In Retrospect

I just realized, I don't have the story of Keith's birth written down anywhere! That is a story I want to always treasure, so I guess I need to record it.

So, I really wont have hurt feelings if no one reads this, I just need to have a record of it before the other baby is born and I mix the stories up.

On Monday October 15th 2007 I gathered up all my belongings from my desk. I didn't know why I was doing it, I just figured I would need to eventually, so I might as well sooner rather than later. Besides, I hated my job. It wasn't my job so much as the assistant manager made things miserable for me. She didn't like me. As a result the workplace wasn't the happiest of places. I recall looking around, checking my desk for any other personal items, and wishing the baby could be born that night. I didn't want to return. With a cheerful farewell I left Emmalyn (my cohort) and went home.

Around 10:00 that night I started to hurt. There was no tightening across the belly. There was no back pain. Just really bad menstrual cramp type pain in my hips. I moaned and found that lying down only made things worse. The house was dark and silent and I haunted the rooms moaning like a ghost. I even laughed at myself, but couldn't go back to bed. I didn't want to wake up Jeffrey as we both had work in the morning. But I was too uncomfortable to lie down. It wasn't very painful, just very uncomfortable. I couldn't stand up straight, so in Quasimodo fashion I roamed the whole night through. It was a very long night.

When the clock hit 7:00 I figured it was late enough to call my brother the Doctor. I explained my pain to him, and he said the baby was just on my sciatic nerve and to not worry about it. I called the doctor on call who said the same thing. I wasn't satisfied so I called my doctor and she told me the same thing. I called my mother, and sister in law, and all agreed with my know it all brother. I had an appointment scheduled later that day so my doctor said to just take it easy and come in at the regular time.

I called my work and talked to my boss. He is one of the best boss' I have ever had. I explained that I hadn't gotten any sleep the night before and my doctor told me to take it easy, so I wouldn't be going in that day. He was wonderful and said it was alright. I felt really guilty calling in because I wasn't sick or in any pain any more, but I really did need my sleep. I finished my phone calls by about 8:30 and finally went to sleep.

Jeffrey was a little concerned. He had a very flexible job and so opted to stay home with me that day. He hadn't realized I had been up all night until he woke up to find himself alone in the bed. He made me some breakfast of eggs, and then tucked me in.

I woke up around noon, I think and got showered and ready for the day. I felt great. We decided to go for a walk in the park that is near my house. I remember walking with him and feeling like I was on my honeymoon all over again. We had only been married for 10 months, but it had been a hard adjustment for the both of us since I got pregnant two weeks after we got married. The adjustments of living with someone are hard enough but throw the pregnant hormones and the uncertainty of a first pregnancy in there and it was quite a ride! But the walk was so nice! We talked about walking to the appointment since the hospital was only about two miles away. When we finished walking the park we went back to the house and watched my favorite TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

We had decided we didn't want to call our parents until after that baby was born since we both thought it would be pretty pointless to have them waiting at the hospital for who knows how long. I had joked about calling my mother right before we left for my appointment and telling her we were on the way to the hospital and then after she had gotten very excited telling her it was just for my appointment. I am a bit silly that way. But as is our habit, we looked at the clock and realized we had just 5 minutes to get to my appointment, so we left without the phone call.

I got in to see my doctor around 4:30. She asked the normal questions, asked me how I had felt all day since I had called her that morning. I told her I felt great, but was just a little tired. She said that was normal (canned response) and wanted to check my cervix. As she was checking she got a surprised look on her face, and then informed me I had dilated to a 7 and needed to go to Labor and Delivery right then. She said she didn't feel like she could let me go home.

We were shocked. I remember the nervous butterflies erupting in my stomach and grabbing Jeffrey's arm. My doctor was shocked that I had no pain, but regardless, the cervix didn't lie and it was time. After I got checked in Jeffrey gave me a blessing, and then rushed home to get our bags. It was a good thing we had been running late and so hadn't walked!

When the doctor got in to check on me an hour later I was at an 8, so she decided to break my water. She broke it and then left the room. After about 10 minutes a nurse came in and started to check the many machines I was hooked up to.

I remember lying in the bed and feeling so embarrassed. I could have sworn I had just wet the bed. The nurse laughed and assured me it was just the amniotic fluid, but I was unconvinced. I remember she kept laughing and saying I was so funny, but I didn't know what I was saying that was so funny to her.

And then the pressure hit. It wasn't pain, it was extreme pressure and Jeffrey hadn't gotten back yet, and I wanted so badly to hold his hand. I was scared and alone. I kept praying that he would get back soon. The nurse saw my contorted face and assured me the anesthesiologist would be in to take away the pain in ten minutes. He was just finishing up a c section.

Jeffrey got back about 2 minutes before the anesthesiologist. His name was Silver and he was such a nice man. He told me to curl up into a ball as much as I could (you know, it is kind of hard when a big belly is in the way) and I could feel myself tense up. I had never seen the needle but I had heard stories. I was scared but pretended to be brave. He gave me the shot and I remember the pressure never went away. I started itching all over and he said it was just in my mind, I wasn't really itching, it was just the effect of the epidural. I still don't completely believe him. He said if I resisted the urge the sensation would go away. Ten minutes later the fear was amped up a bit when the pressure was still just as intense but I couldn't feel anything in patches from my waist up. Dr. Silver was a little alarmed as well and found a pin (I have no idea where he found it, it just seemed to magically appear) and began poking me. I remember being poked in some places and not feeling a thing but other places thinking "he just poked me with a pin! Ouch!" I was mostly numb up to my neck. Somehow the epidural hadn't worked so he gave me another shot in the back. After about five minutes I felt a calm and was no longer afraid of being paralyzed. I couldn't feel from the waist down, but waist up I was fine. I still don't understand how the second shot took away the effects of the first one, but I didn't complain about it.

Not much seemed to happen. Jeffrey and I chatted about nothing. I was very annoyed because I was so thirsty and they would only let me have ice chips. I just wanted a tall glass of water but they refused. I laid in the bed sucking on the ice chips Jeffrey fed me and muttered under my breath about how thirsty I was.

At 10:00 my doctor came back and said it was time to start pushing. I didn't know if I was pushing or not, so I remember doing something of a crunch and making my face turn red. I don't know how to explain other than I could hold my breath in a certain way and my face would turn red and a little sweaty. I guessed I was doing it right because they weren't telling me to correct anything. I remember being told to push just a little harder, the baby was crowning, but when I stopped pushing he would recede a little. I didn't know how to change the strength of my pushes, but I tried to do as directed.

At 10:33 Keith was born. I remembered Bill Cosby telling his wife she had just given birth to a lizard because their baby had changed color three times in five minutes. I laughed a little because it was so true! The put him on my stomach but I was so drugged up and out of it, I guess I didn't pay much attention. Jeffrey was horrified at first because no one told him about the cone head. He though our baby had been deformed. But they gave me the baby and I still feel very guilty because I hate slimy messes. Hate them. I once watched a pig give birth and I was fine. Then they had me hold something I can't remember what it was and the dry heaving started. I really have a hard time with sliminess, and he was very slimy I think. I don't remember much of what transpired. i didn't cuddle him or hold him close because I was very tired, drugged and trying not to dry heave because of the slime. I then remember them taking him, checking his height and weight (21 inches 8 lbs 3 oz) and then cleaning him off a little. Jeffrey asked a nurse if he was supposed to be blue like that, and then the panic broke out. They rushed him away to oxygen machines and left me with a nurse in the room. I think I fell asleep a little. In the meantime Jeffrey called our parents and went with our baby.

I remember them coming into my room and telling me the baby needed to eat. They asked if I could get into the wheelchair and I scoffed at the idea of needing help. I swung my legs over the edge of the bed but when I tried to stand I nearly collapsed. My mother and the nurse caught me and held me steady. I remember shaking so much and crying a little. I was so scared because I couldn't move my legs and I couldn't control the shaking and I didn't know what was happening with my baby. Also I hate the feeling of being numb more than just about anything else in the world. I was helped into the wheelchair and then wheeled into the transition room where I got to see my baby. He was hooked up to all sorts of monitors but I got to hold him and behind a curtain I got to figure out how to feed him. But he only wanted to sleep. After he ate a little more they wheeled me to my room and I don't remember much else that night. I remember waking up around 7:00 and calling my work. I talked to Ernie, one of my favorite people there. I told them I wasn't coming in because I was at the hospital and had such a beautiful baby boy. I remember Jeffrey coming into the room and telling me that our baby was in the NICU. I remember my heart stopping.

They had kept him in the transition room all night and his oxygen had been stable but when they had started to wheel him down the hall to my room it dropped again, so he had to be kept in the NICU. Jeffrey helped me get up and get myself descent (or as decent as a hospital gown will allow) and then wheeled me down to the NICU. I could walk by that time, but my behind sure hurt, and I was so grateful for the Boppy I had. I could sit on it and it helped the pain. We went down and there he was in a diaper that was way too big in an incubator. He had monitors and IVs and it brought tears to my eyes.

I couldn't hold him at that time, but I could reach through the incubator and touch him. I remember his hair was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen on a baby. It was very dark at the roots, but the tips looked like he had gone to a salon and had them frosted. The were so blond they were almost white, and it was so soft! His skin was so wrinkly but soft. Eventually I got to hold him and I learned they had given him a bottle. They had been formula feeding him all night because I was so out of it and Jeffrey didn't want to disturb me. We didn't know that because of that it would make it hard for him to breast feed.

They kept him in the incubator for two days. I would go from my room and sit in the rocker next to him for most of the day. Jeffrey and his mother went to our house and cleaned the carpets. The whole time I was in the hospital it rained. I love the rain and remember walking from my room at two in the morning to try to feed him and seeing the rain streaming down the windows. I love the rain and was grateful that it was raining when he was born.

On the third day there was released. However the hospital we were staying was wonderful and offered boarding. This meant I could stay in the hospital room, but would have no more monitoring. It meant no more free meals or medicine, but it also meant no more being awakened three times in the night by the nurses checking in on me. I woke up and walked down to the NICU for Keith's morning meal. When I got there I saw they had removed him from the incubator and he was making progress. I was so excited. They said his breathing was great, he just needed to gain a little more weight, and I would probably be able to take him home the next day. I cuddled him for most of the day, only putting him down when someone came to visit, or when the nurses demanded it.

The next day was the 19th. I went to the NICU with high hopes and they were crushed. I stood next to the incubator fighting the tears. The nurse told me his oxygen levels had dropped again and he had jaundice. I don't remember where Jeffrey was at this time, I only remember standing alone, looking at him through the Plexiglas and wondering if I would ever get to take him home. Really, I don't remember anything else of that day. I only remember that morning standing by the incubator. Honestly, most of those days are just a blur.

The morning of the 20th I was awakened by a phone call in my room. It was my brother. He called to wish me a happy birthday. I had nearly forgotten. That morning I got 5 more phone calls from siblings and parents wishing me a happy birthday. I went to the NICU as usual and saw they had taken him off the machines and Keith was out of the incubator. I was so happy, and couldn't think of a better birthday gift. I watched how things went that day, and as noon approached, I decided I could leave for a few hours. There was a surprise party being thrown for my father. His 60th birthday was in two days and my grandmother wanted to celebrate. I was supposed to sing, but had not practiced the song at all. But I thought I could at least show up. As I was walking down the hall to leave the hospital a nurse rushed up to me and told me I was needed in NICU. My heart dropped into my shoes, and I ran. I was so afraid something had happened to my baby.

I walked into the room and the nurses looked at me and smiled. "You can take him home now." they told me.

"Happy birthday, Amy!" I felt like my Heavenly Father was saying to me. I called Jeffrey who was getting something together at our house. He put the car seat in the car and rushed over to get us. We decided to not go to the surprise party.

I don't remember a lot of having him home with us, but I do remember that night. It was around midnight and Keith would not stop crying, nor would he eat. I was afraid that the doctors had made a mistake and released him too early. I didn't know what to do. I knew he was hungry but he refused to breastfeed. He was used to the bottle from the hospital so finally, around 1:30 Jeffrey rushed off to the store and bought some bottles.

I still think that is the best birthday present I have ever received. I love my little boy so much and am so happy that everything finally worked out for him.


Veronica said…
I love birth stories, thank you for sharing Keith's!
Lee said…
Beautiful story!
Familia Morales said…
What a story! I can't believe you got to a 7 with no pain. That's such a nice present that you were able to bring him home on your birthday. It's so hard having a baby in the NICU, but it must have been a lot harder having it be your first-born. Happy birthday to Keith, happy birthday to you. And soon you'll have a new bundle of joy to hold. So excited for you.
Noodle said…
Love your story it brought tears to my eyes... I was so out of it when I gave birth to Sammy all I really remeber is my mom saying that Sammy had my ugly toes! Thanks mom! With Ally I was alot more coharent... I wish the best for your entire family and hope that you all ajust well to being a family of 4!!!
I bet you learned a lot from the first birth about how you want it to go the next time(s). It is so smart of you to write down the birth story so you don't get the next one mixed up!
Andrea said…
Oh, I read it and I loved it! I love hearing/reading other people's birth stories. The whole process of labor and delivery is simply awe inspiring and everyone has their own amazing story. What a good idea to record it now before your new baby is born. After having three now, certain parts of each birth do tend to get a little mixed up. ;) Happy Birthday to both of you!
Lara said…
I'm laughing because I had a very similar experience when I had Chloe.

I went to my appointment and when the doctor checked me (I'll NEVER forget the look on his face), he said, "Holy COW! You are dilated to a 7! Get to the hospital and I'll be right there!"

Loved reading this.

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