Friday, July 6, 2012

jacob jay dumas: the birth story

jacob jay
date: 6.26.12
time: 10:15 pm
weight: 8 lbs 1 oz
length: 20 inches

jacob jay has finally made his way into this world. it felt like he was never coming as we hit the 41 weeks pregnant mark. at 41 weeks exactly (monday, june 25th) we had our weekly appointment with our midwife. at that appointment, there was no real reason to think that jacob was coming any time soon. we also had a non stress test and an ultrasound to make sure that all was going well with jj (yes, we call him about fifty different names already). both tests showed that jacob was enjoying his last moments inside of me. all of these appointments were in the afternoon, so we grabbed dinner on the way home and walked in the door around 6 pm. about an hour later i started feeling contractions. these contractions were much different than the contractions i had been feeling all the previous week. these were a bit painful and they were not going away despite drinking tons of water and lying down. after timing them and seeing that they were at a 6-7 minute intervals for two hours, we decided to call the midwife (krista). when we talked to her, she said to keep timing the contractions and to call again when they were between 4 and 5 minutes apart. at this point, ry figured it'd be good to try to get some sleep as we knew labor had started. i wasn't able to sleep much, but i slept for about an hour over a four hour time span. i continued to time the contractions and around 2 am they were 4 and 5 minutes apart, so we called krista back. by the time she called back 15 minutes later, my body was doing what it does when it reacts to pain in pregnancy: puking up every ounce of everything in my system. ry talked to krista since i was unable to speak and puke at the same time and she thought that it was about time to start making our way to the hospital (45 minute drive from the house). we very calmly gathered everything that wasn't already packed in the hospital bag - the ipad, camera bag, slippers (DEFINITELY a necessity, i found out!) and we headed out. ry has a gear that he kicks into where he is able to remain unbelievably calm in situations that others might find stressful. it's a wonderful quality to have as it allowed me to stay calm throughout the contractions in the car. let me tell you - contractions while driving over bumpy dirt roads are not so enjoyable! 

we made it to the hospital and got settled into our room on the labor and delivery floor around 4 am. krista came in and checked to see where things were at and we were at 3 1/2 cm, so they kept us and thought baby j should arrive sometime in the afternoon. we settled in and contractions kept coming and going. there is such a natural rhythm to them, that they were not that bad to go through. yes, they were painful, but they start and they end and then you rest. no big deal, really. the strangest thing to me, though, was that as a contraction was coming my body would start shaking. there was no controlling it, either, it just happened. as long as i just let my body shake, i was okay. it was just tough if i tried to control the shaking. as the morning wore on, i soaked in the tub, which felt so wonderful. i used the "birthing ball" (i giggle every time i say that because in the gym it's an exercise ball, but on the labor and delivery floor it's a birthing ball). i was able to work through the contractions best on that. however, as time progressed and contractions became stronger, i began having intense back labor. i was able to breathe through the contractions fine before the back labor, but the back labor made things a little more difficult. luckily the nurse was able to show ryan how to alleviate the pressure a bit by pressing the contractions through my back to the front by putting his whole weight on me. in between contractions he rubbed my back to keep me focused. we also realized that listening to pandora on my caedmon's call station helped me focus through contractions. once we got all those things in place we were able to work through contractions together. around 9 or 10 am they checked again and i had progressed to 6 cm! things were moving right along nicely. we continued for another couple of hours thinking that the work was getting somewhere. they tried having me walk around through contractions, but it was incredibly hard to focus out in the hall with all the different noises and no music to get me through. the music, i think, was the most helpful (besides my amazing husband, of course). somehow every time a particularly strong contraction came there was a song that had a lyric that reminded me of a verse or a lyric that talked about the Lord being our strength. perfect. a couple of the verses that i focused on were:

yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow tired, they will walk and not become weary - isaiah 40:31

wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord - psalm 27:14

my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness - 2 corinthians 12:9

around 1 pm they checked again to see where we had progressed to. 7 cm. sigh...all those contractions over the past two hours had only gotten us one cm more. what was worse is that i could tell the contractions were getting a bit weaker. they let me keep going, though, for now. so ryan and i worked through more contractions for an hour or so before they came in to check again. thankfully i had a friend who had gone through something similar - hours of contractions, just to have them weaken, but not get to where they needed to get to - so i knew what was coming. the midwife (now marti) checked to see where things were at:7 cm. and then the news we were dreading: no progress plus weakening contractions plus exhaustion setting in both mentally and physically meant it was time to talk about options. well, actually, there weren't really any options since my body was tiring out quickly. i needed to induce stronger contractions with pitocin...which meant an epidural. cue the tears and disappointment. we had worked since 7 pm the night before without any pain meds to stall out at 7 cm. it felt like the previous 19-20 hours had been in vain. it's hard to remember in that moment that the Lord is still in control, but He is and He was, so that is what i choose to think on now.

enter anesthesiologist. this part of the day was not fun. as soon as he sits down to tell me the risks associated with the epidural (a major reason why i didn't want one in the first place...along with other personal reasons that i may or may not blog about some day...), my body decides to puke up everything in my stomach about six inches from where he was sitting. poor guy. he took it right in stride - major points. he was such a nice guy and wicked patient, too. he explained the risks, i signed the consent, had a few more tears and he came in with his tray of epidural things. as he started, ry couldn't watch...and i don't blame him. i was scared the whole time that needle was going into my back. finally it was over and the epidural was in with no complications and quickly took effect.

the next 3-4 hours passed quickly. my exhausted body was able to rest and i even snuck in a two hour nap. because i was sleeping, though, the nurse couldn't rotate me which meant all of the epidural wore off on my left side. major bummer. i started to feel contractions again in the left side of my back which was definitely not pleasant. around 8 pm or so, marti came in to check and see where things were at. 10 cm!! ha. those last three cm were a breeze...i felt like i cheated my way there, but we were there nonetheless. what was funny about this is that two seconds before marti came in, ry walked out to go find a newspaper with the date on it so we could have that as a momento. oops - had to call him and get him to come back right away since it was time to push.

pushing began, which was great because i could actually do some work to get through the now painful again contractions. we pushed and pushed and pushed for an hour and a half. i kept asking about progress, and every time i did, the midwife was sounding less and less hopeful that this little man was going to make it out with pushing alone. she told me she was going to bring in the OB on call. bummer. not only do i dislike working with doctors (i find them to be not quite as personable as our amazing midwives), but it also meant c section was on the table for discussion.

the OB came in and took one quick look and told us that our only real option was a c section. let the tears start flowing again. this was the absolute last thing i wanted. not only did i need to receive an epidural, but now we were headed for a c section, too. i was so tired from pushing and from the previous 24 hours of labor that i just could not keep it together.

the next part happened oh so quickly and feels like a blur. they came in to get my consent for surgery (still bizarre to me that i don't connect the fact that a c section IS surgery...i don't know why i can't reconcile those things in my head). then the anesthesiologist came in to see what was up with the epidural. since it had worn off on the left side, i was told i would need a full spinal. what that means is i'd be numb from the neck down. great. not only do i need a c section, but now my whole body is going to be numb for quite some am i ever going to hold and feed my baby right after?? it felt like one blow after another.

they wheeled me away and left ry to change into his scrubs. they told him they'd be back to get him in 10 or 15 minutes. however, once they got me on the table and were trying to put the spinal in, all they could get was epidural fluid. it took them 45 minutes to get that darn thing in and get my body completely numb. all i kept thinking and saying was "where's ry? i need ry!" i knew he would be pacing back in the room with his mind wandering since they were taking so long. finally they were able to go get him and the camera and start taking little man out of my body. from start to finish i think it took about ten minutes...maybe. and what a strange feeling it was not being able to feel my baby being born. in fact, we spent the whole time talking to our midwife about cameras! i think they were trying to keep me and ry from focusing on what was happening. the best part, though, was when they were taking him out and as soon as his head was out he started crying. his whole body wasn't even out yet and i heard everyone working on me laughing which gave me a sigh of relief. as soon as he was out, they brought him over to see us:

wow. what a crazy feeling. ry was able to go over and watch them weigh him, clean him and measure him. jacob grabbed onto his finger while they were doing all of that. then they let ry hold him and bring him over to see me...the smile in ry eyes gets me every time:

the hospital really promotes skin to skin contact right away, but because of the spinal, i had no movement in anything below my neck. ryan was able to place jacob down by my face so i could see him and give him a kiss, but i couldn't really do much else.

and then, as one of my good friends who had also had a c section had warned me, my body started shaking uncontrollably as the meds wore off. i was so glad for the warning, because that was the strangest feeling EVER. even still, they placed jacob right on my chest and wheeled me back down to our room. i had gained some control of my arms again, so i was able to hold him while i was shaking. he cried and cried and cried while i shook for the next hour and a half. finally as the shaking wore off he calmed down and i was able to hold him and feed him. it was such a good feeling to finally have this little man in our lives and not just growing inside of me. as soon as he was in our arms, life completely changed. and while labor and delivery was nothing like we had hoped, we wouldn't change having jacob in our arms for anything.

as i look back on this, i can't help but know that our God is sovereign and in control. things happened during labor that we couldn't have imagined - i never thought i'd need a c section. i guess it's just a reminder that God is God and He does things that we might not understand, but that are for our best interest and ultimately His glory.

the mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. proverbs 16:9 

welcome to this world, jacob jay. you are so dearly loved.