Saturday, June 30, 2012

Benjamin's Birth Story, part 3

I went to bed Sunday night excited for the graduation party I would be throwing my sister the next day. By 11pm I was up again. The dull pain in my lower back was just annoying enough to make sleeping difficult. I ended up on the couch, changing positions every hour trying to get comfortable. At 2:13am I was dozing in a sitting position with my feet up on the exercise ball when a sharp contraction woke me up. It wasn't too much longer before I realized I was in labor!

Knowing I would stick to my plan to labor at home as long as possible, I didn't bother waking Dave. At 3:15 he came to check on me. I was sitting on the exercise ball folding laundry. I told him I was in labor and his response was, "Let's see how things go and if I need to I'll call my receptionist in the morning to cancel patients." "No," I replied, "you are definitely canceling patients today."

We timed my contractions. They were about 5-6 minutes apart but only lasting 30-45 seconds, sometimes less. Certainly not strong enough or long enough to head for the hospital.

With nothing else to do, I sent Dave back to bed telling him one of us needed to be well rested. But he was back in the living room ten minutes later and informed me that he was going to the office to finish up some lab work and straighten his desk before he took the next few days off. When he got back we would go to the hospital. And so he left for the next hour.

While he was gone I puttered around the house tidying up, ate a little snack, and breathed through each contraction. They were getting more intense but still only lasting about 30 seconds. Dave returned at 5am and by 6:15am we were on our way. But I wondered the whole drive if it wasn't too premature to be going to the hospital. After all, I could still talk through the contractions and they only lasted about half as long as all the books say they should.

We checked in and I dressed in the hospital gown. The nurse came to hook me up to the monitors but told me she was about to finish her shift so she would send the fresh nurse in as soon as she arrived. Shannon, our labor and delivery nurse, was an angel! We are so grateful she was the one to help us through.

She introduced herself around 7am and started asking all the questions about my birth plan, pain levels, etc. When I said that the contractions were bearable and short she figured I would be dilated to about 3cm but because I was overdue they would let me stay. We were all surprised when she checked me and I was already dilated to a 7! Inwardly I was so grateful I had accomplished the first part of my plan to stay home as long as possible. Shannon could feel the baby's head in the birth canal and a bulging sack of waters that was still intact.

I spent about 20 minutes on the fetal monitor (the baby's heart rate was doing great!) and 40 minutes walking the room of every hour for the next few hours. At 10am a resident doctor came in and broke the sack of waters. Because the baby's head was so far down he plugged the hole and only a trickle came out. After that the contractions really started intensifying.

I was walking the floors and eating flavored ice when a particularly painful contraction came on. I flew to the sink, spit out the ice, and held on to the counter for dear life as I breathed through the contraction. It soon subsided but it wasn't long before the next one hit and I could feel an intense pressure down below -- like I needed to push. I worked through it but that pressure increased over the next two contractions and I finally told Dave what was going on. He ran for Shannon.

At 11:30ish she put me in bed and asked one of the other nurses to call our doctor. When she heard that he was still at his clinic and the resident doctor had gone to the O.R. she panicked slightly but still got me ready to deliver a baby and said it was time to push. I'm not sure my body was entirely ready to push but at this point I was in enough pain I was losing control and all I could do was follow instructions. So, on the next contraction, I pushed.

I pushed through about three contractions before the resident arrived and by the next contraction the doctor was there. I kept pushing and they could see the baby's head crowning but it was a little stuck. That's when it was decided to give me an episiotomy. Again, I don't recall them asking if they could do it. Maybe they did but those moments are all a blur. On the next contraction there was a terrible burning sensation - I'm pretty sure that was the cut. Then the following contraction and push brought a great sense of relief. Our little Benjamin was born at 12:18pm with a gush of water following him!

They immediately put him on my chest. He was so perfect! His eyes were open and he was relatively calm. I couldn't stop looking at this beautiful little boy that we had fought so hard to get. The doctor started stitching me up and the nurses wanted to weigh and measure the baby but I wouldn't let them take him from me until the doctor had finished -- I needed a diversion from this new pain.

I counted his fingers and marveled at his delicate features and the dark hair that covered the back of his head (not so much on top). We did it! Finally, after two years of doctors, countless medications, hundreds of needle pricks, and overwhelming heartache, we had our little baby. What a blessing! The Lord had heard our prayers and been extremely merciful sending us our perfect little Benjamin.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Benjamin's Birth Story, part 2

Gratefully, I had a pretty easy pregnancy. I had very little morning sickness and never once ran for the bathroom. There were plenty of days of fatigue and I couldn't eat chicken for a while. But other than that things went well.

The baby was stretched out in my womb. His little feet were constantly in my ribs but because of his position I didn't "pop" until I was about 7 months along. Even then on my due date a friend told me I didn't look like I was about to have a baby.

This was taken two months before d-day.

This one is only a month away from having a baby.

In February, Dave and I took a birthing class at the hospital. Our teacher taught us all about natural labor and delivery. I didn't know I wanted to go natural but after that class and after watching several documentaries on the subject, I was sold. I determined to labor at home as long as possible then go to the hospital only when I couldn't bear it any longer. Dave started researching what to do in the event of a home birth. He is in no way an advocate of home births but he knew I was serious and decided it was better to become informed than try to change my mind.

With the nursery all but decorated and my bag packed, we waited and waited for labor to start. I thought for sure I would go early. In the doctor's office four days before my due date, he told me I was only dilated to 2. He seemed pretty certain that I would make it to my next appointment in a week and then we would start talking induction. NO!!! I did not want to be induced -- I wanted everything to go as nature intended.

I started googling all the different ways to send myself into labor: I walked the curb (Dave took a video but you won't see it here -- much too embarrassing), bounced on the exercise ball, loved my husband, massaged pressure points in my hands and feet, took long walks, and started earnestly praying that I would go into labor before my next appointment.

Then along came my due date without even a twinge of labor. So, I accompanied my mother and other female relatives to the Studio 5 taping at Hale Centre Theatre hoping my water would break in the middle of the live show. It would have been exciting but no such luck. The next day I went into Dave's office and helped him with an emergency root canal. Still nothing.

I woke up Mother's Day morning earlier than I wanted with pain in my lower back. This is it, I thought. I had a few contractions throughout the day but I still made it to sacrament meeting and the family party later in the day. By that evening, the erratic contractions stopped and the back pain more or less subsided. Disappointing. I was already overdue and more than ready to have this baby.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Benjamin's Birth Story, part 1

Over the last several months I've stumbled upon lots of mommy blogs relating the birth stories of their children. I love the idea and want to share Benjamin's birth story with you all. Actually, this might be more a story of the long road to his conception and birth.

I mentioned last year that Dave and I had been struggling to get pregnant. We went through three clinics, several doctors, acupuncture, medicines that made me go into menopause, our names on the First Presidency prayer roll, homeopathic imagery, and even a trip to the psychologist. Finally, after our fourth round of IVF, we were thrilled to learn in September that we were pregnant!!!

Within a week or two, I started spotting. Let me tell you how devastating it is to see even the smallest amount of blood when we had worked so hard to get to this point. I called the nurse at the fertility clinic and she had me come in right away for a checkup. She did an ultrasound and everything looked good. In fact, she discovered that both embryos had implanted and we were expecting twins! One of the twins was about two days behind the other but she didn't seem worried and assured us it would catch up.

However, by the time our next appointment rolled around at the end of the month, that second baby was a week behind. This time the nurse told us there is no way it would catch up and it would eventually reabsorb into the uterine lining. Then she proceeded to find the heartbeat on both babies. That made me all the more upset knowing that Baby B wasn't going to make it but still seeing it's heartbeat.

Over the next few weeks we transitioned over to our OB/GYN. Just a few days after my first appointment with him I woke up in a pool of blood at 2:00am. Dave called the emergency number and got the doctor out of bed. He said that we could go to the emergency room or wait and see him at 8am. Basically, whatever happened had happened and there wasn't anything we could do about it. In the doctor's office later that morning we had another ultrasound and thankfully all was well with the fetus. What a relief! We still don't exactly know why I bled so much but it is possible that Baby B was exiting the womb.

I mysteriously spotted one more time about a month later then finally, after a rocky start to a much-anticipated pregnancy, we were on our way to parenthood.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The year (so far) in review

Want to know what we've been up to this year...?

JANUARY: Cousin A. tied the knot. I went alone to her weding while Dave worked overtime. She served cookies, donuts, and hot chocolate -- all the kids were in heaven!

FEBRUARY: I threw an amazing Mardi Gras party complete with delicious food, masks, and a parade!

MARCH: We celebrated Dave's birthday with dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory and breakfast at the Little America.

APRIL: Clive and I hid the Easter eggs and then he joined all the little cousins in the hunt to find them. It was pretty funny to watch him go to places where we hid eggs only to find that they were gone. I'm not sure he understood that others had beat him to it.

MAY: Jill graduated from her Master's program at Utah State. I was enthralled watching all the graduates get hooded.  We were too far away for a good picture but luckily the jumbotron caught the action. Way to go, Jill!

Oh, and one more important event happened in May...

Dave and I welcomed Benjamin into our family!
(more about this little miracle later)