Thursday, March 7, 2013

{ Baker's birth story }

I started writing this when I was in the hospital and like all of you know, when you get home life takes over and I put this on the back burner.

I really should have finished writing this while everything was fresh in my mind, so while Baker is napping and before too much times passes, I wanted to write about the week leading up to his birth & what happened when the day finally came.

The last few weeks of my pregnancy had been rough, with my feet, ankles, legs, & hands swelling up like crazy & my blood pressure rising. I went in for my regular weekly appointment on February 7th, and while we were there, the doctor asked us if anyone had talked to us about when we'd deliver (I see a team of doctors instead of just one). Andrew and I looked at each other like "Um, no...." and we told the doctor we were just planning on delivering when I went into labor. My doctor then told me that due to my high blood pressure and the levels of protein in my urine, I was heading towards pre-eclampsia. He thought I should deliver on the 15th. 

All I could think was "WHAT?!" I immediately called my mom, excited but also anxious. Delivering on the 15th meant that my baby would be 2 weeks early. Was he ready? Was I ready? I trusted my doctors though and headed over to labor and delivery for a quick non stress test. Since baby was fine, they sent me home with 2 big ol' empty jugs, 2 toilet "hats", and told me I had to track my urine for the next 24 hours. Because capturing and keeping each drop of urine ice cold isn't really conducive with work (would you want a jug of pee sitting in ice on your desk?!) I called my boss and let her know I wouldn't be in the next day. I also told her that because of the swelling and high blood pressure, my doctors wanted me to stay off my feet and basically said I shouldn't return to work until further notice (darn it, right?)

So I went home, began the urine test (which really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be) and relaxed as much as I could. Hearing that my baby would be coming sooner than later, all I could think about were all the things I had left to do. I still hadn't gotten around to doing the binding on his quilt for his room, my house was a mess (I totally wanted to deep clean before he came), I didn't have a diaper bag, my bags weren't packed, etc etc. Looking back now, they weren't really big deal things- I mean, it's not like I didn't have  car seat or a place for him to sleep, but still, I hate feeling unprepared. On top of that, Andrew took a last minute trip to Dallas for work. We knew the baby wasn't coming before Friday and I figured I'd be fine while he was gone. He left on Saturday and was supposed to come on Thursday night. One day before I was to deliver. (I know, I know...what were we thinking!?)

You've heard the term, when it rains it pours, right? Well on Monday, I had another appointment with my doctor to verify that things were still okay and that Friday was still the date. Right as I was leaving for my appointment, I heard water running in my living room. Not a good sign. I opened up the utility closet and saw that my water heater was leaking like crazy- the overflow pipe was gushing water and while it was draining into the overflow like it's supposed to, the overflow was leaking & water was getting everywhere. I quickly called my dad and asked if that was normal. He said it wasn't (duh Shan) and offered to call plumbers. Then I called Andrew in a panic as I headed to my appointment. I told him I thought it would be okay while I was gone (the water wasn't leaking into our living room floor yet but it wasn't looking good). I quickly went to my appointment, verified that I was still going to have a baby on Friday, but they wanted to do one more non-stress test that day. Overwhelmed, I called my mom and started crying, "My water heater is broken and I have to go to the hospital for a NST! I need someone! Andrew is in Texas!" My poor mom interpreted that as "my water broke and I'm going to the hospital" and told me she'd head down right then. I called Andrew crying and told him I couldn't handle what was going on and he needed to get on the next flight home. While he worked on that, he called his dad who came down to help me fix my water heater. My mom, dad, & father in law showed up at the same time, and what could have been an expensive fix ended up being pretty minor. My mom took me to the hospital for my NST while the dad's fixed the water heater. The NST showed everything was fine - phew - and Andrew was heading home the next morning. (Really, what was I thinking letting him go on a business trip the week I was supposed to give birth? Live and learn, right?!)

When friends and family caught word that the baby was coming sooner than later, they asked if I needed anything. Normally, I would tell them I was fine, but this time I actually took them up on their offers! I asked my sister in laws to help me clean my house and they were more than willing! It was so nice to know that I'd have a nice, clean, organized house to come home to after I got home from the hospital. There was also so much I hadn't gotten done yet. Minor things, but still - like sewing my quilt, boppy cover, car seat cover, putting up drapes in Baker's nursery, etc. Like I said, small things, but I still felt unprepared.

The night before Baker arrived was bittersweet. I feel silly, but honestly, thinking back to that night, I still get a little teary. Andrew helped me pack my bag for the hospital, and as we crawled into bed I started crying. I thought about how it was the last time my little guy was going to be in my stomach. There's something so intimate about feeling your baby move inside you. I was excited to hold him in my arms, but after spending so much time - just he and I - I was emotional. Then I started thinking about how long it had been just Andrew and I. When I explained why I was crying, Andrew cried with me. They were happy, thankful tears - we had been hoping and praying for this for years and knowing we'd finally meet our little guy the next day was so sweet. We had our last family prayer with just the two of us and thanked the Lord for blessing our lives and then went to bed. I hardly slept that night, anxious about what was to come.

The Big Day...
We were scheduled to be at the hospital at 6:30am. I woke up at 5:00, got ready, & headed over to the hospital with everything we'd need. I figured if I got there at 6:30, we'd probably have a baby by 3:00pm at the latest...boy was I wrong!
Shortly after we arrived, they started the pitocin and broke my water at 7:30. I hadn't gotten my epidural yet, because I wanted to experience labor pains (call me crazy) and the sensation from having my water break was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Pretty much like peeing your pants but the water literally gushed out and just kept coming. I was amazed at how much fluid there was (TMI? Get used to it...)! Any time I'd adjust myself or laugh, more would come out, which would make me laugh more.
Around 10:30, I was starting to feel some contractions. Nothing major- just small cramping. It felt like menstrual cramps and I still didn't feel like I wanted the epidural yet. It wasn't until the nurses came in to hook me up to the internal monitors that I realized pain killers would be nice. (Since baby boy kept moving around, the external monitors weren't tracking his heart rate like they should.) They attempted to insert them and ohmuhgosh...I about died. I thought being "checked" for dilation hurt...oh no. This was excruciating. They got the wire in that monitored my contractions, but they couldn't connect the other wire to baby's head in the right spot. After trying for what seemed like forever (it was actually only a few minutes), they gave up and would try again in a bit.
When they left, I broke down, started crying and told Andrew I was ready for the epidural. I felt like it took the anesthesiologist forever to get there and even the epidural hurt. He was having trouble getting the catheter in the right spot in my spine and feeling him feel around hurt. Ouch. Finally, they got it in and within a few minutes, I was way more comfortable. It wasn't long after that when the nurses tried the internal monitors again and got them connected to the baby.

Every hour or so, the nurse would come in and check to see how far I'd progressed. Things were moving very slowly, but baby was doing fine, so they upped the pitocin just a bit to help me progress faster. At 3:00 I was finally dilated to a 5 and they said usually it's pretty fast from there & normally you progress about a centimeter each hour. We should have a baby here by 9:00, I thought! Sadly, that didn't happen.

Around 5:00 I started feeling the contractions pretty bad. I pressed the button for the epirdural a few times for another dose of medicine, but the pain wasn't subsiding. Finally, we called the nurse in. My epidural had run out and the alarm on the bag that warns you when the medicine is getting low didn't go off. At that point, I could feel everything and I was having some pretty intense contractions. My mom coached me through them, while I tried breathing through them and cried. To ya'll who do this naturally, kuddos to you! I think I could have managed the pain better, had I not had the pitocin and had I been prepared for it, but in the moment, it was awful. The anesthesiologist came back in, fixed me back up, and all was well.

Finally, at 10:30 at night, my doctor came in to talk to me. He explained that even though baby was doing well, I was still at a 5 and even felt like I was starting to swell up. He said I was more like a 4 1/2. It was time for us to start talking about a c-section.

A lump immediately formed in my throat and I did my best to not start bawling until after he left the room. Then I broke down. A c-section was not part of my plan at all. I was exhausted and terrified. The doctor suggested we talk it over and have him come back in an hour to check again. My dad was there and he and Andrew gave me a blessing. I immediately felt comforted and knew that while this wasn't in my plan, things would be okay, and the c-section was the route we needed to take to get him there safely.

The doctor came back in, checked me (I was a 4 by then- definitely swelling) and they prepared me for the c-section. The rest is a bit blurry. I was honestly so tired and keeping my eyes open felt like torture. I remember them wheeling me back to the operating room and a new anesthesiologist (who was so amazing and so so sweet) talked to me about what they were going to do. He stayed with me the whole time and assured me that everything was going to be okay. I'm so grateful for his help and assurance during that time! Andrew was the only one allowed in the room as far as family went and I made sure he took lots of pictures. He was also a great support and kept telling me I was doing great.

When they got me on the operating table, they put the screen up and started the procedure. I couldn't really feel them cutting me but I could feel the pressure. And after laboring for 18 hours, I thought it hurt like hell. After about 5 minutes, I felt some movement and then heard the most amazing sound I will ever hear - my baby's first cry! He was not a happy boy, going from a cozy, warm environment to a bright, cold room! They told us he was a boy (which we knew, but it was still a nice confirmation!) and I saw them carry him over to the table to get cleaned up and I couldn't stop crying or laughing. I was so happy! I just wish I could have held him in my arms right after he was born. But I was grateful he was okay and healthy.
 Because he was posterior & situated funny inside me, he had such a little cone head from the pressure on my cervix! Poor baby! He was 9 pounds & 21 inches long - 2 weeks early! Can you imagine if I'd gone to 40 weeks!?
 Once he was wrapped up, the nurse brought him to me. I couldn't believe how beautiful and big he was! I kissed him and just stared in awe at this little one that Andrew and I created. It was amazing.
 While they stitched me back up, Andrew took him back into the labor and delivery room to introduce him to the rest of our family. When they wheeled me back in, we announced his name to everyone. I tried to breast feed that night, but I was so tired and couldn't stay awake. I had them take him to the nursery for the night so I could sleep. At this point it was about 1:30am. 
 Andrew was amazing through the whole ordeal. So supportive and loving. It was love at first sight for both of us! All in all, things definitely didn't go as I planned or hoped, but I'm so grateful for all the support we received for good doctors! Mostly I'm grateful for our healthy, beautiful baby boy.

Aren't my guys handsome?


Anonymous said...

Makes me teary too! Beautiful! Mom

BECKY said...

totally made me tear up. birth stories are so special!
it was awesome to read it!; thanks for sharing!
keep writing down all your day to day details... you'll LOVE reading them! and you'll totally forget it all even though you think you won't!!
congrats on your beautiful baker!

Michelle said...

Hey Shannon! I'm so so happy your sweet little boy is here! Congratulations! I love reading birth stories. Yours was beautiful. How fun is it being a mom? Exhausting in the beginning as you're trying to regain your strength but it just gets better and better. Enjoy the sleepy newborn cuddly stage, they grow out of it so quickly!

Jennifer said...

The day of your delivery sounds almost exactly like mine, except we had to go in the night before. I also had to do the 24 hour urine test, but I didn't end up having pre-eclampsia. Hoping for none this time, too!

The Laidlaws said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I love reading birth stories! Makes me wanna have another!!!!

Ashley said...

Beautiful story! So happy for you! Baker is sooo cute.

April said...

Thanks for sharing, Shan. We can never really prepare for these little people in more ways than one... but motherhood, with all its ups and downs is a gift, for sure. You are a great mom.

lifeinredshoes said...

Can you believe what this last has brought you?
From adoption papers to the operating room...all worth the outcome :)

Mark R said...

Your water heater definitely broke at the wrong time. It’s a good thing that your family and in-laws were there, ready to assist you during an emergency. At least you were able to attend your appointment, knowing that your water heater problem would be resolved and you had someone to help you clean it – such a relief! Overall, this is an experience worth telling your kids when they grow up.

Mark @