It's Friday June 1st. Colt and I are home along and I'm tired. I've been having contractions for the last week or more & I'm just worn out. But... nonetheless... laundry is out of control, my house is a wreck, & Colt needs a playmate. So I've got work to do. My thought process is, "Spread it out... Do chores. Rest. Play with Colt. Rest. Drink Water. Rest. Do more chores. Rest. Rest..... Rest..... Then rest again." I fold some clothes, then lay down on the couch with Colt at around 11:30 or so. To my surprise, Colt falls asleep (that never happens). So... I'm taking off with this opportunity & putting him to bed so I can take a nap myself. To my surprise again, we both sleep until 1:30 or later. Now, since it's well after lunchtime, I put Colt in his highchair for some old-fashioned PB&J (YUM!). While Colt is eating, I go to the bathroom.... (I'll skip some of these next details for our readers of the male variety).... I decide, "Hey. It's Friday at 2pm, the weekend is looming, and I've got more than enough evidence of potential labor. I'm gonna call and check in just in case." I call and ask for Dr. VonHoene, she's gone for the day. But I get my favorite receptionist... She patches me back to the attending doctor. After hearing my symptoms, he says I should come down and get checked out. OIY!! That's not exactly what I had in mind. I mean come on! I live at the Lake for crying out loud & I'm going to the hospital in Montgomery... But okay, I'll come. So, I call Jarrod & fill him in. He's indifferent, as usual. :-) I decide that I should get a shower, get a quick bag packed for me & Colt & take him to mom's before I head down. So, I deliver Colt to mom's, and go to retrieve Jarrod & we head down to the hospital. I'm having some belly pain still, like I've been having for the last few weeks, but I'm starting to notice that the pain is migrating to my back (same as my labor with Colt). I get to the hospital, get registered, (yadda, yadda, yadda) they get me into bed in triage. Ann Marie is my nurse's name & she seems to be older with a long, grey, braided ponytail. ( I want to remember & share every single little detail) She hooks me up to the contraction monitor, then tries for Gideon's heartbeat. Well... He's a turkey & was having way too much fun with all this contraction business to lay still for her. He wanted to play! :-) So... we knew he was still with us & doing fine with all the kicking, so we just skipped monitoring him, which was fine with me. Then came in a doctor ("Dr. PinkHeadband she will always be to me because she had on the same pink headband on that she did when we were there for Katie's labor just a little over a week earlier.) She checked me and said I was 1cm dilated, 60% effaced, & -2 station. I'm not too surprised. She says they could see the contractions on the monitor at about 3 minutes apart (even though I'm not feeling them too much). She says she thinks my cervix is 'on the move' but she wants me to hang around and get checked again to see what's going on. The only problem is she's going home and Dr. Phillips is coming on. Dr. Phillips has a blond ponytail & a necklace with a pretty crooked heart on it and her wedding rings. She is SO SO sweet! She checks me after the hour is up... no change... Time to go home. Well, we swing by Ruby Tuesday's in Milford for dinner & I get my usual - steak, medium, and mashed potatoes (not the best I've ever had, but that's okay). So, we head home. I drop Jarrod off at his car and go to mom's to get Colt. I'm tired, and huge, and I just want to sleep. So I get home, get Colt in bed, and get myself in bed around 10:00-ish. AAHHHH... My nice, comfy bed! I doze off right away, TV & all. I tell Jarrod I love him, he says he loves me too. And I. am. out... Little did I know, in less than 12 hours I'd be holding my precious boy.
I sleep between 10:00 and 2:00, waking a few times (just like the nights prior: need to visit the restroom, can't get comfortable... you know ladies, the late pregnancy norm). Then, after 2:00am, I can't sleep anymore. No way. I'm having continuing labor symptoms & my contractions are starting to move into my back. After a couple hours of this sort of thing and having my contractions exclusively in my back, I decide it's time to call the doctor and see what they think. So, I call at about 3:30am and the operator can't get in touch with the doctor on call. So, I hang up and tell him that I'll call back later, I wasn't going to get Jarrod and Colt out of bed at this hour anyway. So, I try to lay down. My lower back is screaming for mercy every two and a half minutes, so there is no way that I was going to be able to go back to sleep, as hard as I'm trying. I look at the clock and it's 5:00am. I decide I'm in enough pain that I'm going to try and call again. I don't know how much more of this I can handle, and I know that I have a 50+ minute car ride ahead of me. I get the operator again and he recognizes my voice. He tries for her again with no luck. He tells me to call back in 15 minutes or so, because she most likely is in a procedure of some kind and can be reached afterwards. Okay. During those 15 minutes I decide to time my contraction s on the stopwatch on my phone (brilliant by the way). The were,on average, about 45-50 seconds and about 2-2 1/2 minutes apart. And boy were they painful! So I call back and FINALLY get to talk to Dr. Phillips at about 5:20-ish. She said she felt fine about me coming to get checked out again. I was adamant about her checking me, since she was there the night before. I asked her what time her shift was over and she said 8:00am. I told her we would be there before she left at 8:00.
So I start getting ready things ready to go. I called mom around 6:00 to let her know what had been going on and what the plan was going to be. I wanted her to be there with me, so I wanted her to start getting ready too. She, of course, agreed. We loaded Colt up and got in the car to head out at about 6:37 :-) (I know this specific time because I sent mom a text message as we were pulling out to of the driveway, to which she responded, "My Mt. Dew isn't ready yet... ACK! ... My mom and her 'coffee' LOL) So we start on the road, and I am having some SERIOUS contractions!!! We get to mom's, drop off Colt in his carseat (as in, we didn't even get him out. We unhooked the seat and carried him into the house still in the thing... I didn't care... I had to get to Dr. Phillips!) Dad came out, gave my hand a squeeze, and told me that he loved me and would see me soon. Then, finally, we were off again. Mom was behind me helping me through my contractions, reminding me to breathe, rubbing my shoulders, doing anything she could think of to comfort me. As we were riding, Jarrod was teasing me (yep, still happens even when I'm in the dark throws of labor, lol) and Mom kept saying,
"SMACK HIM!! This is your opportunity to smack him!" Looking back, it was funny. Looking back!
We get to the hospital... FINALLY! Jarrod drops Mom and I at the front door and I tell her there is no way that I am walking all the way to that elevator, she's going to have to wheel me up. So she does. And, of course, I'm having contractions the whole way. A guy named Muhammed (I remember every detail, even the guy's name that registered me) was at the registration desk. He gets me all situated and as he's working I ask him, "Do you know what time it is?"
"7:49" he says.
"Good! I need to see Dr. Phillips before her shift is over at 8:00!" I reply.
After he's finished, Mom wheels me back to triage. The nurse there is Jo (She was kind of short-ish, dark complexion, dark hair in a ponytail). She was very direct and business like, but nice at the same time. It was pretty obvious, I think, that I was in active labor. She had to help me out of my clothes, into the hospital gown (there was no way I was bending down for any reason whatsoever) and got me all hooked up to all the monitors and everything. She tried, just like Ann Marie, to find Gideon's heartbeat, with no luck. I promptly told her not to worry too much about it, the same thing happened last night. Dr. Phillips came in right after I was in bed to check me and another nurse came in to look at Gideon's heartbeat on the ultrasound since we couldn't find it with the monitor again. Initially, while Dr. Phillips was looking at the ultrasound machine, I thought his pulse wasn't there. I even asked her, "Is he already gone?" But he wasn't. He was still with us. She showed me the beating on the monitor: 143 beats per minute. That strong little heart of his was still pumping. Then Dr. Phillips checked me and I was praying for at least 1cm, at least 1 just so I know I haven't been doing all this work for nothing... Well... Prayers answered... I was 6CM!! (gained 5 whole cm overnight!! WOOP WOOP!!) 90% effaced! and +2 station!!! Praise the Lord! I get to stay!!!
The rest is quite a blur. My contractions were just so so bad that did not care what they did to me. I didn't care what they stuck me with or who did it or what the outcome would've been, I just wanted Gideon out of me. Jo go my IV going, while I was having, yet another, massive contraction, and Jarrod was telling them about me being gluten free and having low blood sugar sometimes. At this point, I'm just laying there trying to get through the pain.
Next thing I know, I'm like a car in a nascar pit crew or something. They hook me all up and get me into the hall, out of triage and into a "real room." It really was like in the TV shows or something, LOL). We're in the hall and right after another really bad contraction, I tell Jo, "The anesthesiologist can come anytime!" To that they reply, "He's on his way honey." :-) I get in my room and they all lift me and put me over to the other bed.
My wonderful nurse, Kate.
I don't actually remember "meeting" her "formally", but this is where I know my relationship with Kate, my nurse, started and I remember loving her right away. Just about as soon as I got in the room, Scott came in. Scott was the anesthesiologist that did my epidural with Colt and Jarrod really liked him a lot. Man! Was I glad to see him!! He was super friendly and did a SUPER good job with both boys!
Before he starts, though, my contractions are out. of. control!!! I ask Kate, "Can I 'criss-cross' my legs?"
"That would be perfect." She says.
"Can I hug you?" I ask. (There was a CNM in my room when I got my epi with Colt and she hugged me and I remembered how much that helped.)
She hugs me for a long time, through a couple more contractions, while Scott's back there doing his thing, telling me everything he's doing, "Cold spray." "Little sting" "Little squeeze"
"SHUT UP!!! I don't care what you're doing! I just want the pain to stop!!!" LOL!!
(That last part was just all going on in my mind, not out loud, lol)
Back to reality: The whole time I'm in pain, Kate is talking me through each contraction, telling me to breathe, and man was I trying! It's just so hard to breathe through those stupid things!
After I get my epidural in, I have 2 or 3 more contractions, but they lessen in intensity with each one, until they're gone. Then Dr. Phillips comes back with a slew of people (extra nurses, extra residents, a first year medical student, and more). She comes to check me and she's sort of getting the room ready, people are buzzing all around and I'm telling Kate that I really have to use the restroom (and I really did). I don't remember if she didn't answer me, or if she said, "Not right now." or what, all I know is nothing happened. Well, while they're buzzing around, doing their thing, I feel this HUGE gush and I can remember sort of seeing it spray like upwards almost. I realized my water was breaking. And breaking. And breaking. And breaking... I'm telling you, it gushed forever! There was like a 5 gallon bucket's worth (an over exaggeration of course, but it really was a lot). And so they had to change the bedding. But before they could get to that, I just.... well... pee'd. I couldn't help it. I told them I really had to go! (And I had to go a lot too! lol) (Sorry if that's TMI for you... I was just sitting here thinking that might be kinda gross, but oh well... That's what happened, lol).
Now... Dr. Phillips comes over to check me. Much to my surprise (because it's only 8:30-8:45 or so) I'm 10cm and 100% effaced... Ready to go! We decide to sort of let Gideon progress on his own and come down, so we wait 15 minutes or so (or that's what it seemed like to me anyway). This is when I notice all the people. There's Dr. Phillips... 2 other residents: Dr. Steiner & another Dr. ...A first year resident: tall, goofy looking, student guy... 4 nurses: Kate, Jo, from triage, Kori (Katie's nurse, which was so cool by the way), and another short wavy haired lady (I wish I knew her name)... The "attending" doctor: he was short-ish with a brown zip-up hoodie and scrubs. He was really quiet and just stood in the back by the sink.... That is a total of 9 medical people (that I can remember). Plus my mom, Jarrod & I. That's 12. Twelve people in my room to welcome my precious Gideon! How cool!!
The next 3+ hours are also a blur. It went so fast, but was so perfect, all at the same time. I hope I can recall it all properly.
At some point before I actually gave birth, I told Kate that I was feeling some sharp pain-like stuff, that I couldn't really describe "down there" ... She asked me, "Is it in your butt?"
"No, not really." I say.
"Is it in your 'hoo-ha'?" She asks.
"Yes!! Yes, it is in my 'hoo-ha'! I reply. :-)
"Is it stabby?"
"Hahaha! Yes, yes it is sort of stabby."
(I love Kate, she is so wonderful. The perfect personality to match mine for this whole ordeal!)
Once it was actually time for Gideon to come, I gave like three little grunt-like pushes for Gideon and he pretty much came out on his own. Right away, they put the clip on his cord and someone (I don't remember who) cut his cord, and they handed him right to me, all grimy and all. I asked if he would ever take a breath, and they said no. I didn't let this deflate me. I just decided to enjoy what I had. Kori listened for his heart beat right away. HE WAS ALIVE!!! :-) Then they got a clean towel for him to lay on and a hat (which was WAAYY too big for him). We wiped him off a little and I remember telling him he was a stinky boy. :-) Then Kate came back after a few minutes to listen to his heart beat again and that tough little guy was still fighting. Not breathing, but that little heart was beating away! I asked her if I could listen and she said yes with that quirky little grin of hers that I love. :-) And I heard it. I heard the heart of God's precious Gideon beating here on this earth. That is one of my most fond memories of that day and a sound that I will NEVER forget. The sound of life from my son, who had such a short one. Wow! Praise the Lord for a memory as cool as that!
|All photos provided by Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and Hezlep Photography.|
|Gideon Wayne McGinnis|
She was the perfect cross between 'out of your face, let me interact with my family and son' and 'here, let's put him this way to get this awesome shot' ... It was amazing to watch her work in the midst of, what would have been to the outside world, a sad situation. She was amazing and I can't thank her enough for all her hard work. Not only did she work hard for us that day and capture our day perfectly. But she worked hard editing all these pictures for us to have for a lifetime.
Sorry... got a little bit off track there... Back to my story:
Later in the morning Kate and I gave Gideon his bath. He was very very stinky. Kate brought two little tubs, one for soapy water, and one for rinsing. I remember talking to him like I always would any of my babies and telling him we had to get clean and how stinky he was and things like that. Just interacting with him like I normally would.
|Kate and I cleaning him from head to toe :-)|
|I was so touched that Kate took such extra care to get his hair all clean.|
|Speaking of hair... LOOK AT ALL OF THAT!!|
|He got his footprints beforehand, and they left a little mark on the little tub. :-)|
|Gideon getting his footprint tak|
After his bath, he smelled SO much better and his little head full of hair was so clean. MAN! He had so much hair. I'm so glad we got so many pictures with him without his hat. His hair was definitely one of my favorite parts. It was so dark and so full! I just always wanted to look at it. :-) I'm so thankful that I went through all that heartburn now :-) just like I was with Colt. :-)
|Kisses for my Gideon|
I have NO regrets from that day and I don't EVER want the devil to creep in and try to change my mind about that. The whole day was perfect, I did everything with Gideon that I wanted to do, I told him everything I wanted him to hear, and I loved him as much as I possibly could. I have no What if's, I have no regrets.
|Colt giving Daddy hugs|
Our family of four
Hands on our Gideon
|Gideon's precious, tiny little feet|
Thank you so much for joining me in the story of my sweet Gideon's life. He was surely a blessing to me. I hope he was a blessing to you as well..... I intend to continue blogging about the following days and recounting what I can. I just want so desperately to help any anencephalic moms out there that are nervous or scared. I would LOVE to talk to you and be your sounding board, be someone you can talk to who has actually been there. Please email me... I WILL email you back and answer any and all questions you may have. (email@example.com)