Wow… We’ve been at the hospital since 9am on Thursday morning. Our little man just couldn’t pass the non-stress test at our last OB appointment. His heart rate was a steady 144 beats per minute, but just wouldn’t jump up high enough when he moved around. Being 7 days overdue already, we had to make the decision to induce labor.

We declined Pitocin initially. Our Midwife, Michelle (who is a complete angel, by the way), gave us some options and opinions. We all decided on Cytotec. It’s not indicated for inducing labor, but it works. We started Cytotec at 3pm on Thursday (after doing tests since 9am, with a Bob Evans break at 11:30a). Sarah started having weak contractions shortly thereafter. At 3:30am Friday morning, contractions suddenly got very strong. They were 2 minutes apart, lasting 60 seconds. This went on for 12 hours, with very hard contractions. At 3pm the next day (Friday) Sarah was put on Pitocin, because her uterus was getting tired and starting to fizzle a little bit. She was also given a morphine shot, because she didn’t have any break for a nap, and the contractions were very strong and painful. She continued to have contractions while she slept. She woke up after 3 hours and continued with hard contractions.

After all this, Sarah was only dilated to 2cm. The pitocin continued. At 11pm that night (Friday still), she was dilated to 5cm. At midnight, her water broke. At around 4am (Saturday) her contractions got much much harder. Michelle (our midwife) said it sounded like it was time to call family to come up to the hospital. Another check at 5am and Sarah was still only 5cm dilated. Michelle pulled me outside and said that the baby’s head wasn’t pushing onto the cervix and so wasn’t dilating more. At 8am, Sarah exhausted, we had no choice but to get an eipdural so Sarah could rest and alleviate some of the pain. At 10am, she was dilated to 6cm.

At 3pm (5 hours later) she was only 7cm dilated. We still had hopes for a natural (vaginal) birth, but had to begin discussions of a c-section. At 5pm, Sarah was still 7cm with no changes, other than the fact that her contractions were getting weaker and weaker and further and further apart. Her uterus was giving up.

There was no longer any other choice than to get a c-section. We felt extremely disappointed, but we knew in our hearts that we had exhausted ALL other options first. Her surgery was at 6pm. I was at Sarah’s side during the surgery. She is, by far, the strongest, most resilient woman I know. I still have no idea how she endured 51 hours of hard contractions. At 6:14pm, our beautiful baby boy was born and shown to us. We were informed that there was no possible way Sarah could have had him naturally. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times, and he was physically too big to fit through her pelvic bone Redacted: He could have fit, but had his head/body in a position preventing him from doing so.

I stayed with him from then on. Sarah got closed up and wheeled off to ICU for recovery. I went downstairs with baby so he could get weighed and measured. We then took him back to Sarah so she could meet and feed him.

Everyone is doing fine now. Sarah is recovering very very well. She’s already back on solid food and can walk for a bit now.

Our baby boy…
Tyler James Gearhart
10 pounds 2 ounces
22 inches long
He’s a baby gorilla fer cryin’ out loud.

Pictures are online…
http://TheGearharts.smugmug.com
Click on “Our Family”
Click on “Tyler James”

I’ll be adding tons and tons of pics… so keep checking the site out.

We are truly blessed to have this tiny man here. As big as he is, I expect him to be walking and eating solid foods in about 3 days. I’ll teach him how to drive next week. He’ll probably have outgrown me before August.

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Today finds me posting from DeKalb Memorial Hospital, with Sarah sleeping about 3 foot away from me. Luckily, I’ve calmed enough from this rollercoaster of a day to post a blog.

We had an appointment with our midwife today. We’re 7 days overdue. After an exam, we’re told that we’re (I say “we’re” but I mean “Sarah’s”) still only dilated by about a finger-tip width. What the heck is this boy waiting for, exactly?

Also, with being 7 days past our EDD, Sarah needed to take a non-stress test. With a non-stress test, a stretchy belt is wrapped around Sarah’s belly. Right on the belly is the fetal monitor (think of this as the belt buckle). It’s only purpose is to measure the baby’s heart rate. Within a 20 minute period, they need to see baby’s heart rate go up by at least 15 beats per minute (BPM), for at least 15 seconds. And they need this to happen 2 times.

After forty minutes, there were no times where his heart rate went up by 15bpm, let alone for 15 seconds.

Now, before I go any further, I have to jump off on a tangent… See, Delilah (my female boxer-mix pup), had a vet appointment today at 10am. She has had a pretty bad ear infection for a while, and I’ve been unsuccessful in eradicating it. As Sarah was getting hooked up to the fetal monitor, I ran home, grabbed Delilah, and took her to the vet. I’ve never felt so bad for her like I did today. She was scared, but still very happy, if that makes sense. She needed my comfort/protection. As the vet was examining her, she scooted up right against me and wouldn’t really relax until I held her in a hug. Poor girl.

Well, he looks at her ears and confirms that the infection (which smells horrible) goes all the way down into her inner ears. To clean it out, she has to go under anesthesia. She also had what I thought to be pimples on her face. I researched online, and they’re very common in pups her age, because they’re going through puberty. No lie. Doc says that they were papules (at least I believe that’s what he called them), and that they were infected… staph!!! Naturally, I’m worried. This is my baby girl!!! Then, to top it all off…. she’s got a heart murmur. WTF? I immediately flash to a thought of not having my Baby Delilah anymore. So sad. If you have a dog, you’ll understand. If not, you’ll probably just think I’m being all girly. But it scared the crap out of me.

Doc says not to worry unless she’s coughing, which she isn’t. He says to just keep an eye on her. What’s that even mean? I’m not a vet. What exactly am I supposed to be looking for?

So, I have to leave Baby D with the doc and shoot back over to our midwive’s office (Michelle).

Ok, we’re back to where I left off earlier…

40 minutes on the monitor, and baby’s heart isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. Michelle told Sarah (my wife) to get some food (since we both hadn’t eaten yet today), and come back at 1pm for another test.

Off to Bob Evans we go. We eat. And we talk. We’re both scared half to death, but we talked through things. Baby’s heart rate is good, but it’s just not jumping up as much as it should. After the initial shock of “OMG, Everything isn’t perfect” wore off, we weren’t worried at all. We then came up with a gameplan. Go home, pack up as if it’s time to have a baby, but don’t load it in the car, go back for the test, if it’s not good, Joe goes home to get all the crap and comes back.

But we weren’t really worried. Even Michelle wasn’t worried. This was just a safe measure we were taking. After we get food in Sarah’s belly, everything should be fine, right?

At 1pm, we head back and Sarah gets put back on the “machine”. After 20 minutes there was about 3 seconds that his heart rate went up to where it should have. So, we stayed on for another 20 minutes. In this last 20 minutes, I started talking to the baby, and his heart rate went up really good… and passed the test.

BUT, did he really pass the test? I mean, the truth is he had two instances of a passing heart rate over the course of about an hour and a half total. It just so happened that those two instances fell within a 20 minute period.

Sarah and I had another private discussion. We’re 7 days overdue, she’s barely dilated. Odds are that we’re going to have to be induced no matter what, because baby just isn’t dropping his head onto the cervix (which causes dilation and effacement). Do we wait and do more tests, knowing that we’re going to need to be induced at some point anyway, or do we just do the inevitable? It was a no-brainer for us. As much as we want a natural birth, baby has other plans, and we need to give him a kickstart.

So, Sarah was admitted to the hospital, and given a very low dose of Cytotec. This pill will soften the cervix, hasten dilation, and start weak contractions. She’s had two doses thus far, and will get her third in about another 30 minutes. She’s had quite a few (very weak) contractions. About half an hour ago, they got a little stronger. She’s actually starting to feel them now.

I’ve already gone home to get the car packed with all the stuff we need. Now we wait. Here’s the recap of our day:

9 – 11:30a : Appointment with midwife at hospital
11:30 – 12:30 : Breakfast at Bob Evans
12:30 – 1p : Pack up the stuff (just in case)
1 – 2p : Another test with midwife at hospital
2:30 – Present (11:13p) : Admitted to hospital

Naturally, I’m getting very stircrazy right now.

Once labor gets kickstarted with the Cytotec, we’re stopping all medical interventions (drugs) and going back to our birth plan, which is having a natural birth.

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I’m sitting here on the couch, covered in poison ivy. I actually convinced myself that I was immune to the effects of poison ivy. It would appear that I was wrong. The desire to scratch (everywhere) is so strong, that I’m sure I wouldn’t feel satisfied until I had scratched every square inch of skin from my body.

I need to find a way to get my mind off the itchiness, because the cortisone cream isn’t doing a thing for me. So, I decided to set up a blog and write something. In a way, I guess I should be grateful for the poison ivy, because that’s what’s motivated me to set up an account here at Blogspot, or Blogger, or Google Blogs, or whatever this site is calling itself nowadays, but I’m not grateful at all.

As of today, Sarah is 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant. According to science, I should have a baby boy that is 6 days old right now, which would pretty much eliminate any time that I would have had to blog with. But, for whatever reason, the little guy doesn’t feel like coming out.

And here’s the funny thing… technically, everything is still normal. Sure, pregnancies are 40 weeks, but that’s according to science. The national average for the gestational period (I’ll try to limit how many large words I use, sorry) is actually 41 weeks and 3 days. That would mean that, if this were the most average pregnancy ever, my son isn’t due for another 4 days. I try to not mention this to Sarah too often, because she’s more-than-eager to get the little guy out. I don’t want to discourage her. No siree… I’ve learned that I must be very careful of what I say to a woman that’s got hormones on overdrive.

When Sarah first got pregnant, we never cared what the EDD was, because an EDD is an Estimated Due Date. Estimated. It’s guesswork based on your last menstruation (ewww… a boy talking about girl’s stuff). We knew that, so we told people that we were due around the middle to end of June. As the days got closer, though, I found myself counting down to her 40 week due date, June 19th. I would look at Sarah and say, “Our little man will be here in 14 days, 3 hours, 22 minutes, and 16 seconds.”

I was setting myself up for failure, and didn’t even know it. The sad thing is… I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.

Every day that passes now – hell, every HOUR that passes now – I get more and more anxious about the birth of my son. I’m not having the doubts of being a father, I’m not obsessing about finances, I’m not freaking out at all. Normally, I think I would, but if I can’t change it, I have no choice but to accept it. I’m trying to do that. I’m anxious because I really want to see his face. I want to hold him. I want to kiss his delicious face (I have to give props to Sarah’s sister, Jillian, for that phrase). I feel that I’ve developed a strong bond to him while he’s been cooking in Sarah’s belly. He responds to my voice. We push on each other through her belly. We could potentially be really good friends. If he ever comes out, that is.

I swear, I’m almost done with this blog post, so bear with me just a bit longer.

One year ago, I didn’t care at all whether I had kids or not. If I had kids, fine. If I didn’t have kids, fine. I think, in my entire life (30 years), I’ve only held a baby 3 times. That’s no joke… ask anyone who knows. And I’ve NEVER changed a diaper. I don’t really know how to talk or act when I’m with/near babies/children. They made me uncomfortable. I was scared that I would traumatize them or, worse, break them. Now… I’m really starting to enjoy the few kids that are in my life. Our close friends’ (Melanie and Adam) son, Ben, is an example. My sister-in-law’s (the previously mentioned Jillian) daughters, Paige and Lexi, are another. I actually enjoy talking to them. I can’t wait to introduce them to little baby Gearhart. I can’t wait to introduce him to the world.

We’ve got an appointment with our midwife tomorrow morning. Wish us luck, and think baby thoughts for us. As for right now, I’m going to grab some sandpaper and go to work on this itch.

Here’s a slideshow of our ultrasound photos (view all my galleries at TheGearharts.smugmug.com):

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