Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Birth Story of Baby H

Here he is!! :-) I've been so excited to get back on the blog and introduce him to you! I know many of you read Jeff's blog as well and got the news of H's arrival from reading that, but I also know that many of you out there would like to have more DETAILS of how the actual labor and birth went and what our birth experience was like. I, for one, am a total birth story junkie having read sooo many this pregnancy! I also wanted to write out everything as I remember while it's fresh in my memory so we will always be able to remember this very precious day when God blessed us with our second son!
For those of you that just want the nuts and bolts of what happened: 20.5 hours of labor...made it to 10cm and pain medication...still ended up with an emergency C-section. WHAT?!?:-)
Now for those who want the details, read on! I want to warn you in advance...this is VERY LONG and detailed (for our own record if for nothing else!)
As many of you know from my previous blogs, Jeff had a HUGE event that he was preparing for on Saturday, May 17th. We were having a big dinner/celebration service for all of our volunteers at Fellowship and part of this was a time of worship with Jeff leading. Thankfully, we were able to attend this no problem and I made sure to ask everyone who I spoke with that night to go home and PRAY!! (I forgot to specify that it would be better for labor to start AFTER the following morning's services--but I hear Ben did an awesome job of filling in for Jeff--Thanks Ben!! :-) Well, we got home from the event that Saturday evening and finally crawled into bed around 10:45pm. Fifteen minutes later, at 11pm, I had the first contraction. Of course, I had been contracting off and on for 3 weeks by this point so I didn't think anything of it and just tried to fall asleep. However, unlike with previous contractions, sleep didn't seem to be possible this time! After a couple of hours of trying to sleep between them and feeling very restless, I finally woke Jeff up and told him that I thought we might be gearing up for the real thing. (I probably should have let him sleep cause I don't think he ever really fell back asleep after that). I ended up going downstairs and propping up in the recliner and again tried to rest between contractions. All that night they were averaging 7 min. apart.
Around 6 AM, I went back upstairs and told Jeff we should start getting things ready in case we needed to head to the hotel soon. Yes, you read right, I said hotel, not hospital! Since we live an hour away from the hospital, the plan had always been to get a hotel room just down the street from the hospital, so that I could labor there as long as possible and not be miserable with the more serious contractions in the car. My midwife had told us that the worst thing we could do (with me attempting a VBAC this time) would be to get to the hospital and only be 1-2 cm dilated. This is basically what happened with M and of course, the longer I labored in the hospital, the more nervous everyone would get. So, the hotel seemed like a good alternative (and Jeff could rest a little easier knowing that we wouldn't wait too long at home and end up having H in the car during our hour long drive!)
I called Ronni (my midwife) and let her know what had been going on and she too thought it would be a good idea to make our way. So, we woke my Dad and told him we were going to be heading to the hotel soon and then I jumped in the shower. By this point M was awake and he was very excited when Daddy told him that Mommy and Daddy were going to the "baby hospital" and that H was going to be born! His little face lit up and he got so excited. However, he wasn't quite as thrilled to find out that he wouldn't be going with us! We told him he was going to get to go to church with Pop Pop and that he would be able to visit the "baby hospital" and H after he was born.
While I was showering and going through my checklist of things we would need, Jeff had been trying to reach Ben to break the news that he would be doing the music that morning for our services. He must have called him 20 times or so over the next hour and couldn't get an answer! (We found out later that Ben's phone had been on vibrate--he was shocked to see he had missed 20 calls and had like 5 messages! :-) We ended up heading over to the church first (about 8AM by this point) so that Jeff could get as much together for Ben as possible. He finally got thru to him (thankfully!) and told him the news. All this while the contractions had gone to about 4 min. apart and did seem to be getting a little harder. We finally hit the road and made it to the hotel with them still 4 min. apart. As SOON as we walked in the door to the hotel room, they spaced back out to every 7 min. or so. Argh! This was not what we were hoping for! I started getting worried that this would turn out to be another false alarm. However, in my gut, I really believed this to be the real thing. I called Ronni and asked if I should walk to get them going again or try to sleep since I hadn't really slept at all the night before. She thought it would be better to sleep so that's what we did. I slept, of course, in between the contractions but only for an hour. I was too restless to stay in bed any longer than that and the contractions were getting stronger.
I called Ronni again and this time she suggested the tub/shower. She basically said that if I could "manipulate" the contractions (make them space out by resting, or speed up by being active) that we weren't quite there yet and that they would still need to "coordinate". So I made a bath for myself but was very uncomfortable as it was just a standard sized tub. I tried this for about 5 min. and the contractions jumped from 7 min. to 3 min. and I was definitely starting to use more and more focus with my breathing. I decided to ditch the bath and try the shower. This is when things really started to happen! My contractions suddenly went to every 2 min. and required A LOT of focus! I would lean my head against the wall and breathe in for 4 slow counts and then breathe out for 4 slow counts. I waited for several contractions to pass before telling Jeff that we needed to make our way to the hospital. This was it!! We called Ronni who said she would meet us there.
The car ride over was NOT fun, as every bump with a contraction was horrible! I was gripping the door and just trying to breathe and relax as much as possible! Finally we pulled up to the Emergency Room entrance and Jeff secured a wheelchair. Ronni met us and took me while Jeff went to park the car. Even though we were preregistered, I still had to sit at one of the cubicles and give information like my insurance card, etc. I had one contraction while sitting there and just buried my head in the pillow that was on my lap and asked the lady behind the desk to kindly wait a moment until it passed! We finally got thru with all of that and made our way upstairs to my room. I changed into a gown and had several contractions while doing so. They were definitely getting more intense! After getting an IV in place (with a hep-lock so I wouldn't be tied to a line or pole) Ronni did the first check. I could NOT believe it when she told me I was 5 cm! I was thrilled! With M, I had gotten an epidural at 4 cm, 9 hours after the first contraction and 6 1/2 hrs later was still only at 5 cm when they decided to take him via C-section for heart decelerations and failure to progress. Now, here I was dealing well with the pain and 5 cm on my first check! Woo hoo! This was about 2pm by this point.
An hour and a half later Ronni checked me again...7 cm!! I again was shocked! All the while I had been telling myself things like "You're not there contraction at a can do this...these aren't the really bad contractions yet!" I'm totally convinced now that how you mentally tackle the contractions really can make a difference!
By 4:30 pm Ronni decided to break my water to get things moving a little more. She did, but not much seemed to change. Time seemed to drag on at this point and I was becoming more anxious for the end to be near! It was getting harder to hear/find H's heart beat with the external monitors and he was starting to have decelerations at the peak of the contractions, so they decided to put an internal monitor (attached to his head) so that they would be able to hear it constantly. This was NOT FUN as Ronni had to wait until I was in the midst of a contraction to place the wire! After this, we waited....Ronni kept telling me that I would start to feel a pressure in my bottom area which would signal that H was making his way lower in the birth canal and that pushing would be soon. I started to feel an ever so slight pressure, but things seemed to be taking longer to progress, the contractions were getting harder to "manage" and I was worried about his heart rate which you could audibly hear drop with every contraction. Ronni kept assuring us that things were still good because in-between the contractions he would have accelerations where his heart rate would speed back up. This was a good sign. More time passed with a slight increase in pressure but also an increase in his heart decelerations. I could tell everyone was getting nervous (as was's a very unsettling thing to hear your baby's heart rate drop!) We decided I should try a different position so I got on my knees and leaned over the head of the bed. I was getting VERY uncomfortable and tired at this point and told Ronni that maybe we should call for the epidural. H's heart rate got worse in this position so she had me turn back over and checked me again. (I found out later, but not at this point, that I was fully dilated during this and subsequent checks). Every "check" by the way, occurred DURING a contraction, not after or before, which to me was THE most miserable part. By this point, Ronni was trying to get his heart rate up and would tap on his head during the contractions. Basically, the rest of the story went like this: I pretty much started losing control because the pain was so bad, the OB was called and she too was checking me during contractions and trying to manipulate his head (to which I lost control and was crying and screaming and saying things like "I can't breathe!...I can't do this!") and everyone, including me, was becoming VERY concerned about H's safety. I was told to push with the next several contractions and started hearing talk of a C-section. Ronni was really encouraging me (and she told me later both she and the OB were seeing if I could get him low enough to use the vacuum to get him the rest of the way) and telling me things like "You can do this...push, push, push...down low, now PUSH, he's right there Jen...PUSH!" I did with everything I had (probably about 10 times) but he just wasn't budging! By this point, the anesthesiologist (also a women) FINALLY walked in and made the announcement that they may need to put me under with general anesthesia to which I greatly protested and the OB agreed. Ronni had me push one last time and I did, desperate to get him out, wanting to avoid the C-section, but knowing and understanding that H's safety was all that mattered at that point and I wanted him out and safe NOW! When that push didn't bring him any lower, the call was made. Jeff was by my head, and had been holding my hand and whispered his encouragement to me at that point. He had been so wonderfully supportive of my attempts at a vaginal birth and he knew how disappointed I would be. The staff quickly wheeled me into the OR (which was just at the end of the hall) and got me onto the surgical table. This is when, thankfully, I finally received the epidural and they started prepping and draping me. One of the staff members went to get Jeff and have him don the surgical "garb" and I was so relieved when he was brought in and sat beside me. Ronni too was there and holding my hand. At one point she whispered in my ear, "I'm so did sooo good! We just want him to be okay" and I reassured her that I did too!
At 7:24 pm, Our sweet baby H took his first breath in this world and proceeded to scream his little head off---the best sound EVER!! Jeff and I both were crying and I was soo relieved to hear him so strong! His apgars were 9 & 9 at birth--which is excellent!  He weighed 7lbs 3oz and was 20.5 inches long.
With M's C-section, I saw him for about 10 seconds before he was quickly whisked him away and it was 3 hours before I would hold him or see him again. However, this time, I was so thankful that he never left the room! I watched him being cleaned off and he looked so big in the warmer! I was grateful that although there were extensions for my arms to rest on, they weren't strapped down like they had been with M and quickly after wrapping H up they brought him to me and I was able to hold him and kiss him and look at him while they worked on me. Jeff and I just sat there and marveled at this beautiful little boy! It seemed so surreal to me that he was finally here and that he was OURS! His little fingernails were so long that the staff kept remarking that they were the longest they'd ever seen! He was so calm and quiet and we couldn't get enough of him! He stayed with us the whole time and was wheeled with us back to the labor room where I was able to nurse him for the first time. We were told by the OB there were several things working against us during my labor.  One was the fact that he was in a posterior, or sunny-side-up position which meant that his back was to my back and he was facing my front.  This makes it very difficult (although not impossible) for a baby to navigate thru the birth canal as their chins end up being tucked instead of extending through.  The other issue, which was compounded by his position was that he had the umbilical cord around his neck.  This was why with the peak of every contraction--as he moved lower in the birth canal and his chin tucked more--he would have the heart decelerations.  
When Ronni came to visit the next day she told me I had an "AVBAC--an "Almost VBAC" as I couldn't have gotten any closer to birthing a baby vaginally than what I did! :-)  She also said that had he been facing the right way he would have "slipped right out!"  Argh!   Little stinker!! All in all, I am so grateful to the Lord for allowing me to experience labor the way I did.  This time I KNOW that I did absolutely everything I could to have the best birth possible for my baby and for me and that there was nothing I could have done different to prevent this C-section.  I also praise God that he's safe and healthy and such a precious gift!!  Thanks to all of you who were praying for us!  God is so good!! 
We are now home, of course after spending 4 days in the hospital.  The worst part of the C-section is the recovery!  I'm feeling better every day, but have to keep reminding myself to take it easy--not something I'm good at!  We've had company the first two weeks (my mom came up the first week and my in-laws were here from last Weds. to this morning.  It's been nice having extra hands and help!!  Life seems a little crazy these days with two kids, but so far M has been wonderful with H.  We had pictures taken again by Tammy and Stephanie this morning and I will post a link to that album as soon as I get access.  Thanks again for your prayers!  We love our new little man and can't wait for everyone to meet him!  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Quote of the Day

The other morning M had a rather yucky #2 accident in his pull-up.  Jeff was the unfortunate one who "discovered" the occurrence and ended up having to undress him and hose him down in the shower.  About this time, I get the call for help from Jeff who proceeds to describe for me how when asked "M, why did you go poopie in your pants?" he responded very matter-of-factly "Cause it was fun."  Not exactly what we want to hear from our 3 year old!   He got in trouble for this, (he lost a privilege) not because of the accident, but because of the attitude behind it.  Well, this morning Jeff and M were reading a book in our bed and all of the sudden Jeff could again sniff out an "accident".  This time when Jeff asked him, "M, WHY did you go poopie in your pants?", he was very quick to respond, "Because it's NOT fun!!"

Words of Encouragement

God has used the last 24 hours as a time of encouragement for me. I've had several of you call to encourage me and share your stories of waiting on your little ones, being overdue, etc. These have definitely helped to encourage my spirits! I've also had God speaking to my heart and mind through His word and wanted to share the following passage which just seems sooo appropriate to everything I'm feeling and going through right now. One, because it speaks to how God knows everything about me. Every thought, worry, and my future (near and far!) Secondly, I love that it speaks of how He knows everything about H! He is knitting him together even right now and loves him even more that Jeff and I do! Thank you God that you know us so well and that you have our days planned ahead of time!

Psalm 139:1-16 O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Well, just returned from my midwife appt a little while ago. I'm bummed since she was NOT able to do the "sweep" like we were hoping for. Baby H is in good position (low and at "0 station"), but he's just not quite ready to come yet! So, we continue to wait and pray and hope and dream of holding him very soon! I don't go back to see Ronni until next Weds. but she (and we!) are hopeful that I will deliver before then!
Physically, I'm feeling pretty good. For me, this has been a little mentally taxing, though. I keep getting myself psyched up to go and then I have to change gears again. Jeff made a good point on the way back from the appointment saying that hopefully all of this is going to lead up to a quicker/easier labor and delivery! I'm so thankful I had him with me to try and cheer me up. Although, I have to say he was just a bit too giddy for me! :-) I think he was relieved that it WASN'T time for him to "gear up" just yet!
Thank you all so much for your prayers for us. I know that God is ultimately and completely in control!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Smallest Details

We had another "teaser" day this past Saturday with me contracting all day long (I REALLY hope this all helps to shorten the real thing!). At one point they were every THREE minutes and I was pretty hopeful. Of course, this was while I was sweeping/mopping my kitchen floor, but still!!
I had a hard time sleeping last night. I woke up at 3AM and no matter what position I tried, felt short of breath. I finally propped up on 2 pillows and laid there wide awake for what seemed like forever! This is like waiting for one big party and you don't know when it's going to happen!
I go for my next appointment with my midwife tomorrow and she told me last week that if I'm still around, she will try to "sweep my membranes". I leave it for all of you to Google the meaning of that if you don't know, instead of providing details here! :-) Suffice it to say that if she can do this, and if it's successful, there's a good chance that we could be heading to the hospital tomorrow night!
This is also a very busy week at work for Jeff with a HUGE VIP event taking place on Saturday and rehearsals for him tomorrow night, so not quite sure how all of that will work out and this is definitely putting more stress on him. I'm so glad that God has the very smallest details of our lives in His hands! It's times like these that I finally get the knock on the head from Him that reminds me that I really have NO control over ANYTHING and that all He requires of me is to just lay everything at His feet and TRUST that He knows what's best for all of us! :-)
Keep your prayers coming as we are in the final stretch! (No pun intended! HA!) Hopefully my next post on here will include pictures of our new little man!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Quote of the Day

Of course we might be partial, but M is such a funny kid!  He is always saying stuff or doing stuff that makes us laugh.  I always say that I need to write these funny quotes down so that I can remember them later, but usually forget.  Today it occurred to me that I could start a "Quote of the Day" list on my blog!  That way, I can jot them down as they happen for our amusement as well as yours and have them to look back on in the future.
So, here's one from today (imagine it with all of the enthusiasm and gusto that only a 3 year old could put into it):
"Mommy, I told Miss Liz (his preschool teacher) that she can come over to our house and eat Macaroni and Cheese!!"
Random, I know, but I couldn't stop laughing! :-)  I can't wait to hear what Miss Liz thought!
I'd love to hear some funny or memorable quotes from your kids!

Waiting Game...

Well, I'm still "great" with child although we had a tease last Friday and were convinced he was coming that night! I had contractions all day, starting with my ride into work. By the time I got off, they were still coming fairly regularly, although not getting any stronger. Jeff and I had planned one last date night before this baby comes (one of the GREAT benefits of having Pop-Pop living with us!!) so we headed out to dinner and to see a movie. We ended up eating at an Indian Restaurant, (something we've enjoyed since our honeymoon in London) and I was remarking about how I hoped I wouldn't be experiencing this meal again later!! What was I thinking eating Indian anyway??
Well, all throughout our dinner I was letting Jeff know when I would have a contraction. At that point they were 4 minutes apart and starting to feel stronger. We were so excited! We decided at that point that it would be a good idea to skip the movie and go home and go to bed. We know from experience how hard it is to labor in the middle of the night and not get any sleep! With M, my labor started at 9:45 PM and he wasn't born until 1:26PM the next day.
So, we threw all of our "labor" bags in the car and went to bed....and woke up the next morning!! Argh! What a tease!! :-) Although I'm very happy my body seems to be gearing up, I'm VERY anxious to get this show on the road! Haven't had much to get too excited about since then, so it's still a waiting game. God's in control and I know he'll come at just the right time! But it's soooo hard to wait! :-)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

News Gator

Updated (1/28/10):
While NewsGator was good for a's no longer the tool I use to organize all of the blogs I read.
If you haven't already, check out Google Reader!  It's free if you have a Google account (also free) and A-mazing!

Original Post:
Recently our Lead Pastor, John Cremeans blogged about a cool online tool for anyone who, like me, has several blogs that they like to follow on a regular basis.  It's called NewsGator ( and it's AWESOME!! Using NewsGator, you can list all of the blogs that you like to follow and when you sign in, it will actually tell you if any of your blogs have new posts!  If they do, you can click on it and read it right there!  This is such a time saver and you don't waste your time going to blogs that haven't changed any since the last time you visited. Neat, huh?  I just made an account for myself the other day (it's free) and I LOVE it!
Just thought I'd share the joy!  Happy blogging!