I was encouraged to write my "birth story" (I actually find that phrase kinda creepy) down right after we had Dekker. It sounded like another chore on no sleep. But THANKFULLY I sent this in an e-mail format to my dad and his family, many of whom I had seen weeks earlier at my Grandma's funeral. I found this, and decided to share it with the world wide web (or at least the seven of you who read this blog!) in honor of Dekker's first birthday. The birth story follows, I added my comments now, a year later, in red:
First, I went to see my doctor on Wed, April 1st. She told me that I have a "long ways to go" and that I would FOR SURE have a few more weekends to get things done around the house, etc. She was so sure that I wasn't having that baby anytime soon that she didn't even schedule another appt for me for TWO weeks as she was out of town. She thought there was "no need to see a partner" at the office when I'm not having this baby anyway.
Please note that I love Dr. Simmons at Lakeside OB-GYN. I would recommend her to anyone. At my follow up appointment she simply said, "Well, sometimes God laughs at our plans, doesn't He?" She was honestly super surprised that I went from nothing to baby so quick... something she said we will keep in mind "next time."
So the following Friday I cleaned. I joked that if this was considered "nesting" and a "burst of energy" that I am in trouble. And folks, I was in trouble. Let's be honest here, my house was a little bit of a pit and the nursery was in shambles! We had a great weekend, I got a massage, we did some work at the church (I hosted), and I helped host a bridal shower. But I was MUCH more tired than I had been and I had decided that carrying around 25 extra lbs just does that to you after awhile! Erin, I love you, but I was quite miserable at that shower. Here is a picture from it:
Monday morning the 6th I went to the HR Service Center for our work-- thankfully just down the road and not across town like the hospital where I spend most of my days. Since I work in a hospital, I have to be CPR Certified, and this was my annual CPR Re-certification. This class was only from 8-10 and I had already rescheduled it several times due to my
trips to Colorado (remember, Grandma had been sick and I had been out of work). Boy, I was SO HAPPY to get it done before maternity leave :) The lady signing me in said "If you weren't so high and tight I'd be worried you were having a baby today." I'd like to go back and punch that lady. Famous Last Words.
Class got underway just fine-- there I was on my knees giving chest compressions and the whole 9 yards. All of the sudden (during partner CPR of course) I had an urge to go to the bathroom so like a good adult learner I just excused myself and went (sorry to my partner). I thought "boy I must be sweating a lot." No biggie. Seriously, how could I think this was no biggie. I was so freaked out. I didn't know what to do!?! I was at CPR training for goodness sakes, and I had been ASSURED by my doctor that there would be no baby soon and even the RN leading this class thought I was "high and tight." I went back to class. What else was I going to do?!? Felt really funny and back to the bathroom I went. Seriously sweating bullets at this point. This time I thought "boy, did I wet my pants or something." (Sounds funny but LOTS of women do in their 3rd trimester.) I think I was in denial. Went back to class. At this point it had crossed my mind that my water had broke b/c my doctor warned me that with his head position my water breaking might be more like a trickle than a gush. Again in class, I started to realize wet spots on the chair (a moment of absolute horror) where I was sitting.
I couldn't stay, and I was pretty mad about it b/c I really wanted that certificate done. (Don't worry, I ended up getting credit for this class. Just don't choke or have a stroke near me, okay.) I knew if it was my water that I had 24 hours to have the baby and I was sure at least one of those hours could be spent finishing this lousy class. But I was too uncomfortable. And hello, my chair was stained. So I stood up in class, there are like 20 people there, and announced "I have to leave" (again, very sorry for my partner). Some lady in the class was like, "ooohhhh poor thing." I gathered my things, shaking, and walked out. One of the instructors followed me into the hallway. I explained that I couldn't "keep myself dry" (how else do you explain this? I honestly thought I was going to get in trouble for leaving when my water hadn't broke. But wet spots on the chair? Pee, sweat, or baby fluid, I knew my manager would understand) and she told me to call my practitioner and my husband. I did both.
My doctor was out of the office (as we all know by now) so I told the staff and they told me to come in 45 minutes. I called Dave, who thankfully works from home, and said "I'm not sure, but my water might have broke we have to go to the doctor." So I got home and we VERY CALMLY packed a bag (you know this wasn't already done! I had two weeks!), played with the dog, grabbed a soda, I even started a load of laundry. We were so calm it was almost weird. I still believe this time was just a little gift from God-- a chance to enjoy our family one last time before it changed forever. It was surreal. Nothing like I had imagined. I had almost no anxiety.
Next, we went to the doctor, who said "if you don't know (what's going on) it almost always isn't the waters breaking but we'll check" and of course by the time that sentence was out
of his mouth the little test strip turned bright blue. Why don't they sell those at Walgreens? He said "Happy birthday to your little one" and I almost fainted. He wanted me to go right to the hospital but I begged him to let me have a bagel. I had spotted a Panera, and it sounded so good. I had eaten two pop tarts on the way to CPR class that AM and was starving, and I knew once they started things I wouldn't be allowed to eat. So I begged and begged and he gave me very funny and specific instructions for Panera (white, not whole wheat, with jelly, not cream cheese-- just wanted it digested fast and not "sticking aroud"). We went there, called our folks and siblings, and then went to the hospital for the big day. Also not how I had imagined-- calling my mom from the Panera parking lot... but it was lovely.
We checked in at the hospital-- weird--"I'm here to have a baby." Ha! It was fine. Great, nice nurses. It was 11:30AM. They started a drug to help my contractions become stronger and quicker. So tons of IV's and machines and stuff later and the show was underway. About 4:30 in the afternoon I started to have serious pain. At this point I actually called my friend Jenny Hanson. Hilarious. She still laughs about this. I asked her "When did you get your epidural?" She was like, "Get yours whenever you want it, honey." Sweet friend. Jenny, thank you for being such a fun part of my "birth story". I asked the nurse how long an epidural takes to order, take effect, etc. (She told me 30 minutes). So I told her to order one for 6:00 so I could be pain free by Wheel of Fortune at 6:30! I was dead serious! I am a very serious wheel watcher and this part of the story shows you that I am who I am no matter the circumstances. The anesthesiologist came in at 6:00. I told him he looked young for 40 and he said that's because he's 33. (He did not share my humor or my love for The Wheel.) I just didn't think he was old enough to put this needle in my spine! Can we say teenage doctor here! He was slow, too. So my show started and as he was doing the procedure I guessed the puzzle! It was too much! Dave still laughs about this. I am pretty good at this show. I hope I get on it someday.
From 7PM-8PM was a very scary hour (and got in the way of another show I thought
I should watch!). The epidural actually took too high-- meaning it was close to affecting my breathing, so it had to be turned off and eventually cut in half. Then the contractions started to get very intense and Dekker's heart rate started dropping very low. Before I knew it 5 nurses were in the room, I was up on my side, on oxygen-- his heart rate recovered and only later did I learn how close to an emergency c-section we were! Words can not express how suddenly the climate in the room changed. Wow. We were laughing and watching The Wheel one minute and imaging our worst fear the next. That happened a few more times throughout labor when my contractions got really intense, but everyone was much more calm and knew how to get his heart rate back up.
Mom and Dad visited that evening and we watched a little college bball (it was the final game) and talked... it was a fun visit. About 1:00AM I woke up in intense pain. That 1/2 epidural wasn't enough to block the pain anymore. At one point I demanded the anesthesiologist be called back because I was in too much pain. He was called at his home (didn't bother me at this point) and said he would come in to administer a new one, but other than that there was nothing he could do. I "toughed it out" and later learned that the pain had simply gotten worse than the 1/2 block, and actually probably helped me push. About 2:00 the doctor got there (the one on call I had seen at the office-- super great man and doctor) and I pushed for 20 minutes. My feet were in the stirrups when I exclaimed (seriously in total awe!) "Whoa! What an experience!" I actually loved this phase of labor, once I knew the end was in sight. I was silent, focused-- barely talked to anyone and in a great mood. The nurse told me average pushing for a first time mom is 90-180 minutes and I thought HECK NO. I was so glad I had been doing a lot of walking and exercise because boy, labor is a very physical activity!
He was born at 2:37AM with the cord wrapped around his neck 2 times. That explained the heart rate problem! He, as you know, had so much hair. We were in LOVE! So indescribable. I was really shaking and my body temperature was doing crazy things, and I didn't get to hold him too long right there at first but Dave did and it was great. I knew the kitchen closed at 3AM so almost immediately I said "I need a grilled cheese, stat!" That bagel had long worn off. I was all but harassing one particular nurse, who did finally get me the sandwich. About 5AM we moved to a recovery room and the rest is history.
Love and Prayers and Hugs to you all,
Stef, Dave and Baby (Toddler) Dekker.