Saturday, January 22, 2011

Judah's Birth - A Beautiful VBAC Story

It was 5 am when I woke to contractions on January 11th, 2011. I lay there, wondering if this was the real thing.  After all, for a week or so I had been having regular spells of time-able, but painless, contractions. I got up in the dark and went downstairs.  As I passed the side door, I saw snowflakes falling in the pink light of our neighbor's street light.   Hmm.  That worried me a bit.  Nashville tends to shut down at the slightest flake.  We had already had some snow, but it had seemed to be clearing out the day before. 

I put a load of laundry in, ate a little breakfast and just as daylight began to show, I went back to bed and whispered to Matt that this might be the day.  For being half awake, he took it surprisingly well!  I assured him we had a long journey ahead of us, so rest up.  Twenty minutes later, our daughter woke up and wanted out of her bed.  So much for sleep!

The hours of the morning passed quickly with packing and laundry and getting Cora off to a friend's house, each passing 5 minutes punctuated by a contraction.  Around noon, my contractions got to be 2 and a half minutes apart and we decided to head to the hospital.  We were so excited and I was all dressed and showered.  We really thought this was it!

Four discouraging hours later, we were sent home.  My contractions all but stopped when they put me on my back to be monitored.  I was only 1 cm dilated.  Frustrated and hurting, I was told that this was only 'first grade' and to come back when I was in 'fourth grade'.  I disagreed, but what could I do!  I had all the right signs at home, but on my back in the hospital, it looked a lot like false labor.  As soon as I got up and began getting dressed, the contractions piled back on and by the time I got home, they were 4 minutes apart again.  We were both angry and frustrated. I got in the tub to labor and Cora came back home.  A friend came to watch her and spend the night should we need to go back in and my Doula, Angel, came over.  We put Cora to bed and then Angel sent Matt to the store and then to bed while she timed and helped me manage my contractions.  I tried to sleep, but woke for every contraction and then fell back to snoring and dreaming in between.  At 10 or 11 pm, I woke up and told Angel we needed to go back. I was tired of hurting and wanted to go to the hospital.  Surely it was time now!  My contractions were 6 minutes apart, but lasted one and a half to two minutes, each.

This time I arrived at the hospital raggedy and exhausted, wearing my robe and P.J.s.  We entered the garage but the elevators we had used hours earlier were closed for security reasons.  We had a time just finding our way into the building!  Matt absconded a rolling office chair from somewhere to push me in so I didn't have to walk (my sweet hubs!).

This time, I refused to lay down to be monitored (I stayed standing up, 'dancing' with Matt through each contraction) and the contractions stayed strong and close together. (4 minutes) Sadly I had only progressed from 1cm to 3cm.  By this time, it was midnight on Tuesday. (19 hrs had passed)  The hospital didn't 'admit' me, but the put me in a room and gave me some pain killers via i.v. for 'therapeutic rest'.  I slept some and Angel went home to sleep too.  Matt kept vigil over me, dozing as he could.  After a few hours, the drugs wore off, and the contractions increased.

Wednesday morning, January 12th dawned cold and cloudy with snow, so they tell me.  The hours ran together by this point.  The next clear memory I have was being told by the midwife I was only at 4cm and this was somewhere around 9am on Wednesday morning.  I was so disheartened by this news. I had really hoped to be almost done, not hanging out at at 'fourth grade'.  I got sick then, vomiting up nothing (my stomach was beyond empty) and kind of freaking out.  The contractions were so painful and after some convincing, I decided to get an epidural and to start Pitocin to speed my labor up.  I had heard so much about how bad Pit was for VBAC mamas and could cause rupture that it took some serious discussion before I was willing, all in between contractions.

At 10 am I got the Epidural placed in my back.  I was 29 hours in at this point.  I slept on an off most of that day, waking up for 10 or 15 minutes here or there to be checked or to be flipped from one side to the other.  At some point I asked my midwife if I was headed for another C-Section.  She very honestly said "I think so."  I responded, "Well, I've done that before, so I know it's OK."  But we weren't there yet, so they let me rest and watched me and the baby on the monitors.  Somewhere during the middle of the day the midwife checked me, accidentally breaking my water and I was at 5cm.  I slept on.  Matt and Angel talked to me at various points about things I can't remember.  The sun set.  The hours grew long again.  Matt fed me the most delicious orange jello I'd ever had.  I drank juice and slept and slept and slept.  Just before seven pm, it felt as though my epidural wore off.  The contractions grew painful and the anesthesiologist came in to check on the epidural.  The midwife checked me and I was at 7cm.

Then things got more painful.  Suddenly, a lot of people rushed in, flipping me over in the bed, searching for the baby's heartbeat and handing me an oxygen mask, telling me to take long slow breathes.  I was panicking, Matt was in my ear telling me everything was OK, to just breath.  I couldn't catch my breath and then someone said "It's not about you right now, Ariana, you need to breathe, for your baby" and I did.  They found the heartbeat and it was fine.  The midwife checked me again and I was at 10cm, but the baby was at a high station.  It was 7:20pm.  They arranged my body in the bed so gravity would do it's work, turned the epidural and the Pitocin back on and I slept, wearing an oxygen mask. 

At 9:30 pm, I asked Angel to get the midwife.  I felt the most tremendous pressure!  She came in about 9:45 and checked me, asked me to give a test push and then told me to stop while she put on her gown.  They dropped the end of the bed to prepare and I was surprised.  I didn't think we would get to this point!  Matt held one of my numb legs and Angel the other.  I focused on a point on the wall and pushed through 4 contractions and at 10:04 pm, Judah entered the world, straight to my arms.  I was just so surprised!  I really didn't think it would happen.  I had resigned myself to another C-Section and here was my baby after a few short pushes!  To top it off, my darling, but very blood squeamish, husband watched the entire thing and even cut the chord!  (I was shocked!)  It was the most beautiful moment and we got to share it with each other. 


Everything that I had asked for in prayer had happened.  A healthy baby, a natural (mostly) delivery, health and protection for us both during labor and on and on!


It was a grueling forty-one hours from start to finish, but it was such a blessing.  Later the midwife (I saw four of them during the two day ordeal) who said we were headed for a C-Section came to see me and was overjoyed that I had had the baby normally.  She said she was SO glad to be proved wrong.  I thanked her for letting me just continue to labor.  She told me that anywhere else, they would have taken me in for a C-section, but that day (and night) the Labor & Delivery wing was slammed with mothers delivering and as long as I and the baby were stable, they left us alone and tended to other mothers.  I believe God was in that too.  Judah's name means 'I will praise God' and it was even more fitting after everything that happened.



Saturday, January 15, 2011

Welcome to the World: Judah William Evans

On a snowy winter night in January, a small little boy made his entry to the world.  Matt and I are so proud  to introduce our son, Judah William Evans, born January 12, 2011 at 10:04pm, weighing 7lb, 4oz and 20 inches long.
Judah - I will praise the Lord
William - (Matt's grandfather's name on his mother's side) - protection, will, desire, conqueror

Gen 29:35 Once again she became pregnant and had a son. She named him Judah, for she said, "Now I will praise the LORD!" So much has been a gift and a blessing during this pregnancy and I can't wait to share it with you.  I am writing his birth story now and will post it soon.  For now, we are resting, recuperating and praying for continued health for both of us and swift healing for my body.  God be Praised for our son! 

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers (and friends)

Have you ever seen the show 'Hoarders' on A&E?  I sometimes have nightmares that that is what my house looks like and have seriously examined myself to see if I am headed there.  In some ways, I am.  I have the natural tendency to hoard.  (Although filth gets me moving and cleaning)  On my to-do list before this baby was born was to de-clutter and get rid of stuff.  I had started several 'to donate' bags and as they filled up, I tossed them in the storage room since I was too pregnant to haul them to my favorite charity myself.  Well, then they got mixed up with the bags of baby clothes that people have been giving me and all the other stuff and I was back to square one with a room full of junk.  I can seriously see why some cultures don't bother to clothe their children until age 2.  It's a lot of crap to keep around when they grow so fast!

So there I was, just weeks before my due date with nothing done.  The guest room was full of semi-sorted baby clothes, Cora's room was full of semi-sorted clothes that she had grown out of, but hadn't found a 'pass it on' recipient and lets not even discuss my room and the piles of dirty clothes, clean clothes, my normal clothes that don't fit right now, gifts for the baby, Christmas stuff etc, etc, etc!!  I was feeling a bit frazzled, knowing I couldn't do it all and I couldn't add one more thing to the Geek's 'Honey Do' list when he is working tons of extra hours per week in order to earn enough time off for when the baby is born!

And then in walked 5 women.  I didn't ask them, they just decided that on such and such day at this time, we are coming over.  And I should be prepared!  They cleaned, they aired out, they sorted, they threw away, they vacuumed, they organized, they sneezed from all of the dust, and totally blitzed my upstairs into beautiful.  In 2 hours.  I was amazed and overwhelmed and grateful and so at peace with the state of things.  I was totally ready for the baby to come, should he decide to. 

Well, he didn't decide to, in spite of some signs to the contrary so those women came back.  Not the same exact 5, but with a few of the same ladies, they did the same thing to my downstairs.  All of the horrible hidden rooms (laundry room) that I keep the door closed on because I can't stand to even think about it and its cluttered shelves and piles of whatnot.  Matt kept Cora entertained and out from underfoot while a gaggle of women asked him where things went and in general did what he has been too stressed and tired to help me do when he finally gets to come home in the dark, cold evenings.  I directed traffic and made executive decisions about what to toss and where things went. They cleaned, they organized, they vacuumed, they were charmed by my little 2 year old chatterbox, they helped me part with things, they swept and sorted, and blitzed my DOWNSTAIRS into loveliness.  In 2 hours. I am, again, grateful, amazed, overwhelmed and at peace with my home.  There are things that just can't get better right now for lack of appropriate storage tools (like a craft cabinet), but for the most part, my house is done.  I'm ready for this baby.  It is a huge weight off of me!

Now I could go into my crazy space and wonder what these women thought of me and my borderline hoarding nonsense, but instead, today I can just be grateful for the gift of starting this round of motherhood fresh with things straight and organized and for the sweet kindness of close friends and not so close friends that were just willing to come help us.

One of the women mentioned that we should do this for each other monthly and how little work it really takes if all of us get together and help.  I agree and as soon as I'm recovered enough, I can't wait to do my share!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

To my girl

The day
The dawn
The joyful moments captured
Forever in my mama heart
The giggles, the questions
The snuggles.
The much loved books insisted upon before dawn
The tired body forgotten
In the wake of conversations
That if overheard would not be understood
But are a part of the daily patter and chatter of life
With my girl.

Habits and frustrations
Learning and teaching, each one to each in their turn
Eggs with cheese, Puffins and milk
Bananas and conversation
Serious blue eyes answer my question with an insistent
"Yes, Mama"
These days swim past me like a river
Like a tide that I cannot hold on the sand
My baby girl becomes a big girl
A big sister, a little friend,
and I hold her gently,
like a tiny bird
Before she flies away.
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