Monday, June 13, 2011

Burke's Birth Story

Dear Sweet Baby Burke,

While your mama did everything she could to get you to come sooner than you did, you decided to make your arrival in this big world on June 3, 2011. You started nudging me around 3am with some pretty consistent (and pretty painful) contractions. I knew I was going to get to meet you that day. It was with excitement and anticipation that I gritted my teeth through each contraction for the next two hours so that your daddy could get his last bit of much-needed rest. We finally checked into the hospital ready to deliver you around 7:30 that morning. Mama was feeling pretty good in between contractions. Daddy was full of nervous excitement.

When we checked in at the hospital, I was 4-5 centimeters dilated and still 90% effaced. We were definitely making progress! Ken came to photograph your birth story. And eventually Grandma and Uncle Jonah came too. For some reason, Mama's blood pressure was sky high the day you decided to be born and nothing they did could bring it down. I really wanted to try a natural birth, without the aid of an epidural, but the doctor finally "strongly encouraged" me to get one in order to bring my blood pressure down. Around 10:30 in the morning, I finally gave in and said okay. It was really hard to sit still for the epidural between my contractions, but once it was in effect, my blood pressure was back down to normal.

Labor after the epidural was a breeze. My legs felt sort of like your tongue does after getting novocaine at the dentist. Big, fat and yet feeling-less. (I know you don't know what that feels like, but if you're anything like Mama, you will eventually when you have to get braces). The only problem with labor was that everytime I had a contraction, your heart rate would plummet. Your head was very low in the birth canal, and each contraction tried to push you even further. You did not agree with this. So, for much of my labor, I had to wear a stinky oxygen mask to help enrich the oxygen you were getting.

Finally, around 1 pm, the doctor came in and broke my water. It was very busy on the labor and delivery ward that day and he couldn't get to us sooner, I suppose. When he broke my water, we discovered that you had decided to poop in utero, so we knew that we would need the neonatologist in the room for delivery to make sure all of the meconium was out of your lungs. You're just like your daddy there, little darling. It only took 3 hours once my water was broken for me to dilate 5 centimeters! By 4 pm, I was ready to push you into this world. We were all so excited to meet you!

It only took one push for Daddy to be able to get a glimpse of your little head. (I told you--you were really low). The nurse had me push 3 times during that contraction, each time pushing for 10 seconds. After that contraction subsided, however, the nurse called in the doctor. I knew it wasn't good, because they only call the doctor when the head has crowned, which I knew wasn't the case for us.

The doctor had me push three more times during the next contraction. But your heart rate just didn't want to cooperate. This time, though, it did not stabilize after the contraction like it had during labor. It stayed pretty low or else would jump all over the place. The doctor had me on my right side, my left side and on my hands and knees. Nothing would appease you, although the hands and knees position was the best. But the doctor knew it wasn't safe for me to try to push like that. It was too dangerous to you. He thought that your umbilical cord was wrapped around something, contributing to your stress. So, very calmly (and I give him credit there) he called for an operating room and made the decision to perform an emergeny c-section to deliver you.

While Mama cried many tears on her hands and knees, Daddy got prepped for surgery. I cried for many reasons, my dear baby, but most of all because I knew that I would not get to bond with you immediately after delivery now that I had to have a c-section. I cried because I wanted you to be okay. Healthy and vibrant. I cried because I wanted to nurse you right away and wouldn't be able to. But despite my tears, I knew that I would soon get to meet you and that gave me the strength to keep going. Daddy was very strong and courageous throughout this whole ordeal. He was very calm too, which is a remarkable thing for that daddy of your's. They wheeled me into the operating room and increased the dosage of my epidural to make sure that I would feel no pain. Once they had me prepped and ready, Daddy came in and stood by my side and watched the doctor bring you into this world. It all happened so fast and before I knew it, the doctor said "Okay, Dad, you call it" as he lifted you out of my belly. And after a few moments, I heard Daddy proudly say "It's a boy!!"

Mama's happy tears as she heard your cry for the first time

The doctors whisked you off to the corner of the operating room to make sure your lungs were cleared of the meconium and to do all the other tests that they normally do. You were very unamused by it all and screamed your sweet little head off. I LOVE YOUR CRY!

Once they had you checked out and wrapped up like a little burrito, the doctors handed you off to Daddy for the first time. Daddy brought you to my side and together we just stared at you in awe. You were so handsome! So perfect. Who were you? That's what we wanted to know. But since Mama couldn't move and hold you and explore your every part, we couldn't decide who you were in that moment. But we knew that we loved you so very, very much. We were so thankful you had arrived!

Although I couldn't move much to see you, I was able to sneak a few kisses. I'll never forget our first kiss, little Burke.

Or our second...

After stealing a few kisses, the nurses took you and Daddy to the nursery where they could weigh you and give you your first bath. Mama had to stay behind while the doctors put me back together. I couldn't wait to meet you again! And hold you and nurse you and never let you go. So I thought of our reunion while we were apart and the excitement of that moment got me through the long wait.

When Daddy came to see me in recovery and while you were getting your bath, he told me your weight and length. I could not believe it! You only weighed six pounds and eleven ounces. And you were only 18 3/4 inches long. What a tiny peanut! Everyone (well, not the doctors, but everyone else) kept telling me that you were going to be at least eight pounds based on the size of my belly (it was big!). And here you were, just a little guy. Mama was so happy! That meant you would be a baby just a little bit longer. And I vowed to enjoy every moment. FINALLY, my love, we were reunited. You nursed like a hungry little pro and I just loved you up. I couldn't believe you were my baby. (I still can't, really). And, then, we were a FAMILY!

No amount of pain was too much. You were worth fighting for and you always will be. I love you, Burke! Thank you so much for blessing Mommy and Daddy. We treasure you so much and always will.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Art of Waiting...

"All good things take time" and "for everything there is a season." So why am I rushing this precious child from my womb? I certainly want it to be healthy and fully developed. To be the perfect creation that God intended. And so I am learning the art of waiting. And I have been reminded by Mother Nature just how special of a gift this art can be when truly perfected. A look at our garden reminds me that even the flowers and vegetables must wait to awaken to their full potential. We must wait for the seed to sprout and grow and blossom and finally yield fruit or vegetables or just the beauty that was intended.

Another Dr's appointment yesterday. It seems like I live there these days, and yet I can't wait to go as I eagerly anticipate that they'll tell me that my body has progressed even further. No such luck this time. Still the same as last week.

I do praise God for my health and for the baby's health. While we joke that the reward for unhealthiness is induction and getting to meet your baby sooner than later, and too bad I'm so healthy, it is truly just that. And when I stop to think about it, it's not really funny at all. I would never want to compromise the health or safety of my baby simply for my own selfish timetable or impatience. So I learn to wait. And in the waiting, to praise my Maker for keeping me healthy and for creating such a perfect, unique creation that I have the privilege of bearing and raising.

If there is still no baby, I will return to the Dr's again on Monday for another exam and a non-stress test. They like to monitor the baby's heartrate once it is past the due date, just to make sure the baby is not in any distress.

And, if there is still no baby on Thursday, June 9, then it looks like that will be our sweet baby's birthday. The doctor scheduled me for induction on that day. While it is still NINE days away (which feels like an eternity at this point), I am thankful that it is only nine days away. They could have scheduled me even further out. So I thank my doctor for showing compassion in that regard.
So like the blossoming plants inhabiting our garden, I too will continue to wait for my season to come. But not begrudgingly. With a happy heart. A heart that trusts the goodness of her Father and the perfection of His timing.