Saturday, October 23, 2010

Aiden's Birth Story

I have been working on this birth story for weeks and it has honestly been an overwhelming process. How do you put into words one of the most amazing experiences of your life? Trying to sum up a little over 24 hours of labor along with all of the emotions seemed a daunting task but I have finally finished it. Here is a very edited version of the day Jon and I met our son for the first time.

12:30am (September 7th)
It began early on Tuesday morning. I awoke with what I thought were intense Braxton hicks contractions. It kind of caught me off guard because those pre-labor contractions had never disturbed my sleep before, but as I lay in bed, I wondered excitedly if this could possibly be the beginning of real labor. Unable to sleep I watched the clock and by 1:30am what I initially thought were Braxton hicks contractions were now around 5-7 minutes apart. For the next couple of hours I took a shower, ate, and tried sleeping to make sure that what I was experiencing was real labor. By 5am the contractions were a steady five minutes apart and more intense, so we spent the next hour or so getting the last of our things together.

At around 7am we were heading out the door to the hospital; it was our last time leaving the apartment as a family of two.

(We quickly took this picture between contractions before heading out the door to the hospital.)

Once at the hospital we were escorted back to triage and to our excitement were informed that I was already a good 6-7 centimeters dilated.

After formal admission and moving to a labor and delivery room, we got situated and I spent a couple of hours relaxing through contractions as Jon coached and encouraged me. I seriously could not have asked for a better husband. He was calm and patient as he reminded me to breath deeply and relax over and over again. At 11am the nurse came in to check me and I was a solid 7 centimeters, 100% effaced and the baby was at -1 or 0 station. Things were looking good and we were on track for a mid-afternoon delivery. I was making progress and thought for sure that labor would not last too long.

Two hours later after walking around and changing positions multiple times I had not made any more progress and contractions had not gotten any closer together. I continued to focus on relaxing through the contractions and we kept going. At this point my mom had actually driven down from Pennsylvania and made it to Louisville in time to help Jon coach me during contractions. Having both her and Jon during the majority of my labor was incredibly encouraging.

At 3pm, the nurse approached us about having my water broken. By now I was up for almost anything that would bring some progress, so I was completely on board. Jon was a little more skeptical, knowing that once they broke my water there was a time table on what we hoped would be a natural labor. We were also told around this same time that my doctor would not be able to make our delivery but that another doctor from the same practice would take her place.

After talking about our options, we agreed to let the doctor break my water. Once we had made the decision, I was really excited at the prospect of labor speeding up and finally meeting our child. But my excitement was quickly snuffed out when I heard that my new doctor, Dr. Walsh would not be able to make it to the hospital until 5pm. At this point I was feeling so frustrated knowing that I would have to labor another 2 hours or more before I could have my water broken. The thought of no progress was overwhelmingly discouraging. This labor was not going as we had hoped but we continued to pray surrendering this whole situation to the Lord.

11 hours after arriving at the hospital, Dr. Walsh broke my water. She discovered meconium in the fluid but didn't seem too concerned since the baby wasn't showing any signs of distress. This was going to be the event that kick started my labor, I was sure. But by 8pm I still had not made any more progress and Dr. Walsh told us that she wanted to start me on pitocin.

The thought of being given pitocin was terrifying to me because I had heard horror stories about how awful contractions can become. We were assured that they would start me off on a very low dose, so an IV was started and at 8:30pm the med was administered. Labor quickly got more intense as my contractions went from 5-7 minutes apart to 3-4 minutes apart. Relaxing through contractions became incredibly difficult as they intensified and became more frequent. At one point the contractions were so overwhelming that I got sick, which actually made me feel a bit better. Jon continued to coach and encourage me throughout the process; he continually reminded me to consciously relax during the contractions, allowing them to do the work.

After an hour and a half of pitocin I was fully dilated and feeling a huge urge to push. Finally I was going to meet our baby, we were so close...or so I thought. I pushed for an hour before the doctor discovered that the baby's head was sideways, meaning that I wasn't making any progress. So she attempted to turn the baby during the contractions. Not only was pushing incredibly difficult but the pressure and pain of my doctor trying to reposition the baby was overwhelming. For another hour I pushed as hard as I could, three times every contraction as my doctor tried desperately to turn the head. Nothing was happening and I wasn't sure if I could keep going. I was physically exhausted and mentally so frustrated at the lack of progress; I just wanted this baby OUT!

When I reached the 2 hour mark of pushing our doctor first discussed with us the possibility of a c-section. I couldn't let go of the fact that I had worked so hard, there was no way I was going to give up and get a c-section. NO WAY!! I kept praying and asking the Lord to protect this baby and bring him or her into the world naturally. I pushed for another 45 minutes with still no progress. Dr. Walsh told us that we really needed to consider a c-section because we had almost reached the 3 hour mark.

That second discussion lit a fire under me and I was more focused than ever to push this little one out. Jon had left the room to talk to my mom about what the doctor had said and by the time he returned, Dr. Walsh told him that she had actually seen a little progress and was cautiously optimistic. She was willing to let me push for a bit longer. I remember her turning to me saying, "Kristen you are going to have to push harder than you ever have before." As I pushed Jon prayed asking the Lord to give me the strength and protect both of us from harm. Amazingly during this whole time the baby's heart rate was a steady 130 beats per minute and showing absolutely no signs of distress.

I pushed harder and harder with every contraction and Dr. Walsh's encouraging words rang in my ears as she said, "You are going to push this baby out!"

1:15am (Wednesday September 8th)
At 1:15am, the delivery team was called in and I could hear the excitement and emotion in Jon's voice as he said he could see the top of our baby's head. "Honey, you're doing it!! It's coming!" I continued pushing and suddenly all the pressure, pain and exhaustion was over. At 1:35am September 8th (his actual due date) our little one was born. Jon heard someone say, He's a big boy!" I looked down and saw my beautiful son for the first time; the sight took my breath away. We had done it. Aiden was a healthy 7 pounds 15 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

Jon and I were both overcome with so many emotions. We were overjoyed at the birth of our son, Aiden. God had been so faithful in this amazing miracle we had just witnessed. Jon and I still cannot believe that everything ended up the way that it did. There is no explanation except for the complete faithfulness of a mighty and loving God. With the possibility of a c-section and fear of harm for me or the baby it is amazing to recognize that God was so faithful to not only protect but to provide for all circumstances. Granted we would have been fine but discouraged going with a c-section but my heart was really set on a natural labor and God heard that prayer. I labored for just over 24 hours, 18 of them at the hospital and pushed for a long 3 and a half hours and like everyone always says, it was worth every minute. We are so thankful to God for his unending faithfulness and cannot wait to see how he continues to be faithful in the life of little Aiden Samuel Groves.

(A family of three!!)