A Birth Story -- One Year Later

I walked out of the office for my 38 week appointment March 22, 2011, as Ms. H hollered, "maybe you won't have to come back!" Insinuating, they'd finally put me out of my swollen misery and we'd meet our baby.
If I only knew what was really ahead of me that day. Ha. If only.

Once you're at 38 weeks, visits to the doctor are second nature. I strolled into the office, signed in and headed on back for a weight, iron and blood pressure check. You know, the usual.

Weight, same as the week before, almost exactly 35 pounds over my pre pregnancy weight. Iron, good. Blood pressure, high. Grr. High. That was the third consecutive week with high blood pressure. The nurse scrunched her nose and I knew she wasn't thinking anything good.

We headed to a room to check Baby J's heartbeat with our doctor.

It was strong, healthy. I loved that sound. The whooshing with the most transparent thump thump thump of his heart. That sound is so serene.

They left for a couple minutes and returned with stern faces. Something was up. Dr. R informed me while the heartbeat was good, the fluid around J sounded low. She wanted to do an ultrasound just to check everything out.

I didn't mind waiting around an hour for the ultrasound lady to get me in because they were the best part of pregnancy. Unfortunately, what she found was very, very low fluid around J. That coupled with my higher blood pressure, was a major red flag.

The next words I heard were,"This is going to happen tonight or tomorrow. The next 24 hours for sure."

This was it. Thirty-eight weeks of severe morning sickness had finally brought me to this moment. I kicked into "plan" mode immediately. This meant texts and phone calls to all those needing to catch a flight. That would be G-Pa {my dad} and Aunt Robin. Oh wait! I almost forgot to call B! He was working out of town {about an hour away}. I called him first, promise. Then calls to my in-laws in Nashville.

A wheelchair made its way into my room and off we went to triage for monitoring.

That was March 22, 2011 around 1 p.m.

The first nurse to enter my room seemed nervous. This only made me more nervous. Her first task was my IV. Gulp. I have awful veins. I always warn a nurse about my veins and ask about their confidence in getting a good one. When you've been stuck by a nurse looking for a vein more than six times in one attempt, you tend to develop a phobia.

Well, I'll be damned if this nurse didn't hit a vein. She nailed it! In the worst way possible. Blood was everywhere. I wanted to be sick, it was my worst nightmare come true. Bleh. I despise hospitals and everything that comes with them.

B arrived moments before my mom. I could not believe how quickly he made it to the hospital. Obviously, someone could've gotten a speeding ticket.

Monitors were strapped to my tummy and they gave me a jug. {TMI alert} I had to keep a 24 hour count of my restroom visits. Double bleh. 

We prepped for an overnight stay per our nurse. Yep, we were in this for the long haul.

That night was one of the worst of my life. Those damn monitors just didn't want to stay in place and Jackson was such a temperamental baby. His little heartbeat kept hiding from us. This meant the nurses were in frequently readjusting my straps. It was awful.

Finally, the most uncomfortable night of my life ended. It was about 6:30 am when we woke up. I welcomed our new nurse with open arms considering the unsteady hands of our night nurse. She got us a new IV and informed me my doctor was pretty timely about making her rounds. She was expected precisely at 8:00 am.

Talk about a long hour and a half!

Our Doc arrived, did a quick check and said, "we're doing this, are you ready?"

And that was that, she broke my water, she approved an immediate epidural and we were on our way to labor and delivery. My heart was in a state it'd never felt before. Disbelief. Fear. Excitement.

That was March 23, 2011, 8:20 a.m.

Our nurse in Labor and Delivery was a dream. I could not have imagined a better nurse. And I hate to say, but I cannot recall her name. What I do remember was my extreme desire to call her Julie. So, that's how I'll remember her.

I felt good for a while. Contractions were steady, not too painful.

The epidural was given at 4cm. {TMI alert} I think I was 80 percent effaced. 

I laid back waiting for the drugs to kick in. The contractions had just begun to get to an uncomfortable place.

Thirty minutes later the contractions were still coming strong on my left side. The epidural had only taken on my right side and the left was still feeling the wrath of natural birth. Not something this mama ever wanted to know!

Surprisingly, I did well with my breathing. At this point I was so glad we'd taken our prenatal class. If our crazy teacher hadn't mentioned some of her favorite techniques, I'd have lost it. Panic would've set in for sure. B even came through with all kinds of tips he remembered from class. I knew he was paying attention all those weeks!

I was offered another epidural, but was worried what the drugs might do to J. So, I declined. They did, however, offer a booster of some sorts for my current epidural. I finally accepted this offer after a few more rounds of contractions.

After yet another thirty minutes, the epidural still hadn't taken on my left side.

I couldn't take it. I threw caution to the wind and had Nurse Julie call the anesthesiologist back up to my room for another epidural. Half of me kept saying, "more drugs? what if it hurts J?!" But that half still enduring natural child birth was screaming "make this stop!!!" I knew it had to be done if I was going to make it to the end.

I'd progressed well. Dilated to almost 8 cm. They say you should go faster at that point, but I think that second epidural slowed us down. I swear those last two centimeters took forever. It took almost an hour to get from 8 to 9. Thirty minutes later, Nurse Julie came back to see if it was time to push. But somehow I couldn't progress from 9 to 10.

She was ready to call in the towel, tell me goodbye and finish off her shift. Moments later, something shifted. Um, yeah, that'd be Jack! I screamed for Julie to come check. Sure enough, we'd finally hit 10 cm and it was time to push!

Even though her shift ended five minutes before I started pushing, she stuck with me until the very end. This was such a great gift. She had been such a wonderful calming element to the day. I'm not sure I would've stayed as collected without her.

B held my hand and was a wonderful coach through the hour and a half of pushing. I never thought I'd want people around me as I experienced the nastiness of childbirth, but I could not have done it without that group of nurses supporting me through.

At 3:41 pm Jackson entered our lives, silent.

In movies the babies always scream, but it was just silent. I didn't even realize this until much, much later. I saw all the nurses hovered around J and calling B over. Really, I thought everything was ok and that B was just cutting the umbilical cord. I had no clue.

No clue, that my baby had too much fluid in his lungs. No clue, that as I was trying to finish up childbirth, my baby was over fighting to breathe. The huddle of nurses never shifted not even as they shuffled him over to me for a glimpse and then out of the room.

Where was my skin to skin moment? Where was that spark?

Seven and a half hours of labor to push that baby out and I didn't even get to hold him. For real, I had no clue what was going on until Nurse Julie walked in.

She said I'd done great, but that the nurses still couldn't get all of the fluid from J's lungs. They spent about thirty minutes working on it in the nursery and getting his heart rate stabilized. All while I lay in the room eagerly texting B to see whats going on with our baby.

Finally, they were able to clear out the fluid and get a steady heart rate. But before Jackson could come back to me, he had to be examined by a pediatrician.

It was an hour and a half after Jackson was born before I really got to hold him. We attempted to fill that time by completing the baby book, but at that moment in life I did not care what the headline was {Elizabeth Taylor had died} or how much gas prices had inflated. I just wanted to see him.

What felt like eons later, Brandon rolled Jackson into our room. He said he was perfect, and he was right.

We spent two more nights in the hospital. I refused to let J go to the nursery at first, but around 3 am I needed some rest. And rest I did. The nurses brought J back into us the next morning and exclaimed he was the best baby in the nursery.

The next day was spent with people in and out of our minuscule room to witness our precious miracle. And then on the third day, they sent us home.

There is no real explanation as to the day you give birth to your child. I've never been one to want to process the details of such an occasion, that is until I had a child.

That day in life, March 23, 2011, I witnessed a miracle. I lived a miracle. So many statistics broke the day that we became a family. The odds that had been placed against us were overruled by a greater good. For this blessing, I am eternally grateful.

One more day.