So for starters, meet my son Henri. Henri was born at 3:45 in the morning on Sunday, June 5, 2011. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 8.4 ounces and measured 20 inches long. My labor was very quick and relatively painless, thanks to an expertly administered epidural. I had wanted a wholly natural birth but thanks to my little man's timing, we had to make a change in the game plan. This has become Henri's trademark - calling an audible just when you think you have something figured out.
Henri first thought about meeting the world when I was 34 weeks along. Some medication and modified bed rest stopped my pre-term labor, but it didn't stop the little guy from keeping me on my toes. I ended up dealing with prodromal labor - basically, I was in mild labor for about two weeks. Near then end, I was struggling. I was nearly fully effaced, about 3 cm dilated and I had *had it* with being pregnant. When the contractions started in again on Saturday afternoon, I called my husband, grabbed the bags and said "We're going." At the hospital, they hooked me up to the monitor and watched me for a little while and, you guessed it, no progression again. This was my third time in triage and I really didn't want to have to go home again. With tears in my eyes, I told the nurse I wanted to stay and have this baby. My doctor was still advising against inducing me. A wise move, but at the time, I was livid. Fortunately, the triage nurse had a trick up her sleeve. She still sent me home, but with 8 milligrams of morphine in my system. She told me that after a couple weeks of this on-again, off-again labor, my body was probably just exhausted and that was preventing the labor from progressing. Sure enough, once we got home, I took three hour nap/out-of-body experience. I woke up having contractions, just as the nurse promised, and at around 12:30 am my water broke and we were off to the hospital. I was so excited to be finally under way that I didn't fully realize that this was when things would get really painful. During our birthing class, we were told to expect labor to take awhile. I was prepared for a long-drawn out process, but of course, my body had already been doing that for some time. Cut to me dilating at a torrid pace and saying through gritted teeth to throw out the birthing plan and "get the epidural to me NOW!"
Looking back on it, that was the best thing I could have done for myself. I'd kind of felt like having an epidural would be "cheating" or copping out - and I didn't want to slow down my labor too much. Of course I hadn't counted on going from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what was important to me was to be able to keep my head screwed on straight and remember all the details of my son's birth. Considering the blinding pain I was in (that had come from out of nowhere), I opted for some help. And I have to say, I may not have had an epidural before, but the one I got was superb. It was nothing like I had feared. It didn't stall my labor, I could still feel and move my feet and I was able to push Henri out by myself. The hardest part was sitting still for the darn thing while off-the-chart contractions were tearing through my body.
Wow, reading all that back, I may have gone into some detail there that no one really needed to know, didn't I? Oh well. That's one thing I'm realizing about this new chapter in my life - no shame and a different idea of what constitutes "too much information."
So here we are now, fifteen weeks later. Henri weighs a little over 13.5 pounds and is 24 inches long. He can sit propped against my lap, blow bubbles and pass his pacifier (or "Mute Button") from one hand to another. He loves to take baths, ham for the camera and be carried around the house like the little prince he is. He is learning to tolerate the Moby wrap and tummy time and occasionally likes to sit in his bouncy seat and watch me unload the dishwasher. He is definitely a high-need baby with a mind of his own and a list of particulars a mile long but we love him more than life itself and are so glad our Heavenly Father chose us to raise one of His precious sons.