Saturday, July 11, 2015

Keaton's Birth

From the Archives

We waited five very long years to begin trying for our second child. Wanting to be rid of our tiny, two bedroom duplex and secure in a house, my husband insisted on waiting for what felt like an eternity to me. Being a teacher, I had to consider and plan when the ideal time to become pregnant would be during the school year. We felt that February would be the earliest reasonable time for me to take maternity leave, so we counted down the days until May of 2006 when we could begin trying.

To our surprise conception occurred very quickly, after only a week and a half. I was suspicious that I was pregnant for several days before I decided to take a pregnancy test. I had been experiencing food aversions, intense fatigue, and endless weeping over unusual circumstances, such as watching a Memorial Day parade. My five year old and I went to Walgreen’s where I bought a pregnancy test for me and apple gum for him. I brought the test home and left it in the bathroom where I refused to think about it for two hours. In the middle of an episode of Oprah, I said a quick prayer, retrieved the Walgreen’s bag, and took the test, which was of course positive. I immediately dragged my husband off the computer to the bathroom where I showed him the test and then promptly burst into tears.

Almost two weeks after discovering that we were expecting, we told our son that “The Baby Boss” had answered his prayers and had put a baby in Mommy’s tummy. He was very excited and asked a lot of questions. That evening he gave my tummy a kiss, explaining that “the baby’s never had a kiss before.” After a few minutes of playing with his Legos, he changed his mind and said, “Actually, Mommy, that was probably the baby’s second kiss. I bet Jesus gave the baby his first kiss before he left heaven.” We knew then that he would be a very thoughtful big brother.

My second pregnancy proved to be very different from my first. I suffered from severe “morning sickness” that occurred from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed at night. Not only was I ravenously hungry but also intensely repulsed at even the idea of food. I was thrilled when this misery finally stopped at 14 weeks. During the second and third trimesters, I experienced the typical pregnancy ailments: Heartburn, leg cramps, back pain, and an inability to take deep breaths. I was very much looking forward to the conclusion of my pregnancy.

At twenty weeks, my mother, husband, son, and I gathered in the ultrasound room in my OB/GYN’s office. After several minutes of checking the baby’s heartbeat and measurements, the technician informed us that another little boy was on his way. After pausing a moment, my son excitedly declared, “Mommy, it’s a boy fiesta!” Laughing, we all agreed with him.

My due date was Sunday, February 4th. Unfortunately, that day came and went without a contraction. My doctor scheduled an induction for the following Friday. Having heard multiple horror stories about inductions, I prayed that one would not be necessary and that my little boy would appear on his own.    

On Tuesday, February 6th, I went to work as usual, feeling very annoyed that I was still hugely pregnant and having to teach. After school, I went to Target to pick up curtain rods for the nursery as the curtains had just been delivered, and they were the final item I needed to finish the nursery. That evening I went back to school for my grade level’s PTA performance. Despite being over 40 weeks pregnant, I conducted over 80 second graders as they sang a Japanese song about frogs. Occasionally, I would experience a contraction, but none that made me think that my baby would arrive soon.

That night I went to bed irritated that I would have to teach the next day when I would have much preferred to stay home and mentally prepare myself for my baby’s arrival. I fell asleep quickly about eleven o’clock. At three o’clock, just four hours later, I was awakened by my first real contraction. This contraction was painful, but I chose to ignore it, because I was convinced that this baby would come out only by an induction. Ten minutes later I experienced another contraction that was as painful as the first. At 3:30, I experienced a third contraction that was followed by a noisy pop. Having read hundreds of birth stories during my pregnancy, I knew this sound was my water breaking. The pop was followed by a loud and very painful clanking sound, which was the baby’s head descending into the birth canal. I knew at this point the baby was finally on his way and an induction was not going to be necessary.

I chose not wake my husband yet because I assumed that we had many hours until we would have to leave for the hospital. I was even considering going into work for a few hours. Having had a 39 hour labor with my first son, I was not in a rush to leave for the hospital.

After hearing the pop and feeling the baby start his descent into the birth canal, I got out of bed and waddled down the hall to the bathroom. I noticed I had a slow leak and then decided to crawl back into bed to rest for a while longer. After getting back into bed, my contractions immediately increased in frequency and intensity. I grabbed my husband’s hand and squeezed through each one. Around 4:00, he awoke and asked me groggily if this was it.

By 4:30, I was crying and telling my husband that this labor was so much worse than my first and that I couldn’t bear it. If I had paid closer attention to what I was saying and how I was feeling, I would have realized that I was probably in transition at this point and should have rushed to the hospital. Instead I headed for the shower, insisting that I needed to be fresh and clean for my delivery.

The shower was a miserable experience. Each flurry of cleaning was halted by an excruciating contraction. I turned the shower massager on full blast and let the spray hit my stomach where the pain was most intense, desperately trying to find some relief. Repeatedly, I mumbled through my tears “What time I am afraid, I put my trust in Thee.” After an agonizing thirty minutes, I was finally shampooed, conditioned, scrubbed, and able to leave the shower. 

Upon exiting the shower, I instructed my husband to call our families and his boss. Between contractions I quickly texted my friends and co-workers, letting them know my water had broken. My mother-in-law was due to arrive soon to pick up our son, while my mom was getting ready to meet us at the hospital later that morning.

Our son woke up during this time and was very excited to learn that his baby brother was on his way. However, I was unnerved at the thought of him watching me in pain. I told my husband to keep him out of the room as much as possible. Before he left to put on his clothes, my son said a prayer for me, asking God to “help Mommy be very brave.”

While I struggled to put on my makeup and fix my hair, my husband called his boss to notify him that he would not be coming into work. While he was on the phone, I yelled at him to hang up and hold my hand because my contractions were more than I could bear alone. At this point, I told my husband there was no time for him to take a shower and to call his mother to question where she was.

A few minutes before six, my mother-in-law arrived and took our son to her house. After having my husband snap my last pregnancy picture, I headed for the car. My husband grabbed my bags, tossed them in the back seat, and quickly took off. Giving him instructions to drive fast, I suffered through several contractions on the short ride to the hospital. As he drove, I begged my husband to pray that I was at least four centimeters and could get an epidural upon arriving. I was convinced that in the five years since my son was born I had become a complete wimp as this labor was so much more intense than I ever experienced with my first child.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot at 6:10. After struggling through a contraction, I quickly exited the car and headed for the registration desk. To my dismay, no one was at the desk when we entered the lobby. After two or three very long minutes passed, a receptionist meandered up to the desk and inquired about my social security number. Unable to speak for myself, my husband managed to correctly supply this information after three failed attempts. I was extremely agitated that he could not remember my social security number, but I was neither able to voice my frustration nor the needed numbers. The receptionist took my insurance card and after I endured fifteen minutes of painful and very loud contractions, she declared that I was ready to go to triage. The receptionist questioned if I wanted a wheelchair. I asked her if she could get me one quickly. Her response was so slow that I determined walking would be faster and barked at my husband to get me to the elevator.

Upon entering triage at 6:30, I was met by the gazes of five nurses. I noted that I was their only patient and hoped that this meant I would be checked and given my epidural quickly.  I was shown a room, given a gown, and told to undress. I quickly shed my clothes and put on the hospital gown between contractions. I lay down on the bed, grateful to be in a horizontal position to endure my contractions. When the nurse entered my room to hook me up to the monitor, I asked her to check me. She explained that she had to ask me a few questions first.

With agonizing slowness, the nurse inquired when my water had broken, when I had last drank anything, what my religious affiliation was, and when I had last had a b.m. At this last question, I lost my patience and yelled that I needed to be checked immediately because the baby was right there. While the nurse was scrambling to find someone to check me, I demanded that my husband pray for me and then promptly yelled at him because I could not hear his prayer over my own moans and screams.

A new nurse entered the room and had me roll on to my back. Upon checking me, she said, “She’s nine centimeters, 100% effaced, and at a plus one station! Get her to delivery!” I was shocked to learn of my status, and then in the next moment my body was consumed by its first urge to push.  As several nurses ran me from triage to the delivery room, I asked, “Am I going to be able to get my epidural?” I knew the answer even before the nurse replied, “Honey, you’ll have this baby before the anesthesiologist can even get up here.” Unhappily, I resigned myself to a natural child birth.

As I was rolled into the delivery room, I told my husband to call my mother and tell her to hurry. Medical personnel scurried around the room as I lay on my side and screamed through what felt like never-ending contractions and an all-consuming urge to push. I begged for water or ice chips as my throat was completely dry from my continuous screams, but I was ignored.  

The nurse checked me again and said, “She just has a small lip left.” My body paid her no attention as it pushed of its own accord. The midwife hurried into the room and had me begin pushing along with my body. After my first intentional push on my side, I realized that I was solely responsible for getting this baby out of my body and for ending my pain. I rolled on my back to be able to push more effectively. With the next contraction, I pushed as hard as I could, screaming, “Get out!” as he crowned. My mother ran into the room at this moment, having been directed upon exiting the elevator to “follow the screams.” She ran quickly to me to support my neck as my husband and a nurse supported my legs. 

As I cried and gasped for breath before my final contraction, the midwife asked if I wanted to touch the baby’s head, and I quickly replied, “No!” I knew that doing so would make the delivery longer than necessary, and I wanted it over immediately. With one more push and several screams of “Get him out,” Keaton Parker entered this world at 7:08 a.m., just four hours after my first contraction.

My little boy weighed 8 pounds 2 ounces and was 20 and ½ inches long. His arrival was unexpectedly fast and extremely tough.  However, God knew that this baby would be an enormous blessing to our family and worth every painful contraction. I am grateful that He was right. 

~ Shared by Ashley B.

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