Little E's Birth Story | The Speckled Goat: Little E's Birth Story


Little E's Birth Story

As the nurse and anesthesiologist lifted my now completely numb legs onto the operating table, it finally started to hit me...

This is happening.

After a very short 32 weeks, I was about to meet my baby.

But I suppose I should back up a bit... although I'm not entirely sure where to begin with this crazy adventure we've been on...

I guess I'll start with Thursday.

Thursday was a bit of a lazy day for us. We slept in, made a big breakfast, and then watched a little TV. I was tired, but that was understandable after such a busy week. We'd been boating and visiting and going through baby clothes and disc golfing (twice!) and going out to eat and celebrating a birthday. It was a busy week.

I'd thought about washing dishes... got one of the three sink-fulls done, and figured I'd wash the rest the next day. I cut fabric for the woven baby carrier I'm making (more on that later...), but figured that hemming it could wait until the weekend because it seemed like a lot of work.

I didn't get much done during the day. But whatever, I had time.

We had childbirth education class through the hospital that evening, and since we were going into town anyway, Trevor and I sat down and made a grocery list. I realized that I hadn't taken my 32 week belly picture yet, so I did that quick, and then we went to birth class.

The class was about breathing techniques for labor, and we practiced some of the breathing. I yawned a lot- focusing on your breathing at 7 pm will do that to you!

After the class, we headed to the grocery store to stock up on some sales -- eggs at fifty cents a dozen (we bought five dozen...), frozen pizza, cherry tomatoes for me, and a couple other things. While we were there, we bumped into a couple from church who have done a lot of volunteering with camp... little did we know, they were the last of our friends to see me pregnant!

We got home, unloaded groceries, watched a little TV and went to bed. I didn't bother moving the fabric from the living room floor or finishing up dishes... and even though my legs were super hairy, I didn't shave. I figured I'd do that on Friday.

At a quarter to five in the morning, I woke up to change position in bed (which had become an effort with such a big belly!) As I flipped from my right side to my left side, I felt a gush. Gross.

"Something's happening!" I told Trevor.

"Do I need to turn on the light?"

I told him that yes, he should turn on the light, and with his help, I waddled to the bathroom, now soaking wet.

I was still kind of hoping that I'd just seriously peed the bed despite all the Kegels I'd been doing... but when I was able to empty my bladder in the bathroom, I was pretty sure my water had broken.

Trevor, in the meantime, called over from the bedroom, "It's clear and it doesn't smell like pee!"

He was obviously paying good attention in birth class.

We called the hospital and they told us to come in. I put some clothes on, contemplated packing a hospital bag, but then decided we should just get to the hospital and worry about whatever else later. I was still having little gushes of fluid- not a fun feeling at all. I also wasn't feeling any movement from our baby, which made me more than a little nervous.

Trevor pulled the car around and put a towel on the passenger seat with a plastic bag underneath.

As I waited for him to come back to get me, I started to really worry that our baby wasn't okay. Since we found out we were pregnant, I've been singing a little song to our little guy- I sang it in the car on the way to get my first blood draw, in the shower before our first ultrasound, when we went for walks... and while I like the song, I kind of always thought it was a little girly.

But as I stood by the entryway door; wet, uncomfortable and worried; the words were so incredibly fitting:

May you grow in your own sweet way,
And blossom more every day.
Follow the music in your soul.
May there be time for you to
Grow in your own sweet way...

I sang it quietly and it became a prayer.

Trevor helped me into the car- I still wasn't having any contractions or anything, but I was just so uncomfortable and felt nasty. Trevor reassured me the entire way to the hospital that everything would be okay.

We got checked in, and I rode in a wheelchair up to the labor and delivery area (not because I couldn't walk, but because I thought I'd make a big wet mess everywhere if I tried!). I got my gorgeous hospital issued gown- which meant I finally got to get out of my wet pants!- and settled into the bed.

The OB nurse that they'd called in just happened to be one of the nurses teaching the childbirth education class from the night before.

She took a couple swabs and ran a couple tests and determined that yes, this was amniotic fluid coming out of me. The nurse got me hooked up to fetal monitors, and baby's heart rate was just fine, much to my relief.

My doctor showed up not long after that. She told us that because our local hospital doesn't have a NICU, they don't deliver preterm babies. I'd probably be transferred via ambulance to the bigger hospital about an hour and a half away. Up until this point, I was really hoping that we could slow this whole thing down- that I'd be on bed rest or something for at least a couple weeks... but baby was coming and there was no stopping him.

This is where things got even more interesting. I was already dilated to four centimeters (who knew!), but she wasn't feeling the baby's head. In fact, she was pretty sure she was feeling an extremity. Not good. So an ultrasound tech was called in, but never actually made it to my room because my doctor was impatient and used the lower-tech ultrasound they had in the office instead-- and our baby was presenting knee first.

They quickly gave me a shot of something (I don't remember the name), to try and stop the contractions that I still wasn't feeling, as well as a steroid shot to help baby's lungs develop and give him a better chance at breathing on his own. They also put in an IV... there were lots of pokes going on.

People were coming in and out of the room a lot by that point- one of the nurses brought in this bin...

... and I kind of guessed what the doctor was going to say next.

Because the baby was footling breech (basically the fanciest way of saying that he was coming all catty-wampus), they weren't going to transfer me anywhere. I was going to have a c-section as soon as possible, and then the baby would be flown to the NICU an hour away. Trevor asked if there was any way they could try to turn the baby, or if changing my position could help the baby to flip. The doctor was concerned about a cord prolapse (the umbilical cord coming through the cervix and getting crushed in the process), which is especially risky with a footling breach birth, and because our little guy was so small and so early, and because I'd been having gushes of amniotic fluid for two hours, they didn't want to risk the stress to the baby's tiny body.

I was surprisingly calm with this news.

I'd skipped the chapters in the pregnancy books about c-sections, because that wasn't going to be me. I was completely and totally planning on a natural birth, with as few interventions as possible. I hadn't written out a birth plan yet (it was on my to do list, though), but it was going to be full of instructions like no induction, no offering pain meds... stuff like that.

This was all happening exactly how I didn't want it to happen... but despite the fact that I had no control over what was going to take place and none of my expectations were being met, I was okay. I'm sure it was the grace of God.

As long as both I and the baby were doing okay, we'd wait on the flight team to arrive before doing the c-section- to make sure that as soon as our baby was born, everything would be ready to fly him to the hospital. It was about seven in the morning at this point.

Trevor texted our moms and my sister about what was going on, and then we waited. At some point, we noticed that Trevor's pants had a big tear in them (they were the first pair of shorts he grabbed... apparently they should have gone in the mending pile...), and he asked the nurse if he had time to run to Walmart and get a new pair of shorts-- and since we had about an hour before the flight crew got to us, he did.

While he was gone, I started feeling contractions. I felt simultaneously excited and freaked out-- excited because I kinda wanted to know what contractions felt like and thought I maybe wouldn't have the chance, and freaked out because of the possibility of cord prolapse. His heart rate stayed awesome, though, so the worry faded a little, and I got to do a little of the breathing through contractions that I'd practiced just the day before.

Trevor got back from the store around eight-thirty, about the same time that the flight crew was getting to the hospital. He was given that blue papery outfit to wear... and only the hat fit him. So the nurses scrambled to find some scrubs that fit- and pretty soon Trevor looked just like one of the hospital staff.

Then it was time to wheel me over to the operating room. The nurse gave me a little robe thing that had a bear on it- fitting since our little one's name means "brave bear"- and then they got me into a wheelchair. I started getting nervous then. I'd never had a surgery before, and really didn't know what to expect... but Trevor was there holding my hand and reassuring me.

We took a picture together in the hallway outside the OR... and then Trevor was taken to a different room while they prepped me. The big talk in the operating room was the fact that my baby shower was scheduled for the next day- the nurses all got a kick out of that. It helped to joke around with them, and I found myself relaxing a little.

Getting a spinal was the weirdest thing I think I've ever experienced. They gave me a shot of a pain reliever in my back first as I was sitting on the operating table hunched over, and while there were ninety million people scurrying all over, all my focus was on the nurse in front of me. She was so calming- saying that I was doing great, reminding me to relax my shoulders- and after just a few seconds, the spinal was done.

I kind of expected it to take a while to really take effect, but after just a minute or so, the nurse and anesthesiologist lifted my legs onto the table so I could lie down, and I realized I was already completely numb. It was a strange feeling. They strapped my arms down (I'm not really sure why), and started getting other stuff ready.

Molly, the nurse who was there right when I was admitted, asked me how I was doing. I told her I was okay, and then she said, "Would you tell me if you weren't okay?" I remember thinking that it was a great question to ask, and I told her I was a little nervous, but really okay.

The ninety million people in the room did a bunch of stuff, and then Trevor reappeared at my side. He got his very own stool right by my head, and he stroked my cheek softly. My doctor came over to us right about then. She told me that they had a respiratory team in the next room, and that after my baby was delivered, they were going to take him right away into the other room- they weren't going to bring him to me or hold him over the curtain so I could see him. She told me not to panic, that rushing him out of the room was part of the plan, and that they wanted to be sure he was breathing right away.

Trevor asked if he could stand up and watch over the curtain during the operation.

There was a little bit of an awkward pause, and the nurses asked if he'd get lightheaded or nauseated, and if he had a strong stomach. After Trevor reassured them that he'd be fine (and then I reassured them that he'd be fine), they gave him stern instructions to sit if he felt faint at all, and told him he could watch if he really wanted.

(I later asked him if watching the surgery was gross... he said that it didn't matter- he wanted to watch our baby be born)

So he stood up and watched the whole thing, and I watched his face. He kept one hand on my cheek the whole time, which meant so much to me. I felt a lot of jostling around, and then Trevor said, "I can see him!"

But the baby wasn't out yet... his head was a bit stuck, and so there was some more jostling and pushing on my abdomen, and then Trevor told me that he was out.

My doctor walked briskly into the other room, holding our baby, but I didn't get a glimpse of him.

The surgeon started getting me put back together, and someone said, "There's a crying baby in the other room!" I was so relieved. Trevor was taken to the recovery area where our little one was getting ready to go on his first plane ride.

The very first picture of our little one

Pretty soon, I was wheeled over into the recovery room as well. I could see Trevor standing next to a little bed, eyes glued to our little one inside, and I could kind of see my baby.

My sister was there, already- in cute blue booties and a blue cap- she and Trevor had arranged for her to stay with me while I was waiting to be discharged.

Waiting to see my baby...

It felt like it took forever before I was wheeled over to see my precious boy. He was so tiny, and his skinny little legs were waving all over the place, up in the air and in the splits. The nurses joked that they could tell he was breech from his legs.

I got to hold him briefly before his plane ride, snuggling the little body that I'd carried for seven short months. I stroked his fuzzy little shoulders and told him how much I loved him, and then it was time for him to go.

Trevor was able to ride along in the plane with our baby- which made me feel much better about the whole thing, knowing that his dad would be there with him. The flight crew loaded him into a huge incubator and wheeled him away to an ambulance, which would then take my guys to the airport and the plane that was waiting for them.

Trevor, being the amazing man he is, took lots of pictures of that part of the adventure...

Ambulance ride
Being loaded into the plane by his entourage

Ready to fly!
Flying over the lake
Landed, and the ambulance ready to take them to the NICU

After my guys left, I was wheeled into a labor and delivery room, and spent the next few hours learning how to pump, taking pain medication, and ignoring my sister's reminders that I really should be sleeping.

Trevor called to tell me they'd landed and were settled in to the NICU, and I must have slept a little, because at some point, he and my sister set up my phone with my "NIC-View" password so I could see my little guy live through a webcam they had set up (so amazingly reassuring).

My sister stayed with me the first night, and I can't tell you what it meant to have her there. I'm pretty sure I would have been a mess without her there to distract me and comfort me. And she got some pretty kickin' free hospital food through room service, so I think that she got some perks, too. Seriously, the food was really good.

Trevor did some skin-to-skin care with our little guy before I arrived
Saturday passed in a bit of a blur- sleeping, pumping, eating, sleeping, pumping, sleeping... with intermittent nurses coming in to push on my sore belly (not fun), and a shower that was equally refreshing and incredibly humbling, since I needed the nurse to help me with just about everything. My mom stopped in to visit and comfort and bring clothes, and my sister and I took some walks around the halls (very quiet walks- because I was THE ONLY person in the OB ward).

Eventually, my sister had to leave to go to a wedding, and she and Trevor devised a plan to switch places- Trevor would come and stay in the hospital with me overnight, and since the wedding was near the NICU, my sister would go and stay overnight with my little guy.

Just a few hours after my sister left, my wonderful mother-in-law arrived bearing lots of gifts, so I really wasn't alone long. Trevor arrived not long after, and we had some time to process everything that happened and talk about how my little boy was doing in the NICU.

(My sister sent this picture, and I cried big tears-- this is the first time I saw his eyes open.)

The next day, I took a shower (with the help of dear Trevor who dried off my legs for me, since I couldn't bend over), had a big breakfast, and then was discharged from the hospital. I was so excited to see my baby! Two days felt like forever. But we stopped home first- to get some more clothes, pay the water bill, feed Bear, and get a little more organized. And pump. Because pumping is all I do anymore.

Finally, we headed out to see our little one and get settled in to the room at the NICU.

Waiting for us to show up... ;)

Reunited at last.

We will be in the NICU for a while yet, as he grows and his brain develops more and more until he's finally ready to come home.

We are blessed beyond measure that everything went as well as it did, that we have amazing medical staff who have taught us along the way, great families who dropped everything to come and help, and most of all- that we've been entrusted with this precious little life.

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  1. Little E is a cutie and looks like he is doing well. Prayers for strength and support for all of you.

  2. Keeping you all in my prayers...especially Little E!! He certainly knows how to make an entrance...I'll bet he keeps you on your toes for the next 18+ years!! What a special blessing for your whole family!

  3. This post made me cry! So precious! And you had such a great attitude! :) Congrats on your baby!

  4. My word! I'll be praying your little man gets stronger and stronger every day!