"Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart."
~ Unknown

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rhett's Birth Story: As Written by Mommy

The following story from a dear friend of mine and is written to her son, Rhett.  Thank you, Tara, for sharing! 

I was super busy during the beginning of September. Your Daddy was in the field, working very, very hard to finish harvest before you came along. We would both talk to you at night time and ask you to please wait until Daddy was done. I am so thankful, for so many different reasons, that you listened.

I was trying to get my 2 businesses to a good spot where I would be able to leave them for a few months. So I was working really hard during the day and at night. Poor Aubrey! She spent a lot of time with Grandma Carla and Randi those first 2 weeks of Sept. I felt like I was constantly on the go and getting nothing actually accomplished. Truthfully, I would have been quite ok if you went over your due date. I actually hoped you would be.

35 weeks pregnant
We still hadn't had any work done on the basement, but knew that we wouldn't be able to leave the office upstairs much longer. I asked Gramma Cheryl and Papa Gary to come help me the middle of Sept with painting and moving; I wanted you to have a room just for yourself.

The 14 and 15 I was in Medicine Hat and then Lethbridge. I had an appointment at the Mat Clinic and met with Michelle one last time. She was just coming off of 2 births within 3 days and was super tired, but she still managed to converse coherently, and tell me I still didn't look pregnant (this was at almost 39 weeks).  I mentioned I was feeling some tightening in my lower stomach a little bit, something I hadn't felt with Aubrey’s pregnancy and Michelle thought it was likely Braxton Hicks. For Lethbridge I was a little nervous to go by myself, but decided that if I didn't feel ok I could head home. I booked a wax and hair appointment, and ended up being able to fit a pedicure in (nice nails are a MUST while giving birth). I also had a meeting to attend, and I did end up leaving early, but that was because I needed to pick up paint for your room for the weekend. Your Daddy also finished harvesting the night of the 15th! We were so excited to celebrate the end of the crop season!

On the 16 (Friday) Aubrey and I had planned to go visit a friend with another friend of mine and her  girls. She sent me a text saying that her girls had a runny nose and did I still want to go? I was feeling a bit off, as well, so I decided to stay at home. I made myself a chai latte and called your dad. I think that I maybe knew something was going to happen. We talked about how it was the first day during the whole pregnancy that I actually felt pregnant. (I think you had maybe dropped that night and were putting a bit more pressure on my lower back). As I sipped my drink I could only think that this would be the last time I’d be able to have a quiet morning for a while. I got a lot of cleaning done that day and made a delicious homemade pizza for supper to celebrate the end of harvest. And then I tackled the office. (I look back now and wonder WHY I left it so late.) I chatted with Gramma Cheryl, they were scheduled to come down the next morning, and at about 7 or so I called her again and asked her to make sure that she packed for a week, just in case; I was having some light contractions. At this point the office was packed up and I had left instructions on where to put things.

Your Daddy came in during one contraction and decided we should start timing them. At 9:30 I called Michelle to tell her I was definitely starting in labour, as I would have to stop every time one came and breathe through it. We decided that it wouldn't be a bad thing to head into Medicine Hat, and that we could assess there with Michelle, and then decide what to do. With Aubrey being a c-section, and my labour with her being only 3 hours, we had no idea what to expect with your birth. We packed Aubrey up, called Grandma and Papa to make sure they could take her, and dropped her off. I continued to time all the way to the Hat. We decided to go to a hotel at the south of the city. We checked in (received a really nice, big suite) and waited for Michelle. Around midnight we thought it best to just get some rest and call her in the morning after we woke up and she would come over. I slept for a bit, and the contractions slowed down, but was up at 7 when they started to pick up a bit more. When Colin got up we went down to get some food and then called both sets of grandparents. Aubrey was doing well, and my mom and dad were on their way down. We told them we wouldn't be there when they arrived, but to call Colin’s parents and they could pick up Aubrey for the day.

Michelle came back and we settled in for what ended up being a long day. The contractions stayed very consistent, and I kept moving around, hoping to get them picked up a bit. We went for a walk around the building where 2 firemen came out to see if we needed any assistance. In the early afternoon they became a bit more intense and I found that I like having someone talking to me in a low voice to relax and breathe. I would go into a state of concentration when this happened and Michelle or Colin would repeat positive Hypnobirthing affirmations to me. I found I was able to relax better. Once they finished, we talked and kept the mood very light.

Around 4:30 I decided I wanted to go to the hospital to get checked out and see where things were. As it turned out, it was a premature visit and I hadn't needed to. We arrived there and by that time the contractions had slowed down considerably. I got hooked up to the monitors, and by then they had pretty much stopped. The nurse wanted to send me for some blood work, seeing as my blood pressure was up and there was some concern from Aubrey’s pregnancy. So we waited around and I decided that I was tired of walking and didn't want to anymore. When we got sent “home” at 8:30, we dropped Michelle off then grabbed some food and I fell asleep fairly early. (I found out later that your Daddy didn't).

Around 1 am I woke up and started timing again. About every 10 minutes. So I went to have a bath as I couldn't get back to sleep. I took my Hypnobirthing relaxation sound track with me and just had it on repeat as I laid there in the nice warm water, feeling weightless. It was such a nice feeling as I talked to you, relaxed and sent love your way. I told you how much I loved you and how excited I was getting to meet you. It was an amazing feeling to know that I would soon be holding you in my arms, kissing you and wrapping you with my love.

About 3:20 your Daddy came to see where I was. He was pretty sleepy. I decided to get out of the bath, and when I stood up I ended up losing my mucus plug. Once that happened, the contractions became even stronger in intensity and I had to really concentrate on breathing and relaxing into them. I had him put counter pressure on my lower back as well. He was so sleepy that he would go to bed for the few minutes between, then I would call him for pressure. I decided to call Michelle and let her know that things were picking up and asked if she would be able to head over as soon as she could. I went inside myself at this point, the only thing I was concentrating on was breathing through each contraction. All the sudden I started to feel a lot of pressure, which was eerily similar to the feeling I had when I was in labour with Aubrey. In that moment, I told Colin that we needed to get to the hospital. He wanted to know how long he had. I told him NOW. I was so ready to go in, and I knew it. He was able to get me down to the vehicle; we were unfortunately on the 2nd floor and I was in my own world. It felt like it took forever to walk to the car. I leaned on him the whole time, trusting him with us, knowing we would get there safely. I called Michelle again and told her to meet us at the hospital.

The drive from the hotel to the hospital is roughly 8 minutes during the day. At about 4 am with no traffic and me telling your Daddy to drive faster I think we made it in about 4 minutes. I couldn't sit comfortably, so I leaned over the front seat, hoping we didn't get pulled over. I called Michelle on the way and told her to meet us at the hospital. We drove into the Emergency entrance and I had to time getting to the doors between contractions. I remember the look on a man’s face who was standing inside as he saw me come up to the doors. Needless to say we didn't have to check in there, but headed quickly up to the L&D area.

When we got to L&D I quickly explained to the nurse there that I needed to be checked immediately and how I thought that maybe you were breech like Aubrey had been, which is what the pressure reminded me of. They got me into the bed and checked just as Michelle arrived. I was excited to learn that you were head down (YAY!) and that I was about 8 cm…. very close to start pushing; which was also the reason why I had felt so much pressure. Michelle stayed with me until your Daddy got back from moving the vehicle. Michelle and the nurse started to move me into the wheelchair to take me to the delivery room from the assessment room, but I couldn't sit. So I walked. Now, this was the longest, hardest walk ever. I had Michelle on one side and your Daddy on the other, and they held me up, carrying me (of course we had to be in the room the furthest away). I met the doctor who would deliver you, Dr. Prince, on the way to the delivery room. He asked how I was doing. I believe I answered with “why the hell did I think a VBAC was a good idea?” And I`m pretty sure he laughed. We got into the room and I got settled on the bed. My energy was starting to wane and I was starting to feel like I needed to push, which I told Michelle and our nurse. She checked again and told me I was able to. In a matter of 10 minutes I had gone from 8 to 10 cm’s. And so I started what turned out to be a very long time of pushing. In that first push my water broke…. which was an odd experience for me as there was no gush like there had been with Aubrey: it was a slow, constant leaking.

I took a while getting into the rhythm of birthing you. At this point, I have a very skewed sense of time that even now is still off. It felt like only a short time, but I knew it wasn't  I was in myself, talking to you in my head and out loud. I would constantly repeat “I want him out” and there were a few moments when, in my very exhausted state, I said “I can’t do this” after a contraction and pushing. Michelle and your Daddy told me “You CAN do this”. After hearing the positive affirmations I then continued to repeat “I can do this” over and over again. At 7 the nurses changed, and we were lucky enough to get Cherry! She was so amazing! For the most part I birthed you squatting on the bed, so I would hold your Daddy’s hand in my left and Michelle’s in my right. When Cherry first started with me she held my hand and just talked to me in the softest, kindest English accent. Michelle was excited to work with her, and we soon found out why. (Even your Daddy felt her effects too). When I would look at her I just felt calm flooding through me.

Around 8 am Dr. Prince came in to talk to me. I had been pushing for a long time at this point, and he wanted to let me know that he was concerned by how long it was taking, especially since I’d had a previous caesarean. He wanted me to get you out before they started to get worried about you being in distress (though you weren't  and there being a necessity for another caesarean. I was so adamant that I was having a VBAC that I refused to listen to that (especially after all the work I had done- you have a very stubborn mother). He also wanted to tell me that there had been meconium in the water when it broke and that they were worried you may have inhaled some of it, so they were going to have NICU come in to assess you after you were born.

Mommy and Rhett moments after birth.
I concentrated so hard on birthing you. I couldn't understand what was taking so long and why you weren't coming out easily (turns out your head was turned a bit funny). Cherry finally recommended that I get some help in birthing you. Just a little incision and then you would be out. I didn't want to at first, but I knew that I was getting so exhausted and to a point where my exhaustion wouldn't allow me to push much longer. So I agreed. From there I moved onto my back and they got ready to make the incision. The room was full with people, NICU staff, nurses and 2 doctors, and yet it was so quiet and calm. I really didn't notice them at all. They were so respectful of my space and my birthing. It seemed to take a while to set up, but as soon as it was made, with the next push I could feel that it was what I and you needed to be born. I felt your head, and was told to wait for the next contraction, and then the rest of your body came out. At 8:57 am on September 18, 2011, you made your way into the world for your birth day.

Even now, more than 5 months later, I remember that moment clearly. You were born onto my tummy, all purple and covered in stuff. And your Daddy and I just stared at you, taking you in, falling unconditionally in love with you. I looked at him and at you and said “we did it” and started crying. That was the most empowering moment of my life. Dr. Prince asked if Daddy wanted to cut the cord. He said no, I asked if he was sure. He said no again. Then NICU took you over to the cart and cleared out your lungs, gave you a quick check and cleaned you off a bit.  I could hear your sweet, soft cries and I longed to hold you and reassure you that I was here. At this point Dr. Prince and the nurses started to get me cleaned up and warm as I was shaking. They put blankets over me and then you got to snuggle right on me. You settled almost immediately, and we talked to you, looked at you, kissed you, loved you. My little baby boy! I was already so deeply in love with you. I said to your Daddy, “look at him, he looks like Aubrey” and the nurses commented on you looking like your Daddy, with the same amount of hair. We took some pictures and Daddy sent them to your Grandparents and Aunt and Uncles to let them know the good news! You also were weighed (6 lbs  10 oz) and measured (18.9`).

I wanted to start feeding you right away, but Michelle told me to wait until you started to root. I believe you fell asleep. We decided to call you Rhett Arthur. We wanted to have a name before Aubrey saw you. Daddy decided to quickly get us checked out of the hotel and pick up our bags. I was so involved in watching you that I didn't mind at all. Michelle stayed while he was gone and we talked. I was on the most amazing adrenaline rush and where I had been so sleepy even 30 minutes before, I wasn't any more. You finally started to root and I stuck you on and you started sucking. You were a natural! I couldn't believe how you knew exactly what to do, and had no issues what so ever. You ate for a bit and then fell asleep tucked up on my left shoulder, cozy and warm. I loved feeling you snuggled against me. You slept for a while, and we didn't want to wake you up, so the nurses delayed your Vitamin K shot and eye drops. Your Daddy came back and Michelle left, and then Cherry came back to get me cleaned up and ready to go to the Maternal/Child area.

Rhett Arthur
I felt so good after having you that I even walked the whole way there. She got us settled and then Daddy and I talked and held you until everyone started arriving to meet you. We wanted Aubrey to meet you first, and hear your name first before we told anyone else. Gramma Cheryl and Papa Gary were first to arrive with Aubrey. She was a little scared of me, in the hospital bed and gown, and so she just wanted Daddy. She started to warm a bit, and when we let her hold you, she noticed a bit of blood still on your head and said `he has bird poop on his head`. Needless to say that gave us all a good laugh!

Then your other Grandma and Papa came. I had decided to go for a quick walk to see where your Daddy was (he was having a rest on the couches) and they were both really surprised to see me up and walking around. (I think they had remembered how I had been with Aubrey- heavily drugged). Your Uncle Kyle and Karmyn came and then Uncle Ryan. Cindy, Josh and Chloe Hume also stopped in to visit as well. Later on that afternoon your Auntie Linz arrived with your Nono and Sue. They had come at a really good time as they were able to have you all to themselves. You were so sleepy that day, but good for new baby snuggles. They even tried changing you into some clothes that they had brought for you.

Our first night was unlike any that you have ever had being at home. Maybe you were a little mixed up on your days and nights, or didn't like being in the hospital, but you seemed to want to be up during the night the 2 nights we were there. I was worried that you would maybe continue that when we got home, but I really needn`t have worried as you are an awesome baby! My adrenaline had started to wear off that evening, so I was getting pretty tired and wanting some rest. I finally just propped you up in my arm while I dozed that night. I think the nurses came in and moved you when they came to check as you were in the bassinet when I woke up. 

We stayed in the hospital for Sept 19 as well. Daddy brought Aubrey with him that day, and Gramma Cheryl took her back to our house with her as she was staying for the week. It was so nice to know that Aubrey would get the attention she deserved while Daddy and I got to know you those first few days. Karmyn, Grandma Carla and Michelle also came to visit that day and Daddy went to get you a crib. You and I relaxed and cuddled a lot your second day with us. We were able to go home on the 20th, also Grandma Carla`s birthday! Daddy came to pick you and I up, we got you in your car seat (which you weren't real happy about) and then we went to Wal-Mart to pick up more diapers, Canadian Tire to get Aubrey a big sister gift, and then decided to stop for lunch at Moxie`s before heading to your home; you slept the whole time.

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