Friday, July 27, 2012

Last Days of Pregnancy, Early Hours with Baby H

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19

I've been home more than a week now. The hospital stay seems kind of far away already as I've stepped back into the swirl of half a dozen daughters and a new son.

I wanted to post some photos and thoughts from the end of the pregnancy, while it's still fresh in my heart...

Mrs. M was so kind to bring my little 2 girls out to the hospital to visit me the week before Baby H was born. CJ was having a grand old time with the phone. It was such an 80's looking phone! Haha! And you can see my two tankards, as I called them. The nurses were always filling them up with more water for me. Such servants, they were. (Drinking both twice = a gallon of H20!)

Photo credit to Mrs. M on this one. Love it!

Night before the induction, one last belly shot at the prayed-for 35 week mark!

One of my last fetal-monitoring sessions. The squiggly line on the left shows Baby H's heart rate. The line on the right shows my contractions and/or the baby's movements. By the end of the pregnancy, I was ready to be done with monitoring, just because it can become unnerving to sit and watch your baby's heart rate go all over the place. Baby H's nearly always did what it was supposed to, but every now and then he scared me a bit, especially in the last few days of pregnancy.

We got up early on that Monday the 16th so that we'd have time to shower (and to put on my makeup, of course! ha!). I read Psalm 139 that morning and particularly liked the last few verses:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. vv 23-24

BB went out into the dark morning for coffee and breakfast for himself (you know the rule for laboring moms: no food! Too bad!) and while he was gone, I wrestled yet again with ugly fear.
After all God had taught me though this experience, I was sad to see that not only was anxiety still very present, it was also large. The Holy Spirit counseled my heart. He showed that I was still afraid, struggling mightily to rest and to trust my good God, and that my reasons for wanting to trust Him weren't even pure! I could see pride: I wanted to be able to say Look! I'm not afraid! I'm trusting the Lord! And, frankly, I just wanted to be comfortable. It's scary to face a labor and delivery which you know to be higher risk than normal and I really just didn't want to feel afraid. It was very, very humbling to see that in my fallenness, I was not even capable of wanting to trust Him for the right reasons...that I wasn't focused on glorifying Jesus.

This is when grace was so apparent and I prayed, Lord, I cannot do this. I have nothing for You. Pour out your grace here and take away my fear; help me to trust. 
It was freeing to admit my inability and my helplessness to the Helper.

Although they wheeled me over to labor and delivery at 630am, the nurse didn't start my pitocin drip until 9am. I was dilated to 3cm before the induction started, which was good news. I'd been contracting   off and on all week long. My body was ready to be done! God had graciously allowed this - it really prepared me for induction.

The labor story is actually rather boring! What a blessing and answer to prayer THAT is, right?! Check out all my sweet hookups as Napoleon Dynamite would say. There was penicillin, fluids, pitocin, and the epidural...maybe other things along the way as well. It was a far cry from the med-free birthing center delivery we'd originally planned, but we were more than okay with that, since this was the way God chose to care for Baby H.  No disappointment here.

Less than half an hour into the pitocin drip, I was contracting regularly, but painlessly. I was allowed to have the epidural pretty early in the induction, because everyone (including me) was pretty sure the labor would be fast. The epidural worked beautifully. Within 2 hours of starting induction, I was at 7cm, progressing really fast. Oh, as an aside, I was committed to NOT looking at the monitors and freaking myself out by watching Baby's heart rate obsessively. Every now and then, I asked BB if the baby was looking okay (as if the nurse and doctor weren't on top of things, which they were!)

At 7cm, they decided to purposely slow my labor in order to allow the full dose of penicillin to be administered. This was because I'd never had the group B strep test and they wanted to medicate against the possibility of my having been group B positive. So, basically, the labor was stalled for over an hour. Once the dose was finished, the nurse turned the pitocin drip back on and told me to let her know if I felt pressure. Within an hour, I felt pressure. The doctor checked me, said I was at 10cm, and the place turned into a beehive: the doctor came in and suited up, along with his assistant and my L & D nurse. There were at least 4 NICU nurses, and I don't know who else. I was pretty preoccupied with the baby making its way out of me and into the world at last. Once the doctor was in place to catch Baby H, I started crying my eyes out from relief that it was almost over.

The doctor told me I could push. I said no. Don't ask. I'm a wimp in these moments! 

I didn't realize I had my eyes squeezed shut until the doctor said, Open your eyes!
After about 1.5 pushes, taking a grand total of about 60 seconds, my baby son was born. The doctor held him up a long time for me to see. And I cried.
Baby H was screaming. He was all slimy and stocky-looking and at a glance, clearly bigger than any of us expected! The labor was 4 hours, start to finish, including the intentional delay. It was peaceful and efficient and not scary. Praise be to the God of tender mercies.

The next thing was for the NICU nurses to evaluate Baby H. It did not take them long to declare that he was not NICU material. Praise be to God!

They wrapped him up and let us visit with the baby until the newborn nursery nurse arrived. It wasn't till she came that we got to learn his stats:

We are bottle-feeding Baby H, a decision that comes after years of breastfeeding difficulties. The neat thing is that I am able to give him my own milk.

This was in the evening after H was born. We've always loved the quiet first hours with our new babies - wondering over their tiny humanity, and one of our favorite things: getting them dressed in real clothes for the first time. This little gray outfit is impossibly small and fit him perfectly.

Because Baby H lived in such a low-fluid environment for so long, he stayed in the same exact position for over 6 weeks. Without the semi-weightlessness afforded by fluid-living, pre-PROM (premature preterm rupture of membranes) babies can experience asymmetrical and restricted growth issues. In H's case, he was born with one foot looking really malformed, folded all the way up against his shin.

In this photo, I'd flipped him over into his standard womb position, and sure enough, the little curved foot exactly followed what would've been the curve of his pre-born home.

I'm so happy and thankful to report that his foot looks almost completely normal now, although an imperfect foot was certainly of no matter to us after getting Baby here safely! It's another tender mercy of God that babies' bodies are still so moldable at birth. Slowly but surely, with room to move around, Baby H's foot has relaxed into a very normal position and he has perfect range of motion with the ankle!

Right now, life is a mixture of babymoon and adjustments and lost-sleep exhaustion (though he is not keeping us up any more than the average newborn - he's doing great!). I'm glad to be home. Glad to have this family. I love the Lord and praise Him for His kindness to us in all these things.

We'll say a sad goodbye to Grandma BeBe on Sunday. That'll be hard. Only because she's been such a blessing.

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU for the birth story! I loved it - teary, yes, because you told it so well and I could feel the emotions right along.

    Well. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable mercy. Amazing.