Announcing the arrival of
Milo McPherson Beall

Born: June 8, 2003 at 7:55 p.m.
Weight: 8 lbs 0 oz
Length: 20 in.

At 1:30 a.m., Sunday, June 8, I suddenly woke up with the need to empty both the contents of my stomach and my bowels. I figured that it was the start of something that would lead to labor (or that Mac's sister Beth had fed us bad fish for dinner!) I went back to bed, and woke up to mild contractions at 6:30 a.m. They were about 20 minutes apart, and quite mild, but I called Mom, who decided rather than driving out from North Carolina as originally planned, she would get on the earliest flight possible. Around 9:00 a.m. we decided that the contractions were not going to fade, and called Kris, our friend who was serving as the additional labor support person, in Nashville, who had just driven all of her belongings down to her new apartment the day before. She and Beck jumped into action and unloaded the truck in an hour and a half, and Kris got on a 3 p.m. flight back to Kansas City. Thank goodness for Southwest Airlines!

I was slightly disappointed that it was starting on a Sunday, since my midwife doesn't take call on the weekends, but was happy that it was happening early in the week since Mac had had to schedule his vacation time without really knowing when the baby would arrive, and this way we'd have the whole week to spend with the baby together! Plus, in the end, everything happened so fast, that it really didn't make much difference who was the one there for the delivery. Quite a bit of the birth plan ended up either not necessary or totally flew out the window once I was in the throes of labor. Squatting?! Hah!

Mac and I spent the morning together, having a Swedish pancake breakfast, running some last minute errands to the grocery, where we succeeded in freaking out the lady giving out pie samples when she asked when I was due and we told her Wednesday but that I was currently in labor so it would likely be today. We went for a walk around the neighborhood, had a light lunch, finished preparing the bags to take to the hospital, and waited for Mom to arrive. Mac's mom, Ginny, and Mom showed up around 2:30 p.m., and we sat in the living room talking. The contractions were getting stronger at that point, and closer together, usually around 7 minutes apart, but occasionally as much as 14 minutes still, but were still manageable. Around 4:00 p.m., I decided that a bath might be nice and worked for a while until the water got cold and I decided to get out.

Close to 5:00 p.m., I thought that it might be wise to have a snack of some toast since I didn't know how much longer things would take, but just as Mac brought me the toast, I was hit with a sudden wave of nausea, and the contractions got a lot more intense, but I was able to work through them by rocking back and forth on all fours. They were about 5 minutes apart at this point, but occasionally seemed to come right on top of each other. I wondered if this was the "false transition" that had been discussed in our childbirth class. At about this time, I started to think that maybe we should start thinking about calling the doctor's office and making preparations to leave for the hospital. I sat on the porch with Mom as much as possible, getting up and walking around, working through the contractions on all fours, or leaning on the birth ball.

Jamison arrived with Kris at 5:30 p.m., Mac called the doctor's office and told them that we were ready to head to the hospital. Kris ran around and tidied the kitchen, took out the trash, made our bed, helped load the car, and we were off to the hospital shortly before 6 p.m. The drive to St. Luke's was ok - I kept my eyes closed, breathing through the contractions, enjoying the feel of the breeze from the open window. Mac parked in the staff lot across from the hospital and it was the longest walk I've ever had to the ER entrance. He later admitted that he thought about parking closer, but figured the walk might help speed things along. I had to stop several times during the brief walk, and was happy to be offered the use of a wheelchair once we got in the door.

Mom wheeled me up to L&D, where they made me walk back down a long long long hallway to the bathroom to give them a urine specimen while they called Dr. Matile, who lives 45 minutes away and was in the shower, but apparently is the world's fastest driver. Then they took me into a room to have the 20 minute monitor test strip done, and did an internal. I was 5 cm. dilated at that point, and was finally having some bloody show. The contractions were getting MUCH more painful by now, and it was harder and harder to relax and breathe through them. Towards the end of the twenty minute observation period, I realized that deep moaning helped more than breathing. Everything from this point on is a bit fuzzy - I was totally in my own little world at that point and my concept of time vanished.

The nurse helped us back down the hall to our L&D room, and encouraged me to stop and rock back and forth through the contractions. Once in the room, she suggested that I sit in the rocking chair, but because my bag of waters was still intact and bulging, there was just too much pressure in my pelvis for that to be comfortable. I asked about the use of the labor tub, but it was in use and would take 30 minutes to clean once it was empty. I thought about taking a shower, but things were suddenly way too intense for that to be an option. Standing was the last thing I wanted to do. The nurse had me get in the knees to chest position on the bed and pelvic rock, which felt ok for a few contractions. She checked me again, and I was 10 cm. dilated, but my water was still intact and there was still a bit of a lip to my cervix. She asked me to get in an upright position in hopes that gravity would help, so I stood up and leaned against the end of the bed, rocking and moaning the entire time, coming out of my trance-like state once when I said "This really sucks", then it was back to "the birth planet."

Dr. Matile had not shown up yet -he later said he thought he had plenty of time because Mac sounded so calm on the phone when he called from the house, saying I was just coming out of early labor. My water broke like a water balloon between my legs, thankfully relieving much of the pelvic pressure, but it was quickly supplanted by the overwhelming desire to start pushing. I was about ready to request that the on-call resident come and deliver the baby when Dr. Matile finally arrived. Up on the table once more to check my progress, and I was deemed ready to start pushing. I had hoped to squat or otherwise use gravity to my advantage, but at that point decided that I wasn't moving, nope, no way, nohow, from where I was, so it was the traditional lying-on-my-back-with-my-feet-up-in - stirrups position for me after all. At that point, I really just didn't give a damn. Kris and Mac were on either side of me, helping me push my legs back, giving me ice chips and moral support. Dr. Matile gave me a pudendal block which he said would help prevent the dreaded "ring of fire" from being too awful. I do sort of wish he’d asked before doing it, I didn’t really feel like I had a choice to say no thanks, but at that point, I probably would’ve just said ok to anything.

After twenty or thirty minutes of pushing, and overhearing Dr. Matile ask that a pair of forceps be opened just in case (Kris and I looked at each other and were all, um, no thanks!), I tried to relax and give into it a bit more and pushed pushed pushed and felt the head come out. A brief rest and then with the next round of contractions, HE was out at 7:55 p.m.! Mac announced "It's a boy!" (we broke the ortho residents' 13-girls-in-a-row streak!) and little Milo McPherson Beall was brought up to my chest, totally alert and absolutely beautiful. After a few minutes, the nurse was concerned that the circulation to his hands might need some help, so they took him over to the warming unit briefly to give him a good stimulating rubdown. Mac brought him back to me, the placenta was delivered and I was stitched up (a bit of minor superficial tearing - so much for the plan of using warm compresses to support my perenium - we never even had a chance to get the crock pot out to heat the oil! Or to use any of the other labor aids we brought for that matter)

We all just sat there looking at each other for an hour or so, made an initial attempt at breastfeeding, and then the nursery staff came into the room to do their exams and weigh him. 8 lbs 0 oz, 20 inches long. Hurrah to my wonderful birthing coaches, Mac and Kris, for helping me through it all! There's no way I could have done it without them. And hurrah to my mom, for being there and acting as the official photographer - how on earth did we think that Mac could've taken pictures during all that and helped me at the same time??? I ended up getting an IV of fluids and Pitocin to help my uterus contact as I was still bleeding more than they would've liked and was apparently on the paler side of the healthy spectrum, though my blood pressure was fine. Kris and Mom left us alone at 10:30 to run to Winsteads to get hamburgers and shakes for all, we made a few phone calls, had a shot (well a droplet for me) of the remains of the now 31 year old Jack Daniels that was originally purchased to celebrate Mac's birth in 1972 (pretty much thick grain alcohol syrup at this point), Beth and Ginny came by, and we were finally transferred over to the Mother/Baby unit around 12:30 a.m. Mac went with Milo to the nursery for his bath, and at about 1:30 a.m., we all settled in for the night. Milo slept next to me, waking up once or twice to nurse, but other than that was pretty sacked out.

We spent the next day just hanging out in the room, visiting with the grandmothers, the knitting ladies, Chris and Inga, Beth and Matt and the boys, and just marveling at the tiny creature with so much hair and big eyes who makes such cute little noises, and wondering how it was that we had made him. Lee (my midwife) stopped by to see us and expressed her disappointment in not being there for his birth, but was happy that everything turned out so well. He had his checkup by the pediatrician, and other than that, spent pretty much the entire day with us in the room. That night, we got a pizza, had Mom come over, and watched one of the videos we had rented to watch during labor. Tuesday morning, Milo had all the final tests and checkups he needed, we packed up, did the necessary paperwork, and came home at noon.

The rest of the week has been low-key, just hanging out with Mom, Mac, and Milo, and the occasional visitor. He's so incredibly good, crying ferociously only during diaper changes (and that's gotten better now that my milk is in and the poops aren't the icky sticky meconium ones) He gets a little fussy between 3-4 a.m., but other than that, he's pretty quickly consoled by either being held, by sucking his thumb, or by nursing. We made a brief outing yesterday to Old Navy to get me some non-maternity but still comfy pants, and to the drug store to get diapers/wipes/laxatives/Soothies (thank you Nikki for introducing me to those! What a godsend!)

I still don't know that it's totally sunk in that he's OURS, forever, not just a loaner from the hospital. I'm sure reality will hit next week once Mom goes home and Mac goes back to work, but so far, we're still all just reveling in his cuteness and oohing and aahing over every little noise and funny face he makes. I'm anxious to be able to get out and about and start showing him off, but it's been nice just having this week to relax and take it easy and do nothing but tend to Milo. He's waking up now, so it's time to stop typing. Expect more pictures to follow in the days to come. Mom's been taking them faster than I can upload them!

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