September 8, 2014

Introducing Noah Matthew

On August 24, 2014 our lives changed forever. For the better. Better than what we could have even imagined.

So, here is Noah's birth story. I need to write this down as I don't want to forget a thing. No one could have prepared us for the gamete of emotions we would be experiencing. Post pregnancy hormones don't mess around. I don't want to take the chance that in the span of exhaustion, joy, fear and happiness we would forget even the tiniest detail.

We were due August 24. I was originally scheduled for an induction on August 18. I wasn't too excited for an induction. In fact, I was rather dreading it. But, I trusted that the doctors knew what was best. And I didn't want to put Noah at the risk of any complications. I've had some pretty severe swelling, and the doctors wanted to induce before complications arose. The morning of the 18th, we got a confirmation of the induction. We got cleaned up, got our stuff together, and were nearly ready to leave. Then we got another call. The induction had to be rescheduled due to an abundance of women in labor. (This is what happens when there's a cold Indiana winter.)

We had an array of appointments that week meeting with different doctors. Ultimately, the induction got rescheduled for Monday, August 25. The Friday before, we did a stress test on baby, and watched for contractions. The stress test was great, but still no contractions. Obviously, I wanted to go into labor on my own, but unfortunately there's no magic pill for that to happen. I was certain I wouldn't go into labor on my own at that point. Friday afternoon we also did an ultrasound. Everything looked great. We would be ready to go for the induction.

Saturday rolled around and I started having some pain in my lower abdomen. I just thought it was from the extra weight from carrying around the baby.

Saturday we went to bed. I fell asleep around 10 p.m. Matt went to bed at 11 p.m. About 11:30 p.m. I woke up and those pains I had been having were increasing. And becoming regular. Turns out, those random pains weren't so random; they were contractions.

I woke Matt up after only a half hour of sleep and we started timing them. Soon I got to having them five minutes apart. It was go time. So about 2:30 a.m. we made our way to the hospital. It was an awful long drive. Every bump, railroad track and turn increased the pain of contractions.

We got all checked in and settled into a delivery room. My contractions were increasing in intensity, but labor wasn't progressing near as quickly as I would have liked. Sometime that morning, I was given some pain medicine, but it didn't last too long. Matt was great helping me through each contraction. I think I only snapped once. To keep me calm, I kept picturing what Noah's sweet face would look like. I also focused on happy memories of sitting on the dock with my favorite island friends.

I eventually got an epidural. That's where things got interesting. After the epidural, I remember saying it was the best decision I ever made. It was complete relief from the pain. Then, my blood pressure dropped. Drastically.

Hospital workers came rushing in. The anesthesiologist came back in. The OB got the ultrasound machine going. I heard the anesthesiologist say my BP was over 16, and that the machine couldn't be right. Because if it was over 16, I would be dead. They put a second IV in and pumped me full of fluids. Beyond me, Noah's heart rate was dropping. The OB said if they didn't get his heart rate up fast, they would have to do an emergency csection immediately.

I never felt faint, dizzy or panicked during this whole ordeal. I kept looking at Matt and he was just giving me this goofy, calm grim. He later told me he was panicking, but kept it together for me. I had a sense of overwhelming peace and assurance during the whole episode. Never panicked, never alarmed.

They gave me epinephrin to increase my BP and Noah's heart rate. I already have a high heart rate, so the extra epi really increased it. It took some time, but my BP went back up, and so did Noah's heart rate. Relief. Huge relief.

To get a better measure of his heart rate, they used a monitor that they could place on his head, instead of outside on my tummy. They also used an internal device to measure my contractions. They wanted to be sure to get the most accurate measurements.

After we both stabilized, they decided to give me pitocin because labor stopped progressing. It helped a little bit, but then the OB came back in. Noah's heart rate wasn't fluctuating like she would have like. She said, "it's time we have a talk," about a csection. If his heart rate didn't start giving her the variables she wanted, we would go in. Well, as we were talking, his heart rate started doing what was needed. But just in case, we signed all of the necessary paperwork, covered the risks and prepared ourselves in case we needed to go that route.

I got another dose of pitocin. Labor still wasn't progressing as needed. So we waited. The OB broke my water. Still not progressing. Then, after 4 p.m. The OB came back in.

Ideally, Noah's heart rate should go down when I have a contraction and go back up when the contraction subsides. However, his was going down after my contraction. This signaled that something wasn't quite right. Additionally, his head was starting to mold, as he may have been too big for me to deliver naturally.

At 4:50 p.m. the OB and the anesthesiologist called the csection. Immediately, the nurses came in to get me all unhooked and ready to go. It was a whirlwind. Of course, I was scared. That's when I started to cry. Matt kept calm as usual and reassured me that everything would be fine.

I asked the nurses for a minute with Matt before we went into surgery. We took that time for the two of us, and I was so glad we had that time to take a breath, and be with each other before we met our son. Just a few minutes later, I was wheeled away and Matt was left in the delivery room. A nurse helped him pack up our belongings and moved him into a recovery room. After 10-15 minutes, he was able to come into the operating room with me. They had me all prepped and ready. Matt sat with me and held me hand.

The procedure was underway. After nearly 10 minutes, the anesthesiologist told Matt if he wanted to look, now was the time. He stood up, still holding my hand, and got to see our sweet baby being born.

Noah Matthew was born at 5:42 p.m. 7 pounds, 15.3 ounces. 21 inches long.

The longest wait was to hear that sweet cry, even though it was a short amount of time, it seemed like ages. Matt told me how he had a full head of hair, and Noah was taken to the side to be cleaned up. Matt got to trim the cord. The nurses were fantastic as they made sure to get his camera to take photos.

The doctor told us it was a good thing we did the csection. The cord was wrapped around his neck twice. This is what was causing his irregular heart patterns.

I was overcome with emotion the minute I heard him cry. It was real. He was here. My baby.

After they had Noah cleaned up, weighed and measured, they brought him to me. They placed him skin to skin while they finished up the csection. This part took the longest, as it was about a 40 minute process. I didn't care. I had Noah and Matt. Completely overwhelmed.

Matt and I both couldn't stop staring at him. Just the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. We were a family. He was here.

So many things could have gone wrong that day. But everything was right. We had the right doctors, right nurses, right timing. We are so blessed with the outcome.

The staff at Goshen Hospital and doctors at Fairhaven couldn't have been more wonderful. We are so thankful for the timing. Matt is on break, and is able to help take care of me while I recover and cherish this time with Noah before he starts his rotations in October. Now, we are soaking up as much time with family as possible before we head to sunny Florida for our next big move.

Nothing I write here can accurately capture the depth of emotions and how incredible this experience has been. We are so blessed to be a new family of three.

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