Monday, November 21, 2016

Ethan's Birth Story

I haven't written in quite some time, and managed to skip those last 10 weeks of updating the pregnancy on the blog.


Let's just leave those weeks to themselves, as they were filled with lots of excruciating back pain, heart burn, Braxton hicks contractions, and me impatiently waiting to go into labor. I truly thought that this sweet baby would be at least a week early and be born in October. I worried so much (for nothing) that I wouldn't be able to go trick-or-treating with Gavin and Arabella, when in reality I was almost a week late.

So, let's start from my 40 week check-up (Wednesday 11/2), where I was told that I had not progressed at all from the 39 week appointment and was only 1 cm dilated. While I usually don't put a lot of stock in dilation (Gav was a week early and I was only 1.25 cm dilated at that point), I was feeling really defeated. How could we be 40 weeks pregnant and not being dilated more than 1 cm??? This appointment was on a Wednesday and I made it through the weekend and had another check-up on Monday, November 7.

During Monday's appointment (11/7), we learned that I was only 2 cm dilated and that my blood pressure was elevated. Normally my blood pressure is normal or low, so for me a 123/88 reading was concerning. We decided to schedule an induction for Wednesday, November 9th. I left the appointment feeling both relieved that I wouldn't be pregnant for much longer, but also nervous because I did not want to be induced. For Gavin and Arabella, I was able to labor without any medication and had both babies naturally without an epidural. I was hoping to do the same for Ethan, but obviously his safety was the most important thing.

I got home from the appointment and surprisingly began having contractions every 8 minutes. They never got closer, and I went to sleep for the night knowing that if I was actually able to rest, then this was not active labor.

I woke up the next day...still pregnant and still having contractions. This day just happened to be Election Day (11/8). Gavin was born on Leap Day and it would be pretty fitting that Ethan would arrive on another unique holiday...but thankfully he didn't. Due to E being almost a week past his due date most of our Charleston family members were going to be out of town or unavailable to watch Gav and Bella when I went into labor, but luckily my littlest sister, Lacey, flew in from Florida and arrived on Tuesday (11/8) at 6PM.

Thank God that she did, because two hours later I started having contractions that were every 3-6 minutes. After about an hour of this, I called my doctor, grabbed my stuff, and Keith and I headed to the hospital!

Last bump picture that Lacey snapped!
We arrived at the hospital around 9:30PM, and I was told that I was 3cm dilated. This was definitely an improvement, but the contractions were horrible and I knew we had a while to go before the pain was over.

KC and I before things got crazy
Two hours later, it was hell on earth. This labor seemed to be 10 times more painful than it was for Gavin and Arabella, and I was desperate for relief. While I didn't get an epidural, I did request pain medication in an IV. I was given a dose of Dilaudid for the pain and a dose of Phenergan to prevent nausea. Let me be very clear -- The drugs were POINTLESS. They did NOTHING to "take the edge off" of the pain and literally made me SLEEP during labor! I would pass out for a few minutes and then wake up to feel the most intense pain I've ever felt. However, I'm somewhat glad that I took the IV drugs, because Keith was able to have some amazing God conversations with our sweet nurse and photographer. :)

Since I was super drugged up and passed out I don't know the exact details of how fast I progressed, but let me tell you...the whole shebang only lasted 5 hours! From arriving at the hospital to delivering our boy, it was a hard five hour journey.

My doctor arrived at some point, and at 8cm he offered to break my water. (My water broke naturally for Arabella at 9.5cm and literally pushed her almost all the way out, while my water was accidentally broken during a check for Gavin, and I spent the next hour and 16 minutes in excruciating pain. It was an easy decision for me -- let my water break on it's own.) Well, this didn't sit well with my doctor, because he ripped his gloves off and said, "Are you serious? Well, fine! If you want to be in more pain, go ahead." And he walked away. Now, had I not been drugged up I would have likely kicked him out of the room, since who in their ever loving mind speaks to a patient like this at all, nonetheless DURING active labor?

Anyway, he walked out and I progressed from 8cm to 10cm, and my water was still intact. Once I began pushing, my water broke, and my doctor made his way back...only to walk away again while I was pushing to watch the Election results on TV. (Yes, we had the TV on...we didn't want to miss the news since we were awake anyway!) So as my nurse and husband are holding my legs and coaching me, my doctor is watching TV.

After a few pushes, the ring of fire, and the most horrific pain of my life, out came our beautiful baby boy! At 2:30AM, right when Trump was being announced as our president, we welcomed our third child into the world. Weighing 7lbs. 15oz and was 18" long. His head circumference was 14" and the nurses informed me that was a little on the big side...which also explains the pain this time around.

Proud Daddy
Cutting the cord
Keith told me that after each time I give birth, I let out a certain cry. It's a cry that is both joyful and sad -- one that reflects the pain of labor with the exhilaration of birth.

Since Ethan was born in the middle of the night, we stayed in the laboring room for a few hours and then around 6AM made our way to our recovery room. Keith and the older kids met us around 1PM that day, and it was the sweetest little meeting. Arabella was absolutely infatuated with Ethan, while Gavin was impressed but also wanted us to go home with them. :)

While it was a bit lonely and isolating being in the hospital with just me and Ethan, it was also refreshing. I loved spending time with my new son and learning this new person's needs. I did experience very intense stomach cramps that were caused by nursing (the suckling makes the uterus contract, which is ultimately a good thing because it helps it get back to it's normal size a quicker, but man did it hurt), and that was a bit difficult. I also tore (only 1st degree, surprisingly), and that made things uncomfortable to say the least.

One thing I absolutely have to say is that through all of the struggles, stress, and turmoil that Keith and I have experienced during this pregnancy (it's been a tough season), our God is good. He is so good, even when things are not. A huge worry of mine was having Ethan circumcised (even though Gavin is and it's a pretty normal thing, I've just read too many articles recently and was worried about the pain our little baby would feel), and when the pediatrician came in to check on him, he told me that Ethan has barely any foreskin and that he is naturally circumcised. That even if we wanted to get the procedure done, he would have referred us to a urologist when E was 6-9 months old! GUYS. I didn't even think this was an option or even happened, but it did! So all that worrying I did was for absolutely nothing. God took care of it in the most unexpected way, and we are so thankful!

(I contemplated putting this part in, but it's part of the story so...)

Unfortunately, my doctor continued to be difficult after delivery (he wanted to give me one particular pain medication and I only wanted something mild like Motrin) and I had to fight with him (through the nurses) to get it. He refused multiple times to give me Motrin and I had to threaten to speak to hospital management before he caved and let me have it. He never came by to explain to me the reason for his choice, and I am at a total loss as to why he treated me this way. It was very out of character for him, as he is usually kind and gentle. Maybe his candidate lost, maybe he was having a rough day...I really don't care either way. His unprofessional and borderline unethical behavior negatively impacted my experience and I will no longer be seeing him for any of my OB needs.

(Okay, back to the good stuff...)

While my doc was a total imbecile, the nurses that took care of Ethan and me were incredible! Charlotte, Helen, Deb, Jennifer, Nicole....thank you, thank you for all of your kindness and professionalism! And again, my experience (minus my doctor) at Trident Medical Center was wonderful. Keith actually joined me for a Celebratory Dinner that the hospital provided, which included a delicious steak dinner, cake, sparkling grape juice, and wine glasses. It was lovely! (I know this birth story is a bit negative, but if you want to read about the wonderful experiences I had with Gavin and Arabella, click their names.)

I am beyond thankful to have carried these babies in my womb and to have experienced natural childbirth 3 times (I'm counting Ethan's as natural due to the fact that I didn't have an epidural and felt everything regardless of the pain medication), and to have been pregnant four times (sweet Hayden, you are not forgotten). However, after my experience with Ethan I am pretty sure that we've reached our maximum for biological children. (But let's not rule out adoption and fostering ;))
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