Friday, July 25, 2008

How We Became the Cotter Family

I was at my parents’ house on Thursday, visiting with my sister Heidi, her husband Joel, and my nephew Gary who were visiting from South Carolina. Heidi & I were sitting at the kitchen table talking with my mom, and somehow we started discussing what happened the day Aiden was born. Then it struck me that I had never posted Aiden’s birth story—I just kind of popped on here to let everyone know he HAD arrived, not HOW he had arrived. I'd also like to have some sort of record for me to read later before the details get to fuzzy.
So sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a 22½ hour labor and delivery…

Mike & I arrived at Riverside Hospital at around 8:15 since our scheduled induction was supposed to begin at 8:30. (Small back story—and I do believe I posted this—at my 37 week appointment, my OB (Dr. Somani) determined that I had low fluid and decided to schedule the induction.) Keep in mind that I had never been in the hospital for myself before, so I was a bit tense. The nurses got us all settled in our room, including setting up my IV and my antibiotics (I was positive for the strep B—you moms and preggies out there know about that, or at least you will) and before long, some of the hospital doctors came in to begin the foley induction (I’m not going to go into any detail about it because some of you may have just eaten, but feel free to click on the link if that strikes your fancy). At that point, with two doctors and three nurses standing at the edge of my bed and seeing all my womanly glory, I lost whatever sense of modesty I may have had. They also started me on pitocin to get the contractions started.

I was actually pretty comfortable for the first few hours; Mike & I were able to just talk and watch TV, and before too long his folks arrived for a visit. Not long after noontime, though, I really started to feel those contractions, and the nurses decided I should probably take some pain medication. That didn’t work out too well, as it made me feel instantly drunk, and I started to throw up. It was at that point my main nurse looked at me and said I wasn’t going to make it without an epidural. I could only frown as my doctor had told me I might not be eligible for an epidural as I had a low (and getting lower) blood platelet count; they were concerned about my ability to clot.

What I remember about the next few hours is more visitors (Hugh, Abby, my aunt Jodi) coming and going, all while I was trying my best to breathe through the contractions and not throw up again. My nurse came in and said it was time to remove the foley, so everyone (except Mike) had to step out. After they removed the little bladder, my water broke, and I had dilated to 5 cm. I was pretty excited; the nurse said she thought Aiden would arrive no later than 7 PM. And she had even better news for me—she talked to the anesthesiologist, and he was willing to give me an epidural! I was pretty happy that everything seemed to be going as planned.

After my epidural, things slowed down immensely. Seven o’clock came and went with no Aiden, and I was starting to wonder when they’d want to throw in the towel and do the C-section I’d always suspected I’d need. I went through several nurse changes over the next few hours (Riverside was VERY busy that evening—there were 17 babies born in a 12-hour span), and all would say the same thing when they’d examine me—5 cm and holding. A few times, several nurses at once would rush in and reposition me because Aiden’s heart rate would drop when they’d dose the pitocin. It seemed the little guy had no intention of being forced out of my cramped but apparently cozy womb.

At about 1:30 AM, my 6th nurse or so (I can’t remember how many nurses I had—at least 10, I think) came in and measured me and told me I was at 4 cm--I was actually closing off as opposed to opening! She called Dr. Somani, and she decided it was time for the C-section. She asked if I was disappointed and I pretty much said something along the lines of “No—let’s roll!” After she left the room, Mike & I texted everyone to say we were going in for the procedure, and then we turned off our phones before the batteries were exhausted. Not even two seconds later, nurse came back and said they wanted to try one more thing. We left our phones off.

Around 3 AM, the nurse came back to say they were definitely going to do the C-section, but we had to wait on a lady who was having twins to go first. I said no problem, and Mike & I tried to go back to sleep (there was no sleeping for me, however, as I had Aiden's heart monitor just over my left shoulder and had NO intention of sleeping so long as I could hear him). An hour later, another nurse came back in to say that another lady had to have an emergency C-section, and since Aiden & I were “relatively” comfortable (they stopped dosing the pitocin at this point), we’d wait and go after her. So Mike got another hour of sleep, and then at 5 AM they came back in to prep us for surgery. They gave me an extra pump of the epidural and some medication to keep me from throwing up—which of course immediately made me throw up.

We headed to the operating room (jeez, that sounds bad even now), and they set up the little curtain in front of my face so I wouldn’t freak out upon seeing myself cut open. Mike came in with his scrubs and camera—he was so cute! Before we knew it, Dr. Somani was rooting around in my abdomen, trying to get to my uterus and saying “No wonder this guy didn’t want to come out—he’s facing the wrong direction. He’s got a lot of dark hair, though—see, Mom?”

And in that instant, as she held that bloody, screaming face above the curtain, my life changed forever. I just remember how overwhelmed I was in seeing Aiden’s face, thinking, THAT was inside of ME?! That’s him, the one who’s little foot has been kicking my right side constantly for the last 3 months, the one who gets hiccups at least three times a day, the one who keeps me up at night with heartburn—that’s him?! I watched with tears streaming down my cheeks as Mike followed the nurse to his little clean-up station, listening to his cries (which I’m sure translated into “WTF?!”) and praying that they could sew me up faster so that I could hold him with my own arms.

Eventually, Aiden did make it to my arms, and once he did, I never wanted him to leave. I still feel the sting of tears even now, four and a half months later, when he looks into my eyes as he eats, or when he smiles at me when I pick him up from the sitter, or even when he giggles as I change his dirty diaper. Aiden has changed my life in a way nothing else ever will, and I’d gladly re-live all 22½ hours again and again to have the pay-off of his silly face popping over that curtain. :)


  1. Awww! Little Aiden! Look how tiny he was!! It is such a surreal feeling when they come out of you. It makes me wonder what my mom thinks when she sees me now!

  2. Whoa that was the longest blog post ever! Then again, you were in labor for over 22 hours :)

    Thanks again for the Target gift card-- I just got a lot of yummy looking Archer Farms goodies :)