Posts Tagged ‘labor’

Birth story

Posted by Greg on June 4th, 2009 with tags: , , ,

Last Saturday didn’t start off in any spectacular way – I made Yenari French toast for breakfast, got a haircut (had to make a good first impression with the baby), and just hung around the house.  It was nearing dinner time and we were debating where to go for dinner – we had been going out to dinner almost every night, doing it while we still could!  We eventually decided on a Jamaican place in Palo Alto.

We left for the restaurant around 6:30pm and Yenari almost immediately started having some light contractions.  She had similar contractions the previous night and the previous Monday and thought that like those, these weren’t the real thing.  We got to the restaurant and ordered – a jerk burger for me and a hearty jerk chicken and oxtail combo for Yenari.

Oxtail and Jerk Chicken

Oxtail and Jerk Chicken (picture from Yelp)

As we waited for our food the contractions got stronger.  Our food was delivered and we started chowing down.  We had the stopwatch on my phone tracking the contractions and Yenari was tapping it closer and closer together.  She had to get up from the table to walk around outside – for those of you who have seen Yenari eat, it is certainly a rare circumstance to see her leave a plate of food she likes still full – this seemed like a big sign!

Yenari came back inside, had a couple more bites of food, and then said that she was going outside again and that I should get the check and have her food packed up.  I got everything settled, Yenari went to the bathroom, and as we left the restaurant the manager said (innocently) ‘Hope you have a great night’!  I slowly led Yenari back to the car, and we drove back home, tapping the stopwatch every 5 minutes or so.

Once home, Yenari asked me to give her the leftover jerk chicken from the restaurant and began eating it between contractions.  Once done, we decided to take a short walk as we’d heard that if it is false labor then walking will reduce the pain/duration of the contraction.  We made it about 100 yards before we had to turn back because of the pain.

Yenari paged the doctor and got a call back a few minutes later.  Our medical group has a bunch of different offices and they share the OB on call duty across the doctors.  We had seen the 3 OBs in the Los Altos office, but that night a doctor from Portola Valley was on call.  Yenari explained to her how she was feeling and the length / duration of the contractions.  At this point they were coming every 4 to 5 minutes, but they weren’t exactly regular.  The doctor thought that Yenari was in early labor and suggested that we head to the hospital within the next hour.

Because we live about 20 minutes from the hospital (Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital), we started packing the remaining things into our hospital bag – toothbrushes, cameras, etc.  Yenari was still unsure whether this was the real thing and kept telling me that I didn’t need to really pack everything up because we’d probably be turned back at the hospital.  Yenari hopped in the shower for a few minutes, we packed up the car, and we head out to the hospital at 9:21pm.

On the way to the hospital Yenari started feeling much better, the contractions seemed to slow down and were lighter, so she was sure that this was a false labor and that she’d be embarrassed at the hospital when she (a nurse) would be sent home.  We made it to the hospital by 9:42 and found our way to the labor and delivery unit by 9:50.  At the nurses’ station they asked her ‘And you’re here for?  Ultrasound? Did your baby stop moving?’.  When Yenari said she thought she was in labor the woman behind the desk almost rolled her eyes, as Yenari looked happy as can be, still joking around, and definitely not like she was in labor.  They asked if this was her first baby, she said yes, everyone seemed sure that this wasn’t the real thing, but they wanted to check her out anyway.

Our nurse, Rose (who was super nice throughout the whole night), brought us into the examination room, attached a fetal heart monitor and a monitor to measure the contractions and started them up.  She confirmed that the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, regular, and of the appropriate intensity then she did an internal exam which showed she was still 4cm dilated.  She left for a minute to call the doctor and came back to tell us that the doctor wanted her to stay – this was the real thing.

After a while we were led down the hall to the delivery room, a big room with the delivery bed, lots of monitors, all sorts of gizmos for taking care of babies with problems, a flat screen TV, and a nice window seat for me to sit and rest on.  After getting settled Rose explained how everything would work and asked if Yenari wanted an epidural – she had decided earlier that she did, so they had the anesthesiologist come in for a consultation. Rose also hooked up an IV for Yenari so that they could pump her full of fluid (she was slightly dehydrated) and Pitocin (a drug to make the labor move along faster, almost a requirement if you’re getting an epidural).

Yenari in the delivery room

Yenari in the delivery room

Once Yenari was all plugged in, we decided it was time to call our parents to let them know they’d be grandparents soon – I called my mom and dad and Yenari called her parents in Korea.  The next hour or two flew by without us really noticing.  Yenari was talking with Rose about when to get the epidural and she wouldn’t make an outright recommendation, but did say that people who get it early in labor are often able to sleep or at least save up energy so that they can be in better shape for the pushing.  Yenari thought that saving energy was a good plan and ordered the epidural.  At 1am the anesthesiologists came in, prepped her, and poked her with the big needle to insert the epidural.  Within minutes, the contractions that were causing a pain level of 5 out of 10 had dropped down to a 1.  She was still able to feel the contractions, but she was feeling the pressure of the contractions and not the pain.

Yenari awaiting the epidural needle

Yenari awaiting the epidural needle

For the next 2 hours, we both tried to sleep – I was mostly successful, but Yenari wasn’t – she got rest but wasn’t able to sleep at all.  At 3am, when Rose came to check on her she said that the contractions were progressing really and she turned off the Pitocin drip.  The doctor had asked Rose to do another internal exam at 5am, but since she saw a different type of contraction that indicated ‘active labor’ she decided to do it at 3:25.  She found that Yenari was 7cm dilated, fully effaced, and the head at station 0 (see diagram below).

Baby head station diagram

Baby head station diagram

During the exam Yenari’s ‘bag of waters’ ruptured.  Since her water broke and since things were moving fast, Rose paged the doctor to let her know that is was going to be sooner than originally thought.  She also prepped the room for the delivery, preparing the sterile field with the sterile equipment, verifying the baby warmer / scale were working, and generally getting everything in place.

The doctor showed up at 4:25 and did another internal exam – this time Yenari was 9.5cm dilated (10cm is desired for pushing) and that the head was at station +2.  She said that she would be back in an hour, but that Yenari should call the nurse if she felt a really strong urge to push.  For the next half hour, the urge to push grew, and Yenari told Rose that she felt ready at around 4:45am.  Rose did a quick look and said that she could see the baby’s hair!  And she guessed that the baby would be out at 5:30am.  She called the doctor, who arrived around 5am.

When the doctor arrived she also took a quick look inside and asked if I wanted to see the baby’s head – I took a look and Yenari got jealous and asked if they could bring in a mirror.  They wheeled in a massive mirror and set it up so that she could see.  They tried taking it away after this brief exam, but Yenari said that she wanted to keep it there for the rest of the delivery so that she could see her baby coming out!  The doctor gave a refresher course on pushing and said that first time mothers typically push between 2 and 3 hours.  She said that for many first time mothers the first half hour of pushing is when the mother figures out how to push.  Yenari was shocked that it would take 2 to 3 hours and glad that she got rest.

As the next contraction was coming the doctor said it was time to push.  I was on Yenari’s right side holding her feet up, keeping her head down to her chest, and encouraging her as best as I could.  Rose was on the other side holding her left leg and the doctor was front and center.  She gave the 3 pushes the first contraction and the doctor said that she was doing great…Yenari thought that was just her way of encouraging her to keep it up.  The next contraction came one minute later and Yenari pushed 3 times again.  From the mirror we could both see the head almost all of the way out!

The doctor seemed shocked that things were moving so quickly and asked Yenari to slow down so that she could get prepared to catch the baby.  She wasn’t expecting the pushing to be done in just a few minutes!  Slowing down wasn’t really an option for Yenari – this isn’t something where you can decide to really take a break.  The 3rd contraction of pushing came.  After one push the head was out (with one of her eyes open!), and after the second push the baby was out! All the way! In 5 minutes of pushing!  I think all of us were in shock that it was done so fast.    The doctor asked if I wanted to cut the umbilical cord, handed me the scissors, and I cut it.  The baby started crying and looked to be in great shape.  The clock read 5:11am, the baby was born, and Yenari beat Rose’s guess of 5:30am.

Within a couple seconds, the doctor put the baby on Yenari’s chest while she delivered the placenta – she asked Yenari not to push as hard, but still she managed to get it out in one push.  After the placenta was delivered, Rose brought the baby over to the scale and baby heater and got her stats: 7 pounds 10 ounces, 20 inches long.

Yenari and the baby, just after birth

Yenari and the baby, just after birth

Heating up the baby!

Heating up the baby!

7 pounds, 10 ounces

7 pounds, 10 ounces

The doctor kept on saying that Yenari didn’t know how lucky she was, and that she had pushed for 3 hours in her own pregnancy.  Both the doctor and the nurse said that Yenari was made for having babies and that they’d see her next year!  The whole thing was a pretty remarkable experience and also a lot more civilized than I expected – she didn’t cry, scream, curse, or insult me.  I feel lucky that everything went so well and so fast, I know that it isn’t this easy for everyone.  The epidural certainly made a big difference, but that is not to discount the amazing job Yenari did with keeping a positive attitude and pushing like a champ!

We were already pretty much set with a name for her (thank goodness she was a she and not a surprise he), but wanted to see her face before we made the final decision.  After seeing her we decided to go with it: Hazel Yoojin Neustaetter.  Yenari had basically chosen the name Hazel before she even met me (I guess I was just a means to an end?) and I also really liked it.  We wanted a Korean middle name so that Yenari’s family in Korea could call her by that name and so that she would have a stronger connection to Korean culture.

A lot more happened that morning, but we needn’t bore you with more details – you deserve a prize if you’ve read this far anyway!  We’d like to thank everyone who supported us throughout the whole pregnancy and birth experience.  An extra thanks to Rose, the doctor, and everyone at the hospital who helped us.

The happy family, at least two of us

The happy family, at least two of us

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She’s here!

Posted by Greg on May 31st, 2009 with tags:

At 5:11am this morning, May 31st, our little baby girl, Hazel Yoojin (유진) Neustaetter, was born!  Mom and baby are doing great, no problems at all.  Yenari started feeling contractions around 6:30pm yesterday, we went to the hospital a bit before 10pm, Yenari got an epidural, and when it came time to push Yenari was a total champ, pushing her out after only 5 minutes of pushing…unbelievable pushing and an amazing morning!  More details later…

Here she is:

Hazel at her first bath

Hazel at her first bath

Post bath in her bassinet

Post bath in her bassinet

Here are the key stats:

Birth Date: 5/31/2009 5:11am
Weight: 7 pounds 10 ounces
Length: 20 inches

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