I’ve never finished the post titled Reeve’s Birth Story. In fact, it’s been sitting as a draft on my Dashboard since about a month after he was born when I started to write it. I just couldn’t get through it. I tried, I really did, but the truth is that I was so drugged up I barely remember much of it other than fear, panic, hysteria, hallucinations and thinking I had died. It’s not really something I remember fondly. The next day I woke up and was happy to see that I had given birth.
Hence the NUMBER ONE reason I pushed and challenged my body so hard to have a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
I love the story of Reeve’s birth, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that between reconciling with the fact that I never felt like I had “given birth” because he was cut out of me and that I couldn’t piece together a timeline, it never got finished.
With that being said, Lowe’s birth story I took EVERY opportunity to plug times and events into my iPhone as they happened. It was REALLY annoying to Kirk who kept telling me, “you shouldn’t be on your phone,” but I was all like, “Why not….it’s not like anyone is in a hurry here….we’ve got 36 hours (as it turned out).
So here goes….this is a long post with lots of pictures. Definitely not for everyone, but I’m writing this down for his sake and have *hopes* to go back to Reeve’s story and finish it now that I have closure on it by having the birth I wanted for Lowe.
On my due date, June 3, I had a doctor’s appointment at 10 a.m. I went in hoping that I was dilated past the 1-2 I had been the week prior. No such luck. We started talking about an Induction Date (June 10) and I cried and cried b/c I really didn’t want Pitocin or an experience similar to Reeve’s. I had pushed and worked my body so hard for 9 months at the gym to prepare for a VAGINAL birth and, in my mind, Induction equalled Emergency C Section.
It was decided we would strip my membranes (holy OUCH) and then schedule an appointment for the following Monday to do a BioPhysical Test where they measure baby and fluids and overall health.
I left thinking, “maybe it will happen today,” but went home and check Reeve’s book to see that it took another 50+ hours after my membranes were stripped with him for my water to break on it’s own. Boooooo
I woke up the next morning feeling….something? Maybe? I wasn’t sure if I felt crampy or contractions or if it was just all Wishful Thinking. I promised Kirk I wouldn’t go to the gym (I really didn’t’ feel like it anyway) and that I’d call him at work if anything happened. I had to convince him it was okay to go into the office. At about 8 a.m. I was suddenly so tired I had to take a nap! A nap an hour after I’d woken up. After that, Reeve and I decided it was a hot, summer day, and that we would go to the pool and float/sun and I actually told Kirk, “Well, I’m not going to sit around and wait for something to happen,” when in fact, that’s exactly what I should’ve been doing. Here is my last picture of my big belly. I’m so glad I thought to take a picture on that day.
After about 2 hours at the pool, we came home for our 2 hour nap. And because I like to hear “I told you so,” we decided to go to TJ Maxx so I could look at workout clothing. We had worked our way to the back of the store, I had a cute sports bra in hand and….GUSH…..water EVERYWHERE! I had a moment where I went, “What’s that?” and then sheer panic set in. Not because I thought Lowe was going to come at that moment, but because MY WATER BROKE IN THE TJ MAXX!!!
Did you know that only about 10% of women have their water break naturally? Although I had had my membranes stripped the day before, my water broke both times after doing so and I’ve come to learn that not many of my friends have had the gushing of water I had both times.
I looked around, saw an older lady who looked nice and said to her, “Will you help me? My water just broke” with a quiver in my voice that not even I recognized. She told me to go to the bathroom and I had the common sense to grab a pair of shorts off of a rack. With a puddle of water on the floor and Reeve crying b/c he wanted a Batman toy, I changed out of my shorts and into those. I ripped off the tags and handed them to that nice lady and told her I would hand her my credit card. She said, “oh honey, I will pay for them.” At that moment, MORE water gushed out…I should have just sat down on the toilet, but in reality, water did not stop gushing for about 12 hours. TWELVE HOURS….
More and more women wondered into the bathroom to use it or to gawk and the manager came in to see what was going on. She brought some mini pads with her and I asked her if I could just have a towel to wrap around me so I could work my way to the front of the store. Someone carried Reeve out to my car for me as I bawled hysterically. TJ MAXX told me I didn’t have to pay for the shorts 🙂
As we drove off, a small group of 2 or 3 women waved us Goodbye and shouted Good Lucks at us…I was ear-to-ear smiling.
Once in the car, I called Kirk who had let me know just about 15 minutes before that he was leaving work right then. I said “meet me at the hospital” and sat in a puddle of water with Reeve still crying for his Batman toy and asking me, “Mommy, where’s your water? Why did it break? I wanted a drink.” Ha!
I called my parents who were driving out from Kansas at that moment and told them to pick up the pace, they were only about 3.5 hours out! Great timing! I drove the 10 minutes to the hospital and as I pulled into the Emergency Valet I saw Kirk walking up. I rolled the passenger window down and told the valet my water broke. He brought me a wheelchair and when I stood up MORE water gushed out.
I was wheeled into Admittance and could not stop beaming and smiling. Kirk, on the other hand, had a look of sheet panic on his face. He thought that Lowe would be here any second and was thinking about how we would do it with Reeve in the room with us. This is a picture of them following me down the hall to our room at 3:15 pm.
Once in our room, we tried to keep Reeve entertained and the panic on Kirk’s face only became more and more obvious. Three nurses tried a total of 5 times to find a vein for my IV, each failing. Anesthesia was called and on his third try was able to settle on an IV in my hand (which I did not want). Blood sprayed everywhere and he said I had “stringy veins.” Six days later and my arms look like a domestic abuse victim with horrible black bruises everywhere.
Once the IV was in, I was able to get up and walk around. Reeve ran up and down the halls looking for Don Linny and, all the while, I was still leaking so much water I couldn’t believe it. I still felt great and joked with a very nervous Kirk that I could do jumping jacks and started to prove it to him before he shot me a “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT” look and I stopped.
My parents finally arrived at 6:30 and were able to take Reeve back to our home with them. Now, I will tell you, that above almost anything else in this labor, knowing that Reeve was with my parents being spoiled and not at a friends house gave me the most comfort.
Our last Family of 3 picture
Wearing my Contraction Bands and pretending he was, what else, trapped.
I was a nervous wreck in the weeks leading up to my labor thinking that I’d need to find someone in the middle of the night and no one would answer their phone and Lowe would be born with Reeve in the room. Knowing Don Linny & PPJ had Reeve with them allowed me to not worry about my baby in the least.
At the same time, I’m a mess with Reeve gone. Never having delivered vaginally before, I didn’t know what to expect and had irrational fears that I would die pushing. I remember crying as he left the room and saying to Kirk, “what if I die? Who will cut his fingernails? What if I never get to see his face again?” I am sad even thinking about how I was able to let my mind go there.
With Reeve gone, I bounced on a red exercise ball and watched about 14 episodes of Fixer Upper on HGTV.
Nothing was really happening and it seemed that every time they checked my cervix, I was still only dilated to a 1 or 2. I had been at a 1 or 2 for WEEKS!!!! Up all night and nothing happened. NOTHING! Neither of us got much sleep and we kept looking at each other like, “When is something going to happen? This is boring?
We walked more. I took the most amazing Jacuzzi of my life in the Birthing Tub. Nothing was happening. By 1 a.m. I was still only dilated to a 2 and so we slept on and off when we could. Nurses came in every hour to check my contractions/cervix and so I slept in 40 minute stretches. At times, I’d look over and see Kirk nervously waiting to hear what the nurses say and others he was snoring away.
We walked more. Kirk slept more on that tiny little couch/bed.
NOTHING HAPPENED….I was having contractions but not really feeling anything.
Finally, at around 5:15 on the 5th of June, the nurses/doctors began talking to me about Pitocin which I had adamantly requested not to use, but I was tired. Tired of NOTHING. We started with the slowest drip possible…having had my water break nearly 15 hours ago, I don’t really think I was in any condition to argue that things just weren’t happening on their own and immediately upon the drip I began to get horrible reflux. I was given a Kuerig of some acid drink that I shot down and then immediately threw up.
Around 11 am, I began to get REALLY tired as they increased the Pitocin drip. Contractions began. I was excited that I was FINALLY able to have a contraction I could feel. Having not felt a single one with Reeve, I was worried that I wouldn’t know one when it hit and at first they were nothing more than a Braxton Hicks contraction with some cramping.
At one point, Kirk looked at me and said, “Jessie, you look really tired…..”
Very quickly, they picked up and I tried to be a HERO.
I had been told that epidurals delayed labor and was planning to wait as long as possible until I couldn’t handle them anymore and then allow myself about 40 minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive. I would say that my pain quickly went from a 3/4 to a TEN!
I was cussing and crying. Kirk was crying. I was writhing. HOLY SHIT! I was clinging to the bed rail breathing when I could and moaning, just like you see on TV. I thought “Okay, I am not going to make it. This is where I die.” Little did I know how much worse the pain could be.
The anesthesiologist came in about an hour after I asked for him and was quickly feeling pretty good after getting it in place. He was very nice and the epidural didn’t hurt at all, but I was in the middle of some really horrible contractions and had to have the nurse lift my legs for me to cross up on the bed b/c I couldn’t move. I was hugging her and Kirk was freaking out in a ball in the corner.
He’s kind of a wuss!
My legs got numb quickly and I was relaxed to the point that I just fell asleep and got a little crazy acting. Epidurals are the BEST thing in my whole world! I actually said to Kirk, “women should quit having Botox parties and start having Epidural parties……”
The doctor came in to check me and I was now dilated to a 5 and had what is called my Bloody Show. Isn’t that the grossest “medical” term ever. Kirk continued to watch baseball as I drifted in and out of consciousness. Still, the nurses checked me hourly and by 7:45 pm I was dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced. GOOD LORD, Finally something was happening.
At 6:00 pm I started shaking pretty badly, convulsions really, and found out later that my temperature had spiked to 101. My teeth were chattering and Kirk looked on with panic and fear on his face. At one point, I said to him, “You need to change your attitude. If you can’t, I’m going to find someone else to do this with me!”
Um…..about that. I was beginning to get illogical and, poor Kirk, he was just worried and hated seeing me in pain. I just, look, I’m the type of person that does better with encouragement and motivation, I didn’t need his negative energy in a situation I was already not looking forward to.
The next few hours remain a bit of a blur to me as I napped as much as I could. I do know that 5 of us women were laboring at the SAME TIME and there was only one doctor!
At 11 pm on June 5th, I remember lying in bed thinking, “well, he’s not coming today…his birthday will be 6/6/15” and asking myself how on Earth it was possible that we were STILL not holding you.
They came in around 11;45 pm and I was dilated to a 10. The doctor said, “Jessie, are you ready to push?”
My answer….”No, I’m going to take a nap” and then immediately fell asleep. Both the doctor and Kirk were shocked (he more annoyed than anything) and she left to go help someone else. I mean….come ON, Jessie.
I began pushing at 12:20 am on June 6.
Here I am BEFORE the pushing began. Note the smile
And here I am about to begin pushing…Note the lack of smile and pure exhaustion on my face.
Now, let me just say this. F You to any mom out there who has ever said to me, “You don’t feel anything but pressure if you get an epidural…it’s really not that bad.” My friends, you are all liars and I’m going to tell anyone who ever asks me that question that it will literally split your body in half, you will wish you were dead and your ass will hurt for weeks to come.
The pain. Good God, the pain. I was unable to lift my legs b/c of the once Glorious epidural that I now was cursing the anesthesiologist who came in at the last minute and “backed me off a little so I could push.” With the nurse holding one leg up and Kirk holding the other, I became a Pushing Machine. I’m sure they tell everyone, “you are a great pusher” but I was gonna push hard and get this kid out of me in 20 minutes….until about 15 minutes in and my body gave out. I couldn’t lift my head to curl up and I couldn’t breathe and the doctor had her finger in my butt. Kirk was counting 1….2….3 and I said, “Count Fuc*king Faster” and I peed in the doctor’s face (she didn’t know someone had removed my catheter).
I was moaning and writhing and cussing and loopy and a straight out Bitch….but somehow I managed to push the head out and then I was done. The FOURTEEN inch head….
At 1:40 am on Thursday, June 6, 2015 my sweet Lowe Chapel Lindan Mooneyham came into this world and was placed on my chest.
Quietly he came into this world. Without a breathe. Without a scream. Purple.
As Dr. Snyder painfully massaged my placenta out of me, I watched as a team of nurses bagged my 9 pounder and gave him a 3/10 APGAR score and I prayed with all my might to hear a scream.
I began screaming, “why isn’t he breathing?”
After what felt like 5 minutes, but was actually 2-3, he gave a little cry and pinked up and was handed back to me. Thick mucous and meconium were sucked out his throat, the NICU nurse bagged him and I was freaking out! They reassure me over and over that “he looks great” but I wanted to hear a scream! And let me tell you, I will never forget that little scream! I kept thinking back to our 20 Week Ultrasound when they were concerned that he had Cystic Fibrosis. After genetic testing revealed that he did not, my Mantra became JUST BREATHE. I even bought a piece of art for his nursery that said just that. As I lay on that table with the doctor stitching me up, I repeated those 2 words over and over and over.
JUST BREATHE….just breathe…
After a few minutes, they placed him on my chest where he latched right on.
We were wheeled into a new room and I honestly think I was up and walking within the hour.
It was truly an exhausting, long and amazing experience. I’m so proud of my commitment to have a VBAC and thankful for the nurses and staff who guided me through this 36 hour birth.
As I finish typing this exactly 7 days after Lowe was born, my body is nearly 95% recovered. I’m down to just 8 pounds over my birthweight and put on a bikini today. My boy is beautiful, healthy and the joy in our home right now. Reeve is the BEST big brother ever. Patient and loving, always concerned about what Lowe is doing. He’s never once been jealous and is helpful to me as much as he can.
And guess what…I’d like 2 more babies now, please. 🙂
Below are pictures taken after he was given a 10 on his second APGAR test.
Pretty perfect right from the beginning if you ask me.