Welcome Benson Jeffrey!

Benson Jeffrey Rhinas

Born at 9:20 AM on Monday, July 8, 2013

Weighing in at 7 lbs 10 oz and measuring 20 3/4 inches in length.

ImageAlright – I know this post may be just a little late in coming, and perhaps it’s more so for my own record keeping that I am posting about Ben’s arrival nearly 7 weeks after the fact, but life has been so crazy that I only now feel I have enough time to do justice to the telling of our new little man’s arrival.

I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by, and how slowly the time seemed to be crawling by when I was waiting to give birth, but I suppose that is how it always goes when you’re waiting for something big to happen!

The week leading up to Ben’s birth, I was so large and uncomfortable that I was willing to try anything to naturally induce labor. I tried everything from drinking cup after cup of raspberry red-leaf tea, to eating pineapple, to walking for hours each day, to… well, you know what else they recommend…

But to no avail!

I even drank a horrid castor oil + almond butter concoction that is supposed to have a very high rate of success.

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In fact, it was on Friday, July 5, that one of my closest friends, Brit Graham, came over so we could mix up the drink together to try and induce labor together.  I was five days away from my due date, and she was five days overdue.  I was pretty convinced the drink would work for her, and sure enough, less than 6 hours later, she was holding her adorable little Princess in her arms!

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Unfortunately the same could not be said for me and Mr. Ben.  It would be another three days before I would meet my little guy.

On Sunday, July 7, I was feeling pretty discouraged having given up on trying to naturally induce labor; I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that my baby was probably not going to come early as I had hoped.

As a way to get my mind off of my pregnancy, my parents suggested Isla and I join them for a day of outdoor activities.  We went to Saskatoon’s annual “Pet’s in the Park” down at Meewasin, we went to a Train Museum out by Pike Lake, we had ice cream at Dairy Queen, and a BBQ.  Auntie Carly and Uncle Theo joined us for the BBQ, and afterwards, we all decided to head out for a walk at River Landing.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to keep moving, particularly since I had been feeling extremely uncomfortable all day.

Isla at the Train Museum:

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On the way home from our walk, we decided to “pop in” at Bill & Sue Redekop’s house, and it was there, around 9:30 p.m., that I felt my first possible contraction.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I didn’t say anything.

After leaving the Redekop’s, I decided to run a quick errand to drop off a piece of jewelry on the other side of the city.  It took about 40 minutes to run the errand, and I had a contraction every 11 minutes. When I got home, around 11:30 p.m., I finally told Jeff that I thought I was having contractions and we should keep timing them.  By midnight, I was contracting roughly ever 8-10 minutes, but I still wasn’t in much pain, so I suggested we just hit the sheets and see how things went.  I think Jeff was a bit worried about going to sleep when I was in the beginning stages of labor – but I assured him there was no way we would be sleeping through anything important!  🙂

I tried to sleep, but by 1:00 a.m. I was contracting every 5-6 minutes and was fairly uncomfortable, so I did what any reasonable woman in my situation would do… I got up, went downstairs, and hopped on Pinterest!  With my iphone timer by my side, I successfully lasted until 2:00 a.m., with contractions increasing to every 3-5 minutes, lasting roughly 60 seconds each.  I finally decided to wake Jeff up so we could get ready to head for the hospital.

We called my dad to come and watch Isla, and by 3:00 AM we were heading out the door and on our way to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

I was feeling extremely uncomfortable, and also anxious about what the rest of the night would entail.  Upon our arrival, we were immediately given a bed in the assessment unit of the hospital and it was quickly determined that I was in fact in active labor, and was far enough along to get an epidural. Woo hoo!  I had been mentally preparing myself for a repeat of Isla’s birth experience which included 24 hours of painful labor before receiving an epidural.  So, I was thrilled to be moved to a birthing room less than an hour after arriving at the hospital.

I am not going to lie – I had a bit of a freak out about the epidural this time around, having not been in pain long enough to not care what they did to me the first time!  But the anesthesiologist was awesome and it wasn’t long before I was resting comfortably.  I also had an amazing nurse, Suzanne, who made sure I was well taken care of.

Things progressed smoothly, with my water breaking on it’s own within a couple of hours, and by 7:30 AM it was determined that I was nearly 10 cm’s and would probably be preparing to push soon.

Unfortunately, this is where things got a little bit more chaotic: Ben’s heart-rate started to drop significantly.  The problem was that his heart-rate was not falling during contractions, which is normal – it was falling when I wasn’t contracting, to as low as 45 bpm, when it would normally be up around 130 bpm.

The resident on call also determined that despite being 10 cm’s, Ben still needed to drop a little lower before they would allow me to push.  Normally, they would allow women to start pushing at this point, but because I have a congenital heart condition, it was decided that it would be best to let the contractions bring him into a better position, and to conserve all of my energy for actually pushing him out.

Unfortunately, much of my epidural had worn off by this time in preparation for pushing, and the only “solution” was for me to NOT PUSH.  The next hour and a half was in fact the most painful of my life.  I honestly believe it was more physically straining trying go against what my body naturally wanted to do than if I had just been allowed to push.  Thankfully I had another wonderful nurse by this time – a family friend, Una Froese – who coached me through each contraction.  The other unfortunate issue was that because Ben’s heart-rate kept falling, I could not move into a position that would help HIM to move into a better position.

Finally after about an hour and fifteen minutes, I convinced them to give me a top-up on the epidural to take the edge off the pain I was experiencing.  So, the anesthesiologist was called back in and relief finally set in yet again.

However… yes of course there’s a “however”… when my OB arrived shortly after, he discovered meconium in the amniotic fluid and decided that Ben needed to be delivered right away.  NICU was called in, and the room was abuzz with residents, nurses, and doctors. It was such a different experience from Isla’s birth, which was so calm and peaceful.

After two solid pushes, my OB decided to use the vacuum, and on the third push, Ben arrived…. sunny-side up!  Which explained why he wasn’t falling into position properly and the intense urge to push I had been feeling.

He cried right away, and was assessed by NICU.  His APGAR scores were 8 and 9 consecutively, despite the state of distress he had been in prior to his actual birth.

I immediately asked whether it was a boy or a girl and when Jeff said,

“It’s a boy”

I screamed out, “REALLY?!”

Because I had been so convinced it was another girl.

And then came the tears!

(Tears of joy, that is!)

And my little man was handed to me – grumpy and wrinkled –

and precious beyond measure!

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The family was there to greet Ben, and Isla got to meet her new little brother.  We had decided to have one of the nurses hold Ben when Isla come into the room for the first time.  Jeff and I held and cuddled Isla for a few minutes before having the nurse bring Ben over to the three of us.  As soon as Isla saw Ben, she reached for him and said, “MINE!”

I think it’s going to work out ok between these two 🙂

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We spent only one night in the hospital, with many visitors coming to welcome Mr. Ben into the world.  The next day,  on July 9th, we got to take our little man home.

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Welcome Benson Jeffrey!  We love you!

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