Wednesday, September 17, 2008

for those who like to hear the details...

Every child born into this world is a new thought of God, an ever-fresh and radiant possibility.
-Kate Douglas Wiggin

one of my big fears with pregnancy number 3 was that labor would go super fast and i wouldn't make it to the hospital in time. well, God heard my prayers. i had sorta started labor last tuesday, but it wasn't until midnight that i woke up with painful contractions. i woke anthony up at 1 am, we called a good friend... no, make that great friend... that drove over to stay with our kids and we were off the hospital.

once we got to the hospital, my contractions lessened and i was absolutely convinced they were going to send me home, embarrassed and exhausted. however, mason's heart rate kept dropping with the contractions. not to an alarming point, but enough so that the doctor decided to admit me and get things moving. bless him. so at 5 am, i headed upstairs for some pitocin (induces labor) and the glorious epidural.

it wasn't until probably around 10 am or so that we had our first scare. although i knew they were watching his heart rate on the monitor, i had no idea the entire staff was ready to rush my room at a moments notice. i could hear mason's heartbeat on the monitor and noticed that it started to slow... and wasn't picking back up. then the door burst open and in came my 2 nurses, my doctor, the anesthesiologist, more nurses, nursery staff, and even more people. they were all amazing and their calm voices didn't match the frantic pace at which they worked to roll me over, roll me back, change my IV, pump me full of terbutaline (stops contractions), insert internal monitors to mason's head... and whatever else was going on that i wasn't able to process in the 10 seconds it took. in the midst of this, about the time the terbutaline took effect, everything sorta caught up with me and that is when the emotions started overflowing. my doctor held my hand and explained everything while my nurse kept her hand on my shoulder. they were really fantastic. basically, the contractions were constricting mason's umbilical cord, which limits the amount of oxygen he is getting, which in turn decreases his heart rate. this was happening in a minor way at first, but was beginning to escalate.

after trying everything to get him to come out on his own, and after numerous sprints back to my room for more dramatic heart rate dips, it was off to surgery for an emergency c-section. we had slowly prepared for this, and had even gotten to the point where we were anxiously ready for it for the sake of our baby. however, there is no way to fully prepare for this adventure into the icebox that is surgery... the drapes, the lights, having my arms strapped down, getting pumped full of even more drugs, watching everyone practically sprinting around me... all while this man in the corner is counting off surgical utensils. he must have been at about 30 when i got a little panicky wondering if every one of those scissors and scalpels was going to be needed on my body.

anthony soon joined me and held my hand during the "tugging and pressure" they warned me about, which really felt more like they must be ripping every single organ out of my body. no pain, but they should certainly add the word "violent" to "tugging and pressure". (and at this point, i must add for those of you that didn't know, i really wanted a girl. my philosophy was if i were to have an ultrasound that indicated boy, i may have been slightly disappointed for a few minutes, but then happy. but when i envisioned birth, i figured that when i saw my baby come out and they laid him on my tummy, it wouldn't matter what gender.) so, i found out "it's a boy!" when i heard my doctor say, "good, he doesn't have the cord wrapped around his neck." not exactly the bonding moment i had anticipated. then i heard him cry, then i heard anthony's excitement, then i saw half his bloody face as they lifted him over the blue drape for me to see. and of course i was happy to have a boy. just not quite the scenario i expected.

come to find out, he had the cord wrapped around his arm, his chest, and his leg... and he was holding onto it. basically there was no way he would have come out on his own without some serious trauma. recovering from a c-section has not been easy, especially since this is child number 3, but we have a beautiful, healthy son and that is really all that matters.

for months, we had been praying for all the details of pregnancy, labor, delivery, doctor on call, nurses, etc... while at first i was very disappointed about a c-section and even had the thought as to why God didn't take care of things in order to prevent it, i have come to my senses and realized God has taken care of everything way beyond what i could have imagined. sometimes i get hung up on the way i think things should be and i miss the fact that the God of the universe actually knows better and cares about all the details in my life. and as if this post wasn't long enough already, allow me to share some of the ways i have recognized God's hand through this adventure:

1. time of labor... a 2 am journey to the hospital means no traffic, no red lights, and no construction. and no having a baby on the side of the road!

2. the lessening of contractions. they were intense enough to get me to the hospital where i could be monitored, but then tapered off so that i wasn't completely miserable while waiting for the epidural.

3. the length of the contractions. at home, and at the hospital, i kept thinking the contractions needed to be getting longer to be more effective. the longest ones were 30 seconds. knowing now that his little heartbeat was dipping with every contraction, long contractions would have been a bad thing for the little guy.

4. modern medicine. always a fan of the epidural, of course, but even the monitor for mason's heart rate, the terbutaline (even though i thought they may have injected me with crack by the way i was shaking), and all the other things that kept us safe. i'm thankful i live somewhere these things are easily accessible.

5. my nurse. she goes to the same church as us and i even worked with both of her parents. wonderful people. she was fantastic... thorough, compassionate, and by our side the entire time.

6. the doctor. every nurse i encountered had told me that she was the favorite to work with and most of them chose her as their personal doctor. i really feel that we got the best care possible.

7. one of the post-partum charge nurses knew anthony and when she saw my name on the patient list she said, "make sure she gets a good nurse." and i did. my first nurse told me that they had picked the best nurses on each shift for us. and they really were great. we felt like VIP.

8. my parents were able to head down immediately and watch our kids while we were at the hospital. my dad had the day off and my mom had a half day at school. the timing for them was perfect and it is such a relief to not have to worry about your kids at home when you are worried enough about the one inside you.

9. mason is here, and he is healthy and perfect. God took care of him. he had his hand upon him and didn't let any harm near him. he heard our prayers.

God answers prayer. and we are so blessed...


Bethany said...

Thanks for sharing your story, God's hand is certainly evident in all of that. I will be praying for a quick recovery for you... I remember the recovery being the toughest part and I didn't have two other kids running around, nor did I have a C-section! You're amazing Steph, and praise God for your healthy little boy. Love ya!

Greg & Joanna said...

Wow Stephanie, I'm so glad to hear your story. It's so wonderful how God works and just takes care of everything. And now you have this little amazing boy added to your family. I'll pray for a speedy recovery for you!

Tonya said...

Incredible! I'm so glad you were able to post this, I'd been wondering the details since we didn't get much from Dave. ;) God sure knew what He was doing in all of this, WOW. So glad you're both ok. And I agree, they DO need to add that it's not just "pulling and tugging" that you feel! Geesh.

Also I would love to know which nurse and Dr you ended up with, it was Thunderbird, right?

Take care and I'll keep praying for a great recovery.

Poppa said...


Erin said...

So, I'm crying like I'm the one that just had a baby :) I'm so glad you are both doing well and thankful that your faith has revealed God's awesome power to you. When can I bring dinner? And finally return your tupperware......

Nicole said...

We serve a GREAT GREAT GOD. He always takes care of the littlest and biggest of details for us huh? After 3 c-sections myself, I feel for you, the recovery is the hardest, but when you look into little Mason's eyes you realize it is all so worth it! Take Care & God Bless!