Today, Oren is one week old. For someone so young he has already triumphed over enough to call him a Champion. I have had a week of resting to think on and rehash everything that happened. Some things blurred by the speed of how things unfolded so if I got some things mixed-up, I hope you’ll forgive me. Though we did not get the birth setting that we planned on, we did get Oren. And that supersedes all expectations of time and setting.
On the evening of Monday, April 22nd I felt my first real contraction. It was subtle but having been dealing with Braxton Hicks, I knew this was no Braxton Hicks. Excited, I started thinking that possibly in the next day or two I would be holding our son. But the next day came, with more, even stronger contractions-- except with no real consistency. Then the next day we had an appointment to see the mid-wife. She checked baby’s position which he was still posterior signaling this could be a long (and I learned a new term) prodromal labor. She suggested we go home, rest, do some rebozo and see what happens.
Nothing but more irregular contractions happened.
Which was so frustrating and sleep depriving.
Though I rested on excitement and joy to keep me from getting negative I could not help but think something was wrong at times. I’d cry, maybe from just being plain old tired or perhaps being scared to death. A week had passed since that first “real” contraction and we still had not had a baby. Seth had taken time from work to be with me--which was turning out to be pointless. I was feeling guilty and wimpy…two emotions I don’t do well with.
Then one morning I woke up drenched in sweat with some serious pressure being felt. This was Friday--May 3--around 7 AM. Almost two weeks later.
This was it.
We made the phone call. Got everything in order. Checked the temperature of the hot tub. Put the soup on the stove. We had everything together and we were rocking it out. Feeling an energy and excitement that you only feel when you are preparing to have a baby. It was beautiful. We went for walks around the yard. My man held me close when I’d feel those contractions come on stronger than ever and held my hand every other time. I love him so much.
The Midwife came. They checked me out. I was 6cm dilated. Woohoo, this could happen really fast. Or so we thought. I labored in the hot tub until it started thundering. A storm came, of course, just like it had with Esten. In the middle of it all though, I noticed things. Like, no one was able to get a signal to call out. I looked to Seth, with worry and a question. “What if something goes wrong and they can’t call for help in time?” Negative energy was there and it was feeding me thoughts and worries. I knew. It was just that I wasn’t aware of my knowing at the time. Seth talked me back into the light. He reassured me that everything would be ok. He kissed my face, held me close, did everything he was created to do in that situation. The rain had let off a little so we got back in the hot tub. The midwife checked me again, this time, she accidentally broke my water. Stronger contractions came. I, pushing, felt no progress, no descend.
Then something odd occurred. She wanted to hear the baby’s heart tones while I had a contraction. Later telling me, that was about the time she started to think something wasn’t right. He wasn’t moving down.
Still higher than expected.
We got out of the hot tub.
She got her birthing stool and I sat on it for what felt like a minute or two. That’s all it took for her to hear that Oren’s heart rate had dropped to 60 bpm. That wasn’t good. Her voice was different now. She told her assisting midwife to get the oxygen and minutes after that she sent out word to call 911.
Now, I had never been administered oxygen in an emergency-like situation. Seth held the mask to my face and I just wasn’t getting the necessary amount of air to take those “long deep breaths” I was being told over and over again to take. I was half wondering “Am I doing this right?” and “Is this thing on?” the whole time. And because of this extreme circumstance, panic came over me like nothing I had ever felt. My chest tightened. I was taking only half deep breaths which wasn’t good enough. I was listening to my baby’s heart rate, trying to stay calm, wanting so badly to get him out of my body so he could be safe in my arms. I saw the lights of the arriving EMS truck flashing on the bedroom wall. Heard the voices of strangers asking those important questions. I was scared and leaving the moment. The moment I was trying so hard to stay in to make the next moment count. I felt like I was sinking into darkness and the only things really keeping me from falling completely was the sound of that baby’s heartbeat, my daughter’s voice ringing out through the room with “I love you Mom!” and Seth’s tear-filled eyes, his face framed in light, his voice begging me not to give up. I couldn’t give up. Lord knows, after every push that brought no progress I thought about it. But it’s hard to give up when you’ve got so much to thrive for. Oren’s heart rate had dropped only that one time. Every time after that it was normal and good. But he still wasn’t coming down. Our Midwife suspected a chord issue, knew he was posterior. These things were working against us.
They were working against me.
I never felt so weak.
The EMS guys called for a helicopter. Due to us living so far out, maybe they thought if things were to go further south they would need a quicker way to transport. Then this is where it all gets blurry. My Midwife told me to make the call, if I wanted to keep trying at home or to go to the hospital. I had only a second to ask my gut and my gut said something isn’t right, you need to go.
I couldn’t breathe for what felt like forever so as soon as I got into the EMS truck and they put a mask to my face that had the cleanest freshest air, flowing into my lungs did I start to feel like I had the energy to do what I needed to do. Seth was still over me, talking to me, his voice so soft and encouraging yet frightened. He was scared, I could hear it in his pleas. But I could breathe, the panic was subsiding. In just moments, very long and worked moments it seemed, I would have that second wind to rear my body up and push like I had pushed Esten, to push like I had pushed Madelyn…out into this world.
And push I did.
When Oren was born, he had to have fluid pumped out of his lungs. I saw our midwife working on him, I was elated to see his lips quivering. I thanked God and everyone in that truck over and over again. Born posterior. He had a “true knot” in his chord. Days later the Mid-wife told me had that chord been wrapped around his neck WITH that true knot, it could have been a whole other story.
At 8:40 on a Friday night, 13 hours and 40 minutes after waking up, drenched in sweat, our son was born. He was born in an ambulance, on a road in the country. He was born with so much wisdom in his eyes and a story waiting to be told on his lips.
Our midwives never left our side. I have so much love for those ladies. They believed in me and truth be told, I needed every bit of their belief.
Our family of families sent out a many a prayer that night and I sincerely believe all of that energy concentrated our way did the miraculous. I'll be forever grateful to Seth's Mom and Sister, our most supportive of support teams.
I sit with my son cuddled close to my chest now, tears falling...I’m oh so grateful.
I think about the bound together chapters the story of our life has. This chapter gives so much profundity to all of the others. Especially to the one of Seth and I meeting. Who would have thought that at a party at a friend’s house you would meet the man you’d share so much with. Who would by all accounts keep you from sinking into the depths of such a fearful place to bring your child into the world. I am grateful for every line in every chapter already written with him.
And I look forward to the next turning pages and everything we, this rocking family of FIVE, will fill them in with.
Your breath is a blessing. It is a most powerful blessing. I, for one, will never ever forget that.