Mike and I woke up January 6, to a very icy morning. We planned to go into the office early before my 39 week appointment so we would have less time to make up later in the day. He insisted we bring everything with us; the hospital bag, Elijah’s birth-day cake, our sparkling grape juice, the car-seat, EVERYTHING. I felt a little silly walking out of the house with only my purse watching Mike struggle to fit everything in the trunk of the Alero, thinking the whole time, “Poor guy is going to have to schlep all this back into the house this evening.”
Conditions worsened while we were at the office. My boss actually suggested to us that we reschedule. Our doctor’s office was almost an hour away in Springfield, IL, and the roads were terrible. Again, Mike was insistent. We were going.
This appointment was the same as every other weekly appointment until my doctor suggested I stay a little longer to go on the fetal heart monitor. Ok, I wasn’t too worried. She said this was standard procedure. What did I know? I was strapped into the fetal monitor, given some juice and waited, and waited, and waited.
Finally the nurse came, checked the report quickly and told me I could schedule my 40 week appointment. While we were at the appointment desk, she hurried back and asked us to stop at the hospital and sit on their monitor for a couple hours. What? I started feeling a little nervous. Why? “It’s completely standard,” she quickly said. “The baby’s heart rate was perfect until the very end where it dipped just a little. There’s probably nothing wrong but we need to check it out.”
When Mike dropped me off at the front of the hospital I called both our moms to let them know what was going on and to ask them to pray for us and especially for Elijah. I was admitted into the hospital and as the nurse wheeled me up to the maternity floor it was as if God whispered into my ear, “You’re going to have the baby today.”
I was asked to change into a hospital gown and (of course) pee in a cup. When I walked out of the bathroom Mike brought me to a hospital bed and very calmly told me that the doctor called and wanted to induce me. Elijah’s heart rate had dropped when she checked him with the doppler in the office in addition to the drop on the fetal monitor. She didn’t feel comfortable sending me home, and she felt the additional time on the fetal monitor at the hospital was unnecessary. It was time.
I don’t remember the walk to my hospital room, but I do remember turning the corner and looking at the place where the hospital bed was being set up and crying. “I can’t do this,” I told Mike. “I can’t push this baby out of me.” He smiled, “Honey it’s too late for that now.”
Believe it or not, the first phone call I made was to the girl who was going to give me a pedicure that evening. I knew if I waited I’d never remember to cancel. Then came all the calls to family and friends and the excitement of waiting for the pitocyn to kick in (around noon). The nurse kept checking on me asking if I wanted an epidural. No, I was going to try to make it at least to five cm, and it wasn’t hurting that bad anyway.
Fast forward to when my pitocyn dosage was doubled and I became a very different woman. My contractions were technically two minutes apart, but they lasted so long it seemed like they went from one right into the other. I looked at the clock. It was after six, maybe seven in the evening. It was hard to tell through the excruciating pain. The nurse said I probably had a good ten hours to go. I looked at Mike. There was no way I was going to be able to keep this up. I cried for an epidural.
After the epidural I relaxed, so much so that they had to put me on oxygen. The nurses had to wake me up to turn me over from side to side. They woke me up at 6 cm to break my water. They woke me up to take the oxygen off, and then to put it back on again. Then sensing someone was near me, I opened my eyes to see two very concerned nurses watching the fetal monitor. “We need to call the doctor.”
Within moments I was told I needed a C-section. The anesthesiologist was already upping my pain meds. My stomach was being swabbed and I was being prepped for surgery. The doctor hadn’t even arrived before someone threw Mike a set of scrubs and I was being wheeled out of the room. “Can we wait for my husband?” I asked through the mask. “No. We’ll come back and get him if we can.”
Mike told me later that when he finally made it to the OR I was already cut open with my organs lying on my chest. He was told not to look, but he did anyway.
Then we held our breaths.
It literally seemed like forever before we heard Elijah cry. At that moment all my fears were swept away. He was ok. We were a family.
I don’t remember much detail immediately following Elijah’s birth because of all the pain meds I was on. I do remember taking our first family photo in the OR, and trying to nurse him later in my hospital room. I think I might have waved at my brother-in-law when he came to see Elijah, but for the most part I just slept. I had a faint thought that I might not remember what Elijah looked like in the morning, but I trusted Mike would.
I woke up January 7th very excited to enjoy my new son. He was perfect in every way I could imagine . . . and he hasn’t changed a bit.