Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rowan's Birth Story

So I figure, since Rowan will be 8 weeks on Thursday (gosh, I can't believe that!), its about time that I share his birth story.  Although this is not an event I am likely to forget, I want to have it written down so the memories stay fresh.

My last post was on my 40th week, on my due date, jokingly complaining that I was still pregnant.  Little did I know that things would take an incredible turn that evening!  My brother and sister-in-law were over for dinner that night, and I started getting contractions while they were there.  By 9:30pm they were becoming regular and a little stronger, but I had gone through this same thing so many times, I decided to see if I could go to sleep.  Sleep never truly came - the contractions continued, growing stronger, and at 1:11am I felt something that I had never felt before!  I woke up Seth, probably scared him half to death, saying we have to get to the hospital NOW!  We rushed around, throwing last minute items into our hospital bag, and were on our way by 1:30.  That was the longest car ride of my life!  We only live 10-12 minutes away from the hospital, but it seemed to take forever!  The pain was becoming increasingly more intense - it felt like my abdomen was going to split open.  I knew from an OB visit the day before that I was already at 5cm dilated, so the whole ride I kept saying, "We should have left sooner.  I'm going to be too late for an epidural!"

Finally we arrived and rushed up to the labor and delivery unit.  I was so relieved to see a nurse that I knew and liked from my previous hospital stay.  She was wonderful, got my IV started quickly and labs drawn, verified that I was still at 5cm, but then it took soooo long (or it seemed like to me) to get the results back from the lab so that I could have an epidural.  It's funny, I was totally on the fence my whole pregnancy about whether or not to have an epidural, but the moment I felt those contractions, my mind was made up!  I would not do it otherwise :)  I was pacing around, leaning over the bed, but the contractions were every two minutes, leaving no time for any recovery in between.  My parents popped their heads in the door in the middle of one, and I remember telling them "You probably don't want to be in here right now - I'm not being a very nice person."  Ha!  The whole time I just kept saying, "we waited too long!  we should have come sooner!"  Poor Seth, he was so sweet, but just had a look of "I have absolutely no idea how to help to you right now" on his face.  When the anesthesiologist arrived, I was again relieved to see a familiar face - a doctor that I knew had years of experience and is excellent at what he does.   And then it was suddenly all better - I'm telling you people, once the epidural took effect, it was an entirely different world.

That was at about 3:15am or so.  The nurse finally had a chance to check me again, and found that I was 8 cm dilated!  I couldn't believe that I had advance that much so quickly!  We felt like I would deliver before her shift was over, but then the contractions slowed down.  My parents and Seth's parents were able to come in and visit, and my precious aunt and uncle came as well in the middle of the night to see me!  I felt so loved.  Since things had slowed, the nurse advised that I try to take a nap while I had the chance.  It was smart advice!  Seth and I were able to catch about an hour of sleep  before the morning shift change happened.  I was a little sad that my nurse wasn't the one to be in on the delivery, but she was so sweet and gave me a hug and promised to see the baby when she was back the next night.  My day nurses were fabulous as well though - I really couldn't have asked for a better team to assist me through labor.

At the next check, I was 9 1/2 cm dilated.  My OB arrived around 8:30am, and said I would be ready to push soon!  In the middle of her visit, she got a call from her 12 year old son saying he left his homework at home.  I felt great, we figured she had enough time to run home, so she was like, don't push till I get back! I thought it was pretty funny!  While she was gone, Seth and I had a moment to ourselves to just talk and pray.  It was a beautiful time that I will always remember and cherish - our last minutes alone as a family of two.  She returned soon, and at 9:30am she broke my water and I started pushing.  The whole experience was pretty amazing.  I am still in awe of how smoothly things went and at how peaceful the feeling was in the room.  Seth played relaxing music for me that brought back memories of our trip to Tennesssee (Local Natives, Minus the Bear's latest acoustic album, Grizzly Bear, Death Cab for Cutie - I'm telling you, no kid was born to better music than Rowan), and he was the best coach ever.  He compared the whole experience to cycling, and with each contraction and push we were going uphill, or sprinting to the finish.  It wasn't obnoxious at all, but was just what I needed to visualize to keep me going.  My incredible sister was also in the room, taking pictures for us, and I am so thankful she was there too.

I ended up pushing for about four hours.  At one point when contractions had lagged, they had to give me a small dose of Pitocin, but things picked right back up after that.  Rowan came at 1:17pm.  I had been calm up to that point, but when the doctor said his head was out, I immediately started crying, and then when he let out a little cry, it was the best sound I'd ever heard.  They put him on my chest, and tears were just streaming down my face.  My son had arrived.  The baby I had prayed for, begged God for, for all those years, was finally here.  I can't even describe the overwhelming emotions I had in that moment.  After he was all cleaned up and everything was settled, Seth and I had an hour to ourselves with Rowan.  He was so calm and peaceful, just laying on my chest.  We were both crying, praying, thanking God for this enormous blessing.

I am so thankful for the whole experience.  It was incredibly beautiful, I felt great the whole time - just laughing and chatting between contractions.  We had asked God for an atmosphere of peace and that is exactly what He gave us.  I felt safe and well looked after, and knew that Rowan was in the best environment for whatever care he might need - it was the perfect labor experience and I wouldn't change a thing.

So that's that.  Rowan's story is complete.  I think this will be my last post to this blog - it's served its purpose, and it's time to move on.  This journey over the last four years has been the hardest challenge I've ever faced, heart wrenching at times, but so worth the battle.  Miracles happen people.  Rowan is living proof of that.  We were told by one doctor that our odds were too slim to take the chance, and our second doctor advised us to cancel the IVF cycle three times during the time I was doing injections.  THREE TIMES.  But each time we prayed and asked God to get us to the next step, and each time He gave us EXACTLY what we had prayed for, exactly the requirements the doctor gave us in order to continue to the cycle.  So don't give up.  I'm so glad we didn't.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

40 weeks

Today is my due date.  October 16.  40 weeks, 5 cm dilated, and still pregnant. You can come anytime now little guy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

38 weeks. Feeling thankful.

After all that we've been through, it looks like now our little one is content to stay put, which honestly is perfectly fine with me.  As someone said recently, making it to full term is a blessing, and I completely agree!  I've joked for the last couple weeks about how I'm ready for him to come anytime now, but the truth is the longer he is in, the stronger he gets, and I'm so happy he's stayed in.  Today I am just feeling over-the-top thankful for the last nine months.  I pray that we will have future pregnancies, but it's a very real possibility that this could be the only time I carry a child, and words are inadequate to explain the depth of my gratitude for our God's faithfulness.  I have loved every minute of being pregnant, even all the uncomfortable side effects and medical issues we've dealt with are miniscule when I consider the magnitude of the miracle inside me.  Feeling my child kick and roll around in my belly brings me indescribable joy.  I know I will miss that sensation when he comes, so for now I am cherishing the last few days left before his birth.  Because of this extra time we've been granted, we were able to have a baby shower this past weekend, and Seth and I were both completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and generosity from our family and friends.  The support and encouragement we've received throughout this journey has kept us going through the difficult times, so for that I say thank you.  

I'm looking forward to my next post being a birth announcement!

Isaiah 54

New King James Version (NKJV)

A Perpetual Covenant of Peace

54 “Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.
“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
For your Maker is your husband,
The Lord of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
For the Lord has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
Says your God.
“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the Lord, your Redeemer.
“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
11 “O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
Your gates of crystal,
And all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
14 In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me.
Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith
Who blows the coals in the fire,
Who brings forth an instrument for his work;
And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

36 weeks and 2 "false alarms"

We made it to 36 weeks!!!  We reached our ultimate goal - I am so thankful to the Lord that He kept our little one safely inside this whole time.  It gives me such peace of mind knowing that our son is big enough and strong enough now to come when he decides.  Apparently though, he is being a little indecisive on when that time should be....

I stopped all of my medication on Monday and am off bedrest now.  Tuesday was my regularly scheduled 36 week appointment, and I woke up that morning having stronger, more regular contractions.  They gradually increased throughout the day, and by the time my 2:30 appointment rolled around, they were coming 3-4 minutes apart.  My doctor checked me, and I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced.  She said it looks like this is it - go grab a bite to eat, walk around some more, and I'll see you at the hospital this evening!  I was soooo excited.  Finally it was happening!  Little guy had other plans though.  By 8:30 that evening, I was still only 2cm, so the nurses sent me home.

The next day (yesterday), the SAME THING happened!  Strong, increasingly intense contractions 3-4 minutes apart for two hours, so we headed back up to the hospital.  I made it to 3cm, so these are accomplishing something, and I've had some other lovely signs of labor that I'll spare you all the details, but after two hours at the hospital and no further progression, they sent me home again.

It seems that what I'm experiencing is called prodromal labor, which basically is a fancy term for early labor that starts and stops and could go on for days or weeks.  It does count for something in preparing your body for active labor, but it doesn't follow the typical pattern that most people think of when they think of labor.  One of the L&D nurses (the most wonderful nurse who I am really praying ends up in the room with me when I deliver) explained this term to me.  It makes me feel better to know that this is a legitimate process and not just something in my head (as a few of the other nurses have made me feel like I'm dumb and don't know what is really happening with my body...), but it is also a little frustrating knowing that this could drag on for days!  I've been contracting even while typing this.  My body is tired already and the really hard part hasn't even happened yet!

So, just another thing to add to a pregnancy journey that has been anything but normal.  The plus side to all this is that I've had more time to get the nursery together (it's looking just like I always dreamed my nursery to be), and it only needs a few finishing touches of artwork, and I'm waiting on a rug to be delivered.  Oh, and we bought a carseat!  I know you are all pleased to hear that.  I will be so happy when I finally get to hold my baby in my arms.  I know it will all be worth it - let's just get this show on the road already! :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

35 weeks!

Apparently I've been a little too quiet for some people's liking, so I thought I'd drop in a quick update for everyone. :)  I've been home for a week now, which is a thousand times better than being in the hospital, but it's still bedrest!  The days are long and boring, and it's reeeeeally difficult not to putter around the house and take care of all the chores that I see undone.  Seth has reprimanded me more than a few times for being too active!  I'm trying to be good though, because we need to make it one more week to truly be in the safe zone.  I saw my doctor on Tuesday and she said once I hit 36 weeks I can discontinue all my medications (I'm currently taking 3 different oral meds, 6 times throughout the day and night to keep the contractions at bay).  Then we'll just let nature take its course!  I'm anxious to see what my body does once I stop the meds, because even on them I still get some pretty intense contractions that sometimes go on for hours.  Hopefully that means the little guy will come quickly and easily once we give him the ok! Although I have a feeling I'm going to be that person who went into preterm labor and then ends up going past her due date......let's hope not!!  But we should probably buy a carseat now don't you think?? :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 19

This last week started out pretty crazy to say the least.  We seriously thought we were going to have a baby last Monday.  I woke up at 6am with contractions that got progressively worse, to the point where I was in tears and they were coming two minutes apart.  I ended up getting three shots of terbutaline that really only slowed them but didn't stop them, so by 12:30 they were transferring me to labor and delivery to go on a magnesium drip.  Let me just say that I do not recommend these.  I know it was necessary, but it has the MOST miserable side effects!  They did a 24 hour drip, so I pretty much felt like I had a serious case of the flu during those 24 hours.  I had hot flashes, my whole body ached, and no energy to the point where I couldn't even lift my water bottle to take a drink.  I think that is the  most sick I've ever been in my entire life.

So that lasted until 2pm Tuesday, and what is amazing is that as soon as they turned off the magnesium, I felt almost back to normal within an hour!  It was crazy how fast it wore off.  The whole goal of the mag drip is to "wash" my system out so that the contractions will slow down and so that I will respond better to the terbutaline after,?l because the body can build up a tolerance to where that isn't as effective.

The next few days were pretty quiet, just an occasional terb shot, but then Saturday things picked up again and I had to go back on the mag drip.  For 30 hours this time.  It was terrible.  I really, really hope and pray that I don't have to do that again, because I honestly don't know if I have it in me to endure another round.  It is so taxing physically and emotionally.

Despite all the crazy contractions, the great news is that my cervix has held pretty steady throughout the whole ordeal.  It's at 1.6cm as of this morning, and the baby's estimated weight is 4lb 14oz, so he is a really good size for how far along I am.  That is so reassuring to me, that if he were to come early, that he already has a little head start on weight!  The doctor said this morning that if the cervix
continues to be stable, that she will let me go home at 34 weeks.  Still on bedrest, but at least I would  be in my own place, getting to eat my own food, hanging out with my dogs, sleeping in my own bed  and not getting woken up for meds all hours of the night!

So that's where we are. Potentially only 8-9 more days of this, unless the little guy decides to make an
 appearance :) I'll update again soon - wifi is pretty wonky at the hospital so that's been part of the
delay in posts.  Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement - it definitely helps!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 6

We're starting to get settled in to the hospital life routine.  I honestly can't complain about anything - I've received excellent care and every person that I've met here has been just wonderful. Antepartum is a different world than the regular floor - they pretty much just leave me alone unless I need them for anything.  The contractions are continuing, and today my doctor changed the parameters for getting a shot.  The on call doctor this weekend had ordered that if I have 8 contractions in an hour that I should get one, but my regular OB said 4 in an hour whether they see it on the monitor or not that I need a shot.  My cervix is continuing to shorten - yesterday it was down to 1.5cm, so we don't really have a lot of wiggle room to just contract all day.  So this morning I got a shot at 11:30 and that helped - things have been pretty quiet since then.  (ha - as I type that, I just had two contractions in seven minutes. We'll see how that goes!)

I am thankful to be where we are, thankful that our little one is staying put for now.  I am 31 weeks tomorrow, and our main goal is to make it to 34 weeks.  Any time past that will be icing on the cake.  Please also pray for my friend Jennifer who has gone into preterm labor with her twin boys at 27 weeks.  She needs it more than I do right now.