Lucas Robert Christensen

*Note: I’m going to try and keep this as factual as possible. I have a lot of personal commentary that I’m DYING to share, but I’m reserving it for an entirely different post in an attempt to avoid long-windedness
I woke up the morning of Wednesday, June 23 at around 6 am. I was first on the waiting list for an induction that day, and I had been told to call labor and delivery at 7 to see if they could fit me in. I dozed off and on for the next hour, trying to make the time go by faster (it didn’t work).When 7 rolled around and I made the fateful phone call, this was my answer: “Sure, come on in.”We rolled ourselves out of bed and on the road. We arrived at the hospital and got checked in by 8:15. The nurses assigned us a room, I changed into a gown, and we began a day that felt mostly like a big waiting game.
The first L&D nurse I had was slow and methodical; it seemed like it took her FOREVER to get things done. It took her around an hour to get me attached to the external fetal monitor and the contraction monitor and to start my saline drip. Then, I was finally ready to get started. My doctor came in and broke my water at 9:30 and checked my dilation – 3 cm. I didn’t really start to have any contractions at that point. The nurse took another hour getting my pitocin drip set up, so by 10:30 we were finally in business.
The contractions started off pretty mild – about 4 minutes apart, lasting around a minute. Cole and I watched TV and just kind of chilled for a while. The nurse came in twice to turn up my pitocin drip, so at around 12:30 I was receiving the full amount. She checked my progress – 4 cm.
The rest of the afternoon continued pretty uneventfully. My contractions stayed fairly consistent, I dilated about a cm every two hours, and I had to get up to go the bathroom about a hundred times, thanks to the saline drip. I busted out one of the books that I was saving specifically for the hospital and tried to get some reading done.
Finally, at around 4:30, things started to get a little interesting. The contractions started getting a little faster (every 2 min) and a little harder, and soon I wasn’t able to focus on anything else. I would breathe through the contractions, inhaling and exhaling to a count of 7, and focus on completely relaxing my body between them. I had progressed to a 6, and I began to wonder if I’d be facing down transition in the near future.
Meanwhile, Cole’s mother, Diane, stopped by after work to visit and see how things were going (she told us later she was there for “entertainment” and distraction). It turned out to be a WONDERFUL blessing, because shortly after she arrived, things kicked into high gear. At around 6 my contractions, still coming about every 2 minutes, became extra painful. My new L&D nurse (who was fantastic) lowered the bottom half of my bed (creating a chair-like formation) and brought me a squat bar. I perched on the edge of the bed, rested my feet on the lowered part of the bed, and leaned against the squat bar during contractions. Cole was behind me, putting counter-pressure on my lower back, and Diane was in front of me, talking me through the contractions. In between, I would lean back and almost go into a trance – I tuned out everything around me, closed my eyes, and continued breathing the way I did through contractions. I had progressed to 7 cm, and by 6:30 I was definitely in transition. Soon it was all I could do to keep breathing steadily through the contractions (Diane was INSTRUMENTAL in keeping me focused), and before long I was vocalizing with the pain. The nurse kept asking me if I felt pressure to push, which I didn’t really understand until I FELT it (around 6:45). I started hollering that I needed to push, and the nurse scrambled to call my doctor in. Luckily, his office is 5 minutes from the Women’s Center, and I’m pretty sure he ran over. The nurses got everything set up for delivery and I started pushing at 7. Three minutes later, we had a baby.

They laid him right on my belly and I got to watch Cole cut the umbilical cord. I snuggled him for a few minutes before the nurses took him, cleaned him off, and weighed him – 8 pounds, 4 ounces, 18 ½ inches long. I delivered the placenta, my doctor stitched up my minuscule tear (I think it took one stitch), and the nurses returned the baby to me so I could nurse him. Everything had gone perfectly, and our new little man was healthy and strong.


Nope, No Baby...and Vaycay Extravaganza: A Day of Nature

So...sorry I've been a loser blogger...for two weeks. Unfortunately, I don't even have an exciting reason for the lapse.

FYI, I'm still pregnant. Stubbornly so, in fact.

I was seriously hoping (and, actually, genuinely convinced) that this baby was going to come early. I now know never to trust my intuition again (after all, it told me this baby was a girl, which he most definitely is not). As far as any update goes, I told my doctor I REALLY wanted to go into labor by myself but that I would agree to an induction on my due date -- and only because I'm EXTREMELY confident about my due date being fairly accurate (I tracked my date of ovulation and I'm even pretty sure of the date of conception...sorry for the TMI). My desire to not go "over-due" outweighs my desire to go into labor naturally...anyway, I'm penciled in for an induction on June 23rd, which was the closest day to my due date available. I still have a small amount of hope that I'll go into labor before that, but I'm not really holding my breath. I'm pretty sure this child will be just as strong-willed as his older brother.

Anyway, we'll proceed from where I left off in the story that is our fabulous vacation.

Wednesday morning, we chose another unique-to-SC activity: Brookgreen Gardens. It's a ginormous sculpture garden and wildlife preserve built on four former rice plantations. Since it spans nearly 10,000 acres, it was more than enough to fill our day.

Me, Cole, and Kyle in the "Fun-V" (we watched Iron Man several times during the vaycay, and this car came to be known as such -- but fortunately, it didn't get blown up during our trip).

Kyle sitting in the "bike" (pretty much anything with wheels is a bike to him).

The sculpture gardens were chock-full of (go figure) sculptures, and, as a former Art History buff, I was in heaven. Plus, the scenery was absolutely AMAZING. It was like walking through the secret garden but on a colossal scale.

Just one example of the glorious greenery. There were paths winding here, there, and everywhere. It was totally possible to get absolutely lost, and if I had more than a day, I would have. Some of the members of my family were less-than-excited about all of the sculptural nudity, however...

The gardens were also full of beautiful flowers, and Cole had a blast taking pictures of as many of them as he could find. Here are some lovely water lilies.

Here I am, in all my prego glory, standing in a gorgeous arch.

After wandering though the gardens for a while, we hopped on a little river boat and took a tour of the waterways...which gave us the opportunity to see alligators in a more natural setting.

Here's one of the big guys we saw sunning himself along the river.

After the boat ride, we headed over to the "zoo," which was less like your run-of-the-mill, conventional zoo and more like a wildlife preserve. It contained animals native to the area. We started, of course, with the livestock area.

Kyle telling me what a cow says in front of the cow enclosure.

Kyle soon lost interest in riding on the "bike" so Cole decided he needed a ride.

The best part of this picture is Kyle's face in the bottom left-hand corner...priceless.

The "zoo" was really fascinating. They had an entire section of birds of prey, including two absolutely gorgeous bald eagles. We were even lucky enough to be in that section when the zoo worker brought around their food so we got to see them eat.

We were soon all tuckered out from the walking and the heat (because this was the hottest day we had experienced so far), so we headed back to the cars. Kyle's desire for sleep won out over his desire for Cheetos mid-bag, making this picture possible.

We got back to the condo, where I made the best stir-fry in the universe (really, I did) and we crashed hardcore.

The next installment: Iron Man 2, last day at the beach, and b-day at Planet Hollywood.
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