Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The One with the Birth Story

Malcolm is one month and two days old and I am finally completing his birth story! We’ve had a barrage of guests, which has been such a blessing, but hasn’t left me with a lot of time alone with my thoughts. Now that we’re developing a daily routine, I’ve decided it’s time to bump my writing up the list of priorities! This will be pretty lengthy and detailed, so if you’re squeamish about words like “dilation” I advise you to read no further!

At 38 weeks pregnant, Malcolm was sitting cross-legged with the top of his head wedged against my right bottom rib. Jordan and I struggled at length in the weeks prior whether or not to attempt an external cephalic version. I discussed the procedure with three of the four obstetricians in the practice and received mixed advice. Ultimately, we felt I was not a good candidate, as version is not typically as successful with first-time pregnancies as with subsequent ones, and Malcolm was not a frank breech (which increases the rate of success). In light of this decision, my doctor scheduled a cesarean section for 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 6, 2013.

Before we knew Malcolm was breech, Jordan and I had put a lot of thought into developing a natural birth plan. I think the Lord used pregnancy as another opportunity to demonstrate that I am not in control of my life! I was disappointed that we had to go the c-section route, but ultimately I just wanted what was best for both of us.

My last day of work was Wednesday, May 1st, which happens to coincide with the Illinois EPA deadlines for Annual Emission Report and Annual Compliance Certification submittals. I think my managers were relieved Malcolm didn’t make an appearance before then! My mom arrived the next morning and we enjoyed an entire day just the two of us (in her words, I’m still her baby)! We went to my pre-op appointment together that afternoon to check on Malcolm, get all the details about the surgery, and sign consent forms.

When the nurse used the Doppler to listen to his heart tones, they noticed some irregularity, so they hooked us up to a fetal monitor. We waited in the office hooked up to the monitor for about an hour and a half until the doctor was satisfied that the changes in Malcolm’s heart rate were just related to contractions (that I didn’t even realize I was having at the time). The internal check found that my cervix was still hard and closed, so the doctor sent me home intending to stick to our planned schedule.

The next morning, we should’ve known I was close to labor because I was unusually emotional about getting our car into the dealership for servicing! Fortunately, they were able to squeeze us in for an appointment, so my mom and I took it out to the dealership and were given a loaner car. We had pedicures, lunch, and were doing a little shopping at Target when I was suddenly hit with contractions strong enough to bring tears to my eyes around 3:00 p.m. We quickly finished our shopping, and I called Jordan to let him know I thought he should start heading home from work (his commute takes about an hour each way), but we still hadn’t received a call from Subaru that our car was ready. We headed back to the dealership in the loaner hoping they were close.

While we were sitting in the Subaru waiting room, we started to time contractions. They were irregular, coming anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes apart. The cashier at the Subaru dealership noticed what we were doing and was able to motivate the technician to wrap things up for us! She even gave us a pass on the fact that we forgot to fill the loaner up with gas before coming back!

While my mom drove us back to the house, I called my doctor and told him what was going on. He said since I wasn’t dilated at all the previous day and the contractions were irregular, he thought I was probably not in active labor and told me to go lie down and call back if they started coming five minutes apart for an hour straight. Jordan was already there when we got home and I immediately got in the shower since they had instructed me to do so prior to the c-section, and I knew deep down this was it! When I got out, we’d skipped five minutes apart entirely and gone right to four minutes. When it had been this way for an hour, Jordan called the doctor and we headed to the hospital. At 7:00 p.m., when we arrived at the emergency room entrance, the contractions were one minute in duration and coming two and a half minutes apart.

My mom and Jordan had to jog to keep up with the nurse pushing the wheelchair taking me to the birthing center! When I got to the labor room, the nurse instructed me to change into the hospital gown, at which point we realized I was bleeding. She immediately started an IV and told me that the operating room was currently occupied by another woman having a c-section, but the anesthesiologist would see me next to start my epidural or spinal for the procedure. When she finished the IV, she did an internal check and realized that my bag was bulging and she could feel Malcolm’s foot! I was fairly distracted at this point, but my mom said that she shouted “O.R. stat” out the door and our room was suddenly full of nurses! I felt the overwhelming urge to push, but they kept telling me not to. I told them if I couldn’t push they needed to get him out (telling someone not to push is akin to telling someone not to throw up once they’ve already started)! 

They wheeled me into an alternate operating room (I vaguely remember someone saying something about whether the gurney would even fit in there because the room was fairly crowded with other equipment). When they measured me on the operating table, I was fully dilated and my water immediately broke. They said there wouldn’t be time to do a spinal or epidural, so I would have to go under general anesthesia for the surgery. Sadly, this meant Jordan would not be able to be in the room for Malcolm’s debut. They were speculating as to whether they would have to call in an alternate doctor when mine arrived, just I the nick of time! The last thing I remember was Dr. Barbour looking over me saying, “Emily, I’m here,” followed by the anesthesiologist saying, “It’s time to go to sleep now, goodnight, goodnight.”

I woke up in the recovery room with Jordan sitting to my right holding Malcolm. I was relieved to see them like that because I knew Malcolm must be doing well if they were letting Jordan just sit there and hold him! I think Jordan enjoyed it too because he got about 20 minutes with Malcolm all to himself while they were getting my pain under control. Jordan informed me that Malcolm Wayne officially arrived at 7:44 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2013 (less than 45 minutes after we arrived at the hospital), weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and measuring 19 ¼ inches long. J got to come into the O.R. when they had Malcolm under the heater and take a few pictures. We were allowed to make calls from the recovery room, so we called our parents, starting with my mom in the hospital waiting room, to fill them in on the good news. We were in the recovery room for about two hours before being moved to the post-partum unit. My mom got to give Malcolm a brief snuggle before he was whisked away to the nursery for his first thorough checkup and she had to go since visiting hours were over.

Malcolm inherited ankyloglossia (commonly known as being “tongue-tied”) from me (and I inherited it from my dad), so he had a frenulectomy just before leaving the hospital (it’s a small procedure where they cut the frenulum - the band of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth). I think the circumcision and frenulectomy were harder on me than they were on him! Although, the poor baby may have been a little worried about what they might cut next if we didn’t get him out of there (hehe)! 

We were discharged around 9:30 p.m. on Monday, May 6th. Our stay at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital went by in a flash thanks to the amazing staff there! We had a nice private room and received excellent care and support from the nurses. Fortunately, we also had amazing support waiting for us at home! Malcolm has officially met all but one of his grandparents and has also been visited by his Aunt Molly and, most recently, his Aunt Sarah! I’ll write a separate post with all of our lessons and his accomplishments in his first month. It still seems to me like we JUST brought him home, and my parents assure me I’ll still feel this way the day he graduates high school, college, gets married, and has children of his own! I thank God every day for blessing us with this little boy!