Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One year ago today...

One year ago, this very hour...
I had just gotten the kids to bed and called my good friends, Kathy and Linda. I had been sent home from the hospital earlier that morning. The nurses had told me I'd be back later, and sure enough, my contractions had picked up once more that same afternoon. I was sitting in our comfy recliner in the living room, after just putting on a bit of make up and brushing my hair. Yes, I put on make up before I deliver my babies. You don't want the pictures to look terrible!
I remember having such control and calm about me, and being so exicited deep inside. I was planning a natural birth, but I was soooo tired from the whole night of contractions that started just 15 hours earlier.
The first time (Monday morning around 2 a.m. ) I woke with contractions, they were really nice and steady and definitely something I had to breath through. I got up and bathed to see if they would go away (and decided to shave my legs while I was in there) and they stayed pretty strong. David and I called Kathy and she woke her children and brought them over here around 4:30. We left for Chattanooga, stopping at McDonalds around 5:30 a.m. to get a yogurt parfait. Those young girls freaked out at the counter, knowing I was in labor. I guess it was obvious, huh? But I had to have some kind of energy, and I knew they wouldn't give me anything in the hospital.
I got to Women's East, contractions still going strong, and just as soon as they hooked me up to the monitor, they completely stopped! The nurses had me walk around outside for an hour or two, and nothing picked back up. I was sooooo frustrated, but at least I had some fun walking partners. Linda, my dear friend and "doula" had made it just in time to walk a few laps in the parking lot with us. She kept me laughing with a silly game called, "Good idea, bad idea". We still joke about my first "Good idea, bad idea" being about coming to the hospital and delivering INSIDE the hospital instead of being outside in the parking lot telling jokes. Eeeeenyway, we decided to go home, and I felt like a fool. I cried most of the day, and was still having contractions, but nothing too painful.
Around 3:30 or so, I remember the contractions taking a different turn and then getting much worse while I was making dinner around 6ish. I called David at work and told him to be ready to take me to the hospital that night after dinner. We decided to get the kids in the bed calmly and then head out again.
While sitting in that chair, waiting on Kathy to show up and bring her girls who were staying the night with my boys, I got a call from my friend, Nancy. Even though she knew I was in some pretty extreme pain, she continued to talk to me and wish me luck and remind me to call her when he was born...and to rememeber to relax and... She drove me nuts and I'm pretty sure I hung up on her.
We arrived at the hospital sometime around 10, I think. I had a really terrible headache and immediately asked for something for it. The nurse laughed that I would care about getting pain meds for my head, rather than my contractions. It was awful!
I remember so vividly, being checked and them telling me that I was 5 was a good number to hear. There was a VERY loud woman screaming down the hall, "Noooooo, it hurts!!! Stop it, I hate this!!!! Ahhhhhh! OOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhh! No, NO" It scared me - I knew she was doing this naturally as well. I told the nurse specifically to make sure my room was no where near that woman's room. I would not be able to handle a screamer.
As they walked me to my room, I realized there was no other room but the one next to the screamer. Fortunately, she delivered within about 20 minutes of us getting in the room. It was the most beautiful sound I could have heard...silence.
I labored in silence and in the dark, with only David, Linda and Kathy surrounding me. They were perfectly calming and encouraging. The whole process was so beautiful and amazing - one of my most favorite experiences in life. They prayed for me and touched and rubbed me when I wanted them to and got completely away from me when I made the slightest change in my facial expressions. What a blessing to be surrounded by such love and attention!
I moved rather quickly in transition from 7 to 10 centimeters and water breaking all in about 3 minutes or so and one check from the nurse. That's when things got out of control a bit. Dr. Childs was with us at that point and he was trying to help me but desperately wanted me to consider some pain meds. My body soon started pushing the baby out, and I had no control over it at all. Forget the counting and breathing - my body was taking over. I had become the screamer the next girl didn't want to be near. David said later that I sounded somewhat like a bear. I don't care - that's a feeling that cannot be described in words. It was crazy and wonderful, and uncontrollable, all rolled into one.
I did give in and screamed for statal (sp?) towards the end, and Dr. happily obliged. But in just about 5 minutes after receiving the love, I gave birth to my little Tate Christian. I remember seeing him, hearing that glorious cry, and then going straight to sleep. I woke up a little while later, seeing David next to my bed, butt naked ( it was the drugs...maybe too strong??). I was trying to convince Linda to look at his butt, for some reason. Kathy was having to reassure me that Tate was okay (and that David wasn't butt naked) and that he was seriously "cute". I don't know why I was so worried about that. Someone brought me food that I couldn't keep down and then I got up to pee.
I remember I couldn't see Tate for like 4 hours because of the drugs in his system. It was a long several days. He had to stay in the NICU for some unknown infection. They never gave me any details of what it could even be, but I coulnt' have him in my room at all. I made the trip to the NICU part of the hospital every 2 hours to nurse him and then come back to my room. I cried almost every time to have to leave him. The regular nurses in that hospital were terrible to us, but the NICU girls were so wonderful. They loved their "resident Tater"...he became their friend for the four days he was in there. Much of that time, he was their only baby to care for, so he became pretty spoiled.
I wasn't supposed to stay at the hospital any longer because of insurance, yet Tate had to stay on the meds. The nurses were very unclear and very unprofessional about allowing me to stay. They were trying to convince me that I could easily get a hotel and come over to nurse every 1 to 2 hours. Yeah, right...that would have worked out well. Dr. Childs really blessed us and tried his hardest to allow me to stay there. He eventually worked it out on the last night so that I stayed in a room actually attached to the NICU, right next to Tate's little bed. I wasn't supposed to be sleeping in there, but he was "hiding" me there. He stayed that last night at the hospital to make sure I was not seen by anyone else. He sat in the little tiny room in the next chair and talked to me a lot that night.
We got to unhook him and bring him home the next day, and still never found out what he was being treated for. Either way, he came home a sweet, healthy bundle of joy.
I dont't know why I get so emotional about these things. For some reason, it tears me up terribly every time my little boys turn a year old. It's almost like I'm loosing their babyhood or something. After today, I can no longer say I have a ?? month old baby. I have to say he's "one" now.
I've done it every time. I sat in Cael's floor on his birthday morning and all these emotions came rushing over me about his birth. Micah's traumatic birth experience was something I did not enjoy at all, yet, on his first birthday, I still smiled and cried to remember it all again. Today has been hard on me. I wonder if it's because this is probably the last time I'll remember my baby's birth story on the eve of his first birthday. I think I knew deep down that I would have another after Cael, and possibly even another after Micah...but I think we are done now. It's really okay - it is a decision that we've talked about and pretty much agreed on, but for some reason, it's a hard thing for me to grasp right now. Tomorrow will be different.
I'm so thankful for my Tate. I'm thankful that God has blessed me with a smart, sweet, caring man of God for a husband, for my two older boys, Cael and Micah. What a day to remember, huh? Birth is such a miracle of life that God allows us to experience. I'm thankful.