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how we became four

every baby deserves a birth story, so here's nola's.

(i don't have one in the blog for paul -- he is older than lfc, you know -- but i did write one up for friends and family after he was born. maybe one day i'll dig it up and post it.)

cam and i checked into the hospital early friday morning. the new labor and delivery (and post-delivery) ward just opened about a year ago, so even though paul was born at this hospital, we had never been to this building (except for a failed attempt to visit cam's cousin -- she had already gone home by the time we arrived). after getting my id bracelet and signing off on a few forms, our nurse took us to a huge fancy room. it wasn't likely you'd mistake it for anything but a hospital room, but compared to accommodations in the old wing, we could have been at the ritz. it was really nice. i changed into a hospital gown and we settled in.

the next few hours were spent sitting/lying around and watching tv. i was hooked up to an iv for the induction drugs and other gadgets for contraction/baby-monitoring, so i wasn't exactly mobile. after a while, my doctor broke my water to get things moving a bit quicker.

by midafternoon, i was in a considerable amount of pain. we had discussed pain treatment with our nurse and an anesthesiologist, and i had mentioned that i was interested in an epidural. what i didn't say was that i was also interested in toughing it out without pain meds. turns out it was a good thing that i WAS interested in toughing it out because by the time i told the nurse that i was in more pain than i liked, it was too late for an epidural. she checked me, made several exclamations of astonishment and then everyone swung into action. it was just about three in the afternoon.

cam: we'll have a baby by four!

nola was born at 3:04. i was in the middle of yelling when i suddenly realized the pressure and pain was over. i'm sure i had a baffled look on my face.

the nurse was much impressed, calling me "awesome" and saying that she had never had such a good patient in the 20 or so years she had been on the job. the doctor showed us the placenta, which was cool and gross at the same time. one nurse cleaned nola up, another nurse brought me food, and within a short amount of time we were moved over to our real room, which was much smaller than the birthing room, but still nice.

the next few days were not so much fun. we ended up spending an extra day in the hospital (three instead of two) because nola was in neonatal intensive care due to blood type incompatibility and jaundice. it was really frustrating to only see the baby once every three hours for feedings -- and even then only for 45 minutes max at a time because they needed to keep her under the UV lights as much as possible. plus the nurses were... occasionally challenging. they never communicated with each other or with the doctors, it seemed.

poor paul had never before spent a night away from us, and here he was, saddled with three. cam was going to spent one of those nights with him, but i was really painfully sad. i knew she'd be fine, but spending all that time in the room without her was pretty gut-wrenching. cam had pictures printed at target and brought them to the room so at least we could see her whenever we wanted. paul came to visit me often. he liked the hospital and went around telling the nurses that i was in labor for only four minutes. paul brought me an oregano plant and drew a picture of a tornado that he showed to a nurse.

one thing i really liked this time around was that the lactation consultant treated me like an expert. once i told her i had bf'd paul for 18 months, she was all, "go bf for another 18 months." she arranged for me to rent a hospital-grade pump for a month because she thought i'd need to go home without the baby, but it turned out that we were able to bring her home. still, it's cool to have the pump so i can at least practice with it again during the month.

the pediatrician who gave nola her final in-hospital checkup was fabulous. good sense of humor and very laid-back, down-to-earth. i would have loved to have him take over her care, but we've set her up to share a ped with paul. that'll be fun, i think. we'll need to return to kaiser for follow-ups, of course, but at least it'll all be outpatient stuff.

we came home monday afternoon and... that's that. welcome to our family, sweetie. thanks for making us more complete than we already were.

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