Monday, March 13, 2006

Jackson's Grand Entrance

Jackson Curtis Jones made his way into the world on Friday, February 17, 2006 at 1:44 in the afternoon. He weighed in at 7 lbs. 2 oz. and was 20 inches long. Jackson was born at Baylor Medical Center in Grapevine, Texas. He was lucky to have all four of his wonderful grandparents and his Aunt Lindsay there on the day he was born.

Jackson's Birth Story - The Really Long Version
My friend Janelle just updated her blog with baby Ella’s birth story and it made me realize I needed to write down Jackson’s. I am starting to forget some of the details already, so it will be good to get it down. Here’s my warning: It’s very long and it contains words like cervix, dilate, womb, and birth canal. Don’t read this if those words weird you out!

I am one of those lucky ladies who experienced Braxton-Hicks contractions early on. I started getting them while Curt and I were on vacation with friends in Jackson Hole. That was at the end of August when I was only three months pregnant. That was well before I was even showing! For the next six months, with increasing frequency and strength, I had contractions anytime I did anything the least bit strenuous (like walking, bending down, getting out of bed or out of a chair). They didn’t hurt, but they were pretty uncomfortable. My doctor was never concerned about it because they weren’t “real” contractions. He told me to be concerned if I had six in an hour. Later I found out that I had an “irritable uterus.” That’s the funniest name. I think I had “irritable everything.”

When it came time to talk to Dr. Clark about Jackson’s birth, we decided to do an induction. Both of our families live out of town and it was the only way to ensure we would have our parents with us. Plus, my mom had a rather large, sold-out conference to speak at in Alabama the weekend of my due date. Let’s face it. I’m a girl and I wanted my mom there when I had my first child. Can you blame me? So after much prayer we scheduled Jackson’s birthday for February 17. I saw my OB the afternoon before so that we could determine if my body was already preparing itself for the birth. It was not. That was really disappointing because after six months of contractions I thought for sure I would already be progressing. I would be admitted to the hospital that night to dilate my cervix before I was started on pitocin the next morning. Curt and I left, stopped at Wendy’s for a late lunch, and headed home to clean the house and pack. I vacuumed right before we left to get my contractions going. (We’d had a false alarm one night after I vacuumed because my contractions got so strong.)

We arrived at the hospital at 8:30 p.m. and the nurses didn’t waste any time. They gave me the medicine to dilate me and then gave me an Ambien pill to take the edge off the cramps I would begin to have. I was already having strong (or so I thought) contractions from vacuuming and they quickly began to be painful. Ambien is a very powerful sleeping pill (you’re supposed to take it in bed because the sleep hits you so hard) and it turned out to be really annoying. Because the nurses were checking me so often and because the contractions really, really hurt, I was unable to sleep. I was more tired than I had ever been, but there was no relief. I ended up having to be on oxygen during my labor because Jackson’s heart rate was better when I was on it. That was really annoying, but worth it.

My water broke on its own (I mean before the pitocin and without the doctor having to do it) by 2 a.m. That was really encouraging because it showed that my body was pretty ready for birth. I asked (boldly) for an epidural at 3 a.m. (3 cm) and Dr. Epidural arrived at 4 a.m. (4 cm). I was really nervous about the epidural because the thought of a needle going in my back was terrifying. However, they numb you so that all you can feel is a little prick. I was also afraid I would accidentally mess it up because I shook during the contractions. I wanted him to wait until I wasn’t having one, but he said there wasn’t enough time in between them to do that. They had Curtis sit down and not look so that he wouldn’t faint from seeing the procedure. The relief was immediate and I became positively giddy. I was really loopy because of the Ambien and I remember trying to be funny. I thought everything was hilarious and laughed really loud. Curt said that when the nurses asked me questions it took me about 30 seconds to reply.

By 7:30 a.m. our parents and Curt’s sister had arrived. At 10 a.m. I was already dilated to a 10. The nurses were really surprised. My delivery nurse, Christine, was amazing. I have so much respect for nurses! Nurse Christine had me try pushing for a while. It was really hard because I couldn’t feel the strength of the contractions. I had to watch the monitor and guess when to push. Dr. Clark came and said that I didn’t need to be pushing yet. At some point they started the pitocin drip to increase the strength of the contractions. Dr. Clark had me labor down for an hour and try again. It was still not time yet. We waited another hour for the contractions to push the baby down the birth canal. By that time the contractions were amazingly strong. They didn’t hurt, but I could feel the incredible pressure. It made me really, really appreciate the epidural! After one push Jackson was crowning. Dr. Clark was called in and we got down to business. The epidural was beginning to wear off and I could feel the burn. (My nurse later showed me that the epidural bag was empty by the time Jackson was born. He came just in time!) I only pushed a few times total before Jackson came forth and was caught by the wonderful Dr. Clark. He laid Jackson on my lap after wiping him down a little bit. Jackson was all sprawled out, enjoying having room to move his arms and legs. His face was swollen and his head misshapen. His hands and feet were purple. But he was precious and I loved him! Little did I know at that moment how hard I would continue to fall in love with this little boy.

Curtis cut the cord and then the baby nurse took Jackson, cleaned him up, and wrapped him tightly in a blanket. Everyone left the room and gave Curtis and me an hour to bond with Jackson alone. I’d heard that infants are more alert in the hour following birth than they will be for weeks afterward. It was so true! It was an amazing hour getting to nurse Jackson for the first time and introduce ourselves to him. After that, Curtis went into the waiting room to bring our families in. It was wonderful watching the eager grandparents meet their first grandchild for the first time. Then he was taken into the nursery and given his first real bath. My dad named him “the human red hot” because he was bright red and screaming during all the tests and his bath.

We stayed for two more days and learned how to change diapers, nurse, swaddle, and dress our baby. It took me a while to sleep off the Ambien, so the first day of Jackson’s life is very cloudy in my memory. I do remember clearly that my first post-partum dinner was from PF Chang’s. Praise God. I will never forget the next morning when I took a shower and my mom dried and straightened my hair for me. She was so great! It was nice to at least have good hair when the rest of my body was a wreck from giving birth.

In retrospect, it was an incredible experience. I sort of mourned that it was all over. I wanted to relive it, much like I wanted to relive my wedding day. I’m always asking Curt to tell me things he remembers about that day that I may have forgotten.

We left the hospital on a Sunday morning. It just so happened to be one of the coldest, iciest days of the year. Did I mention that I arrived at the hospital three days before in gaucho pants and flip flops? The hospital had discharged many of the new babies the night before so they wouldn’t have to deal with the ice. The drive home was scary. There was ice everywhere and there were accidents aplenty. I know God surrounded our car with angels and carried us home.

Once we got home the real fun began! So this is the longest birth story ever, but I mainly wrote it for myself. I want to be able to read this a year from now and recall all the details. Thanks for sticking it out!


Anonymous said...

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Happy Friday!

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Alicia said...

Hello Amanda! I came across your blog thru a Facebook friend. I'm not a huge blog follower at all, but yours caught my eye. I thought I'd go back to the beginning because I felt like I could get a good glimpse of you from the first thing you decided to blog about. Little did I know it was the birth story of your first child. My husband and I are thinking about starting to "try" next month and this story definitely helped me gauge where I'm at emotionally about becoming a mom. Thanks for sharing such intimate details about a once in a lifetime experience!

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage said...

Though you wrote this post mainly for yourself, it will be a tribute Jackson may be able to look back on one day. Blogs were not around when my children were born, but I've used other means as constant reminders that they were loved even before they were born. ;)

Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage