I’ve always loved hearing friends’ birth stories. Each one unique in it’s own way–just like the little miracle that arrives at the end of it.
Even so, I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I should share Nash’s birth story here. It’s not at all what I had pictured, and honestly, it’s pretty scary when I see it all typed out. BUT this blog is my journal…the place where I document our lives and the place that lets me remember what I was thinking and feeling at each point in time. It just wouldn’t feel right to skip over the details of this enormous life event as if they never happened. So here it is…how we met Nash. The good, the bad, and the ugly. But mostly the good. After all, there is a healthy baby boy snuggled up to me right now as I type this 🙂
It all started the night of the 22nd. We hugged and kissed Arden goodbye and left her with my parents as we headed to the hospital. I teared up on the drive because I knew that it was the last time we’d see her as our only one. But the excitement of bringing home her new brother and future buddy far outweighed the sad feelings. We checked into the hospital at 8:00pm, ready and excited to meet our little man the next day. Things were off to a good start with a Royals win…
A little back-story: at our 39 week appointment, my doctor decided to schedule an induction based on my low platelet count. I’d had the same issue with Arden, and it basically means that my blood doesn’t clot as well during pregnancy–which could affect the ability to get an epidural, or local anesthesia in the case of a c-section. I just made the cutoff for an epidural during my first pregnancy and I hoped that that would be the case this time too. At an appointment on Tuesday, my platelet count had been 108, which put me in the “you get drugs” zone. Woohoo! However, after drawing my blood at the hospital Wednesday night, the nurse came back to tell me that they had dropped to 77. Chris and I were shocked…it just didn’t seem right that my levels could stay in the low 100s for over a month, and then drop by 30 on the night before my induction. The on-duty doctor agreed and decided we would draw again in the morning and hope that it had been a mistake. Before getting the news about my platelets, I had been started on cervadil and we watched the contractions start to happen on the monitor. Despite the the uncertainty of an epidural, things were getting started and we were excited! But it was short lived…as soon as the doc heard about my levels, she decided to remove the cervadil until my doctor arrived in the morning and could come up with a plan. So, we tried not to be disappointed and headed to bed…anxiously waiting for the morning’s blood results. At about 6am, our new nurse came in to tell me that my platelet count was at an all-time low–57–and I could go ahead and shower if I wanted to. I assumed this meant we were being sent home to wait for labor to start on it’s own, but the nurse quickly let me know that that wasn’t the case at all. In her words, “they’re not going to let you continue to be pregnant with those numbers”. And just like that, we were about to embark on natural child birth. I felt totally unprepared, but my doctor assured me that I had great nurses who would coach me through it every step of the way.
I think it was around 7am that my doctor broke my water and started the pitocin. The cervadil had done a little work in a couple hours the night before and I was 3 cm dilated. The first few hours were uncomfortable, but nothing crazy. Chris and I watched Country Strong and I got to know our nurse, Kirsten, who was just the cutest thing. We talked about her upcoming wedding and joked about the crazy baby names that she’s seen in labor & delivery. Lucky for Nash, we decided not to give him the name “Cash Money” 🙂 Every so often Kirsten would ask me what my pain level was…”um, I’m not sure how to answer that when I don’t know what 10 feels like yet??” I was right…I had NO idea!!!!
Things progressed slowly, but they were progressing. As the pain got worse, I spent some time on the yoga ball and tried to focus on breathing through the contractions. I kept thinking about the crazy lady we’d seen in the childbirth video and how I wanted to be nothing like that. Well let’s just say, that all went out the window after about hour 7 and 7cm. I took the opportunity between every contraction to let Chris and the nurses know that I “could NOT do it anymore”…and their response was always the same: “you can–and you are!” I heard what they were saying, but I really didn’t believe it. I knew I still had a long way to go and I was sure I’d reached my limit. At one point, I broke down and accepted the Demerol they’d offered at the beginning, which turned out to be a bad idea. Within about 5 minutes, Nash’s heart rate dropped down into the 50s and nurses were running into our room, moving me into different positions, desperately trying to get him back up to the 100’s. Thankfully, they were successful and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief. That little stunt got Nash a monitor stuck to the top of his head and it got me no more pain meds. Womp womp.
As the time continued to creep by I had to remind myself of something one of my girlfriends told me in a text that morning. She said “you were made for this“. She was totally right. In my mind I kept saying “God designed you to be able to do this…you can do this”. And sure enough, I did. At 4:54pm, our precious Nash was here. Chris cut the cord and they laid him on my chest. I have never felt that kind of relief in my entire life. Our son was here…he was perfect and healthy, and he was clinging to me, taking his first breaths in this world. For a few moments, everything was perfect. Nash was worth every ounce of pain.
This is where things get fuzzy for me. I remember my doctor saying she was doing a “repair”…I didn’t care, I was staring into my baby’s eyes. Besides, nothing could hurt as bad as what I just went through. But that’s where I was wrong. A few minutes later she told me that I hadn’t delivered the placenta and that she was going to have to do it manually. I wasn’t too scared at this point because the same thing had happened after Arden was born. But what happened next, was worse than I could’ve ever imagined. While they were trying to detach the placenta, I suffered a uterine inversion. (Don’t google it if you have a weak stomach…because, well…yuck.) Apparently this is extremely rare (1 in 3000 births) and most doctors will see 1–or none–in their career. I had to hand Nash over to Chris because I thought I was going to drop him…and I just remember kicking and screaming because the pain was so extreme. I couldn’t stop myself…it was instinct. It’s so embarrassing to think about now, but I can vividly remember reaching down and swatting at my doctor’s hands. I just needed her to stop. There was my sweet, sweet, nicest-person-you’ll-ever-meet doctor…and I was literally swinging at her. And suddenly nurses and doctors came out of the woodwork…there were at least 20 of them in our room and they all looked like they’d seen a ghost. Since no one seemed to be listening to me, I turned to Chris and begged him to make it stop. I wish now that I could take that back. He was terrified and I had no doubt made it 100 times worse with my pleads for help.
Thank God my doctor knew what was happening and responded immediately…at that point I believe I was starting to lose a lot of blood. The pain was so intense that I have no idea if I said goodbye to Chris and Nash as they wheeled me off, but I do remember them running me through the halls to the OR. Oh that poor new father who just happened to be out in the hallway as I came flying through in stirrups. I mean, how many people could I horrify in one day?!?
At this point my sweet doctor, who was obviously terrified, started explaining the procedure to me. The only word I heard was “hysterectomy”. That brought me out of my haze and I just remember crying and pleading with her not to do it. Even in my state, I knew that I was not ready to be told that I was done having babies. As they put the mask over my face for anesthesia, I gave it one more try and begged my doctor to save my uterus. Her response was “I will try, but right now I’m focused on saving you”. I couldn’t wait to fall asleep and be free from the pain.
I don’t remember exactly what I saw when I woke up. I don’t know who told me that I still had a uterus (thank the Lord!), or that they’d given me 2 units of blood…but the next thing I knew, I was holding Nash and Chris was next to me. I thanked God over and over as I held my little guy…and then got to see his big sister for the first time. I hate that I missed the first 2 hours of Nash’s life, but something tells me he didn’t care…and he’s just happy that I’m here now.
One of the hardest things for me to think about is what Chris and my family went through that day. Poor Chris had to witness it all. Unlike me, he wasn’t in a cloud of pain to keep him oblivious from what was going on. He saw things that no one should ever have to–and he held our 20-minute-old baby as they rushed his wife off to surgery when no one would guarantee him a good outcome. I also hate that he had to call our moms and explain to them the situation. The conversations went from “he’s here” to “Vanessa’s in surgery”. It breaks my heart to imagine that conversation.
It took me about two full days to piece this story together…from Chris’ account, stories from nurses in the room, and also from what the doctor had explained in front of my parents–I’d been too loopy to really take in at the time. The more I learned, the more thankful I was that God had put us right there at that time. So many things could’ve led to us being in the wrong place, with people who hadn’t known how to handle the situation…but it was obvious that The Lord was taking care of us that day.
So here we are, two and a half weeks later and doing great. Physically, I feel like it happened to someone else–not me. Minus the Frankenstein (c-section-like) incision that kept me from lifting Arden the first 2 weeks. That was really hard on us both. As if bringing home a new baby wasn’t tough enough for a 2 year old, try telling her that her mommy can’t pick her up and hug her, can’t put her in her bed or in her car seat…that part just stunk and I could tell it really affected Arden. But luckily my mom was here every single day to do all the lifting–and to just help us survive! She’s been completely amazing…I really don’t know what I would do without her.
I had an appointment last week with my doctor and I think I hugged her at least 15 times. From the way she teared up in the recovery room that day and again last week, I know this was traumatic for her too…and I hope she knows how much I appreciate her quick-thinking, her compassion, and her tolerance for the crazy girl who tried to hit her 😉 I know there’s a reason that I was placed under care at that moment.
So…longest birth story ever? Sorry! It may seem like too much to share, and maybe I’d feel that way if I were reading it about someone else too…but for me, it feels good to write it all down. It’s affected me more than I thought it would (thanks hormones…thanks google) and I’m ready to close the chapter. At the end of the day, we have a perfect and healthy baby boy to show for all of this. I also find comfort in knowing that this was the plan all along. While pregnant I always found it reassuring to read Psalm 139:19 and Jeremiah 1:5…there was no need to worry about anything, because Nash’s every breath had already been planned. Going through this has reminded me that the same goes for me and for Chris. Since that day, the love I have for my husband has grown more than I ever thought possible. He has taken such good care of me–and of us–and there’s no one I would have rather had by my side. I’m so blessed that God chose him for me.
So there you have it…Nash’s crazy entrance into this world. The most amazing part to me is that, at the end of such a wild and traumatic story, there is this tiny little person: healthy… sweet…perfect.
Counting my blessings today and every day.
Oh and next time I’m somewhere where everyone is trading birth stories, I think I’ll just say “pass”… 😉