Thursday, February 21, 2013

an almost birthday

Today is my due date. And instead of laying in a hospital bed listening to Stephen count out my contractions or sitting around our home impatiently waiting for my water to break reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting", I am sitting here on my couch with my three week old snuggled on my lap wearing a large, proud, and happy smile.

In honor of Uriah's almost birthday, I wanted to share with you his actual birthday...his birth story. Both so family and friends can share in the experience of welcoming our baby boy into our lives, but also for my own account - to have to remember and look back on, travel down memory lane with Stephen someday when the story is no longer fresh in our minds and the early morning hospital hours begin to blend together, and then someday share with Uriah, maybe as he's preparing to welcome his own son into the world... The story of how he entered ours...

This story starts before it actually begins. The week before Uriah was born I had a baby shower in Portland, Oregon with friends and family. I rode shotgun on the way home that Saturday night in a fit of contractions; they were coming every 4 to 7 minutes. While they weren't too painful, they were constant - if I had been home, I probably would have gone into the hospital. But by the time we did get home, they had eased up a little and I was too tired to go in or call the doctor, so I decided I would sleep on it and see how things were going in the morning. The last time I had gone into the doctor for contractions, I wasn't dilated or effaced and baby seemed to be in no hurry to get out, so honestly, I wasn't too worried. And come Sunday morning I figured I had no reason to be - the contractions had stopped and I was feeling just fine.

My mom had made the drive from Idaho to Oregon with plans to go to their beach condo for the week after my baby shower. Her plans changed, though, when she decided she wanted to be home for my dad's Thursday doctor's appointment, and she planned to cut her beach week short. But when the roads to Idaho were hit by a winter storm, she came up with plan B. Since she was planning on buying a one-way plane ticket to be here when Uriah was born anyway...she was going to drive to Seattle, hang out for a couple days, fly home in time for my dad's appointment, leaving her car here, fly back when Uriah was officially on his way, and drive home after she helped us get settled with baby. Got it? So, Monday night she comes knocking on our door. And since her flight home was for early Thursday morning, she was able to go with me to my Wednesday's 36 week doctor's appointment. I was happy she was there - got to see Uriah on ultrasound and meet my doctor!

After telling my doctor about my Saturday drive home contractions, she thought it best to check my progress. I was about 50% effaced and dilated to a 2...! Though I knew people could go walking around for weeks dilated to a 4, it was nice to know these contractions were actually doing something and that he was on his way! She told me that with that much progress in one week, Uriah wouldn't make it to his due date and he'd probably be coming within two weeks. I could have kissed her. I spent my whole pregnancy wanting it to be over, wanting to meet him and have him here... I can't count how many times I prayed for a healthy, early, baby...

Stephen was in a final during my appointment, and had another two scheduled for Friday, but in spite of the stress he was under, he was obviously excited about the possibility of an early baby! So long as he came after his finals ;)

My mom and I headed to Fred Meyer after my appointment to do some "before baby gets here" shopping. Before we even got a cart I started to feel crampy, like I had just started my period. I went to the bathroom and was bleeding, bad. I knew I could bleed a little from being checked at my appointment, she had told me it was a possibility, but this wasn't a little bit of blood or light pink blood... I didn't want to panic or assume, so my mom and I decided to do our shopping and I could check again before we left and either call the doctor or head home. I struggled walking around Fred Meyer, cramping with every step I took. I wasn't in pain, just uncomfortable. But by the time we were leaving the bleeding had only gotten worse, so I decided to call it in. The nurse spoke with my doctor and they both decided it best I come into labor and delivery to get checked, just to be safe.

Stephen got out of his final just in time to meet us there. Uriah and I got all hooked up and I was happy to see he was doing just fine. The doctor came in and did a quick check... In the 3 hours since my appointment I was 100% effaced and dilated to a 4...! The bleeding wasn't just from previously being checked, though, and she talked about the possibility of an abruption, where the placenta tears away from the uterus. An abruption has the potential to be dangerous, but she didn't seem too worried because baby and I were doing great.

The doctor said that with making that much progress is 3 hours, I was most likely going to meet my baby that night, and if not, they would induce me by morning because of the abruption. So this was it. This was IT. It was actually happening. How long had I been waiting and hoping... I was going to meet my baby...

I'm a very impatient person. I was impatient to get pregnant and I was impatient while pregnant. I wanted to be a mom. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, who I was supposed to be in this life, and I didn't want to wait for it. I was impatient in the best way possible - looking forward to this next adventure in our lives with pure joy and excitement. I had joked that God was going to teach me a little lesson in patience; that my continuous complaints were going to lead to me being 42 weeks pregnant. And though I always held out hope that he'd come a little early, I never thought he'd be coming THIS early. I'd spent the last 8 months preparing and planning and saying I was ready, only to discover that I wasn't ready! This wasn't a part of the plan. Though I've learned since his arrival that I really ought to just stop making those. So THIS was God's little trick. It wasn't that Uriah would come late and I would be driven crazy waiting for him, it was that he would come earlier than expected and I would have to learn to relinquish control and just let it be. To trust Him.

My mind raced from shock to nervous to excited back to stunned and then to happy all before she finished her sentence. This was IT.

My mom canceled her morning flight and I was admitted into the last labor and delivery room by 5:30 pm. Because of the abruption, baby and I had to be monitored at all times. And as the charts showed, I was having constant contractions, but I wouldn't have known had the lines on the paper not proved it. I was in little to no pain. I kinda started to think that maybe this labor thing wouldn't be too bad, or that this wasn't really labor at all and the doctor's were wrong. Stephen and I took laps around the labor and delivery wing, I enjoyed a long hot bath, and the three of us tried passing the time talking and taking naps.

I wasn't checked again until late that night, and we were all a little disappointed to find I hadn't progressed at all. Since I was 36 weeks and 6 days, technically preterm, they didn't want to make any decisions until morning. So they drugged me up and off to sleep I went.

Thursday morning came and still, no progress. I was still having painless contractions, but the bleeding had slowed way down and talk of sending me home to do some laboring was being spread between nurses and doctors. Home? They wanted to send me home? I was told I would be having a baby last night...! I was told I would be induced by morning...! I was so close, so close to meeting my baby boy. So close to getting everything I ever wanted...

My doctor was out of town, not thinking she'd be seeing me in labor and delivery for a few more weeks, so I was being seen by two different residents. Between different doctors and nurses, I wasn't getting answers. Was I really going to be sent home? Bless the doctor who finally asked me what I thought about all of this... You know when you're kinda down and something's wrong but you're carrying on just fine and putting on a good act, and then someone gives you that look and asks you how your'e doing and you just lose it? Well, she gave me that look and genuinely asked me how I was doing with all of this, and I lost it. In a fit of tears I told her how badly I wanted to meet my boy, how cruel it was to get so close, to be so prepared, and then to take that away. I was a mess and completely embarrassed, but I got answers.

She called my doctor and decided that because I was officially 37 weeks, full term, I should be induced. I could have kissed her. Again. So this really was IT.

They started me on pitocin by 3 pm. Things continued on about the same. I was having contractions but not really feeling any pain. I was worried that the lack of pain meant I wasn't making any progress and I began to find myself hoping the contractions would start to hurt. I didn't really feel like I was in labor, like I was actually going to meet my baby. It kinda felt like the three of us just thought it'd be fun to hang out in a hospital room all day, ordering room service, taking naps, studying for finals... None of this was turning out like I expected.

By 6 I had dilated to a 6 and they decided to take me off pitocin and break my water. Weirdest feeling, ever. And just like that, I felt the pain. My contractions had been coming every 2 to 4 minutes but I had been blissfully unaware. Until now. Ouch. Stephen stayed by my side the whole time, continuously filling my need for more water, more snacks, more rubs, and more kisses, letting me squeeze his fingers until I'm sure they were numb.

It was in my plan all along to get the epidural, but even that didn't go as expected. I was almost more afraid of getting the epidural than I was afraid of the pain of labor, and I honestly debated wether or not it would be worth it. But alas, in came Dr, so-and-so with his fanny pack and equipment. Shaking and in tears, trying to sit still through the pain of the contractions, I held onto Stephen with a death grip.

Yes, it hurt. But it didn't hurt enough to scare me out of it for future babies. And the relief I got was worth it. The relief I got on the left side of my body... The epidural didn't effect my right side. Instead of feeling half the pain, it was like I was feeling all the pain on just one side. Again, ouch. We tried rearranging me on the bed, trying to get the medicine to both sides, but eventually had to call the doctor back in to get it adjusted. So that's why people get an epidural! The instant relief of pain was beyond wonderful. I could relax again! And I did just that. The contractions had wore me out and I was exhausted. They had taken me off the inducement drugs and were thinking I'd be meeting my baby in the early morning hours, so I snagged myself a nap. A glorious nap.

Around 9:30 pm I told Stephen I had the very slightest urge to push, like I had to go to the bathroom. And thinking I really did just have to go the bathroom, I sent Stephen out for the nurse to make sure it was that urge, not the pushing urge. The doctor came in to check me, and in just 3 hours I had dilated to a 10. A 10! She gave us some time to wrap our head around the idea and get ready... But how do you get ready for that?! I'd been wanting this baby for a year, waiting impatiently for 8 months, in the hospital for over 24 hours... And I still couldn't believe it. Couldn't prepare myself. Couldn't settle my nerves or excitement. This really was IT. He was so close to being here, to being mine...

It was 10 when I started pushing. My mom on one side, Stephen on the other - exactly how I've always wanted and imagined it. The doctor was an amazing coach and Stephen counted me through my contractions. I kept my eyes closed the entire time, picturing that moment, his cry, his face, my heart... And in a rush of pressure and warmth, there he was.

At 11:16 pm, 7 pounds 1 ounce, 19 1/2 inches long... There he was.

All the planning in the world could not have prepared me for that moment. That moment when I heard his first cry, when I felt him on my skin, when I saw his beautiful face, when Stephen covered us with tears and kisses, when my mom squeezed my hand because she knew... 

I was overwhelmed with love. Love for my baby boy. My child. The one I'd prayed for and waited for... Love for Stephen, the father of my baby. My provider and protector and man of my dreams who has loved me and supported me from the very start... And love for my God who gave me them both.

I was oblivious to my surroundings for the next few hours. Nurses came and went, peopled bustled about cleaning up and fixing me up... But he was here. I had all I needed.

Stephen and I swooned over him - tears and smiles and kisses. He was perfect. He knew our voices and searched for us with his eyes. He didn't scream or cry, just laid there in my arms, peaceful as could be, letting us love on him, and radiating love in return.

Nothing about this birth story went according to plan. He was early, there were complications, my mom wasn't even supposed to be in town... But it was exactly what we wanted. 

He's here. This is IT. 

(Thank you, momma, for these amazing pictures. I am so happy you were able to be a part of this day. I love you, more!)


  1. Allison, thank you for this story. The beautiful story of Uriah.

  2. Allison this story is so beautifully told, brought tears to my eyes. Love love love the pictures. You were beautiful pregnant and even more so as a mama! Congratulations on your little guy. He's adorable. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have re-lived these birth stories/images in my head and my heart since the day Uriah was born...and then Remi, and then Ezra...(sorry Harper!)... I love that you have this visual journal of this day...