Monday, April 20, 2009

Great is Thy Faithfulness - Reese's Birth Story

Today is my baby boy's 1st birthday! I'll post again later today about his birthday, but first here is his birth story...

I unknowingly went into early labor on Saturday morning. I woke up at 6:45 in pain, but figured it was the pancakes I had eaten with my family at IHOP the night before. I called George (who was in Kansas) and told him about the strange feeling I had, but we didn’t worry because it went away. I managed to work out and go to my friend Brandy's baby shower, but the pain came back while I was there. We joked about how we might have to deliver the baby at the shower, never imagining that I really was in labor! My friend Lisa came over after the shower to see the nursery, and we sat and talked until 7:00. When she left, I was in quite a bit of pain, but still thought it was just stomach issues. I tried to eat dinner and couldn't. I didn't think that was a good sign.

I called my mom and she came over to sit with me. She didn't think I was in labor, and Dr. Griffith didn't either. I couldn't identify if I was having contractions or not, because they felt totally different than the Braxton Hicks contractions I'd had. The doctor thought if they were contractions, they weren't long enough to do anything. Boy was he wrong! I started having severe pain - I could barely talk through it. By this time, George had already looked up a flight home, but the next one wasn't until 5:50 the next morning. He was on the phone reading to me the signs of labor from a website he’d looked up. He was really worried, because it sounded like me – especially the part about not being able to talk through the contractions. My mom and I were still in denial that this was true labor, so we decided to wait before going to the hospital.

It was close to midnight and I couldn't go to sleep, so we loaded up and headed toward Presbyterian to ease our minds. That was the longest, bumpiest car ride ever. When my mom finally found the labor & delivery entrance, I asked her to pull up to the door and get me a wheelchair. Since she didn’t think I was in labor, she parked the car and we walked slowly into the hospital, stopping at least once on the way for a contraction. I didn't even pack anything just in case, because I just knew we'd be sent home. Wrong again! After spending about 20 minutes trying to change into the hospital gown, having contractions through the whole process, they finally checked me. I was already at a 7! I'll never forget the nurse saying, "You're going to have a baby tonight – you’re dilated to a 7!" I started crying, thinking about how George would miss his first child's birth and worried about how I would have to go through the delivery on my own. He was my labor coach – he had read Husband Coached Childbirth and we had practiced my relaxation techniques! What would I do without him? My mom came back into the room and I told her that I was going to have the baby that night and she started calling everyone to come to the hospital. George called his family and told them the baby was on his way.

My little sister, Jessica, arrived and we decided to let her stay in the delivery room. I labored from around 12:30-3:20 am with the help of my WONDERFUL labor & delivery nurse, Kelly. I concentrated as hard as I could on relaxing through each contraction and my nurse reminded me to breathe. She put me on the birthing ball for a while, which was torture. She said it felt good to some people to rock back and forth on the ball during contractions, but it just simply hurt. Instead of rocking my hips back and forth, I would rock my head from side to side and moan through the contractions. Mamaw and Stacy came in at some point during my labor, but I was in too much pain to talk. (Tracy was at the hospital too, but couldn’t come in because she was sick.) I kept thinking to myself, “What am I doing? I’m not going to be able to do this.” But then I remembered that George had told my mom she could not let me give in and get an epidural. I just kept thinking about George and how I needed to keep going for him and for the health of our baby.

George at the Kansas City airport.

The pain was unbelievable and didn't seem to stop at all for the last hour. The Bradley book talked about how there would always be a break between contractions, but I didn’t feel like I was getting a break at times. I knew that my doubts about being able to have a natural birth were an emotional signpost that it was almost over, and I kept moaning through the pain. They called in Dr. Griffith to break my water, and I was disappointed that my own doctor, Dr. Tillman, was not there to deliver my baby. My mom was happy though, because Dr. Griffith had been her doctor for a long time and he had assisted in the delivery of my niece, Riley. He came in at 3:20, broke my water, and I started pushing right away. Kelly, my mom, and Jessi cheered me on and reminded me to push as hard as I could. I felt light headed from holding my breath during this pushing phase, so Kelly gave me oxygen to breathe in-between contractions. The last contraction before Reese’s birth was the worst – they wouldn’t let me push that time.

The pushing phase lasted a short 20 minutes and a few screams later, Reese was born! They laid him on my stomach and I felt relieved as I touched his gooey little purple body for the first time. Mom cut his umbilical cord and Jessi handed me the phone so I could talk to George. She had him on the cell phone during the entire birth, so he was able to hear the whole thing. They thought Reese might only weigh in the 4 pound range, but he was 5 pounds 8 ounces and 17 ¾ inches long. They wheeled Reese to the nursery to monitor his breathing and body temperature. Jessi sat with me and we chatted until Kelly came back to check on me. My adrenaline was pumping and I felt great. I was up on my feet within the hour. No pain meds needed at all!

Kelly wheeled me up to my room and I thanked her for being such a great labor & delivery nurse. I had been really worried that I would get someone who would push for an epidural. She told me that she normally did not work that shift, and was pleased that she had been able to work with us that night. I knew the Lord had put her on that shift just for me.

Mom and I tried to nap while waiting on Reese. We had to wait about 3 hours, because it took a while for his body temperature to go back up. I think I only slept for 10 minutes during that time. I kept thinking about my sweet baby and wondered how much longer until I got to see him and George. I thanked God for his providence and sang Great is Thy Faithfulness in my head (my mom was still sleeping, so I couldn’t shout it out like I wanted) while watching the sun rise.

The nurses finally brought Reese to the room and George arrived at the hospital just a few minutes later. He brought Reese a Kansas City teddy bear as a keepsake and reminder of his crazy birth story. My mom left the room and George and I cried as we held our precious son together for the first time.

Father meets son

I hate Kansas City!

We don’t know why God chose for Reese to be born while George was out of town, but then again, we don’t really need to know why. We know He is sovereign and we trust in Him no matter what the circumstances. We are forever thankful for the blessing He has given us in Reese.


Amy said...

Happy Birthday Reese! I can't believe he is already one, the past year has gone by so fast. Thanks for sharing the story.

Hough said...

That's weird my memory of Reese's birth was very different, but then again my mom had an epidermal so who knows if I am healthy enough to remember. When ever I think of Reese's birth the Zelda theme music starts up in my head.

Sara said...

I know why he was born early! Because he and God both knew that Aunt Sara was going to be in the hospital having surgery the day he was supposed to be born and so he arrived early so that I could be there to see him! I love you, Reese!

Liz said...

Happy (belated) b-day to your sweet boy!