Sunday, July 15, 2018

How Benny Came

We reached a record breaking temperature of 114 degrees in Whittier the day before I was induced. Grandma and Grandpa Stevens' air conditioning stopped working, and Rose came down with a stomach flu that had her throwing up for the next twenty-four hours. Under the care of my mom, Rose shared her sickness with Jacob, Jessica, Jane, and Terri while Phil and I were in the hospital.

After much deliberation and prayer, Phil and I scheduled to induce a week before my due date. Seeing as Rose's birth was a whopping hour and forty minutes start to finish, I didn't want to be stuck at home with children when I went into labor with baby #3. Plus, this baby was sitting heavy, pressing on nerves, and causing frequent contractions that hindered all activity.

It was time. We drew up plans on what to do for every scenario, but we certainly didn't want to use those plans.

The doctors were of the same mind, so after confirming that PIH had a bed for me Saturday morning, we walked— er waddled into the hospital at 7 am. I'd been dilated to two and then three cm in the last several weeks and now was 60% effaced. The nurses all believed things would go easy for me.

On our way out the door
Regardless, I believed that this labor and delivery would be the hard one, the one where things didn't work out. Certainly, God wouldn't allow me to have three smooth labor and deliveries. Certainly, this one had to be hard, where something went wrong. I suppose I don't know God as well and I think. I keep bracing myself for calamity. But things went as smoothly as possible.

After a check in and answering a few dozen questions—no, I'm not allergic to latex, no, I don't smoke, yes, I understand the risks of an epidural—the nurses started me on the first dose of an antibiotic that needed four hours to get into my blood stream.  Phil and I rested, watched Fixer Upper, and read quietly while we waited. Both the older nurses, Lynette and Karen, were impressed to see Phil and I were reading real books. A little D.E. Stevenson and Lois L'amour passed the time nicely.

They administered the first dose of Pitocin at 11:30 am and allowed me to have an epidural shortly after. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Cola, was chatty, relaxed, and clear about everything he was doing. Some electric-feeling discomfort down my legs prevented him from inserting the epidural as deep as he usually does, but the drug still put my legs to sleep. I "labored" then until about 4pm waiting to feel the urge to push. The contractions weren't so terrible that I couldn't talk through them, but I did count to twenty each time to mark the end of each one.

The contractions were coming one on top of the other when the nurse came in to turn down my Pitocin intake. She checked me at that point and said the baby was just hanging out ready to come. She said she could feel the hair. Ew.

As if ordering a pizza, the nurse called in Dr. Williams who after arriving suited up in a full body garb while we chatted calmly. It was all so different from when Rose came, when nurses where rushing in and putting an oxygen mask on me and somewhat frantically pulling equipment out of the closets. No, this time everything was done as if we were just having tea together. Phil and I and Dr. Williams chatted in between pushes. And in ten minutes Benny was out. Born at 3:24 pm weighing 7 lbs 7 oz.

A filmy-white slippery little boy. I can still hardly believe he was ever inside of me. He cried for a short spell and then calmly looked around as he lay on my chest.

We settled on Jonathan Benjamin Stevens because we both liked Benjamin. Previously the children had favored Benny because that's the name of the youngest boy in The Box Car Children. But to prevent our boy from having the initials B.S., we agreed that Jonathan was a sound first name.

The hospital allows a great length of time to bond with the baby after birth. In fact the baby wasn't measured or weighed for several hours after delivery. A bath didn't come until 6 hours later. This has changed since Rose was born. I guess the hospitals have discovered that keeping baby with mama is best.

Phil and I enjoyed some privacy and peace in the AC of the hospital for the next two nights. About twenty people came and went getting Benny's birth certificate, performing a hearing test, circumcision, taking vitals, temperatures, meal orders, bringing water, meals, medication, drawing blood, ripping off the IV tape, helping me to the restroom, etc.

I have always been impressed with the hospital meals. Just for dinner they gave me a tray with a main course, soup, dinner roll, coffee, cheese cake, canned fruit, and juice. Phil took advantage of his one free meal a day until Monday, when the staff informed us that they'd officially discontinued that perk as of an email that morning.

After double checking Benny's jaundice levels and getting wads of paperwork about this, that, and the other, we were wheeled out of the hospital around noon Monday morning with our new little package in hand. The two volunteer ladies who wheeled me to the curbside were all a twitter over the new baby, and soon Rose and Lee would be too.


Robin Cox said...

Lovely! I'm glad you had such a good birth experience and everything went well. I was also worried about my third one... not sure why. Maybe we know too much? or think they can't all be so good?

Grandma Seelye said...

So happy for you!! So thankful every thing went as planned.We like his name and initials! When I initial some thing I always write BSS

bivbb said...

Thanks for posting! Yay for uneventful births! I was a BS until marriage and I always wrote BAS. Sounds like there's a consensus. :)