Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Unexpected Delivery II

On the last day of my trip to Norwich, England [1], I was blithely sitting in the library of the John Innes Centre doing some DNA sequence analysis when my boss, the director of the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa project [2], and a postdoc who has a lot of managerial responsibilites on the ENSA project all came running up to me to tell me that Leann had gone into labor. (Leann was quick to point out that I appear to have a habit of being incommunicado when she goes into labor—when she went into labor with Lilli she tried to send my then-boss, Dr. Joel Griffitts, to find me because I wasn't answering my phone.) This was something of a surprise since she wasn't due for another four weeks (but it wasn't a complete surprise since Lilli was eight weeks early [3]). When I got on the plane to fly out of Norwich, Leann still hadn't delivered, but by the time I'd landed in Detroit our son, Lincoln had already been born. (My plane was somewhere over the English Channel when it happened.[4]) So, I wasn't there. But my sister Ashley was, and my sister Melissa, who was also visiting, watched Lilli. What follows is Leann's version of the events (transcribed partially by her mother and partially by me).

Matt had a conference in England from Saturday the 14th, to Wednesday night, the 18th. I didn't want to be alone in Madison since Lilli had come early, so I asked two of my sisters-in-law, Ashley and Melissa, to come stay with me. Unfortunately the missed their connecting flight because of flooding at the Denver Airport. Instead of arriving Saturday evening, they arrived Sunday evening on a standby flight. Monday we went to the library and got ice cream next door at The Chocolate Shoppe. Tuesday we went to the park and I went to my OB appointment. I asked the nurse practitioner if I had another few weeks to go. She said, “It’s impossible to say. It could be tonight. It could be in a few weeks.”

That night, at 11:56 PM I woke up to what I suspected was my water breaking. I sent my Mom a text and wrote Matt an email. I was trying to decide if I should go into the hospital when, at 12:05, wow! I felt my first real contraction! It hurt! I was already partially packed so I gathered my toiletries and went to wake up Ashley and Melissa. I turned on the light and said, “Do not be alarmed ladies, but I think I am in labor. I think my water just broke.” They were rather stupefied and disoriented at their rude awakening and my news. They helped me gather my things. I gave Melissa Lilli’s schedule, foods and activities that I wrote down the week before and I called the hospital to let them know I was coming. I wrote Matt another email telling him that I was going to the hospital and this was not a drill!

Despite Ashley’s protests, I drove to the hospital while she timed my contractions. They lasted about 30 seconds and were 2 to 3 minutes apart. I arrived at the hospital a little after 1 AM. It was a long walk to the maternity wing. They checked me in, they did a swab to test for amniotic fluid, and it came back positive. The nurse set up my IV and did a rather messy job of it. She told me that it was a very busy night and a lot of women had come in with ruptured membranes. She also told me that my OB, Dr. Henry, was the doctor on call that night (which was kind of funny since he’d already told me that he would not in all likelihood be the one to deliver my baby). I made it clear that I wanted an epidural as quickly as possible.

Somewhere around 2 AM they took me to my birthing suite. Since Matt still hadn't responded, I had Ashley write an email to Dr. Ané, who was in England with Matt. I labored on the birthing ball till about 3 AM, then got in the bed. About 45 minutes after I’d sent the email, Matt called. Ashley talked to him for me because I was in no mood to chat. We talked about trying to get him to Skype in for the birth, but decided not to since he had to be at the airport in a few hours and I knew I wouldn’t deliver in the next few hours.

The anesthesiologist came around 3:30. He numbed me, then put in the catheter and asked if it felt like it was in the middle of my back. I said it felt a little to the left, so he put it in again and I could feel the tube sliding around under my skin on the right side of my spine. It hurt a lot. He asked again if it felt like it was in the middle of my spine. I told him it felt like there was a tube on the right side, but I would trust his judgment. He told me he needed my feedback, so I told him, “Sure, it’s in the middle of my spine.” He poked around a little more and then told me he was in the right spot. So I said, “Okay.” After he was done I felt so much better and I promptly took a nap.

Dr. Henry came in at 8 AM to tell me he was going home. He checked me and said it looked like the baby was coming. He asked if I could feel my contractions enough to push. I said that I couldn’t feel my contractions, but I feel pressure. He said we could wait a little while until my epidural wore off some, or I could try a few practice pushes with the nurse while he was tending to someone else. I said I would try a few practice pushes. I did two pushes and the nurse called Dr. Henry back in. The NICU staff was supposed to come but Dr. Henry didn’t want to wait for them. Two other nurses and a female resident came instead. I pushed a couple times when I felt pressure. At 8:23 AM our baby boy was born. I offered to let Ashley cut the umbilical cord and she did. I was Dr. Henry’s fifth delivery of the night.

They wiped the baby off and gave him to me. I held him a while and then they took him to do his stats: 6 lbs, 1 oz.; 19½ in. long; APGARs 9 and 9. I held him some more. I told Matt before he left that if the birth happened while he was in England I would give the baby a name without him. I named him Lincoln Jordan. We tried to see if he was interested in nursing. He wasn’t really, so I let Ashley hold him. About 10 AM they moved us upstairs to another room.

At 11 AM my mom arrived at the hospital. She took a 6 AM flight earlier that morning and caught a taxi to the hospital. She and Ashley went home and brought Lilli and Melissa to visit. Lilli waved and said, “Hi, baby. Hi, baby,” to Lincoln. She said she wanted to hold him, when I offered. So I sat her down on the bed, put a pillow on her lap, and put Lincoln on the pillow. She immediately said, “I’m all done. Play Grammy’s iPad.” Then Melissa stayed with me while the others went home. We watched The Count of Monte Cristo.

Matt called around 8 PM from Detroit. I told him, “Congratulations, you’re a dad again. You have a son.” He replied, “Really?” and sounded disappointed.[5] Ashley drove to the airport around 10 PM and picked up Matt and brought him to the hospital and took Melissa home.

Since Lincoln was early, for the first 24 hours, the nurses did a heel-prick and blood sugar test each time before I fed him. His blood sugar was a little low, but never enough to need formula. He also didn’t show signs of jaundice. He came home on Friday. Now, back to Matt.

Here are some pictures of his first bath at home.

Unlike Lilli and me, but like Leann, Lincoln has detached earlobes and dimples. Here is a video where he shows off one of those dimples.

And, to wrap things up, I recently noticed that Lincoln has a rat tail. That's right: business in front, party in the back!


[1] See my post Matt's Trip to England.

[2] Learn more at https://www.ensa.ac.uk/.

[3] See my post Unexpected Delivery.

[4] Here is my itinerary for the return trip:

Local Time Time Zone Event Time in Madison
14:00 Greenwich Mean Depart Norwich 8:00
15:55 Central European Arrive in Amsterdam 8:55
16:55 Central European Depart Amsterdam 9:55
19:50 Eastern Arrive in Detroit 18:50
21:36 Eastern Depart Detroi 20:36
21:50 Central Arrive in Madison 21:50

[5] I was disappointed—disappointed that I'd missed the birth, not disappointed that I was a father, again.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Leann and Matt! I am so very happy for you both.