Friday, July 24, 2009

Shav's Story, Part Two

This second installment of Shav's birth story is brought to you by...
...a wonderful little invention called a pacifier. Thanks to this modern marvel of plastic and rubber (or whatever they make pacifiers out of these days!), we have had a better day--and I'm hopeful that it will continue into the night. Hope is a good feeling; it energizes me and convinces me to spend some time writing. :) This picture is of Shav earlier today in the bouncy seat, his first time with a pacifier. He liked it. So did we. :)

For the first part of Shav's birth story, click here. The story continues...

We had a plan for childcare for our older boys, of course. We knew that when I went into labor, my dad was our first option, providing he wasn't working at the time. The second option was Julie Sacra, and the third one was our neighbor Wilma. When my water broke Monday morning, we knew my dad wouldn't be able to keep the boys because his office hours were starting soon; and out of the whole month of July, basically the only time that didn't suit Julie was that Monday morning because she was going to the airport to pick up her daughter Kate who was returning from Israel. Ironic that of all days, Shav would be born that day at that time! So when Jeff got home that morning, he turned to our third option, Wilma, and called over to their house. No answer. Hmmm...what to do now? He decided to call one of our friends from church; but when he dialed their number, there was no answer there either. It was still early in the morning after all, before most people would be calling--or answering their phones, I suppose. Fortunately, not too much later, Wilma called over here and asked, "Did you call?" When she heard what was going on, she said, "Give me 10 or 15 minutes, and I'll be right over!" She herself just gave birth last month, so we had not originally thought that she would be available to help with the boys this time; but she had urged us in the days before the birth to use her if needed. She arrived with coffee cup in hand, a smile on her face, and sympathy in her heart for me since she could relate all too well with what I was going through, having just done it herself! :)

I knew that Ann had been the midwife on call over the weekend, but I didn't know who was on call that day. When I called the hospital and had the midwife on duty paged, it was Ann that I talked to; but since she was going off duty at 8:00 AM, it was unlikely that she would be the one to deliver! She told me that Tammy would be on duty, assisted by Donna (since Tammy is in the last stages of her training); and I was so glad that I had just seen Tammy for my latest office visit since I had not connected with her for quite a while before that. Even though I had been looking forward to Ann delivering my baby (because surely I would give birth sometime that weekend, right?!) since I had heard from a friend that Ann was great during deliveries, I felt fine about having Tammy and Donna. At that point, I really didn't care who delivered the baby! :)

The boys were still asleep when we left, and we let them sleep (although I really wanted to give them all a big hug and kiss before we departed!). I heard later that when Josiah woke up, he came to the top of the stairs, looked down and saw Wilma's bonnet lying on the toy chest in the living room, and immediately knew what was going on--that Jeff and I were at the hospital and the baby would be born soon--even before he actually saw Wilma or talked with her. :) I also heard later that before he went to the office to start work, Dad walked up here to check on things; and while here, he and Josiah and David sat together on the bench in the kitchen and prayed for us. In that prayer, David apparently prayed specifically for his baby brother (although, of course, he didn't know at the time whether it was indeed a brother or perhaps a sister)! :)

Just like when Tobin was born, we rode to the hospital in Mom and Dad's car with a towel on the front passenger seat for me to catch any leaky amniotic fluid. I'm not sure if Jeff or Mom drove the car up to our house to load me, but it amused me that (like with Tobin's birth) he or she drove the car right up to our front door, rather than park on the driveway and let me walk down the steps to it. :) This is a picture my dad took from his back porch that morning, looking up towards our house shortly before we left...
...and this one, although blurry because we were moving, shows us ready to pull onto route 33 and head east to the hospital (this was about 7:00 AM, by the way). See the big smiles on our faces?! :)

One more thing I don't want to forget about that short amount of time at home: when Jeff got home, he gave me a hug and just held me for a minute. We were both excited and emotional, and seeing that in Jeff made me love and cherish him even more. He's always been that way with our births: always very involved, never acting like "gee, I wish this were over so I could go back to watching the game," always willing to let his emotions come forth. I can't imagine a better birth partner!

On the way to the hospital, I was having contractions and still trying to ignore them but also feeling pulled by pain and fear (although it was really a pleasant, happy ride overall). By the time we got there and were walking from the parking lot across the street to the emergency room entrance where we had been instructed to go, I was saying that unless I was at the end of labor and things happened really quickly, I wanted an epidural. After all, I've given birth naturally before...I didn't feel the need to prove myself...and for pete's sake, why couldn't I actually enjoy giving birth this time around like those other women I hear about who tell jokes during labor and laugh during transition, all thanks to a little thing called an epidural??? :) Somewhere along the way, Jeff mentioned that we hadn't really talked about whether I wanted him to encourage me to have a natural birth or not; but he was supportive of whatever I wanted and I didn't feel pressure from him to go one way or the other.

Anyway, we checked in, I got the lovely wheelchair ride up the elevator and into Family BirthPlace, we happened to see our friend Jewel Yoder (who is a labor and delivery nurse) just as she was finishing her shift and leaving. As nice as it was to see her, it would have been nice to have her during labor (or one of the other women we know who works in labor and delivery)...but oh well, that's not something you can plan! It still made me glad to see her. :)

We got to our room (322), and I got to do the lovely "leave a urine sample, put on this hospital gown" routine that's starting to feel familiar. One thing that made me sort of laugh during this time is that a nurse came in with some kind of test to do to see if it was really amniotic fluid that I had been leaking. As if anything else would have gushed out of me like that did! :) I understand that the medical personnel just have to follow standard procedures; but my goodness, did she think I was lying to her? :) The "stick" she was holding had to turn blue if it was amniotic fluid, and it did--quickly and definitely!

My memory of the chronology of events starts to get a little fuzzy at this point. Not too long after we got to the hospital, Starla called from the barbershop and wanted an update; that was long before there was anything to report, but she didn't want to miss anything! I sat in a rocking chair for a while, sucked on ice chips that Jeff spooned into my mouth, appreciated the cool breeze generated by my mother fanning me with my great-grandmother's woven fan (and worried that my mother's arms would get too tired from all the fanning!), listened to the reassuring sound of the baby's heartbeat, and dealt with contractions. I also remember telling Jeff at one point that I was feeling fearful. I knew that was making the pain more difficult, but it was hard to mentally get on top of that big ugly cloud of fear. When the nurse asked me for the first time what level pain I was having, I think I said either 3 or 4, which seemed to surprise Jeff (because he thought my pain looked more intense than that); but as I explained to him, you have to start low so you have somewhere to go on their 1-10 scale!

My "timer" is awake and needs to eat, so that's all for now. More later...


Valerie said...

I remember doing that scale of 1 to 10 thing with my first. I few times I said something like, Well THIS is a 9... lets go ahead and change that last one to a 7. You do have to start low! :)

Love reading Shav's birth story.

Sally said...

Oh, I love reading this! I can't wait to read more. Only one towel on the car seat for "leaking"? Man, it felt like there was a gush every time the car went over a little bump for me. We had quite a mess. I need to attend my little ones now. Thanks for posting all this!

Misty said...

We have the paci love here too :)

Jolanthe said...

Haha - laughing at the pain scale! I can totally relate!

Can't wait to hear more!


Margie said...

Apparently with Elizabeth, the nurse rolled her eyes when I said I was at a 7 on the pain scale fairly early on. The epidural was never in question.

I did love this post - the departing for the hospital, the smiles. Yes. All good.