Reegen's Birthday

Name: Reegen Zayne Hatch
Birthday: April 19, 2000, 4:43am PDT
Weight: 6 pounds, 6 ounces
Length: 18 inches
Hair Colour: Red
Eye Colour: Blue/Grey

The Story:

On Tuesday Brian drove me to school as usual. I had been avoiding driving for about three weeks as my tummy had taken over the steering wheel and driving was uncomfortable. So he dropped me off for ConLaw class in the morning and I went on in to the room and set up my laptop, etc. I went downstairs right before class started to use the restroom, and on the way back to class, my water broke. Fortunately I was still close to the restroom, so I headed back there. No one had prepared me for the amount of amniotic fluid that was going to come out when my membranes broke. After deciding that "cleaning up" was a hopeless task, I resigned myself to being very damp until I could get home and change.

My friend Beth was nearby when my water broke and she accompanied me back to the restroom and then to the phones to call Brian. Brian, of course, had just gotten back home as the drive to Stanford takes between 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. I told him he was gonna have to turn around and come back to get me because my water broke. He readily agreed to this plan and also agreed to bring a towel so that I wouldn't soak the car.

Then Beth and I returned to ConLaw so that she could attend class and I could get my stuff. ConLaw is taught by our Dean, so normally no one comes to class late and certainly no one comes to class late and immediately proceeds to turn off their computer and start packing up their stuff. After Dean Sullivan finished a few more sentences, she stopped her lecture and asked if I was okay. I told her my water broke when I was downstairs, that I was all messy and was going home. She asked what she and the class could do to help me and I said nothing really, as Brian was on his way to get me. The Dean appointed one of my friends, Risa, to go with me anyway and wait with me until Brian showed up. As I left the room, the entire class of ninety people (the largest class we have) started clapping and cheering for me. So, there really wasn't a more public way to have started labor. I think the entire law school knew what had happened before lunchtime.

Brian ran into lots of traffic on his way to get me, but eventually he arrived. While waiting for him to show up, I went to find our Dean of Student Affairs, Julie. She said she'd take care of informing everyone official who needed to know, make sure notes were sent to me for the remaining week and 1/2 of classes, and all that other organizational stuff.

After Brian picked me up, we went home and paged the midwife on call. I explained what had happened and asked if we should go to our regularly scheduled appointment that afternoon at 4:30. I was not having any contractions at this point. She said that if I hadn't started having regular contractions by later in the afternoon, I should go to the appointment. If that happened, they would check me out at the clinic downstairs and then probably send me upstairs to labor and delivery to "augment" my labor. "Augment" means induce, which means hook me up to an iv and give me petocin. They all kept saying "augment" or "assist" instead of "induce," though. The reason they were going to induce me is that once the membranes have ruptured, the chance of an infection increases dramatically as nothing is protecting the baby from the outside world. So, once your membranes rupture, they generally want the baby to be born within 24 hours or thereabouts.

Anyway, by 3:30 I was still not having regular contractions so we got ready to leave for our appointment. We had spent the afternoon packing stuff for the hospital. We hadn't gotten around to that part of baby preparation yet. And also finding plane tickets for my mother, as she had agreed to come out and help us for the first week after baby was born. Buying plane tickets is a funny story, but I will let Brian tell it or not as he wishes.

At the appointment the midwife checked to make sure my membranes had ruptured and told us to go walk around the hospital for about an hour and 1/2. Our med student, Erica, was with us by this time, so the three of us took a tour of the medical school (which Brian and I hadn't ever been to) and the hospital grounds. I had a few contractions, but nothing approaching regular, so we decided to go eat dinner before returning to report our lack of success.

When we reported back in with no labor beginning, they sent us upstairs to labor and delivery. We picked possibly the worst night to show up there as they were really swamped and every single room was in use. We took a walk and came back to see if they had a room for us yet. One of the nurses pointed us into a doorway, and we obediently entered. It wasn't a labor and delivery room, however, but the ultrasound closet. It had one chair and standing room for about two people (in addition to the hospital bed and ultrasound equipment). We thought this was really funny, but we stayed put as ordered. Our midwife showed up pretty soon, but she was busy with another woman who was about to give birth, so she explained that she might not be around much for the next hour or so. While she was talking to us, this frantic-looking man came to the door and stared at us in great confusion. Suzi, our midwife, asked him what he was looking for. He said "My wife." I told him there wasn't anyone in the little room except us, but he didn't seem to believe me, even though the room was teensy and couldn't possibly have held anyone else. I invited him to come in and look for himself, and he did. That really cracked Brian, Erica, and I up. Suzi took him to find out which room his wife had been moved to and as soon as he was gone the three of us burst into gales of laughter. Suzi came back, took one look at me doubled over with laughter, and said "You aren't in labor, that's for sure."

After maybe half an hour they had a real room for us, as someone else was done giving birth and was moved to the maternity ward. So we entered room 8, and I was told to change into the hospital robe. They hooked me up to both a fetal monitor and another machine that would monitor my contractions, as apparently one must be hooked up to both of these machines while being given petocin. I hadn't realized that I would be confined to bed if my labor was induced, although I'm sure I read or was told that at some point. But I was not real pleased to find that out.

Adding the iv was traumatic for me because I detest needles and blood and all that kind of stuff, and because they messed it up and had to take it out and do it again. Once it was in, it didn't stop hurting for about 20 minutes, so I was already unhappy before they ever started giving me petocin. About half an hour after they started the iv they started adding petocin. Suzi explained that there are many different doses, from 2 to 20, and that they would try the lowest dose for 30 minutes, then bump it up by 2, then wait 30 minutes, then bump it up by 2, then wait 30 minutes, etc. until I established a regular pattern of labor, which she described as contractions about 3 minutes apart.

Anyway, I reached that pattern at level 4, so after the first increase. They did increase the dosage later by increments of 1 but I wasn't really aware of that or the reasons for it. I think I ended up at level 7 by the time I was in transition. After maybe three hours of "active labor" I asked Suzi to check and see how much progress I had made. They had not yet examined me to see if I was dialated or effaced because it would increase the risk of infection and wouldn't change the game plan anyway. I had decided that if I were only 1 or 2 centimeters dialated I was going to ask for an epidural. I did not feel that I could handle twelve or fourteen more hours of intense labor. However, I was nearly five centimeters dialated so we went ahead with the "natural childbirth" plan. Suzi was very pleasantly surprised that I had made so much progress already. She had been predicting a late morning delivery and now thought we would be done before her shift ended at 8:30am.

Anyway, labor progressed until Reegen was born. I'm not gonna write about the details. I would like to say that Brian was the absolute best coach in the world. He was there for me as and how I needed him to be during every minute of labor. I could not have done it without him.

After baby was born they did all sorts of things to her. I didn't really care at that point as I was just relieved to be done with it. There is still not much of a connection for me between the hours of labor and pushing and the little girl we got out of it. While the nurse was doing stuff with baby, Suzi was finishing with me. I tore a little bit, so she put in a couple stitches, and so forth. They usually try to get you out of the labor and delivery room and moved to maternity an hour after birth. The nurse helped me get Reegen to nurse a bit before we moved rooms, and Brian and Erica gathered up all our stuff to transport it to the maternity room. Many thanks to Erica for all the pictures she took in the labor and delivery room right after baby was born. We'll get them up on the web eventually.

Since labor and delivery had been so crowded, we figured there was no chance of us getting a private room. There is a paucity of private maternity rooms at the hospital, so you have to get on a waitlist for one. That is why I was stuck in a semi-private room. In the semi-private rooms your spouse/partner can't stay with you overnight. Also, it is cramped and hectic with twice as many people coming in and out. I was in a semi-private room for the first day and night and for the second morning. Basically, it sucked. They kicked Brian out that first morning (remember, we delivered at 4:43am so it was like 6am when we got to the maternity ward). I guess some woman in another semi-private room had complained about her roommate's spouse being there when she wanted some privacy, so the day shift nurses went around to all the semi-private rooms kicking the spouses out until 11am. I thought it was dumb as the other woman in my room had her spouse there and I had Brian there and neither of us seemed upset by it, but anyway. By the next afternoon we got moved to a private room, and that was much much better.

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