Thursday, September 25, 2014

Caleb's {birth} story.

  I kind of debated whether I would blog about Caleb's birth story. It just seems so intensely personal, doesn't it? But when I sat down to write it out in his baby book and realized the space was so small, I would have to skips some little details, I knew I wanted to have it fully written down somewhere. I want to be able to come back and read it years from now, because the tiny details of what happened and how I felt are getting harder to remember, even now. And if there is one thing I love, it is an unedited personal story- not written for anyone else or any other reason but to document life.

{Read more after the break}

  At my 37 week appointment on Thursday I think was still only 2ish cm, but the doctor mentioned that he was sitting pretty low. But that doesn't mean a whole lot. So I went about my weekend, not at all expecting to have a baby by Monday. We had scheduled Saturday for a 'get ish done' day and by Sunday morning, we were so glad we'd taken the dogs to the vet and crossed off some major honey-do things. Saturday evening we met up with some close friends for a 5k {maybe I truly did walk this baby out?} and dinner at my favorite pizza place. At dinner someone suggested we start a betting pool on the baby's due date, weight, etc. We planned to set it up at small group the next evening. Ha!
  Long story short, my water broke Sunday morning {Father's day!}. Here is were I mention how movies and TV really mislead you on what that really means. Let's just say, there was no gush. And I may have been 98% convinced I was having some small bladder control issues. That is kind of par for the pregnancy course,  right? That's what I was thinking. I'm guessing it happened {started would be the better word} around 8:30am, around the time Justin left to go grocery shopping. I got up and started some laundry and some other little things around the house. The entire time I was thinking how ridiculous it was that my bladder had all the sudden decided to really struggle. Every time I moved. That's when a small part of me thought maybe, just maybe I wasn't actually incontinent. Then I talked myself out of that, because how embarrassing to show up at the hospital for them to just tell you you peed yourself? Just in case, I hopped in the shower and shaved my legs. And emptied the trash and cleaned our toilets. Rational, right? When Justin got home, I honestly debated saying anything to him. I told him, but kind of joked about it. He finally convinced me to call the doctor, who laughed when I kept saying "I'm pretty sure I'm just peeing my pants, but maybe it's my water?" She told me to for sure go to the hospital. Being super convinced we would just be laughed at and sent home, I didn't eat any breakfast. Poor life choice. Girlfriend was getting hangry by mid-afternoon!
  We got to the hospital around 10:30am and the triage nurse also kept laughing while I downplayed my potential pants-peeing. But, sure enough, my water had broken! I was only 3ish dialated, but was having regular contractions. Here's where I should mention that I had been having contractions off an on all week, but none painful or really notable. The nurse said that I would need to start pitocin if my contractions didn't pick up on their own, so Justin and I walked the halls for about an hour to get things going. Here's where we go back to the water breaking thing. Did you know that your water keeps breaking until you deliver? I basically had to wear a diaper while we walked. Super glamorous!
  After walking for a bit, they checked me and I still hadn't made much progress. So we started pitocin and the movie Grown Ups. We both had a hard time settling in, even though we knew it would be hours until we met our little guy. We just kept talking about how crazy it was that we were finally to this point. The doctor showed up and joked about how the full moon and Friday the 13th had sent a handful of ladies into labor that day and told us we probably wouldn't deliver until the next morning.
  During this whole time, I found myself being really, really prayerful. I'm not sure that too much time went by through the whole labor and delivery without me thinking of and praying for my sweet friend and her little boy. And, consequently, for Caleb. I never, ever took my ear off his heart rate monitor. We both braced ourselves for anything. By now, I realize how much of a miracle a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum are. And being right on the cusp of 36/37 weeks, we knew a NICU stay or anything, really could be a true possibility. So we just kept praying.
  Mid-afternoon my mom and dad stopped by {they were in town for a Father's day cookout we were supposed to be hosting} and around the same time, my contractions started to pick up. They weren't really painful, just uncomfortable at that point. I was starving, though, and really regretting my life choice to not eat breakfast before heading to the hospital. After my mom and dad left, my sisters and their families stopped by. They were a great distraction, because I still wasn't dilating much and my contractions were strong enough that I wasn't able to talk through them anymore.
  After all my family had gone home. around 7pm, I decided to walk the halls once more to see if I could help the labor move along. We walked for probably 30-45 minutes, and I had to stop every few steps to wait out the contractions. I told Justin that after they checked me, if I still wasn't dilated much then I'd go ahead and get an epidural. At that point, contractions were definitely still bearable. But I wanted to save as much energy as possible for delivery, and still thought it could be several hours away.
  So, when they checked and said I was only 4cm, I got myself the coveted epidural. Maybe it was because I got it smack dab between two contractions or I just have a high pain tolerance, but the epidural wasn't painful. And within minutes, I felt my whole body relaxing. The nurses had said it would still probably be around 6am when we'd finally deliver, so I was thankful for some rest. That was around 8:30p.
  Around 9pm, my mom came back to visit {another great distraction!}, and about the same time Caleb started reacting to the pitocin. His heart rate kept dropping and we had to start the game of starting and stopping the pitocin to get his heart rate back up. It was a little nerve wracking, for sure. The nurses would get so serious, but assure us that it was ok. Having my mom there was helpful, too.
  After one of those episodes, around maybe 11pm, they checked me and I was up to 7cm. Progress! Then again, 15 minutes later, they checked me again and I was ready to go. It happened so fast! My mom headed to the waiting room and we started some practice pushes before the nurse called the doctor. But during our second practice push, they made me stop because Caleb was on his way! They quickly called the doctor and got things ready for her.
  From the time the doctor arrived to the time I had Caleb in my arms, only 30 minutes had passed. It was such a quick and easy delivery. And I don't take that for granted at all. I pushed a handful of times before the doctor asked me about an episiotomy {tmi?} and I didn't even let her finish her question before I just said yes. After that, two quick pushes and we heard the most precious cry in the world.
  Here's where I have to stop. And talk about Justin. Pre-delivery he would have never imagined wanting to be such a big part of it. I knew he'd be supportive of me, but figured it would be more in a 'honey you got this, I'll be over here in the corner cheering you on' type of way. But he was so amazing. Helped me through every bit of it. He was so excited during the entire thing, that's what pushed me through it {no pun intended}. His excitement was most definitely what I needed. I didn't want to see a mirror or talk about it or anything. I was really focused, but hearing him encourage me and genuinely be excited about what was happening was really amazing for me.
  And then, there he was. As soon as I saw him, I willed him to cry. And they laid him on my chest and he kept fussing a little and I just snuggled him and cried while they wiped him off on me. We were able to snuggle for a bit, while they cut the cord and finished up- all things I don't even remember. I think Justin cut the cord, and it was pretty anticlimactic. But our sweet boy. I can remember Justin literally counting all of his fingers and toes and proudly stating that they were all accounted for. And we just kept joking about his extreme cone head!
  They they took him to the warmer and Justin was able to watch and touch him. The doctor had to spend a bit of time stitching me up and I remember kind of being in my own world- watching my husband watch our new baby. Feeling my stomach already deflated and amazed at what my body had just done. Being in such awe that he was here. That Justin was over the moon for him. That I had done it. It was one of those moments that you kind of just want to bottle up and remember forever.
  And since he was born at 1am, it was perfect for me. No one was waiting at the hospital but my mom, and that's just how I would have planned it, if I could have. After Caleb and I were cleaned up and before we were ready to go to our postpartum room, Justin grabbed my mom from the waiting room so she could meet her grandson. It was so quiet and special. I don't love crowds or loud conversations or a lot of fuss. So, around 2am, my mom snuck into our room and was able to snuggle with Caleb for the first time. Looking back, that moment is extra special. Because of Caleb coming early and visitors and  me not really making a fuss about my mom staying with us, she really didn't get to spend much time with him, or me, in those first newborn days. We absolutely loved being about to share Caleb with each of our friends and other family members in those early days, don't get me wrong. But I think for a brand new mom, and as a women who just gave birth and is learning her new baby- and really just in life, sometimes you just need your mom. My mom sweetly waited to visit more until the dust had settled. I hope we'll have other children and there will be a chance to spend those first newborn days with my mom in the future. But this time, I'm so glad she was the first to meet him and was able to see both of us when he was brand new, right after he was born. Such a precious memory.
  After my mom left and we got in some more snuggles with Caleb, we were able to move to our postpartum room. By the time we were all settled and done with nursing checks and all the fun postpartum things, it was close to 5am. We knew we'd be in for a whirlwind of hosting visitors for basically the next week, so we tried to get some sleep. Ha! Impossible. Thankfully, Caleb is a great baby and has never given us a sleepless night. But those nights in the hospital were so hard. We never really recouped from being so tired until we came home! Still, it was wonderful. Being able to introduce family and friends to our little guy was so special. We loved every minute.
  Such a long-winded story, I know. I started writing it when Caleb was a few weeks old and had to piece the last parts together this past week. It is so crazy to me how fuzzy the details already are. Gold star for you if you actually read the entire story, but I'm so glad I wrote it down. So glad I have it to look back on!

1 comment:

Allison said...

Loved reading your story. I read every word. So glad it was such an easy delivery for you and it really is a sweet story. So happy for you and can't wait for my turn! :)