Friday, August 22, 2014

The Greatest Gift {a birth story}


Me and Tucker 3 days after I gave birth to him

I have truly enjoyed sharing this journey with all of you over the last few months.  The day that I finally got to share that I was carrying my cousin and his wife's baby was a small victory.  We had tried and tried to become pregnant so that they could be parents and when we finally made it out of the first trimester we were all so overjoyed.  Over the last few months I've given small updates on this blog.  My instagram followers have had more of a play by play with how this was progressing and at the end, how I was feeling about it.  Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows how tough those last few weeks can be!  As the induction day approached we were all getting so excited.  My emotions were a bit more complex than just excitement.  I felt so responsible to keep this baby boy in til his parents arrived from the East Coast.  My braxton hicks had been slowly intensifying over the course of the last two months and towards the end I was doing a lot of lying down just to get them to subside.  I knew in my head it was my job to not let my cousin and his wife miss the birth of their baby boy!  I was also feeling very cranky.  Let's be honest, being pregnant in August isn't the most pleasant month.  Its been hot, I've been sticky and you just feel so swollen from the heat.  So, yeah, I wasn't necessarily happy in my day to day events, but I was pushing through.  And then there were the emotions that dealt with just my own feelings about this birth.  When you are about to birth your own baby all you are focused on (or primarily focused on) is a healthy baby.  That was definitely in my thoughts, but more with this birth than those of my own children, was that I needed to be OK.  I needed to make it through this healthy.  Nothing could happen to me, I needed to make it home safely to my own children.  I'm not sure why these thoughts were so strong this time, but they were.
As my countdown til induction day had begun and I knew that on Monday around 10 am the parents would be arriving, I felt a sense of relief.  They would have a few days to get settled in before Wednesdays 7 am induction and I finally knew I had passed one of the biggest hurdles.  They had arrived, if baby boy came Monday night that would be just fine!  Now as a little background, I had to be induced with both of my own kids.  I always dilated on my own but never went into labor.  I was expecting we were probably on this same path with this pregnancy since I had successfully been "holding him in" and was also dilated and nothing had happened...yet!
I went to bed Monday night and had an amazing nights rest.  I woke up wide awake at about 5 am on Monday morning and just couldn't go back to sleep.  I finally got up to use the restroom and noticed that some signs were showing that things had started to progress.  (Read this as I lost my mucus plug, yuck, sorry tmi)
I decided to lie back in bed to try to fall back asleep which I was able to do for a bit.  In the meantime, my husband had left early for work.  I woke again and was just playing on Instagram in bed, cause who doesn't do that early in the morning, when I felt a bit of a gush.  I lay there for a second and had that moment..."did I seriously just pee myself?!  Who does that?!"  I got up again to use the restroom.  Again, signs were showing.  I had that mental moment...this may really be happening today.  It was probably about 7 at this time.  I decided maybe I should get myself together, do my hair and make-up cause, again, let's be honest, there are a lot of pictures that were probably going to be taken if this was indeed happening!  At about 7:15 my sister texted me with a "woohooo one more sleep" message and then asked if I wanted to meet up that day at the movies.  I called her and said I thought things might be happening, we had a little giggle that my body just knew the parents were here and it was done holding this little man in.  As I was talking to her it was confirmed I had not peed myself, my water had broken!  I could not believe it!  I had always hoped my water would have broken with one of my own pregnancies, but it just never did.  And then here I am with the most planned out delivery situation for so many reasons and then my water decides to break!  This was the first moment of many to follow where things just didn't quite go to "plan."
So I got off the phone with my sister and called my cousin's wife.  It was early, but I had seen her like a photo of mine on Instagram so I knew she was up...gotta love that.  She answered the phone with a "hi" and I followed with "would you like to become a mommy today?"  Let's just say I shocked her and all that were at the house with her.  It was go time.  I let her know I wasn't heading to the hospital just yet as no contractions had started, but that it indeed was going to be a birthday party day!
Ironically, my younger sister had an appointment scheduled with my OB/Gyn that morning (my sisters and I all see him) and let him know my water had broken.  It isn't every day your cell phone rings and it says it's your sister calling, but it's actually your OB on the other end saying "are the rumors I'm hearing true?"  It was pretty funny...also funny was I was using the restroom once again when this conversation was occurring...awkward!  He said he wanted me to head to the hospital, that they'd be expecting me.  Somewhere in the middle of this process I had had to call my husbands work and told him to head back home.  He had been there all of 30 minutes haha.
Off to the hospital we went.  The family would be meeting us there.  We got to the hospital around 9:40 am and waited for a room to be available.  Once in a room it was confirmed I was 3 cm already, which made me happy since I had always gotten to the hospital at 3 cm so I was used to laboring  from this point forward. My mom and older sister arrived to be some support for me.  And then my cousin and his wife and their support team arrived and you could just feel their excitement.  Today was the big day!  The day they had waited for for so long.  Our journey together was coming to it's grand finale.
From about 11:00 til about 1:15 nothing had been done for me yet. There was full nurse shuffling going on.  My original nurse had another patient who was delivering, so I got a new nurse.  She started to finally get me admitted through the computer, which decided to crash, when they decided to switch my nurse again!  It was crazy annoying.  I just wanted the pitocin started and to get the show on the road.  My doctor had stopped in to say hello early in the day to meet the parents and the rest of the visiting family and he thought we'd be seeing baby around 4:30.  Considering it was 1:15 and we still had no pitocin hooked up I knew his prediction would be off.  Finally, around 1:20 the new nurse walked in with the pitocin and the pump and I knew things were going to get started...yay!!  You can only imagine how anxious the room was since we had just been hanging out for over three hours.  And then you can only imagine how irritated we were when the pitocin pump decided minutes into it administering the medicine that it wanted to break!  Yep...comedy.  Out that pump went and in came a new one.  Finally, at about 2:00 pitocin was in.
This is when the "fun" started.  Pitocin kicked in real quick so we called in the anesthesiologist to get the epidural.  Unfortunately, the epidural only took on the right side.  We flipped me to my left to try to get the medicine to shift and take effect there, but no such luck.  Now I was feeling lots of contractions and a crazy amount of pressure.  They called the anesthesiologist back into the room after us trying to just hit the epidural button once ourselves to no avail.  I was now going to receive another direct injection of medicine into my spine...finally this worked.  Unfortunately, it worked way too well on my right side so that I was complete dead weight over there.  That is always the worst feeling, but I guess it's better than me feeling the intensity of the contractions, cause that was definitely not in my plan!  As the epidural was now working and taking away my pain all I could feel was a whole lot of pressure...crazy town pressure!  The nurse decided to check me and from 2:40 to 3:15 I had gone from 5 cm to 8cm!  At 3:30 my doctor stopped in again because he had just arrived to the hospital to perform a C-section.  You can only imagine my facial expression when I heard this, because to me that meant I now was going to have to wait for him to be done with that in order for me to start pushing.  That didn't make me happy!  But, I again was feeling lots of pressure so they checked me again and in just a few minutes I was at 10 cm....so my doctor pushed back the poor other lady's C-section in order for me to start pushing.  Bless him!  He was confident that this was going to go real quick...and that sounded great to me!  There was a flood of emotion that took over the room.  Tucker's mommy knew he was going to be here so soon and the tears just couldn't be held back any longer.  Pushing started at 3:45 pm.  We all thought it was possible that my doctor's original prediction of 4:20 pm could, indeed, be correct.
No such luck!!  By 4:45 pm I had been pushing for an hour, was exhausted and so frustrated that no position we were trying seemed to be working!  Tucker's mommy and I had even played the tug-of-war game with the towel.  That was a new position for me. I just couldn't believe with this being my third labor that this was taking so long.  At about 5:00 pm my doctor came in and said he was going to go ahead and take care of the C-section and have me take a break and let my body labor down.  Those are the worst words you can hear EVER when you are just wanting this laboring to be over.  I felt defeated.  I had been so strong and so determined throughout the entire experience so far that this completely popped my bubble.  I lost it.  He promised he would be quick and because at this point my epidural had started to wear off, I was now emotional and in lots of pain.  I had to really go within myself to find a place to calm my head down.  I had to cry it out.  I had to breathe through every contraction and really find strength to get through the worlds worst pressure without pushing through it.  It was rough I am not going to lie.  At 5:30 pm I finally had been given more epidural and wasn't in pain, but was still just trying to gather myself and find some hidden strength so that I could get this baby boy out quick once my doctor arrived.  Everyone in the room was quiet.  Looking back I don't even know where my husband retreated to during this part because I was in such a zone.  I only knew that Tucker's parents were sitting near by at the table and I could feel their emotions.
This is when things started to get a bit tricky.  I could tell our nurse wasn't liking what she was seeing on the monitor.  She had mentioned she thought there was possibly a cord being pinched somewhere which we all know can happen, but baby boy wasn't responding after each contraction as she wanted.  I was still lieing in the bed, eyes closed, really just trying to stay calm and talk to my body that we needed to work together.  I was given the 'ol uterus a good talking to.  (TMI? sorry! but I was)  I really really wasn't going to be ok if this ended in a C-section.  I knew we had to do whatever would get baby boy here safely, but it just wasn't what I wanted for this last and final pregnancy.  At some point the nurse decided to turn the pitocin off to try to calm the contractions and let the baby rest....BAD IDEA.  When my doctor came in soon after he just had that look on his face that you don't really want to see.  He was calm, but he meant business.  He said to me "two pushes, let's get this baby out."  Yikes....no pressure.  I gathered myself and waited...waited for a contraction to come....kept waiting....I felt nothing!  This couldn't be happening, where did they go?  I looked at my doctor and told him I thought I was too numb I couldn't feel the contractions and he would have to tell me when they were coming.  He was looking at the monitor and had his hand where he could feel the building of the contractions, but they were so weak, but we had to just roll with it.  I'm telling you at this point I wasn't contracting, I would say I was more cramping, but you can bet I pushed with that cramping and I pushed hard!!  With the first "contraction" I locked eyes with my doctor who didn't break his stare with me and I pushed, counted to 10, did it again, did it again and did it again.  With that little cramp I pulled out 4 full pushes.  I finally just had to bare down and get pissed off.  The room was silent through this all.  Even though we had two nurses, my doctor, a pediatrician, my mom, my husband, the parents and the grandma you would have thought the room was empty.  They all just let me do what I needed to do, they let my doctor and I have our plan and they watched me pull it together to get this baby OUT!  I rested after those 4 pushes and then again waited for another contraction....it wasn't coming.  I had a moment of "how, how was this happening? These contractions can't just quit on me now, that is not fair!"  Again we went with a little cramping and again I pulled out 4 full 10 second pushes...I was pushing when you probably shouldn't be pushing, but I wasn't going to stop.  Thankfully while this was happening the baby had started to look a lot better on the monitor so I had more time to try to get this done myself.  Repeat what I did before and when another cramp started this was it...we were going to get him out.  After the second push the baby had finally moved down to where he wasn't slipping back up and we all knew his birth was near.  The intensity in the room changed to excitement.  Two more little pushes and all questions were answered to why this was such a hard and painful labor...this little guy was coming out staring right at me!  He was sunny side up and had his eyes up to the ceiling.  Oh hey there Tucker, welcome to this world!  I finally had such a huge overcoming sense of relief.  He was here, his parents had seen him and I was doing just fine!  I had a quick moment with my doctor who really pulled me through this.  He is my hero.  His silent intensity gave me the confidence and the strength to get this little guy out.  What followed was a room filled with emotion for all involved.  Tucker checked out with the pediatrician to be doing just fine and him and his mommy got to enjoy an hour of skin on skin.  He got to hear her heartbeat for the first time and you could tell he just knew she was his mommy!  He cuddled up and just went to sleep.  It was amazing.  I was doing great and the aftermath of the labor went together as it should.  I was able to lie back and relish in what I had just accomplished.  Fist pump to me!



Getting to the hospital that morning.  
If you are pregnant and looking for some super comfy and cute clothing one of my favorite sources was Belly Dance Maternity.  I purchased the greatest pair of jeans from them that got me through my pregnancy and just adore this outfit that I wore to the hospital and will very well wear again.




A moment with Tucker's mommy before the Pitocin got started.  I helped make her a mommy, but she was born to be one.  

Filled with emotions of relief, happiness and excitement that this day had finally come.

Headed home from the hospital less then 24 hours after having Tucker.  My husband and I went straight to Yard House for lunch so I could finally enjoy some Poke and a nice beverage.  It was perfect!  

You can read more about this journey here, here, here

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