Oliver Cage Heath
May 2nd, 2012
8 pounds, 3 ounces
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That is exactly how I would describe the birth of our second son, Oliver. After a bit of debating over my pregnancy dating, my obstetrician, Dr. Eugene Louie-Ng, agreed to induce my labor on the morning of May 2nd. I got to this hospital around 7:30 AM, and I was greeted by multiple hugs ... talk about a warm welcome! I had visited the labor and delivery unit a few times throughout this pregnancy, and several of the nurses have gotten to know me. Although I hadn't already met her, one of the bear hugs I received was from "Ginger" who would be my labor nurse. God must have seriously been watching out for me on May 2nd because Ginger was everything a nurse should be and more. From my first moments in her care, I knew I was safe and supported.
Once all the necessary paperwork was completed, Ginger started my Pitocin at 8:15 AM and things were underway. It was at that moment that my labor with Oliver became remarkably different than my labor with Jackson. This time, Dr. Ng did not break my water right away, but rather let me contract for several hours with my amniotic sac intact. That meant much more tolerable contractions. Honestly, I really wasn't in any pain although my contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart and lasting for 60-90 seconds. Throughout the third trimester of my pregnancy with Oliver, I had lots of strong Braxton Hicks contractions ... and these didn't feel much different ... but they were! At 11:30 AM, Dr. Ng returned to check my cervix and I was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced; at that time, he broke my water. I had to make a difficult decision at that point. Dr. Ng had a complicated caesarean to perform in the OR at noon ... meaning the L&D anesthesiologist would be with him for awhile and unable to administer epidurals until the surgery was complete. However, I wasn't really in pain. Totally trusting in Ginger, I asked her opinion. She told me that she would go ahead and get the epidural before they left for the OR because my contractions should really begin to augment now that my water was broken. I agreed.
Those of you who know me well, know that I was absolutely terrified of getting another epidural after the bizarre reaction I had during my labor with Jackson (dropped BP, numbness to the collar bone, left sided facial droop, and difficulty breathing). This time, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Drooger, provided me with a listening ear for my concerns and assured me she would use great caution. However, like last time, about 10 minutes after receiving my epidural, my left side was numb to my nipple line and my left eye began swelling shut. Ginger quickly turned off the epidural and paged Dr. Drooger. Neither my nurse nor the doctor had ever seen this type of reaction in another patient ... and it happened to me ... twice. Dr. Drooger had Ginger leave my epidural off for 1.5 hours, then turn it back on at half strength. That worked wonders, and the rest of my anesthesia experience was wonderful. I had an awesome epidural -- with the ability to move my legs and feel pressure without pain. And, if you're wondering, after about 2 hours ... my eye was back to normal.
As it did during my first labor, my cervix began to change rapidly once I received my epidural. By 3:50 PM, I was 5-6 cm dilated and 90% effaced. By 4:20 PM I was 8-9 cm and 100% effaced. And by 4:30 PM, I was 10 cm and ready to push! There were a few crazy moments toward the end of my labor because Dr. Ng's other actively laboring patient was in the midst of pushing when I was ready to begin. Since her baby was actually crowning, I had to "blow" (like the stuff they teach you in lamaze classes) while she delivered to keep myself from pushing. As I said before, my epidural was a half strength ... so I could feel ALL of the pressure and stretching! Ginger called for another nurse to come assist her ... and behold ... in walked Dominique (my labor nurse with Jackson)! It was so special to have her present for the birth of both our our babies. Dr. Ng quickly returned to my room as soon as his other patient delivered, and I began to push. After 10-15 minutes of pushing through only 3 contractions ... baby Oliver entered this world!
At precisely 4:53 PM (3 days and 27 minutes shy of 2 years after his big brother was born).
The first few minutes with him were incredible ... with Justin and I giddy with excitement ... and my mom crying, naturally.
What a magical moment it was when Ginger placed him in my arms for the first time. My heart could finally rest its worries and welcome him to our family.
He was perfect.
We were in absolute heaven.
Still at my bedside, Ginger and the nursery nurses began all of Oliver's necessary newborn assessments as we eagerly watched and waited.
His Apgar scores were 9 and 9, so soon he was returned to our arms ... and boy were we glad!
Tiny (well, sort of) cheeks.
* * * Huge Love * * *
In no time, we were headed to the postpartum unit ... saying goodbye to our spectacular nurse Ginger ... and hello to the newest member of our family -- Oliver Cage Heath. We were officially a family of four -- minus one very important family member who was staying with his Granny ToTo for the day.
All was well with the world.