Julian’s Birth Story

From Jaeger’s announcement:

Julian Elliot Stone Logan was born at 08:55 MDT this morning. He was 10 pounds, 6 ounces. (That’s 4700 grams, for those interested in metric units.) He’s 21.5 inches long, and his head measured 15 inches. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9. Big brother Calvin is excited, though not quite sure what to make of his infant sibling.

Selected photos are posted here.

Same disclaimer as with Calvin’s Birth: Below is the story of my perception of Julian’s birth. What I remember and what actually happened may not be the same thing. In addition, you may learn more than you ever really wanted to know about me in which case you probably shouldn’’t continue reading 🙂

The Pregnancy
My pregnancy with Julian was delightfully uneventful. Off the top of her head, my original OB gave 30% odds that I would have repeat preterm issues1. As my therapist would like me to remember that actually meant there was a 70% chance everything would go normal. I decided the one thing I could do to better my odds was to reduce as much stress in my life as possible. Starting in November I dropped everything that wasn’t strictly work or home related. In addition, I saw a therapist biweekly, and aimed to go to weekly prenatal yoga and prenatal water aerobic classes. While the exercise was no doubt good, I think most of the benefit came from being able to interact with other pregnant woman.

One reason I changed hospitals/OBs for my pregnancy with Julian was because I wanted the option to attempt a VBAC2. My previous c-section went really well but I strongly disliked having to commit to a c-section at the beginning of my pregnancy. Given Calvin’s birth weight, 8 lbs 15 oz, and prior ultra sounds we expected Julian to be large but I didn’t necessarily think that ruled out a VBAC and my OB seemed to think it could be feasible. However, at our 33 week appointment we learned that he was breech. I was not terribly surprised as at my dentist appointment the prior week I felt him “detach” when they leaned me back in the chair3. Thus, unless he swapped places again, I would have a scheduled c-section.

Our next appointment was suppose to be week 36 but Jaeger had to travel for work (during which time I really hoped Julian wouldn’t decide to come early). As a result, my next appointment wasn’t till week 37. At week 37 we learned that he was back in head down position (yay!) and I was dilated 4 cm and 60-70% effaced. My OB seemed dubious when I told her I was walking around at 5cm with Calvin for about a month. However, everything looked good so we decided to go ahead and hire a doula. This was rather late notice but we were very fortunate to be able to find someone quickly.

Week 38 I was at 5 cm and 70% effaced. No baby.

Week 39. Still 5 cm. No baby. I think Jaeger and I were less surprised than the OB. We started talking about what would happen if Julian wouldn’t come on his own. Because of my prior c-section my OB wouldn’t have used pitocin in any case but I didn’t want my water broken either. My instinct said that if he wasn’t coming on his own there was a reason and I felt inducing would likely end up in the same situation as Calvin: a fairly quick labor, a fair amount of pushing, and a c-section in the end. This feeling was so strong that I hadn’t really bothered to run it by my OB and only belatedly realized I probably should. However, while I’m not sure she 100% agree with me she did say it was possible he was having trouble dropping due to head size. In any case, we decided to hope he’d come on his own but schedule a c-section for 40 weeks and 6 days4.

Week 40. Still 5 cm. Still hadn’t dropped. No baby. My OB was on vacation so a partner checked me and seemed surprised to agree I was at 5 cm. I signed the c-section consent form and was dismayed to learn we were the first of the day, at 7:30am and needed to show up by 5:30am. Jaeger and I are not morning people. I was also dismayed to learn that not only was I not to eat for 8 hours ahead of time (I expected that) but neither was I suppose to drink anything, including water.

Sunday, the day before the scheduled c-section, we talked with our doula and discussed how she could help support us during the c-section.

Julian’s Birth Day
Jaeger and I woke up bright and early on March 30, 2015. We groggily showered (I wasn’t sure when I’d get another) and made our way to the hospital. Our doula was already there waiting for us.

I wasn’t sure why we needed to be at the hospital 2 hours early. It turns out that when a c-section is scheduled, they do a much more leisurely prep. We were immediately shown to the PACU. I got into one of the lovely hospital gowns, laid on the bed, and prepared to be prepped. They started out by monitoring Julian to double check he was still moving and his heartbeat was good. The nurse noted it looked like I was having contractions which I tried to explain didn’t actually mean anything in my case. Then she worked on inserting my hep lock (or something similar) and complained I was very dehydrated and apologized profusely that she was having trouble finding a vein. I was not entirely sure what they expected given I was told not to drink water for 6 hours. Various other things were done and paperwork filled out. Jaeger and our doula took pictures throughout.

7:30 arrived and my OB showed up. She had been on vacation the previous week and expressed surprise that I hadn’t gone into labor on my own already. The c-section was suppose to start at 7:30 but the anesthesiologist had been called away by another mother that needed an epidural. A bit after 8:00am the anesthesiologist arrived. I was hustled into the OR. Lots of things were done including giving me my spinal. Unlike last time I didn’t go from pain to non-pain so did not actually giggle my way through the surgery.

I was hoping our doula would be able to come in with us and take pictures but it sounds like the anesthesiologists, as a group, were cracking down on individuals that were allowing more than 1 support person in the room at a time. So, our doula instead stood just outside the door and snapped pictures through the window.

I really wanted to watch the c-section. Our doula had mentioned some hospitals had switched to clear drapes separating the sterile/non-sterile side which sounded great to me. However, the heated air mattress-like device they had on top of me, to keep me warm, would have obstructed my view a fair amount anyway. As it was I could kind of watch parts of it in the lit picture of aspens on the ceiling. Though, the instruments showed up better than anything else which wasn’t the part I was particularly interested in.

As my OB started she asked if I had any guesses how big Julian was going to be. I told her I was confident he was at least 9 lbs and she agreed. Julian was born at 8:55am and weighed 10 lbs and 6oz. The medical staff seemed quite impressed with his size. I think I was less surprised than they were. At least, my ribs had been convinced he was a fair bit larger than Calvin. Julian was taking to the warming table and his basic health was reviewed. His apgar scores were 8 and 9.

It was at this point in the birth that my experience compared with Calvin’s c-section started diverging dramatically. Prior to the c-section they had me put a semi-disposable tube top on. The theory was that if the baby fit he would be nestled between my breasts underneath the tube top. I was extremely skeptical that Julian would fit and hadn’t heard what would happen if he didn’t. After the initial evaluation, which took about 10 minutes, a nurse came over, looked at my tube top and verified that Julian wasn’t going to fit. However, this was apparently easily solved by cutting my tube top off and bringing Julian over and placed on my chest with a blanket on top both of us. I can’t remember exactly how long they left him there but it was a good amount of time.

Once I got stitched up they moved us back to the PACU/post-op room. Julian was large for his gestational age so they wanted to do a blood sugar test. At Longmont they wouldn’t let Calvin eat before his test and I was a bit worried about this. When I asked the Boulder nurse if the same thing would happen this time she looked at me like I was crazy and said they took the test after he first breastfed. Like Calvin, Julian’s latching wasn’t particularly comfortable but unlike Calvin he did seem to suck rather than chew. Julian passed his blood sugar test without any problem.

At around 11:00 am we were moved from post-op to our recovery room. Most of the recovery rooms have queen beds but we had been told that women recovering from a c-section often preferred the single beds (with couch for partner) because they had more positioning options. Jaeger and I had discussed this and agreed that for our case we’d still prefer the queen bed. I was just going to rely on Jaeger helping to position Julian and I as needed.

We spent most of the rest of the day napping and trying to breastfeed. Julian got several more blood sugar tests and kept getting progressively better scores. Medical staff kept popping in and remarking with some astonishment that a woman as short as myself (5′ 3″) had managed to carry a 10 lb baby. Around 5:00pm my mom and Calvin stopped by to admire Julian.

Upon reflection, I’m really glad I ended up with a scheduled c-section. Overall, this has been a much smoother recovery than my first c-section. As far as physical recovery, I’ve had very good experiences with both my c-sections. However, not having gone through labor first for this one, and delivery in the morning, meant I was much more coherent and could really focus on Julian’s first couple of hours of life.

(However, the excitement isn’t over yet. Continue on to hear about our exciting NICU drama.)

  1. These odds were just an educated guess on her part. There really isn’t a good way to predict spontaneous preterm labor ahead of time.
  2. Longmont will not do VBACs
  3. My OB says this is not normal.
  4. This was according to his official due date. According to my dating, he would be 41 weeks and 4 days.

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