Friday, October 5, 2012

Birth story for Elliotte Penelope

September 27, 2012

Dearest Elliotte Penelope:

It happened like in the movies. It was 12:45am; your dad was watching a movie, and I was reading in bed. I felt something strange and ran to the bathroom to discover that my water broke. 
I sat in shock and said, "Uh Mason, I think my water broke." 
"Are you sure?"
"No, but I don't think I went to the bathroom."
He then asked me questions from our childbirth class, and we decided we would go to the hospital just in case and would consider it a trial run.
Now this came as a shock because I was 37 weeks 5 days, and everyone told us first babies are late, so we thought we had at least two more weeks.  That next day was going to be my last day of work, and I was going to go on bed rest for two weeks to heal my swollen feet and prepare for your arrival.  Over the next few minutes we got dressed and frantically assembled a hospital bag, fed Atticus and Piper, and tried to remember all of those all important details.  During this time I began to have severe cramps, and I thought these must be the Braxton Hicks (fake contractions) people say they experience before child birth, so I was still thinking that this was a false alarm.  

On the drive to the hospital the cramps became excruciating, and I had to start using those breathing techniques they taught us in class.  When we timed the contractions they were only 4 minutes apart, but I kept forgetting to time them because I couldn't focus during the pain.  Once we arrived at the hospital we went to triage and discovered that I was 100% effaced, fully ruptured, and dilated to 3 cm, so I was most definitely in labor and had been the second my water broke.  It took them approximately an hour to admit us to a room, and during that time I was constantly being reassured by your dad, and I was praying to Jesus for the pain medicine (epidural) to arrive.  When we were admitted and moved to our delivery room, they took some blood to run tests that were necessary before they would administer the epidural pain reliever.  By the time the epidural arrived, I had experienced 3 hours of painful contractions and thought I had burned a hole in the clock from staring at it since they kept promising the medicine would arrive in 30 minutes.  The epidural was incredible.  I went from having the worst pain in my life to feeling like myself again.  I was able to have normal conversations with your dad and not have to do any strange breathing until the last hour or so before you arrived.  It was at this time that I met our favorite delivery nurses Suzy and Shawn; these women were so helpful, encouraging, entertaining, and cheered me on the whole time.  

Your dad was incredible.  He was by my side the whole time, and he gave me anything I needed to feel more comfortable.  When he wasn't right next to me he was pacing or resting right by my side.  At 6:45am after being in labor for 6 hours, I was dilated to 6 cm and the contractions were less than 1 minute apart, so they had to give me medicine to slow down the contractions, so your heart had time to recover.  At 9:00am I had reached 10cm and spent 2 hours doing what is called laboring down where we allowed you time to move closer to the outside world without pushing.  After 2 hours and little movement, they gave me the go ahead to push and push I did.  They informed me because you hadn't moved, I could not do any pretty pushing because if I didn't push as hard as I could, they would have to cut you out during a C-section delivery.  The pain was unbearable, but the thought of having a C-section was not an option, and I was willing to push as hard as I could to get you here as safely as possible. During the time I was pushing, I had to take deep breaths and hold them for 10 seconds while pushing as hard as possible.  To help me get through the pushing, your dad counted down every 10 second interval, and because he is a musician who knows how to keep time, he did a fabulous job.  Periodically the nurses would let your dad look to see the progress, and he got to watch as your head slowly progressed closer to the nurses' and doctor's hands.  Dr. Swanson was my delivery doctor, and he was amazing.  He was able to arrive the last 17 minutes and make sure you were delivered as safely as possible.  It took 1 hour and 17 minutes of what the nurses called "ugly pushing" until you entered our world.  
At 12:17pm, the doctor pulled you out, held you up, and I let out a scream.  I was so shocked that I actually gave birth to a beautiful baby girl whose healthy cry was an answer to our prayers.  They immediately placed you on my chest for what is called skin-to-skin time, and then they took you away to be cleaned, weighed, measured, and bathed.  While the doctor was taking care of me, your dad was able to help the nurses with your first bath and take pictures of every first that you were experiencing.  You weighed in at 6lb 12oz and measured 19 inches long.  He was instantly smitten, and he kept coming back to tell me how beautiful you are.  When you were in your dad's arms, he looked so amazed and happy.  I don't think I have ever seen him as happy as I did on the day of your birth.  We were instantly in love and enjoyed spending the next few hours in recovery as a family of three.  

We would just stare at you for minutes and were so amazed that just 12 hours ago we were lying in bed getting ready to go to sleep to prepare for another work day.  After we were moved to a postpartum room, your Grandma Lamb was your first visitor, and she seemed so amazed at how tiny you were.  Your dad was 8lb 9oz when he was born, so she was used to holding larger babies.  Your next visitor was your Poppy who flew from his work in Nevada to be by your side, and he kept saying how beautiful you were.  We even went online and your Grandma Lily, Tito Noah, and Tita Jordan were able to meet you over the internet--they were amazed that you had so much hair.  Your Tita Jordan can't wait until you are old enough for her to do your hair.  Then my friends Jacinda and Julie (Auntie Ju Ju) were your next visitors, and they brought you a headband as a gift and they brought me coffee...because they are good friends.  Your Grandma Robbie was praying for you and wanted to know everything about you since she lives in Oregon and is unable to come down until October.  

Elliotte, you entered the world surrounded by love, and your dad and I make you the promise that you will be loved all the days of your life.