Tuesday, April 23, 2013

{our birth story}

So keeping with the theme of me thinking I can plan everything and exert some kind of control over the situation, I went into labor and delivery thinking I would not have any medication, no epidural, and would have a completely “natural” delivery. I had done my research, read books, practiced exercises, and had the support of my husband. What else would I need?

I was even prepared to try to handle the Pitocin without medication even though I knew it would make my contractions much harder and more intense. I was hoping for no Pitocin, and my doctor was willing to just “break my water” to see how I would progress. I was still not happy about being induced. I had this overwhelming sense of fear that something would go wrong. I kept thinking… If I get induced I might not progress which could lead to Pitocin at high doses, and if I still don’t progress I might end up with a c section which I really didn’t want. Then I worried that since Jake was 2 weeks early his lungs might not be totally mature and he might end up sick – or even worse – be in the NICU. This is what went through my head for the past 2 months every time we talked about induction. And my worst nightmare came true. And it was worse than even I could’ve imagined. And somehow God took a mess of a situation, gave us a healthy baby boy, and showed us to appreciate every second with him.
It has been 2 weeks since Jake Barnett was born, and his due date is actually today. Until this point I have not been able to talk about his birth without many tears. I did, however want to write it all down, to have it in case one day he wanted to know. I will probably choose not to talk much about it after this, and Jacob has already said he doesn’t ever want to relive it again.

I went in the hospital at 7:00 am on April 9, 2013. I was given a cervix softener to start my contractions at 8:30. I began having fairly regular contractions at that point, and my water was broken at 10:00 am. My idea of laboring in the hospital was not to be confined to a bed, but after my water was broken I was not allowed to move at all. I had to lay relatively flat on my back for the duration. I labored from 10:00 am until probably between almost 3:00 am. Pitocin was started at some point in there, I think around noon, but the details now are unclear. I labored with Pitocin and without an epidural between 10:00 am and 11:30 pm before I was completely exhausted. My doctor did not think I was going to have enough strength to push and I wasn’t progressing, so he highly recommended the epidural. As much as I didn’t want to, and through many tears, I took it. From 7:00 until around 1:30 am I pretty much slept and although I could feel my contractions they were overwhelmingly painful. Around 1:00 or 1:30 I started having uncontrollable chills and vomiting. I spiked a fever, Jake’s heart rate went up, and my blood pressure bottomed out at around 70s/40s. The hospital will only allow a woman’s water to be broken for about 18 hours max before c section is imminent. At 16 hours I had never felt so bad in my life. My fever was up and the vomiting was getting to where they had mentioned being concerned about me rupturing my cervix from the pressure. It was at this point Jacob talked to me about asking for a c section. I knew the baby was in danger and I had never felt so sick. My doctor came in and said we could wait 2 more hours, but I was only at 5 cm and I didn’t think I would progress any more. Plus, Jake was showing signs of exhaustion and I definitely was too. I asked for a  section and at 2:53 am Jake Barnett was born.

This is the part I don’t like to remember. I really just slept through the whole operation. Then I heard the doctor say “he has a lot of hair.” I saw the top of my baby’s head. Then he handed him to the nurse and I heard her say “he isn’t breathing.” He looked blue, and they were trying to get him to respond. I heard her counting minutes and call for the NICU team to come. I panicked. I heard the anesthesiologist say “I need a little versed, she’s getting pretty anxious.” I remember seeing the NICU team bagging Jake and then I heard him cough and though all must be alright now, and then I was out. Jacob stayed by me the whole time. He got up to see Jake for a minute, but it was really tough on him too. He is the strongest, most supportive man I know and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him. I have never experienced so much love and support in my life. I didn’t see my baby again until the next day at noon. No mother should ever have to go through that. I had this perfect picture in my head of how delivery would go, how I would hold my baby immediately, I would nurse him, and we would take our first family picture right there. I did not anticipate this.

Jacob and our families got to go to the NICU to see him that night while I was still out after the surgery. Jacob went back to see him every couple of hours while I was still out. Jacob showed me a picture of our son for the first time the next morning. He had tubes everywhere and to me it was horrifying and at the same time the most beautiful little person I’d ever seen. The neonatologist came to visit us that next morning before I got to see him and basically told us that “he thought he would probably be OK, but the next 48 hours were critical.” We later found out he was just a very pessimistic person, but that is not something you want to hear about your son you have yet to see. I saw him for the first time at noon on April 10, 2013. He was perfect, my little sweet pea.  That was the first thing I ever called him.
The NICU nurses and staff were fantastic. I don’t know what we would’ve done if they hadn’t been so good to us. They were informative, supportive, and comforting. They helped us and taught us so much. They took care of him like he was their own.

They weren’t sure if his respiratory distress was due to pneumonia or just immature lung function, but I suspect it was just immature lungs. After all, that was my fear all along. He was on CPAP at almost 40% and tachypnic for a couple days. Then he was finally switched to comfort flow oxygen for the next few. He wasn’t able to eat by mouth for 5 days so he was fed through a tube. The nurses were fantastic and knew we wanted to breastfeed so they allowed us to bring milk as I could and they worked with us so much. He never had to have formula which I was thankful for. They gradually took him from CPAP to oxygen, and from “minimal stimulation” to normal stimulation. At that point we were able to hold him, and they would occasionally let us change his diaper. They finally let me try to nurse at the end of day 5 and Jake did so great. I was afraid it would be a long, hard road for us because he hadn’t eaten by mouth at all. He got jaundice around day 4 or 5 and had to stay under the light for 24 hours. That resolved without any issues. His lungs continued to improve and by day 7 they let him room in with us. We finally had our baby all to ourselves. And we got to go home on day 8.

I wouldn’t wish that road on anyone. I would have loved to have my “perfect delivery.” But I appreciate my baby more than I ever could have without walking that journey. I love him with all my heart. I understand how fragile life is. I am thankful every time he is able to eat and breathe at the same time (something he couldn’t previously do). His cry is a reminder that he can breathe. I love his little fingers and toes, his head full of hair, his eyes that look at you like he is deep in thought and understands everything you say, and his sweet little lips. He’s my sweet pea, and I can’t imagine a day without him. I am so thankful, and once again understand that my God is in control, and I am not.

*{About his name}*:: Obviously Jake came from his sweet daddy, Jacob. I love Jacob more than life itself and loved that our sweet boy would be named after his dad. Plus we loved the little “country boy” feel of the name Jake. His middle name, Barnett, is my grandpa’s middle name. My papa is so special to me and we wanted to honor him. I would love nothing more than for my son to end up just like the 2 men he is named after. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

why i love being pregnant.

I have loved being pregnant. Tomorrow I will be having our baby boy, and I just needed to reflect on this whole process to hopefully give myself a good perspective on the next weeks to come.

I truly have loved every second on pregnancy. I know some of you hate me now, but hear me out.

I am not just one of those “lucky ones” who has had an easy pregnancy. In fact, I had HORRIBLE morning sickness. Vomited 3-4 times a day. I have contracted everything I come in contact with at work – have had strep 3 times, the flu once, 2 upper respiratory infections, and most recently either bronchitis or pneumonia which ended up in 2 broken ribs. I went to the ER with severe abdominal pain at 20 weeks, and have 6 kidney stones. I have been admitted to L&D for monitoring for blood pressure and have had to see perinatology. I have refused induction 3 times and have nearly caused my OB to have a heart attack.

Do I wish I could still see my chubby little toes? Or take a leisurely stroll around target without getting winded? Sure! Would I have preferred not to have “morning” sickness 24 hours a day for 3 months and vomit in every parking lot in Longview? Well, yea! Is it getting old sleeping on my side, or just not sleeping at all? Of course.
But would I trade any of that? No.

And here’s why.

Before Jacob and I ever even dreamed of becoming parents I made a promise to myself that if that time ever came I would not complain. I would not whine, and I would treasure every second of pregnancy. Why?
Because I know too many good, loving people who never got the opportunity to have children. I have seen their heartache and longing for a baby and I know how blessed I am. I know this was nothing of my control and I am certain that it is a gift to be treasured. So I chose to treasure it. This does not mean I have never complained. I have had a couple of break-downs, I have cried to Jacob that I don’t think I can vomit one more time. But overall, I choose to love it. And I believe that the choice is what has made it fun, and bearable. I went into this journey knowing the possibility of being sick every day for 9 months, gaining a lot of weight, and feeling tired exhausted. And I think that because I told myself that was my new normal, I accepted it and I really have had fun being pregnant!

I also decided that I would love pregnancy because I never want my child to feel like they took something from me, if even for 9 months. I never want him to feel like my life was somehow better before him. I want him to feel like our lives were made better because of him – even from the time he was in my womb. I want him to know that he is a blessing. And I am earnestly praying that God keeps this in my mind through all the sleepless nights, unconsolable crying, and temper tantrums. I pray that I never take one single day for granted. And I will try my hardest not to complain about “being so tired because my baby kept me up all night.” I know this is a lofty goal, but this is what I am aspiring to.  I am trying to accept – even before his sweet arrival – that there will be many sleepless nights, frustrations, and many unexpected crises so that when that time comes I can also accept that as normal and learn to love that process too. I want to find joy in my son, and I never want him to hear that his momma felt anything but love and gratitude for him.

So as I prepare for the birth of my son tomorrow, I pray God keeps all these things in the front of my mind, and that I would always remember what a blessing he is.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

holding out + a few thoughts on life lately

I am now 37.5 weeks, but behind on pictures as usual. In the past week we have managed to avoid being induced 3 times and have successfully {almost completely} moved into our new home. To say we have been busy and stressed is a huge understatement. I assume everyone "nests" in preparation for their little one, but oh-my-goodness is that instinct kicked into major overdrive when you're trying to move your entire life into a new home. Luckily we have the.best family in the world and were able to get so much done with their help. 

My blood pressure has started to go up a little (mainly just at the doctor's office because I'm a horrible patient - I'm not used to being on the other end of medicine). He wanted to induce me last wednesday and I didn't want to. So he let me monitor my pressure closely and call him on Friday at which point he wanted to induce if it hadn't come down - luckily it had. We moved Thursday and Friday and have been unpacking boxes and organizing things since then. Monday we had another appointment and he wanted to induce again, I declined. My only other options were to leave AMA, or to see a perinatologist. We chose the specialist who was fantastic. He wasn't too concerned, admitted me to L&D for 2 hours to monitor my pressures which were all good, and sent me home. Today we had another appointment that went relatively well. The baby is in a good position for delivery, I've started dilating and thinning out, and I'm having regular contractions. We are praying I go into labor before our scheduled induction on Tuesday morning. 

God always provides for us. I know this to be true. For some reason I let myself question this and doubt in times like these when I have a "perfect plan" for the way things are supposed to be. In my head we were supposed to be in our house, have plenty of time to spend together in a real home before the baby arrived. In my plan my baby would be born by natural labor without induction, and I would have no health concerns. In reality we barely got into our home, we have barely escaped 3 inductions, and I have had a host of medical issues since being pregnant including 3 cases of strep throat, the flu, 2 upper respiratory infections, 6 kidney stones + a hospital stay, pneumonia, and 2 cracked ribs. But I have a really healthy baby who appears to be growing normally and is almost ready to enter this world. And as much as I'd love to plan our life out, I know that all that matters is that God really does always provide, I have a husband who would literally die for me, and a family who loves us more than we will ever know. I think we are probably pretty blessed.