Monday, May 7, 2012

Labor of Love

At 12:30am Thursday, May 3 I woke up James and told him it was time to go to the hospital.  I had been having contractions since 3pm Wednesday afternoon and they were progressively getting stronger throughout the evening.  They would vary from 6 minutes apart to 1 minute apart back and forth for hours.  I finally gave up on wondering whether or not I should go to the hospital and just made the decision to go.  My mom met us at the hospital and we all sat in a labor room as they set me up with monitors and got me settled in.  The contractions had slowed down and were getting further apart (8-10 minutes) so the nurse put me on a low dose of Pitocin to get the contractions back up and on a more consistent pattern.  I was 4cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital.  The nurse told me that since I was at 4cm, I could get my epidural at any time.  I wanted to hold off as long as possible.  At 7am, Dr Lerner came on duty and told me that I was 7cm dilated and broke my water, at which time I had started using breathing techniques to get through each contraction (thanks to the teamwork of my mom and husband, they did an amazing job of keeping me focused) and told the nurse that I was ready for the epidural.  They said it would take an hour to get it ready and took my blood to get things moving.  About 30 minutes later, the nurse told me that my blood work didn't pass and my platelets were too low to safely get the epidural.  They would take more blood and manually count the platelets to see how many were functioning and if it was too risky to get the epidural.  We waited 3 hours to hear back. Finally, the anesthesiologist came in and told me that he'd do the epidural although I could become paralyzed from the waist down (due to bruising of the spine and inflammation from low platelets).  He said, "if it were my daughter or wife, I'd tell them not to get it" so I, of course, had to say no.  No temporary pain relief is worth a lifetime of paralyzation!  I realized at that point that I was going to be doing this naturally and pressed forward.

It took another couple of hours to get from 7cm to 9cm.  Those were very intense contractions that required a lot of focus and knowing that it would eventually pass.  After reaching 9cm, there was still a little bit of cervix left preventing me from being able to push.  I had to start suppressing the pushes until Dr. Lerner came in and told me that I had finally reached 10cm at 1pm Thursday afternoon.  For three hours, I pushed.  The nurse and doctor both showed James and my mom the baby's head and the fact that there was dark hair on it!  At about 2pm, my nurse explained to me that the head was not passing the pubic bone.  She said that with the first push, the baby would rock forward then the second push would rock back and with the third push was supposed to push further forward and stay in that position.  My baby was going forward again but not staying in the position but would rather go back to the original position, basically just tetter-tottering around my pubic bone.  She told me that I need to push really hard past that area, we concentrated on doing that.  At 4pm, Dr. Lerner came in the room and stayed for each contraction.  After about 4 rounds of pushes, he hit me with the news.  He usually only allows women to push for two hours, especially without an epidural this should be plenty of time.  He allowed me to push longer in hopes that there would be progress but even with my "perfect pushes", we were getting nowhere.  I had to have a c-section and, because of my low platelets, it was determined that I be put on general anesthesia and be put under.

It's amazing throughout this entire experience how faithful God has been.  He protected me and my child through birth.  He allowed me to experience child labor and the difficulties that come with it, allowing me to see that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!  Though the situation was not optimal, I still feel a sense of invigoration that I tried so hard and it was only through the strength of God that I was so calm and confident throughout the experience.  And, of course, I have the most precious blessing as a result!

Jude Ellis James Likeness was born May 3, 2012 at 4:47pm weighing 8lbs 11oz, 21.75 inches

(which was .25 of cone head, haha so he's really 21.5).  PS.  It took us until Saturday morning to agree on a name, due to the pushiness of the birth certificate people who told us we had to have a name by Saturday morning or else "Baby Boy" was going on the certificate.

More pictures of Jude on my friend's blog:  You Remind Me of Home