Monday, April 16, 2012

Our Birth Story

This may be the longest post you ever read on my blog. Forgive me, it was one of the longest days of my life. This is my baby’s birth story….and a day I hope to forever remember.

The doctor checked me at my last appointment and told me that I was 90% effaced but only dilated to a 2. As I later found out, he was going to be gone over Easter weekend, therefore his reasoning for asking me if we wanted to induce labor the following morning. Kyle and I had talked about what to do if the doctor wanted to induce, and we decided to go for it. I was so nervous, but at the same time so ready to have our little man OUT of me.

If you have ever been pregnant, you might understand that desire….

The rest of the day was spent in preparation: cleaning the house a little, finishing the packing, calling relatives, and having a lunch date with my man—our last as “just us.” It was bittersweet….we ate our food but took brief moments to reach across and hold hands or make eye contact. We didn’t have to say much, we both knew what we were feeling. We couldn’t wait to have our son, but we also knew we would miss the precious moments of being a just a duo.

I didn’t sleep particularly well that night. My Braxton Hicks contractions grew increasingly stronger and I almost assumed I was in labor. We decided to just go to bed and see if my water broke or the contractions increased during the night.

They didn’t.

My alarm went off at 3:45 AM. I rolled out of bed almost instantly, knowing sleep was futile. My mind was already rolling.

I had been told not to eat anything. Since I was still suffering from morning nausea, my stomach told me TO EAT ANYTHING or I was going to dry heave. I tried eating four pieces of dry cereal, hoping to calm my stomach.

I vomited.

Kyle held my hair and told me it was my last morning to throw up.

I couldn’t help but smile in excitement at the prospect. J

I curled my hair, put on my makeup, and packed my last minute necessities while my moved around to make the bed and pack his clothes. I put food in a cooler for him to eat in the hospital and we loaded the car.

As we locked the door at 5:15 AM and walked to the car, I felt myself growing anxious but tried to distract my mind. We chatted lightly on the way to the hospital, parked the car in the ER lot, loaded ourselves up with the bags we needed for the days ahead, and held hands as we (I) waddled through the electronic doors. 5:30. We were right on time.

The nurse at the desk greeted us and sent us on our way to Labor and Delivery, telling us to have a “great day.” I wasn’t so sure how “great” it was going to be, but I knew the end result of meeting Gracin was going to be worth it.

Labor and Delivery put us in a room almost instantly. They handed me a gown and told me to completely undress except for my bra.

I had never worn a hospital gown before. Thankfully mine was more modest than most I have seen and I didn’t have to worry about “mooning” everyone from the back.

Nurses checked my vital signs, started my IV, told me not to eat anything, and left us alone for a few minutes.

I dry heaved.

Kyle’s family arrived about 6:45 and came in the room to keep us company. We shared a few precious moments of chatter and laughter together while I continued my minor contractions and the nurses monitored baby’s heartbeat. As they tracked my contractions, the nurse pointed out that I was indeed having them without pitocin—about 8 minutes apart. Happy that I was at least ready to start labor, I rested against the bed and listened to family visit.

My parents arrived and the hospital personnel overlooked the fact that we had 5 visitors in a room when 3 was the limit.

Nurses started pitocin. It was such a little amount I really didn’t feel the effects of it for the next hour.

Eventually the family began to wander to the waiting room to give us a little space and Kyle and I decided to take the monitor and go walking around the halls. The squeak of the wheels and the pad of my sock feet made the short walk of the Labor and Delivery halls before we parked in the waiting room with our fathers and listened to them discuss politics and the president.

I had to pee.

We left them to their debate and squeaked back to our room where our mothers were.
At 9:30 the doctor walked into the room and announced it was time to check me and break my water. This was two hours ahead of schedule and the remainder of the family scattered graciously, saying they would come back when I was ready.

Breaking of the water is such an interesting thing. I had fantasized about it for so long! It was NOTHING like I imagined. It wasn’t really clear.

I hope it never breaks while I am sleeping.

I was so grateful the doctor broke it on THEIR towels, in THEIR bed, over THEIR floor, and while I was dressed in THEIR gown.

Yes, it was gross.

The doctor left so quickly I almost thought he was a blur. Apparently he was inducing 3 women on the same day—getting his board cleared for Easter weekend, apparently.

With the next contraction I KNEW labor was only beginning. I went from easy, breathable contractions to those that caused me to frown and sit up quickly. Kyle turned on the TV and settled into a chair as we began the wait.

It didn’t take but a few more contractions before I was laying on my side with my eyes closed. It was beginning to hurt.

An hour or so later the nurse offered me some Demerol to help me relax between contractions. I waved it for the moment, but within another half hour I was asking my husband to request it.

The Demerol made my fingers tingle and the room spin, but the few minutes between contractions seemed longer and I dozed while in my subconscious I could hear “Animal Cops Houston” playing in the background.

My precious husband came to the bed for every contraction and held my hand. He was SUCH a trooper. From the start of the day to the last he was my advocate with the nurses and doctor. He held my hand through every contraction and only went to the restroom once. I was so blessed to have him there.

They checked me again. The nurses said I was only dilated to a 4. Lovely.

At this point I was beginning to lose track of time. I was sleeping and focusing on painful contractions.

Kyle kept the family in the waiting room informed of our progress (or lack thereof) via text message.

After asking if it was ok, my mom came into the room, planning to check on me, encourage, and leave.

She didn’t leave for the rest of labor.

Once she took one side of the bed, and Kyle the other, they started timing my contractions and feeding me ice. Some contractions were a minute apart—others only 30 seconds.
Honestly, some of the following hours are a bit blurry. Demerol mercifully kept me relaxing between contractions, and during the intense pain my husband spooned ice into my dry mouth and my mom squeezed my hand and kept me from rolling onto my stomach, which I so badly wanted to do.

They say I thrashed around in the bed.

I remember that part.

Perhaps the most vivid memory I have was the way my hands clenched up as I struggled to regulate my breathing. I looked like a person with a palsy. My hands contorted into odd positions, and my mom and Kyle rubbed them continuously to try to keep my muscles from contracting to the point I couldn’t move my hands at all.

I could hear them talking above me—voicing when another contraction was coming, noticing when Gracin’s heartbeat dropped…..I heard, I considered, I worried, I prayed, I slept.

When the nurse FINALLY said I was dilated to a 7, I was feeling the most intense pain I had ever felt in my life. I writhed in pain, my mom  encouraging again and again “breathe, Sarah. He (Gracin) needs air. BREATHE, GIRL!”

Kyle spooned ice, encouraged, held my hand, and then lapsed into silence as the contractions grew all the harder.

The nurse was certain I was not dilating all that fast, but I was beginning to feel pressure in my pelvis and the contractions were causing me to moan loudly. My mom told Kyle to buzz the nurse again.

A delivery nurse came in and checked me. She didn’t check me during a contraction and honestly didn’t seem to care.

She diagnosed my dilation at a 7 still.

She left and my mom “humphed” at her diagnoses. “You are more than a seven. You are getting close, Sarah. When you need to push, you are nearly done. Tell us when you need to push.”

I needed to push within 30 minutes. I was beginning to strain and come out of my Demerol sleep with wide eyes. I would make eye contact with my precious husband, but then I caught my Mom’s eye and held them. She squeezed my hand all the tighter and nodded. “I know, honey. I know. You are NEARLY done. BREATHE, GIRL.”

I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her. She never took off her jacket or put her purse away. From the moment she walked in the door she was focused on being my help and support.

I was told to focus on one spot and breathe during the contractions. There were two dots on the ceiling—one blue and one green—that kept my focus as I breathed.

My husband says he couldn’t have done it without her. He had never seen me in that much pain before, and I think it was beginning to get to him.

I began to squall “I NEED TO PUSH!!!”

Mom buzzed the nurse again. 

My nurse Heather came back in and checked me. “Don’t push, Sarah. Focus on breathing. DO.NOT.PUSH. We need to get the doctor here.”

My husband and mother say I opened my eyes, rolled them, and then muttered, “She is CRAZY.”

Apparently pain brings out the sass in me.

My mom didn’t help the nurse’s case a whole lot. “Forget the doctor,” she said quietly, “Kyle, wanna deliver your baby? Sarah, push when you are ready.”

Within a few more contractions I was pushing. The nurse had wheeled in a big table covered in a cloth and a million tools. She laid down a covering on the floor, put on her delivery apron, and was calling down the hall, “CAN I GET DR. ANDERSON IN HERE???”

She walked back into the room, nodded toward Mom, and said to me, “Is she staying?” That sweet nurse was ready to clear the room if I wanted it.

There was NO way I was going to let my mom leave at that point. She was gripping my right hand and reminding me to breathe when I was holding my breath and wanting to push.

My poor doctor barely made it in the room, slipped on his plastic shoes and coverings, and stood before I was on my elbows pushing hard.

I remember being told to breathe.

The nurses and doctor crowded around me. Mom told Kyle to go watch the birth and she would coach.  

Four hard pushes, that was all it took.

I heard them squeal, “His head is out, Sarah! Look! Look!”

I couldn’t look. I was pushing.

I remember the last push so well—I yelled. It wasn’t a scream. It wasn’t a quiet “oh dear.” I yelled from my diaphragm a groan with the last air I had in that push.
He was there.

I heard him cry.

I saw his hair.

I heard my husband crying.

It was 3:53 pm.

My mama had tears pouring down her cheeks.

The doctor held him by the feet and let him dangle for a few seconds as he slightly moved him up and down to shake the liquid from his mouth.

Gracin peed on the doctor just to make sure it was known that he didn’t appreciate the shaking.

Suddenly, there was a warm, wet, crying baby on my stomach. He was there only a few seconds before the nurses whisked him away to the “incubator.”

The doctor delivered my placenta and immediately began stitching up my episiotomy—telling me that I had torn to a 3rd degree.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to him at the moment.

All I could say was, “I did it. Mama, I did it!” as I looked across the room to my son, who was staring back at me.

It was over.

Gracin peed on the nurse.

They swaddled him and he peed in his swaddle blanket.

He was quiet and sucking on his fingers.

Those dark eyes were so beautiful.

I finally looked up into my mama’s face. We both wept.

The doctor continued to stitch me. I flinched on one of the stitches and he apologized. “I’m sorry about that.”

“Not sorry enough!” I joked.

He actually laughed. He never laughs at things I say!

Kyle kissed my forehead and reminded me he called first dibs on holding our son. He cried over the little form as the nurses handed the bundled blanket to him. Gracin blinked several times as he focused on his daddy’s face. He was still sucking his fingers—it was the most precious moment I have ever experienced.

My mom left shortly to go and share the arrival news with our family in the waiting room.

I started shaking as my hormones changed. The nurse went for warm blankets and I finally got to hold my baby boy.

My life was in that moment completely changed. I watched him pucker his lips and blink. I looked at his dark hair and marveled.

He was the spitting image of his daddy.

I was in love.

The nurse left us to our little family while she continued to search for blankets. Just the three of us. It was perfect.

Kyle took Gracin back and sat in the chair. He cried again over our son. From the moment he came out Gracin was going to be Kyle’s “little buddy.” My heart melted over the sight. I saw my husband’s lips moving as he prayed over our son….

Kyle let me have Gracin back as he went to bring our family in. One-by-one they entered, as if the ground was sacred. My mother-in-law, with tears in her eyes, kissed my forehead. My dad came in with his glasses off and tears in his eyes. They looked on as I continued to hold my little boy.

The nurse brought warm blankets and covered my shaking legs. I talked and my teeth chattered. As I passed the baby off to be admired by the family, the nurse helped me settle back and cover up—informing me that we only had a few more minutes before baby would have to be cleaned up and I would be needing to make a bathroom visit and nurse our little one.

The family visited over the baby as my mom so sweetly bragged over how well I did during labor. For the first time since the early morning I was able to smile and laugh as I joked over parts of the day.

It was over. I had made it through the most anticipated event of my life. I had been able to do labor without an epidural—something I had wanted to do my whole life. Our son was here, healthy and safe.

There were so many more details that happened after the fact that don’t seem so important right now. That day was so special, so hard, and yet so wonderful.

I think of that day now as I change diapers, kiss little puckered lips, calm gassy cries, marvel over my husband and son cuddling together, and smile over baby socks in my laundry.

Was it worth it?


Will I do it again?


Is my God faithful?

There is never any doubt.


Heather said...

Oh, Sarah! Thank you for sharing! It is such a sweet story, and you captured it so perfectly with your words. Couldn't get through it without tearing up!

Becky Dietz said...

Welcome to the club.

A Wife and her Carpenter said...

I cried multiple times throughout this. Such a beautiful story. Welcome Gracin :)

Elisa said...

Wow, Sarah. This is so beautiful. It seemed so real. Halfway through the post and before I knew it I was crying and clenching my stomach. I've had anxiety attacks before where my hands froze up, I can't imagine having to go through that again when I am in labor!! You were amazing on that day. Congratulations again!!