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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Saturday, July 19

Party of Five!

Short version? MacKeegan (Mac) John joined our family at 11pm on Thursday, July 17 weighing 8 pounds 13 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long at 37 weeks and 1 day of gestation.

Long (LONG) version? Mac's actual birth started with my OB appt on Thursday at 10 am. I had progressed to a dilation of 5 centimeters and 80% effaced. My doctor did a manual exam of my belly and thought the baby was measuring at 9 pounds 1 ounce. She did strip my membranes but wasn't sure it would do too much since I'd had so many cervical exams already. She basically said she would be happy delivering Babygan any time since we were over 37 weeks (but couldn't do more than she had since we weren't 39 weeks) and to come in if I had a window when my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart, as they could call that "real" labor and break my water. 

So after, Jim decided not to go to St. Paul for work, the four of us went shopping and have lunch. During lunch I started charting my contractions between 3 and 6 minutes apart (not exactly consistent but still frequent). We went home so the kids could nap. Finally at 3:30, Jim convinced me to call in. They told me to come in right away. So Jim figured out plans for the kids (they went to our neighbor Beth's and Memere, who was already on her way, would pick them up there) and we went in. I still had the sense that they would assess me and send us home, like they'd done so many times before, but I didn't want to miss our opportunity either.

By the time we got there (around 4:30 pm), contractions were between 2 and 4 minutes apart and I was at 5.5 dilation. The charge nurse was NOT comfortable sending me home and talked with my doctor, who just happened to be on call! They agreed to check me in an hour and make a plan. After that hour, I was to a 6 and the decision was made to move us into a Labor and Delivery room and get this party started. I still didn't fully believe that we were going to have a baby presently, but thought things would slow down and they would change their mind and send us home.

We decided to have me walk around the halls for a bit, get the process for epidural started and wait for my doctor to come meet with us. Finally when the epidural had been ordered, I asked the nurse if we were going to have this baby tonight and she said either tonight or tomorrow morning! So, now things were real. Stacey joined us as photographer and support. Jim was told he had 30 minutes before the epidural so he ran out to get some food...and the anesthesiologist was there in 15 minutes instead. So he came right back, because he knew that the process wouldn't be pleasant for me and wanted to be there. After the epidural, things calmed down for a bit so Jim ran out to Taco John's to get dinner for him and Stacey, thinking nothing would happen any time soon.   They completely screwed up Jim's order.

However, my doctor came in, checked me and decided it was time to break my water (around 7p m). So, Jim missed that, oh, well. Better that then the birth! LOL. My water has always broken at home, so this was a new experience for me. She basically checked my cervix and while in there, slipped a crochet-like hook in and broke the water bag. There was a HUGE rush of water. I couldn't see it, but I could hear it and they had to move my legs out of the way of it all! Guess I did have extra fluid.

After that it was a wait and see kind of game with enough time for my doctor to go home for dinner. At this point, Stacey decided she should really get to know the baby's name, so Jim and she started a rousing game of hangman...with her getting to pick a letter every half hour. Honestly, this sounds silly but really made the time pass quickly and kept things light. My doctor came back after dinner and around 9 pm, I noticed my contractions were moving into my lower back (yay for back contractions, NOT!) and getting stronger. So at that point, I started upping the epidural, which I could do every 5 minutes, for which Stacey and Jim helped time for me so I wouldn't lose any time or relief.

The nurse checked me a little bit later and I was fearful that there had been no change but she quickly put that fear to rest when she said I was at a 9! Sweet. Now I knew it wouldn't be too long but still not sure if it would be Thursday night or Friday morning (both Jim and I were thinking Friday morning). A bit later, the nurse checked me again and said she wanted the doctor to check. Dr. Teri came in, checked me and said it was time to push! Wait, what?!?! This was around 10:45 pm.

So they got things ready and I started pushing. I'd somewhat forgotten how HARD you have to push but they were so encouraging I felt like I had a team of cheerleaders there just for me. After a couple pushes, something clearly was wrong, but they weren't entirely sure if it was with me or baby so they gave me an oxygen mask. I decided to focus just on what I could control and not worry (as it wouldn't help and I'd lose my focus) but I knew the baby's pulse was very low (in the 50's at one point instead of a normal 150's or higher). Eventually, Dr. Teri said it was like the baby was holding his breath, so we had time before things were critical. But in the same breath, she had a team of nurses in our room, Jim was relieved of his duty of holding my leg/foot and she ordered the Operating Room to get ready for an emergency C-section. She was elbow deep trying to move the baby's head and decided we had one more opportunity to do this together before surgery. She grabbed the forceps and she told me to push like I'd never pushed before. We timed the next contraction and both gave it our all. On the third push (we'd been doing three pushes each time), I felt things shifting and out he came at 11:00 pm. Holy moly, I'd forgotten how great it feels when the baby actually comes out! Yes, for those still paying attention, that was 15 minutes of pushing.

At this point, is when I started thinking about what could be wrong with baby. He was put directly on my chest and the words I heard were, "good color", "doesn't look bad", "doesn't need extra help" etc. Ah, words every mother wants to hear. Oh, and a great big cry!! All good things. But since I was focusing on that, I didn't know what we'd had! Finally after about two minutes (in my world, I really have no idea how long!), I said, "Wait, is it s a boy or girl?" And they all laughed and said, "BOY!" Too funny. Since he was on my chest, I couldn't see the rest of his body.

From there, all things were pretty routine. After I got some snuggles, they took him with daddy over to the warmer to get his vitals and check him over. The nurses kept saying how big he was, so I was curious to find out exactly HOW big. He was a little smaller than all things were indicating but still big: 8 pounds 13 ounces, 19 3/4 inches and 14 inch head circumference...definitely all big for 37 weeks! They like to get mom and baby moved to their post-partum room within 2 hours. After I was stitched back up (a third degree tear, made worse by my previous third degree tear with Korri!), they removed the epidural (when I fainted for the first time, but was in bed, so they just laid me back) and started getting my fluids and toast (I hadn't eaten since lunch!). They wanted me to urinate before they moved me but my legs were still pretty shaky, so they had this little "walker" type thing and the nurse assisted me. I made it to the bathroom and on the toilet and then fainted again, keep in mind, before this I don't think I'd ever fainted before. She yelled for assistance and they got me in a wheelchair and decided to wheel me to my new room. I was told I fainted two more times before they got me to my room and in bed. Yikes! Probably a combination of blood loss and low blood pressure.

I was able to nurse Mac right away and he latched on like a champ (my nurse was very helpful with all of it). It was after 2 am by the time I was able to go to sleep. They took Mac to the nursery for the night so I could get as much sleep as possible.

I'm sure there are tons of details that I've glossed over but you clearly get the point. Overall, we are just so happy and thankful that we have a healthy baby. All pictures will be uploaded to our picture website as time allows, but here is one from this morning with daddy and Mac doing skin-to-skin:

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