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. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad he is home with you now :) Y'all are the cutest little family!

    So thankful to you for sharing your story. Every birth is so different and we all have the ideal set in our head but somethings are just meant to happen differently so we learn and become stronger.

    And this is coming from a 2 csection Mama one planned because of breech baby (I was to scared to try turning him for natural delivery) & 2nd just for safety of mom & baby after already having one - my dr wouldn't do natural after csection.