Monday, July 27, 2009

Shav's Story, Part Three

One week already.

Somehow seven days have passed since that glorious Monday morning when Shav entered our world and we saw his sweet face. Already I can't imagine life without him. (For a precious picture of him, check out Misty's site.)

Maybe tonight I'll have time to finish his birth story, but first (and I realize I'm jumping ahead in the story) here are a few pictures from our arrival at home from the hospital just after noon last Tuesday. The Sacras had taken Josiah and David on a trip to a small zoo in a town not too far away; a group from our church was going, and I was so grateful that the big boys got to go along, too, and have that fun event to keep them occupied on that day. When we got home, Tobin was the only brother around to greet us...and greet us he did--with lots of excited curiosity and hands-on love for Shav! :) I'm so glad these boys get to grow up together; I can just imagine the crazy adventures they'll have with each other. Built-in best buddies. :)

Back to the story...

When the midwife Tammy came in to check my dilation, she announced that I was 6 centimeters dilated. That was good, I guess; but I was wishing that I was further along. The fact that I wasn't at, say, a 10, made me convinced that an epidural was the path for me! Before I could get it though, I had to get a certain amount of IV liquid in me...and before that could happen, someone had to stick my veins. Well, someone tried (I think it was Debbie, our very nice main nurse, who tried first), and that someone failed after rooting around with the needle in the back of my hand for what seemed like forever. I was in the bed at this time, trying to deal with contractions, and knowing that if I watched the goings-on in my hand, I'd feel even worse. So I very consciously didn't look at what the nurse was doing...but oh, I could feel it! Jeff finally told the poor nurse that I'm always a hard stick because my veins tend to roll, and that, with Tobin's birth, a few people had to try to stick me before one was successful. She seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and gave up trying, then went to fetch another nurse. I think the other nurse (I have no idea who she was because I was trying to block all of this out) tried in my opposite hand...and tried...and tried. No success. And in all of this, it wasn't as if they put the needle in, saw that they missed, then took it completely out before trying again. No, it was put the needle in, push on the vein, push on the needle, dig around some more, squeeze and tug, try valiantly to make some connection between needle and vein--all while the needle was in my arm! Part of the time, I couldn't figure out which hurt worse: the gouging I was getting with the needle or the contractions! I was praying like crazy that God would help somebody find a vein! Finally, Ann Swartz the Brave, Ann Swartz the Skillful, Ann Swartz the Wonderful, Ann Swartz with the Delightful English Accent, Ann Swartz the Commander of Veins and Other Things, swept into the room for her turn at my vein. We have known Ann for a long time; and when her children were young, my mother spent time in their home, helping Ann. It was GREAT to have Ann with us, and especially wonderful because--guess what?--she found a vein!!! She tried a vein in my right arm, rather than my hand; and somehow she was successful. So the IV got started, and the fluid required for an epidural started dripping into my veins, and the nurses put a blood pressure cuff around the IV bag to speed it up, and the anesthesiologist was right next door and soon would come to give me an epidural, right? RIGHT???

One more thing about Ann: she wasn't assigned to me, and I think (but I could be wrong) she even asked the head nurse if she could come in and help me but was told no. However, when she heard the noise coming from my room, apparently she just decided to come in anyway because she knew I needed help! I sure appreciated Ann's strong will. :)

During this whole process, I KNEW I was progressing in my dilation. What I was feeling did NOT feel like a 6, but I was bound and determined not to open my mouth and tell someone for fear that they would check me and find I was too far along for an epidural, and doggone it, I WANTED THAT EPIDURAL. I was so frustrated--not at any particular nurse--but just because I have these hard-to-stick veins, and I could just see, as the minutes ticked by, my dream of a happy, laughing, I-don't-feel-a-thing birth fading into dust.

Even though I didn't say a word, Tammy did indeed check me and, no big surprise, said I was "complete." I dilated to 10, went through transition and everything, flat on my back in the bed, being poked and prodded by needles. That was the WORST! I did get to try out a new breathing pattern though: the "Oh, Lord, oh, Lord, oh, Lord, oh, Lord" pattern. :) One time, Ann got in my face and helped me to focus as she suggested a certain other pattern of breathing. I actually appreciated her being so forceful and in-my-face, but I didn't really get the hang of what she was telling me. Jeff said I did it for a few seconds, and that was it! I do remember at one point, I was saying, "Ha...ha...ha...ha...ha..."--all these strong "ha's". Whatever works, right? :)

Well, after Tammy checked me, since I was ready to push, I got up out of bed because I didn't want to lie there a single minute longer. They had brought the birthing stool which I had found so beneficial when giving birth to Tobin, but I didn't want to sit on it this time. I only wanted to stand, so I did, holding onto Jeff in a slow-dance position (he even joked that he didn't realize he was going to get to dance with me!) and leaning my weight on him. I'm sure he got tired--he asked me several times if I wanted to sit down :)--but I just wanted to stand there with him. This was the amazing part. After all the commotion and angst of the previous who-knows-how-many-minutes, I felt much more calm and focused and centered inward and in control. I was COMPLETELY oblivious to what else was going on in the room. Jeff told me later that there were a bunch of people in the room, and he didn't know who they were. One of them, we found out later, was Dr. Cassidy who needed to be there to watch because Tammy was still finishing up her training or preliminary period of midwifery or something. But like they always say, once you hit that stage, a marching band could go through your room, and you wouldn't care. So true!

Besides feeling calmer, I was also quieter. I can't remember who, but someone else made a comment afterwards about being out in the hall and hearing the noise and knowing by it that I was going through transition or fully dilated or whatever. Maybe it was Tammy...I don't remember...but someone said that. I guess I was kind of noisy. :) But when it came time to get up and push, I wasn't so noisy. I held onto Jeff, clenching his shirt, clawing his back :), and drew a lot of strength from him.

One funny (not funny to me at the time, but later) thing that happened is that as Shav was crowning, I felt the burning stretch of that and was sure that the midwife had her hands on me, trying to stretch me. If you've given birth, you know that they do that sometimes: trying to stretch you as the baby makes its way out so that you don't tear. I did NOT like that feeling, and I made some comment about it, either asking her to take her hands off or telling her I didn't like it or something. She was actually sitting behind me on the bed (unusual for the midwife to be on the bed and the new mother to be standing up!), and she said something like, "I'm not touching you!" She wasn't either; it was just the baby's head...but I thought for sure it was her. :)

One of the specific prayers I had prayed leading up to the birth is that pushing would be less than 10 minutes. To me, that was almost preposterous to expect that, especially since pushing had been 2 and 1/2 hours with Josiah, 1 and 1/2 hours with David, and 30 minutes with Tobin. But I did pray that prayer and was eager to see how God would work. Once I got to the pushing stage, everything got really fuzzy for me: I knew it didn't take very long, but I had to ask Jeff later how long it really was because I just wasn't sure. He said it was definitely under 10 minutes and, in fact, was just 2 pushes. I think he's right--not just because he's my husband, and I believe him :)--but also because I remember pushing soon after I stood up, then taking a break and just standing fairly calmly waiting for the next urge to come, and then pushing again.

And then...glory of glories...the baby was born!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I had tried to imagine the birth in the days preceding, I had anticipated focusing my thoughts during that stage on whether it was a boy or a girl. In reality, I wasn't thinking about that at all. I do remember that immediately after the birth, someone announced that it was a boy; but who that someone was, I have no idea--maybe Tammy? She caught the baby, then passed him to the front of me to the arms of a nurse (I think?) who then put him directly into my arms. I found myself chanting, "Thank You, God...thank You, God...thank You, God...thank You, God..." over and over and over; I couldn't stop saying that. Someone helped me lay back on the bed, and I was relieved to hold Shav on my chest in that position because I was afraid I might drop him when I was standing up. Oh, the silly thoughts we have in those times! :)

I felt such relief...such joy...such exultation...such love. How can I even put it into words? All I could do was repeat, "thank You, God," and cry as I received the indescribably precious gift of our little Shav from the Father's hands.


Bonnie said...

I got all teared up reading the rest of this!
I go through the same "oh Lord" breathing pattern, and the "Thankyou God" chant too!
I love the pictures of Tobin checking out the baby- how's he dealing with not being the big baby now, instead of the little baby?

Sally said...

Wow! All that was fast! I'm so glad it went well, and I'm really sorry you missed your epidural. Thanks for posting all this. I don't know how you make the time for it all, and I know you are sacrificing precious sleep time to blog, but I still love reading it!

Valerie said...

Oh how I feel your pain with the finding a vain thing. I was talking to my husband yesterday about how with our 1st my nurse was still new. There was a bloody area all around me when she finally finished putting my IV in. (which it wound up being in my hand, with a tiny little needle) I can handle multiple attempts to find a vein, it's the digging that I can't stand. I was cringing for you as I read about that.

You progressed quickly! Bummer that you missed the epidural, but glad it went so fast, you hardly had time to miss it. :) (Surely that wasn't true in the moment though)

What a precious birth story. And I love the picture of Tobin with his baby brother. Sweet times. :)

Elizabeth said...

OH I just loved reading your story Davene! What joy! :)

Sarah smiley Blackwell said...

Oh what a sweet sweet story!!!

Sarah said...

Thanks for getting back with me, Davene! I had to come back here and read the first part again to remember what the birth story was like, then went on to read parts 2 and 3. So glad you got in touch, or I would have forgotten to come back for the "conclusion"!

Sounds like the prodromal labor did the trick of giving you a sprint to the finish line!

Congratulations, and thanks again for finding me after so long. That means a lot. You've got to be a very busy woman!

God bless you and all your boys!