Tidbits of Us

I am the wife of an amazing man, seeking hard after God's will for his family, and the mother of 3 beautiful little girls and a 4th baby lost in pregnancy, who all pull at my heartstrings continually. Life has been a whirlwind since our wedding in 2008, including seminary, adventures in camp ministry, missions in Kosovo, and countless moves and God's fingerprints are throughout it all. We are blessed and encouraged that He is equipping us continually for the ministry ahead and pray we are great stewards to all he has entrusted to us, in family, friends, ministry, finances, and of course, the gospel.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eden's eventful, intense, and overwhelming miracle birth

Our sweet little ladybug decided to say hello to this bright world on April Fool's day, which also happens to be Palm Sunday this year. Her birth was a great reminder of a triumphant entry, full of surprises that just don't happen to anyone! Not even us!

I have to admit, I don't like the sound of the month April. I've been praying throughout that God would allow us to have

a March baby, considering Eden's due date was only April 6th, I didn't think a week early was too much to ask. However, just as I preferred Madison be born in May (when her due date was) God had other plans!

(I have to admit, this will probably get long...)

I'd been having plenty of harder braxton hicks for a few hours almost each night for a week and half, but they never turned into anything. On the second to last day of March, I spent some great time with girl friends going to tea, getting pedicures, and just enjoying the day without our kids, or work. It was wonderful. (I'd been wanting to do this for months, and it finally work out, just in time!)

As I went to bed that night I asked Aaron, as I had every night for the last few weeks, if he thought Eden would come that night, and as usual, he said "maybe, but probably not." I felt a little sad at the predictable response, knowing that the next day was the very last day of March, and although a week early, I was hopeful. It was also one of the night's I didn't have any braxton hicks before bed, reminding me Aaron was most likely right.

I woke at 2:15 exactly with a hard contraction, but it didn't phase me at first. I went to the bathroom and laid back down. Just as I slipped off to sleep, there was another hard one, and my eyes shot open! "Don't get your hopes up" kept running through my mind. But around 3:30 there were enough for me to want to take a shower, so I woke Aaron to prevent from him waking up to me gone and not knowing what was going on. Long story short, we live an hour and fifteen minutes from the hospital, and my midwife was certain when I went into labor it would probably go fast, knowing how my early labor was with Madison, and I was already at 3 cm. dilated during my last visit just a day and a half before. So she advised me to come in if we had any thought this may be it, just to make sure we were there on time. So, around 5 we decided to head in, with contractions at 6 minutes apart. We joked about being that couple that shows up to early, but knew it was wiser this way. And we were that couple (just the first time in many ways we would soon find
out.) We had consistent and hard contractions, but nothing else was changing, and because my midwife was not on call, even though she put it in my file to call her no matter what, they wouldn't call unless it was active labor, and this was not. So, tired and disappointed, while still have contractions, we were home by lunch.

I tried to rest through out the day, which is very hard with contractions now 6-10 minutes apart, and continuing to exhaust me with their strength. By evening they were almost gone, and I had enough energy and motivation to clean the house, and try to forget that this was the very last day in March. I did NOT want an April Fool's Day baby, and was now beginning to pray it would hold off at least one more day.

But the night proved otherwise. I tried to sleep with no results. Move to the couch to sit up more, and still nothing helped. We called the hospital back around 1 am, asking if we were to come in would they do anything to help advance things, but they assured me they wouldn't on the weekend unless I was "active" and I was afraid I was still to inconsistent to be. So after a few tears of exhaustion at the realization that this was going to be how my night unfolded, I went back to bed. From 3-4 am I had really hard contractions every 10 minutes on the dot, waking Aaron with my very loud "relaxing techniques" each time.

Finally after going to the bathroom around 4, I discovered "show" in the toilet, and was excited. We were told to come in no matter what if we had this! I hollered for Aaron and he was up calling the neighbors to watch Madison. Within minutes I was starting cold chills, shakes and throwing up... a sign of transition, which means the baby is about to be here. I voiced the sudden urgency to Aaron and within minutes we were out the door. Fortunately everything was still in the car from the night before.

Little did we know the fun that was just about to begin!

We raced down our 8 mile, dirt, gravel and pot-hole laden driveway, which takes the average person about 25 minutes. We finished it in about 12, and I'm not sure how a few of those moments didn't result in a flat tire. But I was grateful the timing happened to mean only one contraction on the driveway, which he drove very careful for. (Such a wonderful man) And we were off.

About two miles from our exit, we watched and became anxious
as we realized our car was now out of gas and struggling up a hill. I must say, we have NEVER ran out of gas in my car, however, after such a tiring day before I just handed Aaron 10 in cash instead of just having him fill up the tank, knowing it had been enough plenty of times before to get me home and back to town once. I didn't think how gas prices happened to rise the last two weeks.

So, there we sat, out of gas. Aaron called 911 and gave the all to humorous line "We ran out of gas on the highway and my wife is in labor!". By now I'd calmed down and we felt contractions were far enough we didn't need EMS, or the EMS bill!

But man, did I have to pee!! So, I opened my car door and the passenger door behind me, so I was blocked on both sides from headlights, faced Aaron inside the car, and held onto the bottom door frame for support. What a terrible sight this pregnant woman must have been! I was sure the cops would show up and ticket me for indecent exposure in public at this point, but my thoughts were quickly distracted as I realized there was no way my pregnant bladder hat this much pee in it. But, it just kept coming and coming. I gave a little pressure to see if I was about done, but it just came faster and harder. I looked at Aaron as I was discussing my confusion and we both realized my water had just broke on the side of the highway, where we were out of gas and in labor at 5 am on April Fool's day! WHO DOES THAT!!! We laughed, but were nervous. After all, I'd reminded Aaron a few times on the d
rive out that as long as my water hadn't broken, we were not going to have a baby on the side of the highway....

Two police cars showed up about 10 minutes later and one took Aaron to pay for some gas while the other sat with me and nervously made small talk about having babies while I tried not to be too loud while contracting. Aaron returned and they diligently made sure out car started and saw us on our way.

We arrived and were at 7 cm dilated, and all I could think was how fast babies go from 7-10. If you know my story with Madison of course, we were at 6 cm. within 3 hours of knowing we were in labor, but stalled out at 7 for 3 hours and at 9 for 4 hours, mostly we assume because my water wouldn't break. But that was an exception right?? This was baby 2, and they tend to come faster, and the 7-10 cm wouldn't slow down twice for the same woman, right??? So the knowledge of being at 7 was exciting! And explained all the hard contractions.

My midwife was called and we began to walk the hospital, but after an hour and a half we realized all had stopped. Not just stopped, but halted. Contractions were pretty much gone, and Aaron and I were updating our status on facebook (something I made fun of women in labor for doing, because there's no way I could have done that in labor with
Madison!) Finally the idea of pitocin began to get throw around, and after 45 minutes of still nothing, we decided to go with it. I'd heard it's much more intense with pitocin, and I became nervous, but sure that it wouldn't be long. But the contractions came rolling every 3-5 minutes with great intensity, and out of nowhere. To go from nothing to this was overwhelming! I suddenly realized the value in having the early labor to build up over time and help you get use to what's to come.

I have yet to mention that ALL this time, from the very first morning we went to the hospital, we had overwhelming back labor, which I hadn't experienced with Madison. This labor was already completely different in the way it felt and was working over my body.

After a few hours we were STILL at 7 cm. They realized she wasn't tucking her head down, so the cone of her head wasn't helping my uterus to contract. We were walking, using a squatting bar, hands and knees, elbows and knees, light music, amazing counter pressure from Aaron on my back, all we could with the help an coaching of my WONDERFUL midwife.

I have to take a moment to mention how amazing she was! Our first midwife was mostly just there to catch (giving her credit that I was her 7th baby of the nigh

t) but Annette was there almost the entire day with us, helping to coach, rub, change positions, offer suggestions and support, and genuinely just care in our progress. She is also a Christian, and helped encourage me in the amazing ways God works. She wasn't even on call this weekend, and chose to give up her day to be with us. We were blessed!

After another hour or so, I was done. I requested the IV pain meds, and they were something to experience! Although they helped, they didn't last more then 30 minutes. After several hard crying episodes and debates, we found we were finally just barely at 8 cm., with her head still not tucked and she was still turned enough to make the back labor intense. I debated for a tiny bit, but I knew I was done. Over 30 hours of exhausting labor and back pain and I knew my conclusion, even though I fought against it with self disapointment. I'd already "caved" and started pitocin and IV pain killers, and I was already trying hard not to let it discourage me. (and as long as I didn't think about it, I wasn't.) But we asked for the epidural.

Well, I wouldn't say I so much "asked". It was more of a discussion of knowing I just couldn't make it, but I was so afraid of the epidural. I guess just an acknowle
dgment that my fear is going to happen.

The anesthesiologist was in within minutes and everyone was helping to relax and talk me through it, but I can't express how afraid I was. I feared moving, I wanted to continuously ask if they were done yet, and I kept expressing after contractions that I wasn't yelling at him, I was just yelling from contractions. (I'm very loud in labor... VERY. and it embarrasses me to admit!!)

Finally it was over and began to wear in. I was now stuck in bed for good. I had no control over my right leg and ver little over my left. Aaron had to move it for me several times. We had some humorous moments as one time while my knee was bent, Aaron said something to me and casually rubbed my knee, but as he took his hand away, my knee just went with it, and I watched, laughing as I had no control to stop my leg from falling over. He caught it and we laughed.... laughed, in LABOR!! Unimaginable!

So, I'm now thinking I'm that woman that will get to nap through transition and wake up being told it's time to push. I'm easily dozing off as the room gets quite. I can feel pressure during contractions but not much. Suddenly came a "hard" one that I actu
ally had to vocalize through, and thought, no, that wasn't an urge to push... I have an epidural. Within minutes there was another one, so I mentioned it to the nurse and Annette came to check. I was "complete" and actually was having the urge to push. It was just after 3pm. Aaron and I were suddenly energetic and excited as we caught glances and made those googly eyes, knowing we would hold our daughter in moments. We laughed because Aaron predicted at 10 am. it wouldn't be until three. I called him a jerk for wanting me to have 5 more hours of labor! (and that was when we just started pitocin)

So, within 30 minutes of getting an epidural, Eden had finally tilted
her head (although not tilting it for so long left her head still perfectly round) and helped my cervix become complete and ready to push! They asked if I wanted a mirror, and I did! After three contractions worth of pushing, she was on my belly, screaming her little head off! And her head was little!! It felt like such a celebration! When Madison was born we were so exhausted, there was just a feeling of relief when she was finally here, and everyone quickly did their job and was gone. But with Eden, the nurses stuck around to peak and google over her, the room was full of cheers and excitement, and not just from us. It was if all of them were just as excited she was finally here as her parents were. She stayed on my belly for a while while we cleaned her up and "celebrated". I suddenly realized at the same time as the midwife, we hand't "verified" the gender yet. so I took a peak below the blanket and proclaimed she definitely was a girl! The midwife said at one point, She's got dark hair, but I don't see any purple streaks like her mommy!" I laughed and asked if she could find any pink streaks, otherwise, she's going to have her daddy's hair!

Then some discoveries began to unravel. During all of labor, Eden's heart beat would drop right before a contraction, but it quickly came back up and there didn't seem to be any issues with it. They said the cord may be pinched during a contraction and Annette let me know I may need to push hard at the very end if it is, but she'd let me know if I needed. However, we discovered her cord was going around her back, up over her arm (like the strap of a purse) and down her chest, belly and between her legs. It didn't seem like a big deal though, and all was well. But as they took Eden to finish what they needed, Annette tried to finish her part of the work...

And I must warn you, this is where you may want to stop reading!! It's gross, and I'll try to be vague, but it's all up to you from here on out!

Annette was at the point where she needed to kneed my stomach and pull on the cord to help it out some. So they took Eden away to be cleaned up. The mirror was still up and I saw Annette at work, just in time see the cord actually break off from the placenta, which still had yet to be seen. Annette and I talked some as she informed me she was going to need to get "more aggressive" with getting the placenta. I watched as they took Eden off to my right and began to do their thing, and as I looked back, mirror still there, I saw Annette had her ENTIRE hand AND lower arm in places it should NEVER be! I don't even know how it happened!!! I remember at one point seeing Aaron and declaring THIS was exactly why God wouldn't let my labor progress. He knew this was going to be an issue, and He knew I'd need that epidural! So He made it go until I finally chose it. This is our God ordained epidural, because not only did Annette have to "fish out" the placenta, but it wasn't all there, so she had to continually search for more. When she did first have the majority of it, I watched in the mirror as she continually untwisted it until she could finally examine in. Not sure how it became so twisted up in the process, but it was a mess. She had to call for her Doctor friend to finish searching, and after about 10 more minutes and a final "scraping" of the uterus to be sure, they were certain all was finally out.

I asked what had happened with it, and Annette told me it had attached to the uterus wrong. As I thought about this over and over the past few days, I can't help but realize how close we were to not having this little girl. Placenta issues are usually "resolved" through miscarriage in the first trimester, or complications later on in pregnancy. And yet, God gave us this little girl, because an irregularly attached placenta is nothing he can't handle. And I'm fully aware that he didn't have to give us this baby girl, but chose to anyway, even with this little "issue" that could have caused bigger complications. He was gracious when we didn't deserve any special treatment, and we have this little girl because of it.

Eden is an incredibly small 6 lb. 10 oz., 20.5 inches long. Her new born diapers keep slipping off her little booty because she's so little. She has incredibly defined leg and butt muscles, and LOVES to stay folded up and squirmy... which I keep saying is just proving to everyone else how much I kept saying she moved in my belly!

So, in the end, I laugh at how many people reminded me a second baby is faster. I laugh at the thought of being the most cliche couple ever, going in too early, running out of gas, water breaking on the side of the highway, and being that woman who comes with this well laid out birth plan just to throw it away in the end. I'm grateful for no tearing, very minimal bleeding, despite the placenta issue, and a nurse and midwife that stuck with us above any expectations!

I'm blessed and undeserving of my husband, who was amazing, and fully hands on the entire labor, despite how much he hates seeing me attempt it without any drug medications. He was perfect the entire labor, even the parts at home. Helping me get rest as I could, food when needed, looking me in the eyes with "all the right things to say" written on his face during the most intense moments, and even though he didn't feel confident, he was perfect. He held me and felt my discouragement when I chose to change our "plan", and encouraged and uplifted me at the task at hand that I was going to complete, pain meds or not.

I look at my beautiful family of four, and how this past weekend unfolded. I'll never forget another April fool's day, and I will never celebrate it in the same way again! I see some awesome theme birthday's in the future.