2 years

It has taken me 2 years to get up the courage to write a post like this… (well I haven’t had the blog 2 years- but I did consider writing this when I had the old blog- but I just never did). December 16th, 2009 is a day that I will never forget. I remember so many details of that day, but I have never actually written it out step by step- so before I forget here goes (trust me, it won’t hurt my feelings if you decide to x the screen now).

Everyone who’s ever had a baby has a story to tell. Some people have a story that seemed like it was written in the stars… others have a traumatic experience and vow to never relive it. Mine would fall somewhere in between… but closer to the traumatic side (at least it was traumatic for me because it went absolutely NOTHING like I expected-but isn’t that the way life always is?).

I guess I should start out by saying that I had no expectations about my birth expereince before I went into labor. Some women make up elaborate plans of exactly how they want their birth experience to be- others go into it totally blindsided not knowing what to expect. I was educated on the whole birthing experience- I knew all the ‘facts’, attended childbirth class, watched “The Business of Being Born” and talked to countless people about their experiences. I wasn’t scared of labor; in fact I was more apprehensive of actually spending the night at the hospital than I was of giving birth. I’d never been admitted to the hospital in my life.

I knew I was ok with pain medicine, I was fine with them breaking my water if need be, I knew I’d probably end up with an epidural- but I didn’t want it until I absolutely needed it, I was open to walking, bouncing on a ball, taking a shower, IV, etc…  My only request was that I didn’t want a C-Section…. it’s amazing how God laughs at our plans.

On Dec. 10, 2009 I went to the Dr. for my 39 week check. I was progressing well and everything looked great. She asked me if I wanted to go ahead and schedule an induction because we were getting close to Christmas and I was adament about having my midwife there. My due date was Dec. 12th. I agreed that we should schedule it (they wouldn’t let me go past 1 week, which put us right at the 19th-20th) just to have it on the books and I’d pray that I wouldn’t need to be induced. I worked up until Dec. 11th. We scheduled the induction to start the evening of Dec. 15th (our 2nd wedding anniversary) knowing that he’d probably arrive sometime the 16th.

Work ended fine, and my due date came and went. Monday the 14th was the only time I was told how miserable I looked and that I must be due any day (by the bell ringer for the Salvation Army). I said “yep, 2 days ago actually”… I felt crummy the whole day and wasn’t able to do much besides lay on the couch. Looking back I was clearly in the very beginning of labor.

I went to sleep that night and woke up around 1am (Dec 15th) with killer contractions (ironic because my mom went into labor with me at 1 in the morning). I thought sure I could sleep them off and I’d deal with them in the morning. If you know anything about me you know I need my sleep. I throw up if I don’t sleep well and I knew that if I was going to labor the whole day that I needed my precious sleep. I fell back asleep for what seemed like HOURS, only to peek at the clock and it had been 5 minutes… this went on the.whole.night. I knew my contractions were consistent, and I knew they were getting stronger, but I didn’t feel any need to rush to the hospital, or even wake Josh for that matter. At least one of us needed to be level headed and there was no point in timing contractions that soon. I laid there from 1am-6am knowing that I had a LONG day ahead of me. I think I was secretly hoping they would stop and I could get some sleep.

6am Josh’s alarm went off and I told him what had been happening. Of course he immediately jumped into action asking why I didn’t wake him, or if we should rush to the hospital… Although the contractions were still 4-5 minutes apart, I just wasn’t convinced that I was really in labor. I was so shocked that I actually went into labor, because I was scheduled to be induced later that day. As he saw how much pain I was in, we both decided it was time to call the doctor and head to the hospital. We learned in our birthing class that if you got to the hospital before 7 or 7:30am that you’d have to go through the ER and I really didn’t want to mess with that, so we waited until the outpatient center opened so we could be admitted there. I did feel a little pressure to get to the hospital sooner rather than later becuase I had tested positive for Group B Strep. I knew they’d want to get antibiotics in me ASAP. Had I not been GBS+ I would have stayed home as long as possible.

(this was 40 weeks 3 days- 7am the morning we left for the hospital)

We were admitted to Labor and Delivery and told that I was for sure in active labor. We were put in the last room on the hallway (room 109) and the waiting game began. The got me situated, started my IV and put me on my first round of antibiotics. No lie, throughout my whole birth story, the IV was the.worst.part. I don’t do well with needles anyways- the one time I gave blood they had to throw icepacks on my head and chest and give me gingerale and a rice krispie treat because I almost passed out. The IV was no different and they had to throw the bed back to keep me from passing out… it was scary and I remember the nurse asking me if I was ok, I said “no” and I started breaking into hot chills and I begged for a cold rag on my head… all the while still having contractions.  yuck. This was around 8:30am the morning of December 15th (again I should say our 2nd wedding anniversay). We were SURE he would be an anniversary baby.

From after the IV until 1pm it was pretty uneventful. I walked the halls, bounced on the ball, and breathed through all the contractions. We were able to watch some TV and I was happy. At 1pm my midwife checked on me, and I was 6 cm dialated. Everything looked good, and she broke my water, hoping to speed things along (12 hours into labor). Up until this point my labor was storybook. Also Josh had ordered flowers for our anniversary. They were delivered to the hospital room- a bouquet of white tulips… my absolute favorite. He also had my wedding ring rhodium plated and surprised me later with that. I could wear my rings up until the last week of pregnancy. Then my fingers were just too swollen.

She came back at 3pm to check me, and nothing had changed. I had walked, bounced and my water had been broken for 2 hours, and nothing was different. I had made no progress.  I was so disappointed, and knew that they were going to want to start Pitocin. At this point I had been in active labor for 14 hours. She said that she would come back at 4pm to start the Pit, and I insisted that if they were going to start Pit, then I would need an Epi. I’m all for natural labor and I give 2 big thumbs up to the people who can do it without the meds, but 14 hours in with no sleep since the night before my contractions started and no pain meds, I was flat out exhausted. I gladly welcomed the relief of the Epi and I knew that the Pit contractions would be nearly unbearable. I wanted this experience to be a joyous time, not one so painful that I never wanted to do it again.

Also being in a small hospital, there was a possibility that if I needed the anestesiologist, that he could either A.) be in emergency surgery somewhere else in the hospital or B.) he’d be home and might not make it back in time to give the Epi. Both of those possibilities weighed heavily on my mind, and I knew the right decision for me was to take the Epi while I could.
Epi in, Pit started, and  I was able to rest for the first time that day. As I watched the contractions on the screen, the intensity of them doubled and I knew that if I had been in painsobadicouldn’ttalkthroughthem before, there was NO WAY I could have done it without the Epi.  We relaxed for the next 2 hours, and the only downfall was being bound to the bed. I know that laboring in bed is not ideal- gravity and walking are the best, but like I said before, this was the best decsion for me at the time. My midwife came back and I.was.still.6.cm…. Again I was so disappointed, but she assured me that the Pit needed more time, and having the Epi at the same time possibly stalled things, but that it should pick up in the next few hours. She mentioned that she would have liked to see me dialate 1 cm an hour.

Things picked up and when she came back around 8pm and I was 8cm,9pm=9cm…. progress was sweet. Sometime during all this my mom showed up and our really great friends Holly and Wade brought Josh dinner (or maybe mom did… I wasn’t around for all that because, well eating was the absolute last thing I wanted to do). Wade waited outside and Holly was there until the very end. I had to choose 3 “important” people who were the only 3 people allowed to see me before I delivered because we were in the middle of the swine flu epidemic (which I had at 24 weeks pregnant…).

At 10pm I was on track and 10cm and she told me that whenever I felt the need to push, then I could start pushing. I didn’t think I’d know when to push because I couldn’t feel anything from my stomach down, but as soon as I felt the need to push, it was pretty obivious that I knew it was time to push! I hit the button to call the dr and nurse back in and told them it was TIME!

All the way up to this point Luke was tolerating labor SO WELL. Although we had some rough stalling points, his heart rate was strong.

After the first couple pushes I knew something was wrong. Things between the midwife and nurses went from a happy “giddy-ness” to really serious, really fast. They made me lay on my left side to push and then I’d flip to my other side every few contractions. I felt like I had really good focus until I started turning on my sides… I started to get worried because I knew this wasn’t ‘normal’… or at least no one told me it was normal.

They gave me an oxygen mask, which was totally a weird feeling. I didn’t really feel like it helped me breathe better, but I guess I was getting more oxygen to Luke which is what he needed.

The next 1.5hrs are a total blur…. as we neared the 1.5 hour mark Luke started clearly showing that he was over labor. From what I was told later, babies’ heartrates normally decline during a contraction. Luke’s was dropping after/between contractions.

I will NEVER forget how the nurse and midwife communicated via thier eyes (without saying anything) and I knew things were not good.  I knew I could feel his head dropping, but it just wasn’t dropping enough. The idea of a C-section never crossed my mind until this point. It was almost midnight and my midwife looked at me and said that it was time we talked about a C-section. I had pushed my heart out (23 hours into labor) and there was absolutely NOTHING I could have done differently. He wasn’t dropping properly and his heartrate showed clear distress. I cried, and felt like a failure, and got over myself pretty quickly- knowing that my ultimate goal was a healthy baby and I could have cared less  in the end how he got here.

The OR was ready in 30 minutes. It was a blur of confusion as I signed my life away on C-section papers. The anestesiologist came back to give my Epi a booster for the surgery. Also at our hospital when you have a C, they move you to a different room to recover. So mom and Holly jumped into action packing everything that we had just unpacked. I remember my earrings being pulled out of my ears and my hair clips being taken out because no metal was allowed in the OR. I was worried about how my hair would look in pictures and that stressed me out for all of 2 seconds.  They did the catheter and asked if I wore contacts. I begged and pleaded for them to let me leave them in. I had backup glasses, but at that point I had NO IDEA where they were in the hustle of moving rooms. I am legally blind without glasss or contacts, so not being able to see was going to stress me out more. They agreed that I could leave them in under the assumption that if I had to go under general, that they could take them out. I agreed and that is one of the things I am most grateful for- the opportunity to actually SEE my surroundings (to be able to remember all this-and to see my baby for the first time). Josh was whisked away to change into scrubs and I was left, terrified about what was about to happen. The nurse gave me something nasty to drink (later I found out it was an antacid- it tasted like salty strawberries) and I was told to lay back on the bed with my legs straight… and I remember not being able to straighten my legs… because all I could feel was the pressure of his head.

They whisked me out of the room (It felt like a movie how they rush you down the hall), and all I wanted was to see Josh and have him tell me everything would be ok. He was waiting for me in the OR and I remember being surprised at the sheer number of people who appeared seemingly out of nowhere. One nurse took our camera and promised to get all the best shots. I remember being freezing cold and my teeth chattering. They put up a sheet 1 inch from my nose (it really surprised me how close that sheet was- on TV it looks like it’s a good foot away) and they started asking me if I could feel what they were doing. I couldn’t. The anestesiologist told me that if I felt sick, I could turn my head and there was a pail to catch it….that made me relax x’s 100 because one of my biggest fears is needing to puke and not having a place to- sounds crazy but I think I was scarred in third grade when I threw up all over the classroom floor- yes I was “that kid”.
Surgery started and the OR was totally.silent. NO ONE told me it would be like that. No one talked, or laughed, or said anything. I was terrified and exhausted and I almost wanted to just fall asleep so I wouldn’t have to listen to the silence. Sounds crazy now that I wanted to sleep through his birth, but I was just plain exhauted. I felt TONS of pressure, like they were dancing on my belly and the next thing that happened I will never forget for as long as I live… A HUGE suction sound came from my belly…. his head had been so lodged in my pelvis or birth canal or whatever, that he was stuck. No stinkin’ wonder I couldn’t push him out. Both the dr. and midwife couldn’t believe how well he was lodged and it took a lot of pulling to get him out.

There was still silence and I knew at that point he had been born. I didn’t even ask how he was, or if everything was ok because I think deep down I was too scared to know the answer. I remember thinking…. hmmm… I wonder how they would tell me if something WASN'T ok…. or if the unthinkable happened…. or if…. and as I was thinking, they brought me Luke swaddled and perfect as can be. He was breathing fine, but he never cried. I later found out that most C-section babies DON’T cry (when a baby is born the birth canal sucks all the fluid out of their airway- c-section babies don’t make it to the birth canal so they don’t get their airways cleaned until birth).

12:37am was the magic time and he even got his own birthday (not a shared anniversary with mom and dad) December 16th.  They took Luke away and I wanted Josh to be with him. I was on the table for another 30 or so minutes as they stitched me up. I remember falling in and out of sleep and thinking about the events that had just happened… and how the ONE thing that I DIDN’T want to happen, just happened, but that it was ok because Luke was perfect.

Proud daddy-

I was wheeled to room 101 and I remember being so thirsty. I asked for water and they advised me not to drink because I might throw up but I insisted that I needed water . I never did get sick, but that was the best tasting water I’d ever had… C-section or not I did just give birth! They brought me Luke to hold and I couldn’t believe he was there and it was over. I asked how much he weighed- 7lbs. 11oz. which was shocking to me. I never measured big (infact the opposite and I struggled to gain weight during pregnancy) and I think everyone just assumed that I would have a 5 or 6 pound baby. His head circumference was 14 inches. I remember not wanting to hold him for a long time because my arms were shaky and numb. At this point I had nearly missed 2 night’s sleep and I just wanted to go to bed.

(I’m seriously looking rough here- but it was such a special moment to hold my baby on the outside for the first time)

At 3am we opted to have Luke room in the nursery with the nurses because his journey into the world had been so dramatic and his lungs needed to be monitored. I knew I needed rest if  I was going to be recovering from major surgery. I guess the nurse came back every 30 minutes or so to check vitals but I was OUT. 8am came pretty quickly but I felt remarkably better on just 4 hours of sleep. Liquid breakfast was delivered and it was the first time that I was able to stomach breakfast without medicine (zofran or phenergan) for 9 months. They brought Luke in and the rest, as they say, is history. He was born early Wednesday morning and I was discharged Friday morning. I was eager to get home, but being home was hard without the nurses’ help. I was understandably sore and I wasn’t allowed to lift anything but Luke. Alot of sleeping and healing happened around here for the next 10 days or so. He was a great baby and had a wonderful appetite!

We had a newborn screening test scare where 2 of his tests came back positive for Cystic Fibrosis and Gluteric Acidemia- the 2 weeks that we waited for a second round of test results to come back almost killed me and I really think the “baby blues” hit me hard because of the emotional rollercoaster we rode. The fear was crippling and I remember rocking him and just crying my eyes out thinking that this perfect baby could have some serious health issues. I seriously don’t know how mommies with sick babies do it. I think God knew that I wasn’t strong enough to handle that.

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years. It seriously feels like all this happened yesterday. I guess, looking back, I was disappointed that I didn’t know more about C-sections. We went to the birthing class at the hospital a month before Luke was born, and found it amazingly helpful- but out of the 8 hours of class that we attended- 30 minutes was devoted to c-sections and it was a planned c-section. At the end of the day I got a happy healthy baby and that was all that mattered. I didn’t appreciate pregnancy like I should have and I have some serious baby fever- until I feel slightly nauseated and remember that I spent 22 weeks puking… But it was seriously the most amazing experience of my life. It still amazes me that he lived inside me.

So here are the stats today:
33 pounds
Favorite food: pizza, spaghetti, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese
Funniest saying: Coooooold, Brrrrrrrr. He makes the funniest sound in his throat when he does the ooo’s in cold.
He says over 30 words on his own, and will repeat whatever you ask him to repeat. Bobo=Barney; toot, toot=Thomas; blagggg= flag, goo gurl= good girl (Sadie dog); nana= bananas; nigh nigh= blankie.
Shoe size: 6
He loves books and any kind of block or stacking toy.

and if you made it this far I’m seriously impressed! Just over 3,650 words and I feel that his birth story is complete. It is a day I never want to forget!!!

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