Monday, May 3, 2010

The story of Asher's arrival

This is Asher's birth story. The story that will probably make pregnant moms a little paranoid (it would have for me) and remind us all of the miracle of childbirth and the benefits of modern medicine. The story of me becoming a mother and Rusty becoming a father. The story of this husband and wife team trooping through a rather eventful labor and are stronger now because of it. The story of our son coming into our arms.

April 26: We went to our 41 week check up. Asher performed well on the non-stress test and ultrasound. He seemed to be content in there. The doctor scheduled an induction for us at Rex, but there was no rush. I simply requested the quickest appointment, which turned out to be the next morning. Because my cervix was not showing signs of dialation despite being full term and weeks of contractions, I had to go in the night before the induction for cervadil. This is placed on your cervix to encourage dialation so that they can actually begin the pitocin induction the next morning.

April 26, 8 pm: We check into Rex. Didn't seem real. Hooked up to the monitors. Felt immediate relief that from that moment on, I had a team of people keeping an eye on Asher. Until now, I was his sole protector. I liked knowing that others were monitoring his every move alongside of me. Dr. Gaines applied the cervadil around 10 pm and thus began the contractions. The nurse said we may have a baby sooner rather than later since it appeared the cervadil was putting me into labor.

Side note, having to use the bathroom during this process was awful. We had to unplug about 6 different things and take the IV pole to the bathroom with us. Which meant Rusty had to go potty with me everytime. He loved that. Add in contractions and pain and it was not a fun experience. Fast forward 8 hours of no sleep and lots of contractions and we find ourselves in the morning.

April 27, morning: The cervadil didn't really do much, but in theory, it prepared my cervix so we began the pitocin. Minutes later, contractions worsen. Rusty was by my side holding my hand through each and reporting their intensity and frequency from the monitors.

Throughout the day, the nurse kept saying that Asher was 'flat' on the monitor. Meaning, his heart rate stayed right at 150 and never varied. In babies, they like to see spikes in the heart rate with their activity. They had me turn this way and that in attempts to see a difference in his rate. It didn't seem to be working.

Dr. Anya came in sometime mid morning and broke my water. And boy did the contractions start rolling in. Wowzers. They were coming about every minute and a half. As they came, Asher's heart rate would drop. They had to turn down the pitocin a little to get things under better control. It was a balancing act, keep Asher happy, keep contractions strong enough to progress labor and not slow everything down to the point we were stalling.

I had an angel of a nurse that had just had a baby herself a couple months ago. She knew the tips to easing nausea with an epidural and understood the relief I could have as soon as the epidural arrived. She was in rapid speed mode getting the epidural in place.

There was mention of Asher's size and how he was certainly big. He was moving lower into postion, yet there was something definitely still knocking around up by my rib cage. The nurse said, oh this is a big baby.

Meanwhile, the contractions were very intense but I only had to suffer the bad ones for about 45 minutes until the epidural angel arrived. I had the head of anesthesia and the nurse assured me I was in awesome hands. It didn't hurt. There were some crazy sensations involved, but all totally tolerable and fast. They allowed Rusty to stay right there with me and it took all of 4 minutes. Seriously, piece of cake.

April 27, early afternoon: Then came the bliss. Not only did the epidural numb me from the belly button down, but it's like this amazing all-body relaxation came with it. They encouraged us to nap, which we did. And I was thrilled that after months of having to pee every two seconds, that the urge to do so completely left me altogether. Ah.

As they upped the pitocin, the contractions were hard and fast. And Asher's heart rate continued to drop. I tried to not stare at the monitor, being the information nerd I am, I knew these things happened. And I knew it meant Asher wasn't tolerating labor well. The nurses would fly in the room and help me roll side to side to try and make Asher happier. So much for resting.

Then, came the oxygen mask. This is the point where I started to get really worried about Asher. The extra oxygen didn't register with his heart rate either. The nurse said to keep things going, they would need to put in an internal monitor. Asher was continuing to be stressed and we would need to monitor it very, very closely if we were going to continue this route. She went to get my doctor who came back and smiled and kindly said she'd recommend we stop and do a c-section. The two of them showed us the heart rate of the baby down the hall and the little peaks that showed the baby was handling labor well. Asher's definitely wasn't doing that. They said they truly felt that if we kept going this route, Asher would be worse as the hour went by and we'd end up in an emergency situation later in the day.

I cried. I cried because I was relieved they were watching over him so closely and were able to see how he was handling things.  I cried because I had been there so uncomfortable for hours and it was going to be a c-section. I cried because I had been getting increasingly nervous about the moment of pushing and realized that moment wasn't going to come. I cried because I had 18 zillion things on my mind, but it was most important for me to relax and keep breathing in the oxygen. That wasn't easy to do, but it was best for Asher.

Within 5 minutes we had a c-section scheduled for about 30 minutes later. The prep was in high speed. They upped my fluids to the point the IV pole was bouncing around beside me. The nurse explained the more fluid I had, the less likely I would be nauseous on the table. (Again, she was an angel sent to me from God to help me through all of this. She explained things so well and was so kind and trustworthy. Her name was Jenna.) I had a good epidural so they were going to use that to numb me up.

We cruised down to the operating room, it was all happening so fast even though, thankfully, it wasn't an emerency situation. Rusty was getting on his scrubs. Again, handling this all very well. My nurse said her intuition all day was that this baby wouldn't fit out of me the natural way . She said she thought we'd end up with a stuck baby or a big mess trying to deliver vaginally. (She called it a vaginal c-section. No thanks.) She was saying all the things I needed to hear. And besides, I had said all along this baby was big but no one really listened. She told me that going forward with future kids, I will likely always have scheduled c-sections and earlier. Thankyouverymuch. I'm ok with that, I think.

Anyways, they wheeled me into the OR. Those ladies were awesome and put me at ease. I requested they turn up the radio because Asher always liked music. So, they did. ('Evacuate the dance floor' was playing when he was born.)

The c-section was unpleasant. That thing hurt. And I mean, hurt. I don't know if it was worse because he was so big. I think there were multiple people forcing down on me to try and get him out. They were calling him Bubba because he was so big. It felt like someone was tugging around with my internal organs and laying them around the table. But they assured me that wasn't the case. I squeezed the crap out of Rusty's hand. I kept saying this hurts, this hurts, should I feel this? They said pressure and such was normal. Nothing about this felt normal, but I trusted them.

April 27, 2:32 PM: I heard Asher cry. He was here, safe. And he was big! 9 pounds, 5 oz. 22 inches long. With a head full of hair. What a blessing.

They showed him to me and Rusty had to leave to be with him. Then, that's when the pain really began. I don't know what they were doing in there, but it hurt. I felt lots of pain high up on my abdomen. In thinking back, I think what they were doing down low was just attached to things higher up. Being that above my belly button wasn't numbed by the epidural, I could feel this tugging and such. It hurt. Like hell. Just saying. I asked for more meds, and they helped some.

I was wheeled to recovery where Rusty and Asher were waiting for me. He was watching Asher's bath. He informed me Asher had already pooped twice since birth. (That's my child!) The nurses from the OR were coming by and marveling over his weight. My labor nurse came by to ooh and ahh over him. I remained in a lot of pain. It felt like I was on fire in my mid-section. It sucked to be drugged up and in pain during such a big moment, but I was thankful to have Rusty and Asher both there with me. Eventually the pain calmed. I held Asher, I think. It all gets blurry at this point, understandably.

April 27, evening: We were in our room with our baby. Rusty had to be a very involved daddy early on. (And it came naturally to him.) I was too out of it to do anything. I was seeing double and triple. But, our baby was here, healthy. It was all worth it.

In looking back and holding Asher now, I feel panic at the thought of him suffering in there through contractions. I wonder what he was thinking? How was he feeling? What if we had kept going? What if we had opted not to monitor him so closely, how would we have known?

I'm thankful for modern medicine and the awesome team at Rex for recognizing that Asher may have been in danger and encouraged us to bring him to this world and into our arms sooner to be sure he was ok. I'm thankful to Rusty for hanging in there and not (noticeably) freaking out. I'm thankful that his calm, laid-back attitude balanced well with my worry-wart attitude and kept me from flipping out too much over everything that was going on.

Our Asher is here, safe and sound, healthy and adorable. I'm thankful to God for watching over us all and bringing us this little miracle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Kira!
I was hoping for a natural birth with my first child too! The doctors made me wait two weeks past my due date since I had not dilated at all. They scheduled me for a delivery and all was going well until my baby decided he did not want to come out. We had to do a c-section and when they delivered him my o.b. exclaimed -"He's got to be at least 11 pounds!" He was close - 11 lbs 5 oz Big boy!! Everything went great and he is a regular sized kid today. He will be 11 yrs old in September. He is a blessing along with my other son and daughter. Yes, I decided to have at least two more. They are a joy and a gift from God. Hope you enjoy Asher as much as I have enjoyed my kids.

Kim A.

P.S. A great big applause to you on sticking with the nursing thing!! It is not easy but it is rewarding. It is the one thing that you can do for your child that no one else can do.

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