Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let me just start off by saying that I'm not going to tell the whole birth story with all of the details, because well, it's not mine to tell. But I was lucky enough to get to be there throughout the whole thing, and so I guess there is a version of Hunter's birth that is my story.

Shall we start at the beginning?

On Sunday, we were all at my mom's house for a small family BBQ. It was another beautiful day, so we relaxed outside on the deck all afternoon and into the early evening hours. We talked a lot about the baby, when we thought he'd finally be born, and overall, we were just excited to know that, one way or another, he would be born within the next week. We all went our separate ways.

That night, Michael and I went to bed probably around 12:30. The next thing I knew, we were awakened by my cell phone ringing. I could only think of one person who would be calling me at 3:45 a.m., but I still exclaimed, "It's Trevor!!" when I saw the caller ID. I excitedly answered the phone to him telling me that Kara's water had broken, and that they were at the hospital waiting to get admitted into a room. It became clear at that moment that it was "go time," and that this was really happening. The baby was officially on his way!

After debating for a few minutes about whether I should try to get a little more sleep or head to the hospital right away, I realized there was no way I was going to fall back to sleep, so I might as well get going. I jumped into the shower, then packed up a number of things (including all my camera equipment and laptop) to take with me. Michael and I were at the hospital around 5:00 a.m.

By the time Kara had her epidural in at around 9:30 a.m., we had learned that she hadn't really made much progress from the time she was admitted. They decided to start her on a pitocin drip to get her contractions stronger and closer together.

About an hour after that, Kara was in excruciating pain, and as it turned out, her epidural didn't work. IT DIDN'T WORK!! Can you believe that? I guess I just never even knew that it not working was a possibility. There were many doctors in and out of the room trying to figure out how to manage her pain, and many different things were tried. They never did figure out what the hell went wrong with that.

Eventually, things started happening REALLY quickly. They ended up giving Kara a pain medicine through her IV, which I guess "took the edge off" and made her a little loopy, but from what I gathered, didn't really do that much of anything at all. And next thing we knew, they said she was ready to push.

I was shocked. She had been making such slow progress at first, that I had told my mom and brother to hold off on coming down to the hospital for a while longer, and that I would keep them updated. So I started frantically text messaging and calling them to tell them to head on down to the hospital. According to my text messaging timestamps, this was just before 1:30 p.m.

I started taking photos of the setup, of the process of pushing, etc. But after a while, I thought to myself, "Jeez, how many pictures can I really take at this point? Pushing is pushing..." so I let my camera hang loosely around my neck and I started pitching in. Kara's oxygen mask kept poking her in the eyes and was generally making her uncomfortable, so I tried to help out by holding it about an inch away from her face, so she was still getting the oxygen, but not the discomfort of the mask.

And she pushed and pushed and pushed. I'm telling you... after the failed epidural, the 10.5 hours of labor, and then ALL THAT PUSHING... the girl is my hero.

It's weird because you don't know exactly how it's going to feel to see all of it. I wasn't planning on watching too closely, but once she started pushing, it was so exciting and I couldn't help but get involved in it all. As soon as they came in and said she needed to start pushing, I got the biggest rush of adrenaline. My brother and I were laughing because we kept comparing our levels of "the shakes." We'd hold out our hands and try to keep them steady, but they would just shake uncontrollably.

After an hour of pushing, little Hunter was finally delivered at 2:32 p.m. We all (Kara, my brother, Kara's mom, and me) immediately started weeping. It was beautiful.

Once it was clear he was about to be delivered, I snapped back into photographer mode and started taking pics again. Once he was out, they had him lying down on the bed for a few minutes, wiping him off, and suctioning out his nose and mouth. My brother cut the cord, and then we heard those first few beautiful cries. Then, the doctor held him up to show Kara and give me my first real good photo of him:

As you can see, he wasn't too happy about it. :)

Trevor and I followed the baby over to the warmer where the baby nurse was waiting to examine him. Before she started doing too much, she let Trevor hold him for a minute. I love this picture.

Under the warmer. He was trying to open his eyes right away. I guess he wanted to get a real good look at all of the people who were responsible for removing him from his warm and happy home inside Kara's belly.

While the nurse was examining him, I quickly ran out to the waiting room to tell the fan club (I swear it was like 15 people!) that Hunter had officially arrived. And of course, I was totally unprepared for one of the most frequently asked questions: "How big is he?!" Hmmm. I had no idea. After giving everybody a quick peek at one of the photos I had taken on my camera, I ran back into the room so as not to miss any important activity.

Shortly after I returned, we got the answer everyone had been wanting and waiting for: 7 lbs., 13 oz.

Then they put goop in his eyes. He was pissed. (But look at him holding onto both of my brother's fingers... pardon me while my heart melts.)

And then he was finally all done being examined, and the nurse wrapped him up tight like a giant burrito. She then handed him over to his proud daddy.

Trevor took him over to Kara, who finally got to spend some time gazing at her new son. After a few minutes, she was nice enough to give her mom a turn, and then... ME!!!

I could not have been a happier auntie.

Shortly thereafter, the whole cavalry was allowed to come in. And everyone got their moment to hold the little guy. I think it was unanimous that our little guy Hunter is PERFECT.

It was around this time that my hunger hit me. It was probably at least 3:30, maybe 4:00, and it occurred to me that I hadn't eaten anything but a small bowl of cereal at 6:00 a.m. Trevor had only eaten breakfast, too, so we took a short break from the hospital and went to get some food.

Oh, and a few celebratory beers. (Notice the footprint stamp on Trevor's arm. When the nurse was doing the footprints, she said, "Let's give Daddy a tattoo!" and put one on Trevor's arm, too. So cute.)

After dinner, we went back to the hospital to see mom and baby settled into their new room. That was when the adrenaline rush really started to subside, and the exhaustion came. But I still couldn't resist spending just a little more time with this little one:

I love him so much!

Now, I am up to my eyeballs in photos to edit. I took something like 400 photos yesterday. Yikes! I'm hoping to finish editing and put together a slideshow for Kara very, very soon, so I'm spending almost all available time editing.

Well, all available time that's not occupied by visiting my beautiful new nephew. :)


My name is Heather. May 27, 2009 at 1:04 PM  

What a beautiful story (and great pictures). The one where he was holding your brother's fingers made me tear up a little. :-) Thanks for sharing.

Michelle May 27, 2009 at 1:33 PM  

The second picture after the beer picture is so adorable. His big puffy cheeks all adorable!
Congrats Aunt!

Lesley Rae May 27, 2009 at 1:44 PM  

congrats Heather!! I know you were waiting so patiently (ahem) for Hunter to get here! Thumbs up for your pciture taking abilities and for Trevor and Kara for making it through the labor! And really, I can't believe your brother has a baby. I know I've said this before, but I clearly remember him and Tyler running around your mom's complex when we were growing up. Can't believe it.

Congrats again! :)

Sara May 27, 2009 at 3:00 PM  

you take wonderful pictures, what kind of camera do you have? I love the foot tattoo!!!

Vanessa May 27, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

Oh happiness! I love babies! Hunter is perfect! You two will always have a special bond after this - just wonderful.

Amanda May 27, 2009 at 5:40 PM  

I love the pictures!! Such a cute kid, and I have to agree with an earlier "commenter" on the foot tattoo. One of my favorites. Congratulations!

Megan May 27, 2009 at 6:53 PM  

You'll forever be able to say "look kid, I was there when you came into this world....."

Very cool - congrats Auntie. There is really nothing like your siblings kids, except I guess your own kids, but I don't know that yet!

Becky May 27, 2009 at 6:58 PM  

Congrats!!!!! Such a great story!

Kelly,  May 27, 2009 at 7:17 PM  

Beautiful pictures and wonderful story. Brought a tear to my eye!

Anonymous,  May 27, 2009 at 10:47 PM  

Kara is a trooper! I'm a frequenter of your blog and I have been waiting for the arrival story. I myself have two little ones. When I was in labor with my son my epidural didnt work either so I can absolutely relate. She IS a champ. I had a 26 hour labor, but only had 20 minutes of pushing so if she had to push longer than that I give her soo much props. COngrats on the little cutie. He is adorable!

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