I just read my last update, and well, let’s just say life has changed DRAMATICALLY.
In the time since October 1st, 2011 we have had a baby, closed up shop (home shop, not shop shop) in Chartown, and hauled ourselves—baby in tow—to the nation’s capitol (which is now the Nations’ capitol, get it?). We really are gypsies. I feel a little sad for our child and his future comrades.
In light of all the life changes and my complete delinquency in recording them in a timely manner (let’s not discuss the baby book, people), the next few updates will be catching you up on all the cha-cha-cha-changes. My goal is to bring you up to current day, but I’ll be realistic and just start with roughly one week after my last entry…
(Disclaimer: This is our birth story, it gets messy.)
October 8th, 2011 was a cloudy, windy day and Jedidiah James Nations was “supposed” to make his grand entry into the world. I’d had false labor a few times, each time thinking, “We could have a baby tonight” only to wake up with no contractions and no baby. Because of Jedi’s inactivity, Adam decided to go for a mountain bike ride early on Saturday morning. When he got back from the trails we went to grab coffee and brunch at one of our favorite spots. After eating brunch Adam started working on his Bible study. While we were sitting at the restaurant I noticed a sharp twinge in my lower abdomen that accompanied the dull lower backache I’d been feeling for a day or so. I got really antsy and announced, “I NEED to get up and walk somewhere!” Adam and I walked around the shops in the misty weather and I felt the twinge a few more times as my belly hardened like when I had a Braxton-Hicks contraction.
We left and headed home and when we got home we lay down in our bed and watched a few episodes of L.A. Ink (a guilty pleasure). All the while I was having more frequent contractions, by this time around 10-15 minutes apart. Around 6:00 I got up and went to the bathroom and discovered some bloody show. At that point I decided that I was pretty sure I was in labor. Adam suggested eating dinner so that we were following our normal routine. We ate then went to Trader Joe’s to buy brownie mix and some snacks. At the store I had a couple contractions and some of them were intense enough to make me pause and breathe through. After returning from the grocery store we set out for a walk around the neighborhood. During the walk my contractions got more painful and a little more frequent, probably about 7-8 minutes apart.
I bought the brownie mix to make brownies for the nurses at the hospital, a peace offering in hopes of winning their support of our natural labor and delivery. Around 10:30 we returned from our walk and I made the brownies and cleaned the kitchen while Adam packed the rest of the hospital bag (we had it mostly packed weeks in advance, like good students ☺). Just after midnight we turned in thinking, yet again but this time with a little more confidence, that we would have a baby the next day.
I fell asleep a little after Adam and woke up to have contractions. Immediately after each contraction passed I nodded off only to wake up to the tightening pain in my abdomen. I got up to use the bathroom once and felt like my contractions were coming more frequently and were more work. The second time I went to the bathroom I had four contractions before getting back in bed. It was 4:30 a.m. at that point. I forced myself to go back to sleep knowing that my body would let me know when I needed to be up.
Two hours and fifteen minutes later I was roused from my sleep by an intense string of contractions and thought it was time to wake Adam up. At 7:00 a.m. we began timing my contractions and found that they were 3.5 minutes apart lasting 60-80 seconds. When I asked Adam what stage he thought I was in he said, “I think you are in early first stage labor.” I pouted and told him I thought he was wrong and that I was in transition or I was DEFINITELY going to need an epidural.
We lay in bed and timed contractions for about an hour and a half more and then decided to call the midwife. I was ready to go to the hospital at that point. When I called and spoke to the nurse I told her everything I could until I had another contraction and had to pass the phone to Adam. The nurse said she would relay the message to Hallie, my midwife, and have her call me back. About 30 minutes later Hallie called and again I had to hand the phone to Adam. Adam apparently told her that I had been in hard labor since 7:00 a.m. and she told us to stay at home for another hour and a half at least, but to try to make it until noon. There was NO WAY! When we hung up I told Adam that I was really nauseous. We went in the bathroom and I threw up. Adam decided that it was time to go to the hospital. If they checked me and I was less than 6 centimeters we would come home.
Adam loaded all of our bags and pillows into the car and then helped me get dressed. I RAN down the stairs and had a contraction at the bottom while Adam pulled the car up. I was worried that the car ride would be rough because I had just thrown up, but my contractions slowed and I only had about 3 or 4 on the 20-minute trip to the hospital. Of course that made me nervous too. I didn’t want my labor to stop because I was out of my comfort zone.
When we arrived at the hospital about 10:30 a.m. Adam dropped me off at the front and parked the car. The lady that they sent down to bring me to Labor and Delivery asked if I was even in labor. I wanted to punch her, but I just nodded with my eyes closed.
Adam met us at the elevator and we made our way to the 8th floor. They assigned us to a room and told the nurse that we wanted to be checked for progress before we were admitted. She said okay and then said, “Well Sweetie, you’re either really under control or you’re not quite 10 centimeters.” Again I fought the urge to deck her, but I steeled myself in case I heard I was 3 centimeters and we had to head home.
I laid down on my side in the bed and the nurse called Hallie in. Hallie checked me and said, “Wow!” I was worried and asked, “What?!” She said, “You’re 8 centimeters!” Adam and I were ELATED. We could stay! We were going to meet Jedidiah so soon!
The nurse asked Adam for our birth plan and he told her all our belongings were still in the car but he could run and go get them. The nurse said, “You better not leave. You’re going to have a baby soon.” We agreed that she would ask, and we would tell her our wishes before she did anything.
I labored on my side and drifted in and out of sleep for about two hours. Hallie came in twice and she said, “You guys are doing great. I feel like you don’t even need me.” My contractions were double and triple peaking. I thought they were getting shorter, but Adam told me they were lasting about 90 seconds. He was the best coach, telling me, “Here comes a contraction” and “You’re halfway through this contraction” and “This contraction is about to start fading away.” It was amazing to me that he was able to predict all of these things because I wasn’t hooked up to any monitors. He used a cold rag to wipe my forehead and the back of my neck and reminded me to unfurrow my brows, the only part of my body I could not remember to keep relaxed.
The nurse came in periodically and asked if we needed anything, and we told her we were okay. Hallie came back about an hour later and said she wanted to check me. She checked my cervix and told me I was 9 centimeters. She said if I felt the urge to push to call for her and she’d come back. I thought, “How will I know if I need to push?”
I kept sleeping and contracting and I remember thinking to myself, “If I am asleep I may be stalling my progress and not be aware if I need to push. I should wake up.” So I woke up and I looked at Adam after he gave me some ice chips and said, “I need to push RIGHT NOW!” He frantically pushed the nurse button and the nurse came in. She checked me and said I was 9.5 centimeters, and she called Hallie in to check me while I was having a contraction. The nurse checked Jedidiah’s heart rate and said he was doing great. I asked if I could squat to try and dilate fully. She brought in the squatting bar and I squatted on the end of the bed while we waited for Hallie. While we were waiting my body was pushing. I didn’t push along with it, but I sure as HELL was not going to try to stop it. I apologized to Jedidiah in case he fell on the floor because no one was there to catch him.
Hallie came in and checked me and gave me the go ahead to start pushing as soon as she was suited up and everything was ready. She broke my water. There was meconium in the amniotic fluid, so Hallie called in nurses to help Jedi in case he needed it.
When I began to push with my body at 2:30 p.m. I started in the squatting position. Hallie and the nurse used the Doppler to listen to Jedi’s heart. They couldn’t find his heartbeat for a while. When they did his heart rate was in the 50’s, and then Adam said he saw it drop into the 40’s and then the 30’s. They had me move to all fours and try pushing in that position while they searched for Jedi’s heartbeat. They thought it would come back up in that position, but it stayed in the 40’s. They put an oxygen mask on me and had me take deep breaths while I was pushing (tricky). I heard Hallie tell someone to get Dr. Gourley and then say, “We have to get this baby out or she’s gonna end up in the OR.” Hallie told me to push harder and I yelled, “I can’t!” I pushed with all of my might. They had me switch to lying on my back with my left leg up. They checked Jedi’s heart beat and it was not coming back up. In one more contraction I pushed four times and Hallie used a vacuum and Jedidiah James was born at 2:38 p.m.
They immediately cut Jedidiah’s cord (not what I wanted) and took him to be examined by the cardiac and respiratory doctors waiting in the room (again, not what I wanted, but of course necessary for a baby in distress). Adam went with him and told me he was beautiful. Jedi was quiet for what felt like forever (Adam told me later that it was just until they sucked out his nose and mouth) and then finally I heard him cry. It was a beautiful and heartbreaking noise! They told me we had a big baby. Jedi was 7 pounds 15.5 ounces and 20 inches long, a tiny baby compared to his parents ☺ After all of the drama of his birth, the little guy scored a 9 on both his APGAR tests. They bundled Jedidiah up and gave him to Adam who sat next to me while Hallie stitched up my minor tears. Nearly 30 minutes after he was born I finally got to hold my little boy. We cuddled skin to skin and he immediately latched on to feed.
The last little bit of labor was terrifying and completely traumatizing. I was afraid for Jedi and Adam was afraid for both of us. Adam told me afterwards that he felt helpless during all the wildness, which makes me sad for him. BUT, we all survived.
We called both sets of parents when we checked into the hospital, and they left immediately to drive to Charlotte. My parents (Nina and Pop) came on Sunday night and Adam’s parents (Gigi and Pops) came Monday morning. After sharing our birth story with them they both said that right around 2:30 on Sunday they got the overwhelming urge to pray for our little family. That was when all the drama was happening. The Holy Spirit had prompted our parents to pray protection over our family and our babe’s life in the instant that we needed it most. Praise God!
We chose to have a natural birth and we would do it again in a heartbeat. God is crazy amazing for allowing us to help bring life into the world and then sustain it. We are in love with Jedi and I think he likes us back.