mattandbekah: Jack's Long Birth
Monday, October 25, 2010 10:31 AM
"My contractions started hitting me like a wall (I'm told this is due to the Pitocin), I don't know how else to describe it, and although I didn't actually time them, they were right on top of each other."
I realize that I never wrote down the story of Jack's birth, I just was not (still am not) able to justly articulate the day that transformed me from a child into a mother. However, I fear that I will forget, that as the years pass, as more children (probably) come along, the beauty of that day will fade into a short two or three sentence event. Oh, yeah...Jack was born at 8:37 in the evening, after 15 hours of labor. He weighed seven pounds, one ounce, nineteen inches long. I cried. Not that there is anything wrong with that story, but there is just so much more. More to remember, more to celebrate, more to learn. Jack's birth, while beautiful, was not what I expected. There are many things that I will do differently next time. I don't regret a single thing that brought my son into my arms, but I do believe things could have been handled better. And I need to remember that day. In as much detail as I can.
So for my own sake, here goes nothing.
Waiting.. and waiting...
I was still two weeks away from my due date, and I was starting to feel incredibly worn out. Due to what my doctor called an irritable uterus, I had been having contractions every 5-10 minutes for SEVEN WEEKS, and then I developed a cold. I broke out the baby's humidifier, which helped me get an almost decent nights sleep on the 5th. Early the next morning, I woke to feel the baby kicking. He was always wild in the early morning, which I loved, but this morning I suddenly felt a little...well...um...I thought I had wet myself. I went to the bathroom, and the trickle didn't stop. It was 5:33 in the morning. I went to our room, but just stood in the doorway for a minute, because I suddenly had no idea what to say.
How do you tell your husband that he is hours away from becoming a father? All I could do was turn on the light. He sat up and squinted at me, and I finally spit out the words "Matt? I think my water just broke." He smiled...the covered his head and tried to go back to sleep. Needless to say I put the kibosh on that! I called the doctor on duty at the hospital, who told me they would like me to come in to be checked. I had met him several times throughout my pregnancy and I liked him very much.
I promptly called my Mom and my sister, who I had asked to be in the delivery room with me throughout labor and delivery. Then I called my Dad, who was on vacation in Virginia for his fiftieth birthday. I apologized for cutting his trip short, but told him he might want to head home to meet his newest grandchild.
Matt and I prayed together, then off we went! We stopped on the way to the hospital for a hot chocolate and my last Devils food Krispy Kreme, then headed in to the hospital. I won't go into too much detail (you're welcome Dad) - the doctor confirmed that my water had indeed broken, but that I was only a fingertip dilated. In the weeks leading up to the birth, my blood pressure had been rising slowly, for no apparent reason, and when they took a reading there, it was once again a little higher than they would have liked. They tested me for proteinuria, but I would not hear the results until after Jack was born.
I was hooked up to the monitors, and within an hour of being there the nurse on duty started talking to me about the possibility of a c-section if I did not deliver my baby within 24 hours. I was scared. Very scared. They started a Pitocin drip, then the Doctor came into our room. Surprisingly...this was a different doctor. One I had never met. He sat down, and talked to Matt and I for a full hour about birth control. Birth control. When all we wanted to think about was this baby we were so eagerly awaiting!
Not what we expected.
Soon after the doctor left the room, my mom and sister arrived at the hospital to keep me company. My mom saved the day by thinking to bring chapstick, cough drops, and a menthol stick to help me breathe a little better, since my cold was still very bad. My contractions were steadily intensifying, and I played Go Fish with my sister to try to distract me from
You know, because you can totally distract yourself from a full-body cramp with a pre-schoolers card game!
Hitting a wall
My contractions started hitting me like a wall (I'm told this is due to the Pitocin), I don't know how else to describe it, and although I didn't actually time them, they were right on top of each other. The nurses started coming in to ask how my pain level was, and then they started turning my Pitocin down to 'give me a little break between contractions'. Around 2:00pm I finally asked (begged!) them to check me again, and as I laid down in the bed to be checked, I just kept praying "please be progressing, please be progressing" I was terrified that I would not be able to have my baby in the allotted 24 hours after my water had broken. The nurse checked me, and sure enough...no progress.
I nodded, then the nurse left me with Matt, my mom, and my sister again. I lost it. I just broke down, all this work, all this pain, and a c-section was still looming in the not too distant future? I felt like I was already failing my child. My mom was such a comfort in this time, she prayed the sweetest prayers of encouragement for Matt and I.
In an hour or so, another nurse came in, and asked me if I wanted an epidural. All I wanted was to make some progress, and I told her that. She said it wouldn't hurt my progress. So...they called the anesthesiologist.
I got my epidural by 4:00, and I was then promptly put on oxygen. They said that because of my cold, they were worried about the baby getting enough oxygen. Somewhere in here God sent me an angel in the form of Jess, a nurse. She was incredible, she was the person I needed to have in that room on that day.
Around 5:30 I was checked again, and I was finally at six centimeters! I again started sobbing, this time because I felt like maybe I would be able to deliver this baby the way I had planned to all along. I tried to rest a little, but they kept coming in to take my blood pressure (and somehow I didn't catch on that they were concerned). Around 7:00 I started to feel an intense sharp pain in my abdomen on my left side, and by intensely sharp I mean...holy crap.
They gave me a bolus in my epidural, and then they checked me. I was at 10cm. I looked frantically for my older sister, motioned her to the bed, and told her that I didn't know what to do. I didn't think I knew what to push with, and due to the bolus in my epidural I couldn't feel a darned thing from my ribcage down! She assured me that I could do it, and she gave me a few pointers.
I don't remember why but it took a while for them to let me start pushing. I was told later by my family that they were talking about my blood pressure, and my oxygen levels. About an hour later they let me start pushing. Because I was having trouble breathing through my cold, they only let me push on every other contraction, but by the second set of pushes my mom, sister, and Matt were excitedly telling me that they could see his head, and he had hair!
After about 20 more minutes of pushing, our doctor came back into the room, along with a resident in training. He watched one push, and told the nurse to get everything ready, because we were going to have a baby.
All I remember was Matt holding my leg for me, and jumping up and down saying "there is the head, there it is! So close! You're doing good baby!" His excitement totally fueled my next push. I don't remember who said what or who even told me it was a boy, all I knew was that there was a tiny wiggling body placed in my arms and he was making the loudest little squawks. At 8:37pm on November 6, 2009, my son was born.
I looked through my tears at this tiny little person. He was perfect. I held him and kissed him and cried big fat happy tears. I told him I loved him and I marveled the workmanship of God in this tiny being.
I excitedly showed my mom that he has the same dimple in his chin that she and I share. Eventually all the people who waited hour after long hour in the waiting room were allowed into the room and got to meet Jack as well. I have no concept of how long everyone was in there, but eventually a nurse came in and suggested that they take Jack to the nursery to be weighed and checked over, and everyone else leave to let me get some rest.
After the room cleared, Jess came back in and sat down beside my bed. 'Okay,' she said. 'here is the deal. You have protein in your urine, and your blood pressure is higher than we like to see.' In the sweetest possible terms she explained to me that I had developed pre-ecclampsia, and that I would need to be put on Magnesium Sulfate for 24 hours and stay in the Labor and Delivery hall where doctors would be nearby at all times, and that Jack would be staying in the nursery until I was moved into the maternity ward.
Not completely over...
With that, I lost it. I had worked so hard to get him here, and all I wanted to do was to be with my baby. I hated the thought of him spending his first night on earth away from me, his mother. I called Matt, who had gone with Jack to watch him get weighed and bathed, and asked him to come back. Jess explained everything again for him, while I basically just sobbed in the hospital bed.
Jess left our room, and all I could do was cry and watch the video Matt had taken of Jack getting his very first bath. I tried to calm down, to tell myself that this was not to take Jack away, but to help me get better faster, to enable me to mother him properly.
Our door opened again, and all I could think was that I had to try to act okay for whoever this was coming to check on me, to convince them that I was ready to have Jack back with me, that they didn't need to keep him in the nursery.
Jess peeked around the door, then backed in wheeling Jack's bassinet.
She brought him to me, she said she could see that the best thing for me was to have him. Again...I sobbed. But this time out of gratitude. He stayed with Matt and I that night, and every night after that.
The rest of our stay continued to be kind of rocky, with my blood pressure topping out at 189/118, which I am told is kinda high. But those details aren't the ones I want to immortalize, I want to remember the wonder of looking at his hairy little body (he had sideburns!), counting his fingers and toes, memorizing the look of his face, laughing at the first poopy diaper, and watching my husband become a father. For the majority of our stay all I could do was stare at my beautiful little boy. My son. The story of our family was just beginning.
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