November 4, 2010 - two days before my due date::
Woke up @ 2 AM with contractions 15-20 minutes apart. They started coming closer together but the intensity/ time intervals were varied. I started putting last minute touches on the hospital bags just in case. I threw up a & then right before 5 AM the contractions started coming every 5 minutes. I woke Mike up and then took a shower. Had an appt with my midwife already scheduled for 8:30 AM and I knew that there was no way I could make the hour long drive by myself, especially having been up all night. We left for Pensacola around 7:15 AM, and what do you know? my contractions slowed down in the car. By the time we reached my midwife?s office, my contractions were becoming much more infrequent. She checked me and I was dilated 3-4 cm and was 80% effaced.
We walked the mall and ate before driving home since it was an hour away. At 11 AM. I hadn?t progressed, so she prescribed me an Ambien to help sleep and we drove back home. After several hours, I could not fall asleep and at about 5 PM we left for the hospital.
The 1 hour long ride to the hospital wasn?t really all that bad. The nurse checked me and I was at a 4. A four. That?s it! I couldn?t believe that was all I?d progressed. I walked and used the birthing ball to get things going. I had the awful monitors on the whole time (a requirement at this hospital for VBAC) but they really could not pick up much since I was moving a lot. The contractions were definitely picking up and I started to feel them move up my back. At about 8 PM, I had to lie down so that she could get a good read of the baby. I lied down on my left side and practiced the deep relaxation I had learned through our Bradley classes. The contractions had gone completely into my back at this point.
At about 9 PM, she came to check me and I had progressed to a 6-7. Eventually, I was able to get in the tub, which was nice. Vocalizing really helped me to relax.
At about 10 or 11 PM, I had progressed to 8 cm and our Bradley teacher arrived. At this point I remember feeling pretty uncomfortable. The contractions were all in my back. We walked the halls of the hospital and during a contraction I would vocalize and bury my face into Mike?s shirt. Our Bradley teacher put counter pressure on my back which helped tremendously.
At this point my memory of the details is rather fuzzy. I thought it was never ever going to end ? and it almost didn?t. This awful transitional labor lasted for about 4 hours. Yes, you read that correctly?four hours.
I remember throwing up. I remember the nurse checking me and I was a 9.5, but my water still had not broken.
I remember going back in the tub and falling asleep in between contractions and Mike thinking I was going to drown in the water.
At some point, I got out of the tub and they broke my water. At that point I was ready to push. That was 3:30 AM. This is where it really gets fuzzy for me. I tried squatting but was not doing well pushing that way. I was so tired that I was not thinking straight. Finally I ended up on my side with my leg up. I have never ever worked so hard or been in so much pain in my entire life. I can?t explain the relief I felt when I heard that he had hair ? because I knew it would be over soon. They told me to stop pushing while he was crowning, but it was too late and I?m pretty sure that?s when I tore.
It all happened quickly after that and at 4:59 AM on Friday, November 5, 2010, Clayton Lee entered the world! They put him on my chest right away and waited to do anything to the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsating. I wanted to try and nurse him, but he was not pinking up or crying very loudly. I could tell he was having difficulty breathing because all I could hear was gurgling. They took him and began working on helping him breathe. They also weighed him and let us know that he was 6 pounds and 15.7 ounces.
Then, the thing you don't want to happen happened. The newborn nurse came over and told us that Clay would be fine, but that he had aspirated amniotic fluid and would need some help with breathing. Then she told us that when she had tried to take his rectal temperature, she discovered that there was no opening. We held him for a minute before they took him away. My mind instantly began racing and I remember just crying out, wondering what I had done wrong. Of course, all the nurses began to reassure me that it was not my fault?but what mother, upon hearing that her child has a birth defect, does not wonder if she is to blame. After a while, the neonatologist, came to talk to us. His initial words, ?Well, we have a number of problems,? were not reassuring. Clay was not breathing well and was on oxygen. He had an ?anorectal malformation? or ?imperforate anus? which likely meant a temporary colostomy and is a condition which is associated with a number of other malformations half of the time. https://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site584/mainpageS584P0.html
And oh yes, he also had a heart murmur. They were performing lots of xrays and tests and he would be transferred to another NICU in just a little while. After a little while, Mike and I went to see Clay. Of course, we could not hold him. We just took a picture and looked at him. He was so cute with all that hair and that adorable little face. Before we knew it, our visit was over and we went back to our room. A little while later, some ladies from the other hospital came into the room. They wheeled in this giant ?cart? with monitors, oxygen tanks, computerized panels, and then in a small clear box there was our precious little boy. He was laying on his tummy with the oxygen hood over him. He was still breathing rapidly, but being on his tummy helped him to breathe better. They gave us information on the NICU at their hospital and a pin with wings and whisked him away.
From here it?s a long story. Clay has a temporary colostomy and is growing tremendously well. He?ll have 2 more surgeries to correct his malformation, but should be able to lead a pretty normal life. He?ll probably potty train late and of course there?s the chance that he won?t potty train at all. He?ll likely have digestive troubles his whole life. But we?re hopeful. He has a small VSD (hole in his heart) which should close up. After lots and lots of xrays & ultrasounds, they determined that his other vital organs are fine. We will be watching for tethered cord as he grows.
We?ve found great hope in Psalm 139 ? especially verses 8-16
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, ?Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,?
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother?s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
At the hospital where I gave birth.
After his colostomy surgery.