Wednesday, March 12, 2008

5 Years Ago Today

I woke up and hauled my largely pregnant self out of bed around 5am. Time to go to the bathroom....again!

I stood up and....sploosh! I felt a warm, wet sensation traveling down my legs.

Oh my goodness! My water broke! (I had never had my water break before being in active labor before.)

I high-tailed it into the bathroom, closed the door, and turned on the light. And then I looked down and saw that I was wrong. My water hadn't broken. I was bleeding. All over the place.

You know how disorienting things can be when you first wake up? That was me. Standing there looking at my bloody footprints that lead into the room, and the bloody puddle I was standing in, I was scared to death and just kind of frozen for a minute saying ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmyGOSH ohmygosh and then the crying started, while I decided to try to get cleaned up for a second.

Things started moving pretty fast at that point. I woke up my husband. (hissing into the darkness of our bedroom: "Dave. Wake UP. NOW." The tone was enough to tell him that NOW it had to be.

I knew we were headed to the hospital, no doubt. I called my midwife to tell her what was happening. I called my best friend to ask her to pray. (I didn't call my mom. Sorry, Mom! I thought it would be better to tell her what was happening when we had more answers than questions.) We called an ambulance because we had 5 children ages 10 and under in the house, and didn't know who we could get at 5am to come help us. (We have no family members in our area)

The scariest part of this whole thing was that my usually extremely active baby was not making a move. As I sat in a chair waiting for the ambulance, I gently prodded my belly, hoping to get some sort of reassuring poke or kick back. I got nothing. I didn't verbalize my fear because I knew I would start crying. So I just prayed, both asking God to save my baby, and asking for whatever kind of hope it is that mothers get when their babies are born dead. I had no idea what the ultimate result of that day would be, but I knew there was no getting around facing it.

Thankfully, the hospital we were headed to is only about 7 minutes away. Our kind family doctor who is also an OB was there. He's the kind of doctor that loves to help families and deliver babies, and isn't against home births. (which is what we had been planning) The best news he had for me was a quick ultrasound which showed my little buddy alive and well inside of me. After that, all the other decisions seemed less difficult.

(Somewhere during this time my husband arrived. Before I left in the ambulance I had suggested that he check and see if our neighbor was awake and willing to come help us. He walked across the street and saw their kitchen light on. Our neighbor and his teenage daughter that often babysat for us came to our rescue, while my best friend was packing up her own four kids to drive three hours to help us as well.)

We couldn't figure out why I was bleeding, but it wasn't stopping. He offered me a couple of options. I wasn't very dilated, but I could continue to labor while they monitored the bleeding, the baby, and me, and see if we could end up with a regular birth. Or, we could do a c-section while things were stable and there wasn't any big dramatic rush for it.

Considering how miserable it already was to try to labor in that bed all hooked up to stuff, I didn't think labor was going to be very quick. And knowing that at any minute during the misery of labor all hell might break loose and I would have to be rushed into the OR, and then who knows what kind of outcome we would have, we picked the c-section. I had already experienced a placental abruption with my 4th child and knew what the risks were of bleeding to death for both myself and the baby. We weren't interested in playing with fire for this birth. Yes, a c-section has a lot of risks. But, when a pregnant woman is bleeding like crazy and you can't figure out why, it's not exactly a scenario where you think that you're going to roll the dice and see if you can pretend that a normal, healthy birth is the likely outcome.

Because of the bleeding it was considered too risky for me to merely have an epidural for the surgery. I had to have general anesthesia. Thankfully, we negotiated for my husband to be in the OR with me.

Being put under was horrible. The stuff they pump through the gas mask made me feel like I couldn't breathe, and I was terrified.

During the operation I was having a dream. I was a water bed, and all of my kids were jumping on my stomach. I was telling them to stop and to be careful of the baby, but they kept going.

Outside of my subconscious, in the real world, my belly was a water bed, and two doctors pushed, pulled, and went all out trying to extract my big 10 pound 5 ounce baby from a 7 inch slit in my skin.

When I woke up in a grog my husband was standing where I could see him, with a chubby baby all wrapped up in a blanket. Here's our little boy! I held our little sweetie for a few seconds before slipping back out of consciousness. Good thing hubby was spotting me.

I don't know how many hours I was asleep before I was able to rejoin the world. I guess our new son and his daddy had some good bonding time without me. :)

While I was sleeping, my husband had done all the phone calls, letting everyone know that our son Levi had been born. All I had to do once I woke up was deal with the pain, and enjoy this plump bundle of love. :)

That night, as I held my baby in bed and just drank in his sweetness, it hit me that there had been a mix up about his name. Although we had Levi at the top of our list for boy names, we had also started to like the name Aidan. Up until this point we had four boys and one girl, and people seemed especially focused on us "getting another girl." When we were hunting for a middle name we came across Aidan, which means "warmth of the home" and we just loved that. We started considering using Aidan for the baby's name instead of Levi, but so far had just kind of left it that if we had a boy, we'd get to know him a little bit and see which name seemed to be a fit for him.

After the experiences we had had that day. After the scare of not knowing if I was even going to end up with a baby in my arms. After the unpleasantries of a surgical birth. It suddenly seemed fitting to me that our little boy have a name that conveyed our wholehearted welcome of him into our family, and the idea that he was very special to us---not "just another boy."

So the next day when my husband came in I mentioned this to him. I wasn't sure if he had started telling everyone that the baby's name was Levi because he really felt like it was a fit, or just by accident. He told me that in all of the stress and craziness of the day he had completely forgotten that we had considered another name. He agreed with me that Aidan was the right name for our little boy, so then we got to tell everybody about the change (including siblings, grandparents, coworkers, and everyone else). :)

Here is my favorite baby picture of him

and this photo from when he was three totally captures one of his most common facial expressions of age three. What. A. Hoot!

Now I am going to go make the Pioneer Woman's Best Sheet Cake Ever so that I can take it in to Aidan's class this morning for a little birthday party! :)


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, little Man. We are so glad you are here. We love you. Sooz and family.
PS Posting anonymously because I can't remember my password!

Mimi said...

Happy, Happy Birthday to your sweet little one! What an amazing Birth Story!