Wednesday, June 13, 2012

He's here!

Josh and I are proud to introduce Jacob Monroe Sokolewicz.  Born on June 5, 2012 at 10:36am.  He weighed 7lbs 7oz and was 19.75".  While this is the hardest, most grueling responsibility we've ever had, Jacob has already brought so much joy and love to our entire family.  It's hard to explain the intense love I have for him, and I don't think anyone can understand until you have your own baby.

Our labor story is pretty interesting, and the details are blurry because it all went so fast, but I'll try to summarize it here...

We had a scheduled induction for June 5, but were asked to come to the hospital at 9pm on June 4 to start the cervix softener, cervidil.  I asked my mom to make one of my favorite meals before we left for the hospital, and as soon as she started cooking, I started getting contractions.  Mind you, I was 1cm dilated and 0% effaced and hadn't felt ANY painful contractions up to this point, and I hadn't yet received any labor-inducing medicine.  Of course I start going into labor naturally 3 hours before it was being forced on me - I've always been one to push the boundaries.  Anyways, Josh started timing contractions throughout dinner and they were coming about every 6 minutes lasting 45 seconds, which wouldn't be enough to send me to labor & delivery on my own, but it was an obvious sign that my body was ready to have this baby. 

At 8:30pm we called labor & delivery to make sure there was a labor room available for me (apparently the last month has been crazy-busy in l&d and they were cancelling scheduled inductions due to limited availability).  Lucky for me, they had a vacancy and off we went!  I have to admit, I was super nervous the entire car ride there, and Josh & I hardly spoke.  I think we were both praying the entire time. 

We arrived at the hospital and were swiftly taken into our labor room, I put on the assless hospital gown, and started the IV and all the paperwork.  Around 11pm I finally received the cervidil and was told to lay flat for 1 hour.  I was also hoping to get some Ambien to help me sleep, but was nervous I wouldn't be able to walk to the bathroom after taking it, so I waited until my hour was up, went to the potty, and then ordered the Ambien.  At this point, my contractions were getting pretty strong and more frequent, and honestly, the Ambien was pretty useless.  In hindsight, I wish I wouldn't have gotten the Ambien because it made me pretty groggy on Tuesday morning.

That night was one of the longest, yet shortest nights of my life.  It's kinda hard to explain.  On one hand, the contractions made the time creep by - every time I got a contraction, I got an intense urge to pee, so after nearly every contraction I made Josh help me up and get me to the bathroom (which involved unplugging the monitoring devices (they were monitoring the baby's heartbeat and my contractions with 2 seperate bands) and wheel my IV tower).  But on the other hand, I was in labor for 12 total hours - crazy!
At 6am, after seeing that my contractions were pretty strong and seeing that I was in visible pain, they removed the cervidil (btw, the cervidil looks like a peice of cardboard with a shoestring attached to it, so it kinda hung out like a tampon string).  While removing the cervidil, the nurse checked me and I was 3cm dilated.  I was super excited that I had dilated more than 1cm, but was told that it would still be awhile before I actually delivered Jacob.  At that point, I asked for the narcotic, Nubain, to help with the pain because I was still hoping to deliver Jacob naturally (or without an epidural).  The Nubain was given through my IV and really didn't help that much.  It definitely took the edge off, but it made me really loopy (this in conjuntion with the Ambien that was still in my system since I took it only 6 hours prior).  Again, in hindsight, I wish I wouldn't have gotten this, not only because it made me loopy but because it made Jacob's heartrate drop and I was forced to wear an oxygen mask.  Super annoying and kinda scary!

At 8am, my doctor arrived, broke my water, checked me and I was 6cm dilated.  She told me there was meconium in my water, so the NICU team would be present during the delivery, so they could fully flush Jacob's system.  I was in alot of pain, and was told I would have him after lunch, so I quickly decided to get an epidural.  That process went by really quickly and before I knew it, I was feeling absolutely NO pain.  I literally cannot say enough good things about epidurals, and the anesthesiologist who gave me mine.  I never lost control or feeling in my legs, and never had to get a second "hit" of it, so it worked out perfectly.  If I had one peice of advice for pregnant women, it would be to get an epidural as soon as you can and avoid the pain. 

By 9am, I was 8cm dilated and was told I would have him by lunch.  I think this was when Josh and I started freaking out, calling all our family and telling them to high-tail it to the hospital.  Our parents were all planning to come up after lunch, so we kind of panicked.

My parents arrived around 9:30am, and came to visit me in my labor room.  While they were there, my nurse told me at 10am she was going to check me again, so I had 30 minutes to visit with them.  That time was spent rehashing the past 12 hours, taking pictures and telling them how amazing the epidural was.  Haha! :)

At 10am, everyone was kicked out of my room, and my nurse checked me.  I was 10cm dilated and ready to start pushing.  Whaaat??  I couldn't believe it (and I don't think the nurse could either)!  She had me do a "practice" push before calling the doctor, since I had an epidural and couldn't really feel what I was doing.  Apparently I was pretty good at pushing and she quickly told me to stop and don't push again until the doctor arrived.  After talking with Josh, the baby totally crowned during this push and he could see his head!!!

The next 15 minutes were all a blur.  Tons of people came into the room to prep for delivery, including the NICU team with their warming table and tools/gadgets.  My doctor arrived at 10:15am, and we started pushing.  I pushed for 10 seconds, 3 times during each contraction, and went through 3 full contractions before Jacob was born.  So, 9 total pushes.  Between contractions, I kept asking Josh, the nurse and my doctor whether I was doing it right.  They just kept laughing at me and saying "wow, you're such a show off".  I don't think they thought I was serious, but I really couldn't feel anything!!!

At 10:36am, our beautiful baby boy was born.  They laid his bloody, icky body on my stomach, he cried, and I immediately started balling.  Even through all the blood and guts, he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  Josh cut the cord, and Jacob was rushed to the NICU team to clear his system from the meconium.

While my doctor delivered the placenta and cleaned me up, the NICU team cleaned up Jacob, took all his measurements and checked his vitals.  Josh got to watch this whole process, and I think we got it on video camera (sweet!).  They then brought my baby boy to me, and I've never been more happy in my entire life.  He was absolutely perfect.  We spent the next hour or so "skin to skin" and attempting breastfeeding for the first time.  I should've known what a great baby he would soon be, based on his first latch - it was perfect.

At around 11:30am, all our parents came into the labor room and got to see Jacob for the first time.  Everyone took pictures of us, and I finally let Josh hold him.  Haha, I have serious "baby hog" syndrom.

I was taken to my post-pardum room around 12:30pm, and Jacob and Josh went to the nursery for Jacob's first bath.  He apparently didn't like this very much, so I'm glad I wasn't present.  I was able to walk at this point, so I was allowed to take a shower.  Best shower of my life.  Jacob was brought into our PP room a little later, and our little family spent some quality time together...just the 3 of us.

The next 2 days were spent in this room, with nurses constantly coming in checking on me and Jacob, tons of visitors, and lots of pain. :)  No doubt the pain is totally worth it, but after the epidural wore off, I was pretty uncomfortable.  I'm not going to detail everything here, but if you want to know more - just let me know and I'll tell ya.  By Thursday afternoon I was really ready to go home and start our life together.

Yesterday we celebrated Jacob's 1-week birthday, and I cannot believe it.  The past week has flown by, and I get sad just thinking about the next 18 years and how fast those will go.  Jacob has been such a blessing to our family.  He makes life so much sweeter, and every day so much better.  I already can't imagine my life without him.

Overall, Jacob really is a fabulous baby.  He sleeps for 3-4 hours at a time, nurses amazingly and has just recently started staying awake between feedings to look around and visit for 15-20 minutes.  We went to the pediatrician yesterday for his 1-week weight check-up, and he has gained 1 pound since we left the hospital!  He lost a few ounces while in the hospital, so when we left he was 7lbs 1oz.  The day after we left the hospital, he was already up to 7lbs 3.5oz, and on his 1-wk birthday he was 8lbs 3oz!  Chunky monkey!  The pediatrician is thrilled with his progress, and super happy with me and my milk supply/feeding habits.  The only real "issue" we're having, which I wouldn't really even classify as an issue at this age, is that he'll only sleep in someone's arms.  My mom and sister are still here and Josh has taken off work this entire time, so we've been passing Jacob around between the 4 of us during the day.  At night, Josh & I take turns with him on the recliner.  I think we're averaging 4 hours of sleep each night, with a 1-2 hour nap during the day (if we're lucky).  I realize I'm only 1-week in, but I'm really surprised how good I feel for only getting 4 hours of sleep each night.  Crazy how much sleep I thought I needed.  I got a little panicked on Monday when I realized that I have 1 more week with Josh at home, so since then we've been practicing independent sleeping with Jacob, by rocking him in the recliner and then slowly placing him in his pack & play or nap nanny. I think the longest he's lasted is 1 1/2 hours.  So, we're making progress and I know Jacob will eventually come around.

Sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to write down all my labor details and Jacob's status.  Things are moving so quickly right now, and my mind isn't the sharpest, so I don't want to forget anything!!  I hope this post (and this entire blog) helps other soon-to-be-mommies feel a little more "normal" or comfortable, and eventually I think you will all relate to something I've said.

Here are a few pictures from the hospital and our time so far at home.
Last picture of us as non-parents ;)
Our first picture - LOVE this little guy!

Taking my first sip of wine in 8 months. In the hospital. Don't judge.

Josh w/ the bub

I love this picture!  Jacob with his arm around his Aunt Carrie.

Josh & Jacob

Jacob hanging out w/ Grammy and Stretch the Giraffe is his nap nanny


  1. To turn your statement a bit around, :) If i have one bit of advice for you, it would be to NOT advise moms to "just get an epidural." There are a whole heap of risks with them, for both baby & you, not to mention that they don't always work like they did for you. Read "the Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth" by Henci Goer for a straight up no frills analysis of every possible intervention in pregnancy & labor.

    There is a whole 'nother approach to labor that not only lowers pain but also eliminates many risks to the baby & you-- that is a truly natural birth: laboring in many positions, with continuous support, eating & drinking as you need to, not tied to a bed or with an IV or cardboard or anything in your body. Natural labor is so much more than just toughing it out & not getting an epidural -- it's about working with your body instead of against it; not being afraid but embracing this journey God's taking you on, and working harder than you've ever worked.

    It's really not helpful to advise other women to blindly get an epidural, especially if they are already afraid (which most American women are).

    1. I should've included my second piece of advice to new moms- always trust your body and your instincts, and take unsolicited advice with a grain of salt.