This is the story of the day that Spencer Jacob joined the world, from his mommy's perspective. Perhaps Daddy will write one of his own sometime, you never know.
At our 39 week prenatal appointment, the doctor said she thought that we were measuring a little large, and asked us if we would be open to induction. The thought of a giant baby freaked me out, so of course, I said yes. She said they figured later in the following week, but would let me know.
Well, later that afternoon, I received a follow-up phonecall and was asked to choose either that Friday morning (the 29th) or Monday morning (November 1st). I told the nurse I'd call her back after speaking with my husband, who decided with me we would wait until Monday, so we had the weekend to prepare and rest a little before our lives changed so drastically.
The weekend went by super quickly, and after a night of little sleep, we drove to the hospital at 6:45am Monday morning. I was very calm, I think, partially due to the lack of sleep, I assume. Jake was all smiles as we registered and went into the room.
They broke my water just before 8:00am, and checked me. I was still only 2cm dilated, so we knew it would be quite a long morning. They let me wait until about 10:00am to see if the contractions would speed up and get more intense on their own before starting me on pitocin at about 10:45. The contractions prior to the IV were about every 4-5 minutes, but they were more "crampy" than painful, and that just wasn't going to cut it (but believe me, I wish I could have).
The pitocin kicked in slowly as they upped the dose incrementally every half hour from 1 unit to 7, at which time the contractions started becoming pretty intense. The nurses would ask me to rate them on a scale of 1-10, and it wasn't long before I went from "3" to "5 or 6" as I tried to breathe calmly and silently through them as they passed every 2 minutes. The nurses would look at me like I was kidding when I'd rate them, because I really wasn't making much for noise. I would sit there and breathe and I would bite the corner of my lip and try not to clench up as I stared off at the television screen in front of me. Jake's twin and his mother were there for this part, and they were very chatty with Jake, who could tell I was in some great deal of pain as I did not converse and instead just bit my lip. The nurse had estimated at this time, Spencer would be born between 10pm and 2am, most likely, if progress continued at the given pace.
They checked me again at about 2 or 3pm, I forget, and I was to 5 centimeters and almost 90% effaced (I think, this part is kind of blurry to me), and asked me if I wanted to switch positions from the bed to the ball or whirlpool. I got up and used the ball for a little bit, but I couldn't stay stable on it with my back hurting so badly, so after a short discussion in which I admitted the thought of having someone inject something into my spinal space really did freak me out quite a bit, I decided to get the epidural so I could at least relax and not have to be in intense pain all night long.
Getting the epidural was intimidating, but truthfully, getting the IV put in my hand earlier in the day was much worse. Perhaps that's because I was having back labor and contractions while the anaesthesiologist was doing his thing, who knows. It was successfully administered and I was instructed to lie on my side and not move, which wasn't completely possibly anyway because I was lacking most sensation in my abdomen, butt, and legs anyway. So, laid there, I did. This was pretty boring, for both Jake and I, because I couldn't even really get up to face him or move or anything. But, we both got a nap in!
That nap was a blessing in disguise, even though it wasn't totally quality as the automatic blood-pressure cuff went off every 30 minutes and woke me, as at 5:00pm or so when I woke up, Jake's father and step-mother were there, and I was comfortable enough to chat with them and such before my doctor came back to check me.
We were all in for a big shock when Dr. Schriever came in, checked me, and said, "guess how far along we are." I think I guessed 6, not sure. She said, "9 to 9.5." He was still up a little high though, so she suggested we labor down for a little longer while he tried to move, and also positioned me to try to get him to turn from his crooked-facing front position to facing downward. She said she was going to run home for supper quickly and be back for the delivery, which she figured wouldn't be nearly as late into the evening as we originally though, but possibly between 8 and 9, if he moved.
Then the surprise treat of my life came upon me... in which my epidural started wearing off, and I could feel everything. The contractions got very intense and I went from being able to be silent through them to clutching the bed, shaking, and crying, trying to breathe, and trying not to shake and cry. It wasn't working. They called another anaesthesiologist and asked him to come and up the epidural so I could be comfortable as we labored down, and he did, but it still only got worse. The contractions were almost constant, and I couldn't handle the pain any longer, so they said we could start pushing, and called the doctor to come back. This was about 6:30pm.
I was told that pushing could take a first time mother up to 3 or 4 hours, but they didn't think it would probably take me that long. I was completely effaced and dilated when they checked again, so they helped me roll to my back through the excrutiating contractions, and instructed me how to push.
Let me tell you, pushing is wretched. Especially when I could feel everything, except the progress I was making. They would have me push and I would "scream" (though not really a scream) and try to "curl up around him" inside of me like they instructed, but I tell you what, that's really hard! You have a long hard body inside your body and you're supposed to bend around it? Yeah right! But I tried, and told them it was hard, and it hurt, and trying to take a quick, deep breath between pushes was equally as hard and painful, but somehow I managed. I thank Jake for being there and being super calm and supportive and just telling me how good I was doing, and informing me that I was actually making him move down even if I couldn't tell necessarily.
The, however, they brought out the oxygen mask! No! That was wretched too. My mouth was so dry that licking my lips didn't help, and having ice chips in my mouth was making me gag and I'd spit them out on the floor anyway when a contraction would come. I kept trying to turn my head away from it, but Jake kept bringing it back to my face, which I know he needed to, but yeah. In between contractions I said "I wish I had chapstick!" Jake vanished, and thanks to my dear friend Jillian, I had chapstick and was more comfortable pushing.
When they could see the top of his head, Jake peeked, and I was told Spencer had a lot of dark hair! I was so excited! I had dark hair, as did Jake, and I hadn't been able to wrap my mind around the possibility that our baby could be born baldish. They asked if I wanted to see, and I quickly passed on the opportunity, but as we continued pushing, Jake watched intently, while somehow still being supportive and at my head, as his first-born son entered the world. He cut the chord, and I started sobbing immediately.
They took him away to the little station to clean him off, weigh him, and check his vitals, and as I looked over, I could think nothing else but, "He looks JUST like his daddy, he's even got his long skinny feet!" and "How did he fit inside of me!?" or "I can't believe I did this."
Unfortunately, I had a level 2 tear from the birth, so they had to stitch me back up as they checked him over, but finally brought him to me to hold. Jake was right there with a camera taking pictures as I tried to smile through my tears. Jake had huge tears in his eyes too as we gazed at this miniature being who was so mad at us for putting him through the trauma of making him be born.
He was taken back to the station where they monitored his oxygen, which was a little low at first, they figured becuase he still hadn't coughed up all the gunk in his lungs, and they finished stitching me up, though I lost a lot of blood and went into a slight shock I guess, as I began freezing and trembling uncontrollably. After they had the area cleaned up, they finally gave me a warming robe and some blankets. By then, Spencer was breathing better, and we were able to hold him again. I let Jake hold him, too, of course, because he hadn't gotten to, and I just watched as his eyes lit up and felt my heart melting and surging at the same time with such expounding love that I didn't know how I'd ever be able to handle it.
When all was cleaned up and ready, Jake's brother and his wife, Jake's dad and step-mom, and our dear friends, Robert, Jillian, and Spencer's new best friend, Grayson, all came in the room to meet him. It was absolutely wonderful.
I won't bore you with the rest of our hospital stay, but by the end of yesterday, Spencer met half of his aunts and uncles (roughly), and all of his grandparents, and was completely loved by each and every one of them. Jake and I, after everyone had left yesterday, just stood in the kitchen, embracing, in complete awe and wonder at the huge change that has occured this week, overjoyed with tears, and filled with more love than we ever thought possible.
After over 3 years of struggle and heartbreak, God finally let us meet the miracle that he blessed us with back in February. I have not felt this blessed since the day I married my husband.
I'm scared, excited, nervous, anxious, and anticipatory for each and every day to come.
Spencer Jacob, born Monday, November 1, 2010, at 7:34pm Central Standard Time. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces, and is 20.25 inches tall.
He is perfection in our hearts.