Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Birth Story

Yesterday Eli celebrated his three month birthday. I can’t believe it!! In some ways it seems like an eternity since that precious day he came into our lives, and in other ways it feels like it was just yesterday. We have transitioned from sleepless nights to twelve hours of rest, from hours of crying to audible laugher, from parental uncertainty to joyful moments and from strangers to a family. These past three months have been incredibly exhausting and wonderfully blessed!
After weeks of Braxton Hicks contractions, a bout with pre-term labor and three weeks of bed rest, I woke up in the early hours of August 10 and announced to Eric that today was the day. We were going to have a baby. The contractions were no more severe than they had been the day before, but something in me just knew my baby was coming. I knew of course that I should stay home at least for early labor, but instinct told me to go to the hospital. We only lived about seven minutes away, but I had a deep urgency to get there. Before we left Eric asked if he had time to take a shower. (This is Watson male tradition because Eric’s dad asked the same question of my mother-in-law.) After a record fast shower, Eric and I left for the hospital stopping by Dairy Queen on the way. I convinced Eric to eat because I knew it would be a long time before his next meal.

Upon arriving at the hospital we found that I was two centimeters dilated and would not be admitted until I was at three. Before I left however, the nurse wanted to monitor the baby. His heart rate was low which was nothing out of the ordinary. We had already had to have several stress tests because of this., so one more was not alarming. After about forty-five minutes the heart rate had not increased, so I was given lots of sugary foods to increase it. When this did not work, we were sent to have a Biophysical Profile performed. Basically, this is a thirty minute ultrasound that tests and access the baby’s responsiveness based on fetal movement. The whole process is nerve-racking because the ultrasound tech can’t tell you anything. You have to wait for the nurse to get the results , consult with your doctor and then let you know what is going on. After the test, we waited in the labor room an hour before we were informed that we had failed and would thus be induced. All we were told was Eli had scored a four and that was of concern. While I was nervous, I never worried too much because I knew that if there was an immediate risk a cesarean would be performed. So we began the potocin. My labor started immediately. It was wham bam thank you ma’am! There was no easing into the contractions…they just started with much a gust! I have since been told that that is common with induced labor; thanks for the warning , doc. I was able to get my epidural (THANK GOD) about two hours later. Somewhere around four the doctor broke my water. Shortly thereafter I was given oxygen and turned over on my side. Again, I was not alarmed. The nurse had been concerned about the baby’s heart rate all day. Every thirty minutes or so she would rush in the room, put me in a new position and say, “we’ll see how this does for a while.” At some point they even put an internal heart rate monitor on Eli to get a more accurate reading. During this time, my parents arrived from Lexington and Eric’s from Marion. They helped keep us company and pass the time away. The, somewhere around six o’clock the nurse runs in, puts a surgical cap on my head and says, “You’re having a c-section.” That’s how I found out! There was no talk of maybe it will happen, or we’ll give you an hour and check again. It was an emergency. A team of people kept running around my room talking medical jargon , giving Eric instructions and poking and prodding on me. I was given lots of medicine which put me in the twilight zone. At one point the nurse started pushing me down the hallway while everyone ran along prepping me on the way. Apparently there was no time to spare. The doctor had the baby out in less than five minutes. I remember very little of the birth because of all the medications given to me. The medical staff did its best keep me awake for the precious moment of meeting my child, but the urgency of the situation forced them to give me medications that clouded my mind; medications that apparently are not administered during routine cesareans.
I do remember a few details. I remember thinking that he looked just like my brother and that he was very small. I remember them bringing him to me and letting me “hold” him. I must say, this action is more like the nurse putting the baby in the crevice where your arm and shoulder meet. I remember asking Eric if he was happy just has the nurse informed me that they would be putting me to sleep and that I could see my baby when I came out of recovery. I awoke in recovery but had to wait two hours for a room. This was torture because I was alone and wanted to see my husband and baby!!

Finally, three hours after his birth, the nurse wheeled my precious baby boy into the room and I finally met my Elijah Harold Watson. It was the most extraordinary moment of my life.

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