The journey to his birth was slightly unexpected. Henry was due June 16, and while it's not unusual for a baby to be born ten days early, it became a necessity for our little guy to arrive early. Here is the story.
Thursday night: I started experiencing signs of early labor. This caused a minor panic attack in me, but excitement that things were moving along. However, these signs could mean labor could still be days away. We went about our business, had a delicious cheeseburger dinner, and I went through bouts of crying and examining every little change or feeling I had. I started feeling very uncomfortable, and the fear of labor was slowly creeping back. I ended up feeling sick all night with stomach issues, barely sleeping.
Friday morning: I told Mr. Miller things didn't feel right. Part of me thought it was because of my disruptive night of sleep, and part of me thought it was because my body was getting ready a bit quicker than I thought. I ended up napping for two hours that morning and counting down the minutes to my (scheduled) 3:30 doctor's appointment. I thought surely he will tell me I've made significant progress etc. As the day wore on, I felt worse. I could only lay on my side, I was having inconsistent Braxton Hicks contractions, but I felt OFF.
Friday afternoon: We went to the doctor appointment together. Mr. Miller was nervous based on my descriptions of how I was feeling, so he ran around work tying up loose ends and met me at the appointment. My doctor immediately noticed I didn't look like myself. I told him my symptoms, he checked me out, and my progress wasn't advanced like I had hoped. The reason I was upset was because I was uncomfortable; he hadn't dropped, so the top of my stomach was extremely tight, but I was getting extreme pressure like he had dropped. My doctor silently made some notes. Then I said the magic words that no doctor wants to hear "I don't think I have felt the baby move today." I didn't even realize it was true until I said it out loud. He had run out of space, so he only moved when I was sitting upright, and since it was so uncomfortable to do that I hadn't felt him as I laid on my side. That was the last straw. My doctor recommended we go to the hospital for monitoring and fluids since I had not been well the night before.
Friday evening: going to the hospital in rush hour. Our hospital is 35 minutes away without traffic, and my fear all along had been going on a Friday in rush hour. Well, my fear came true! Thankfully it was only an hour of being super uncomfortable in the car. Since I was going to get fluids and be monitored, I ate a sandwich on the way and a donut because, well, it was national donut day! When we got there we got hooked up in their labor and delivery ward for monitoring. This is where things went south. At first they had a hard time hooking me up to the monitor to hear his heartbeat. Finally all was well and I lay uncomfortably as the machines recorded all the stats. About ten minutes in I shifted my weight because of my discomfort, and Henry's heart decelled (baby's heart rate slowed and signaled machines). I attributed it to my movement and the machine not being in the right place. When the nurse came in to find the heart rate again, it took a minute, but all was well again. At this point they told me it was most likely that I would stay overnight for monitoring. After another twenty minutes I really needed to use the bathroom. They helped me go quickly and return to be hooked back up. This is when things got real. They couldn't find the heart beat, and started twisting me around, throwing oxygen on me, and seriously ignoring me in order to simply find a heart beat. After the longest three minutes of my life, they found it. The nurse practitioner came in to tell me that my doctor was on his way, and I was most likely going to be induced after a bit more monitoring. Cue panic. I knew what that meant and it wasn't going to be fun. After more tears, and another hour, I begged to use the bathroom one last time. I went quickly (They hadn't taken my water rights yet!) and again the heart rate issue ensued, and it took a team of people to get me positioned just right. At this point I knew what was coming. Everyone left, I cried and held on to my husband's hand. He is truly a saint and the strongest person I know. A few minutes later the NP came in again and I started sobbing because I knew what she was going to tell me: I needed a C-Section. Henry was not safe and needed to come out ASAP. My doctor would arrive shortly and we would have him soon. I have never been so scared in my life. My birth plan was simple: I wanted to birth a healthy baby no matter the method. After the initial shock wore off I calmed down and focused on my birth plan, my amazing husband, said prayers together for me and for the baby.
If you ever wondered who the most amazing person in the world is, it's this guy.
Having our baby: the best moments in life are unplanned. My doctor arrived and things started moving. He was so caring, but was serious about the need to get Henry out. We went through the steps, I separated from Mr. Miller (The worst part), and began the process of pre-op. It was a scary moment, and I can't thank the nurses enough for being the special kind of people who will hold your hand, and encourage you when your support system is waiting outside (And the largest needle in life is going into your back). Once the surgery was underway, I got the shakes that never ended. I was freezing and praying and focused on the fact that my little son would be with us soon. The procedure was uncomfortable, and because I am always queasy about medical stuff, it made my coping worse. Finally he came out to meet us. I can't explain how surreal it was to know he was coming out, to hear his cry, and to hear my doctor say he was healthy and beautiful. Mr. Miller waited to meet him with me, and it is a moment that will stay with me as long as I live.
My worlds collide.
My very first kiss with my little lion man.
In the end, my doctor was absolutely accurate in sending me to the hospital. The cord was wrapped around Henry's neck twice, preventing him from dropping. He had meconium because of his distress, and his head wasn't positioned correctly due to the cord, creating immense discomfort in me. I went into this "birthing process" proudly stating that I would do whatever it took to have my baby safely, and though it was hard to rapidly have conditions change, I would not change a thing. I'm grateful for my doctor who was ready to listen to me, a first time mom, and believe me when I said things didn't feel right. I'm thankful for my husband who is my rock. I'm thankful for my family and friends who rallied around us, prayed for us and cheered with us in the wee hours of the morning (You'd be surprised who responds to 2am texts!!!).
Welcome to the world Henry. We've been waiting for you.