Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Surprise!

So we had lots of plans for this holiday weekend, and they hadn't originally included meeting our beautiful son, but I am thrilled to say that is exactly what happened!

Hendrix James Baumgartner

Let me start at the beginning.  Friday I was 35 weeks, and I had my first drs appt that included a pelvic exam. The doc told me that I was 1 centimeter dilated, and 70% effaced; which was within the normal ranges for someone at that stage of their pregnancy.  She didn't really say anything that led me to believe that I would go into labor anytime in the near future.  

So Friday evening we headed to our hometown of Grinnell (an hour drive from where we live) to get our maternity photos taken, and then go watch my high school siblings at the high school football game.  My brother played football and was in the marching band, while my sister twirled flags at halftime.  

I saw lots of people that I hadn't seen in a while, and everyone was asking about when the baby would be coming.  It is funny to me now that my response of 'not for a while', turned out to be very untrue!  I also think that I would have had more than just a nutritious walking taco for dinner that night if I had known what the next day was going to bring!  We enjoyed time with our family and stayed up until about Midnight, with my not having any idea that my body was up to something.  I had been feeling a few cramps in my lower abdomen, but I kind of brushed them off in the assumption that I was just a little sore from my appointment in the afternoon.

I woke up at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday morning with my first contraction.  I didn't really know what it was at the time, in fact I thought that it was just a cramp, and went back to sleep.  By 4:15 a.m. I was not able to sleep in between the contractions because they were getting stronger and closer together.  At that point I woke my hubby up (actually, he heard me squirming around and that woke him up), and we started timing and charting the contractions.  My water "broke" at about 5:00 a.m., though it didn't come in a huge gush, it was very clear that I was losing my waters.  At that point, we knew that the baby was going to be coming!

We continued laboring through that first easy part very quietly as we relished the special knowledge that only he and I shared that we were going to be meeting our son very soon!  I soaked in the tub for a few minutes which helped to relax me, and hubby started getting our bags repacked that we had brought for the weekend, and the car loaded up.  

Finally at about 6:30 am we decided it was time to get moving to Ames.  We stopped to pick up my Mom, who was my labor coach, and headed out of town.  It was the most uncomfortable car ride of my life, and as soon as we got into Ames I requested that we skip the stop at our house to pick up anything we thought we needed, and we just head to the hospital.  I was kind of distressed about the fact that I hadn't packed a bag yet; but we did have a bag full of things for the weekend away, so I figured we could make that do.

They sent me to an observation room when we first got here to assess my progress.  I was 3 centimeters dilated and they confirmed that my water had broken and got me settled into my room.  I immediately got into the whirlpool tub which was where I spent a good part of my labor.  The warm water was very soothing to me, and helped me to manage the pain.  

Around 2:00 p.m. I was having a very difficult time handling the pain, and when I found out that I was only 5 centimeters dilated, I requested some medicine.  I took a dose of Nubain through an IV, and that helped to take the edge off the pain.  The downside was that I had to lay in the bed for an hour while I got it to ensure that I didn't get sick, and also so they could monitor how it was affecting Hendrix.  The upside was that it allowed me the opportunity to get some rest in between contractions which was much needed for the 6 1/2 hours of laboring that were still in store for me.  

After the pain medicine wore off it took me a while to get the contractions going good and strong again, and I spent alot of time laboring on the birthing ball.  I was having a fair amount of back pain and Bud did an awesome job of helping to counter it by pushing on my back during contractions.  He was a rockstar in the laboring process, and I couldn't imagine how I would have made it throughout the day without him and my mom there to support and encourage me.

I got stuck at 9 1/2 centimeters dilated at around 5:30 p.m. which was difficult for me because I was feeling intense urges to push, but was being constantly warned to wait until I was fully dilated.  I had to really work on my breathing to hold back those pushes.  

Then we finally got to the pushing stage which lasted for about 2 hours before Hendrix arrived at 8:37 p.m.  This part took so much more energy than I felt that I had left to offer!  In fact, there was a time when I said that I didn't think I could do it anymore.  My mom and Bud were both encouraging me as they could see his head, and telling me all about his dark curly hair and that was some serious motivation!  

As soon as he was out they laid him up on my chest for just a brief moment before they whisked him away to the NICU to make sure that he was okay.  I thought that he was beautiful!  

Bud went with him to see how he was doing while my Mom stayed with me while I delivered the placenta.  

Overall he was in much better shape than they were expecting for being 5 weeks early.  They had warned us that he might have a hard time breathing on his own which would require some time in a ventilator.  They even tried to prepare us for the worst case scenario, in which he might have to be transported to Des Moines for further care.  On the contrary however, he  needed just some pumps of oxygen before he started breathing well enough on his own from that first day.  He did have underdeveloped lungs and they did have some fluid on them, but he was able to get his breathing regulated all on his own by just being given time without too much stimulation.  That part was very difficult for me, because they didn't let us hold him until the following day.  They let us go in and look at him, but whenever we would touch him he would start breathing too fast and they would have us give him some space. 

He was 5 lbs. 11.5 oz. and 19 inches long.  

He has dark curly hair, and really dark blue eyes.  The general consensus is that he looks more like his mother's side of the family than his father's side, but I guess we will see how he continues to change as he grows!

The other main concern because of his early arrival is his eating.  Because simply breathing has been so much work for him, they didn't want to try to feed him too early.  He got an IV which was the only way he got nutrition those first couple days.  He has been able to start eating now, though his coordination is still very immature and he isn't able to stay focused on his feeding to eat very much at a time.  I have been pumping so the milk they are feeding him is from me; but he isn't capable of taking it from the breast right now, and we are giving it to him through a bottle.

Today has been the day in which he has made the most progress!  The doctor told us this morning that our goal before he can go home is to be capable of drinking 45 milliliters at one time without spitting any up so he can go completely off the IV.  With his first feeding starting at 5 milliliters, he has worked his way up to 10 milliliters and is not spitting it back up.  We are very optimistic to see his progress in the next couple of days!

Snuggling with my son for the first time. :)  It was a very emotional moment for me.

Daddy has been so excited to spend every minute possible with Hendrix, and even got to change his first diaper ever this afternoon when Hendrix filled his pants. He is a natural daddy, and I have been really overwhelmed to see how great he is with his lil' boy.

We were able to spend a good hour with him this afternoon during which he was actually awake and interacting with us.  He has big bright eyes and was really taking everything in!  He just looks so little there in my hands, I can't believe what a small yet perfect package he is.  He has the longest toes I have ever seen and likes to spread them all out very wide in a very frog-like manner.  It cracks me up!

Thanks again to everyone for their prayers and well wishes.  I will keep you posted about his progress.  In the meantime, I have been discharged as a patient from the hospital; but am allowed to stay as a guest until Hendrix gets to go home.  This means that I am still staying in my hospital room, but I don't get meals or any care (in fact, I am pretty much being treated like a hotel guest.....I have the freedom to come and go as I please).  I am able to have visitors, and would love to see familiar faces if you are willing to work around my rigorous pumping schedule!  

At this point we are hopeful that he will be able to come home with us this weekend.  

I am feeling great and LOVING being a mommy!


  1. Ooh Jenn, he is gorgeous! I love that last photo of him (those big eyes), and I absolutely adore the photo of you two snuggling for the first time.
    The 'frog toes" made me giggle, and talk about cutting it close with those maternity photos!! Wow. lol.
    He's such a strong lil fella; my thoughts are with all of you, and I am really eager to read about him being ready to go home!

  2. Jenn and Bud, thank you so much for this blog, I have been so anxious to hear all about Hendrix's entry into the world. We are so happy for all of you, sounds like Bud is a natural, I knew he would be!!! Hendrix is wonderful and I do agree, right now he looks like a little Armbruster!!!! They change so much as they grow, who knows!!! Take care and know that we are thinking about all of you and wishing you the best of luck with your new adventure into parenthood!! You both are going to be the greatest parents!!!Love you, Kathleen and Jerry

  3. Those cramps will get you every time!! Glad you were able to make it to the hospital though. What a cutie, can't wait to meet him!

  4. i love his toes! haha they are so long its awesome! he's baller status for sure! cant wait to hold the little guy!

  5. So happy he arrived safe and sound! Can be worrisome when babies decide to come sooner than expected!!! Austin was 6 weeks early and he has passed me up!!! He will catch up soon and be letting you know he is happy (or unhappy) and healthy! Congratulations again! Donna Christensen

  6. He is beautiful!!!! What a wonderful surprise! Glad he is doing well and I am sure he will be home in now time!

  7. Congrats Jenn! He's beautiful! And really pretty big for being 5 weeks premature! Glad to hear he is doing so well and hope your recovery and first few days home go well!!

  8. that story just about made me cry not only is that an amazing story but u are an amazing writer. thanks for sharing your story, it made my day:)


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