Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thankful {Nine}

This experience

Both mine and Tadd's accounts of Samson's birth story

Every detail doesn't match up exactly, but somehow, I feel that makes this even more beautiful.

Beware: womanly words are said, and IT'S LONG (I'm apparently incapable of Cliff-Noting it).

I had put off packing my hospital bag for three reasons.

1: I was convinced Samson was coming late. His due date was June 14th, and my last two doctor’s appointments showed no dilation, although I was effaced a little, and everyone I spoke with told me your first is always, always late.

2: My doctor (Dr. H) was going to be out of town June 14th – 20th, so of course that would be my luck that I would go into labor while he was out of town. We had discussed possibly inducing me on the 12th or 13th before he left town (I was awaiting a call from his office, which he promised they would make on the 9th or 10th to make a decision about the induction, and I was prepared to do some major convincing, i.e. complaining, so he would induce me). If we decided to induce, then I’d pack my bag.

Most importantly...

3: I knew that once I’d packed my bag, it would be a sign to little Samson that it was time. I wasn’t quite ready for the reality.

But I couldn’t put it off forever!

On June 8th, after finishing up with my last clients of the night, I headed home and decided it was time to pack my bag. As real and scary as that made all of it for me, I certainly didn’t want to be scrambling to pack things if I all of a sudden went into labor. I was feeling really good as I went about my night packing my bag, and hanging out with Tadd. I was really looking forward to the next day being my last at the salon before I started my leave.

The night of June 8th was a long hard night for Caitlyn. It started off by us finally deciding to pack a bag of clothes for the hospital which we had been meaning to do for days.

Around midnight (I guess that would technically make it June 9th), I started noticing that my contractions I’d been having off and on for a few weeks were getting stronger and more regular. Not wanting to make a big deal of it in case it was false labor, I just quietly timed them off and on for the next couple hours and didn’t really mention anything to Tadd. I noticed they were about 10 minutes apart, but I didn’t really note how long each lasted.

We went to bed around 3 am and I woke up around 4 am with some pretty strong contractions.

We went to bed, at least I went to bed, and was occasionally woken up by Caitlyn rolling around. I didn’t think much of it because she was pregnant and I figured she was just really uncomfortable.

I wasn’t able to breathe steadily through these ones, and my discomfort would wake Tadd up off and on. He’d hold my hand through them, and help me to breathe. It wasn’t until around 5:30 that I really started timing them. They were about 7-9 minutes apart, and a minute long. I was curious how long is recommended that you wait before coming into the hospital, so I googled it and was disappointed to see that hospitals admit women whose contractions are a minute long and 3-5 minutes apart. I continued to time them for another hour and then called the hospital to ask what they advise. The operator told me it is normally 3-5 minutes apart, lasting one minute, and if you can’t talk or walk through the contractions. But she also mentioned that if I wasn’t experiencing contractions that close together, but was still concerned about them, to come in anyway.

I walked around the house a little to see how I felt through the contractions, and couldn’t walk through them, so I went and laid back down. In between contractions I was hesitant to wake up Tadd because I felt completely fine. But once each contraction hit, I wanted to kick myself for not waking him. That roller coaster of thoughts went on for awhile, and eventually my whimpering and squirming woke Tadd for good, and he went and got his stop watch.

At about 6 in the morning she was moaning and moving around a lot so I asked her if she was ok. She told me that she was having contractions and that they were happening every 8 minutes or so.

They were still an average of 7 minutes apart, which I could tell wasn’t convincing Tadd that it was time.

Not thinking that she was in labor I said that maybe she should take a shower and see if that would help her and maybe they would stop. She would have taken a bath but the tub was really small. (was that a fat joke? wink.)

He suggested I go shower, which I welcomed, thinking that if this was it, and the hospital wasn’t going to send us home that this could be the last shower I take without having to worry about what my little one was doing. Plus I’d had a spray tan the day before (ha!), and one shower the night before hadn’t been enough to wash away the smell. I spent about 20 minutes showering, hoping I didn’t collapse during contractions.

She got in the shower and when she got out she was still contracting. We sat there and we were deciding what to do.

He asked me what I wanted to do, and my thought was, “the sooner I can get an epidural and stop experiencing these contractions, the better”, so I told him I wanted to go in.

By this time it was about 7:30 am or so. We decided to go to the hospital and see what happens. The worst that could happen is that they send us home. So we both got dressed and got in the car and headed to Orem Community Hospital.

Once we were ready, dressed, and I’d had some toast, we grabbed that hospital bag that I swear started it all, and headed out the door. I kept saying, “they’ll probably send us home”, mostly to not get my hopes up.

We arrived at the hospital and Tadd dropped me off out front and went to park the car. I made it inside just in time to sit in the waiting room to wait out another contraction. Once Tadd came inside he headed to the front desk, and the nurse asked him how she could help, and Tadd said in excitement, “well, I think we’re having a baby!”

We arrived at the hospital at about 8:00 in the morning. We pulled up to the hospital and I dropped Caitlyn off at the door and went to park the car. It was at this moment that I realized that we might be having a baby today. I got really excited and nervous all at once and sprinted back to the door of the hospital. I walked in the door and we went to the front office window. The cute little lady behind the counter asked what we were there for and I said, “I think that we are going to have a baby.” Caitlyn gave her the information that she needed, since we had pre-registered, and she let us through the door.

The nurse took us back to a room to check me for dilation and determine if we were getting admitted. Once I had undressed, put on a gown, and gotten hooked up to an IV, a baby monitor and blood pressure cuff, the nurse checked me (OUCH!) and I was at a 2! Even just two centimeters from Monday to Wednesday was some good progress. The nurse, Sherry, called my doctor and he told them to admit me. This was REALLY happening!

We were led to an examination room and a nurse named Sherry, who was absolutely amazing, came in and greeted us and started asking questions about how long Caitlyn had been experiencing contractions and how long they were lasting. We told her how the night went and the consistency of the contractions. She was satisfied that what Caitlyn was having was real contractions. She hooked Caitlyn up to two monitors, one to monitor the baby and one to monitor her contractions. She then checked Caitlyn to see how much her cervix was dilated. I think that both Caitlyn and I were hoping that she would say she was at a 6 or 7, but the news came back that she was a 2. Although she was only at a 2 her contractions were getting longer and harder and more frequent.

Sherry left the room went and called Caitlyn's doctor. The conversation did not last very long and she walked back in the room and said that Caitlyn was admitted to the hospital and that we were going to have a baby. I was so happy that we were not going to have to go home and wait. I don’t know if I was more excited to have a baby or that Caitlyn would finally start on the road to feeling normal again.

Soon after being admitted Sherry said Dr. H would be over shortly and that we would be moving rooms to our birthing suite. She started an IV line in Caitlyn and soon the doctor showed up. He checked Caitlyn to see how far along she was and she was still at a 2. He said that he would break her water and start her on some medication called pitocin which helps to speed up the birthing process. At this point I texted my mom and Caitlyn’s mom to let them know what was going on.

Tadd began the texting to our mothers to let them know we’d been admitted, and we were having a baby! The nurse moved us to our room (#113), making sure to comment a bajillion times on my gigantic swollen feet and ankles. She informed me that yes, they would get worse during my stay, but would eventually go down after a week or so.

Dr. H came in a few minutes later to check me himself, which I wish I’d had the epidural for, and told me he’d be back shortly to break my water. I was nervous about having that done before getting my epidural since I’d heard that it could hurt pretty badly.

We switched rooms and went into room #113 which is the room that we lived in for the next 3 days and the room that Samson was born in. Caitlyn got all situated in her bed and the doctor came in to break her water. I could tell that she was nervous, and I was also because neither of us knew what to expect. He took out a tool that looked like a crocheting needle and broke her water which didn’t hurt Caitlyn and we both were very glad about that.

At some point the nurse hooked me up to an antibiotic, and then the doctor came in and broke my water. I was surprised to not feel anything at all except a gush of water, which I really wish hadn’t been done on my hospital bed that I laid on for the next nine hours. Ew.

That blessed SherryNurse had ordered my epidural pretty much as soon as I mentioned that I wanted one, so the anesthesiologist showed up very soon after my water had been broken. I was extremely nervous to get the epidural since I’d heard all sorts of horror stories, and I have a huge fear of needles. The doctor had me hunch forward and tuck my head (like a spooked cat, he said), and he delivered the local anesthetic, which he did really quickly so it wasn’t so bad. I only felt pressure as he inserted the catheter in my back, so I went ahead and deemed the epidural insertion a success.

Dr. H said that he would send the anesthesiologist in to get Caitlyn’s epidural in her so that the pain would go away which I knew she was very happy about. Shortly thereafter the anesthesiologist came in and had Caitlyn sit up on the edge of the bed and bend over as much as she could. He got the epidural in and all that she really felt was the little prick of the needle that he used to numb the area where the epidural went in. He started the medication and Caitlyn was in heaven, no more pain.

Spoke too soon…

Once the doctor had hung my epidural bag, I instantly began to feel relief. Here is where things really start to get hazy. We received a few visitors over the next couple hours, which kept us occupied in between the nurse coming in to check me for dilation. I also began texting my clients to let them know that, sorry…I wouldn’t be able to make our appointment because I was having a baby! Lauren arrived with my laptop, and a few seasons of Friends that Mallory had gotten from my house, so we could pass the time with Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey and Ross. (Ya know, Ross just isn't my favorite. I try, and I try, but he's just a gomer.)

Around the time I was dilated to a four, Tadd and I both took a nap. That blessed epidural not only completely numbed me from the waist down, but also made me really sleepy.

After I had napped for what seemed like a couple hours, the doc and nurse came in and checked on me. I was slowly dilating, and had only made it to a four, so they started me on pitocin.

Periodically about every half hour or so the nurse, Sherry, or Dr. H would come in and check Caitlyn to see if she was progressing. To our dismay she was not progressing very fast. Doc decided to start Caitlyn on pitocin to help her move along. The Pitocin helped out and Caitlyn slowly began to start to dilate and everything was looking good. My mom and Caitlyn’s mom came to the hospital and everyone was just hanging out waiting for the baby to come. The time was passing by so slowly that I ended up taking a nap which was a blessing for me.

I quickly dilated from a four to a six after that, but the baby’s heart monitor told us that with the quick dilation Samson's heart rate was dropping. They kept a close eye on it, although according to Tadd, not close enough, and eventually ended up turning off the pitocin hoping I would continue to dilate on my own.

Sherry and Dr. H kept coming in to monitor Caitlyn and the baby to see how they both were doing. They noticed that after every contraction that Caitlyn had, Samson’s heart rate would drop for a little bit and then come back up. They believed that it was the pitocin that was doing this. They knew that Samson was starting to get stressed and began to talk about maybe having a C Section. They were worried that if his heart rate kept dropping they would have no choice but to go in after him and get him out. The pitocin was stopped and it seemed to help his heart rate, but Caitlyn stopped progressing in her labor.

The nurse and Dr. H gave that a try for what may have been an hour, again…my head was distorting time like nobody’s business, could’ve been 15 minutes. I was checked again and wasn’t dilating, so the pitocin was turned back on.

They left her off the Pitocin for a while but then decided to start her back on it and sure enough, Samson’s heart rate began to drop after each contraction.

It was around this point that I was steadily dilating that my epidural began wearing off. I had used up all of my medicine they’d hung by pushing the button as much as I possibly could, so the anesthesiologist on duty, who was different than the one that inserted my epidural catheter, came in to redose me. Surprisingly, that dose didn’t last long, and I was feeling the pain particularly in one area on the left side of my abdomen, as well as "the hot zone", you know, where you want it numb THE MOST.

Since the pitocin had been turned back on this last time, Dr. H was really watching the baby’s heart rate, and ended up inserting another monitor into my cervix that he twisted onto Samson’s head, which gave him a better reading of his heart rate.

Caitlyn was put on oxygen to help Samson because all that can really be done for an unborn child that is stressed besides birth is oxygen. It seemed to help a little but his heart rate was still up and down.

Samson was still in a bit of stress, so they began discussing a c-section. I’m not sure if Tadd was in on this conversation since I was feeling pretty delusional.

Sherry decided to try having me lie on my right side to see if that relieved some of Samson’s stress, and it did! The downfall of this was that the area on the left side of my abdomen became increasingly painful even with another dose of my epidural medicine. At this point I was roughly at an 8, and the pressure on my abdomen and lower cervix (is that even a place? For someone who actually performed as the lead role in delivery...I'm surprisingly illinformed), was getting to be unbearable.

Sherry decided to roll Caitlyn over onto her side and see if that would help and sure enough it did. She ended up laying on her right side for the next hour or so. Because she was laying on her side the epidural medication began to wear off in one spot on her belly and this began to be very painful for Caitlyn.

The anesthesiologist was called back in, and the nurse explained to him that the medicine was just not working like it should, so he began to assess my situation, and apparently determined that the doctor who inserted my catheter must have inserted it too far, and the tubing had coiled creating pockets that weren't getting any medicine at all.

A new anesthesiologist was called in and he tried to troubleshoot what the problem was. He thought that maybe the first guy put the epidural tube in too deep and that it wasn’t working properly. He pulled it out a little and pushed some more medication into her but nothing seemed to help.

Dr. H had decided that the pitocin needed to be left on, so I could dilate quickly and start pushing, although Samson’s heart rate was a little on the iffy side. He was afraid that if we delayed my pushing much longer without the help of the pitocin, then that would only put Samson in more stress. Since his heart rate remained fairly stable while I labored on my right side, that’s where I stayed, although that made the pain in my abdomen much worse.

While all of this was going on, Caitlyn dilated and was very close to being ready to push. Dr. H was still concerned about the baby’s heart rate so he put another monitor on Samson’s head so that they could keep an extra eye on him. By this point I was getting very nervous and anxious because I was very concerned about my wife and child. Caitlyn was so exhausted from the labor and pains and Samson’s heart rate was up and down.

I didn’t say anything but I wanted to yell and ask them what was going to happen. I tried my hardest to remember that they knew what they were doing but it was very hard to sit still. I sat at my wife’s bedside and began to cry. I felt so helpless and it was so hard to sit there and not be able to do anything about it.

The anesthesiologist felt terrible about my defective epidural, and talked about removing it and inserting a new one, but decided that I was too far along in my labor, and may not have time before I was dilated to a ten. I learned all of this after delivery, but was eternally grateful that he left it in for the aid of however much it was actually working.

Through the entire decision making, checking of my cervix, and epidural talk I was in such immense pain, and I was beginning to panic. Tadd and my nurse took turns wiping my face with a damp cloth, and calmly talking to me, telling me it was going to be ok. My nurse helped me focus on my breathing (hoooo, hoooo, heeeee), and stayed by my side to be sure that I continued to breathe that way through my contractions. Tadd later said he could tell that she felt it was her mission to get this baby out safely before the end of her shift.

Tadd never left my side, and had me squeeze him as hard as I needed while I labored through these painful contractions. He was absolutely incredible.

It was one of the hardest things in my life to sit by my wife’s side and see her in pain. They tried everything to help ease the pain but she had one little spot on her belly that would not get numb. Sherry, who was absolutely amazing, began to do some breathing exercises with Caitlyn to help ease the pain. I had a wash cloth that was dipped in cold water and I was using it to wipe the sweat off of her face. (I won't tell you that even among the intense pain, I had to fight the urge to tell Tadd not to get my hair wet.) We were trying anything to help her get her mind off the pain.

I was getting hysterical (at least I felt like I was), and told Sherry the pressure in my lady parts was really strong. She thought it might help my pain to push through my contractions, which it surprisingly did. I assumed these were practice pushes, since I don’t recall Sherry and Tadd holding my legs for these first few pushes. After a few more contractions that I pushed through, Sherry checked me again and announced that the head was right there. I was at a 10! And she could see that he had hair! Knowing both me and my husband, you'd know what a thrill this was for us to hear.

Sherry walked in the room and checked Caitlyn again and said that she was fully dilated and that she was ready for her to start pushing. She had Caitlyn give her a couple pushes and told me to look and I looked and could see the top of Samson’s head. It was amazing; it was time for us to have a baby.

I was doing my best to stay calm and concentrate through all of this, so I kept my eyes closed from what seemed like the time I was at an 8, to the time I delivered Samson. Because of that I didn’t really see what was going on in the room, but it sounded like everyone kicked it into overdrive as they prepared the room for delivery. All of a sudden Tadd was holding my right leg, and had his left hand behind my head, and Sherry was holding my left leg. I heard Dr. H tell me to begin pushing as hard as I could when I felt my next contraction.

Sherry walked out into the hallway and got Dr. Harward and he came in and checked Caitlyn and sure enough, Caitlyn was ready. The room was instantly changed into what looked like an ER room. More nurses came in and everyone got suited in preparation for the delivery of the baby. Dr. H asked Caitlyn to push and again the very top of the head was visible. He had Caitlyn move forward on the bed and got her legs up in the stirrups. I had to help move her legs because she had no control over her lower body. I was on her right side and Sherry was on her left. Dr. H would look on the monitor and when she started having a contraction he would tell Caitlyn to push.

Tadd would lift my head and help me hunch forward when I pushed, while Sherry counted to 10. We did three reps of this during each contraction.

The contraction came and I grabbed her right leg by her knee with my right hand and put my left hand behind her head. Sherry did the same thing but on the other side. Dr. H said to push and I pulled back on her leg and pulled up on her head trying to help her push.

I think I pushed through four or five contractions, when I heard Sherry tell Tadd to look as Samson was crowning. As much as I loved this lady for all her help, I wanted to inform her of my strict instructions not to tell Tadd to look at the prime time during delivery. Dr. H knew of my conditions, but I'd failed to be mega-psycho with my instructions upon admittance. I pushed away the irrational anger as quickly as it surfaced, so I could realize that aside from a quick peek, Tadd was obeying my commands to stay at my head!

A few more pushes, and I heard Dr. Harward begin suctioning out Samson’s mouth and nose. He was really here, and with another push he was completely out.

When Caitlyn began to push it was at about 5:45 pm. She kept on pushing for another 15 minutes and then all of the sudden the doctor said, “ here he comes. “ I looked down just in time to see Samson’s head come out. He came out facing down so Dr. H flipped him around so he was facing up and began to suction he mouth and nostrils out. He had Caitlyn push one more time and all of the sudden there he was, I couldn’t believe it, we had a baby.

I couldn’t believe it was over, and I had actually done it. That terrible, disturbing thing I had seen in our birthing class…I had actually done. And it was different than I had viewed and imagined. It was a spiritual high, and extremely empowering. Even through the hustle and bustle of the nurses and doctor in the delivery room, I could feel the spirit, and the reverent presence of this new little life.

Tadd tells me that he was very anxious to hear Samson’s first cry, and felt that it took forever for him to scream. I remember kissing Tadd and seeing the excitement in his eyes. I told him to go over and take pictures as they cleaned him up and weighed him.

Dr. H clamped off his umbilical cord and handed me some scissors and had me cut the cord. This all happened so fast and I still hadn’t heard Samson cry. I was nervous that he wasn’t breathing. Dr H handed the baby off to another doctor and all I could think about was him crying and I heard nothing. For what seemed like an hour really only took a few seconds and finally I heard him cry. I was so relieved. I started crying and looked at Caitlyn and told her good job. She told me to go over with Samson and take pictures. I grabbed the camera and headed over to the other side of the room and began to take pictures. It was so crazy to sit there and look at this little baby and know that he was mine. The first thing I noticed was the shape of the kids head. It looked like a football but what do you expect from a kid squeezing out of an opening the size of a dime?

I was hoping to feel relieved and relaxed, but I could not stop myself from crying and shaking.

Samson’s chest was retracting when he breathed, so before taking him away to the nursery for some testing, one of the nurses held him to my chest for a brief moment so I could kiss my little baby. I think I said something like, “I can’t believe you’re mine”, and then began crying again like a fool. I made sure Tadd left with the nurse to take more pictures, and Sherry came over to congratulate me. I thanked her as best I could as I cried.

The doctors wiped off his body and face and brought him over for Caitlyn to see him. They put him onto her chest and she looked at him and said something like, “hey there little buddy, welcome to the world.” She gave him a kiss on his forehead and they took him away to the nursery to run all the tests on him to make sure he was healthy. I didn’t know what to do. Do I leave my wife in the room alone and go with the baby, or do I leave the baby and stay with my wife? Luckily Caitlyn told me to leave her and go with the baby. I left her and went with Samson into the nursery. It was so amazing to look at this little guy and to learn that everything was great. He was having a problem with his breathing but they were not really worried about it. They ran all the tests and cleaned him up and they let me take him back into the room to see Caitlyn.

Dr. H congratulated me as well and told me he’d be in tomorrow to check on us. I could not have been more grateful to have such a caring doctor, who really took to the time to monitor Samson and me to be sure he arrived safely.

I was left alone for a few minutes before Tadd came back to report that Samson was absolutely perfect, weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. 19 ½ in. long, and was born at 6:05 p.m.

I was still crying and had begun to shake uncontrollably. One of the nurses brought some food in to me, but I couldn’t touch it because I was shaking so badly. Tadd left again to be with Samson and both my mom and Camme came in separately to congratulate me, which only made me cry harder. I couldn’t figure out why I was crying, but it felt good to cry. I guess all the stress from the day was finally releasing itself.

Not long after that Samson was brought into our room and Tadd and I were given some time with him alone.

We got back in the room and it was the most amazing feeling ever. We were a family and everyone was healthy and doing well.

I wish I could say that I distinctly remember how I felt when I held him for the first time, but I don’t. I do remember feeling the spirit very strongly, and feeling peaceful. Tadd and I had created this tiny little life. This little spirit had just left the presence of our Heavenly Father, and was placed in our family as our child to love and nurture. My love for Tadd quadrupled in that moment and I knew that our lives and our marriage were never going to be the same. Samson had just improved those two things more than I ever could’ve imagined.

500 gold stars for anyone who actually read all of this


Candice said...

that was awesome! i loved reading your story, i even got a little teary eyed! isnt it the best!

Shanicherie said...

I totally got teary eyed as well! It makes me want to experience birth again! But then I remember all the non-sleeping. Haha. No, seriously though...great story!

Em & Gar said...

This is beautiful and inspiring. And scary. And I totally teared up too.

You should also know I love my new garbage head. You are amazing.

p.s. you owe me 500 gold stars.

Erika @ Oops! I Craft My Pants said...

I loved this post. So much.
I'm even going to jump on the band wagon and say I got teary eyed. Except, that's a lie. I full on cried. So perfect!

Colby and Hilary said...

Amazing!! I get 500 gold stars!! Not only did I read it, I cried throught the whole thing! HaHA! I am totally obsessed with hearing birth stories.

Nickell said...

See! I'm so jealous! I wish so bad I could have had a "non-c-section" TWICE! Oh well. And now you have cute Samson.

Hen Pecks said...

Gold stars for me!
Enjoyed this very much.

Ashley Thalman said...

I read it!!! I loved every word, both your words and Tadd's! You two are the best and I love that little Samson!

P.S. Pardon all the exclamations.
P.S.x2 The passing of time is weird isn't it?

meg said...

what is it about hearing birth stories that always makes women get emotional?? every baby born is a miracle. each of my kids birth is imprinted in my brain. its not something you could ever forget. loved reading your birth story. your little guy just couldnt' be any cuter.

Mal Robin said...

I am so glad I gave you a due date for this. Basically I am a hero.

Tawny said...

I read it. :) very cool, I love birthing stories. ps. you are a really good writer.

Lindey&Corbin said...

This is so perfect! What a great idea! I'm so excited to have my own story soon!


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