By now, most people reading this post already know that Dawn and I had our first child earlier this week. Alexandra Juliana Kaczynski was born on 10/10/11 at 7:18 p.m. She is an absolute blessing, and the well wishes from friends and relatives have really warmed our hearts. While some of you know how the labor happened, I figured this post would be a good opportunity to go through the day. Going into Monday, we had no idea how this was going to go down.
The story starts on Alexandra’s due date, Thursday, October 6. Dawn went to the doctor to have a few tests done, and see how close she was to labor. The doctor didn’t think the baby was coming anytime soon (she was still 2 cm dilated, you push the baby out around 10 cm), and on top of that, Dawn’s blood pressure was up a bit and she’d gained 3 pounds. This was significant, because it meant Dawn could be at risk for preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy condition. With that, the doctor said she didn’t want to wait too much longer to get the baby out. Thus, we scheduled an induction for Monday.
On Monday, we arrived at Riverside Methodist Hospital around 8:00 a.m. After some tests, we were ready to start things up. Nurses began an IV drip of Pitocin at 9:30 a.m. with Dawn still just 2 cm dilated. During the coming hours they increased the drip, because Dawn wasn’t feeling anything and wasn’t getting any more dilated. We pretty much hung out for a few hours, watching TV and going on the Internet, until they broke her water at noon. They also checked how dilated she was, and by this point, she was 3 cm.
After the water was broken (using something that looks like a plastic knitting needle), the nurses started to note that her contractions were really strong. They were shocked Dawn wasn’t feeling anything for the first couple of hours. Around 2:30 p.m., Dawn finally started feeling some contractions. Then, around 3:00 p.m., it hit us like a hurricane. Dawn’s pain (on a scale from one to 10) went from a “two” to an “eight.” After an hour and a half of pain, they checked and found out she was now 5 cm dilated, and put in the epidural. The epidural is a gift from the heavens. Within minutes, she was almost 100% pain free. It was crazy! She went from starting “active” labor at 2:30 p.m., to extreme pain at 3:00 p.m., to no pain at 4:40 p.m.
Now is when things got a little bit crazy. Generally, a pregnant person is lucky to dilate around 1 cm per hour. Often times it’s much slower, and that’s when you’ll hear stories of people going through 24-30 hours of labor. We thought we were in for a marathon, because Dawn had gone from 2 cm to 5 cm in the first seven hours. We were about to find out that this would be a quick sprint to the finish line.
At 5:30 p.m., a nurse came in to check on us. The conversation went something like this.
The nurse calmly stated, “She’s about nine now.”
Surely I misheard her. I stopped for a second and asked, “Wait, did you just say nine?”
“Yes, nine,” the nurse replied.
Taken back, I asked, “So that means….”
She smiled and said, “We’ll start to push in about an hour. I’ll call your gynecologist.”
I couldn’t believe it. Dawn had gone from 5 cm to 9 cm in 90 minutes. In the next couple hours, we were going to have this baby.
Sure enough, we started to push around 6:45 p.m., and at 7:18 p.m., Alexandra took her first breath. It was surreal.
Shortly after, I was able to give Dawn the first part of her “push gift,” a necklace with our baby’s initials. An hour or so later, I showed her the second part of her push gift, a video I’d been working on for a while that documented much of our lives together (on the bottom of the post). Dawn and I started to date at age 16, so there was quite a bit to capture.
We are now home with Alexandra and starting the next phase of our lives with this beautiful little girl. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for our family.