From "M"

My take on Shannon’s birth The week leading up to Shannon’s’ birth was quite interesting.  The week prior to Shannon’s’ birth I had gone to work on Monday.  About 7:10 a.m. my wife called and said she had called the OB, who said she was in pre-term labor and could go at any time.  Luckily for me I have a very family oriented Chain of Command and I was able to go home to take care of my wife.  I worked from home for the rest of the week, and took care of C as much as possible.  We even went to the barn twice, I think.  She did the water buckets and grain, while I cleaned the stalls.  She was quite the trooper, and didn’t want to shun not going to the barn.  Also, I think getting out and being active really helped her during the pregnancy. 
Finally on Sunday C’s contractions were bad enough that the OB said we could come into the labor and delivery room.  They put the labor and delivery room at the very back of the hospital, with no direct elevators going to it.  You have to take two seperate elevators to get to the back of the hospital.  Luckily, our room was huge, and it had a great view of the lake and New York.  C’s mom arrived just as we did, and we got settled in for the night.  Everybody was really nice.  The time did seem to drag on, since there wasn’t really much that I could do.  I walked with C for a little bit around the “block” of the floor, and then switched out with her mom so I could get a coffee.  The nurses came and checked C, and she had dilated more, so we were going to be spending the night. They told her to sleep for a little bit and they would be back in two hours or so.  C could not sleep, not that I blame her.  We made our way into the bathroom where there was a tub with shower head.  There was also a big yoga ball that C could sit on.  The hot water really helped, and she was able to calm down a lot.  She had been holding it together really well, but Shannon was wedged into her back.  The position sitting on the ball, and the hot water, really helped soothe her aches.  We spent almost the whole 2 hours in there.  We came back out for the nurse to check the dilation, and there had been improvement.  Soon people were coming into our room to set C up with a epidural.  She hates needles.  Absolutely hates them.  At the OB she would jerk away from them when the nurse tried to get blood.  I would have to hold her still and make sure she didn’t look at the needles.  I was concerned how she was going to do, especially since I didn’t want her to be jerking herself around when a needle was going into her spine.  We got her all set to go, and all the needles and tubes were lined up on the bed ready to go.  Luckily C didn’t get to see that stuff, since her back was turned to it.  The nurse doing the epidural started to do her work, and I held onto C as she was facing me.  She didn’t even move.  I don’t even know if she felt it go it.  The nurse was really quick and did a great job.  There was almost instant soothing affect to C’s contractions and finally she was able to relax once the nurses had left.  She left for about 2 hours after the nurses left.  They came back at a little after 2 a.m. to check how the dilation was going.  It was a relief to hear that it was time to get things started.  While they were prepping the room, one of the nurses took a long hook that looked exactly like a crochet needle, and broke C’s water.  She did it so easily, I was pretty amazed. Within about 45 minutes, labor had begun.
C got positioned, and I held one leg while her mom held the other.  The OB and nurses were all in their places and everybody was really calm.  C was pushing during tractions, and OB was really good at giving her directions when to push.  C was hooked up to a contraction monitor, so we could all see when they were coming.  Most of them were spiking off the chart, and then came back down to normal, only to spike right back up again.  At one point they had to put an air mask on C’s face because she wasn’t getting enough oxygen from holding her breath while pushing.  It was quite an experience watching Shannon being born.  I didn’t get queasy once until I saw her head come out, then get sucked back in.  I admit, I had to look away for a moment.  I was really concerned about Shannon not being able to breathe, and seeing most of her head come out, only to go back in, I was really concerned.  It seemed like once Shannon’s head came out, the rest of her just fell right out.  Well, the OB pulled, but she came right out with no resistance and no more pushing.  She wasn’t nearly as messy as I had thought she was going to be.  And I was really worried because she hadn’t started crying when she came out.  Even after the OB gave her a good tap on the butt, she barely even fussed.  They used a little squeegee bottle thing to clear her mouth and nose.  Then I got to cut her umbilical cord with some really dull scissors.  I felt like I was pulling on her, and on C, to cut the thing.  But it finally cut.  They gave her to C to hold and within a few minutes Shannon pooped everywhere.  To this day, she still has huge, explosive poops that you can hear across the room. Eventually the nurses took her over a bed with a heat lamp and cleaned her off.  She just laid there and didn’t even fuss or cry.  The biggest thing that stuck out to me was that her head was really egg shaped.  I could understand why, coming out the way she did, but I wasn’t expecting it at all.  I was asking the nurse all kinds of questions about it, what to do to get it back to being round, if we had to rotate what side of her head she laid on, that kind of just random stuff.  Looking back, it was an odd thing to be concerned about. 
The next 12 hours went by really smoothly.  We were moved down to the after delivery section of the hospital.  They told C to sleep, but kept coming in every 30 minutes to check her vitals.  Neither of us slept.  Shannon stayed with us the whole time, and she fed and pooped a lot.  C was great the entire time, and never complained.  I held Shannon for a few hours and actually fell asleep holding her on my chest for about 3 hours at one point.  C also got to sleep.  The nurses came in and out and were really good at not disturbing C, while just checking on Shannon.  Although Shannon was a bit small, she had progressed so much and was doing so good that we were allowed to go home in less than 24 hours after her being born. 
She barely even fit in her car seat she was so small. 
The ride back was really uneventful, she was quiet the whole ride.   Since that ride home it’s been quite a ride.  Some nights she is on a good schedule and wakes up on the hour every few hours on her own to feed.  I get up, change the diaper, then give her to C to feed and then go back to sleep.  Sometimes I’ll stay up and hold the binky in once Shannon is fed and back in her crib.  She loves to suck on it, and bit it, and try to spit it back out, but then gets really mad when it’s not put back in. 
Overall she’s a great, beautiful, and very smart baby.  She’s always laughing, talking to herself and any shadow that will listen.  She can lay on her play mat for a while, or on the couch, and just hang out.  Other times she just wants to be held and is perfectly content to just hang out on our lap.  I’m so proud of her, and happy that she is mine.  I can’t wait to watch her grow up.  C is an incredible mom, and deals with my work schedule really well, and takes excellent care of Shannon while manager to laundry, dishes, and other house stuff.  I try to help out where I can, but when I get home I’m pretty much hanging out with Shannon.  It’s such an awesome feeling to have her in our family now.

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