If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I battled a condition called cholestasis when I was pregnant with Ava. I had some itching off and on during my pregnancy with Drew, but it never amounted to much and I thought I would be able to have a full term pregnancy without developing cholestasis. However, over the weekend of February 4th and 5th, I began the tell-tale itching on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet. It was so bad the night of the 5th that I couldn't sleep, so I decided to make an appointment with my doctor on Monday the 6th.
The blood tests to confirm cholestasis typically take a week to come back and we didn't have that kind of time on our hands, as this condition can be harmful to the baby past 37-38 weeks. At this point I was 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant. My doctor's office decided to treat this as if cholestasis had indeed materialized. I was sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine for an ultrasound and a non-stress test to see if I should be induced immediately or if we could wait for the next morning. The ultrasound was completely normal and the tech estimated that the baby was 6 lbs, 8oz. The non-stress test did not go as well. The baby had a heart deceleration that lasted almost a full minute, thus prompting the decision to induce that day. I shakily walked back to my car to drive over to the hospital, completely unprepared for this moment - no bags packed, Jeremy at work, Ava at daycare, and my desire to labor at home for a while gone out the window.
My mom and Jeremy met me at the hospital where we worked out a plan for my mom to get Ava from daycare and take her back to our house. Jeremy obviously stayed with me at the hospital. After all of the initial questions and monitoring, I was hooked up to pitocin to begin the induction process. Thankfully my body was already getting ready on its own; I was 2 cm dilated at this point. Labor itself was fairly easy. I dilated to 4 cm about two hours after the pitocin had been started and at that point, they broke my water. My contractions were slowly but surely getting stronger, but I didn't feel the need for the epidural just yet. Call me crazy, but I wanted to experience those painful, strong contractions for a little while. It was what I had hoped to experience on my own at home and I wasn't going to give up the feeling just because I was in the hospital. I finally got the epidural when I was 6 cm and was having to softly moan through the pain. I'm glad I waited as long as I did though because with Ava's labor, I got the epidural fairly early and hardly felt the contractions at all.
Once I had the epidural, the baby began having heart decelerations again. I had to keep an oxygen mask on for the remainder of my labor. Six and a half hours after I had been hooked up to the pitocin, I was 10 cm and ready to push! It took the nurses and doctor longer to set everything up for delivery than it did to push the baby out. I couldn't feel much because of the epidural, so pushing was just a guessing game and muscle memory. It didn't take long though...about 15 minutes and 8 pushes total and...IT'S A BOY!
Andrew (Drew) Joseph...Monday, February 6th at 9:05pm, weighing 5 lbs, 11 oz and 19 3/4 in length:
Ava loves her little brother a lot. She gives him tons of kisses and expresses concern when he's crying. She talks to him softly and pats his back. It's adorable.
Obviously I have been having TONS of fun photographing Drew, both lifestyle photos as well as studio shots. I really wish I had gotten into photography before Ava was born so that I could have taken similar pictures of her...