Since many of you have been asking - I've decided to share Dean's birth story with you by way of a letter I've written to him. I've actually been writing to Dean since we knew we had a little one on the way. I didn't know him yet - or even that he was a he - but it didn't matter. Someday I'll share all the letters with him so he will know how much he was loved from the very beginning. I'm not sure if he'll be as amused by all of this as I am, but I couldn't very well not document everything for the future. That's just what I do!
I'll apologize in advance because this post is incredibly text heavy. Also, if you don't want to know too much - stop reading now. I didn't include every last detail of the day, but I did mention most.
Pictures will follow but bear with me while we figure things out over here. It's a work in progress!
In the meantime, here's my letter to Dean about the day he was born...
I am so excited to be sitting here writing this letter to you. Mostly because I know who YOU are now! Incredible! First off, you are Dean Anthony Benedetti. You are an absolutely adorable, handsome, beautiful, cute, perfect little man! You arrived on February 1, 2012 at 9:51pm. You weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces, and measured in at 20" long. You were born with 10 perfect little fingers, 10 perfect little toes, the skinniest little legs and arms I've ever seen, and a full head of amazingly long dark hair. We were so surprised at how beautiful you were...and that you were a boy! We didn't find out if you were a boy or girl and the surprise was...in a word...PERFECT! You are amazing!
Let's backtrack a little. You little man, were overcooked! That's right. You were born at 40 weeks, 6 days. I guess you were nice and cozy in your warm home and didn't feel the need to experience any other home yet. This on it's own is incredible considering you tried to make your first appearance at 27 weeks. I guess I did a good job of following the doctors orders so you stayed put long enough to become nice and healthy, and ready for the world.
On Tuesday, January 31st I had an ultrasound and a doctors appointment scheduled in order to check on you since you hadn't arrived yet. We discovered that you were doing ok, but that you didn't have much amniotic fluid. Considering this can be an indication that the placenta is deteriorating it was decided that I would be induced earlier than the date we had set of Friday February 3rd. So, Wednesday the 1st was the day. I was warned that inductions can take between 24 and 36 hours so I mentally prepared myself for what was ahead of me (as much as I could.) I left the appointment feeling anxious and excited. I really didn't know what to expect, even though everything had been explained to me. I knew I was finally going to meet you and that's all that mattered, but I was still frightened about how you were going to make it into this world. Mom G-K and I spent the rest of the afternoon keeping busy strolling Newbury Street, informing family and friends of the new plan for your birth, and doing last minute errands. When your dad got home from work we went out to dinner with Mom G-K and Emily to celebrate, enjoy our "last supper," and keep distracted. Then it was home to pack and attempt to get a little rest. Of course, there wasn't much rest to be had, and before I knew it it was time to leave for the hospital.
February 1, 2012 was a beautiful day in many ways. The weather was supposed to be perfect - an unseasonably warm 50 degrees and sunny. It was going to be a long day and I wasn't going to be able to eat once the induction was started so Mom G-K made us breakfast and then we stopped at starbucks so I could get a drink. Then we were off to the hospital. It was such a strange experience. I was so nervous and anxious I wasn't sure what to do with myself. When we got to the labor and delivery floor I was taken straight to my room. As luck would have it we got the best room in the whole place! The biggest corner room with a wall full of windows with a great view of Boston. After I was situated I got several visits from my labor and delivery nurse, the world's most awkward medical student, the resident on call, and several other people. After all the visits my lovely nurse Amanda came back to get the pitocin started. She and my doctor decided that since I was already dilated about 2-3 cm and that I was having contractions on my own every 2-3 minutes, that pitocin was most likely all I needed in order to make the contractions more regular and more effective. I've been having contractions for months so I was just waiting to see how different these contractions would feel. After a few hours they started to get painful. Of course, this didn't happen until after your dad and Mom G-K left to get a late lunch. By the time they got back I was feeling uncomfortable and scared. They helped to settle me back down. We tried walking the halls, moving around the room, sitting in different types of chairs,(not to be overly graphic - but sitting on the toilet for a while,) and ultimately moved on to sitting on the exercise ball.
Around 5:30, Dad K arrived and Mom G-K went downstairs to find him. By this point I was in pain. Just as mom left...my water broke, at 5:40pm. Up until this point that was the scariest thing that had happened. It just startled me! And it didn't stop! What a weird feeling. As to be expected - after my water broke there was no longer any cushioning between your head and my pelvis and things because even more painful. Mom and Dad G-K came back up for a little bit. They kept me entertained as much as possible. During each contraction I really had to concentrate and focus on breathing through the pain until it was over. The pitocin made the contractions so regular. They had been every single minute since they begin and they were strong! They lasted just about the entire minute so there wasn't any break between them. I was becoming exhausted and frustrated. I tried leaning over the bed for support. That worked for about an hour. Your dad was fantastic throughout the whole process. He was coaching me to breath, rubbing my back, and just standing by me. By 7pm I could barely hold myself up since the contractions were so strong. I decided it was time for Mom and Dad to leave and to be checked to see how much progress I'd made. It was also time for a shift change so my new nurse Joanne came in as Amanda stepped out. The next 45 minutes were a complete blur. I was bombared by Joanne, medical students, residents, my doctor, etc... I was in so much pain, and it happened so fast that everyone just came in to see what was going on. They had a 15 second window to check me and they determined that I was already at 8 cm. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy to hear the news...but also frightened that there was still a ways to go. I was having the urge to bear down and my body was doing it on its own. I couldn't control it and it wasn't time yet. Pushing at this point would cause my cervix to swell, and therefore it wouldn't be able to dilate large enough to fit your little head through. I asked my doctor realistically how long were we talking. I needed concrete information in order to make a decision about what to do. I had made it so far and I was shocked and overjoyed by the news, and yet I was beyond frightened that I wouldn't be able to take it for a few more hours. When she said we were realistically talking about 2-3 more hours I decided, with your dad's help, that the epidural was the way to go. Without the pitocin contractions usually happen every few minutes, giving you a break in between to get back in the right frame of mind and prepare for the next one. With the pitocin mine were coming every single minute and not letting up at all in between. They were that much stronger and more unbearable. After I made the decision to get the epidural there was an onslaught of people rushing in and out of my room. They made your dad leave and everyone frantically rushed around preparing me and the room. Since my contractions weren't letting up, I was going to have to sit still on the bed through them while getting the epidural. The procedure took about 20-30 minutes and poor nurse Joanne must have lost a few fingers during the process. She held my hand, coaching me to breathe and relax as much as possible, reminded me to fight the urge to bear down, and stick it out. They finally gave me a test dose of the medicine and told me that I had to lay down and just try to fight it for another 20 minutes. Since we were playing catch up with the medicine they gave me an extra dose to try to get things working. They brought Michael back in and he continued to coach me through the next 20 minutes of contractions. Finally, it started to take affect.
The next hour and half were much more relaxed. I was able to rest a little bit and let my body do what it needed to do. Since the contractions were so strong and consistent they actually turned off the pitocin to see if my body would react on it's own. I was contracting every 2-3 minutes on my own and that was enough to continue the process. (Perhaps if they'd done that when they checked me I would have been able to make it though. Either way - it doesn't matter!) The hormone change and epidural were causing me to shake like crazy, but I didn't care. All that mattered was that I were making progress and that we were about to meet you!
At 9 they decided to check me again. All the doctors and residents were delivering other babies so we had to wait a few minutes. At 9:15 the resident came to check me and was having trouble determining how dilated I was...and that's when he said, "Woah, that's because that's the head right there!" I was fully dilated and your head was at +2...meaning it was time to push! Joanne and your Dad got me situated a few minutes later and I started to push with each contraction. After a few minutes the room was filled with the new doctor on call, new resident, medical student, and other support people. I continued to push and each time I could see your little head coming out. What an incredible experience. Your dad was amazed by everything. It helped me to watch him. We were so amazed and couldn't believe how close we were to meeting you. After only 35 minutes of pushing, you arrived! First came your head, and then a few more small pushes brought out your shoulders, and before we knew it...you were here! They placed you on my belly as your dad cut your umbilical cord. I held you as they rubbed you down and made sure you were breathing well and that everything was ok. Within seconds of your birth, your dad told me you were a boy! I couldn't believe it! I wanted to say your name, but I didn't know it yet! I just held you - watched you - and kept saying how I couldn't believe it. We were so in love with you!
It took about 45 minutes to patch me back up, all the while we got to hold you and talk to you on my chest and get to know you. After everything was fixed up and we'd had about an hour with you, they took you over to the warming table to get weighed, measured, receive your vitamin k shot and your antibiotic eye ointment. I wasn't able to move, but your dad went with you to be with you and to take pictures. Immediately after it was time to start breastfeeding. With Joanne's help we made it happen. It was such a surreal experience. In a way I was entirely "there," and at the same time I was somewhere totally different. I couldn't believe that you were here, and that I had created you. I couldn't believe that you were mine, and that you were the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen, and so perfect in every way. I couldn't believe how fast things had happened and that your birth day would always be the perfect palindrome that it was - 2.1.12. I couldn't believe how wonderful your dad was and how he was the perfect coach and the perfect dad. I was completely consumed by how incredible you were.
We stayed in labor and delivery for another hour or so, and then we were moved down to our new room for the next few days. Your first three days were a whirlwind of eating, pooping, crying, and sleeping. We were checked on every couple hours and both were progressing nicely. We functioned in a hazy world of no sleep, and complete bliss.
I'll tell you more soon, but right now it's time to get cleaned up and get discharged. We're going home!
The perfect new family of three.
What more could we ask for?!
I love you so much baby Dean. You are perfect in every way. We are the luckiest parents and we know it!