Saturday, September 22, 2012

The First Part: The Baby Story

There are times when we make plans. We have a certain way we would like things to go. We pray for events to occur in the way that we think is best. But things don't always happen the way we want them to. For instance, I prayed for a quick and easy deliver. God said no. I prayed that my baby would be safe and healthy. God didn't answer in the exact way I wanted. I made a birth plan in which I would have no episiotomy. I was to hold me baby right away and nurse him immediately. I wanted him skin-to-skin, in my arms, and to spend the first hour absorbing him, just me and my husband. Funny how none of those plans came to be.

My last night pregnant. 40 weeks and 4 days.

Saturday, the eighth of September, Adam and I took a trip to the hospital, which ended up being a false alarm. Both the midwife and the nurse I saw while there said they thought my baby was close to 7 1/2  or 8 pounds. I breathed a sigh of relief that maybe this baby would be smaller than Joshua was after all. Josh was 8 lbs, 9 oz at birth. I spent the next several days as normal and even ran all my errands with Josh on Monday afternoon. I had been having minor contractions for weeks, so I thought very little of the ones I had while walking through Target, the library and everywhere else we stopped that afternoon. After dinner, I asked to accompany Adam and Josh on their nightly walk, and we walked the mile-long trail around Big Field. My thought was, that since my contractions hadn't disappeared entirely yet, that maybe some more walking would do me some good. That night I went to bed exhausted, but I would get no sleep.

I lay in bed for an hour feeling minor contractions, just like every night for the week previous, and tried to sleep. The contractions were coming regularly, but were unconcerning to me and I just tried to get comfortable. Sleep evaded me. Sometime around 10pm, I felt this "pop" inside my pelvis and suddenly it was as if my contractions were turned up a notch or three. It wasn't long before I told Adam he should probably take Josh over to his parents house, who live not more than five minutes down the road. By quarter after 11, I had talked with my midwife and we were on our way to the hospital. I was only 3cm dilated by the time we arrived and I knew this wasn't going to be the "quick and easy" I had hoped for. Already the contractions were painful and I wasn't anywhere close to the 6cm I had been when the contractions got painful when Josh was born. I labored for the next four and a half hours, with Adam by my side. It was very intense and I fought to keep myself from crying. I progressed very slowly, compared to my expectations. (I learned that the second time you go through labor is not always faster than the first.) It took forever to go from 8cm to 10cm and finally they gave me the okay to push. It was 4am. There was some concern with the baby's heart rate being too high, so the pediatrician was called in, just in case. Soon there were a few more people in the room and I remember asking Jesus to help me. There was the mention of "if his heart rate doesn't come down". Adam was saying they were getting things ready, he's coming, he's coming. Time kept going on. I could hardly do it anymore. His heart rate... Was it getting better yet? I don't remember. The nurse, my midwife, whoever else was there at the time were telling me, "Come on Bethany, you can do it. Push harder!" Finally his head was out... They were still urging me to push. But this is supposed to be the part where I can stop pushing and his body will just slip out, right? There seems to be at least a dozen people there now. The mood in the room goes from urgent to emergency and I hear Adam begging God to help his baby. The midwife asks how long it has been. 1 minute. Adam begins to panic. That is what clued me in that things were not going as they were supposed to. What was happening to my baby? My strength was gone and still they urged me to push. Now it has been two minutes. I feel them pulling at my baby trying to get him out. I try my best to push with anything I had left. Adam is on his knees. And then they pull him out. He does not cry. I don't know what to think. They are tending to him under the lights. Finally he makes a noise and my midwife says, "Did you hear him? He is going to be okay." Before they take him to the Special Care Nursery to check him over more completely, they let me hold him for a couple seconds. And then he was gone.

The proper name for what had happened is Shoulder Distocia. He had gotten stuck at his shoulders for two or more minutes. Adam believed that our baby was not breathing or getting oxygen during those minutes, but in reality he was still receiving oxygen via his umbilical cord. The pediatrician in Special Care confirmed that his oxygen levels were okay and that he had no nerve damage in his arms due to the pulling on his arms during delivery. Thankfully they did not have to use forceps or vacuum or anything worse. But he still needed to be monitored in the nursery and we could go see him. His face was swollen and purple and we were told we could touch him, but not stroke him, because of his traumatic birth. He recoiled at our touch because he was in pain and I tried to be so gentle. I placed my hands by his feet, knowing his feet had to be the least tender as they were the last and smallest part of his body to be born. I cried with both exhaustion and sadness. My poor baby. I so wanted to wrap my arms around him and coo in his face, but instead he lay under the heat lamp in pain.

My baby:
Jacob Alfred
10 pounds, 2 ounces
22 1/4 inches long
at 40 weeks and 5 days,
4:48 am, on September 11, 2012.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

A Little Premature

I never wanted to be "one of those people". You know the type... Running to the doctor for every little scratch or tickle in their throat. Or the kind that runs to the hospital three or four times before they are actually in labor. Well, my impatience may be catching up to me. After eight hours of contractions last night, we left for the hospital at 6:30 am. I was rather nervous on our ride into the hospital that maybe the contractions were subsiding, that maybe this was a false alarm, that maybe I had woken Adam up for nothing, and that maybe I'd look like the stupid one for coming into the hospital before it was really time. And yes, true to form, my contractions lasted the night and left me in the morning. We were sent home, and I was told to go to sleep. Get some rest and maybe you'll be back later. They gave me Tylenol with codeine so I would be sure to sleep well and sleep I did. Now I feel like I am back to the denial stage. He's coming I know, but I kinda doubt it'll be soon. It's just protective mode really. An effort not to get my hopes up prematurely. Now watch, he'll probably end up being born at home or in the car, just cause I don't want to go to the hospital too soon.

Friday, September 07, 2012

No Birthday Baby for You!

She said he didn't feel like an eight pound baby. That was Tuesday. I don't want impatience to run my life, and so far I think I've done pretty well waiting for "Fred" to come. But now I think it's time. I would like him not to be nine pounds or more, though I'd keep him even if he was... Yet, the longer he stays in there, the more likely he will be, well, huge. Thankfully, my own rate of growth considerably slowed down back in July. In June, he was measuring up to two weeks ahead and I was sure I was going to give birth to a ten pound baby. Thankfully, that growth rate didn't continue, but instead slowed and he got back on track. (Or maybe I got back on track with more veggies and less ice cream...) It'd be kinda nice if he came this weekend, since he's not coming today. (Pretty sure of that. Like 99.9% sure.) My brother and his fiance` are coming into town next weekend and I'd love to have somewhat recovered my equilibrium and regained some control of my emotions by the time they arrive. In other words, I'd like to have had my baby and be back at home before next Friday, with a few days to spare. Am I ready? I think so. Is Adam ready? Well, this evening he prayed that he would come quickly.... Is Josh ready? He was ready seven months ago. Is "Fred" ready? Now that is the question that begs answering. (Sorry Auntie Kathy. No birthday baby for you.)

Thursday, September 06, 2012

40 Weeks and Feeling Loved

Forty weeks today! I think he's been thoroughly cooked and is ready to come now. I am ready for him to come too. I had a sweet friend stop by tonight with a bag of goodies for me. You know those things I have put off buying? Well, the bag was filled with those things. Baby wash and lotion, a crib mattress pad, and some mommy things. I feel loved. Fred, you now have my permission to come. I would like to kiss you tomorrow and help celebrate my Auntie Kathy's birthday with your arrival. Now be a good little boy and listen to your Mommy.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

40 Weeks, For Real?

39 weeks
Supposedly he's coming soon. "Fred", that is. He's due on Thursday. Of this week. In basically one more day. I've been having "baby" contractions for weeks now. Just little ones. Not anything too, too exciting. He's coming eventually. I am trying to decide if I am really prepared for this. Not the labor part, but the bringing him home part. It's something I've been waiting for for a long time. Baby number two. But now it's been almost five years and I find myself wondering if I have forgotten anything major between then and now. Like baby wash... Who needs that, right? I mean, how soon does a baby actually need a bath? Is he going to cry and keep Adam awake at night? Oh yeah, he is, isn't he? I'm going to have two kids? Whoa! I asked Josh what he was looking forward to most, about "Fred" coming and he said playing legos... That may be a small problem. I've tried explaining that little brother is going to come out very small, a tiny baby, too small to play toys right away, but somehow it has still gone right over his head. Josh will have to wait several years before "Fred" is ready to play big kid toys with him, and hopefully, Josh will have enough patience at that time to appease and entertain little brother by doing so. In the mean time, he will have to practice being gentle and giving sweet snuggles and kisses to little brother. I think he can manage that okay and hopefully he won't be too disappointed that little brother is actually that. Little. The whole "having a baby" thing is hard to wrap my mind around. I still wonder how much of me (and the rest of us- Adam and Josh) is still in denial. I mean, I did go and buy diapers a week and a half ago, but somehow there is this part of me that is in disbelief. Really? I'm really going to have a baby any day now? Naw... Maybe in a month or two he'll be here, but not any day soon. For reals? You mean I'll be 40 WEEKS pregnant in approximately 24 1/2 hours? Yes, yes I will be. And Fred is coming soon. And I will be so ready to hold him. And smell him. And rub my nose on his baby soft cheeks. And stare dreamily at him while he snoozes. And kiss him. And praise the Lord for the miracle He has granted me by giving us this child. To think that all I had to do was ask Him. And He said yes. Thank you God, for our little "Fred".