Well, here it is– the story of how our little man came into the world! This is much later than I had anticipated posting it, but I am thankful that I am an aspiring journal-er (aspiring because I don't write nearly as often as I would like to), but I did write down our experience shortly after we were home from the hospital so I wouldn't lose any of the details.
Warning- this may be TMI (too much information) for some of you, so if you don't like to hear about bodily fluids and things of the like, you may want to skip this post.
On Friday, October 24th (two and a half weeks before my due date), I woke up at 5:40am to go to the bathroom. I came back to bed and I felt like I was peeing... again. I was quite sure this was my water breaking because I hadn't experienced anything like it during the whole pregnancy. It wasn't a huge, long gush, just a trickle. I woke Lance up and told him that I think my water broke, and then I called triage and spoke with a midwife about what was going on. She was a little vague, and looking back now I should have asked more questions, but she told me I can either come in now or come in later... [haha, oookay??] I was worried that if I went in too soon they would send me home, so I opted to stay at home for most of the day; I wasn't in any pain and I didn't feel any contractions yet. Thankfully, Lance was able to work from home that day. We made sure our hospital bags were ready to go and then did our best to keep ourselves busy (Lance with work and me with any loose ends I could find– like vacuuming the house and sending in the Bible study guide I was working on for church). Lance accompanied Dixie and I on our usual 2 mile walk (hoping it might get some contractions going... it didn't). I noted that it was a beautiful and breezy fall day, and the atmosphere in the house was 'excited'– just waiting around and trying to figure out what's going on!
Around 2:00pm I was getting anxious and nervous, just because I didn't know what to expect. I decided that I would call triage again at 3:00 because I didn't feel very good about the first call. The triage nurse told us to come on in and they would check me, I was relieved.
We arrived in triage around 4:00pm and they did a test to see if my water had truly broken because it was still just a trickle. If the test was positive, I would stay, if it was negative, I'd be sent home. We waited for 10 or 15 minutes for the results of the test and sure enough, it was positive! This was happening. Pretty quickly the midwife came in to see how dilated I was. The good news was that I was at 2cm and having small contractions (according to their monitors... I wasn't feeling them at this point). The midwife didn't come out and say it, but we could tell that she felt that the midwife I spoke with on the phone should have told me to come in right away that morning. They don't like to let you go more than 24 hours with your water broken without being in labor because there is a higher risk of infection for the baby. My water had been broken for close to 12 hours at this point and things needed to start moving along if I wanted to have this baby naturally, so the midwife broke my water the rest of the way... she said it was probably a high rupture, a small opening up high on the "water" and it was just leaking slowly though out the day.
As soon as she broke my water, our baby's heart rate dropped drastically. Within an instant nurses materialized (from thin air??) in my tiny room surrounding me and turning me onto my side. One nurse appeared at my wrist and proceeded to put an IV in to stabilize the baby and it was also there incase they needed to do a C-section immediately. I was pretty scared in those moments because I didn't know what in the world happened or if our little baby was okay; I looked over at Lance who was trying to stay out of the way in the corner, not far from me. He had a big smile glued on his face. I thought for sure he would look worried, because I certainly was. I knew he was being strong for me, and you know what? It worked. I knew he was concerned, but his smile reassured me that I was in good hands. In the good hands of the people at that hospital and in the good good hands of our Creator.
The IV and being on my side did the trick, our baby's heart rate stabilized. They explained to me that when the water breaks everything that's in there drops and it can sometimes pinch the umbilical cord. Turning on my side shifts things and can free the umbilical cord. Once things settled down they prepared to move me to a labor & delivery room. In walked a different nurse who quickly said, "You look familiar to me...," and I thought the same thing, but we couldn't quite place each other. As she led Lance and I to our room Lance asked if she goes to LCBC (our church), and she said that she does! We figured out that I see her and her husband every single Sunday when they walk past me (you can think of me as a glorified hall monitor) to pick up their kids from their respective environments. I couldn't believe this was who my nurse was!
I was started on Pitocin pretty quickly since my contractions were still small– we were on a time crunch to get this baby out! They stepped up the Pitocin incrementally, about every hour, to find the amount I should be getting (not too much, not too little). Once we got up to 10 or 12 units they backed it off a bit because the contractions were a little too strong and close together. So I stayed at 8 or 10 units for a while until they could stop the Pitocin because my body was laboring on its own. I'm not sure what time it was, at some point during the waiting, I got a little weepy. I wasn't interested in taking any sort of pain medication and I knew that I had no idea what I was getting into... I didn't know how bad it would hurt, I didn't know if I'd be able to do this, I didn't know if everything was going to be alright-- talk about the fear of the unknown! It was just anxiety I guess. I prayed a lot. The nurses tend to 2 patients at a time, until it's time for delivery, then they're there to stay! So our nurse was in and out of our room a lot, and she popped back in during my weepy time and she was just such a comfort. She let me know that everything was going to be okay and that it's normal for me to be feeling this way. I was so thankful for her.
Lance kept a close eye on the computer that was monitoring our little guy's heart rate. Our nurse explained to us what the peaks and valleys meant and that our baby had an excellently strong heart beat, everything was looking great! Much to my surprise time seemed to go very fast the whole night. The first 7 hours of labor felt like 2 hours tops! I thought for sure this would be the slowest a clock ever moved in my life, but it went quite quickly! Lance felt the same way.
I was able to "breathe through" the contractions, as we were taught in our birthing class for the first 7 hours. I remember that because our angel-of-a-nurse's shift was over after my first 7 hours, at 11:00pm, and after the staff switched out was when things really started picking up for me. I was so happy to have a familiar face as my nurse for the first portion of my labor, she was such a blessing. I told Lance after we were home a day or two, that having her as my initial nurse was like God was giving my hand a squeeze. He was letting me know that He was there and He sent one of his own to be there in the flesh with me.
Around 11:30pm is when my contractions really amped up. That's when I learned that "breathing through" them was physically impossible for me. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't control my breathing– I was more like hyperventilating. My new nurse was also so wonderful, she taught me how to push effectively when the time came, and in the mean time she kept a close eye on everything and encouraged me to get my breathing under control during my intense labor. This intense labor lasted from about 11:30pm to 12:45am and that's when we started pushing because my nurse noticed that I was involuntarily pushing, ha! Ladies, our bodies are amazing. And yeah, let's talk about pushing for a moment... I had NO idea how hard and how long you have to push! And that it actually takes a while to get the hang of how to push. Pushing was the only part of the night that didn't fly by.
My dear friend, Brittney, was on her way to photograph the birth- I actually started pushing just before she arrived. I was glad she got there when she did!
Lance was so great and encouraging the entire night. He stayed close by me rubbing my back and stroking my hair and echoing my nurse's instructions and encouragements, which was mostly: "push, push, push, push, push, push, push, push!" haha.
Oh my goodness, I forgot all about that glorious cold wash cloth until I looked through these photos. My nurse kept putting a cold cloth on my forehead and it felt like heaven bent down and kissed me. It was soo good, haha.
After a while they gave me an oxygen mask between contractions, I think to help get my energy back up because exhaustion was starting to set in.
Around 2:00am our baby's heart rate started to drop and they were also having a hard time keeping the monitor on him. Even in my slightly out-of-it state I could feel the energy in the room shift. The nurse and midwife both got quiet and more serious. There was talk of calling in a doctor, which I knew that in this hospital you'll only see a doctor if something is wrong, to use the vacuum (I didn't want that, but I also wanted this baby to come out right now if that's what was needed). I looked over at Lance and he was still there stroking my head and smiling. My midwife asked if I was okay with her doing an episiotomy, I said yes, knowing that they don't do those here just for the fun of it, they'll only do it if absolutely necessary. She proceeded to numb me with a shot, did the episiotomy, and announced that the baby was coming out on this push! So I gave it one more crazy hard push and out came our son! Lance said that the midwife pretty much went in and pulled him out.
It was at this moment that I could hear a gentle cry and I could see skinny little limbs sticking up from the midwife's hands. She said, "Daddy, what is it?!", and Lance had the honor of saying (with tears in his eyes), "It's a boy!". It was such an amazing and surreal moment. They quickly put this sweet little human on my chest as they wiped him down.
They asked what his name is and I said, "Trevor Levi". This was truly like the feel-good part of a movie. I could only sort of see the little body on top of mine and everyone's happy faces filled the background leaning over me as they worked with big smiles and joyful voices. The hard part was over. Our child was safe. I was safe. It was all so awe inspiring. I couldn't believe that just happened. God is so incredible.
We spent about 2 hours in the labor & delivery room after Trevor was born. I fed Trevor while the midwife stitched me up (thankful for the tiny distraction in my arms) and they took all of his vitals and measurements. Then we were whisked away to a "cuddle care" room where we stayed for the remainder of our time there.
Trevor was labeled as "LGA", Large for Gestational Age. He was born 2 weeks early but was the size of a full term baby. 7lbs. 13oz., 20.5" long. As a result of being a big boy he had low blood sugar, so they kept a close watch on his numbers until we got them up to where they should be through lots of good feeding and that precious skin to skin time. His numbers bounced up to a good place pretty quickly, but they still had to prick his heel every 4 hours or so. He passed all of the many other tests with flying colors!
... be still my heart... this photo–
I'm a hot mess, but so happy!! Look at that little bitty gem!
We consider ourselves to be so truly blessed. The staff at our hospital was top notch, the people and the facility are so wonderful. Our amazing baby boy came into the world healthy and wonderful, I have the most spectacular husband by my side through thick and thin, and the God of the Universe holds us in his hands.