On Friday, February 8 I had my last doctor appointment. I was still dilated to a 2, since Monday. I was bummed. I thought the long week of horrendous activity that had preceded this appointment would have caused me to progress.
Weeks earlier, we set our induction date for February 11. His due date was February 10 and we live an hour and a half from our hospital and a solid hour from any hospital that delivers babies. Hence selecting an induction date early on.
Given the early hour of Simon's scheduled induction, we decided to stay the night at our friends' house in Vail (just outside Tucson), the Fullers, the dear friends oft mentioned in our moving story.
Sunday, February 10 we went to church. We had lunch with friends (THAT was a great time!). We came home to a house still filled with boxes. I resigned myself to the fact that I could indeed bring a baby home to a house filled with unpacked boxes, as long as my kitchen was unpacked. So Ted and I hammered away at the dozen (or more!) kitchen boxes in 45 minutes. I told him after 45 minutes I would take a shower and we would leave for Tucson.
Cassie and I made cupcakes. Anyone who has followed our blog for a good amount of time knows that with my previous 2 inductions, we made cakes. This time we decided on cupcakes. Ted informed me they're easier for the nurses. Duh! What didn't I think of that?
Then, I ate 50 Red Vines (OK, maybe 10) and went to bed. I was BEAT! And, I was having a baby in the morning. It was about 10:30 and I needed rest.
Rest came, until it was no longer restful. At about 2:30 AM I woke, contracting, with my finger nails in Ted's shoulder. I'd had contractions on and off for a couple weeks and could always remedy them with either changing position, drinking water, or going pee. I decided to try to go to the bathroom. It was at that point I suspected my water might have leaked a tiny bit. The contractions, about 3 minutes apart and 40-60 seconds in length, didn't stop and I told Ted it might be a good idea to go the the hospital. We woke Cassie to turn off their alarm and Ted readied the car.
Meanwhile, I became sure I was in labor and I was pretty sure it was back labor. I'd never experienced back labor but I had a lot of pain in my lower back. Later, Cassie told me she worried I was much farther along than I realized because she'd heard that women with back labor typically progress faster than they realize.
We got 2 blocks away from the Fullers' house when we turned around for Ted's wallet: first thing that made my want to punch him. Terrible, right? I just KNEW we needed to get to the hospital.
Minutes later, on the freeway, as I was ferociously beating the car door through contractions, Ted was going the speed limit. I encouraged my husband, "Honey, it's cute that you want to obey the speed limit, but you need to go faster right now." He didn't. He went the speed limit. I sort of wanted to punch him again.
Miles later, Ted had to remind me to breathe. I was holding my breath through contractions. Let me tell you, that does NOT help anything but being reminded to breathe made a world of difference. The contractions had gotten much worse over the last 15 minutes or so and my teeth were chattering away at a rapid speed. It occurred to me that women who are transitioning (preparing to actually give birth) chatter away. I thought that was silly; I must just be cold.
By time we arrived the the hospital, the contractions were so close together I had to rush to get into the wheel chair Ted had brought to the car in between contractions.
We arrived in triage at 3:19 AM. The nurse there gave me a hospital gown and a cup to pee in. I couldn't believe she was demanding a pee sample! Ted helped me into the bathroom. Once a contraction ended, I stripped my clothing like it was going out of style and threw the gown on. I waited through another contraction seconds later before trying to pee in this cup. This nurse wanted pee and by golly, I'd been peeing in cups every week for the past 3 months. I could do it! And I did.
I put the sample on the counter and braced myself through another killer contraction, promptly spilling my urine sample. I can't tell you how disappointed I was. Getting that sample was a feat of monstrous proportions and I just wasted it. The nurse hurried me to a bed in triage. As I sat down the nurse asked if my water had broken. Almost as it its cue to join the party, that moment, my water did break. That had never happened spontaneously before so I was actually kind of excited, if that was possible.
Then, a second nurse arrived to check my progress. This is the moment it got hairy.
As the nurse inspected my progress, her first utterance was, "That's not a head." How absurd. What a thing to say. "Well, I guess I wasn't as far along as I thought I was," I thought. "How dilated is she?" asked the first nurse. "It's hard to tell since this isn't a head. 8? 9? 9 for sure. At least." How can someone be 9 at least?
Meanwhile, Admitting was on the phone with Ted and I was virtually screaming and writhing in pain every other minute. He hung up on Admitting as they wheeled me across the hall and started demanding my doctor, or any doctor, come, post haste.
"Did you know your baby was breech?" someone asked.
Time sort of slowed down at that point. My baby? My baby is what? Breech? "Um, not as of Friday he wasn't," I uttered at 3:30 AM Monday morning.
In came a doctor I'd never met. At my side, my husband reassured me. Reminded my the breathe. Told me it would be OK, I was going to be fine, the baby was going to be fine. But I was thinking, "Of course he is. But he's also going to be born. And now!" I let every one one of the 6 or 8 or 50 people in the room know that I needed to push. They weren't quite ready for that though, as they were transferring me to yet another bed to bring my to the operating room.
A nurse I hadn't seen yet was trying to get bracelets on me as the doctor was ordering my removal from this room to the O.R. The nurse informed the doctor we needed to wait until I had my bracelets on. "It's patient safety," she insisted. "This," the doctor said, referring to getting me to the O.R, "is patient safety!" None of the nurses would look the doctor in the eye after that outburst.
A very dreaded term was popping out of several people's mouths. C-section. Something I never wanted, never anticipated, and knew I wasn't going to have.
When I had my gallbladder out, with 4 small incisions and the expansion of my abdominal muscles to maneuver, I knew for sure I never wanted to have my entire abdomen cut open to remove a person. The gallbladder removal recovery was tough enough for me, thank you! And during all this upheaval and transport madness (during which Ted was taken from my side and put in sterile clothing), I was scared, but not for the reason you might expect.
I wasn't scared of a c-section. I was scared because I was in a lot of pain, because things were going WAY faster than they should, because I was on a gurney and KNEW I needed to push but was instead rolling down a hallway, because my previously head-down and ready baby was now contorted in a position he shouldn't be with no hope of flipping him around. But I wasn't scared of a c-section.
A week before, the evening before a doctor appointment, when we were still homeless but at the Fullers' house, Ted and Robert Fuller and Robert's father-in-law (Cassie's dad) gave me a blessing at my request. I felt that it was time and I needed the reinforcement of the Lord. (To read more about blessings, click HERE) The thing I remember best was that I would recover faster with this labor and delivery than I had with my previous children. I remember, at the time, thinking that was strange but also have a feeling of peace and knowing it was true.
As I was wheeled into the O.R. without my husband (though he was there moments later, this really was the worst time to be without him), and everyone was prepping the surroundings and me for surgery, I knew they were all wrong. I wasn't going to have a c-section. How could I possibly heal faster than with Gwenna or Meredith - two relatively smooth and easy vaginal births - if I had a c-section? I knew, beyond a doubt, this was not going to happen.
Ted reappeared as they gave me something vile to drink - some sort of acid- reducing concoction to prevent me from vomiting. Well, it made me want to vomit. They moved me AGAIN to another bed from the gurney. By far, the most physically traumatic part of this entire time was all the transferring I had to do. It was NOT easy.
As the doctor took position to check me one last time, they raised my legs to place them in stirrups. Before I could even get them there, Simon arrived. Well, most of him. His body practically slipped out. It wasn't nearly as simple as it sounds but there is no good way to describe this. I was for sure screaming at this point and as it turns out, his body was out but not his head. The nurse to my left (Ted was to my right) basically told me to stop screaming and take all that energy I was using to scream and reroute it to push that baby OUT!
This, friends, was the most amazing concept I'd ever heard at this moment in time. So I did just that. And with the most outrageous push of my life, Simon Adam Crowder was fully birthed.
Simon was frank breech. The American Pregnancy Association defines frank breech as the baby’s buttocks being aimed at the birth canal with its legs sticking straight up in front of his or her body and the feet near the head. So, he was folded in half and his rear came out first.
Simon also had his cord wrapped around his neck 4 times.
After he was born, I didn't hear him cry. About 10 seconds after the shock that my baby had just been born an hour and half after I woke up feeling contractions, in an operating room, with each of my legs in a stranger's hands, I asked why I couldn't hear my baby. Ted said they'd taken him out because the baby didn't stay in the operating room. Some part of me longed for him to be placed directly on my chest, another part of me was glad to see my doctor arriving just in time to birth the placenta, and yet another part of me was verbalizing to my husband to let our doctor know we wanted to retain our placenta, which we later encapsulated.
After the placenta was birthed, Ted left to see the baby. I laid in the O.R. with a scattering team of nurses (I kid you not, I doubt any other pregnant woman on the floor had a nurse in her room. I honestly think we had them ALL!) while I deliriously encouraged myself. "I just DID THAT! I can't believe I did that."
I know I've said this about a dozen times, but there was a serious element of surreal shock to it all. I basically labored in my car and I had a baby 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital while being prepped for a c-section. He was breech and a vaginal delivery. There was no pain medication. And I was alive. And I was also being shot up with Lidocaine and being stitched up. Ouch!
Ted came back to inform me our baby was beautiful and, to be honest, it's a little fuzzy after that. I did get to see Simon as I was being wheeled back to the room I'd just been wheeled out of (hello again, bed swap!) and after his hands and feet pinked up - they were quite blue - he was brought to me.
Chaos! It was chaos from the moment we arrived at the hospital. But in that moment, meeting this baby boy, there was calm. This little baby had a tender spirit I felt immediately. I couldn't believe my baby was here after all this work.
And I couldn't believe he'd turned around 180 degrees since Friday. Or that he was close to suffocating. And I really couldn't believe he wasn't even 6 lbs. We were sure this baby would be bigger than our other babies. My nurse laughed and said he would have easily broken the 6 pound mark had he not pooped ALL OVER the doctor while being born. I, of course, did not see this but I heard it was monumental, rather epic in proportions. What a considerate boy, to wait until he was OUTside.
Simon is so good. He's such a special child and an ideal third baby. He is small so he wakes and eats frequently but he is sweet, generally calm, and puts up with a lot from his sisters.
It took me a month of his life to be OK with all that transpired during his birth. I had a lot of anxiety surrounding the experience. I'm much more at peace with the entire series of events now but I'm still not sure Simon won't be the last of our children. Though, I'm not ready to think about that possibility by any stretch of the imagination. Can you imagine if things went FASTER next time? I'd have to live at the hospital.
As I've relived this day multiple times as I've shared our story with friends and family, I see so many tender blessings. I'm so grateful he was breech. Simon would have been born in the car on the way had he not been breech, I'm sure of it. He'd have slid right out with no opposition. Also, I'm so grateful for good friends. Can you imagine if we'd had to drive from Willcox? Even breech, he'd have been born in the car. Also, the beautiful blessing I received a week before Simon was born was the exact reassurance I needed to stave off the fear I had of c-section. The Lord knows me. Well, he knows us all but it's a great blessing to know that He knows me personally. Further, I'm terribly grateful Simon was a vaginal birth. Breech babies are NOT vaginal deliveries in the hospital I kid you not, some doctors wold have shoved his body back in an delivered him c-section.. The issue is, it seems, that after the body is delivered, the cervix thinks the baby is out and immediately starts to shrink back down to size. Since the baby's head isn't out yet, babies have suffocated and died. This was not the case with Simon and that is amazing.
See? Blessings galore.
Welcome, Simon. We are SO glad you are part of our family, grand entrance and all.