Friday, August 28, 2009

Josiah's birth story, pt 1

This may take several days to work up, but if I don't just start I may not get it done! So here goes...

I have had 3 c-sections. As far as I had discussed with my doctor, Josiah was planned on being section #4. We had pleaded with God to let me be able to have him on my own. We had peace with this: if I went into labor before the surgery was scheduled I would refuse the surgery and attempt a VBA3C. If I didn't, then we'd go with the section as scheduled. I really had complete confidence in the condition of my womb and honestly didn't think I would have a uterine rupture. I had done my homework extensively, memorized statistics from a variety of sources, and felt prepared for whatever was in store for us.

I typically have a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions. I've been having them from about 7 months. A week before Josiah was born I noticed that the contractions were not just the "tighten and release" sort any more. They had a sting of pain in them. They were never more frequent, never regular. They just hurt worse. Some days I was frustrated with it, thinking "Get it over with already!" Other days I felt more like, "It'll happen if it's meant to happen." I think every time I had a contraction I asked the Lord, "If I can safely have this baby, please let me labor and have him on my own."

Jeremy had a fever all week this particular week too, which made it especially hard. I knew he needed special attention, or at the least didn't feel well enough to help with the children. Sunday (the 23rd, and my due date) he didn't go to church all day, still running fever. I went to church with the children like any normal day. I was still having the contractions like I had been having the whole week before. Yes, they had a sting of pain in them, but I'm honestly not one to sit and give into pain unless I just can't go anymore. I tend to feel better if I just keep working through whatever I'm going through.

Another man in our church taught the youth Sunday school class in Jeremy's stead. I had a contraction hit me during Sunday school (about 10:30 that morning, I guess) and I guess I showed it on my face because he stopped in mid-sentence and said, "You gonna have that baby?!" I was sort of startled and told him I was okay. He looked suspicious, but kept on preaching. I had another contraction during Sunday school, but tried much harder to hide it this time.

The day wore on. I never really timed contractions at this point because they didn't seem to be any different than the ones that I've already had. While the kids were napping (say by 3 pm?) I had several contractions. They did seem to be stronger, but still not more frequent and not at all regular. The children and I went back to church, but I told Jeremy that there was a slight possibility we could be going to the hospital soon. I asked him to sit by the phone just in case.

A few people at church commented that I didn't seem like I felt well. I told them that it wasn't going to be long until we had this baby. I still didn't think I was in labor, but I thought I would go into labor in the next 2 or 3 days for sure (if I wasn't having surgery). By the time it was preaching-time (8pm-ish), I really thought the contractions were just different: stronger, more painful, but still not the childbirth pain people describe. More...I dunno...pointed? I started timing them. They were coming every 10 minutes like clock work. I was pretty excited, but didn't want to get to excited. I thought that if I just laid down the contractions would stop.

The plan for that night was for me to go by Burger King to fulfill a burger craving I had before I had to fast for my surgery the next day. I got out, the kids got out and stood on the sidewalk as I asked them. Another contraction...the first one that I had to breathe through. It was about 9 pm by this time. The pain was certainly still managable though, but it was to where I couldn't fully function through the contractions. I told the kids that Daddy would have to come back for a hamburger because Mommy needed to go lay down. No disappointment out of the children, but concern. Are you okay Mommy? Is Josiah coming? It really was sweet, but I couldn't think about it then.

When I got home I explained to Jeremy and told him that if I'm not in labor, I did need to be checked at least. I called his mom and asked if she could stay the night with the kids. I told her not to rush, not to panic, but to come. Jeremy went and got the kids and us dinner.

This is the more comical part: the kids ate as Jeremy and I were tying up loose ends before we went to the hospital. By this time the contractions are between 7-10 minutes apart. The hospital is an hour and 15 minute drive. I ate about half my dinner (later I found out what a mistake that would be). I'm still very much in control of my contractions, very level-headed and cool, but I'm thinking "we need to get going!" Jeremy's on the couch with his feet propped up, chatting with his mom. He's in his pajamas, casually eating a fry or two at the time. His bag isn't packed (he doesn't like me to do it) and seems completely oblivious to the contractions I'm having. I get a chuckle out of it everytime I think of it! I finally told him, sort of snappy since I'd just had yet another contraction, "If you don't get moving I'm gonna get your mom to drive me to town and you'll miss it all!

The drive to town seemed to take forever and ever. In the car the contractions had started coming on every 2-3 minutes. We called our pastor, who wanted to know. I told him I wasn't sure if they were going to admit me. I was still in denial about being in labor. I seriously expected them to send me home. We pulled in at the hospital, I got out of the car and tried to walk to the emergency room entrance. Another contraction. I couldn't walk them off any more. I couldn't talk through them any more. Just relax and breathe and it will go.... I was relieved that nearly no one was in there. They got me in a wheel chair, for which I was relieved. It would have taken me forever to walk to labor and delievery!

The nurse said she was going to checkme. I told her, laughing, "You're probably going to send me right back home. She didn't really get in much of a hurry. I was jovial, as I usually am. When the contractions would hit I'd just "blow them away" and I was okay. When she was ready to check me, her eyes widened. "I can't believe this...you're at 9cm and your water is bulging!" They knew I was planning having a c-section...but here is our answer to prayer! So we asked, "yes, she's had 3 sections, but she wants to labor. Is the doctor okay with that?" Not that we were really worried about what he wanted, but hey, common courtesy and manners, right? They got the doctor on the phone and he simply said, "If she wants to labor, let her go for it!"

There is only 1 midwife in the city. No one is in the country were I live, of course. When I talked to the midwife, she couldn't take me, but she suggested that I see the doctor that was on call that night. Apparently, he is a very pro-VBAC and anti-unnecessarean. Another answer to prayer. I was so excited. I'm going to get to have this baby? I just couldn't believe it. They asked me if I wanted an epidural. My answer was NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Spinal anesthesia is evil to me. We just don't get along. They asked me if I wanted Demerol. I was so excited I couldn't even think. I asked Jeremy, "Do I want Demerol?" He said, "I don't think you really need it, honey. It's not going to help when it comes time to push and right now you're fine." We skipped the Demerol.

The nursing staff frantically was getting ready for a birth. They were trying to assess my Bishop's score. Originally the nurse had said I was a zero station, but then said it wasn't right. They got another nurse's opinion. They couldn't feel his head...or bottom...or anything. They brought in an ultrasound machine (yes, I'm still having contractions every 2 minutes). Bad news: another malpresentation...and my third breech. His presentation was sort of a combination of footling breech and transverse. You can't turn baby while in labor. Honestly though, I was not at all disappointed. I was so proud that the Lord had allowed me to be in labor. I have a birth story that's not "I just laid there and the doctors did it."

Moving along... they prepped me for surgery. The didn't check me for dilation anymore, but as I was walking to the OR, I know FOR SURE that I hit the transition labor (time to push) stage. The contractions didn't stop; no break in between. I never really had the urge to push though, I guess because the baby's head wasn't down. Before I was moved to the OR, I had a long talk with the anesthesiologist about my past very bad experience with spinal anesthesia...and my anxiety with it. The spinal block went GREAT!! Another answer to prayer. The Lord was so gracious.

There is so much more to this long tale. Maybe I'm making up for not having much a birth story for the other 3. hahaha We'll make it a two-parter.

5 edifying expressions:

Tammy said...

AAAAAH!! You left us in suspense!! BAD GIRL. ;o)

Kristy... said...

On the edge of my seat waiting to hear the rest!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to laugh at the part where you talked about your kids being so concerned in Burger king but you couldnt take the time to notice at the time.
I was iwth my six year old when I went into Labor and, She just prattled on about how it would go and this and that, and I was so anxious I would just make a call in the middle of her stories.. she was just nervous/excited, but I was so nervous, I had to speak to adults ... but looking back, I am so glad she was with me. :)

Ok, yah I know you are busy and all, but, dont make us wait TOO long :P

Tammy said...

Just checkin' in. No part two yet?? You must be enjoying that yummy little newborn! I know, you're smelling his sweet baby hair, and marveling at the teeny tiny fingers, changing diapers on the itty bitty tushy, kissing him all over... *sigh*

..It never gets old, does it? :o)

Kimberly said...

Man- you sure left us in the dark! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

Elizabeth said...

I almost had part 2 done and then we had company. I won't get to it tomorrow, of course, but I promise by Monday!

Tammy - you are so right. It never gets old. In fact, it may just be that the more you have that they get even sweeter. Maybe you're more confident? Or maybe you just realize exactly how fleeting these moments really are.