Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jordan's Birth Story: While They Are Both Sleeping...

Jordan Dennis Phillips
Born April 30, 2011 at 2:31 PM
6 lbs 15 oz
20 inches

I'm lying in my hospital bed, still sore from giving birth earlier today at 2:31 PM, listening to the clockwork of the IV as it spews oxytocin into my bloodstream and the laughing conversation from the nurses working outside of my door. To my left is the laptop, our cellphones, our cameras, a half empty Lay's bag of chips, a small cup of apple juice, a small 2 fl oz of Medela soothing sore nipple cream, wax water cups and some concoction drink in a big thermos my mom and aunt brought me to help my breast milk develop. In front of me, sits a small body, heaving slowly up and down, covered with a baby blue and pink beanie, swaddled in a white bundle with thin pink and blue stripes sitting inside a clear hospital encasement, tilted so I can see him from my bed.

Every now and then, a little peep comes out of him, as if saying something, but not really. Not crying, not wimpering, just a soft reminder that he is there, and just may be working on his first official poop. And everytime a sound comes from this soft bundle of joy lying at the foot of my bed, an automatic response from the man sleeping on my right joins with, "Hey buddy, what's going on?" or "Yeah Jordan?" Both are asleep, but the murmuring from my newborn son continues as he stretches here and there, moves his head a little as he dreams of his time in the womb or of that sweet first poop and similarly, like father, like son, Andy's responses are not far behind as he is taking a nap until the next feeding.

I think back to the day's events. I remember how I woke up in the hospital at 4 AM so some tall white coat man with thick rimmed black glasses could take my blood sample. Without my glasses or contacts on, I initially thought, what if it's like that movie Unknown, and he is here to put poison into my IV which I can dimly recall was the most painful part of my time at the hospital so far. I also remember the nurse's broken English as she instructed Andy and I to fill out a ton of release forms and sign away any foreseeable rights to litigation and lighten the burden of any form of liability on the hospital's part. This was as we struggled to stay awake as it was already 2 AM at the time.

Earlier that night, we had decided a trip to hospital would be the safe thing to do since I had been having painless contractions for the last 4 hours occurring anywhere from every 5 to 9 minutes. We knew we might be turned away but we didn't want to take our chances. My heart rate was higher than normal, the doctor had said I was 3 cm, 80% effaced and 1 plus station on Thursday, so if anything, getting turned away would reassure us. So off we went to the hospital, calm and composed, ready to get turned away.

The nurse who checked me, politely questioned why we had decided to come to the hospital if I had not been having any painful contractions. I told her of my doctor's appointments stats from Thursday and that I had been having consistent contractions for the last 4 hours. She put a baby heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor on my stomach, strapped with elastic bands (and put on WAY too tight) and began to chart my progress. Andy and I sat there, eagerly looking at the chart as it printed away, noticing all my so called "contractions" were showing up as mere squiggles of pretty static waves. Every now and then, I would get a larger contraction, but for the most part, the "contractions" I had been feeling were just small bumps of quiet noise. The nurse came back and measured my cervix, telling me my cervix was 5 cm dilated, I was still 80% effaced and the baby was quite high, -1 station. Oops, guess I heard the doc wrong on Thursday. She then told me I was having what she would call irritability but no real contractions besides the three or four she saw.

She then called the doctor on call for my doctor (who was away at a Girl Scout camp this weekend and told me if I had the baby this weekend, she'd be out) but advised me that she thought I would probably just go home. Fingers crossed - Andy and I did not want to stay at the hospital if we did not have to, we just wanted to be safe. We hadn't even called anyone in our family for fear of another false alarm (we though after 30 minutes of 5 minute apart contractions on Thursday night that we were on our way in that night!) The doctor called back and hearing I was 5 cm, 80% effaced, wanted us to stay over night and see where we landed in the morning. Andy and I both sighed, guess we were staying... guess we were being safe, but we still kinda secretly hoped it was not time yet and we could go home to sleep comfortably after the morning check up.

When I awoke this morning my nurse, Terri, measured me and told us I was definitely not 5 cm dilated anymore. Did I shrink? Was that possible? She then told us I was now 7 cm dilated and still about 80% effaced with the baby in -1 position still. But I hadn't felt anything painful! I had somehow managed to get to 7 cm, ready for active labor, and had not felt anything besides a tightening in the stomach which I, for all intense purposes, had thought was the baby kicking me!
The nurse said they called this "silent labor" and my irritability over time had somehow gotten me to 7 cm.
Shortly after, Nurse Terri and Doctor Chang came in to tell me they were going to give me pitocin to increase my contractions. They started the pitocin and still the contractions felt like cramps, and I was still feeling okay. Then Doctor Chang came in and told me they were going to strip my membranes, break the water bag, and really get things going. *gulp

At this point, I was 8 cm dilated and then, it started around 10 AM. Painful labor. Contractions that I needed to pause for, execute the breathing exercises Andy and I had learned during labor and birth class, change positions, the whole nine yards. I knew an epidural was an option, but part of me thought, I had no pain up until 8 cm, maybe I can make it to 10 cm. I likened the pain to really difficult diarrhea that is strained in your lower abdomen as your struggle, only times 5! I mean, it was bad, but not that bad, and it was only for a mere 60 seconds before you got through it and were okay again. Andy told me, it's like p90x, you can do anything for 90 seconds! Invigorated with more determination, I plowed through the next hour with minimal hardship. Andy and I were watching Tangled on his computer and soon after, I had him pause the movie while I worked through the contractions. He breathed with me, told me it hurt his throat to breathe this way, at which point I glared at him and thought of the Friends episode where Ross comments on how much this hurts (he hit his head or something) and Rachel just glares at him.

I shoved Andy away when he tried to touch me to help soothe my pain. Other times, I asked him to massage my back. He slow danced with me, cradled me while I moaned in pain and helped me move positions. Some contractions, I held onto the rails of the bed for dear life as if holding on tighter would make the pain diminish. I looked at the clock thinking, am I there yet? We prayed quietly for assistance, comfort and strength while I prayed about whether an epidural was the right next step. I asked Nurse Terri how long she thought I would be until 10 cm and delivery. She told me a cm was normally an hour. At 11 AM, I was still in pain, only it had gotten worse.

Epidural.... my long lost friend, is it too late? Through my mind, ran the cost benefit analysis of how much more benefit I would have gotten (it's expensive folks) if I had decided earlier... but then the fear of having scoliosis and not being able to move after also dawned upon me. The fear of not being able to fully push because the epidural was too strong also frightened me. The - PAIN - suddenly overcame all logical thought and the next time Nurse Terri came by, I told her I would take an epidural please.

It took about 25 minutes to get set up, during which time I had about a million contractions all equally miserable and painstakingly long (okay a minute, but it felt LONGER!). They came in at 11:30 and I was 9 cm... man, only 1 more cm to go, but if this would take an hour or more, that was enough for me to have the epidural. The hardest part was sitting tight as an excruciating contraction went through my body, for fear of messing up my spine if I moved while the anesthesiologist was setting everything up on my back. The "burning" and "sting" he described was nothing compared to the IV from the night before (yes, most painful still) or the labor contractions I had been feeling.

I was never planning for an all natural birth though I had strongly considered it, and though I give much credit to those who can do it naturally, there is nothing wrong with an epidural for those who want it! I just figured since I had been so blessed with no pain up until 7 cm, maybe I should try my luck for the remaining 3 cm by going naturally like my mom, mother in law and aunts had all done (times were different but none of them really had time).

It took 4 contractions for the epidural to take its course. From then on, I felt pressure but no pain. Andy and I continued watching Tangled (we had stopped it earlier when the pain was too much and I couldn't stand it) and I thought, I'd love to go to sleep now... maybe baby will come later so I can sleep blissfully until then.

Gravity helped him slowly move lower and then... it was time. I was to start pushing at 12:45 PM. Only, though I could feel my legs and even move them, my butt was numb. And I was supposed to push as if I was pooping but where was my butt?!

I pushed for a total of an hour and forty five minutes, never positive if I was really pushing or if the praises from the nurse, doctor and Andy were just to motivate me to continue trying. I just continued pushing, always in groups of three, always exhausted from what I think was pushing, but was not certain due to the overall numbness I felt. And then, it happened. His heart rate dropped and I could tell everyone in the room was frightened and everyone paused to look at the monitors (which I could not see from where I lay) and waited. I knew I had to push harder to get him out but I just couldn't physically manage it. Why was it so hard? I was an expert pooper and have been very accustomed to constipation and the effort it takes to truly push a big poop out! Ugh.

I kept hearing his head was near - they could see the hair - yet every set of pushes was not enough. I prayed silently for help, for the courage and strength to continue pushing and for Jordan to be okay. Towards my last push, his heart rate plunged down again. This time I tilted my head and could see it was around 75. The doctor then said she was going to use the vacuum and at this precise moment - is when I completely freaked out.

Andy had told me about a vacuum delivery he had witnessed during his rotation and the risks associated with it. And so, I lay there, looked to him for advice, but his face was white with fear. He knew exactly what the risks were and he was scared for the baby and he could not hide it. They told me I had to push as hard as I humanly could as they used the vacuum and all I could think of was if the baby would be okay. What if his heart stopped completely because I was a sucky pusher? Stupid epidural!
And then... I pushed and they vacuumed and out he came. He was born at precisely 2:31 PM. Slimy, bloody, wrinkly and perfectly all mine (and Andy's). They lay him on me as he cried and all I could think of was, is he okay? Andy looked relieved but I was still scared. They took him away to clean and check and I sat there shaking in disbelief that my 37 and 6 days of being pregnant had just ended, that my stomach was more like I was 5 months pregnant and that there was a crying baby in the room that was no longer a moving motion inside of me.

They told us his cord was very short, which made his heart rate decrease everytime I tried pushing him and it pulled on the cord. I felt a bit relieved that it wasn't my sucky pushing that led to his lowered heart rate but moreover, I was just relieved that he had made it out with the vacuum. We took pictures, videos, called family, called friends, and later, Jordan had his first take at some colostrum and as he gorged on me, all I could think was, wow. Wow. WOW. And also, when will I feel the doctor sewing me up down there? (yeah - they cut me and I ripped). I looked down at him adoringly, still unsure of all the emotions whirling inside of me. What just happened? Did I really just give birth?

As I sit here staring at my baby and my husband while they are both sleeping, I know that it wasn't just a dream (nightmare for some parts). Andy and I normally pray a lot. Today, we prayed a lot for Jordan. And a lot for me. And a lot for the family. We are a family now. And I am here to capture all of that while they are both sleeping. While they are BOTH sleeping. I shall join them soon...


Aunt LoLo said...

Congratulations!!!! How big was he?? I'm sure he's beautiful.

Tara said...

Congratulations! -Dustin and Tara

Genny said...

hurray! everyone is safe and healthy! (I knew you would have the baby sooner than later!) What a little cutie. :)

SupaFlowaPowa said...

He was 6 pounds and 15 oz, about 20 inches long.

Ian and Gena Hopper said...

I've been waiting for news. I can't believe it's happened!! He is beutiful, looks like Andy.

Jenny said...

Congrats! So happy for you both!

Chris and Paige Evans said...

I love your reference to FRIENDS - I didn't know you're a fan! We'll have to have a marathon some day :) "You have no idea how much this hurts!" Great line.

Congratulations, you're a trooper and I'm so excited to meet Jordan! Welcome to mommyhood :) Let the play dates begin!

bruinjack said...

He's beautiful! Congrats, guys. And may I just say that you are amazing-blogging from a hospital bed.

Di said...

Congrats! So happy for you guys! He is beautiful!!

Brandon and Sarah said...

Congrats! He is so beautiful.

HCIC said...

yay! he is here. can't wait to see more pictures of him!

Anonymous said...

I've been a lurker on your blog since I found it on, though never met in real life (although I did go to Scripps, funnily enough). When I was reading your entry about your son's room, I for some reason felt the urge to pray for you. If my time zone calculations are right, I was praying for you at about the time your son was coming into the world.
I just wanted to let you know that many people are keeping you in their thoughts, even from all the way across the internet, and are wishing you and your family great happiness.

Sijbrich said...

You really outdid yourself with the poop references in this post.
Congratulations! So happy for you.

Deidra Smith said...

Congratulations! That is so exciting. And way to go blogging the experience right away, it's easy to forget the little stuff in the not-enough-sleep haze you might find yourself in for a few weeks:) He's beautiful!

C@Ke, China, Tana said...

CONGRATS!!! HE LOOKS AMAZING!!!I want to see more pics!