Keaton’s Birth Story

The weekend of September 6-7, I just felt awful.  Sure, I was 39 weeks pregnant and that’s to be expected, but I had several signs that labor was starting, including sporadic contractions and was just READY! I wanted the weekend to rest so I left work early that Friday and sweet coworkers prayed over me and Keaton as we all thought he’d be coming soon.

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Me at 39 weeks

I had an appointment on Tuesday the 10th, but after getting to work on Monday with nothing happening, I just couldn’t take it anymore and moved my appointment up a day so I could talk with my doc right then about how I was feeling.  When, at my mid-morning appointment, he told me “everything looks normal,” I started crying.  Sobbing actually.  He asked me what was wrong and I told him I just felt miserable and really wanted this all to be over.  I also said Keaton wasn’t moving as much which worried me and that I was having contractions.  Likely out of sympathy for me, he decided to do an ultrasound and monitor the baby for at least 15 minutes.  It’s a good thing I did the crying thing, because out of that monitoring, Dr. Brannon wasn’t happy with Keaton’s heart rate or decreased movement.  He’d also been concerned about my petite size and how big Keaton was getting, which was confirmed on the ultrasound.  So for those reasons, he told me to go straight to the hospital for an induction, so he could monitor my entire labor in case one of those things caused a problem.  Oh my goodness.  It’s go time!

I first called Aaron, who was just starting a training at work, where he and his coworkers had joked that it would be just Aaron’s luck that I’d go into labor at the beginning of this training and he’d miss it all. Yep. The instructor got to “File, Open” and then he got the call from me.  I sent him home to grab our bags and meet me at the hospital.  I then called my parents, who headed on to Cary from Clinton and Aaron called his family.  Everyone was so excited!

I got to the hospital, checked in and was put into a room.  My sweet nurse, Jenny, got me all set up and then it was time for the IV to get everything started.  Oh. My. Word.  What an experience!  Sweet Jenny couldn’t get it in, so she called another nurse, who called another nurse, who then called Anesthesiology, who then called more from their team, etc. because no one could get the IV in.  The only time in the whole birth experience where I screamed and cried out in pain was when one of these people decided to dig around in my arm for a good vein. Let me tell you – this had to be worse than the labor pains!  I was stuck 10 times, not including the numbing shots they gave me that didn’t really numb anything.  My arms looked black and blue for days.  Finally a young guy was able to get it in, thank goodness.  That meant they could start the Pitocin to induce labor and we could get this show on the road!

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Me, in the L&D room before they started the Pitocin.

I progressed to about 2-3 centimeters fairly painlessly, then my doc came in to break my water.  I had just told a coworker that I REALLY didn’t want my water broken, but at this point, I didn’t have a choice.  And all said and done, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  About as bad as a gynecological exam, and you don’t even feel the tool they use to break the water.  Once he was finished, he asked if I wanted the epidural now.  I knew that most doctors want you to wait until you are further along so I said “What do you recommend?” to which he smartly responded “Do you want to be in pain?” Of course, I said “No!” so he said to go ahead and order the epidural.  Best decision ever!  The contractions definitely got more intense after my water was broken so by the time the epidural got to my room, I was ready for it!  I am grateful though, that at this point, the contractions never got to where I couldn’t handle them, even though they weren’t fun.  Thank goodness for the birthing ball and breathing techniques!

The epidural wasn’t terrible either.  Just a little pinch for the numbing shot and I didn’t feel the rest!  And the relief came fairly quickly. And, they let Aaron stay in the room with me while they put it in, which I was so grateful for.

As I’m sure you’ve heard before, labor after the epidural was amazing!  I progressed to 10 centimeters with minimal pain, watching HGTV, resting and talking with family. It was a near perfect labor experience up to this point and even though I know this part took hours, the progression felt so quick to Aaron and me. Around midnight Monday night is when I got to 10 centimeters and it was time to push. This is also when my epidural started to wear off and my nurse wouldn’t give me more meds because she wanted me to be able to feel the pushing more.  I never really felt any “urge” to push so I’m not sure that limiting my medication did anything to help things along, but that’s what the nurse wanted.

Despite being in pain, I pushed as hard as I could.  And nothing happened.  I asked the nurse more than once what happens when you push and nothing happens.  She wouldn’t really answer me so I figured whatever it was, it wasn’t pleasant so I was determined to push this baby out!  I tried so hard, and pushed right through all that pain even though I wanted to give up.  I don’t know that I’ve worked that hard ever in my life!  After doing this for two hours, the doctor came in to check me and determined that the baby wasn’t moving down and likely wouldn’t fit so we’d need to do a C-Section.  At this point, I was so tired of pushing and the pain had gotten so bad that I had no relief, even between contractions, that I didn’t really care what they did, I just wanted the baby OUT!  I was actually relieved when they said it was C-Section time.  I knew that meant more medication and I needed that!

They quickly wheeled me into an operating room, leaving Aaron in a hallway to wait by himself.  Because of the pain and quickness of what was happening, I believe I was in a state of shock as I got into the OR.  I felt so strange and didn’t even feel like this was happening to me.  The first thing I heard someone say when I was in there was “This IV isn’t working anymore – we’ll have to do another one.” And I lost it!  I’m a very even tempered person but apparently not in the OR!  I started yelling immediately: “NO!” and “You are NOT doing this to me AGAIN! They already stuck me 10 times!!” No one really acknowledged that I was screaming or that I opposed to their doing another IV, they just got to work sticking me again.  Thank goodness, this time it just took them 3 times and it was in!

Then, they threw a curtain up and started getting everything ready.  After a while I started to feel things going on in my stomach and I thought they were already starting. So I started screaming again “Where is my husband?,” “My husband isn’t here!”  Again, no one really answered me or acknowledged that I was yelling. Maybe a lot of people freak out like that and they are numb to it?  What I didn’t know is that they were still prepping me for surgery and hadn’t started cutting yet.

Eventually, they let Aaron in and got to work. It was the strangest feeling – my doctor was pulling and pushing things around in my belly but I felt no pain there. I did feel pain in my shoulders, which got worse and worse and I was shaking. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that at this point, my biggest concern was being alone.  I wasn’t worried about Keaton’s life or my own life, I was just worried that Aaron needed to be next to me.  Perhaps because it took so long to bring him into the OR, but I was very worried that he’d leave my side.

After a while, at around 2:30 Tuesday morning, they pulled Keaton out and we heard him cry immediately so I knew he was healthy.  They didn’t show him to me but Aaron peaked over the curtain to take pictures and then they took him to the side to be cleaned up.  They had Aaron come over to see him and take pictures.  I was glad he was getting to see his son, but I hadn’t wanted to be alone at all so my thought process was “Aaron, come back and don’t leave me!” and “Can I see my baby now?!” but I don’t even know if I said those things out loud.  A nurse was massaging my shoulders, which were still in pain, and told me that my son was “very well endowed.”  Out of all the things to tell me about my son that I couldn’t even see yet! My goodness!  Finally, they brought him over to me and I got to kiss him and we took our first picture as a family of three.

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When I got back to our room, I was able to do skin-to-skin with Keaton, which I had really wanted. He was so sweet and didn’t cry at all.  I think he laid there for hours.  A few family members came in to see him but I was so enamored with him that I didn’t even move or let others hold him or anything.  I just left him laying there on my chest and if you wanted to see him, you had to see him that way.  I loved it too much to move!

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We were finally released from the hospital that Friday around noon. I felt like we were there forever!  We are still trying to figure out this new life with a two-week-old but thanks to my mom, sister and especially Aaron for all their help.  I couldn’t do this whole mommy thing without them!  We are all exhausted, as expected, but Keaton is a cutie for sure and we love him so much!

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Heading home from the hospital!

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Abby meeting Keaton

We were even able to go on a great date night this week and I was able to get dressed up, wear make up and even shaved my legs!  Maybe I can feel like a real person and be a mom, too?

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