Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reid's Story: It's a monster!

Ben put up that last post for me.  We knew people had been wondering when things were going to start happening.  Now that it's been a full 24+ hours of recovery I think I'll start writing down the whole experience.  It may seem weird that I'm into blogging so soon after, but reading and "writing" have always been two of my four most favorite ways to relax.  So don't judge me.

I worked up until Friday last week.  Every day I'd show up my most favorite co-worker (who is the only other person in the building at 6:30 when I arrive) would fling my door open and say "I didn't get that 4am e-mail so I guess he's got another day.  I kept joking that he knew he couldn't come till I'd finished up everything at work.  Only thing is, I wasn't fully joking.  I felt a lot of pressure on my pelvis by the end of each day, and I knew he was ready to come.  But I also knew that the way Heavenly Father blesses us (especially those of us who suffer clinical anxiety/depression) was such that Reid wouldn't be coming until my mind and body were totally ready.

Friday night I just felt this need to drive out into the country and gaze at the stars.  I haven't had any weird cravings this whole pregnancy, just a need to comfort myself the same way I would have in my younger, Delta-UT years.  Unfortunately the country takes a while to get to from our place.  When I first got in the car I had NO idea where I was going to head out to.  First I thought of the beautiful Potomac wetlands off George Washington Parkway.  Then I thought of all those crime dramas and realized the river at night wasn't such a good idea.  Next, it hit me . . . if I headed the other direction on the Parkway I'd reach the temple up in MD.  It's a long drive, but when you are craving high mountain tops and bright stars . . . the Temple of the Lord is the PERFECT place.

On my drive I really felt so calm, so ready, and so assured that Reid would be coming the next day (his official due date according to my irregular cycle count).  Not Halloween like Dad wanted, and not the 27th like Grandma wanted (and the Dr's given due date).  I just knew he now knew my mind and body were ready.  I felt really impressed to get a good nights rest and be ready for a hard days labor ahead.  I reached the temple and was too tired to really even offer up my thoughts and thanks as I'd hoped.  So I took a quick nap in the car.  Before heading home I got out and let the cool fall air wake me up.  I counted some 18 stars and marveled at the beauty of it all.  Looking back, I know I needed that peaceful evening to myself, because the next day was a whirlwind!

Sure enough, 6:00am I (too much info coming for those not interested) I passed part of my mucus plug.  I wouldn't have even noticed but for some reason I decided to turn the lights on for that hourly bathroom run.  I read up on that whole thing in a couple of my pregnancy books and decided to go back to bed.  I knew I also needed to give Ben more rest time.  From about 6 to 8 I felt a slight contraction every 20 to 12 minutes.  So at 8:00 I woke Ben up and told him we should head to Target for some shopping.  We were out the door by 9:00.  We shopped, called my mom, just spent the morning like most other Saturdays.  The contractions were still sporadic, but definitely getting a little stronger.

I decided staying at home and resting would be how we'd spend the rest of the day.  We watched two disks of "Friends" and a couple episodes of "The Simpsons." Ben was so good to take care of me.  We started timing the contractions around 2:30.  They didn't steady out until about 6:30.  I still didn't want to head to the hospital, and since my water hadn't broke . . . we placed my tired body into a nice warm bubble bath.  Mmmmmmmm that was HEAVEN!  The contractions didn't hurt at all!  The warm water felt so good all over my body.  For a minute I even worried I may have stopped the whole process cause the pain was practically gone.

At 7:20 we called the Dr's office and started getting ready to go.

At about 7:35 Ben gave me a blessing.  Just a little tip my mother always gave me when she'd tell me the story of my own birth.  I was BY FAR her easiest delivery (little greased pig is the term I hear most often) and she credits all of it to the blessing my father gave her before they headed into the hospital. 

The Dr called us back at about 7:45.  I'm not sure she really believed I was having contractions every 5 mins for the past hour.  I had one on the phone with her, but I still talked through all but about 5 secs of it.  She told us to head to the Hospital and get checked out.

That drive has been one of my biggest dreads this whole time.  We were both relieved it wasn't rush hour, but even still it takes at least 30 minutes.  Curse red lights!  Eternal thanks to Josh Groban.  I blared my ipod in my ear.  "Don't Give Up, You are Loved" played over and over.  When I wasn't in pain I'd tell Ben all about Sister Suin.  Even in labor, I can't listen to that song without longing for her.  Placing myself in the jungles of Malaysia will be my therapy for life.

We made it up to Triage and I checked out at a 5.  So we didn't stay there long!

By the time my Dr made it to my delivery room I was at a 7.  My birth plan was pretty simple, and Ben was good to relay it all to the nurses.  It only had three bullet points, so I never officially wrote it down.  My favorite part of it was that if I could make it to a 7 without pain meds I was going to make it all the way!  Also, at this time my water hadn't broken yet, so the Dr broke it for me.  Honestly, I think that took some pain away for a contraction or two.  Unfortunately, there was maconium in my water.  Thanks to our childbirth classes I knew I had to start preparing myself for a delivery where I didn't hear my baby cry right away.

About an hour and half later I was in the most pain I've ever experienced in my life!  And the pain was only one small part of the "problem."  Up until this point I felt like I had a handle on the pain, but when your body starts to shake uncontrollably and your sweating while you freeze to death . . . well I just didn't know how to keep control of my body anymore.  I remember pushing the nurse call button and using all my energy to say "pain relief."  Stephanie came in right away and started laying down my options.  The Dr wasn't too far behind and she told me I was at a 9 plus.  Catherine said I had to make the decision right then, and it felt oh so good to just shake my head "NO!"

It wasn't much longer that I felt the need to push.  I loved my nurses and the Dr was great . . . but boy oh boy did it feel like they took all night to get me ready for pushing.  Holding in that need was definitely the worst part of it all.  Once I was able to push the Dr told me he was still pretty high up.  No surprise since I'd been carrying him high all 9 months.  My height is all in my legs, so he really had no choice but to stay up above my hips.  Also, my pelvis is pretty narrow.  I'd been warned a c-section was likely.  Big baby, small pelvis . . . the math makes sense.  The Dr left me with that small reminder.  She pretty much told me she'd be back in a hour to check out my progress.  Then she'd determine if a c-section was needed.

That got me pushing!

An hour later, she returned and seemed to rule out the c-section.  I still had some work to do, but she figured she could use forceps to assist me when the time was finally right.  Almost as if talking to herself she said something about how bad forceps would hurt without an epidural.  I think she'd plain forgotten I wasn't on any pain meds.  My main nurse, Catherine left with her at that moment.  I have no proof to back this up, but I really think Catherine relayed my desire (based on total fear) to avoid an epidural.

When the two returned thirty minutes later the Dr said she'd use the vacuum instead, and Catherine gave me a big smile, cute wink, and two huge thumbs up.  Epidural avoided!  Everyone started gloving up, and extra nurses came rushing in.   I never had to stop pushing once I started, and that was a fabulous relief.  After 18 hours of letting contractions help me, I did not want to rely on fighting their urges.  I felt the Dr place the vacuum on Reid's head and with one or two big pushes I felt him coming out.  It felt like I was done.  And I would have stopped right then (knowing I wasn't going to hear a cry) if the Dr hadn't started yelling (in an effort to remind me) that I still had to get his shoulders out.  I panicked for a second, thinking if I took too long to do that he might never cry.  And two pushes later I could tell he was out.  I gave one final push and my baby was rushed away by a NICU employee.  He didn't have to leave the room, but I didn't get to see him for about 5 minutes.

That was hard.

But thankfully I felt all my senses come back and I finally took in everything that had happened over the last 8 hours.  Thinking of all that hard work helped keep me patient while I waited for my baby.  Also, hearing each nurse in the room (four total) gasp over "the toddler" I'd just given birth too, added a little humor to my long long day.

And I about died when they told me his stats.  9 lbs 15 ounces.  They weren't kidding about the toddler!  23 inches "he's going to walk home" one of them exclaimed.  The Dr immediately asked Ben and I how big we were when we were born.  She shook her head at Ben's answer and said "I'm glad I didn't ask you that at the beginning of all this, I would have never let it go this far knowing that."  She then told me I had performed a very impressive delivery.  I'm sure they tell everyone that, but each nurse nodded in agreement and Catherine let the NICU nurse know I had done it all naturally.  Suddenly his toddler size wasn't the only "shocker" in the room.

Ben was able to hold Reid first and that was the most rewarding part of my whole night.  Being stitched up was not pleasant (or quick) at all.  And I would have been in agony if I hadn't been able to gaze at my two men while the repair was being made.

I haven't said nearly enough about Ben through this whole story.  He was such an AMAZING support person.  He helped me stick to my birth plan.  He took away SO much of my pain during each contraction.  His poor arm must have been so sore and tired, but he pushed on my back harder with each demand.  I laughed when he asked Catherine if I was falling asleep.  I know that was one of the signs he was suppose to look for according to our list of "his job."  Though I was no where near sleep, I knew he was simply checking for all concerns he was suppose to have.  I also knew it must have been hard for him to try and "read my mind" since I was saying next to nothing to him through the whole thing.  During the pushing session, he mastered reading my body cues.  He watched me closely and asked for the nurse to come over each time I was ready to go.  I really couldn't hold my legs up without their support, and I loved that he was my strength when I was passed exhaustion.

My favorite Ben support moments though, came when his "push" voice changed from comfort and encouragement to a mix of total joy and disturbing shock.  That's when I knew he could see the head and we were on the final stretch.  Pushing to make Ben stay so excited and to get my baby closer to that first breathe was much harder in the terms of pain, but much easier considering the motivation and nearing reward.  I truly couldn't have done any of it without him.


Casie said...

You are FANTASTIC!!! I loved reading every word of this post. That's so awesome you did it all naturally. Good for you! And CONGRATS on the adorable little man!

Kim and Cory said...

Way to go! You are amazing. Thanks for the birth story. I love reading them. oh and I see you in that little guys face.

Scott and Claudia said...

You have chronicled the event masterfully. What a precious experience. I love you.

Jaime Cox Bassett said...

CONGRATS!!!!!! You are the absolutely TOUGHEST gal I know! I could NEVER have done that! I am so sooo PROUD of you!! He is so sooo BEAUTIFUL!!! I WISH I could see him, and loVe on that cute lil guy! You are gonna be the GREATEST parents EVER!!! I am so PROUD of all you're amazing accomplishment's! Enjoy every minute, cause it goes by quick! LoVe you- n CONGRATS!!!!

Jodi said...

Liz! You are amazing! I am here to tell you that that is a VERY impressive delivery, and they just don't tell that to anybody!!!!! Especially for your first baby. I delivered my third naturally and she was only 6 lbs 14 oz!!! Props to you, you should be so proud of that!!!!

Riki Lee said...

Thanks for sharing! Every story is so fascinating to me. I can't believe how big he is already! I'm impressed you were able to do all that. Congratulations on such a cute little guy!

smalltowngirl said...

I'm so happy for you!! I knew you could do it. Natalie was only 6lb 7oz so you definitely had a much harder labor than me and I also have the Hales hips.

Isn't that the neatest with your husband? I felt the exact same way when he was encouraging me and that we did it together made it so special. I can remember when he was like I see her head come on you can do it and their were tears in his eyes.

What a neat experience.

Marmie said...

Well, I totally felt as if I were in the room with you two. It is such a truly amazing experience. Now you can see why it was so hard for us to turn it off. Congratulations to both of you on the birth of one beautiful boy. Can't wait to see all of you!!

Love you,

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