on the day you were born
The past several months, I've felt pretty strongly that I want to start sharing personal blogs. And I thought, HEY, what is more personal that the story of how our son was born?! Warning, this is a VERY personal post, so only read if you are into that sort of thing!
Up until thirty eight weeks, my pregnancy had been categorized by my doctor, thankfully, as ‘boring.’ At my second to last appointment, however, things shifted. My blood pressure was over the levels that they like to see (don’t even ask me what they were, because I still can’t remember what the numbers mean. And why are there two? Is it a fraction? I don’t understand.) They sent me to labor and delivery to be monitored and I crossed my fingers that this would be the end. I had dreamed of going into labor naturally at home, but by the third trimester, getting the baby out at all became the dream. I called Kyle and he raced to the hospital, only for me to be sent home to pee in a jug for 24 hours to monitor some medical stuff or another. I was a little disappointed to still be a giant whale, but relieved that baby was safe and sound.
At my 39 week appointment, they decided to do a last minute ultrasound because of my slightly raised blood pressure. My mom had come along for support since everyone seemed a little concerned, and she sat with me as the ultrasound tech worked. The tech was pretty quiet, which definitely didn’t put me at ease. After I finished cleaning off all of the belly goo, they hooked me up to what I can only describe as a medical fax machine to measure someone’s heartbeat or pressure or something. While I was hooked up, my doctor came in an explained to me that it appeared that our baby was having to work too hard to get nutrients from the placenta. His belly hadn’t grown from the last ultrasound that we had and he wasn’t putting on the fat that they like to see, which was not good news. My placenta was dying before it should and they wanted to get the baby out as soon as possible. It was ten o’clock in the morning and my doctor asked me to check in to labor and delivery by noon.
Mom and I went to a light lunch at Panera (mistake: should have chosen a steak dinner) and picked up my bag for the hospital while Kyle headed home from work. We got all checked in at the hospital and they started IV’s and the monitors and decided to do another ultrasound. By eight o’clock, my doctor came in and made the final call: we were going to have a baby. Since I was only dilated at two centimeters, they started me on Cervidil, which is a medicine they put on your cervix to kill you (I mean start labor, my bad.) We slept at the hospital that night. Well, Kyle slept on the couch and I stayed up all night with a nurse that was supposed to be at her cousin’s wedding in Charleston and was less than thrilled to be stuck at work monitoring me.
The next morning, I was delivered a breakfast of yogurt, apple juice, and chicken broth and met our nurse for the day. She introduced herself and asked me what my plan was for labor. I shyly admitted that I wanted to do everything naturally, but I was intimidated because I obviously hadn’t planned on Pitocin and an induced labor. She looked me straight in the eye and said “If you want natural labor, you just say the word, and we will make that happen for you today.” And so I did, and she promised to back me up every step of the way, which she did. My doctor came in and broke my water about an hour later, at around 9:30. After laboring on my own for about an hour, they started me on Pitocin, which is aimed to amp up contractions and get labor going faster and stronger. In the months leading up to our due date, I had typed up a birth plan, which is probably buried in the files on my laptop, completely untouched. “Labor naturally with no Pitocin” was definitely highlighted at the top (in hindsight, it’s good that I didn’t waste any printer ink on that.) My contractions were about every minute for several hours. I sat in a glider in that room for hours, crushing Kyle’s hand and regretting every decision that I’d ever made up until that point. The only thing that really kept me going was the look on Kyle’s face. I have never seen anyone so filled with joy. Over and over, he kept repeating “We get to meet our son today. We get to meet Jack today.” It was that little mantra that really got me through. That, and the promise of a bacon cheeseburger at the end.
Several hours passed and I was completely glued to that glider, rocking back and forth, looking like a mental patient. At around 1:30, I felt an extreme amount of pressure. I looked at Kyle and said “I think this baby is about to come out in this chair. You need to get someone, NOW.” He ran into the hallway yelling for a nurse. Up until this point, it had really been just Kyle and I in the room, which came as a surprise. They always make it look like there are dozens of people around in TV shows and movies, but that was definitely not our reality (thank goodness.) Our nurse came in and said “Well… we just started that Pitocin… so I really don’t think you’ll be ready for several more hours… but we will check you just in case…” I know they were rolling their eyes; cursing these crunchy, first time moms who don’t know what’s up. But very quickly, she called for our doctor and all of the sudden, the dynamic in that room changed drastically.
And for all of you people who have never taken a birth class or had a baby, up until this point I had just been in active labor, which sucks but it’s not the worst thing that’s ever happened to anyone. I had pretty quickly moved into the transition phase, which can be described as “oh my gosh what the heck is happening, make it stop right now.” Basically all of the sudden I really, truly thought that I was going to die. I am not going to lie to you: I started straight up panicking. The once calm and dark room was now full of strangers with ultra bright lights blaring down on me and my body felt like it was on fire. I don’t remember a lot, but Kyle could probably describe it perfectly, although I won’t let him because I know it was not the most shining moment of my life. And in hindsight, it’s the Lord’s good provision that won’t let me remember that, cause I would probably never consider having kids again. However, I will always remember the kindness of my nurses and doctor. After crying out something about being scared of all the strange nurses, my doctor introduced everyone in the room by their first name. She had someone turn down the lights. When I mentioned that I thought I was on fire, she asked the intern next to me “Are you even doing anything? Good, fan her with your clipboard.”
Finally, it was time to push. But turns out, it’s definitely not easy and someone has to tell you how to do it. After several attempts, I finally hit a good rhythm and it was almost over. One of the nurses warned me that I was almost done, but that I was going to experience something they call “the ring of fire,” which is very appropriately named because I imagine the fires of hell to be super similar. After that final push, everyone started clapping. I opened my eyes and there he was. There was Jack.
And I really can’t describe that feeling at all, but if you are a mom, you know it. I was so surprised. I knew he had been in there all along. I had felt his kicks and his elbows flying around and had heard his heartbeat, but I was so genuinely surprised when I saw him there. Squirming around and crying, so small and so squishy and so real and so perfect. It was like everything I had imagined but infinitely better. They laid him on my chest and Kyle and I wept so many tears of joy. Everything we were waiting for was here. And he was perfect.
Tears are streaming down my face as I type this because it was such a beautiful moment of clarity. I don’t think that it’s possible to fully understand and realize the full goodness of God, but I tasted it the very most on this day. I saw God’s grace and love the clearest that I ever have before, and it was so very sweet.
^all of my iphone photos before I was put together enough to break out the nikon.