Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sanders' Birth Story

On Tuesday, November 20, after 5 days of painful false labor I was at my whit’s end and exhausted as we drove to the hospital for my 40 week OB appointment. We arrived at our 10:30 appointment with plenty of tales of our none-too-pleasant last five days. My Dr. asked me how I was doing and I told her I was tired. To which she replied, (nicely, but honestly) “Yeah, you look it.” We listened to Babe’s heartbeat and she felt my tummy. I asked, “Do we have a 9 pounder in there?” She felt again and agreed that the baby was 9 pounds “or just under.” I’m quite positive, looking back, that she was lying. I really think she knew better, but wanted to avoid scaring me. I think she thought to herself, “This girl has a big job ahead of her, I’d better not let on just how big…” Keep in mind; this is the same lady who teased me often toward the end of my pregnancy by telling me that if I didn’t want to have big babies, I shouldn't have married someone that was 6’2.”

As the appointment concluded Brian and I were both anxious to hear the final verdict. We were determined not to be sent home. We didn’t want to have to gear up for another loooong, stressful night of me walking hundreds of circles through our little house, pacing the hallways, and taking multiple baths and showers in a desperate attempt to find some comfort while Brian timed my contractions.

My Dr. said we had two options. She would send us home with sleeping pills and I could take a nap, since I hadn’t slept more than 10 minutes the previous night. Or, we could go outside, walk for an hour (in an effort to get contractions hoppin’), and then…then(!), we could check into the maternity ward. We quickly opted for the second choice and practically scampered our tired selves out the door, down the elevator, and into the parking garage to begin walking! (It was raining, so we took shelter.) I’ve never walked with such purpose in my life. This was our last walk as a family of two! This baby was coming…today!

We reported to the maternity ward around noon. Brian sat calmly and I paced while we waited for our nurse to come fetch us. After what seemed a long time (but in actuality was only 15 minutes) we were admitted to our room. The nurses were supposed to start me on Pitocin right away but needed to first input all my medical information into their database. My nurse accidentally failed to input my allergy information and even though I have no known allergies to any medications, nothing could move forward until my allergy information was in the database. This seemingly small mistake ended up requiring long conversations between the nurses and IT and postponing the start of Pitocin by several hours. At this point my back pain was tremendous and I had spasms reaching up into my shoulders and neck. I had hoped to try my darndest for a natural labor and delivery but following five restless nights the thought of relief and maybe even a nap filled me with glee and I thought I might cry big, fat, happy tears of joy. Although I wanted an epidural, I didn’t quite have it in me to admit it because that to me seemed like giving up before starting, so Brian took the reigns and requested one for me. At 2:30 the anesthesiologist arrived and started the goodness flowing! Finally, at around 3:30 my Pitocin was started. Getting an epidural was the greatest decision. Brian said it was as if they had given me laughing gas. It brought me to realize that I hadn’t been comfortable for quite some time. I was so happy and so excited to meet our baby that I could hardly stand it.

Although the epidural brought great relief for me, my uterus was out of control. My contractions remained inconsistent and were lasting as long as 12 minutes without a break.
At our appointment that morning my Dr. had determined me to be completely effaced and dilated to 4.5 centimeters. Our nurse, Marge, was measuring me at 6 centimeters. When my Dr. came in around 5:00 to check on us, we were hoping to hear that we were dilated even further. However, she told us that we were still dilated to 4.5 centimeters. This was the first of subtle disagreements between our Dr. and nurse. Our Dr. said to up the Pitocin with the hope of regulating my contractions. Marge told us that even though our Dr. had said to up it every 15 minutes, she would only be doing so every 30 minutes for fear of putting too much stress on our baby. We were frustrated that she was refusing to move things forward as quickly as suggested by the Dr., but happy to hear of her concern for our baby. Ultimately, our baby’s safety was all we cared about and as long as I had the lovely epidural juices flowing through me, I really didn’t care how long I had to sit and wait, just as long as Babes arrived safe and sound.

Our Dr. returned around 7:15. She measured me at 6 centimeters and broke my water. (Talk about a strange, helpless, incontinent sensation!) Brian and I overheard the nurses muttering to one another about how they didn’t understand why our Dr. hadn’t done so earlier. I found it slightly unprofessional but mostly funny, thanks to my epidural. :) My water showed evidence that our baby had pooped, so it was determined that Babes would need to have extra observation at birth to ensure that no meconium had been consumed. Our Dr. reinforced to Marge that the Pitocin should be upped every 15 minutes. She looked Marge in the eye and with eyebrows raised said forcefully but reassuringly, “You have my full support.” It was as if she was really saying, “I know you haven’t been doing what I told you. Do it, Lady! Let’s get this show on the road.” In the meantime, as labor progressed, I was able to take a nap, thanks to my new best friend: the epidural. Brian and I watched part of the movie Elf, and my parents arrived. After my water was broken I was able to take another cat nap.

Around 9:00 Brian decided to go for a walk and get some fresh air with my dad. At 9:30(ish) just as my Dr. was about to leave our room, things turned south. Our baby’s heart rate dropped. I was asked to flip to my other side and when it didn’t help I was told to flip back. Nothing improved so an oxygen mask was placed over my face and I was helped to all fours. Our room quickly filled with extra medical staff. That’s when I realized that it was more than just a hiccup, it was a problem. All monitors were out of my line of vision; I couldn’t see anything but my hair as it hung over my face. I kicked myself for not having tied it back sooner. Our baby’s heart rate had yet to climb, and the word C-section was said. Brian returned nonchalantly part way into the fiasco. :) Even as I perched awkwardly on my noodle-y epidural legs atop the bed with medical staff hurriedly working around me, I had a peace about things. Somehow I was quite sure that everything was going to be okay. Plus, I knew that even if it wasn’t okay, it was out of my control. Looking back, it was so obviously God’s presence in our delivery room. An 8 minute eternity later, our baby’s heart rate began to climb. I was dilated to just shy of 10 centimeters and told that pushing would begin soon. First however, our baby needed time to rest. At 10:15 the pressure could no longer be ignored and pushing began. At 10:45 I exclaimed between contractions, “All those women who claim, ‘Oh, I pushed three times and out came my baby!’ they’re liars!” My Dr. told me that that’s how second babies are born. She then added, “Not that you want to think about Baby #2 right now.” :) At 11:45 I slapped my leg and told everyone in the room, including my extra audience of pediatric nurses waiting to inspect our baby upon arrival to make sure he hadn’t consumed any meconium, that I didn’t think I could get the baby out. I honestly thought I couldn’t do it. I thought I was going to have to quit. Within seconds our son was born. :) Shortly after, once he was determined healthy and in the clear of any poo ingestion, our Dr. and nurses and Brian shared a hearty laugh remembering what Brian has now dubbed my ridiculous exclamation, since it was obvious to each of them that our baby would be born in the next push.

Sanders Liam was born at 11:46pm on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. He made me a mama and already, just 17 days later, has fulfilled years worth of my hopes and dreams. Brian and I aren’t sure how, but every day we wonder if he’s become even a little bit cuter than the day before. We’re a little trio, madly in love.

Thanks be to God for granting us such an awesome gift!

SandMan, we waited for you and at last you've joined us! We can’t imagine life without you. We also can’t imagine a more adorable or precious miracle. I still can’t believe God gave sweet little you to us! We are forever thankful.
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  1. I'm officially crying...and I already knew the story! :) HA!
    Sanders, you are so many hopes and dreams come true for your Mommy and Daddy! A true gift from God.