Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Journey Begins...

Becoming a mom has been an adventure. This particular adventure started with years of infertility, 11 months with a reproductive endocrinologist and after 9 months the arrival of a beautiful baby boy.

The last leg of this adventure began October 9th, 2010, well it actually began sometime January 2010; but I will spare you those details.

Let’s start on October 8th.

On October 8th I had what was to be my final obstetrics appointment with my midwife, my due date was October 15th and since I am one of the luckiest girls on earth, I was having a scheduled c-section on that day. After being examined I was informed by my midwife that the baby would stay put until they went in to get him and that I needed to schedule my pre-op appointment/consultation with the doctor in the practice that performs the c-sections. That appointment was set for October 14th, I was told to just relax and enjoy my last week of pregnancy.

After leaving the midwife’s office Jason, my husband, and I went to lunch and then to the mall; for some reason I had it in my mind that the baby HAD to have more hats. It’s not like we live in South Alabama where the seasons are: Summer, Still Summer, Christmas, and Summer. We went to every baby store in the mall and did not find a single hat that I liked. Jason joked that I was probably going to walk the baby out. Since I had just been told by my midwife, who is a medical professional, that I had virtually no risk of going into labor naturally, I didn’t believe him.

Fast forward to 8 a.m. Saturday October 9th; Jason is at work at the fire department, I am at home watching cartoons. After eating a gigantic chocolate muffin for breakfast I called my mom so I could talk to her on her way to work. A few minutes into our conversation I stood up to get a drink, immediately after standing I felt like I had peed my pants, I was 39 weeks pregnant, and ask any pregnant woman, pee happens. Shrugging it off I went and changed clothes while still talking to my mom. I sat on the bed put my clean pajama pants on stood up and peed again. This time I mentioned it to my mom, she said I need to call Jason and tell him what was going on because she thought I was leaking amniotic fluid. I laughed at her and told her she was crazy, but still called Jason just to get his opinion. If I forgot to mention it earlier he is also a paramedic.

When I entered my last trimester of pregnancy my husband and I developed a plan that would allow me to get in touch with him if I went into labor while he was at work. He works two jobs both are 24 hour shifts; 24 hours as a firemedic, 24 hours as a paramedic and then 24 hours at home. I work 12 hour night shifts as a police dispatcher; we figured that odds were I was going to go into labor while one of us was at work. As it turned out he was the one at work.

On this particular Saturday he was working at the fire department. According to our “plan” I was to call his cell phone, which of course he didn’t answer, and then call the administrative line to 911. At this point I was thinking that I wasn’t really in labor so there was no reason to call 911, administrative line or not. So I called every fire station trying to find him, no answer at any of them. I was still relatively calm, until I was standing in the bathroom and felt like I peed my pants again. Nobody has that much pee. I tried his cell-phone one last time, again with no answer, and then immediately called the administrative line to 911. I spoke with the supervisor and asked him to call Jason on the radio because he wasn’t answering my phone calls, the supervisor asked why, and I told him that I thought my water had broken he told me that Jason would call me back in under 5 minutes.

He did call me back in under 5 minutes; funny thing is that he never heard them call him on the radio, his partner heard them call him on the radio and came into the gym where he was working out telling him to call home NOW. When he called me I explained what was going on and he said that he was on his way home. The contractions started about 30 minutes before he got there. Through all of this excitement I was surprisingly calm. In the time it took for him to get from work to home I finished packing my bag, the baby’s bag, took a shower, and was ready to go when he walked through the door.

We live relatively close to the hospital so the drive wasn’t long, but I was having regular contractions, about 2-3 minutes apart. I really thought I was going to get to prove my doctor’s wrong. I had been told from the beginning of the pregnancy that I would have to have a c-section because I have what is known as an android pelvis. I was told that I would not go into labor naturally; and since I did go into labor naturally I was holding out hope that I would escape the surgeon’s scalpel. I found out quickly that I was wrong.

When we arrived at the hospital I had been in labor for approximately 3 hours. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and a monitor to watch contractions. My contractions stayed 2-3 minutes apart and spiked all the way up to the top of the scale. A nurse checked to see if I was dilated, and I was less than 1cm, you have to be 10cm to even think about starting to push out a baby. She did a swab to check for amniotic fluid that came up positive, at this point they called in my midwife. The midwife arrived around 1pm she checked me for dilation progression and I was still less than 1 cm. So much for delivering naturally. She decided to do a ferning test which is a more in depth test for amniotic fluid. This test came up negative, she deduced that I had sprung a leak that had sealed itself back off, which is not as uncommon as one would think. When she got those results it was a few minutes before 3 pm and I had been in labor for eight hours. She checked my dilation again, I still had not made any progress, so we discussed the options I had.

My options were I could continue to labor for up to 24 hours and then have a c-section or I could have them call in the operating room staff and get it done then. 8 hours of labor was enough for me, which means, the operating room staff made some overtime that weekend.

I was in the operating room and prepped for surgery before 3:20, I had always heard that they moved quickly with c-sections but never really believed it.

While lying on the operating table with a drape in front of my face so I couldn’t see anything I could feel myself being basically lifted off the table. I looked at Jason and he had this amazed look on his face. He told me that what I thought was happening was. Which I didn’t completely understand until after it was all over and he gave me a detailed description of the delivery of our child.

Since I have an android pelvis there was no room for the baby to drop down, which is why I didn’t/couldn’t dilate. This also means that he was wedged under my ribs. Jason told me that Esther, my midwife, was pushing down on my ribs, while a nurse was pulling retractors and the doctor was “fishing” inside my abdomen trying to un-wedge the baby.

At 3:50 pm our son Joshua Davis Brooks was born, all 8lbs 8oz and 19 inches of him. Unlike a normal baby he didn’t cry when he came out he said “Wa-ah” and then just looked around the room, basically he cheated me out of that first cry moment. I vaguely remember him being shown to me before he and Jason were off to the nursery for the first bath, footprints, and all those other things they do to newborns.

The experience of being awake during surgery was different. I actually had conversations with my midwife and doctor as they were putting me back together. The conversation was nonsensical. We discussed landscaping, sign panting and when Jason and I are planning on another child. My response to that particular question was “can’t you guys get me sewn up before we discuss getting another one in there”. Overall it wasn’t bad, just strange.

I will never forget the day that my first child was born. No matter how uneventful it was it was still the beginning to the greatest journey of my life.

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