Yesterday at 3:22pm at Community Hospital in Munster, IN Julie and I welcomed to the world Christopher Burton Williams. He was 7lbs 10oz about an hour after birth and 21 inches long.
Julie and I went to the hospital at 6am yesterday where the staff got us checked in with minimal fuss and they poked Julie full of holes to put tubes in her arms. They started her on a normal glucose IV and Pitocin.
Somewhere during this time, Julie's sister Jennifer came so we had perfect continuity between the three births as far as who was in the room. Jennifer was recovering from surgery on Monday so she was a real trooper for us.
At about 10 or 11am, Julie took an epidural and for a change, this time it actually worked. With our previous two children, she had epidurals with both and still felt quite a bit of pain. This time, the epidural was done correctly and it made things a lot easier.
We encountered some minor complications along the way which are somewhat gory so I won't go into details, but the doctor visited our room and pronounced that there was no danger so we kept going with labor.
Contractions sort of ebbed and flowed over the next couple hours and I hadn't eaten all day so at about 1:30, I ran out to Subway to get a sandwich. When I came back (just as with Matthew), things heated up considerably.
The baby was born in all of about two sequences of pushing. Compared to our other two birthing experiences this one was amazingly easy. Easy for me to say, I know. Julie only had to bear down and push for about 15 minutes so it was a very short hard labor. Jennifer was her usual rock star coach for Julie getting her to breathe and push.
As soon as the baby was born, the doctor hoisted him onto mommy's chest, messy goop and all. Julie was a little surprised. She immediately commented that he looked like Matthew, which he does, only with a slight difference - more on that in a moment. I was jumping up and down and celebrating Matthew-style. The doctor commented she'd never seen a father get so excited about a thrid child.
The nurses snatched him about 30 seconds later to put him in the warmer where he started to pink up rather nicely. He would scream every once in a while and when he did he sounded great but as soon as he slowed down his breathing, you could hear noticeable wheezing and shortness of breath. The nurses and doctors were all over it (the staff at Community has been REALLY impressive so far) and they started using a stethoscope to check his breathing.
They explained to me that he sounded like his breathing was underdeveloped, like he was born a few weeks early. I think they had that part at least partially wrong, but the point is that they whisked him down to the NeoNatal care unit (NICU, basically) and invited me to come along. Once we were downstairs in the NICU, they weighed him, measured him and footprinted him. They put tubes in his nose to help breathing. Later, they put a tube down his throat to make sure his tummy didn't get filled up with air. The head nurse asked if we had named him and I said not yet.
Things got a little scary at that point as they started to assess options. They asked me to sign a waiver to run an IV through his umbilical cord and they explained to me all the different things they might have to do to him and I started to get a little overwhelmed. I tried to keep my head, reading through the contract slowly to make sure I knew what I was signing. It was pretty standard stuff.
Then, they took him to have some tests done and escorted me back upstairs. Once back in the Labor and Delivery Room, Julie and I got down to the business of naming. I had been setting this table for several weeks now, so I was really thrilled when she suggested we name him Christopher Burton. To those who were expecting Jason Junior, I should say that I had a change of heart about six weeks ago when I realized that the pain of being a Junior is sometimes not worth it. Thanks to all who provided constructive feedback on that decision.
Julie, Jennifer, Tony (Jen's husband) and I then were escorted by our nurse to the Post Partum room. I should say at this point that we were surrounded by Kelli/Kelly's today. Julie's doctor's name is Kelli. Our nurse's assistant name in post partum was Kelly. Our post partum nurse during the night shift's name was Kelly. Oh, and Christopher's first nurse in NICU? Kelly. It's a little bit eerie :)
At this point Jennifer and Tony took off for home. I thanked them profusely and hugged Jennifer but not too tight. Julie was worked on by the nurses for a bit, and then Julie's mom and cousin came down so we all headed down to NICU to see Christopher. It turns out only two people per baby can be in the NICU at a time, so we sent mom and Jacob to hang out for a bit. Julie and I were instructed to wash with special sponges and then put on scrubs (basically think big paper robes). Then Julie and I went to see Christopher.
This was about 6pm, so it was about three hours after birth and Christopher was all tubed and taped up with respiratory tubes and an IV, although not through the umbilical cord. The nurse (Kelly) explained to me that a lot of the more advanced procedures they were contemplating turned out to be unneccessary as Christopher had made very good improvements in breathing since I had last seen him. It was a little hard to see him all tubed and taped but he was sleeping and looked rather peaceful. As mommy caressed his hand, his breathing actually slowed down and in some cases caused an alarm to go off. However, each time his breathing returned to an acceptable rate.
Julie and I stayed with him a bit and prayed over him. Then Julie went and got her mom and they went in to see Chris. Some time later, they came back and we headed back to the room.
I took Jacob (Julie's cousin) back to our house where our family friend, Beckie, dropped off our kids after keeping them since last night. The kids had a long fun day of playing in the pool so they were good and tired. I put the kids to bed and left Jake in charge at the house after introducing him to the neighbors for any emergency needs.
I headed back to the hospital to spend the night. To call the "bed" in the hospital room "uncomfortable" would be a gross understatement, but we made it work and I slept ok. At about 1am, Julie woke me up to take some milk down to Christopher. We spent some more time with him and I was amazed at the progress he had made in just that short period of time. His breathing had improved tremendously and there no interruptions or alarms. He was somewhat awake and occasionally you could get a peek at his eyes.
Feeling much better about our baby, we went back to bed.
Julie will be out of the hospital tomorrow and with any luck, we will have Christopher home on Friday.