One year ago at this very time I noticed something in my pregnancy was just a little bit different from what it had been. I was just over 37 weeks and feeling pretty good, typical third-trimester discomfort aside. I noticed that the contractions I’d been having for several weeks were getting closer and closer together. Convinced that this was all in my head I kept it to myself and tried to get some sleep. After an hour of lower back pain, tossing and turning and many trips to the ladies room I wasn’t going to get much sleep that night. Oh, how I tried though. I didn’t want to do the whole “it’s time!” rush off to the hospital with excitement and anticipation only to be sent back home game. But after another hour of tossing and turning and what seems like 50 more trips to the ladies room I finally shouted to David – “babe, I think we need to call the Dr!”
We arrived at the hospital at 1 am with contractions 4 minutes apart but dilated to only a 1cm. They had us hold court in the maternity triage area until I progressed to a 2cm which was slow going. Labor was mostly in my lower back and the pain medication they gave me didn’t seem to help. Finally seeing that even though I was progressing so slowly but was in so much pain they allowed me to “check in” to a birthing room without actually being admitted. The hope was that the jetted bathtub would soothe the back pain. It definitely helped.
Poor David was so sweet trying to rub my back, help me breathe – all the tricks we learned in our birthing class but I couldn’t stand any pressure and kept pushing the poor guy away. I convinced him hit to the couch to try to get some sleep knowing that I was going to need him very soon; he was already running on empty from the long days work and the HUGE tossing and turning wife just hours before in our usually cozy bed. Finally I was a 2cm after another hour or so and we were officially admitted to the hospital to have our baby. Our Dr felt confident that we would be welcoming Ethan to the world that day. I progressed slowly a while more and then before we knew it I was at a 7cm.
Thank God for epidurals! My lower back pain was unbearable and it made me so much more comfortable. I was even able to get some rest as I stayed at 7cm for quite some time. The equipment monitoring Ethan’s stats were pretty noisy and alarming as his heart rate led us to have some concern. Our Dr checked in on us around 9 am and found that I made it to 8cm. She then broke my water and said I could expect to meet Ethan before lunch.
Mom and Dad were on their way from Kalispell and due that early afternoon. I was so excited that they wouldn’t have to wait for hours while their daughter was in labor and that they could meet their first grandson upon their arrival. Oy, was I wrong. Even at 8cm and my water broken labor seem to begin to slow back down. Ethan’s heart rate continued to give cause for concern so our Dr advised she would like to administer Pitocin to help speed things along. That is the moment I knew things were not going to go as planned. Having heard horrible experiences from friends who took the Pitocin path I had some questions. Our main concern was that the drug could actually cause more distress for Ethan in which case I would be rushed away to an emergency c-section and with my rock at my side. I asked instead if we could calmly all go right into a c-section that minute and the Dr was pleased with my request. This way David was with me, there was to be less risk to Ethan (we thought) and I wouldn’t be so scared (that didn’t quite pan out like I thought).
Our amazing Dr gave us 5 minutes to wait for my mom and dad who were pulling off the freeway and heading up the hospital. Since they were so close I really wanted to see them before going into surgery. I was nervous and needed their reassurance that I could get the job done and we would all be ok. Mothers have a way of holding your hand and easing your worry don’t they! I hope I have that effect on my son I remember thinking. Dad smiled and hugged me and gave me that fatherly pep talk that only he can give without uttering a single word. I’d also had my beautiful mother-in-law with us at the hospital that morning which was comforting for me as the one in labor but also because she was there for David which helped me to relax a bit. She also took a few pictures of us before we left:
We were off to surgery, leaving our family behind us in a blur as we moved forward on God’s good grace. It would be hours before I would see them again. The surgical room is so white and there were so many Dr’s, Nurses and the like that the experience seemed to just swirl around me. It seemed almost like I wasn’t even there. Completely out of it on the pain meds – GREAT pain meds with so many people talking to us seemingly all once. David was always by my side, holding my hand and helping to keep us both calm. They laid me out in the shape of a cross, arms extended from my sides and strapped down. I warned the staff that they were likely to hear me sing prayers/nursery rhymes when I get scared or nervous and they laughed probably not know how dead serious I was about that.
Our Dr made the cut and worked very hard to get Ethan out. I remember the intense shove on my abdomen as they tried to push him out. It was odd, it didn’t hurt but my whole body felt the force of that “blow” and shortly there after at 1:38 pm, Ethan was born. I longed to hear the one sound any new mother or father wants to hear when their baby is born, but we didn’t. “Is he ok?” “David, can you see anything?” More medical staff entered the room. David looked scared which sent a chill through my very core. Ethan was carried around the left of me when I caught a glimpse of his little purple body. David I could tell was torn – Dr’s were still pushing and pulling on me, trying to put me back together – his wife who was laying with her belly cut open and exposed – a bloody site for sure; all the while to his left he could hear no baby cries and see a small little creature who was purple and blue. He was helpless much as our baby was and left to put all of his faith in God that my Dr’s could and would take care of me and that the many Dr’s working on Ethan could and would help Ethan. One of Ethan’s Dr’s is the head of the NICU and announced they had to ventalate and rush Ethan up to the NICU. I could see the fear in David’s eyes and could deny my own – I couldn’t go – I was tied down and couldn’t walk if tried. I had nothing but my faith to go on. “David, go with Ethan – I’m fine… all these Dr’s are here for me but Ethan needs one of us – go!” And he was gone. Ethan had been safe inside my tummy for almost 9 months and I hated that thought of him leaving, one of us had to be with him.
Let the singing and the praying begin. It took a lot of work to put me back together and those poor Dr’s and nurses were stuck hearing my singing and praying. They were so good about it, cheered me on, asked what I was singing and most of all reassured me that the Dr’s would keep me apprised of Ethan’s status as much as possible. I begged for them to let my father come in. My husband was gone, Ethan was gone – I was surrounded by people but felt so very alone. ‘Heavenly father, thank you for the gift that was carrying a child in my tummy these many months. Please father, watch over him now when I cannot. Please father don’t take him from us, please…’ ‘I see the moon and the moon see’s me, the moon see’s somebody I wanna see… God bless the moon and God bless me, and God bless the one I love…” I’d been singing that song to Ethan for months while he was floating around in my belly and praying to God that Ethan could hear me singing it now and know that I wasn’t far away.
I was then wheeled off to recovery – no one prepares you for recovery. It took forever! They wouldn’t wheel me up to see Ethan, I was waiting for updates and getting none – couldn’t feel my legs and was starving and dehydrated. All of which paled in comparison to the fear I was suppressing about Ethan’s condition. Finally a light – they let my father come sit with me in recovery and said once I could wiggle my toes they would let me go back to my room and to see Ethan. Dad sat with me for a long time. David’s mother, my mother, and several of our closest friends were waiting in the wings anxiously awaiting word just like me.
At last, Ethan’s Dr came in to report that Ethan was stable, his lungs weren’t quite as ready as my body was to bring him into the world and that they would be keeping a very close eye on him. He advised me that David requested he come talk to me so that one of us was always with Ethan. I sent Dad out to make sure our family knew the latest update and asked for visits with mom and friends, one after another. I didn’t want to be alone – alone was torture under the circumstances.
Ethan was in the NICU for 15 days. Welcome to Motherhood! We were dealt a heavy hand right up front – these scrapbook layouts show the many stages, fears, and triumphs that was our two weeks in the hospital:
At last, after 15 days and a rollercoaster of emotions – we get to take out baby home. He is perfect, healthy and a still the picture of perfect health today. It has been an absolute amazing year. I cannot imagine life without Ethan and thank God every single day for the blessings he has given us this in our healthy, beautiful, charming and talented baby boy. He is so smart and I truly believe he was in on God’s plan the whole time. We are stronger in our marriage, our faith, our love and our family after going through all of this. These weeks while extremely difficult and trying beyond measure have blessed in so many ways.
I thank you for stopping by to ready my post/blog. I normally would spend days proofing this but I’m currently planning the birthday bash of the century for my little man and am off to bake 12 dozen cookies – Cookie Monster is coming to town and he LOVES his cookies!!! So please forgive any grammar/spelling errors. I simply wanted to share the journey that was the birth of our first child.
I praise God for his love and kindness and wish my Ethan
the happiest of Birthdays with all my Love!