Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Santa's Little Gift!!

We had a very busy Christmas day this year in Shanghai! About 4 am on Christmas morning, I started having contractions. They increased in intensity enough to where I was actually up before the kids on Christmas! That says something...because I'm SO not an early bird and to find me up before my kids is a very rare occurrence. ;-)

Anyway, my contractions were irregular in frequency, but still quite noticeable. So, it was "business" as usual. Both Allen and I decided to go into the hospital after our Christmas morning with the kids. We figured it was as good a time as any since they would have all their new toys to keep them plenty busy for the next 3 days!

Allen and I got ready for the day. We put out some Christmas morning breakfast treats, waiting for the kids to wake up. They didn't disappoint...by the crack of dawn, they were up and ready to go! haha

We spent the early morning enjoying our Christmas morning together. Due to sophisticated technology these days, we got to 3-way call both my mom and my sister via skype. While the visual wouldn't work on a 3-way call, they got to spend their Christmas Eve, listening to the sounds of pure joy coming from our kids as they opened each of the gifts our families had sent for them. It was nice to be able to talk to them during the whole event. :-)

After all the gifts were opened and the kids were content in their Christmas gift bubbles, both Allen and I headed to the hospital on the other side of town. Once there, I was hooked up to machines to monitor my contractions. Luckily for us, my OB was the on call doctor on Christmas Day. One benefit to having a baby in China...everyone works as a normal work day on December 25th. Although, the hospital was very quiet due to the fact that we were registered at an "expat" hospital and MANY families leave for the Holiday break, if they choose to have their babies in China at all.

My contractions were still irregular after some time and my cervix wasn't dilating. So, we were then induced to speed up the process. I normally hate the induction process, so this wasn't an easy decision for me. However, with my doctors concerns about the GD thing and my own fears about having a baby in a taxi...we opted for the induction. It wasn't long before things were well on their way...painfully so.

I didn't want to have an epidural because I had heard a few horror stories about them from other expats who delivered at the same hospital. So, I held out for as long as I could. However, when my pain got to a "7-8" on the pain scale and my water hadn't even broken yet...well, it was hard for me to believe being in even more intense pain. My doctor said the contractions would intensify - greatly - after my water had broken. YIKES!! I couldn't believe the pain could get that much worse! So, it wasn't long before I was agreeing to the epidural.

However, a younger, very cocky, guy came in and administered the epidural...or tried to, at least. THREE times!!! For those of you who have never had an epidural...it's quite painful when they "miss." And you can feel them yanking something in and out of your spine area, which feels bumpy and has a "grating" sound that reverberates throughout your body. Needless to say, after the third time, I was begging him to stop. When he hesitated...cocky bastard that he was...I ended up completely breaking down...crying hysterically. For those who know me, I just don't do that, normally. I'm not a crier and I'm not a screamer. In addition to the pain, I was so afraid I would have irrevocable damage done to my spine, back, body or something...and it would be just "one of those things" that happened to me while I was in China, having a baby. I didn't want that to happen to me because I was too wimpy to stand my contraction pain. So...I finally got him to stop. Because my hormonal levels were WAY out of whack during the process of childbirth, I had a really hard time stopping the flow of tears and gaining control of myself. It was rather weird...for me.

The doctor finally ended up ripping my water sac and just like she said, the pain intensified tenfold! I was barely able to keep myself from screaming...ANOTHER thing in which I never thought I would do! It was soooooo painful! Because I was induced, the contractions had been coming about 1-1.5 minutes apart for the last 2-3 hours! When the pain was a 7-8, enduring that every minute or so was really exhausting and painful. However, when the pain got to a TWELVE on the 1-10 scale AND they were coming every minute...aggggghhhhhhh, GOD HELP ME!!! The doctor took sympathy on me and practically ordered the guy back into the room to try one more time to administer the epidural. I was in NO position to argue at that point, since I was still only about 5 cm dilated!!! That's only halfway done...with intense pain...and contractions coming every minute! Aaaaaggghhhhhhhh...BRING HIM IN...BRING HIM IN...AND HURRY!!!!!

He came back, made some type of cocky statement how he IS the best, and tried one more time. This time, it took a lot less time. I soon realized why...

After he had left, I waited for the blissful release of pain I KNOW was supposed to come due to the fact that I have had two other epidurals. It never quite came. They said it might take a few minutes...then they said it might take a half hour...BOTH with which I was happy to wait for, knowing bliss was on the horizon! However, it became evident that it wasn't coming...so, I asked for MORE! The guy came in and did some kind of needle test on my legs and hips. It turns out that the epidural and where he placed it in my back only affected a small band width of relief across the upper part of my abdomen. Excuse me, but that's NOT where my pain is concentrated during this process! I could completely feel my legs as well as move them and the intensity of my contractions didn't diminish ONE BIT!! But, instead of ADMITTING he screwed up - AGAIN - he mumbled something about an "unusual" displacement that spread to my lower half. Uh...YOU THINK!!??? And he left. My doctor kept repeating that "this has never happened" in the years she worked at the hospital. Well...LUCKY ME!!

So, needless to say, while I technically got an epidural...I ended up having a very "natural" childbirth. Woo. Hoo. The pain got worse and worse. The contractions ended up being right on top of one another. Luckily, after a certain point, the cervix fully dilated within just a few minutes. I was pushing at 8 cm...and was completely dilated after about one push.

Let's talk about the pushing. O.M.G. That was soooooo painful!! The other two times, I had been under the influence of an epidural...so it didn't seem so bad. This time, however, it was excruciatingly painful!! So, I ended up pushing him out on a scream of all things...in about 2-3 pushes total! And, MAN, the after effect of having no more pain...now THAT was true bliss. Everything looked so good...but nothing in the room looked as wonderful as my new baby boy. Oh WOW!!! He was sooooo beautiful!!

Both his daddy and I were in baby boy heaven after that! We just couldn't stop looking at him, for the rest of the night!

So...that's how baby Jaiden came to us, on Christmas day. Our doctor told us some interesting facts about different cultures. She said at the local hospitals, the women share a room with 3-4 other women and they are not allowed to scream. She said that is why, as a culture, chinese women will OPT for a c-section...to avoid the pain. An epidural is only administered for a c-section...it's not an option for a vaginal birth. Amazing. I was wondering why so many chinese women end up having c-section here in China...and now I know. Our doctor also mentioned that Germans want to do almost everything very naturally and will, over 90% of the time, choose NOT to have an epidural. Americans will CHOOSE to have an epidural over 90% of the time, as well as French women. Interesting, huh?

Both Allen and I were not only impressed with our doctor, but also with the hosiptal and their [english speaking] staff. Other than the epidural...the entire rest of the experience was comfortable...regarding the facility and the staff....and not that whole having a baby, naturally, stuff. ;-)

It has taken longer for me to recover this time around. I had multiple bruises on my back, along my spine, from the epidural attempts. My back was in constant pain after Jaiden was born and I ended up getting one of those "epidural" headaches that people say can sometimes happen as a result of an epidural. It's a headache that just won't go away...for days. I'm still walking like a very old woman...stooped over...hobbling around, etc. My back still hasn't fully recovered, so it's difficult to stand up straight or lengthen my spine. My uterus is still shrinking, thus causing some mild to moderate cramping in my abdominal area. And my groin area, where MOST of the trauma occurred, still aches a lot...causing me to walk funny as well. There's no doubt about it folks...I'm older...and my body is definitely telling me so. I bounced back so much more quickly the last two times. But gradually, my body will recover completely this time around too. I'm really looking forward to that!

The boys have absolutely celebrated their baby brother's arrival! Brandon has completely stepped in to wwelcome Jaiden into the family! He is SUCH a good big brother! He wants to hold, kiss, touch the baby all day long. He wants to see the baby first thing in the morning and kiss the baby as the last thing before bed time. Ryan is very open to having Jaiden around and he is watching Brandon to see how he should act around the baby. While Ryan has been anticipating Jaiden's arrival, he has been a little more reserved with his affection towards the baby. However, after a couple of days, he is now kissing Jaiden (and running away). He's the kind of kid where his loyalty needs to be earned. haha In no time, we feel he'll feel just as protective and affectionate towards Jaiden as Brandon is currently showing. And, once again, I'm so glad the boys have this time out from school to bond with Jaiden. It truly was perfect timing...

And Blue! Oh boy...Blue was sooooooooooooo excited to welcome another "puppy" into our pack! He has been so protective of the baby! He will stop eating his food, walk around the table to check on the baby, and then go eat some more. He'll do that about 2-3 times every time he eats. He wants to welcome the baby first thing in the morning. It's sooooo cute! He is SUCH a good dog...we are so lucky to have him in our family!!

1 comment:

  1. What a busy and exciting Christmas day! I am so sorry that you had to go through so much with the epideral! I hope your back is feeling better! I am so happy for you and your family! He is such a cute addition to your already cute family! :)
    Love and Miss you!