Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Welcoming Forrest

 In recent days, exhaustion has existed in the form of a monster. I feel that this combative creature, which leaves a heavy trail of thick haze in its wake, has been the continued obstacle. Adding to the tight grasp of that sleep monster is the blurry confusion that accompanies a does of pain medication. Paired together, my energy has found a most worthy opponent.

Without the presence of these unpleasant side effects, there would be nothing to hold down or dampen the joy and contentment that has sustained and lifted me since our sweet baby's arrival. My helium balloon like happiness would be completely free to float and soar without worry of deflation.

Having noted the opposition, beauty is everywhere. As I look out at my backyard, the beautiful colors of each blossoming flower, the heaven inspired fragrance from two large lilac bushes and the continued increase of green leaves is a joyful song that seems to be heralding in the long awaited stay of Spring.
Beauty is the look on my children's faces as they study their new sibling. It's hearing their continued request to hold him again. In the dark of night, as a I prepare once more to begin the painful process of nursing, it's being reunited with his sweet face after spending a few hours apart as we slept. It's hearing Lottie tell me out of the blue how she missed me while I was in the hospital.
 What I'm trying to illustrate is that the lingering pains associated with delivery, the crazy hormones that send me soaring with happiness one minute and then crashing into a wave of tears the next and the incessant pursuit of that energy zapping monster (for lack of a better description) are a small price to pay for the bliss, calm and heaven sent joy that accompanies the birth of a new child.
Now that I've established my (wonky) state of mind, bear with me as I journal the details surrounding Forrest's birth. It's hard to determine when a 'birth story' begins. Looking back it feels like it was weeks in the making; (medically speaking it was).

Sunday, May 5th, Andrew and I dropped by the hospital as I thought that I might be leaking amniotic fluid. Adding to that concern were consistent contractions. Two hours later, we were on our way home with a large sign reading, "FALSE ALARM" stamped to my forehead. And while we didn't leave with our baby, we took with us the knowledge that I was 4.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. Having only reached 37 weeks the day before, I wasn't eager for true labor to arrive. I felt like it was more beneficial for the baby to stay put. The longer he had to grow, the better.

As a result of the triage nurses physical interrogation examinations, I left the hospital on Sunday with all kinds of contraction type-activity; the strength of which made sleeping hardly possible Sunday night. Monday I did my best to rest and recover the sleep that was lost. Tuesday rolled around and I felt my body had quieted down. My mood however had altered. I can not pinpoint what it was, but I felt 'off.' The spontaneous surges to nest that I've utilized in recent weeks was totally absent. I was unmotivated and emotionally removed from whatever was going on around me. That evening I went to Eliza's soccer practice. Sitting in the warm sun, watching the younger two kids at the playground and visiting with other 'soccer moms,' lifted my mood considerably. I felt better. Saying 'Goodnight' to my children, I made a point to apologize and promised to be a better Mom the next day.

Satisfied with the state of my house, I sat down to relax. Just before 9:00 p.m., Andrew appeared in the kitchen. Having denied the kid's pleas for ice cream earlier, I felt a twinge of guilt as I watched him dish some for the two of us. Joining me on the couch, Andrew extends the two bowls of ice cream toward me. He asks the familiar question,

"Right or left"... 

Having made my selection, I take a bite. As I'm shifting my weight from one position to another I feel two distinct gushes. My eyes grow wide with alarm. I look at Andrew and for the second time in two days I exclaim,

"I think my water just broke!" Forgetting my bowl of ice cream, I rush to the bathroom to investigate. Fluid continues to leak. My excitement excels as my certainty of what is happening solidifies.

"It's still coming!" I shout to him. "It's really broken this time!" He probably made some type of reply, but my head is spinning. I don't hear him. I try to give him direction on what I need.

"Can you go upstairs and get..." my ability to articulate my thoughts is suspended. Hoping for the best, I run upstairs myself. I anticipate a sudden flood of water as I take the stairs to my room. It never comes. However, the trickle I feel doesn't dissipate either. I'm soaking wet by the time I make it to my bathroom. I get myself situated and return to Andrew.

"I'm sure!" I exclaim. He looks relaxed. Does he not understand the urgency of the situation? Have I not made my feelings clear on how important an epidural is to me since Lottie's birth?

"Okay." He finally replies. "Do you want to go now?" Skipping the twenty minute lecture on why I want to leave as soon as possible, I emphatically declare,

"YES!" I explain that I've already called for the neighbor to come sit with the kids until his Mom arrives.

"I'm going to finish my ice cream first." Motioning to the bowl I left on the couch he adds, "I think you should do the same."

Remembering that Lottie was born two hours after my water broke and taking into account that I'm already 4.5 cm dilated, walking away from the bowl of ice cream was an easy decision.

We thank our neighbor, Miss Nancy, as we head out the door. I'm a ball of giddy nerves as I waddle myself to the car. The blessings of how things fell into place in regards to the care of our children doesn't escape me as we make the five minute drive. The moon is bright as we park the car. Impatience steals me away from Andrew as I head right into the lobby while he retrieves our bags.

Two women sitting in the lobby look up as I enter.

"Are you here to have a baby?" they ask in unison. Enjoying the moment, I reply happily,

"Yes! My water broke!" Andrew catches the tail end of the conversation and assumes that I'm telling anyone who will listen what's going on. He motions to a man who sits by a fireplace. Joining my 'effort' he hollers to him,

"Did you hear? Her water broke! We're having a baby."

A common question follows.

"Is this your first?" We smile as Andrew replies,

"Number four..." A surprise filled face is the general response. Having recently familiarized ourselves with the labor and delivery unit, we return to the nurses station and fill them in. They aren't as jazzed as I'd been hoping. Then again, women come in all day making similar declarations. I'm relieved, however, that they trust me enough to skip the investigation in triage. They assign me to my labor and delivery room right away.

Minutes later it's confirmed that my water has broken.. They suspect that the rupture occurred at the top of my 'bag of water.' There's still fluid around the baby and it doesn't seem like they are in a hurry to break what remains. Future contractions would get that job done. I am happy to say that they take my plea for the epidural seriously. Even though my contractions haven't picked up on their own, they call the anesthesiologist. Bless them all!

I was then left to labor. My body reacts as it did during labors past. The epidural invites nausea. I throw up three times during the duration of my labor; a price I readily accept in place of feeling each of the contractions. We are exhausted as we wait for my body to progress. Andrew falls asleep as I let the nurses change my position to help move things along. Unlike my experience with Lottie, I am not dilating at the rapid pace I expected.

As I get closer to delivery, the foggy effects of the epidural and the fact that I haven't slept a wink washes a heavy blur through me. It feels difficult to concentrate. Despite their best efforts, I'm suddenly feeling great pain. The pain I had successfully evaded for most of my labor is there now and it's hard to ignore. A nurse tells me I'm stuck at an eight. The pain contradicts her statement. Rather than screaming through it, like I did with Lottie, I begin to sob like a small child. I can accept the pain and pressure of labor but I'm having a hard time hearing the word, 'stuck.' That feeling should be pushing me closer to my baby.

Suddenly, my doctor arrives. I'm embarrassed that I can't keep my tears in check. I explain my frustration as he examines me.

"You're in pain because you're at a ten and are feeling the urge to push!" His words resurrect my lost focus. The tears stop. As I'm given the green light to push, relief replaces pain and strength replaces discouragement.

Less than five minutes later, after two rounds of pushing, Forrest Daniel enters the world. The sound of his cry fills me with relief. As his beautiful, tiny body is placed at my chest, the tears return. This time, however, my sobs are born of intense happiness and gratitude. It would seem that my inability to contain my emotion is contagious. My faithful spouse who helped and comforted me through each step with perfection is crying too. The sound of his uncontrolled cries tells me that he too has just fallen in love with our new son.

We are then left alone to bond and marvel over our new baby. Those minutes feel sacred as we take him in.  We talk over his weight, size and smile over the perfection of his sweet face. I kiss his fingers and stroke his hair as we wonder aloud if our other kids had as much hair when they were born.
 You can't deny the presence of heaven in moments like this. There is gratitude for each of our children as we take in the blessing of his safe arrival. When it's time for Andrew to return home, hours later, we pray together to thank God for His goodness.
The experience at the hospital was the best I've had. Those who cared for us were amazing. I felt we were safe, secure and listened too. Life at home has been smooth. I owe a lot of that to the support of our Mothers who have been here to help with the older kids, help me to find time to rest and keep up on the house, etc.

When Lottie was born in South Carolina, there were circumstances that made our first weeks with her unique and special. However, I can't help but note how full life feels when you have this much support and love being directed at your family following the birth of a child.
 We owe so much to our angel Mothers, family and neighbors for all they've done to allow us to enjoy this special time.

Here's where I sign off. I have a baby that needs holding. :) 


*Jess* said...

Congratulations again :)

Nikki said...

Oh I love a good birth story! He is such a cute baby!! Reading all that makes me eager for another. Congratulations!

Karen said...

I love his story!! I went back to read Lottie's and I forgot you went through that. WOW! Forrest's entry sounds perfect. I love how you write. You have described so many beautiful details. I love your expression of how full life is. We were far from family with our third, but felt that fullness as so many people rallied around to help, support and shower love on our family. So, so, so happy for you. I hope that exhaustion becomes mild very soon!

Megan and Jonny said...

Congratulations on (another) beautiful baby! He really is just gorgeous. Wishing you all the best with #4! said...

Ali! He is beautiful! And you look great!!! Congratulations, so happy for you guys ;)

Katie Jensen said...

I miss him already

Liz Green said...

Congrats! He sure adds joy to the faces of all your children. It was fun to read your story. Glad my mom could be there to help out and we look forward to meeting forest in person.

Melanie Parker said...

I love the way you are able to write your feelings and the details of the wonderful blessing of a new baby. Your gratitude and expressions are beautiful. I have no doubt Forrest is in the best hands possible and loved beyond words can say. You are such a beautiful mother, I am so grateful for to know you. And I am so happy for your beautiful family. Congratulations to all of you!!

Melanie Parker said...

I love the way you are able to write your feelings and the details of the wonderful blessing of a new baby. Your gratitude and expressions are beautiful. I have no doubt Forrest is in the best hands possible and loved beyond words can say. You are such a beautiful mother, I am so grateful for to know you. And I am so happy for your beautiful family. Congratulations to all of you!!