In Part 6 of "The Story of We" I just found out that I was expecting. And I was elated! Still am. We'll, not pregnant, but elated.
It's taken me a while to figure out how I want to relate Jackson's birth story but I think if I break it down into sections we'll be good.
Just a little FYI: This post is bound to be a little lengthy and also contains some "details" that might make men and women with an aversion to birth stories squeamish. Just sayin'.
To induce or not induce...that was the question. Though the idea had been tossed around when Jackson was head-down at 38 weeks I had decided to wait and "let things happen on their own."
But then 41 weeks got closer and closer and knowing that Amelia was 9lbs 7oz with a 14 in head at 41 weeks and 3 days I was sure I couldn't do that again. But all I had heard about induction seemed scary and unknown. I "knew" what it was like to go into labor naturally. This, not so much.
I sent my sister, Summer, a text one day asking, "Is the pitocin THAT bad?"
She called me laughing. Which is rare (the calling part, not the laughing) since we both are NOT phone people. We likey text! And we both homeschool...'nough said. She said I reminded her of an addict looking for a fix.
Truly, I felt like one. When you've tried every at-home remedy you can find (Minus Castor oil. I forgot about that one.) and your body is in so much pain and the toilet is the only "comfortable" place to sit it's time to "GET THIS BABY OUT!"
I was desperate.
So desperate that I took all of our bags to my appointment the day before I was officially 41 weeks and begged them to keep me. They couldn't, but they did let me make an appointment to be induced the next morning (Tuesday, May 3rd) at 7:30. It's funny to me that I could be disappointed and relieved all at the same time.
After Summer assured me that the pitocin wasn't horrible and I had a long talk with the midwife about how I wanted the induction to go, we made a date and kept it. Well I did.
The Birthing Center called me Tuesday morning saying they had a surge of activity and needed me to wait to come in until 11. Though I was once again disappointed I was able to take that time to calm my nerves and Hot Hubby and I got to have breakfast with my parents.
We arrived at the hospital around 11 and by noon I was hooked up to the pitocin. The plan was to be on pitocin to start contractions so that Jackson would move down more. At that point they could break my water without the risk of a prolapsed cord and they would ease me off of the pitocin allowing my body to take over. Which is what happened.
The contractions weren't horrible. Though everything seemed to move along normally I was confused by my seemingly sporadic contractions. It felt like they weren't consistent enough to be progressing much. But I was wrong.
I don't know the time line of events since I was distracted by labor pains. I seem to remember that they broke my water around 3-ish. Then around 5:30-ish my contractions started getting stronger and more intense. I thought they seemed a little "back labor-ish" but wasn't quite sure.
Around 6-6:30-ish I told my mom that I just needed to sit on the toilet because that was the only thing that sounded comfortable. Up to this point I had tried standing, sitting on the bed, birthing ball and toilet and anything else that seemed like it may help.
This time when I got on the toilet it felt like I was getting close to pushing. The feeling wasn't super strong so I hesitated to say anything, thinking that I was just going to find out that I wasn't as far along as I felt and I would be disappointed.
When I finally did say something to my mom, the midwife was called into the room and I got back onto the bed. When she checked me she said I was only a 6 and not completely effaced. Like I figured I was disappointed. I was also confused because I still felt like my body was telling me something else. Since the back labor was getting more intense I didn't know how I would hold out through the pain. At this point I figured that Jackson's head was turned sideways. I was right. Thus the back labor.
The midwife had me get up on the bed and lean against the back of it so as to help Jackson move down more and in hopes that gravity would help me dilate. At this point the pain was more intense than I remember with either of the girls. I moved around and tried to "help" my body in any way that I could think of that was also bearable. Finally I told the midwife that I needed to sit because the pressure was to intense and I felt I needed something to push against.
She checked me at this point and said I was now an 8 but was less effaced then she had originally thought. The problem for me was that my body was starting to push on its own.
I don't know if you've ever experienced these kind of contractions but they are intense. I had them with Hazel but not so much with Amelia. Basically my body was physically contracting so strong that I was pushing without even meaning to. I call them "involuntary pushing contractions" but I don't know what they are really called.
I have a love/hate relationship with them. Love: because it means I'm getting closer to the end and because they are so helpful. Hate: because both times I've had them I've been told not to push because my cervix wasn't fully dilated. And when your body is pushing and you are being told NOT to push it's easy to feel like you're doing something wrong.
The midwife wanted me to use a bar that they put on the end of the bed to help Jackson's head turn and help me finish dilating. I kept saying, "But I can't!" Which, in labor speak, was supposed to mean, "I am about to have this baby and there is NO time for that!" But since I wasn't able to communicate through the pain (and I was still doubting my progress for fear of disappointment) I consented to trying the bar. At this point though, I was feeling more pressure in my rump and started to feel "the ring of fire" burning.
The bar didn't make it into the room.
The midwife turned back from asking a nurse to get the bar to find Jackson starting to crown. As I held myself up off the bed through the "involuntary pushing contractions" to try to lessen the pressure and "not push" like I was told, Jackson's 14&1/2 inch head came out followed quickly by the rest of his 20 & 3/4 inch, 9lb 6.6 oz wiggly body. He was born at 7:39 pm.
So much for a smaller baby. Compared to Amelia he was half an ounce smaller and his head was 1/2 an inch bigger!
Nathan helped deliver him and quickly handed his slimy, squirmy body to me.
When I first saw Jackson his body was a purple/blue color, he had a head full of dark hair and his lips were swollen making him look very African. My first thought: How did that get in there!
Which is funny because a few months ago when I asked Hazel who she thought Jackson would look like her answer was, "Ummmm...AFRICA!"
This picture doesn't do justice to the color he was at the time but you can see how swollen his lips are.
The swelling in his lips went down right away and his coloring, though very red-ish, is very much like his dad's. Meaning Hot Hubby. My husband. Just to be clear!
The other thing I noticed right away was a tooth! He was crying instantly and as Nathan handed Jackson to me I could see a tooth just under the surface of his lower gum.
Usually after a baby is delivered the mommy's pain lessens right away. This didn't happen when Jackson was born. My pain gradually got worse and worse. Even though the midwife told me I didn't need stitches it didn't feel that way to me. In fact I kept jokingly asking if maybe there was another baby in there because I was having all the "feelings" I had before I delivered Jackson: intense pressure, ring-of-fire burning & contractions.
After about an hour (ish) I told the nurse that I thought I was bleeding too much. When she checked me she and the midwife found that my uterus had stopped contracting and had filled up with LOTS of blood and blood clots.
The next half hour or so was intense and painful. After giving me a shot to curb the pain and using a catheter to drain my bladder, the midwife had to "knead" my tummy to get my uterus to drain and contract down to the size it should have been. I was put on super high levels of pitocin and given more pain killers. When the process was over they measured that I had lost 1&1/2 pounds of blood.
Though there are many details I can't remember or have a hard time putting into words the main thing about this part of Jackson's birth is this: he is here and I am fine. I didn't require surgery or a transfusion. I was put on two weeks of "doing nothing" rest. Not quite bed rest but I basically have just sat and held Jackson the whole time. Which I really wanted to be able to do for at least one week anyways.
Hot Hubby has had the last two weeks off and has this week off also which has been perfect. He has, once again, been my Knight and has taken care of everything! Jackson and I slept in every morning while Hot Hubby got up at the crack of dawn with the girls and Abiah, made breakfast for us all and got the day started with the kids. I have a few words to say on this subject but will save it for another post. Point is this: Hot Hubby is amazing! And HOT!
Jackson Post Delivery
Jackson's bilirubin count was high and we had to stay an extra night so he could stay under the blue lights. He handled the whole thing much better than I thought. Though at first I was upset that we had to stay longer I took the opportunity to take a few extra naps and take few baths in the jetted tub. Good call, if I do say so myself!
First pair of "shades".
Baby tanning bed!
Right before Jackson was born someone from my room heard one of the nurses comment that we had, "men, women and children in there!" And we did! It was great!
Hot Hubby and my Mom
Nathan was the only man in the room during the actual delivery but my dad was in the room when we first got there and then after the delivery he and my FIL came in to meet their new grandson.
My Dad, Mom and MIL
FIL, Hot Hubby and Jackson
During the labor and delivery we had 12 people in the room. NOT counting the nurses! This was the first of my kids' deliveries that my mom and sisters (3) and Hot Hubby's mom and sisters (2) were all able to be at.
Rachel, Nicole (SIL) and my MIL
RoxAnne and Hannah
We were also joined by my niece Naomi, my Aunt RoxAnne and cousins, Rachel and Hannah. My friend Erika made it at the last minute also. If the room was bigger I would have had more ladies join us.
I don't have pictures of everyone on my camera, but they were there. I promise. Also, because of the hemorrhaging drama not everyone got to hold him that night and we didn't get pictures of all who did.
Something about a tree falling and no one hearing it comes to mind here...
The Coping Mechanism
Since worship music helps me relax and focus in any situation, I created a list for my ipod of about 50 songs that I really like. I purposely chose songs that are calm with lyrics that are focused on the goodness of God and who He is. I don't mind listening to instrumental music occasionally, but most of the time I prefer songs I can sing to.
I also purchased a 3x5 card book and wrote out scriptures that speak of the Lord's strength and goodness, a few snippets from a devotional and a list of people to pray for. This idea came from a birth story I read here. The people I purposed to pray for are those whose situations in life are harder and last longer than childbirth. Some have chronic illnesses. Some don't have answers to their pain. Some want children and haven't been able to have them. Some have sick babies. Some have recently lost loved ones. I LOVED this idea when I read about it and it really did help me through my delivery.
Aside from the last hour and a half (or so) when the pain was the worst, these things really did help to keep me focused. In fact, the times when I was using these the most were some of the sweetest times of the delivery for me.
Other sweet times for me:
Nathan being my constant support and our Court Jester
The comradeship of the women in the room
My niece want to be involved and finding things to do like giving me sips of water
Laughing with the nurses and midwife
The surprise of a friend
Remembering loved ones who I wish could have been there
Hearing the click-clicking of the keyboard and looking over to see my sister posed, waiting to update my friends on Facebook.
There are many more I can't think of now. Overall Jackson's delivery was an amazing, joy filled time.
We are enjoying the sweet little bundle that he is and looking forward to knowing him better.