13 November 2019

Birth Day Story

It started on a Sunday evening. Some friends who we hadn't seen in over a year had just arrived to spend the week at my parents' home, and after they came to my place for a short visit to see how much Cyrus had grown since they last saw him, we all went out to Subway together for a quick dinner.

Towards the end of dinner, around 6:30, I was starting to experience some suspicious pains and when Angel suggested walking around the mall for a while to see what was going on (there was some sort of fair or sale on at the time), I told him no, we ought to head straight home, I wasn't feeling well. I walked out and was headed straight for the car, but Angel lingered in the restaurant with my dad, continuing their dinner time conversation about Christian bands from the 70s and 80s. I remember turning around and glaring at him a bit as I waited, uncomfortably, near the entrance to the parking ramp. A minute or two later, he came with Cyrus and we headed home.

When we arrived home, I gave Cyrus his evening cup of milk and we brushed his teeth and got him to bed around the normal time, 7:30, and then I took a shower--both to help with the pain and to be showered and ready if I decided we ought to go to the hospital. Then I wandered around, finding the final things that needed to be added to the hospital bag and making sure we knew where everything we needed to bring was.

I was quite unsure what was going on, because the contractions didn't start out nearly as strong and predictable as they did with Cyrus. After a couple hours of walking around the house and trying to stretch and try out different comfortable exercises, I decided to call my mom to come stay with Cyrus and that we would head into the hospital to be safe. Cyrus's birth was so fast, and we live a solid half hour from the hospital, that I was nervous about being too far away or having to manage late-labor contractions while in the car.

But...spoiler turned out that this was very different from my experience with Cyrus and we had a long ways to go. I wonder whether we ought to have stuck it out at home longer...but I was in pain way too often to fall asleep anyways, and I did feel safer closer to doctors and with the ability to check on the baby's heart rate, so in the end, I think it's good we went in when we did.

We arrived at the hospital and, once again, went in through the "No Unauthorized Entry" doors into the ER, where they immediately put me in a wheelchair and brought us to a labor and delivery room. This time, they put me on the monitors for 20 minutes first (they never did that with Cyrus, I guess it was a little too obvious that time that it was very nearly "go time" for baby), and the nurse said sure enough, I was having contractions about every 2 minutes, but they were varying in intensity and not very long. But I had progressed enough and with the history of a quick labor the first time, they called my doctor right away and admitted me.

At that point, Angel got taken away to do the admittance paperwork, at which point he found out that we did need to have my passport (I'd asked in packing if I needed to pack my passport but he'd said no, he didn't remember needing one and I am already registered at the hospital so they have my info. But we were wrong!) He pacified them by saying we could have my family bring the passport in the morning, and then was able to come back to my room.

They left us alone most of the night, only the occasional visit from my doctor once she arrived and from nurses who had me back on the monitors to check on baby's heart after every couple of hours. I alternated between walking around the room for 30-45 minutes at a time and then lying down in the bed to rest for a while, trying to find the balance of giving the baby gravity and movement to help move him along, and also resting to try to stay relaxed and not get too exhausted. Labor is weird. You can read up on everything that is supposed to help but in the end, you just don't know exactly what's the best thing to do at the moment. Angel spent a good chunk of the night sleeping in the bed while I walked the room--which worked out well, because while I was in a good bit of pain, it wasn't unbearable or anything I felt I couldn't manage on my own.

According to the monitors, contractions kept coming on very frequently but weren't lengthening or getting consistently stronger. Around 7 am, 12ish hours after the pains had begun, my doctor suggested starting a pitocin drip to see if that would help with labor progression. In her opinion, I was plenty far enough along that there was no backing out of it at this point--she was definitely open to letting me continue to progress naturally but thought it might be another 12 hours or more at this rate and was letting me make the decision of whether I wanted to tough it out or try some drugs to help move things along.

I decided to agree to the pitocin--again, I feel like at times like this, you really never quite know what's the best choice--and then because of that now had to stay in the bed on the monitors so that we could keep an eye on baby's heart rate. After about 3ish hours after starting pitocin, they came in and suggested breaking my water, thinking that would help get us all the way to the end zone. Seemingly within seconds after my water was broken, the pain instantly ramped up into "impossible" level and I immediately asked for the gas to breathe...which, again, I'm not sure helps all that much with pain, but gives you something to concentrate on doing, attempting to breathe air coming out of a little tube, and I was sitting up and Angel was right there helping me through it all.

About an hour after my water was broken, baby Glenn was born. Unlike Cyrus, I actually got to hold him and keep him with me for a while because he was breathing fine (Cyrus was first handed to me but then got immediately taken away because he was so purple and not breathing so well). It was a good thing I actually got to hold my baby because things didn't go so well for me in the post-baby birth process and since I wasn't on anything for pain relief, the only thing I had to help me through it was holding my precious baby and Angel right there with me. They let us keep the baby with us for a good while before taking him to the nursery for weighing, etc, and that was really nice. It was so good when it was just the three of us in the room that (when I was brave/foolish enough to actually look around) looked like a scene out of a gory movie that I would never watch. My first impression of Glenn was of how much he didn't look like Cyrus at all (Cyrus was born with a very noticeable v-shaped storkbite on his forehead, so at this point I was kind of expecting all babies to be born with Vs on their foreheads) and that he was very tiny.

Glenn had been measuring a bit behind in his size since around the beginning of the third trimester...just one more little worry in a pregnancy that had been very worrisome, and was born at 38 weeks 5 days weighing just a bit under 6 lbs--much smaller than his 7 lb. 2 oz. brother, but a very respectable size for a baby who was expected to be on the small side. We'd had an ultrasound 2 days before he was born that estimated his size at 2.7 kg, and he was born weighing 2.7 when people always say, "Oh, those ultrasounds can be really far off!" just know that they can also be pretty correct. Who knew?

We eventually were brought to a recovery room about 2 hours after Glenn was born, and my parents arrived and brought Cyrus and one of my sisters to meet the baby...only we had to wait another couple hours before Glenn actually arrived in the room.

We had opted that we wanted to keep Glenn in the room with us as much as possible and take care of him ourselves rather than having him go to nursery, so once he arrived, he was with us for the evening. I expected that, like Cyrus, he would be very sleepy on his first night, but quite the opposite, he was very alert and wanted to be held most of the night. At one point I think I held him for two hours straight while he just happily looked around the dark room. The next day, we were both discharged by our doctors and were able to head home in late afternoon, which is where we both stay for now, getting rest and building strength before heading out into the big, exciting world that Glenn doesn't even know about yet!

Our miracle boy is here. and I'm so very, very grateful. As we were alone in the room together after he was born, Angel and I talked about those horrible 5 days in April when we thought he was already gone, and about the doctor's appointment at the end of 5 days that utterly shocked us--when we saw a growing baby on a screen where we fully expected to see nothing good at all. How stunned we were as we drove home from that appointment, trying to wrap our minds around getting the best news that we could imagine alongside the words "at this point we would call it a threatened miscarriage." And then at 18 weeks when the doctor told us that the placenta had partially detached and early delivery was a risk...and then at 28 weeks when his growth slowed...all I can say it praise be to God for this indescribable gift. We got to meet our boy!
Elizabeth said...

Congratulations, and Praise God for a healthy delivery after all those ups and downs! It must be SUCH A relief! Your labor sounded like a mix of my first and second. My first was the one where my contractions were close together for HOURS with no progress, although I went to the hospital anyway. And you're so right that you don't know which hurdles you'll get. I had some coping plans but didn't expect to throw up after each contraction, yuck. I had my water broken artificially with both babies, and my first labor was also the one where he was having trouble breathing and got whisked away. It was amazing the second time to hold the baby right away (who immediately pooped all over me). Blessings to you as you settle in!

Michelle said...

I am SO happy for you!! What an amazing story. You give me hope I will make it to the end of this pregnancy as well!

Kristin said...

I'm actually crying happy tears for you and your family :)
Cyrus in that picture...what a priceless face!

I don't remember contractions. I had cramping after my water broke on its own in the middle of the night and it did get more intense but not right away at all. It wasn't until we got to the hospital (maybe 30 minutes later) that I started to actually feel cramps. And I had the epidural before I *really* had to feel anything. My doctor told me, while she was doing all the post-birth processes, that THAT was the bad part of no epidural. Having the baby was do-able but the rest of it was miserable.

I'm so glad he's here safely! (and not too early!)

Amanda said...

So so happy for you all and so thankful for God's hand of blessing over your sweet baby. So funny you say he doesn't look anything like Cyrus, because neither of us can actually imagine a baby coming out that looks any different from either of our kids, since we have one of each! haha ;)

Kristina said...

Congratulations! He is beautiful. I'm so glad all is well. Thank God for this precious gift! Interesting how different it was. I was thinking, even as I started reading, that Angel should have hurried when you wanted to go, given how quickly Cyrus came out.

AnneMarie said...

Congratulations! He is adorable, and that is such a wonderful name. I'm so glad that you guys made it through the labor and delivery and that you're able to rest up at home now. It sounds like you did a wonderful job. I'm impressed that you did Pitocin with no pain meds, because I have heard from many people that Pitocin is not fun whatsoever. I hope that your recovery goes smoothly, and that the transition to 2 little ones goes okay!

Lily Fang said...

Congratulations to you and your family, Rachel! I learned quite a bit about the birthing process, and it sounds incredibly tough but obviously rewarding. Sending best wishes to you as your experience your first days with baby Glenn. I hope Cyrus is delighted to have a sibling!

Charlene Maugeri said...

Congratulations, Rachel! I am so happy for you and your family. Glenn is precious! Praise God he's here and healthy!

Mrs. M ~ a.k.a. ~ April said...

What an adventure! Praise the Lord he's here! So happy for your family!

Brita Long said...

God is good! Congratulations to your growing family!