Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life

I had a baby. He was 4 1/2 weeks early. He is wonderful, and he has changed my life forever.

Because I need to actually "write" it down before I forget (I am existing in a baby time warp)... here's the full story.


With the exception of the blip of the last post, this had been an AWESOME pregnancy. I am one of those obnoxious ladies who has loved being pregnant. I did not feel too sick or tired. I did not gain weight (except for some crazy swollen ankles and feet). I felt energetic and was able to juggle a very busy semester. However, one of the things I was looking forward to was for my baby to come on time (January 6th) so that I could get everything done that I needed to. I was not looking forward to an early baby.

Todd and I started our Hypnobirthing classes, we were on board with the method, and I was practicing my relaxation strategies at home.

Todd had a work trip planned in Singapore. I really did not want him to go, and we discussed it several times. But eventually I had a very distinct peaceful feeling, finally, that he should go and everything would be alright.


On Tuesday, December 6th, I canceled morning classes, taught afternoon classes, and rushed to Kinkos to do some photocopying before the Young Women's activity (I was bringing the supplies).

At precisely 7pm, I pulled the car up to the back door of the house to run inside and grab some supplies before I headed to the church. I stepped out of the car into the frigid air and my water broke. People always told me that it wouldn't be dramatic, that I would probably mistake it for wetting my pants, that the movies always dramatize it. Well, the movies didn't do it justice. It was a gushing torrent. As wave upon wave of amniotic fluid filled my Kenneth Cole boots I was thinking (imagine this in different font types and sizes...) no, NO, NO, no, no NO, NO, NOOOOO!

"This all wrong! This is WAY too early! I have to go to YW! I have finals next week. TODD IS IN SINGAPORE!"

I turned off the car and literally sloshed into the house. I called Marilyn, my very experienced friend (and the YW president) and asked her to come over and pick up the YW supplies and "oh, yeah, I think my water broke." Marilyn was a dream. She came over right away and was all calm and smiles. She was perfectly composed and collected. Just what I needed. She suggested that I get myself cleaned up and start packing a bag and she would run the stuff over to the church and be right back.

I left bloody footprints down the hall as I waddled numbly to the shower with "no, NO, no, no, NO" going through my head. I had no idea what to wear or what to pack. I am very methodical and like to plan ahead, and this was happening too soon. Just that morning, I had ordered my "birthing gown." I knew that I did NOT want to give birth in an ugly, shapeless hospital gown, or be nekked, so I had ordered a beautiful white night gown so that when my baby emerged from the womb he would think I was an angel.


I did have a "backup" gown, but it was cliche and a little grandma-y, white with pink rosebuds... So I packed the gown and a matching frilly bathrobe, and some RANDOM stuff onto a bag while Marilyn calmly encouraged me.

A lot of people wondered if I called Todd right away. I didn't. I didn't know what to say. I finally called him once I was cleaned up and my bag was mostly packed. I couldn't call him directly in Singapore, I had to e-mail him. My message had the subject title "Call me now" and the body of the message said, "my water broke, not kidding."

Fortunately, Todd's main duties at this event were winding down. He called me AS SOON as he got the message. He was very calm. I found out later that while he was on the phone with me, his co-workers at the event were already looking up flights for him to take home ASAP. The soonest flight he could take was leaving in 6 hours.

Marilyn drove me to the hospital (the University of Utah). While her demeanor was very calm, the only thing that betrayed her nerves was the fact that we basically missed every exit possible. I think it's funny that one of Todd's main concerns about delivering up at the U was that it was so far away and he was nervous we would have a baby in the car. Marilyn and I took the LONGEST ROUTE POSSIBLE plus a few "U" turns and we made it just fine.

I had called Amy and Chip enroute and was so grateful that they could basically drop everything to come be with me. Contractions had started in the car, this was really happening. Marilyn was relieved of duty and Amy took over. Amy had come straight from her own ward's YW activity, and Chip had a presentation the next day and still had a lot of work to do. But they were both there for me and I will be eternally grateful!

I changed into my gown, we moved into a delivery room, and Chip gave me a blessing. How grateful I am to him for that! He provided a service to me that gave me comfort and strength to face the coming hours!

My thoughts were very much with Todd. All I could think of was Todd sitting on a plane and feeling helpless. What a terrible situation. This was the birth of his firstborn! His son! Throughout our years of infertility I have never questioned why, or felt wronged, or that the universe was unduly unfair to us. I accepted our infertility with humility knowing that God was in charge of the plan. But I have to say that this situation I could NOT understand. Why, after all the hardship and heartbreak we had been through as a couple, was Todd not able to be with me now? We have grown so close through our trials, why the separation now? We both feel okay about how things turned out, and we have speculated on why we think God planned it this way (remember my good, peaceful feeling?), but this is one thing I will be asking about when I stand at the pearly gates.

So, labor commenced. It was fine, at first. My first shift midwife, also named Amy, was fantastic. I had my hypnobirthing scripts, mantras, and music. Amy and Chip were great hand holders, shoulder rubbers, and coaches. Now time had very little meaning to me during this time. Bless Amy and Chip, they took turns working and helping and dozing and doing some secretarial work for me, like contacting family members (I HAD remembered to call Mom and Dad before I left). If it weren't for them, I seriously would have forgotten to call anyone until it was all over. I DID ask them to contact my friend, Dominique, who was throwing me a shower the next day, and also my friend, Kara, with whom I was to have lunch. I also remembered to email my humanities professor to ask him if I could have an extension on the paper that was due.

Soon, the contractions really kicked in. They were a bit irregular. I didn't want to be hooked up continuously so I could walk around, but soon almost any movement caused excruciating pain. Later, I learned that the intense pain was back labor because baby had his head turned and was not progressing into the birth canal, he was comfy where he was. So the contractions increased but he was not progressing. I was meditating and for quite a long while I was doing well, but after 12 hours, the professionals agreed that something more needed to be done.

I was tired. Physically, and mentally. As things progressed, Chip graciously excused himself. There are things sisters just don't want to share with their brothers. There was talk of pitocin and c-sections. I was so mentally exhausted from the meditating through the increasingly intense pain. My contractions were so intense in my back and pelvis the nurse or midwife would climb up on the bed to push hard against my tailbone and pelvis. This was too much work for everyone. I felt like my pelvis was breaking. So I had to make a REALLY hard decision. It took a while and a few hard contractions, but I asked for the epidural.

Wow. What a difference that made. My epidural was wonderful. I could still move around and move and feel my legs, but I could not feel my "lady parts" at all. But even with the pitocin, baby was not progressing down the path.


Amy and I must have dozed, we chatted, and generally had a good time. Time passed, shifts changed, and the midwife I had been seeing through the last few months, Peggy, came on duty, how grateful I was! I am also so grateful for Peggy's knowledge and professionalism and that Peggy knew when it was time to involve the doctors. I felt like I was getting such good care!

But time was quickly passing, and we were approaching 24 hours since my water had broken on my driveway. I can't believe it was that long. It went by in a flash. By this time, I was on oxygen (which I really enjoyed) and baby was being monitored because his heart beat was slowing WAY down with each contraction. They needed to get him out ASAP.


There was talk of trying forceps first or else the c-section was imminent. I expressed my SERIOUS concerns of using the forceps, but I felt that I would rather try that option rather than the c-section. Apparently, the first pair of forceps were not long enough to reach baby, so they had to find and use a second pair. Baby was too comfortable where he was. Thank goodness for the epidural. I would not have been able to endure what they did to me without it!

So Todd was basically spared the blood and gore of delivery, but poor Amy was not. She was a fantastic coach helping me push. I didn't push very long, and with the epidural, it was not difficult. I guess I'm a good pusher. I could not feel anything horrible, but I could feel it when Baby OK emerged.


He emerged quietly and serenely. He didn't make a sound, he just opened his eyes and looked around. He was then wisked away to a warming bed (NOT part of my birth plan, but he was considered somewhat "emergency" at this point) where he made his first crying sounds. When they determined that he was indeed breathing, he was just chill, they brought him back to me. HEAVEN!


Little OK was perfect, and quiet, and still. I loved him instantly. He just wanted to hang out there on my chest, and I didn't want him to go anywhere, ever.

But they had to take him to the nursery and do the requisite "pre-term baby tests" to determine if he needed NICU care.


Fortunately, he did not. He was healthy, and breathing, and at 5 lbs 11 oz, doing everything he should be doing. What a blessing!


His face was a little beat up, he had a cut over his eye and bruises on his head from the forceps, but he was so calm. Finally, after what seemed like forever, they brought him back to me!


And we just looked at each other.


I just couldn't believe this was my baby. We looked at each other and I couldn't hide my amazement. He was really here and he was really mine... or ours.

Six hours after OK was born, Todd arrived in my room. Bless Amy, she had been through 24 hours of labor with me and she still went to the airport, got Todd something to eat, and dropped him off with his luggage and everything. I had gotten up and brushed my teeth and hair, and changed my clothes (there wasn't even a DROP of blood on my cheap nighty!). When Todd entered the room I was standing there holding OK in my arms and I said, "I had a baby!" It was a very sweet moment. Todd has been the MOST amazing dad. He has been tender and sweet and loving. He loves his little son so much. We had some very sweet hours together there in the hospital. Poor Todd was CRAZY tired, but he stayed up with us to talk and hold OK.


Little Dude was doing great. We were learning about breastfeeding together.


I remember the lactation nurse coming in for the first time and me thinking, "I wonder when I'll feel something going on there (in the breast-al region) and be ready to breastfeed..." and then the nurse squeezed me like a mammogram and there was something there! When did that happen?! It was a miracle!

Because OK was early and a little beat up, he became jaundice-y and we had to put him on the lights.


This was really hard (for me) because I couldn't hold him. So I sat close and held his hand. By about 48 hours, post partum, I was getting the hormonal weeps. Everything made me teary, and seeing my baby in that contraption brought on the waterworks (Niagra Falls, Frankie...).

But they let us go home!


Todd had to go buy a car seat and pick up clothes for our baby at the house (I didn't even think to pack any even though I had bought his "coming home" outfit 4 months earlier!).


It was WONDERFUL to have our little family together at home. Heaven on earth! The kind and loving ladies in the YW presidency had sneaked in to my house and cleaned up the chaotic mess. They wiped up bloody footprints and cleaned toilets and put things in order so that when we came home our house was orderly and peaceful. That was one of the most important and meaningful acts of service that has even been done for me. Other people cleaning my house is one of the hardest things for me to accept, but I needed it, and they did it for me. I love them. And I love that my baby came home to heaven and not filth!

Todd's mom came up the next day from St. George and was SUCH a HUGE help for the next few days. She did a lot of really unglamorous chores, like dishes, laundry, and baby-clothes-organizing, but again, it was JUST what I needed and she was willing to do it. She is also an amazing grandma and held my baby and loved him!

Those first couple of weeks were awesome. We had a lot to do before Christmas, like attend finals, grade projects, and finish getting ready for Christmas, but Todd was on vacation for the entire rest of the month, and we just enjoyed being together and getting to know this little baby. We had time to do a little newborn photo shoot at my new favorite photo studio, Fotofly, in Draper. There is SO much more to share, and I want to share it with you! More to come! Here are some photos of OK to enjoy.

The Insufferable Mom Who Thinks Her Baby is THE