Monday, July 30, 2012

DENYM: A Birth Story

(Fair Warning: This post includes all details that came to my remembrance about giving birth, including those that are in the "too-much-information" category. For those of you who would rather avoid hearing about these specifics, or don't want to read a novel, there will be a summarized version on Denym's blog.)

 It was Thursday, May 3rd when I first thought our little boy might be on his way. I had just been to a routine visit at the Rosemark Women's Clinic in Idaho Falls, and everything had transpired normally. I was still about a week away from my due date so I did not have them check for dilation or effacement. But my midwife did say that everything was looking good, and she would be surprised if she didn't see me in a few days for delivery. Hooray! After my appointment I was ravenous, so I took myself right on over to the Sizzler for a yummy salad buffet. As I sat there in my window booth, I felt some pretty strong contractions. Perhaps these are the beginning stages? So I timed a few and figured they were about 10 minutes apart. I called my little sister and told her to look up some info online. (She often does this for me, and is kind of my own personal Google accessory.) We had some fun speculating that "this was it", but made no definite conclusions about the signs I was experiencing. I told her I would let her know if anything changed. I had a chiropractor appointment scheduled right after that, so I decided to go and see what they thought. By the time I arrived, the contractions seemed to have subsided a bit, and he told me I was definitely not in labor. Hmmmm, okay then. I drove home, took a little nap, and any hint of the consistent contractions went away. Late that evening my little sister shows up at my house!  I had told her not to come unless I called again, but I guess she got herself all worked up thinking I was going to go into labor and there she was! Ooops! I felt really bad for jumping the gun - She had arranged to leave work and everything. What if the baby didn't come until next week and she had already used up her time off? Oh well. I figured it was good she was there to help me get some freezer meals finished and other things ready.

The next morning, May 4th,  I woke up around 6:00 a.m. to some beastly strong contractions. "THIS has GOT to be it", I thought --- I was excited. But I did not want to wake anyone up just yet, in case I was mistaken. My mind ran away with me a bit as I made sure my hospital bag was ready, and threw in a load of laundry. My being upstairs woke ShaNae, so I told her what was happening. I directly returned downstairs and woke Jake up to let him know that I was pretty sure this was labor. He gave me his funny groggy morning face, but it wasn't long before he was alert. I told him I was bleeding some, so he suggested I make a phone call to the birthing center. They said the amount and consistency was normal and confirmed that today was the day!

At this point I was determined to get a shower, and make sure my hair was dry and straightened. I wanted to look somewhat presentable in the pictures of this momentous occasion - I know, so vain! But while I was shampooing, I suddenly realized how painful the waves were. Owza! I had to sit on the edge of the tub multiple times just to make it through the shower. In the next hour, I could only hold the dryer between contractions, and was not making much progress in the beauty department. It was just so intense that every time I felt one coming I had to keep retreating to the toilet for a place to sit!  At one point ShaNae came down to check on me and I am sure I scared her out of her wits; As I was on the toilet, mid-contraction, gripping the walls on either side of me. I was basically non-responsive as she asked me questions, but eventually gave her a few basic instructions. One of which was to get my Hypnobabies CD going while I got ready. (Hypnobabies is a 5 week program I followed to prepare me for childbirth. It basically teaches you how to think about the experience positively and gives you some ways to manage the pain. At first I thought it was a bit cheesy, but having given it a fair chance, I would now highly recommend it.) I entered the zone and just did my best to cope for a while.

Jake came into the bathroom and we decided he should go into work for a little bit and that I would call him when I needed to go to the hospital. We had heard from several different sources that it would seem like it was time to go in, but that we should wait at home for a good long while. The advice my older sister gave me was to wait until I couldn't take it any longer, then add 4 more hours and it might be time. So, I was under the impression that this was going to take all day... I even had plans to make cookies to take to the nurses. But I finally came to grips with the fact that there was no way I was doing any of that. I called Jake and said "TIME TO GO!"  I crawled back into the shower, then braided my hair wet, and it was all I could do to get dressed in some scrub pants and a T-shirt. I am afraid I was kind of abrupt and bossy as I made my way to the car. Jake and I walked out the front door at a quarter to nine.
I was so glad ShaNae had trusted her gut and came the night before. She was able to do all the odds and ends that I was worrying about and get me out the door.

I remember asking Jake to put on the Hypnobabies CD in the car, and focusing intently on the words. I did pretty well at just listening and staying calm as each contraction came and went. I don't think Jake or I said much the whole way. I do recall taking the exit off the freeway, but that's the only time I opened my eyes until we arrived at the hospital. Once we pulled up to the entrance, Jake opened my door.  I was having a hard time getting very far, so the nurse brought a wheelchair out to meet me. My wonderful husband wheeled me in, and at one point in the lobby I told him to stop because I was having a hard contraction and was a bit motion sick. The nurse was hurrying us along, but Jake listened to what I was saying and didn't go again until I told him it was okay. Blessed man!
It was just before 9:30 when I got to the labor and delivery room. ShaNae arrived shortly after us and tended to some of the details I had requested, but had long since forgot about. It turns out my midwife had the day off, but another great lady (Natalie Taylor) stepped in for her. She immediately had me change into the hospital gown. I didn't even worry about going to the restroom for privacy - stripped right then and there without a thought of tastefulness. I lay down on the bed so she could check things out--- I was already dilated to an 8! Apparently I had waited a little too long to come in.
One of the nurses made a comment that they should start taking a video of me because I was so calm. They were a bit perplexed that I was not showing the "appropriate level" of anguish. (I attribute my tranquility to the hypnobabies relaxation techniques I was still trying to implement. They were well worth the investment for me.) Another nurse handed me a clipboard and started asking me a bunch of questions. It was all a blur, and I am thinking..."You'll have to excuse me for a minute while I delay answering that, because I am in the final stages of giving birth!" It's a good thing Jake was there to fill in the necessary blanks. All I really did was make sure they knew I did not want any medication and then signed a paper. (Looking back I would like to see what that signature looks like.)

 After having several contractions laying on the bed, I really wanted to try getting in the tub. My tentative birth plan involved a lot of tub time because I knew I would love the water. Well... I was wrong. I hated it. Spent about 2 minutes in the tub and that was that. Done and done. I moved to the toilet, as I had discovered it was a good place to cope while I was at home earlier - weird I know, but it really was the most comfortable place! Everyone was so good to let me try whatever I wanted. But as I did not want to be having a baby in the loo, I opted to try something else.  
Enter the birthing ball. Yes, it's exactly like an exercise ball, and it feels awesome to sit on during contractions for some reason.That's the ticket! Ok, it was still unpleasant (especially due to the big pad they had to put under me to catch the blood and poo!) but an improvement anyway. I spent the large majority of the next few hours there. And luckily, Jake is extremely accommodating and gave me back support the whole time. When he pushed with his arms from behind me and put counter pressure on my hips it made all the difference. He admits his arms were about to fall off, but I don't know how I would have done it without him!
Jake also picked up on some of the key words from my Hypnobabies soundtrack on the way to the hospital. He used them at just the right times to help me relax. Props to you my love. He kept throwing in some funny little comments here and there to try to make me smile. Mostly movie quotes and quips that only I would understand - and I did appreciate them. It made me feel like it was just him and me in the room.
When we really got into the nitty gritty of things, there are only a few key moments I can even recall.I specifically remember each and every time they put the monitoring bands on my stomach. I don't know what it was about them that drove me so nuts! They left them off the majority of the time, but ooooh they were annoying and made me want to throw something. Several times I desperately asked/demanded that they take it off!
 Another vivid memory: I was hugging the pillow in front of me through a long hard contraction and when it finally let up I mumbled "I am so tired. I need some help." At that moment I thought I might ask for drugs. But the nurses assured me that I was getting close, and I knew I didn't really want them. They kept suggesting that I start pushing - I am not sure if I just didn't know how to push or if I was avoiding it, but I kept breathing through the contractions. I felt like my body would do what it was supposed to do all by itself, and my job was to simply let it happen.
Oh the exhaustion - like I have never experienced before. It seemed I could handle the pain, but it was the overall lack of energy that really got to me. I weakly requested that Jake re-wet the damp cloth for my forehead and that he put ice directly on my face. The water was just dripping down my face and really helped. The cold felt so good and I was overwhelmingly grateful for all the ways he had supported me - in our marriage, all the way through my pregnancy, and up to this very moment. His hand was on my shoulder and I just tried to somehow hug it with my face -- it was my way of securing the comfort I needed but also showing my love and gratitude.
And then my oxygen levels became dangerously low. Baby was a little bit stuck on my pelvis. I barely recognized that there was a problem because my midwife and nurses were so calm and collected about it. I saw Jake's nervous face as they put an oxygen mask on me, but I just continued to breathe through my contractions. They told me I could no longer do that, and that I needed to really push. They changed the angle at which I was laying, and called in a doctor because the numbers were all over the place.

The short time the Dr. was there was absolutely the most painful few minutes. In my lifetime of bumped shins, stitches, and surgeries, I have come to find that my pain tolerance is pretty high - but he just came in and pushed me beyond my bubble of peace to a place that I will just call MEAN. I remember being angry that he was even there. I know I chose this place because it was adjacent to the hospital and it was good that doctors were on call for things such as this, but his nonchalant and insensitive manner of "checking things" during my contraction seemed totally unecessary. I dug deep for the amiable person inside of me and dealt with it until he left.

I had been pushing about 45 minutes, and I tried to maximize every contraction, but there was only so much I could do. I couldn't push any harder and I thought baby would never come. Time became unreal. But then there came an instant when I recognized that I was still very strong, and I know Heavenly Father helped me to see myself this way. The head finally came through, and all was right with the world. From there, his body found its own way out and...our little boy was born.
A sense of elated energy filled the room, along with exclamations and a bustle of activity. I was sort of removed from everything though as the physical reprieve came - Such luxuriant relief. It was a content and quiet joy that was well earned and all mine.

I know they put him up on my chest for a moment, and it felt like he belonged there. He wasn't as goopy as I expected - just tiny and holdable with lots of black messy hair. They handed Jake the scissors and had him cut the cord (the unusually short cord) very quickly. We couldn't wait for it to stop pulsing because they were concerned about the little guy, and wanted to check him over right away. He made just a few cute squeaky noises, so I experienced a flutter of concern about him not crying. But I received a reassuring word from one of the nurses that all was well, and he was soon placed back on my chest. Sometime in there I delivered the placenta, but I barely noticed. I got to look at it and briefly marveled that our miniature human had been inside it just an hour before.
We lay there skin to skin for a bit while Jake spread the word via text message. I cuddled this little person close and just absorbed his warmth. I whispered "His name is Denym." Then immediately looked up at Daddy and corrected myself - "Can his name be Denym?" I got an agreeable nod from him... like he was going to tell me no after what he had just witnessed? ha! 

 This is our little warrior:
Denym General Free. 
Born at 1:12 p.m.
 6 lbs 15 oz. 20 inches.

I felt AMAZING. Whether it be due to the gratitude in my heart or the adrenaline, it was like I was good as new. Better than new. I remember telling everyone something like, "Yeah, I just did that. And I think I could do just about anything right now." Something about the whole whirlwind of events had left me feeling empowered. I had done a hard thing.
I nursed him within the first half hour. He opened those swollen lips up wide, and latched right on. Kind of awesome how they are just born with the know how, as natural as can be. I caught a glimpse of  his eyes opening and it made me smile.
Daddy didn't get to hold the little tike for quite some time, but was awfully proud when he did. It made my heart sing to see the two of them snuggling.Such a tiny bundle in those long manly arms.

I was promptly given a tray full of food.YUM! My hands were still occupied so Jake fed me pizza. mmmm, pizza. The renewal of energy that came with each bite was all kinds of wonderful - To be fed by such a handsome and marvelous fellow, whom I had just gained a whole new level of  love for, didn't hurt my feelings either. I had no trouble walking to the recovery room. In fact, I welcomed the change of venue and the chance to stretch my legs. I practically skipped there.

In the new room, I got comfy, continued snacking, but mostly kept loving on our new little man. Meanwhile Jake made some phonecalls, and posted a picture on facebook. I chimed in here and there with some things I wanted people to know, but mostly listened in happy observance. I loved when Jake would tell people that "She handled it like a champ." 
 Denym got his first bath and a series of tests throughout the course of the day. I was glad I had not had an epidural so I was able to move about freely and witness all the happenings.

Jake was particularly excited about the little security footband they gave Denym to wear. 

Grandma and Grandpa Hyde were there to share in the aftermath, and ShaNae had been there all along. After the initial craziness wore off, we all got some dinner: Grandpa and ShaNae went out to get Five Guys burgers and Jake got Cafe Rio. And albeit an odd request, I had him bring me a plain tortilla to munch on. The hospital had provided plenty of food for me, but I guess I was just feeling particularly spoiled. Evening settled in and all the pleasant chatter subsided as our company left. Then it was just Mommy, Daddy, and baby. 
That night was so very peaceful. I was filled with gratitude and asked Jake to say a prayer with me. He thanked Heavenly Father for our beautiful new little family, for my strength, and baby's safe arrival.

In the days that followed, I learned so much. --- About babies, about my baby, and about myself. I truly cherished most of it, and was in a continuous state of awe. I loved to just stare at that cute little face and literally couldn't take my eyes off of him.

Even when I should have been sleeping, I just lay him on the pillow next to me and studied his features, listened to him breathe, or stroked his fuzzy head. His cry was so adorable that I didn't even mind waking up to it - It sounded like a little jungle monkey cheep, and I looked forward to hearing it.

Dad was nothing short of tremendous those couple of nights - (as he always is, but you know what I mean.) He changed ALL the diapers in the hospital except for the very first tar one that I sweet-talked the nurse into doing for me. Each time Denym needed to eat, Jake would get up and hand him to me so I didn't have to move much. And after feedings, Jake would burp him, swaddle him, and put him back to bed. Awww, could I be more lucky.
I often wondered, as I saw our son laying there, what he was thinking or feeling. He was part of our family, but a stranger that we hardly knew anything about.
It was Sunday morning when we left the hospital. It took Daddy several trips to the car to get all our stuff loaded, while I made sure Denym was fed and dressed. He looked so itty-bitty in the carseat and we had to cinch up the straps quite a bit. One of the girls at the front desk walked us out and showed us how to effectively drape a blanket over the car-seat handle. We took the stairs down in order to avoid the elevator, and I made a comment about almost feeling good enough to race Jake to the bottom... almost. We thanked all the nurses, and they commented on the yummy cookies ShaNae had brought for them. (She picked up on the fact that I wanted to make them cookies while I was in labor, and carried out my plans for me.) As we started driving, Jake spotted a line of baby birds at the edge of the parking lot, and we thought it was kind of cute.

On the way home, we had to stop at a pharmacy and pick up an iron-supplement prescription for me to take. But when we got there, it was going to be a 20 minute wait, and I just wanted to get home. So Jake, being the incredible guy he is, drove me home and made sure I was comfortable - then drove all the way back to Idaho Falls to get the prescription. 
And finally we were all home. I was so happy to know that all had gone well, and our baby boy was safely there with us. ShaNae had cleaned our whole house, hung up the baby shower sign in the window, as well as made us an awesome quilt - so the atmosphere was wonderfully welcoming.  

Denym made himself right at home.


Elijah Walker Family said...

I remember that feeling of relief and ready to grab my baby and run, literally run, home. Congratulations on joining the "mommy team." I find it odd that all of my old roommates seem to have boys and I get the girls. Enjoy that baby while he is little, they grow up fast. =)

Audrey said...

Awe! I love reading birth stories! I laugh now at being such a wimp and barfing when I was only at a 4 and there you were at an 8 with no meds! Haha, you are one strong woman! :) He is a real cutie and I LOVE that name.