He is incredibly handsome (as you can see) and the most amazing little creature I've ever known. Being his mom is like I was born on July 5th too because even though I thought I knew what my life was it didn't truly begin until he joined our family. Here's our birth story:
Bowie was overdue and my doctor suggested we think about induction because at 41 weeks I was still only .5 cm dilated. Due to some scheduling conflicts at the hospital I was given the option to go in on July 4th (1 week over due) or the following Thursday (1 week 6 days overdue). Although I would have liked to have waited longer to see if he would come on his own I was starting to feel pretty funky myself and we thought that July 4th birthday would be pretty cool so we went for it earlier rather than later. Here I am checking in at 8am on July 4th to being the induction. This is my brave/scared face:
I was given a drug called cervidol, which is meant to encourage the cervix to open. We hoped that would be enough to start birth happening naturally, which, it did! At 2:30 pm my water broke and contractions started. My amazing doula Emily was by my side the whole labor and spent time coaching me through each contraction and offering tons of cool supports like pushing a tennis ball against my back during back labor or having me hold a comb during especially bad contractions. I can't say enough about having a doula by my side. She was incredible! I really hoped to keep my birth natural and quick, however, at 10pm I still wasn't dilating. The doctors suggested I start pitocin, which would make the contractions longer and stronger and hopefully increase dilation. I wanted to continue longer as naturally as possible and see what would happen so I accepted some morphine to help with the pain but at 4:30 am, with contractions coming strong and still no further dilation I gave in to an epidural. Finally, the relaxation I experienced from the epidural was enough to slowly begin dilation. My mom, Josh, and Emily were by my side and at 3:15 pm the next day, after roughly 25 hours of active labor and broken water I began pushing. Labor and pushing were, um, crazy painful but I was triumphant! Then the bummer. The doctors were immediately able to tell that Bowie had most likely inhaled some meconium so as soon as he was born the special care team whisked him away to check his lungs. He was very quiet, barely crying and breathing, which indicated that something else was wrong. Josh left with baby Bowie and the special care team while I waited for the epideral to wear off and more information to come back. My placenta was delivered and it was clear that it was infected although we still don't know if it was from having my water broken too long or if it was infected prior to labor. Either way, Bowie likely inhaled both meconium and the bacterial infection present in my placenta and was battling pneumonia. Here's his first lung x-ray:
For his first night Bowie needed breathing assistance. About 4 hours after labor we were finally able to hold him. Both Josh and I had some good skin to skin time before heading back to our hospital room without him, but he was difficult to hold because of all the tubes. It was both a scary and an exciting night for us and I just remember being totally shell shocked:
We were so lucky to have an excellent care team of special care and delivery nurses. I felt assured that he would be healthy with time and we just kept telling ourselves to stay open minded and positive about what was ahead of us. In the morning we awoke to the best news ever that his breathing had improved and he could be taken off the respirator. Josh and I rushed down to special care to have our first look at his face without obstruction and to have some more good skin to skin holds:
After more tests it was decided that Bowie would need to stay in special care for a 5 day treatment of antibiotics to heal the bacterial infection and he also got to sleep on a special light one day to get rid of some jaundice. He looked like a glow worm:
Josh and I were officially discharged but boarded at the hospital the rest of his stay so we could visit and feed Bowie in special care every 3 hours:
Every day he became healthier and stronger. We were pretty sick of the hospital but glad we could be with him as much as possible. Josh was seriously amazing. He became a total boss and mastered all the baby skills (swaddling, holding, diaper changes etc.) as well as keeping me up and moving. I had (and have) my own healing to do too so some moments were harder than others and Josh was my rock. Check out the proof. This dude was graphing my milk production and Bowie's milk consumption as well as keeping track of my med times. No wonder all of the nurses simply called him "Awesome Dad".
We can't thank our friends and family enough for their encouragement during this time. We had some serious highs and lows thinking about our little guy and everybody who visited, called, texted or wrote us kind words on facebook helped us to feel positive and hopeful. We felt so supported by you guys. Thank you. We also had amazing nurses who supported us and whom we trusted with Bowie for the hours we weren't able to be with him. Here's my new nurse bestie Fatu who was with us and Bowie for four days straight and kept me laughing and encouraged throughout:
Finally Bowie was discharged yesterday and is thriving and healthy at home with us. Before we left for home I had to get an "after" picture. 20 pounds lighter and a whole lot braver than when we stepped into the hospital:
It was a wild ride but I have a feeling the real wildness is about to begin. Our first 24 hours at home has been a blur. He seems to like it here and we're looking forward to falling into a routine and having some fun. Again, Josh and I are so thankful for the village that's already helping us to raise Bowie. We are feeling extremely blessed, more in love with each other than I ever thought possible and hopelessly addicted to our son. We can't wait to introduce all of you to our "kitten". Thank you for letting me share my birth story with you.