Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gregory Augustine

I'll tell you what the biggest obstacle to my writing more on this blog is: pictures. I never think to bring my camera anywhere. If I do think to bring it, I don't think to use it. If I think to use it the pictures are usually terrible. And then I have to coordinate myself enough to upload the terrible pictures and choose a few to publish. It shouldn't be such an obstacle, but it is. I'm sure someone out there understands. Eric is of the opinion that most of you, dear readers, would love to have more updates about our family, pictures or no pictures. So I'm really going to try and post more even if I can't illustrate what I'm saying.

As for now--I do have a few decidedly mediocre shots of our newest addition. This is one seriously sweet baby and if that doesn't come through in the pictures, well, you'll just have to take my word for it.

Gregory came into the world on January 13th at about 5:15 in the morning. He was almost our smallest baby at 7 pounds, 4 ounces. (And if you read this just for the stats and don't like long birth stories you can skip ahead now to the last couple paragraphs). I had initially planned on this one being born at home as Margaret and William were. Honestly, after my 45 minutes of labor with William we didn't think trying to get to a hospital was even a very safe decision. I would rather have Eric deliver my baby and know that a professional is on the way than deliver on the freeway in January. We had a few hurdles, however. First, a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) at home is not really allowed in New Jersey. We found a midwife who was willing to help us given my history of very fast labor and we saw her for awhile. But then around 30 weeks we found that I had a low blood platelet count. That is a fairly common "complication" of pregnancy and doesn't really cause any problems--unless you bleed to death during birth. In a modern hospital that isn't too much of a risk but my home birth midwife thought I was no longer a good candidate for home birth.

We did a little research into local hospitals and found that the closest hospital actually had a group of midwives practicing. I called them up and immediately liked the woman who ran the clinic. She took me on as one of her private patients and we took it from there. Honestly, I liked the new midwife more, she and the hospital were more conveniently located, and her services (unlike the home birth) are covered by insurance.

I was a little apprehensive about birthing in a hospital. I (obviously) prefer natural childbirth and low intervention with regard to both mother and baby. Many, many of my friends have had horrible experiences of hospital birth and being a VBAC really ups your risk for unnecessary procedures and interventions.

There'd been lots of dickering about my actual due date for most of my pregnancy but we finally settled on January 25th. Two of my previous three babies were early so I expected to go early again. I wanted to give birth before Eric's semester started on January 18th and the string of snowstorms we had in early January had me on edge. The evening after one of the bigger storms I was feverishly doing house-buying paperwork at my desk when I got up for a snack and suddenly realized that I'd been having pretty regular contractions. I sat down to time things a bit and realized they were seven minutes apart. Seven minutes is a long time for most people but I'd gone from seven minutes apart to a baby in less than an hour before and didn't want to take any risks. We called our babysitter, called my midwife and took off for the hospital. We arrived to an almost silent labor and delivery ward in the middle of the night and settled in. My labor progressed steadily but (for me) very slowly. I refused to go to sleep because once I'd arrived at the hospital I didn't want to prolong things. But I ended up laboring for seven hours anyway. Most of it was very manageable and I stood around chatting with Eric and the midwife. By early morning I was exhausted and extremely hungry but Gregory was born fairly easily in the early morning. I couldn't have asked for a better setting for a hospital. The room was quiet and dimly lit and only Eric and my midwife were there. Even the nurse only showed up in the last moments and she was a quiet, calm presence who took great care of me immediately after birth as well.

Gregory was perfectly healthy right off the bat and the two of us settled in for our hospital stay. I had initially thought I would stay at the hospital for the full time allotted (48 hours) to maximize my rest. I realized after the first night that there is no such thing as a good night's sleep in a hospital where they feel the need to come in hourly to check someone's blood pressure. I had to argue with a few people for an early discharge but I was able to go home late in the afternoon on the second day.

Despite my ardent love for birthing at home, I have to say that my experience with a normal hospital birth was pretty positive. If we are blessed with another baby I would definitely be inclined to go back to the same hospital midwife.

Gregory has been a wonderful addition to our family. He is a very easygoing baby. The kids just adore him. Margaret has been a huge help holding him for me for short intervals and always ready to grab a clean diaper or change of clothes or make sure he has enough blankets. William is constantly trying to cover the baby in kisses--more kisses than any newborn can reasonably handle, in fact. He is mostly okay with not being the baby anymore though we have a few kinks to iron out in that department. I have noticed that since Gregory was born William seems to be attaching himself more to Joseph which is good for both of them.

I have had the easiest recovery from childbirth yet. I love having babies but I do not love being pregnant and it is very wonderful to be able to move quickly, bend over, hold my kids close, and generally have enough energy to get through the day again. My house is starting to get clean, dinner has gotten on the table, and I'm not even too worried about packing up the house in a couple weeks. Life is very good!

More soon on house developments. We are planning to close on a house in a few weeks and though there is no very great risk of things falling through, I'd rather save the details at least until we have the closing scheduled.


Brian said...

Great photos Susan...Gregory looks like William!

Kendra and Ryan said...

Congratulations, Johnston family! Glad you had a good hospital experience, too. Can't wait to see shots of the new house and more of new baby! Um, but no pressure on the photos, of course. :)

Emily said...

Thanks for the details on the birth! So glad the hospital treated you well :) Gregory is such a beautiful baby - I agree with Grandpa - he looks like William. Can't wait to meet him in person someday :)

Beth said...

yay! glad all went well!

TW said...

You have a beautiful family!