Not What We Planned: Finley’s Birth

It’s ironic that the day I shared the birth plan we made with our doctor, it became obsolete. Finley is almost a month old, now. Here’s the story of how he made his grand entrance into the world:

11:45pm (Sunday, May 19) — I woke up to go to the bathroom, stood up from my bed, and my water broke all down my legs. I thought, “we’re going to need this professionally cleaned,” so I just decided I would pee right there, too. Yep, I peed on my bedroom floor.

I woke Jamin up and, by then, things had slowed to a trickle, so I quickly made my way to the bathroom. Jamin was amazing and was already getting bags packed and things ready for us to go. Thankfully, we already had Finley’s bag packed in case our doctor had decided to deliver at our appointment the week before. Our doctor told us that if my water were to break that we would need to get to the hospital right away. It would be an emergency because Finley’s cord could prolapse (meaning it could fall out), cutting off oxygen to him, since it was in the lowest part of my pelvis near my cervix.

I wasn’t sure if Finley’s cord had prolapsed, but I didn’t want to risk being upright and driving ourselves. I told Jamin he needed to call for an ambulance to take us to the hospital. So while he did that and called my doctor, our photographer, and families, I was on the bathroom floor on all fours with my butt in the air and my head on the ground – the position they told us would take pressure off of the cord if it were being compressed.

I started shaking really badly because I was so scared, but I was also right next to a vent blowing cold air right at me and my legs were still wet. Jamin covered me with a blanket while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.

My sister, Dee, came upstairs to take care of our dog, Scout. Shortly after that, one of the police officers in town arrived. Then the ambulance crew came and started taking vitals on me. I wasn’t feeling any contractions at that time. They brought the gurney right over to me in the bathroom, so I could just crawl on it without having to stand and risk compressing Finley’s cord.

I was loaded up in the ambulance – my first ambulance ride ever – and Jamin got in the car to follow us, so we would have the car seat and everything else we needed when we got to Iowa City. I was shaking the entire ambulance ride, not knowing if Finley was even still alive.  My local doctor was at the hospital in Waterloo when we arrived. He hooked me up the the external fetal monitor and we heard Finley’s heartbeat. It was the most beautiful sound in that moment, and I was finally able to stop shaking, knowing that he was okay. My doctor also checked to see if Finley’s cord was prolapsed, and he said he couldn’t feel cord or even my cervix, so there wasn’t enough pressure to compress anything.

Our doctor called down to Iowa City to let them know we would be coming, and they asked if we would be driving ourselves. I was totally surprised that they would even ask because they knew all of the factors that made us high risk. I told our doctor I didn’t want to drive and hour and a half and risk Finley’s cord prolapsing on the way with only Jamin in the car to help. So Jamin, Melissa (our photographer), and I waited for the hospital to arrange for an ambulance to take me.

Even though the monitor was showing my contractions were coming at regular intervals, I was only really feeling some of them.

We thought our ambulance would be ready pretty quickly, considering what was at risk. By the time an ambulance had been arranged, I was having frequent enough contractions to be considered in active labor, which meant we needed a labor and delivery nurse to ride along with us, but they were all busy.

3:00am (Monday, May 20) — The ambulance crew told Jamin they would be going emergent with lights and everything and that he shouldn’t try to keep up with them. I was actually glad to hear that because I felt like they were taking the situation seriously. The ambulance ride was really uncomfortable. I had to ride laying on my left side because that is supposed to be the best position for babies, and I had been on my left side ever since getting in that first ambulance. My contractions were starting to get stronger, and every time I had one I just prayed that they would stop. I didn’t know if the bumpy ride was affecting Finley or his cord. It felt like that ride took forever.

4:35am — We arrived in Iowa City. I told the nurse riding along that we needed to go straight to labor and delivery because they were expecting me and had a room ready for me, but they took me to the emergency entrance instead. I was frustrated because it was on the other side of the hospital, so they had to wheel me over to labor & delivery. It probably only took a couple minutes but once again felt like forever.

We got up to labor and delivery with Jamin and Melissa right behind me. Once I was in my room, the doctor on call came in to let me know she was ready to do the C-section because Finley was still sideways. She explained that they would do a spinal block and Jamin would be able to come in once everything was prepped and they were ready to do the surgery. They just needed to make sure that my water had actually broken. Considering that I had been able to feel fluid leaking out with every contraction, I was sure it had, but they still had to check.

4:52am — As I laid on my back, the doctor inserted the speculum, so they could swab the fluid, but as soon as she put it in, Finley’s cord prolapsed.

The nurse in the room immediately used her hand to push his cord back in and jumped on the bed with me. I started crying and shaking really badly again. The doctor started wheeling me out of the room, saying we had to go now and we would be doing general anesthesia which meant Jamin couldn’t be there. I don’t remember her saying this, but Jamin told me she also said, “I know this is scary and not normal for you, but this is normal for us. We know what we’re doing.” I’m glad she told him that because it helped him to be less afraid.

Once we were in the operating room, they moved me to the operating table and got me on my left side again. This whole time, the nurse kept her hand in me, holding Finley’s cord in. She also held my right leg up on her shoulder. We hadn’t been in the operating room for long when the nurse looked over at me and said, “I just realized I never introduced myself! I’m Pam.” After hooking up the external monitor, we saw that Finley’s vitals were good, so the doctor said they wanted to do a spinal as long as his vitals were stable while everything was prepped because it would be better for both me and Finley.

Unfortunately, in order to do the spinal block I needed clotting factor to be administered by IV for the blood clotting disorder I’ve been diagnosed with, and the pharmacy didn’t have it ready – even though they had more than 3 hours advance notice of our arrival. While we waited for the medicine to be ready, a nurse did my catheter and an anesthesiologist tried to get another IV in my left arm to draw some lab work. He had a hard time finding my vein and then didn’t have the tubing ready to attach to the needle once he got it in, so blood was spilling out all over my forearm. It looked a bit like a crime scene. But the catheter didn’t hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would.

While we waited for the medicine to arrive, I asked one of the anesthesiologists if our photographer would be allowed in the room during the procedure. He said he wouldn’t mind, and he also asked the doctors if they would mind. Everyone was on the same page and agreed that Melissa could be in the room to photograph Finley’s birth.

That anesthesiologist was the best. After it was decided that there would be a camera in the room, he started trying to clean all the blood off of my arm from where the other anesthesiologist did the IV. He was so kind saying, “I know you will have pictures done, so I just want this to look a little nicer for you.” He probably spent 5 minutes wiping blood off my arm.

In the time it took to get my medicine, the doctors flip flopped back and forth between saying, “we can do the spinal,” and, “we need to do general and get him out,” three or four times. It was awful. Every time they would switch the plan, I would just think, “I have to be alone,” or, “thankfully Jamin can be here with me.” It was such an emotional roller coaster.

Actually getting the spinal block was pretty uncomfortable because I had to stay laying down on my left side and try to curve my back while having regular contractions and not moving too much for Pam, who was still holding in Finley’s cord and holding my leg up. I was still shaking, but by this time it wasn’t just from being scared. Shaking is a common side effect of the spinal block (and being in labor).

All this time, Jamin was waiting, thinking Finley had already been born because I’d been taken for an emergency C-section.

It was about an hour and a half from the time we got into the operating room to when they were finally ready to do the C-section. Jamin WAS able to come in. He said they had already started cutting me open when he got in the room. He came over and sat by my head, and I saw Melissa’s camera around his neck. Apparently, everyone knew that it was okay for her to come in the room, except the nurse that went to get Jamin. So Melissa sent her camera, and Jamin took some pictures during the operation. The wonderful anesthesiologist also took the camera at one point and took pictures for us.

He also warned me that while a spinal blocks pain receptors, it can’t block pressure, so I would feel pressure during the surgery. It felt like getting punched in the gut when your abs aren’t flexed over and over until they were all done.

Finley was pretty wedged in in my uterus. The doctors had a difficult time getting him out. We could hear them saying on the other side of the drape: “I have a hold of his butt”, “can you even see his feet”, “what about a shoulder, can you grab his shoulder?” They ended up needing to do an upside down T cut on my uterus just to get him out.

6:27am (Monday, May 20) — Finley is here!

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Once Finley was out we could see what they were doing with him on a video monitor to our right. All we could see on the monitor, though, were several hands on him and his legs, and they weren’t moving and he wasn’t crying. Once again the anesthesiologist was great. He told us that this was normal and that babies born by C-section sometimes just need a little extra oxygen and waking up because they don’t have the trauma of a vaginal birth. After what felt like an eternity, we finally heard a little squeak, and we knew he was going to be okay.

We got to see him for a short time before he was taken to a transition area while the doctors closed me up.

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32 Weeks Tomorrow

31 weeks and 6 days was as far as we got when I was pregnant with Leeland, so tomorrow we enter uncharted territory. I can hardly believe it! In the last few weeks, we made our registry at Target, had a baby shower, painted the baby room, set up the crib, and picked a name – Finley Isaiah.

Time has been moving quickly lately. I imagine it’s because I feel mostly good most of the time. I’ve started having a hard time getting comfortable to sleep at night, I have heart burn pretty frequently, and my back is sore sometimes, but beyond that, I still feel good.

This pregnancy has been so different than what I thought it would be. I imagined I would cry every day thinking of Leeland, but I haven’t. I have had days where I’ve cried missing him, but it’s not every day.

I think one of the hardest things about loss is the forgetting. I was thinking about my sister a while ago, and I realized I don’t remember her voice at all anymore. I can’t remember her laugh or the way she walked. I wish we had the technology back then to take videos on our phones any time. I could have captured those things.

Our time with Leeland was so short. He was only alive in my belly. I thought I would be so sad when I got pregnant again, but carrying his brother has been a gift of remembering for me. Sometimes I close my eyes with my hands on my belly and just go back in time for a moment. I didn’t even realize until Finley started being wiggly that I had forgotten what it felt like when Leeland moved in my body. Finley sits differently and moves differently than Leeland most of the time, but sometimes I get a sweet glimpse of when his big brother was still alive, and I am so thankful for those moments.

We have another appointment in Iowa City this week to see how the placenta is looking. At our last appointment, my doctor wasn’t worried about it implanting too deeply anymore and Finley is looking great, but my placenta was closer to my cervix than he was comfortable with, so he will be checking to see if it has moved out of the way. Worst case scenario would be a C-section in a few weeks if it doesn’t move out of the way, but we are praying that it’s moved, and I’ll be able to deliver naturally at full term.

We’ve getting excited to meet our boy!

 

Ultrasound Day! It’s a…

Yesterday marked 21 weeks already – over halfway! That doesn’t seem possible, but here we are. Jamin can feel the baby move now!

I have been completely blown away by the generosity shown to us by our friends from the early miserable weeks to now. We had our anatomy scan in Iowa City yesterday, and some friends bought us a hotel room 5 min from the hospital for Sunday night, so we wouldn’t have to battle the weather or cancel the appointment. I am so thankful for the people in our lives!

Jamin and I have prayed daily for this baby and that everything would look normal with my placenta and know that many others have also prayed for us. We were both excited to find out the gender, but we also knew this appointment would tell us if there would be complications with delivery if the placenta had implanted too deeply in my uterine wall.

It’s a miracle. The doctor said nothing looks abnormal with the placenta. He isn’t worried about any complications, and even gave us the option to deliver locally! We decided that going to Iowa City would still be best because they are the experts if anything does go awry at delivery. The chances of the placenta implanting improperly increase when there is any abnormal tissue in the uterus, and not even two years ago, my entire uterus was full of scar tissue, and even after the surgery to clear it out, the entire right side was still full, but God is a healer. The placenta is attached on the right/back side of my uterus and found healthy tissue to attach to! Thank you, Jesus!

We got some great pictures of the baby, and it was so cool seeing it move on the ultrasound screen and being able to feel the movement, too. The doctor told us that the baby looks great and totally normal!

Nose and lips

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From the beginning, I thought we were having a girl. Jamin initially thought it was a boy, then switched to a girl.

Thankfully, my sister solved her puzzle to find out the gender last night, so we don’t have to keep it a secret…

We are excited to announce that it’s a boy!

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We still don’t have a name for him, yet, but it is so great getting to say, “him,” and not, “it,” anymore! It’s crazy to wrap my mind around having two sons now. We are so excited!

Jamin is going to get started on his room, and we will make a registry soon – both things we never got to do for his brother.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, and, please, continue to do so in the months to come.

19 Weeks and Weird Dreams

Monday was the 19 week mark for this pregnancy. Only two more weeks until we find out the gender of the baby!

My 20 year old sister asked if we would tell her first. I told her, “probably not,” so she asked if I would make a puzzle or something for her to figure out. Naturally, I went to work seeing if I could find some puzzle safe with a secret code to put a note in, but I decided I didn’t want to spend any money, so I made a cryptex safe out of cardboard and popsicle sticks. It’s pretty sweet. Unfortunately, making the elaborate puzzle for her means we won’t be making a public statement about what we are having until she figures out the code for it.

I’ve dreamt of having the baby twice. I never had vivid dreams like this with Leeland, and I don’t remember most of my dreams when I’m not pregnant, so it’s strange to wake up and remember almost every detail of all my dreams. In this dream, I went into labor and we knew we wouldn’t make it to the hospital in Iowa City, so we stopped at some small town hospital. There was green shag carpet in every room, and I was really concerned about the cleanliness of it. We had a girl and I remember naming her Emie, then I was really upset because I realized I wouldn’t know who people were talking to for the rest of my life because it is so close to my name – and that’s not even a name on our radar. The doctor weighed her and she weighed 4 pounds, and I was mad again because we are skipping the infant car seat and have a convertible one that can hold babies as little as 5 pounds. I couldn’t believe we would have to buy an infant for just a couple weeks of use!

Some of my dreams have been hilarious and fun like the one where my brother found an orphaned kitten. I asked him to let me raise it because I would do a better job than him. When he brought it over, though, it was NOT a kitten. It was a baby gorilla, and I begged him to let me keep it because I’ve wanted to have a baby gorilla since I was little.

Other dreams have been stressful or even scary, but, thankfully, those don’t happen too often.

I think I’ve felt a couple tiny flutters of the baby moving, but they are so infrequent it’s hard to know for sure. I expect they will be happening more and more soon enough because I remember I was about 19 weeks when I first felt Leeland move.

Oh, and we purchased what will be our diaper bag! I’m pretty excited about it; I’ll write more about it later.

15 Weeks Already

The last couple weeks have flown by! The first few weeks after finding out I was pregnant went by very slowly because I felt horrible, but week 14 brought quite a bit of relief from the nausea I was experiencing, and I’m getting some energy back. I’ve had a few bad days here and there, but feel mostly good now!

My next appointment is in a little over a week, then it will only be a month until we go to Iowa City for the 20 week ultrasound, and we will find out the baby’s gender. Some people enjoy the surprise of waiting until the birth, but I am not some people.

I’m excited to know what we are having, so Jamin (yes, Jamin has taken this job on himself) can start working on a nursery. My husband likes to say that he is a pacer and I’m a sprinter. That means I like getting things done fast, so I can cross them off my list even if that means spending 12 hours on a single Saturday to get it done. Jamin likes to take his time – an hour here and there – until the job is done. It could takes weeks or months, so I am excited for him to get started, just in case it takes months.

We will also start working on our registry once we know what we are having.

It’s strange to be thinking about those things because we didn’t get to do either when I was pregnant with Leeland.

In the last week we also discovered that we have a Houdini baby on our hands. I don’t really look pregnant, yet – mostly like I ate too much for lunch – but when I lay down with a full bladder, you can definitely tell there is a baby in there. As soon as my bladder is empty, though, the bump disappears!

The baby will double in size in the next month, so I’m sure I’ll be showing all the time very soon. For now, I’m laying on my stomach every chance I get and enjoying being able to breathe while I lay on my back.

Week 12: The Good, The Bad, and The Better

Pregnancy is already an emotional roller coaster, but, man, the last week has been a lot.

Week 11 began with me still scrambling to find a local doctor who would be willing to do shared care with my doctors in Iowa City. Bonnie at UIHC is an angel. She works in release of information, and I emailed her about 8 times asking her to send my records all over the place, and she did it right away!

As I called every provider in the area, I braced myself for a lot of rejection.

Then the black Friday ads came out. I don’t care about shopping, but I love a good deal. Jamin is all about finding the good deals on black Friday. We aren’t crazy, though. We go out when it’s convenient for us and if the deals are still there, great! As I scanned the ads, I saw something.

I don’t always think about the life growing in me (maybe that’s terrible, but it’s true). Most of the time, I’m just trying not to throw up. But sometimes I think about this baby and what life will look like and all the things we will need. I enjoy researching products. I don’t like to spend my money, so if I have to, I want to make sure I am getting a great product. One day, that led me to researching car seats. I had decided what the best one was, but it was over $300!

So when I saw it on sale for 50% off at Target for black Friday, I knew I wanted to get it.

But then the enemy came whispering in my ear like he does so often. You might not know, but he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He’s not a nice guy. He’s a real butt hole, and when I first saw that car seat, he tried to make me ignore it.

“How do you even know you’ll need that?”

“You are at high risk for miscarriage, and you’re not out of the clear yet.”

“Don’t tell Jamin. He’ll want to get it, too. You know the terrible ways that pregnancy can end. You really want to be stuck with a car seat if it comes to that?”

“Isn’t it a little too soon to be making plans?”

What I’ve learned, though, is the best way to shut him up is to do exactly what he says not to, so I told Jamin, and he said we should try to get it, and the enemy lost that battle.

But as we made our game plan for getting the doorbuster car seat, those whispers came back. There were a couple times that I thought about saying, “let’s just forget about it.”

It was out of stock at the first store we checked. Then it was out of stock at the second one, even though their inventory showed they had two left. In my desperation to get it half off, I even checked the stores in Vegas (my brother couldn’t believe I was going to send him on a car seat run – and I would have if they hadn’t been out of stock EVERYWHERE). I checked in Arkansas and Tennessee where my brother and my dad live, and it was out of stock there, too.

We came up empty handed by the time Saturday came along (aside from the TV we bought that barely fit in our car, but that’s a story for another time). In one final attempt to snag the doorbuster deal, I checked where in the entire country this was in stock, and it showed Sioux City, Iowa, which just so happens to be where my best friend since childhood lives! She got there just as they were unpacking a new shipment in the baby aisle, and sent me a picture to see if it was the one I wanted. IT WAS!!!!! We got the freaking car seat!

Later that night I got a message from Melissa, the woman who photographed Leeland’s birth, congratulating us on my pregnancy. I had been wanting to get in touch with her because Jamin and I decided after we had Leeland that, if I ever got pregnant again, we wanted her to photograph the birth, and she said she would! I am so excited to have her with us again.

On Sunday, I felt like crap. I was exhausted, had a headache, and felt like I could throw up all day. I took a 3.5 hour nap and still didn’t feel better. It was probably the worst I have felt so far. I was just glad that I didn’t have to work that day.

Then yesterday. Ohhhhh, yesterday.

Yesterday was rough. I felt nauseous all day, and I got my first rejection call from a doctor. I gotta say, I don’t know if there is anything that makes you feel like something is wrong with you more than a doctor saying they don’t want to take on your case.

I have also been eating Greek yogurt for breakfast every day for the last month and a half, but, yesterday, my gag reflexes decided it was too thick for me to eat anymore. I only ate half. And I noticed that this bad taste I’ve had in my mouth for a while was getting worse. Any time there isn’t food in my mouth it tastes horrible. Brushing my teeth doesn’t help. Swishing mouth wash helps just long enough for me to go to sleep at night.

But last night I woke up twice and had to drink some water because my mouth tasted so bad!

That brings us to today.

I have felt physically horrible today. This nausea usually comes and goes throughout the day, but it has been constant today. I tried yogurt again this morning, hoping that yesterday was just a fluke. It was not. And that stupid bad taste is still in my mouth,

BUT…

I got TWO calls today from TWO local doctors saying that they would see me! One could fit me in as early as tomorrow! Thank you, Jesus!

I was really hoping that week 12 would bring a little relief from symptoms, but instead it brought me a doctor, so I guess I’ll take that for now.