Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Forever Changed

I haven't blogged in ages and frankly I haven't missed it bc typically when I blog I have a tendency to either ramble on about nothing or ramble about something that means a lot to me, but nothing to anyone else and therefore it feels pointless.

Today though I want to blog about my birth story.  It's been 8 days and I have not had a chance to really truly reflect on that day, but I have always been a writer at heart and have found a release in writing out my thoughts ever since I was young.  Typically if I have a lot to say I'm going to write it, rather than voice it out loud.  So here is my story.

It all began on Monday night, June 2nd around 5:45 pm.  I was sitting on the couch waiting for Shane to come back with Chinese takeout.  Suddenly I felt an odd "gush" of sorts like I had wet my pants.  Considering the baby had been on my bladder for the last 2 weeks or more I figured it was nothing more than that.  After a couple more similar incidents, I decided to call my doctor.  They said if contractions picked up that it could've been the beginning of my water breaking and I could come in to get checked out.  Long story short, contractions did start and we were on our way to the hospital by 8 pm.

3 1/2 hours later, we were on our way back home.  The amniotic swab test they did to determine if my water had indeed broken came back negative and after walking around the hospital for an entire hour, the contractions had fizzled out.  I was feeling discouraged and irritated at the waste of time (and money).

By 4 am I was having more  "gushes" and more contractions.  Shane went ahead and left for work, telling me to call him immediately if something changes.  I had already called in to work bc I wasn't about to go to school "wetting myself" all day long.

At 5 am I was sitting on a beach towel on the bed typing lesson plans to send in for the substitute teacher when SHOOOOOOOOM (that's supposed to be the sound of gushing water, btw).  There was absolutely no mistaking what was happening.  I called Shane, called the hospital, got the "come on in" order, took a shower, dried my hair, did my makeup, and we were headed back to Baylor by 6:30 am.

By 7:30 I was in a room on a monitor and had passed the amniotic swab test, but was not dilated at all.

By 8:30 we were officially in a Labor and Delivery room and the family had been alerted.

After that, the times became a blur and the length of time things lasted also gets fuzzy.  The contractions were getting increasingly painful, but since I wasn't dilated they wouldn't give me an epidural, but they did give me some drug (I wish I could remember the name of it) to "relax me".  The next 2-3 hours were probably the most painful of my entire life.  The contraction intensity tripled and all of the pain was 100% in my back.  Looking back I honestly can't physically remember the pain, but I can remember it mentally.  I KNOW it was there and I KNOW it was awful.  I remember gripping the side of the bed, crying out, trying to make myself cry to get some sort of release out of it.  I remember the way Shane and his mom were pushing on my back, trying to ease some of the pain.  Some of my famous quotes during labor pains were: "He's gonna be so cuuuuuute!" (which I do remember saying) and "Just gimme the epidural, dammit!" (which I don't remember saying).

2-3 excruciating hours later, they checked me again and I was at a whopping 1.  Finally the doc OK'd me to have the epidural.  That was the easiest part of the whole painful part of that day, despite my initial fears.  I was so eager to not feel anything that I didn't even care about what that anesthesiologist was doing to me.  I hardly noticed the needle going into my back.  It didn't take long before I was numb from the waist down and the relaxation drug was kicked in full force.  I spent the rest of the afternoon drifting in and out of sleep.  I hardly remember when my family showed up.  I just know I was a complete total zombie.

By late-afternoon I had only dilated to a 2.  The doc seemed mildly pleased with the "progress", but it was still odd that things were going so slowly considering how strong the contractions were.

By 7ish (again...times are all a blur), things still were not moving along at the rate we had hoped.  At some point they began to give me Pitocin.  I don't even remember discussing it, but Shane remembers me saying it was okay.   The Pitocin did not help me dilate.  At 7:30 I was still just at a 4, running a temperature, and the contractions had actually seemed to have let up.  It was a very odd thing.

The next hour passed very quickly.  Looking back it seemed like 5 minutes.  One minute I was running a temperature and being given Tylenol.  I remember how happy I was to get to take 2 whole sips of water to swallow the pills.  The next minute, 4 nurses came into the room, told our family that everybody needed to get out, and they were slapping an oxygen mask on me and flipping my bed upside down.  :0  I remember being still too drugged up to have much emotion inside of me.  My thoughts were ranging from, "What is happening?  Is my baby okay?  Am I going to make it through this?  God help me!"  Thank goodness I couldn't see the monitors to know what was truly happening.  The baby's heart rate was in the 60s and 70s and contractions were happening one right on top of the other.  He was also sunny side up, which is why they flipped me apparently.  The doc came in and checked me again, finding still no progress past the 4.  She looked at me and asked me if I was done and I nodded "yes".

By 8:30 I was being wheeled out of my room and into the OR.  I remember how bright the lights were and how sterile the room was.  There were tons of doctors and nurses in there, most of whom were doing other things not related to my surgery.  I remember the kind anesthesiologist talking me through the entire surgery and telling me what I was going to feel.  They administered an additional drug to further numb me, aka, send me into a convulsive round of uncontrollable shaking and shuddering.  Shane said I looked like a scene from the exorcist, lying stretched on the operating table, shuddering and convulsing.  The blue drape went up in front of me and I felt the tugging and pulling I had been told about.  "Lord Jesus, please help me....Lord Jesus please help me...." was what I was repeating frantically to myself from inside my oxygen mask.  What seemed like only seconds later, I heard a small squeaky cry.  I knew it was him.  He was out.  He was alive.  My son was here!  "There he is," I remember Shane saying.  The anesthesiologist asked me if I wanted to see, which of course I did, so I lifted my head up as best I could to peek over the drape and they lifted the baby up just high enough to give me a tiny peek.  And I saw him.  I saw his tiny scrunched face and his little arms up in the air, wailing and breathing his first breaths in this world.  "I did it!" I thought...or did I say it out loud?  I can't remember.  I was still shaking uncontrollably.  Minutes later they cleaned him up, weighed him, and swaddled him.  Here is our first photo together.  I was hardly able to keep my mouth closed bc I was shaking so bad.  I couldn't really truly smile like I wanted to.  I could hardly open my eyes either.

Once we were in recovery, I was parched and still horribly shaky.  We got to watch the nurse give Ellis his first sponge bath.  Then Kaley, my awesome nurse, helped me nurse him for the first time.  After another couple of hours, we were back in our room in L&D bc they didn't have any available postpartum rooms that night.  I was still pretty drugged up, beyond exhausted, and very thirsty still.  The ice chips just weren't cutting it anymore.  I was finally able to sip water once we were settled in our room.  The family got to come in at least and take their turns holding our angel.  I remember talking to everybody, but don't really remember what was said.  I remember pictures being taken and lots of smiles and love and laughter.  

So Ellis Ray arrived at 8:45 pm on June 3, 2014 in the most unexpected way...except not to me.  All throughout my pregnancy I never once pictured the actual birth.  I never imagined labor, never imagined myself "pushing" him out.  I just knew it would happen...that he would be born and that I couldn't wait for it to happen.  What I didn't realize was that my lack of thoughts on labor were God's way of mentally preparing me for his birth and the way it all came to be.  I didn't mention it earlier, but for those still wondering about the c-section, it was the only option.  As the contractions intensified and increased, the cord was being pulled tighter and tighter around my sweet baby.  When they pulled him out of me, it was wrapped around him several times.  No amount of natural medicines or lack of drugs would've helped that.  God saw that cord and knew he had to get out of there fast.  

I look at the road ahead and right now all I see is tomorrow.  It'll probably be much the same as today.  Lots of nursing, lots of diapers, lots of rocking, burping, and lots of baby talk.  The thought of a string of repetitive events, being alone all day long with a baby, without adult conversation, without being able to really go anywhere for more than 2 hours at a time since I have to nurse him.....It's enough to overwhelm me and send me straight into a huge breakdown.  (And I've had many of me).  I know it sounds horribly selfish.  That selfish part of me thinks about my friends without babies (particularly teacher friends) who have a whole summer ahead of them to sleep in, stay up late, do whatever they want every day, get their nails done, go to the pool, go to happy hours, etc.  I think that will never be me again.  It makes me sad.  It makes me feel like I will never get to be "normal" again.

Then I look at his little face and I see a different world.  I fall in love every time I look at him.  The way I feel when I hold him and he's so content on my shoulder makes me realize how much he needs me.  I realize that Shane and I brought this life into this world and that God brought him here to us--literally--he would not be here were it not for God's divine protection.  I was told all throughout my pregnancy about how worth it it would be and how much I would love him....And it was all true, but to a level I never fathomed.  I never could have imagined such a love and such a precious gift being given to me and to my husband.  My heart is full.  

So there is my story.  It is just beginning, I know.  And I know it will go by all too fast.  I know that I will feel "normal" again, but normal will still be different than before.  It'll be a new normal.  Here is it 8 days later and my son is in his bouncy seat, making sweet baby noises and sleeping peacefully.  It still seems surreal.  

I'm a mom.

I have a baby.

I have a son.

My life is forever changed.