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When I picked the photos for my header, I looked for ones that included Maximus and us. While my options were thin, the memories are vivid.

Bryan and Maximus

I think I remember all of the night Maximus was born, but there’s a good chance I may not because of the c-section drugs. I could barely keep my eyes open because I was so drowsy. Actually, I don’t remember them wheeling my bed from the recovery room to my room. I do remember my parents coming into the room and I think Bryan walked with me into the room. I think he left and wheeled Maximus into our room. (I don’t think a nurse wheeled Maximus in…) I think Bryan put Maximus in my arms. Now, I’m realizing I “remember” that night but it’s all pretty fuzzy! One of my parents (my dad?) took a picture of Bryan, Maximus and I. It’s the only family picture we have from when he was born, and I look like I just got out of surgery! Ha. I look really groggy and it was all I could do to smile. It’s not a pretty picture of me, but I have it framed and show it because it’s the first day of the rest of my life as a mommy. Back to THIS picture…after our family picture and some pictures of just me and Maximus (that also aren’t very good) and some pictures of my parents and Maximus and I, then Bryan took him. Bryan was walking with him across the room. It was really his first time holding Maximus and getting to really look at his face. Someone had put the camera on my bed. In my groggy, just got out of surgery, haze, the blogger in me picked up my camera and turned it on. I have no idea how I got a good picture because I’m sure I barely looked through the eye slot. Not to mention that it was 10:30 at night in a dimly lit hospital room. Regardless, I will forever be grateful that I took this picture. It means this first daddy-son moment is forever captured!

Me and Maximus

Maximus was about four or five days old. This was one of my first times out of bed. I was so sore and in pain that I couldn’t hold Maximus without having a pillow propped under me. Bryan and I were getting ready to start season 1 of Entourage. This became a nightly routine of ours those first few weeks. We stopped and haven’t gotten up-to-date on the episodes, but it was a fun way to spend each evening. I would nurse Maximus and we’d watched a few episodes. As the weeks passed, we’d move him to his bassinet after he fell asleep. I think this picture was taken the night that we took Maximus out for the first time. Or, maybe I just think that because I wore the same clothes for quite a while! (I could only wear one pair of pants because everything else touched my incision.) His first outing was a night softball game to watch his uncle. I was a slow mover and leaned on the stroller the whole time we were there. Maximus slept because that’s what newborns do. I had him dressed appropriately in a baseball onsie so he fit right in. I asked Bryan to take this picture because I knew we hadn’t taken a lot of camera pictures and I knew there were none of me since the ever-s0-amazing post-surgery pictures. This is another goodie that I’ll always cherish because of the memories associated with it. I can look at that picture and be taken back to those first few weeks. The night-time feedings, the quiet of the house, the way the house seemed to change before our eyes, and the routine that quickly fell into place.

Maximus and Wrigley

I’ve been very good about taking pictures every month. I want to look back at his first year and see how Maximus has grown. I asked Bryan to take the pictures because for some reason I felt like I needed help. I decided that Maximus was starting to gain substance and I wanted to have him sit up. Isn’t that what four months old do?  To the nursing chair we went (that still sits in our room and hasn’t made it to his nursery…). Bryan snapped a few pictures while I adjusted the blinds so we could get some natural light. Maximus was kind of into smiling but not completely loving it or doing it on demand. After a while, Wrigley wanted in on the action and jumped up on the chair and sat down. We rolled with it and caught a couple of pictures of the two of them. I don’t remember much about the rest of this day. I think this was the first time Maximus wore his Cyclone sleeper. And I think it was a lazy Sunday. Outside of that, I remember the photo shoot. I know this will be the first of many pictures of our two babies.


The birth of Maximus

Wednesday, July 28, 2010:

This evening I started getting contractions. They weren’t too painful and they weren’t consistent. I told Bryan that I assumed they would hurt a lot more so I wasn’t going to worry about them too much. I didn’t do much this night. Took it easy and stayed horizontal for most of the evening.

Thursday, July 29, 2010:

After a very restless night of sleep and multiple trips to the bathroom, I slowly made my way into work. Arriving about 30 minutes after I should have been there, I started my day with the intention of not staying through the afternoon. My one goal – get things wrapped up that morning. My first contraction of the day was around 6:30. It wasn’t much different than the night before so I continued on with my day. 

At 9:17 I had my first “major” contraction. It was major enough to make me stop and grab a piece of paper to write the time down. The pain still wasn’t what I thought it would be, but it was more than the night before. I went 21 minutes, 17 minutes, and 15 minutes in between contractions. Around 10 am I called and told him to reschedule his afternoon meeting because I didn’t think we’d still be in town. I told him they were consistent but not too painful. I had a few things to finish up and then I was leaving. At 11:30 I cleaned up my office in case I wasn’t returning and left.

When I got home I packed my bag and headed to the couch. I rewrote the contractions in my notebook while snuggling with Wrigley on the couch. brought lunch home and I proceeded to eat a few bites. I was worried that they wouldn’t let me eat later that day, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat. Bryan ate his lunch and packed his bags while I grabbed last minute things. The contractions had intensified a little. It was enough that I had to stop what I was doing and breathe through the pain. By 1 pm the contractions were about 10 minutes apart. The pain had increased from my back and stomach to part of my upper thighs.

I called my doctor in Ames and told her what was going on. She said they were still kind of far apart for early labor but it was my decision to come over. I knew she was going on vacation that afternoon so I said we’d be there about 2. On the drive over, the contractions increased to about 6 minutes apart and sometimes 3. Traffic was pretty heavy for a Thursday afternoon but the drive went pretty quick.

I got to the office and saw my nurse when I walked in. They didn’t have any rooms open so I had to sit in the waiting room for a little while. I went through about 2 contractions while I was in there and the room was packed!

Finally, I made it back to a room and my doctor checked me and I was 100% effaced and 3 cms. She said it was our decision if we went over to the hospital or if we waited a while. The process was that they would monitor the contractions to see how they were and watch the baby to see how he was dealing with them. Once they started monitoring me, I wouldn’t be able to leave. We decided to go over because I wasn’t going to be able to do anything else around town.

We got to my room at 2:50. A nurse hooked me up and started monitoring my contractions and the baby’s heart beat. She reassured me that he was handling the contractions very well and his heart rate wasn’t dropping too much when I was going through them. I labored on my side in bed for awhile. In between each contraction Bryan gave me water so I could make sure to use the bathroom each hour. Around 4 I got up and used the bathroom. On my way back to the bed, my nurse grabbed an exercise ball and I stood up through a few contractions. During each contraction Bryan massaged my lower back and helped ease the pain.

Around 4, my nurse checked me and I was 6-7 cm. She talked with my doctor who had called to check on me. She told me the doctor on-call and midwife on-call and asked who we’d prefer. Even though I was going for a natural, medication free birth, we decided the doctor would be best. Sometime during this hour I experienced the “transition” of labor. I was no longer able to calmly breathe through contractions. Instead I started moaning a little during the peaks. Because of the way I was reacting to the contractions, my nurse had the doctor come in and introduce himself and check on me. Unfortunately he had a different idea of the cms and told me I was about 6-7. She had just checked me and figured I was about 8. My water hadn’t broke yet, but with each contraction I felt like it was barely intact. My contractions were a few minutes apart and had changed again. I experienced one with immense pressure and then another with no pressure. My nurse urged me to ride along with them as my body was getting those last few cms out of the way. The pressure was the baby moving down. Every pressure-filled contraction, I concentrated on the baby. Knowing that he was the result made it easier to get through those contractions. 

Sometime after 5, he asked if I wanted my water broke. If he did that it would speed up labor and my contractions would probably intensify. I agreed that he should break it because I thought it was pretty close anyway. Quickly after he broke my water, my body went into push mode.

I was thankful for an amazing nurse who told me what was happening to my body when things changed. When this first push came on, I opened my eyes and looked to her for help. She explained that it was natural, but to let my body do the work.

Sometime before 6, he checked me again. He said I was fully dialated and asked me when my last ultrasound had been. I don’t remember answering, but Bryan tells me that I told him it was at 20 weeks. They determined that Maximus was breech. I was told to not push with my body. They hadn’t let me push yet, but it was a lot harder when I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t. My contractions were about a minute apart so we had to move fast. He gave us the choice to try and deliver breech or do an emergency c-section. We both agreed that c-section would be the safest way to go.

My nurse grabbed the phone and started shouting orders. The OR needed to be prepped for an emergency c-section and the patient needed everything. Because I didn’t have an epidural, I didn’t have an IV. My room turned into a crazy house as people rushed in with OR gear on. Everyone was doing something at the same time. Reassuring eyes were helping coach me through the push urges my body was going through. The only way I could cope was to scream through the push portion and then breathe through the rest of the contraction. All at once, someone was putting an IV in me while someone else put a catheder in. 

They threw scrubs at Bryan and unlocked my bed and moved me to the OR down the hall. Because I was medication free, I didn’t have an epidural line in my back so they couldn’t go that route. Time was also an issue and they couldn’t wait for something to kick in. They strapped me to the table and gave me a general to knock me out. Bryan moved to an observation room and watched them cut me open. After they pulled Maximus out, a nurse grabbed him in a football hold and kicked open the door and ran past Bryan to the nursery. They sucked the fluid out of his lungs and gave him a clean bill of health. They told Bryan later that it had taken a little longer than normal because Maximus had started moving down the birth canal.  

I was in the recovery room for about 2 hours. Bryan sat with Maximus for a while and then sat with me. Around 9 pm I was taken back to my room and I met my son for the first time. 

Sleeping Maximus Arthur