Friday, October 16, 2009

Reed's Birth Story

I woke early on my 7th day of being in the hospital, which was also Brad's and my 5 year wedding anniversary. The clock said 5:00 and I debated on getting up and showering before having the daily required tests but convinced myself to go back to sleep for awhile. I woke again around 7:00 when I heard my doctor out in the hallway. My room was close to both the door to the labor and delivery unit and the nurse's station. I often heard people come and go, but my mind was very tuned in to the sound of Dr. Gnam's voice and it could wake me out of most sleep. I looked forward to his visits to find out how things were going and if the plans had changed. He was also very encouraging and is pleasant to be around in general. But he never came in to see me that morning.

My breakfast tray arrived and after a week of circling "hot chocolate" from the drink selections, they finally brought me a packet to make it. I was texting a friend from church who was planning to visit and bring me a Chik-fil-a biscuit, so I held off on eating. My nurse, Kathy, came in around 8:00 and hooked me up to the monitors for my non-stress test. My friend finally texted and said she couldn't come because the school had just called and her son was sick. I had been having contractions on and off all week, but I was having several and Kathy wanted me to eat because "the baby wasn't liking all the activity". I took a bite of some toast but really didn't want anything except the hot chocolate. Something just felt different about today. By 9:00 Kathy told me that if I "kept this up, we were going to have a baby today!". I asked if she really thought so, because Brad was on his way to the delta and I would need to call him back. She told me to hold off because it could be a false alarm. I gave Brad a heads up then I called my mom and told her that it might be baby day. She replied "Well, GOOD, because I am just READY to have this baby here". I later learned from her coworkers that it seemed SHE was the one in labor that day.

The ultrasound techs came in and did a biophysical profile and they couldn't see the baby 'practice breathing'. They hadn't had any trouble before but after looking for 30 minutes and jiggling my belly with the probe a lot, they relented. Kathy told them to come back later and recheck after I had a chance to eat more. Meanwhile, the contractions were coming more frequently and becoming more intense. Kathy and I discussed pain management options and she had me drink a HUGE pitcher of ice water.

By 10:00 I had a few contractions that made me tear up a bit, so I asked Kathy for an IV and Stadol. I immediately felt relief and updated my facebook status to warn that I was drugged so please don't pay attention to what I may post. I called my brother Chris and even though I thought I was talking pretty clearly, I apparently sounded quite drunk. He told me not to call ANYONE else and he would be there soon. Kathy told me she would be tied up for a bit because there was a situation going on down the hall but to call out if I needed anything.

I called Brad and let him know he should head back. He said he had just arrived at his stop and he was going to work it then call me back. Chris showed up a little while later. During one strong contraction, the baby's heartrate droped to around 100 so I got on my side. Chris moved the monitor so I could see it better. A few minutes later, the baby's heartrate dropped again to 57. It came back up, but it scared me so I called out to make sure someone saw it on the monitors at the desk. The nurse's aid came in and I explained what happened. A nurse came in and I explained what happened and that I got on my side and that I knew Kathy was busy but wanted to make sure someone saw it. She said everything was fine. A few minutes later she came back in and told me Kathy sent her to make sure I was on my side and not playing on the computer and I recapped that I hadn't moved and had gotten on my side when I saw the first decel. She was very rude and told me I needed to STOP WORRYING AND LET US DO OUR JOB WE ARE PAID FOR! I realize she was trying to make me feel secure, but she was pretty gruff in her delivery and I started crying. It probably didn't help that I was drunk on stadol.

My dad arrived, followed shortly thereafter by my mom. I don't think any of us told her to come, but I imagine she was pacing so hard that her boss or coworkers sent her. Just kidding. I'm sure she knew by me asking for pain medicine that it was baby time. Kathy called Dr. Gnam and he said he would come check me before his scheduled c-section at noon. By noon the contractions were very intense and coming every 3 minutes. I had gotten up to pee then the ultrasound techs came in to repeat the bpp, so I wasn't hooked up to the monitors. I felt so cheated, like I wasn't getting credit for these strong contractions! Having the profile scan again was miserable because they were pressing on my belly during the contractions. I had to pee so badly (remember the water pitcher, plus I was getting IV fluids since 10:00) and I begged for them to let me get up and go between the bpp and the growth scan. They told me to hang in there and did both scans. I don't remember what the baby scored on the bpp but the growth scan estimated 6lb 14oz! I finally was able to get up and go to the bathroom and then my doctor came in at 12:20. He put on his sterile gloves and his pager went off. They were paging him for a delivery next door. He sighed, took off the gloves and left WITHOUT CHECKING ME! I was so frustrated. He came back in around 12:50 and checked me. I was 6-7 cm dilated and 90% effaced! Brad was still not there. The anesthesiologist was now taking care of the c-section patient. I had my mom, dad and brother with me but I wanted my husband. The contractions were so intense and I was getting annoyed. This wasn't how it should be happening! I wanted to cuss (but I didn't). My mom asked me if I "should be breathing that way?" meaning I should slow down my breathing and focus on something to help get me through the contractions. I told her "I will breathe how I want!".

Brad finally showed up around 1:20. Chris said he RAN from the parking lot to labor and delivery and that he couldn't keep up with Brad. Chris had been calling him all along to update him and see how far away he was. The anesthesiologist came in about 5 minutes later and kicked everyone out. I was overjoyed to see the man with the drugs. It seemed like it took forever to actually get the epidural. I had to pee so badly and I had 3 contractions back to back while he was prepping me. He had to wait to get the needle in. Kathy said "Oooh he's giving you lots of good stuff!". I had a few more contractions that I felt and they were dwindling in intensity. Then I was so happy. Euphoric. Drugs are good, in the right context. Kathy checked me and I was 9.75 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She told me I could push and get rid of the small lip that remained. I declined and told her I'd rather enjoy the last few moments. My family came back in for a few minutes. I was so relived to have Brad there. I had been nervous that he would miss the birth.

Kathy came back in and told me I needed to start pushing. I kicked my family out (except Brad of course) and pushed. And I apparently peed all over Kathy. She decided she would put a catheter in which I would have loved to have all morning. While she was setting up for that, Dr. Gnam came in and peered over the curtain (did I mention he is VERY tall?). He said he was going to dictate a chart and would be right back. I pushed again and Kathy said "Get Dr. Gnam back in here!". I sort of half-pushed because I wanted my Dr. in there. Suddenly there was a flurry of activity and 10 different staff members must have been in my room. I pushed a few more times (7 pushes total) and our baby was out at 2:20!

Dr. Gnam held the baby up and covered up the gender-determining parts with his hand. He showed the baby off to everyone and asked us if we were ready. Then he moved his hand and Brad and I exclaimed "It's a BOY!". And he was beautiful. Pink. Perfect. Crying. I was so relieved. He scored 9 and 10 on his apgars. He weighed 5lb 11oz and was 18.5 inches long. While the nurses we assessing him, I asked Brad what we should name him. We had been totally settled on girl names but were unsure of boy names. Brad asked me what I thought. My doctor offered out his name - Edward Charles. I said "How about Reed Matthew?" Brad said he liked it and we got approval from the audience of staff.

They let me hold Reed for a few minutes while they got me and the room cleaned up and the bed set back up. Then our parents came in with Will and we got to introduce our second son to them and take our first picture as a family of 4. The nurses took Reed to the NICU and Brad went with them. I stayed in my room and tried to rest. Brad came back and I showered, then we ate McAlister's and celebrated our anniversary. We went to see Reed around 6:30. I started crying as soon as I saw him. He just looked so good! He had already had his first bottle and done well, so they let me nurse him. Our minister of music and his wife came and took pictures for us and prayed over us.

I feel so blessed and so thankful for everything that happened. To have a 33 week baby do so well was purely the Lord's doing. I certainly will never forget that anniversary gift and don't think we will come close to topping it.

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