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.


Martha said...

It is still a beautiful story, even if it didn't go like you had dreamed.

Rachel said...

Soon it will be but a distant memory. I'm so glad he's okay. Can't wait until he's home in your arms.

Kaitlin said...

He's here. And tomorrow he's coming home. And God has been there all along. He knows. He loves both of you so much.

Martha said...

Please write another Baby Story and post a picture of the little guy now. He's so much prettier. :)