend having your uterus taken out while you can still feel it...not comfortable. I woke up briefly in recovery in crazy pain, so they gave me some drugs and then I woke up as they were wheeling me back to the room. I had no idea where Zachary was or where Chris was or what time it was....heck, I hardly knew who I was!
Anyway, eventually, the fog of narcotics lifted off my brain, and I was able to enjoy my beautiful baby...in fact, I still enjoy him every single day (some days more than others, now that he is beginning to assert his independence in very vocal ways). The whole experience was nothing like anything I have ever experienced in my life. I joined a wonderful group and gained such a new appreciation for mothers that day...and every day since.
What a blessing you are, Zachary James Erwin. I'm so glad you're here. Happy Birthday, baby.
7.21.04 Arriving at the hospital - I feel as nervous as I look! How I could even still walk is beyond me... Look at all my bracelets! Doing a little rocking chair therapy... Not having as much fun now...
Chris and I were gearing up for tomorrow's induction (remember, we started our labor process on the 21st, but were "lucky" enough to carry over to the 22nd)...I remember the anticipation like it was yesterday--in fact, just thinking about it gives me butterflies in my stomach. We went to eat at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants (for the "last supper", hee hee)...I remember the exact table we sat at. We discussed names, but still had not decided on one, tho we had narrowed it down to James Patrick or Zachary James...and Chris was leaning toward James Patrick - I was leaning toward Zachary James. We went home, made a few phone calls, and settled in to try to get some sleep.
It was my LAST nite on the couch...that in and of itself was cause for celebration, since I had been sleeping on the couch both day and nite for about the last three and a half weeks.
I hope this marvelous feeling of anticipation never goes away. : )
7.19.05 Zachary adores his blanket... so much so that it's already coming unraveled, and of course, it's one that we got as a handmedown that has no tags on it so I don't know how to replace it... Any of our knitting/crocheting friends care to help?? :) Chomp! He loves to play with the loose strands