Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday Birth Day: Max's Birth

Welcome to Thursday Birth Day!  My hope is that this series will help to encourage women who may be expecting their first baby or their second/third/fourth/etc.  These posts will provide some real life experiences that we can all appreciate and maybe even learn from.  I also hope for this to be a place where women who have gone through birth can have a place to share their beautiful stories.

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Baby Max's Birth Story

My story begins on August 30, 2013. It was the Friday before Labor Day. I was 35 + 1, and at work like any normal Friday and started to feel what I could only describe as menstrual cramps. I asked a co-worker (who happened to be pregnant with her 2nd child at the time) what contractions felt like and her response was, “like cramps.” I imagined the next weeks would be full of these cramp-like pains. I spent the 3-day weekend attending another friends baby shower, with Chad at the hospital after he hurt his shoulder, spending some time on our new boat at Lake Proctor, and visiting my grandparents. Monday morning I woke up to discover that I was starting to lose my mucous plug. I was having more “cramping” pains and felt really tired. I took it easy and got some rest. Tuesday was another normal day. I went to work and felt fine the entire day. A co-worker and my boss both joked to me that I better not have the baby that week as they both had plans to be off of work. I really did not expect to have a baby at 35 weeks anyway, so I laughed their comments off. I spent the evening with Chad. He injured his shoulder and got orders from the doctor that he could not lift his arm, so he got the week off of work. He worked 12-hour night shifts leaving me home alone most nights. Something that often concerned me being pregnant and alone 30 miles from the hospital or him. That night he cooked dinner, I brought home some movies, and we camped out in the living room enjoying a night together. I folded laundry… it was like any other night. The hospital bag was packed, but in another room. I never thought I would need it yet.
At 2 am I woke up in pain. It was not severe, so I use the restroom and return to bed. I was so tired and all I could think about was going back to sleep. I was unable to fall asleep no matter how hard I tried and the pain was not getting better or going away. Then I started to throw up. Each time I would think I felt better I would try to go back to sleep, but it just was not happening. By this point I was worried that maybe I had eaten something bad, or maybe I had a stomach bug. Vomiting and diarrhea were not signs of labor that I had heard or read about. I began to pace the hallway of our house. Sitting or lying was not an option. Our dogs were following me everywhere I went. They knew something was wrong and would not leave me alone so I had to kick them outside. Back and forth, back and forth I paced the hallway. I remember hearing Leddy, our weenie dog, under the house whimpering, pacing under the house with me. I would throw up and then try again to go to sleep. I just knew that I would be so exhausted at work the next day and could not afford to use a sick day as I needed it for maternity leave. Chad woke up a few times during this time and asked if I was okay. Not thinking anything about labor I just told him my stomach was upset and that I was okay. I continued to pace the hallway, and try to get rest, but the pain was getting worse. I could not lie down any longer. I thought to myself once, “what if this is labor?” So I opened a contraction counting app on my phone and remember trying to use it but getting frustrated and in so much pain that being on my phone was the last thing I wanted to do. I could not concentrate on anything. I started to sweat and get really hot, then freezing cold, really hot, then cold again. Am I running fever? What if this hurts my baby? Being in labor never crossed my mind again.

At 5:30 am Chad came in to the bedroom to me crying on the bed. The only words I can remember him saying are “It is time to go to the hospital?” I ask him to wait for me to take a shower as I had been sweating so badly. I am pretty sure he was amused by my request, or maybe annoyed, but he let me know pretty quick that the hospital would not care about my sweat, and if they did who cares. I mentioned earlier that I had folded laundry before bed. Well, I left those folded clothes on the dining room table. I knew there was a pair of white, cotton, elastic waist shorts on the table so I ask Chad to grab those for me. I will never forget that he brought me back a pair of khaki shorts. Even in pain I had to laugh about it and tell him, “No, babe, white elastic shorts. These are khaki." Finally I was dressed, and ready to go. On the way out I asked him to grab a plastic bag for the 30-minute trip in case I had to throw up in the car. He then asks me where do we keep the plastic bags. Males are so funny. I think I may have yelled at him this time. (Sorry, babe.) I bet he never forgets where I keep those plastic bags now. I walked so fast to the car. It was nice to know that relief was in sight. The car ride was the coldest, longest, most painful ride of my life. Chad stayed quiet the whole time. I, on the other hand, was not quiet at all. I yelled at him once to slow down. What will we do if we get pulled over? Then I will just be in pain longer. How rude of him trying to rush me to the hospital.  I had the A/C up as high as it would go. Chad was freezing and turning all the vents towards me, shivering. I could not sit at all anymore. I was holding my self up off the seat by my arms. Using the console in the middle and the passenger door handle. Crying and moaning, I even told Chad, “How will I ever achieve natural childbirth if I can’t even handle this pain?"

We arrived at the hospital around 6:10 a.m and entered through the emergency room. We told the triage lady what was going on. Since I was over 32 weeks they bring me a wheelchair and begin to wheel me up to labor and delivery. That is policy, she tells me. A man pushed me up, but I could not tell you what he looked like. Chad was silent still. The pain was so severe, and again, sitting was so painful. I was holding myself up off the chair. We enter the elevator and another man enters. Again, I didn’t even look up. He asks the man pushing me if I was having a baby… the guy pushing me says “Nope. Something else is going on. No baby yet.

When we arrive at L&D they do not have a bed ready so (for what seems like an hour) I am stuck in this wheel chair, holding myself up with my arms. It was actually only minutes, long enough for them to make a bed, and they push me into a room, and ask me to get into a gown. I kept feeling like I had to pee. I would try to lie in the bed and then run back into the bathroom. When I finally got into the bed I told the nurse that I kept having the urge to pee, and that it was painful to sit down. She told me that I had to sit so that they could check the on the baby. I was checked almost immediately and the nurses all began to scramble around in a hurry. I began to panic and asked them what was wrong? Why were they in a sudden hurry? “You are having a baby!!” one of the nurses responded. “NOW???” followed by “WHERE IS CHAD??

They started to walk out of the room when I felt it happen. A sudden release of pressure, and the bed became wet. My water broke. I told the nurses “Uh, I think my water just broke.” No, she said, it hadn’t yet. I had to tell her, no, I mean right now. Chad entered the room then and all I can remember is being so happy to see him. We were having a baby, holy cow, not at all what we were expecting. They told me that they were waiting for my doctor, and he seemed to arrive immediately, bed head and all. I started to push, and I was so thirsty I remember. At one point one of the nurses was telling me not to push. HA. I later found out from Chad that my response to her was not a nice one. They were telling me to push while holding my breath but that was not happening. The growling sound I was making is one I will never forget. But I did not care at the time. Then it happened. The ring of fire. It is no joke. That phrase explains it exactly. A few more pushes and my perfect baby boy entered the world. I immediately asked what time it was. 6:54 a.m.
5 hours after I was awaken in pain, less than 1 hour after arriving at the hospital, at 35 weeks 6 days, my boy was here. He was placed immediately on my chest. The nurse to my right said, “He looks like his daddy.” He cried and Chad and I laughed through our tears. His chin was mine, we decided. His fingers and toes were all there. He was perfect. He was ours. The delivery was over, and I did it. I have never felt so proud of myself before. My doctor asked Chad if he wanted to cut the umbilical cord, and he did. I still had not looked up from my baby. I have never seen anything so beautiful. Then I felt my placenta being delivered very soon after. I asked to see it. My doctor smiled and seemed happy to oblige. Chad gagged and looked away as my doctor held it up. I am so glad I looked. The next few hours are a blur of blissful happiness. Max Owen was here… 6 lbs 3 oz 19.5 inches long. One of the nurses later told me that my delivery was one she will never forget. She started calling Max “Stone” because they thought I was there due to kidney stones. I was glad to know that I was not the only one taken by surprise by my symptoms.

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