Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reflecting on 4 weeks ago today...

Finally - here is our birth story.  What a therapeutic process to write it - I would highly recommend doing so.


After our last doctor appointment on 8/24, Brandon and I went to the grocery store and got stuff to make pork chops for dinner. We will forever refer to this recipe as Labor Chops.

Just a few hours after measuring two centimeters dilated and scheduling Travis's induction for 8/30, Brandon and I enjoyed our last dinner as a family of 2. After watching a movie, we began getting ready for bed. It was during what I thought would be the first of ten nightly trips to pee (at approximately 9:40 p.m.), that I first began to wonder if my water had broke. I knew things didn't seem like "normal," but not much had felt normal during the last 38 weeks and 4 days. After continuing to feel a gush after standing, I was sure my water had broke and shared the news with Brandon. In disbelief, he demanded confirmation. After taking one step away from the bathroom, more evidence appeared. Immediately, we assembled our bags that had been packed for weeks and began loading the car. After a quick review of our labor checklist and a family prayer, we departed the house with enough luggage for a week long vacation.

Upon breaking the plane of the driveway, we wondered aloud how soon we should call our parents. Our first call was to my mom because she had the furthest to travel. We each called our parents to let them know my water had broke and told them that we would update them once we were at the hospital. We encouraged each of them to rest during the night and come to the hospital close to dawn. Because my water had broken without the accompaniment of significant labor contractions, we knew that the labor process would last all night before we would actually be ready for delivery. We had 2 friends who also experienced their water breaking without contractions and knew from their experience that it would still be at least 12 hours before we would actually welcome Travis into the world. It made sense to us that our parents should rest while they could for what we knew would be a long day upcoming.

Once we arrived at the hospital, we parked near the emergency room and entered through the ER since it was the only unlocked entrance to the hospital after 9:00 p.m. Instructed by Brandon to not touch anything, we entered the ER to the usual cast of suspects that frequent the ER after hours. Surrounded by coughing, wheezing, cries of children, groans of pain, and lots of other languages being spoken, I announced to the frazzled-looking ER desk attendant that my water had broke. "Have a seat" was the response. Somewhat deflated by such a dismissive response to my big news, I stepped back toward the waiting area to wait my turn. Recalling Brandon's strict instructions, I was unsure of how to take a seat without touching anything. Before I had to make the tough decision of who to sit by, an ER nurse came from behind the desk with a wheelchair to take me up to the labor and delivery department of the hospital. As I sat in the wheelchair, I could feel that my pants were more wet than before. With Brandon trailing behind us like a loaded pack mule, we began our trek. Upon arrival at the labor and delivery area, I was sent to triage where I would be tested to determine whether or not I was really in labor. Leaving a puddle in the wheelchair as I stood, I was unsure exactly what was left to determine. A triage nurse gave me a hospital gown and told me to go change in the bathroom. During this process, a significant gush of water splashed to floor prompting a "was that you?" from the nurse outside the door. As she opened the door to check, she exclaimed "I think we are certain you are in labor." Nevertheless, she extended a strip of paper into the stream of liquid falling from my midsection. The paper quickly changed to the appropriate color, and we were quickly assigned a room: 2513.

As we entered our room, I saw the baby bed with heat lamps above it. I knew this was where we would meet baby Travis from the first time. I was, however, wrong! He would use the bed for a short while to meet his grandparents, but we were in for a long night and morning before we made it back into this room as a family of three.

I climbed in the bed to assume the position, and Brandon went to the couch nearby to drop the load he had lugged through the hospital like a tourist through a foreign airport. By this time, it was probably around 10:30. I was hooked up to an IV and monitors were strapped to my belly to monitor my contractions and Travis's heartbeat. When I got settled into the bed, I was 3 cm dilated and having some contractions so they were going to let me labor on my own for a while before starting the pitocin. When asked, you could see the relief when I told the nurse that I wanted an epidural. I'm sure "drug" patients are much easier to deal with. About 30 minutes later, the nurse came in and asked if I wanted a popsicle. I asked if she wanted me to have one and she said yes, so I happily obliged. Travis's heartbeat was a little too calm for them. I ended up spending most of the next 7 hours on my left side since that was the side that Travis obviously liked best. He must have gotten used to that side since that is the side that I tried to sleep on since it was best for circulation.

About 12:30 a.m., we heard a knock at the door and in came Brandon's mom. We said we told you to rest and she was like "yeah right". I was continuing to labor through the contractions. They weren't bad, but I did have to concentrate a bit to get through them. I breathed and Brandon's mom rubbed my back which was nice. Everybody really enjoyed watching the monitors and listening to Travis's heartbeat. It was a very comforting sound.

They started the pitocin around 1:30 a.m. The nurse suggested that I get the epidural at the same time, but I said that I wanted to "earn my epidural". I'm a dork I know, but I wanted to make sure that I got the full experience. I labored until 2:30 a.m. sans drugs, but I don't remember it being too bad. The epidural was not bad at all, and I'm pretty sure that I said "I love the epidural man" on more than one occasion during the next few hours. My dad arrived sometime during my pre-drug phase. Apparently he couldn't sleep either. My mom arrived from Lubbock about 3:30 a.m. I was actually very chilled throughout the "labor" portion. I think I was working on adrenaline and so excited to meet our son. I tried to sleep during this time, but didn't have much luck at all. Too many things to think about, I guess. The nurse came in about every hour to check me, and I was fully dilated and ready to push a little before 6 a.m. I couldn't believe it. We were glad that our parents sucked at following our instructions since we had thought it would be early afternoon at best before Travis arrived.

When the nurses started wheeling in all of the delivery stuff, my heart started racing. I couldn't believe the time was finally here. I had been mentally preparing for the pushing process for weeks. I had gone to class, read the books, watched Deliver Me on Discovery Health, etc., but I don't think you can ever be fully prepared for that experience. I started pushing at 6 a.m. During the pushing process, I got the "baby shakes" which is apparently very normal. I also required the oxygen mask and was so freaking hot during this time. They were putting cool wash rags on my head. Also, my lovely heartburn that I have had the entire pregnancy made one last return and I had to coax my nurse into letting me have a tum. I also spent most of the pushing time with my eyes closed. I like to think that I had my game face on and was concentrating with all my might. Travis was making progress, but after 2 1/2 hours of pushing and several vacuum attempts, the doctor determined that he would not fit in the birth canal and that a c-section would be required. While I was disappointed, at that point, I was so exhausted, mentally and physically, that I happily switched gears and just focused on meeting our baby boy shortly. During the whole process, Travis's heartbeat was great and he was absolutely unfazed by pushing. The doctors and nurses set up the operating room, and it was time for the c-section.

After the fact, Brandon and I discussed that we both "knew" that we were going to end up with a c-section much earlier in the pushing phase, but that neither wanted to let the other one know. I didn't want Brandon to think that I was giving up and Brandon didn't want me to think that he thought I couldn't do it. We should have had a magic word like "marshmallow" that would have allowed us to call it much earlier.

During the c-section, I suffered from a little bit of nausea and my "baby shakes" remained, but other than that, it was not bad at all. I could feel tugging, etc. just like they say, but no pain. I remember telling Brandon that Travis was almost out because I could feel them pulling him out. What a weird sensation! We both smiled and cried when we heard him cry. The doctor said everything looked great and that he had big feet! I couldn't believe that he was finally here. I was in la la land while they were cleaning him up. I kept trying to count his toes from my vantage point, but finally gave up when I got a different number each time.  I snoozed while Brandon watched them do his apgar tests (T scored 9/9) and clean him up a bit. Brandon was able to cut the cord which I was glad that he was still able to do that even though it was a c-section. Apparently the epidural man also doubles as an excellent photographer because he got some great shots of Brandon and Travis and of our new family of 3.

Although it wasn't exactly how I had it planned in my head, I can't imagine it any other way after the fact. We knew that God was totally in control. We had prayed for months that He would bless us with a healthy baby and a safe delivery, and He did just that. We are forever grateful for His most amazing blessing.


  1. Love your birth story! I wrote Emma's down in her journal and it took 12 pgs! I'm so glad that Brandon got to cut the cord ~ his friend Jarrod refuses to do so ;) Happy 1 month bday Mr T Man!

  2. I love the "take a seat" comment. I think I would have jumped over the desk, but you kept your cool. ;-)

  3. Awesome. Thanks Gara. Makes me feel more at ease about conquering the same feat in a few months!

  4. Gara - I read every word - LOVE the story. I taking notes - especially of the code word marshmellow for my when my turn rolls around! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh my gosh, he is so precious. I love being able to see him grow and his progress. Love ya Aunt Gayle

  6. I just went back and read your birth story again. I, too, had to lay on my left side, but after realizing labor hadn't really started (no dilating), my OB decided to get Caleb out since his heart rate was dropping after minor contractions (I couldn't even feel them and epidural man hadn't paid me a visit yet). The decision was made less than 2 hours after we had gotten to the hospital. So I have no idea what labor feels like and you know what...I'm not complaining. :)