Joycelen’s birth story began at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 4 when M and I checked into the labor and delivery unit at the hospital. We were immediately shown to the room that would be ours for the duration of my labor. Inside the room, we found a welcoming party of M’s Mom (better known to Joycelen as Nana Becki), Dr. H, and Mrs. Annette (our night nurse and good friend of Nana Becki). I was asked to change into one of the stylish hospital gowns, provide a urine sample, and crawl into the bed.
Dr. H did a quick exam to confirm what we already knew – that my cervix was still closed. Following her exam, I was given an initial dose of cytotech and we “off to the races”. Dr. H outlined our game plan for M and I, provided Mrs. Annette with some instructions, and left us for a little while. One she left, I got my I.V.’s placed and began answering the dozens of questions that are part of the nursing assessment. Around the same time, my parents and Aunt Gail arrived. Over the course of the next few hours, we all sat around – laughing, talking, and spending time with one another. I began contracting almost immediately thanks to the cytotech….but they were bearable…..almost unnoticable to me. Papa Mike (M’s dad) soon arrived and we all made out guesses as to when Joycelen would join the fun.
Around 9:00 p.m., my parents and Aunt Gail left so that I could attempt to nap. But the excitement kept me from napping. 10:00 o’clock came and went — and the contractions had grown stronger enough for me to feel. Mrs. Annette said that I had a “beautiful pattern” and was convinced that we’d have a baby by morning. At 11:00 p.m., Dr. H returned to exam me again. In spite of nearly 4 hours of hard contractions, my cervix had not dilated. However, I was contracting to much for it to be safe to administer more cytotech – as it could have put Joycelen into distress. Dr. H said that we would just give my body more time to do it’s thing. She left instructions with Mrs. Annettee to administer Pitocin if necessary to keep things moving in the right direction. Then she bid us good night.
Another hour and a half passed, and I grew quite uncomfortable. While my pain had not reached a 10 on the pain scale, it was rapidly approaching there (I would say it was about an 8) and the fatigure of the day was wearing on me. I felt myself beginning to get sick. Therefore, M and I made the decision to go ahead and request an epidural. The CRNA, Steve, was called and 45 minutes later — I was pain free and much more relaxed. At this point, the foley catheter was placed — and I began to really settle in for the night. Another exam at 2:00 a.m., showed that I was still contracting but had no dilation. Nana Becki decided at this point to catch some sleep in the ER (she’d worked an entire 12 hour shift prior to the start of the adventure) and encouraged us to do the same. So Mrs. Annette turned out the lights and M and I began a night of cat naps.
I woke up for the first time at 3:30 a.m. — forgetting where I was and what was going on, I was momentarly freaked out by the lack of sensation in my legs. But when the fogged cleared – I could only laugh at myself. M and I dozed off and on again until Dr. H arrived for the morning exam. Her assessment was that I was nearly 50 percent effaced and close to finally reaching 1 centimeter of dilation. She promised to return after her morning rounds. At 9:00 a.m., she was back and I had reached 1 c.m. Dr. H was able to break my water – and we were all certain that Joycelen would be making her arrival shortly after lunch.
The morning shift changed and with it we bid farewell to Mrs. Annette and welcomed Mrs. Rachel and Mrs. Kim as our new nurses. They were excellent caretakers – keeping me supplied with ice chips and answering any questions I or our stream of visitors had. The morning passed quickly with visits from my parents, M’s parents, M’s grandmother and Aunt, and dozens of my co-workers. Before we knew it, lunchtime had arrived and with it Dr. H. We all waited anxiously certain that we’d hear how far I had come in terms of dilation. So it was disappointing to here that I had experienced no change. Furthermore, my contractions were dying down. Dr. H ordered the Pitocin and said that we’d reevaluate the situation around 3 p.m.
I mentally began preparing myself for the possibility of a C-section. While I was nervous at the thought, I felt at peace knowing that Joycelen would be joining us soon – in one form or fashion. At 3:20, my suspicions were confirmed. Dr. H’s exam revealed that I had not changed at all — and that it was decision time. M and I did not hesitate in opting for the c-section. The once calm labor room became a flurry of activity – as we signed consent forms, called family members, texted friends, and tried to calm our nerves. At 3:55 p.m, I gave M a final kiss and was wheeled into the O.R. to receive my spinal block. M soon joined me – almost immediately I could see the fear/concern in his eyes. I cracked a silly joke and soon we were both bantering……well he was bantering, I was mostly smiling as my very dry throat prevented much conversation. Steve, the CRNA kept us both informed of the proceedings.
At 4:25 p.m., Joycelen Rebecca was born. There were a few seconds of silence before I heard her first cry….and trite as it may sound it was the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. It literally brought tears to my eyes. A few moments after that, the nurses brought her around for her to see. Still dirty from the birth, M and I agreed she was absolutely gorgeous. M followed the nurses out to the anteroom, where they measured, weighed, and cleaned up Joycelen. M then brought her back into the O.R. where we share our first moment as a family.
Following our moment, I sent M onto the nursery with Joycelen and Nana Becki – so he could keep an eye on her. And I remained behind in the O.R. as Dr. H closed my incision. Lying there I repeatedly thanked God for the miracle that was my daughter.
At 5:17, I was wheeled into recover where I would finally get to hold Joycelen for the first time and then to nurse her.
As I type this, it has been 36 hours since her birth. She is lying next to be sleeping peacefully, while her Daddy dozes on the couch next to our hospital bed. My heart is full. Joycelen will want to nurse soon, so I will end the post for now. I will try and post tomorrow with details about our first night as parents…..and pictures, lots of pictures of course.
But before I go, thank you to each of you who read, commented, send good thoughts, or offerred prayers on our behalf. Your love was felt each moment of this special time in our lives.