For many months, I have contemplated writing Jonas's story. Parts of me were confident that I would always remember every detail, other parts of me were afraid that if I shared it, I would never forget the bad stuff. I recently read another mom's birth story that moved me to tears, and it inspired me to share Jonas's story. So here it is:
I went to the hospital on August 6th, for a check-up. My due date was first the 8th, then pushed back to the 5th, so the doctor wanted to check and make sure I was healthy and so was Jonas.
I was admitted for half a day, then sent home. They scheduled me to come back the next day and induce labor. Some women are adamantly against this, but there were concerns about his size and the health risks, as I had gestational diabetes. On August 7th, I came in at 8:00a.m., and Pitocin (medicine given to induce labor) was started at noon, on the dot.
I was under the (very wrong) assumption that it wouldn't take more than a few hours to take effect. Ha! Kris and I hung out in our little room, passing time trading Rolling Stone and Bon Appetit magazine. We chatted, flipped through channels of boring daytime television, and updated our facebook statuses via cell phone. As the hours wore on, I grew increasingly cranky about not being able to eat, as they don't allow you food in case you need to be rushed in for an emergency c-section. Kris endured this the best he could, taking my mind off of it by making sure I had all of the orange popsicles a pregnant lady could wish for.
I was taken for an ultrasound, to see how things were going and check his size. They estimated his size at well over 9lbs, and so began the talk of c-section. I was taken back to my room, and the doctor on duty came in to speak with us. Kris and I were adamant that we did not want to have a c-section, unless Jonas or I were in serious danger.
Evening came, and still no contractions. A new doctor was on duty now, and thought the previous doctor was ridiculous for suggesting an unnecessary c-section. THANK YOU! Around 8:00p.m., he came in once more for what I thought was going to be a regular exam. Instead, he sprung it on me: he was going to break my water. What a strange sensation that was. He and the nurse left, saying the anesthesiologist would be in shortly to administer the epidural. In the meantime, someone else needed an emergency c-section, tying up the anesthesiologist. The nurse suggested giving me a different shot to numb my discomfort, which at this point was starting to grow. I accepted. Shortly thereafter, around 9:30p.m., they came to give me the epidural anyway. I slept until midnight, leaving Kris to entertain himself with more crappy tv, as we'd already read our magazines cover to cover. Including the Ikea catalog. Haha.
When I awakened, I could feel the contractions getting a little stronger. I squeezed Kris's hand as tightly as I could, asking him to help me focus on breathing, staying calm, anything to take my mind off of the discomfort I was feeling. I didn't want to get up, change positions, nothing. I just wanted Jonas to hurry up and get here. Somewhere during this time, we finally settled on a middle name. After much deliberation, we decided to honor the Engwalls by naming him Jonas Raymond. Raymond is my grandfather's first name, and my father's middle name. The Engwall family name ended with me, as there were no more boys in the family. We thought this would be a fitting way to pay tribute.
Close to 3:00a.m, I was desperate to start pushing. The nurse wanted to grab the doctor, and have him present if I was to begin pushing. She took too long, according to my impatient laboring self, so I decided I would start pushing anyway. At 3:15, I looked at the clock above the bathroom door, and decided I was going to push for no longer than an hour. I had my mind made up that this is how it was going to be. And so we started.
The epidural was not what I had imagined. I couldn't feel much of anything from the waist down, and yet I could still feel plenty of pain. It was enough to render me nearly ineffective at pushing, and after the nurse's several failed attempts at coaching me through it, she declared she would be turning my epidural medicine off and we were doing this without.
Kris was absolutely amazing throughout this entire process. I had a nagging fear in the back of my mind that with my history of chronic leg pain from my car accident, I wouldn't be very good at this whole labor thing. Kris encouraged me, held me hand, made me focus, pushed my back forward. Held my knees closer to my chest. Ultimately, I think Kris did a fair amount of laboring, too! It was really difficult, and I did my share of complaining about not wanting to push for as long as the nurse was asking me to. But I didn't scream, I didn't curse, and and I didn't do the cliche telling off of the husband for getting me pregnant. So silly.
Finally, after much anticipation, Jonas Raymond Hilburn made his way into the world at 4:25a.m. Just as I had told my body to do, I pushed for just over an hour. I had predicted months prior that he would be born in the 4:00a.m. hour, but the neatest part was 4/25 is my date of birth, and now Jonas's time of birth. They laid him on my chest, all warm and gooey and purple...just like you see in the movies...and I just kept saying "We did it little guy" over and over again. I searched for a dry spot on his head to stroke, and stared at him in amazement. I expected all this time that I would cry, but I didn't. I was in so much shock from labor, and my adrenaline was pumping. Kris cut the cord, and they swept him away to get checked out. 9 out of 10 Apgar score, (the wellness test they assess babies with upon birth) this kid was already passing life's first test with flying colors! They told us he was 7lbs, 6oz. and 19.5 inches. Perfect.
The nurses cleaned him up, it was a bit of a blur right after. I was in awe and tired and amazed. My parents and Kris's came in to meet their first grand baby, all of them. We took lots of photos, again, much of this was a haze. I didn't even notice until months later that we didn't have the requisite first family photo. There are some me holding Jonas, with Kris standing next to the bed, but you can only see part of his t-shirt. It's almost funny, really.
The grandparents left to let us rest, and Jonas was laid in his bassinet. They took him to the nursery for a more extensive check up, which was standard. I still hadn't eaten, so I asked the nurse for a snack, as it was too early for breakfast service. Graham crackers and juice seemed like a joke after nearly 48 hours without food, but I was so hungry it hardly mattered.
Kris had long ago curled up in a chair for a nap, and I dozed in and out waiting for real food. Pancakes. Sweet, glorious pancakes!
A nurse came in to move us from labor and delivery to recovery, and we moved on to the next phase of our new family life...blissfully unaware of the curveball that was to be thrown at us.