thursday night chris' work had an earnings call- the end of a financial quarter- so he joined some co-workers for a drink after work. once he made it home my contractions started becoming timeable. they were roughly 10-12 minutes apart. we watched tv for awhile until i got tired of timing the contractions.
i decided to head upstairs and try and get some sleep as this was probably the night. i drank a half-glass of red wine and read the girls to sleep. i texted my doula and told her to get some rest. i slept well until about 2:30AM when the contractions began to wake me up. i timed a few- they were 6-7 minutes apart at times. sometimes they would space to as much as 12 minutes apart. i went ahead and got up. i packed some last minute things and called dr. tate. i got his nurse practitioner and since we were expecting our 7th and we were more than 45 minutes from the hospital she suggested we go ahead and drive in. i called regina to come over and stay the night with the kids and she arrived within 15 minutes.
we were on the road by about 3:00AM and the contractions were not fun in the car. in the reclined front passenger seat i would assume a hands and knees position with my face toward the rear of the car. thankfully we were there by about 4:00AM. we parked and loaded up with our most important bags. we must have parked in the farthest lot from labor and delivery as we walked a good mile of hospital hallways just to get to where we needed to go. once we checked in at labor and delivery we had to follow a nurse who was a competitive speed walker in a past life. she slowed to a jog when she perceived i was having a contraction. in the room i was hooked up to the monitors for the initial strip.
i texted my doula to announce our arrival at the hospital, i changed into my gown, and prepared for the blood draw. i'm not the easiest stick. my claim to fame is the time the american red cross turned me away because they couldn't locate a vein. so my doctor got me on the phone and we discussed placing a heplock- in case of emergency they didn't want to be on a heated treasure hunt for a vein. the nurse called in the nurse anesthetist to place the heplock. supposedly they are really good at finding veins. well, at least jim was. all the drama with placing the heplock completely scared all of my contractions away. the nurse checked me and announced i was 5-6 cm dilated. margaret arrived as well as my doula. we kind of chilled in the antepartum room for a bit until we were moved to a l&d room. my family arrived and began their wait in the outer room.
so we tried various things to stimulate more contractions. nothing working. i searched inwardly for reasons why my labor may have stalled. i found that i was scared. that my body was ready to go- but once the heplock drama happened and stalled my labor, my mind took over and prevented labor from proceeding. i needed to get my brain out of the way so my body could do it's job. i typed up this post and submitted it to blogger. i needed prayers in a bad way.
people started flooding my inbox with sweet comments, messages of hope, and statements of faith. at times i became so overwhelmed with gratitude and love that i would start crying- this would bring on the strongest contractions- better than pitocin! it was just very cathartic- and once my emotions started flowing i began to open up and allow.
at one point i was sitting in the bathroom and i kept thinking through one statement. "i believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth."
i mean- GOD! He created heaven and earth for pete's sake! and i'm worried about what's going to happen with my birth??? i kept repeating this statement from the creed- whenever i felt doubt. it was my mantra that would help me through the next 10 hours.
at about 1:00PM doctor tate broke my water. no gush- no nothing. i knew my water was low, but not that low. it worried me. he also announced that i was closer to 7 cm. i took a nap and focused on readjusting my mind. i decided that i needed to get over whatever walls were in my way and get this show on the road. doctor tate suggested that if labor didn't pick up he'd spray some pitocin in the air and that might just be enough. i was NOT wanting to get hooked up to pitocin. i wanted to get over and meet my fears head on- spurred by my own strength- not pushed forward by some foreign synthetic hormone. i just thought that it would be against my will and i would not be mentally prepared for pushing and beyond.
at about 3:00PM- the hour of divine mercy- my contractions returned. they became a little stronger but never became closer. i spent alot of time on my own during those hours. i needed focus. i needed freedom to cry and to open myself up- become vulnerable, so i needed privacy. i retreated to the bathroom often- taking a shower once- but mostly just buying space for myself.
i'm not exactly sure what time things started feeling close. i think i remember dusk in the window- so it must have been soon after sun down.
during one contraction as i was leaning on the bed and my doula was doing the hip squeeze thing- imagine my hips being a clothespin- it felt right to bear down a little bit. so i did. and also with the next contraction. they were still really spaced out- like 7 minutes or so. at one point someone said, "you can't have the baby while you are standing by the bed." so i climbed into bed. we adjusted the bed so the head was nearly perpendicular to the foot of the bed. i was facing the back wall with my upper body supported by the head and my lower body in a kneeling position. i told my doula that i felt like he was right there. she told me to feel for him. i did and i was correct- he was right there! t
his is when my contractions spaced out to what seemed like forever. if i had to guess i'd say they spaced a good 15 minutes apart. my legs got tired so i had the bed flattened again and laid on my left side. teams were preparing- the room was filled with people. the rest of the room remained dark but for a spotlight that was switched on above the foot of the bed. doctor tate was suiting up. each contraction, i believed, was the contraction that would bring jedi out. i pushed through one contraction and then felt relief- i thought i was done, i thought his head was out- but i was wrong. it was confusing. this labor and delivery was VERY atypical for me.
i kept expecting the crazy out of control transition that i'm used to. i asked my doula what was going on. we both felt like this labor was the gentle labor that jedi needed. jedi didn't need hard contractions. jedi didn't need transition. jedi didn't need chaos.
at one point i just had this overwhelming feeling- i felt that i was soon going to see the face of God. i tucked my chin and pushed as hard as i could. it was so unbelieveably hard to push him out! max was 10 lbs 4 oz and 23 inches and he was easier to push out!
i finally gave one last push and out he came. i sat up to receive him. he was light gray and covered in creamy lanugo. i needed to hold him. they suctioned him a couple times and then handed him to me. i began massaging him and talking to him, encouraging him to breath. the nurses threw a sheet over my lower half. chris brought father joseph and father jack into the room. i felt everyone staring at me- silent. i could hear a pin drop. i just kept rubbing him- willing him to breathe. i'm really not sure how long this lasted. chris, afterwards, said that it was the longest 2 minutes of his life. i cannot accept that. it had to be longer. i'd say 5?
i looked up at my brother and thought "begin the baptism now! what are you waiting for?"
jedi began to breathe. i began to breathe. i sighed. what a relief! i held him close. the baptism began. i asked for oxygen for jedi. my sister, margaret- our pediatrician- suctioned him because his breath was rattly. halfway through the baptism he began to cry. he opened his eyes. these are two things i didn't expect at all- having read other trisomy birth stories. my brother finished the baptism and confirmation- he blessed us and then left the room so my doctor could work on the afterbirth. since my contractions were so spaced my uterus wasn't clamping down well enough. i lost a good amount of blood. i cut the cord and soon after received a shot to aid my uterus in clamping down. i held my boy close the whole time. they kept bringing warm blanket after warm blanket and piling it on top of us to get us warm. i was just on cloud nine. so blissed out. he was sweet and had a cry that was high and loud. he was small and soft and warm. so very warm against my chest. i savored every minute.
someone asked, "what time was he born?" we looked up at the clock and it was 10PM so we guessed probably 9:30. the kids came in soon after. henry came in almost oblivious, like he had shown up to a party or something. george came tearing into the room and immediately requested his own hospital gown. mary jane wanted to see jedi, same as samantha. franky was just wide eyed and a bit freaked out at seeing me in my current condition. samantha was pretty shaken up at jedi's constant crying. they all left within a few minutes and we had to bring samantha back in when jedi had calmed down. it was good for her to see him in a calmer state. next were the grandparents. their visit was just as brief as the kids.
once everyone had left chris held jedidiah so i could get to the restroom. i felt faint from the loss of blood and lack of nurishment during the last 12 hours. once i was back in the bed i passed out for a few minutes. my first meal was a turkey sandwich on a hamburger roll and pineapple pieces. i was halfway through with my meal when jedi stopped breathing for the first of many times that night.