"When we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness - and call it love - true love." Robert Fulghum

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ezra's Birth

As many of you know, I had an emergency C Section. However, not very many people know why, so I thought I would share Ezra's birth story.

I had my first contraction around 4:30 in the morning. I timed my contractions for an hour before waking Jason. J's first question was, "What do you need me to do?" to which I replied that he needed to wake up and get dressed while I called my mom. His second question was, "Can I go for a run?" To which I replied, "No honey, I need you to be here in case my water breaks." Seriously. If you want to have a hilarious conversation with someone, just wake J up from a deep sleep. Anyway, I then called my mom so she could come tend Liam while we headed to the hospital.

My mom arrived around 6:30a and we jumped in her car to drive to the hospital. By this time my contractions were about 3 minutes apart and very painful. When we arrived at the hospital, we had to go in the emergency room entrance and park very far away due to the early morning hours and an absurd amount of construction in the parking lot. I somehow managed to walk with Jason all the way from the car up to the third floor maternity ward. It was 7:00a which meant a shift change for the nurses which meant an unnecessary wait time for me. I overheard one nurse say to the other, "Yeah, that girl thinks she's in labor." She was lucky she wasn't close to me at the time because I would have punched her in the face. They FINALLY checked me at 7:30a and found I was at a six, fully effaced, with contractions only about a minute and a half apart.

This is when I started to lose track of time because my contractions became SO painful. With Liam, my contractions were painful, but not unbearable, and I received an epidural early enough where I really felt nothing. This time, I was FEELING it and I was screaming. I never scream. Ever. I was screaming. And begging for my epidural. Around this time, my sweet Sister-in-law Karalyn arrived. Karalyn is unable to have children of her own and has always wanted to see a live birth, so a few weeks earlier I had invited her to be there. Besides my mom, she was the only one who knew we were even at the hospital. So, she arrives and I am screaming. And they can't find the anesthesiologist. Seriously. He was MIA and I was about to murder everyone until he was found. Lucky for everyone, the anesthesiologist heard my screams from the hallway as he was on his way to a C Section (which would have left him indisposed for 40 minutes). He came in and gave me my epidural, no questions asked, didn't even have my bloodwork back to know if it was safe, wonderful, sweet sweet man. I am prepared to pay him the exuberant amount of money that I'm sure I owe him because my insurance sucks.

Immediately after I received my epidural, Dr. Juarez arrived. Now for a quick aside about how wonderful THIS man is. He has been my doctor for 3 years and we have gone to the same church for about two. I have been able to get to know him and his sweet wife and it has made me love him even more. He has the most wonderful bedside manner of any doctor on this earth. He is calming and reassuring even when he is breaking terrible news to you. I had had my weekly check up with him the Thursday before I went into labor with Ezra, and I asked him if he would be on call that weekend (he was not on call to deliver Liam). He thought for a moment, and said, "I'm not on call, but I don't know what I'm doing this weekend. Let me write you a note to give to the hospital letting them know they can call me." So, I had this wonderful note which astounded the labor and delivery nurses, but it got him there to be with me.

So, Dr. Juarez arrives after the epidural and he checks me. It was no surprise to me that I was fully dilated and effaced. He broke my water and said we could begin pushing. He then took a seat by my bedside and never left me. In my mind, Ezra would arrive within the hour. After two hours of pushing, it was clear this baby was not budging. Basically, with each push he would move down, but once the contraction ended he would go back up. Dr. J was not sure why it was happening (it could be a number of reasons). He then told me that he could try forceps or we could move ahead with a C section. I told him I trusted him with the forceps and we went ahead with that. All this time I have been losing a LOT of blood. More than normal. Also, right towards the end, Ezra's heart rate would start to drop and then go back up, so we needed to get him out quick.

Suddenly there were an extra 7 people in my room. I was introduced to someone who was a respiratory therapist "just in case", a NICU nurse "just in case", and a bunch of other scary "just in case" people. Then they brought out the forceps. Terrifying. If it were not Dr. J, I would never have agreed to them. On my next contraction, Dr. Juarez began working with the forceps, but lo and behold, baby Ezra was NOT coming out. Dr. Juarez put his arm around me and told me we would need to move ahead with a C section. I immediately began to cry. I was tired, I was scared, I didn't want a C section, but I knew it was the only way to get my baby here safe. Jason then asked Dr. Juarez if he would join him in giving me a priesthood blessing. Like I wasn't crying enough?! Without hesitation, Dr. Juarez agreed and he and Jason lay their hands on my head and gave me a blessing of comfort and health. It was truly amazing to me that Dr. Juarez not only stayed by my side throughout this whole process, but that he was willing to use his Priesthood to comfort me when I needed it most. Click here to learn more about the Priesthood.

It was then time to rush me into the OR. Again I was surrounded by a gazillion nurses I didn't recognize. They pushed my bed down a hallway into a very cold room, hauled me onto a table, stripped me down, pulled a curtain over my face, started explaining to me what was going to happen, and then... there was my favorite anesthesiologist again! Whose name is Dr. Kim, by the way. Dr. Kim starts explaining to me all the different types of drugs he's about to pump into me and that's when everything sort of gets hazy. I am very aware of where I am, I am shaking uncontrollably from all the meds, I've stopped crying, and all I want to do is go to sleep. Suddenly Jason is by my side talking to me and then even more suddenly, I hear a baby crying! All of the nurses start exclaiming, "He's perfect! So perfect!" ...and he was!

They held him up so I could see him, then cleaned him up, swaddled him, and brought him to me. I remember being so happy to see him, but I also think I started asking him why he had caused me so much trouble to get him here.

They then took him and Jason away and I promptly fell asleep. Yes. I was lying stark naked on an operating table with two men sewing my insides back into me, and I fell asleep. I do remember trying not to fall asleep, thinking how it was a strange place to fall asleep... but soon Dr. Juarez was waking me up and saying goodbye. The nurses then hauled me from the table back onto a bed, which promptly made me throw up. Bad idea. Apparently if you throw up or admit to being nauseous, they will not feed you for another 12 hours. They don't even care that all you've had to eat that day was a granola bar and some ice chips. They then wheeled me back into my room where I was greeted by a smiling/crying Karalyn and my sweet husband oohing and aahing over my baby. The nurse asked me if I wanted to hold him and my illogical, drugged up mind almost told her no because I wanted to go back to sleep. I did manage to tell her yes and I got to hold my sweet Ezra in my arms, feed him, and talk to him.

Most birth stories that are shared seem to be about everything going right. How a woman gracefully has her baby in a tub of warm water while being massaged by a doula or at home in her bed surrounded by everyone she loves. But boy am I glad I was at the hospital that day. I am grateful that Dr. Juarez spent over 4 hours by my side (which was the talk of the day around the nurses' lunch table apparently). I lost a lot of blood. My placenta tore. And, Ezra was facing "sunny side up" which is why he would not move down. It terrifies me to think what would have happened if I had been at home. I know many women who prefer this, so I am not bashing it in any way, just saying it's not for me. I would not recommend a C section, but I am grateful my baby came out so healthy and "perfect". Not everything always goes as we plan it, sometimes we have to adjust our plans to make everything turn out just as it is supposed to.