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~Rae~ May 20th, 2011 03:33 PM

Birth Story
May 16, 2011, I woke up just after 12 am with slight pains in my side and lower stomach. Baby was moving and seemed very unsettled. I sleepily rubbed my stomach, and tried to go back to sleep. I dozed off for a few minutes, then was awaken by the same pains in my side and lower stomach. I waited for it to pass, then tried to go back to sleep. The pains didn’t subside. It was then that I noticed that the pains were coming in a pattern. I turned on my cell phone and began to time the pains, looking for a clear pattern. Five minutes apart. This was much more serious than pain; these were contractions. I had been there before, and the night seemed eerily similar to the day I gave birth to Layla. Tim was at work, I woke up in pain, and something inside of me was telling me it was show time.
I jumped out of bed, and received confirmation that I was indeed in labor. I had diarrhea and a little bit of spotting. Oh no, I thought, not again. I ran a quick bath and called Tim to come home to sit with Layla while I went to labor and delivery. I began to pray and plead to the universe that this was false labor and that our baby boy would not be born so soon. I pleaded for another month, week, or even just one more day for my son to stay with me. I drove to the hospital repeating the same prayer over and over, only pausing to call Dr. Westerholm to tell her I was on my way to labor and delivery.
The drive to the hospital was agonizing for me. I didn’t have the pain of a typical woman in labor. Instead of physical pain, I felt pain in my heart for what was almost certain to come. I could feel our son kicking so low, almost as if he were already in the birth canal. I willed my body to hold on to him.

I finally arrived at the emergency room, and was whisked away to labor and delivery by an E.R. nurse. She wished me luck and left me with the labor and delivery nurses in the prenatal observation room. Minute by minute, my anxiety built. The nurses could not find baby’s heartbeat with the fetal monitor or Doppler. I could feel him move, so I knew he was fine, but I also knew not being able to find his heartbeat was not a good sign. The nurses tried to reassure me that this sometimes happens with babies that gestational age. I wanted to point out that I had had no problem finding his heartbeat since I was 9 weeks pregnant, but I couldn’t speak.

Dr. Westerholm returned my call while I was lying on the observation table and told me that since I had had intercourse recently, all of the drama was probably due to false contractions. I wanted to believe that, but my soul was telling me otherwise. She gave authorization for the nurses to check my cervix, and I was immediately given the news that I would be delivering shortly. The nurse removed her gloved hand from my body and it was covered in blood. She told me that I was dilated to 6-7 centimeters, she felt a bulging bag of water, and she had felt him kick her hand. My heart dropped. The nurse reclined the table all the way back and told me I was to remain flat and still until the doctor came to deliver me. My heart was heavy as I called and told Tim the news.

The anesthesiologist made it to my bedside first. He explained the process of receiving a spinal for a cesarean section, but the explanation fell on deaf ears. I could barely hear more than my heartbeat at the point, and nothing else mattered. I kept going over the statistics in my head that I have googled so many times before. I began to calculate the likelihood that my baby would survive. All I wanted was for him to live.
Dr. Westerholm arrived, and seeing her face at my bedside spoke volumes about the seriousness of delivering so early. She apologized over and over. She was heartbroken because she was on our side throughout this pregnancy. She wanted this baby to be term just as much as we did. I want you to understand that this time may be a little different than last time. Layla Bug did so well, but this baby is five weeks earlier. A baby is viable at 24 weeks, and the risk of mortality decreases each week then drops way off around 28 weeks, which is about where we are today. I heard the unspoken words clearly.

She did an ultrasound to verify presentation and told me that I would be having a cesarean. Baby was still transverse, so a vaginal delivery would not be possible. What was more was that I would be having a classic cesarean because of baby’s position. Your uterus will forever be weakened and you will never be able to deliver vaginally in the future.

I was numb as I was prepped for surgery. The anesthesiologist attempted to administer my spinal while I was lying down in an attempt to prevent my bag of waters from rupturing, which could lead to baby falling into the birth canal. He tried twice unsuccessfully. The team sat me up for the spinal, and in this position it was completed in one attempt in less than 15 seconds. I was later told that I was sitting in a pool of blood. I was too numb to notice. I felt the anesthesia take hold of my body as the team helped me to recline flat on my back. I looked into the surgical lights and could see my body reflected in the glass of the light bulbs. It was an out of body experience to see my body lying there but to not be able to feel it.

Surgery began and Tim was escorted to my bedside. We stared into each other’s eyes and did not need to speak. We both saw the shock, hurt, fear, and disappointment of being faced with another preterm delivery. Our fingers laced together as the journey began. The anesthesiologist’s voice was a dark cloud above my head as he explained that the delivery room would probably be silent when baby was born. You may not hear crying. If you do hear crying it will be very brief while baby is intubated. The breathing tube that will be inserted blocks the vocal cords… I floated away to wait for my son.

I felt tugging and pressure.“Delivery!” a nurse announced the arrival of Xavier Grant. I heard a gurgle and cries filled the room. All three doctors and nurses expressed surprise that he was breathing and crying! Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I thanked God for that small miracle. I tried to catch a glimpse of the piece of my soul that would forever live outside of my body, but the team of NICU nurses blocked my view. Apgar numbers were announced at 8 and 9.

I waited patiently to see my son. The NICU team finally brought him to see me, and I was completely humbled at the sight of him. I stared at his little face and listened to him cry. He was so small and fragile, yet his presence was so powerful. He no longer belonged to just me; I would have to share him with the perils of the world and all things unknown. Life had just begun for Xavier, and as he was taken to the NICU, I made the promise that many in my position have made before me: I would dedicate my life to making his better.

Mama.Angie May 20th, 2011 03:52 PM

Re: Birth Story
:bluecheer: Hooray! I've bee wondering when this was coming! Off to read...

ETA: Read and :wub: I'm still so happy you and he are doing so well! I am glad I get to be around here in JM land to see him grown and thrive. :)

mafiamom May 20th, 2011 03:55 PM

Re: Birth Story
beautifully written rae ~sniffle~

Thanking God once again you and Xavier are doing well.

Brittanie May 20th, 2011 04:03 PM

Re: Birth Story
an amazing story. I still can't believe he didn't have to be intubated. Wow.

I agree with the other ladies, I'm glad the both of you are doing so well!

Just_Marie May 20th, 2011 04:17 PM

Re: Birth Story
awww, sweet baby boy--my twins were 28 weekers, praying for a nice feeder/grower for you!

KMQ May 20th, 2011 04:18 PM

Re: Birth Story
Beautiful, Rae! I'm so in awe of you and your strong baby boy :)

JustOneMoreBean May 20th, 2011 04:46 PM

Re: Birth Story
So incredible... Thank you for sharing! I'm sure it wasn't easy to write but your words are beautiful.

Rachel May 20th, 2011 04:55 PM

Re: Birth Story
Love it Rae! Thanks for sharing with us!

inlove08 May 20th, 2011 05:10 PM

Re: Birth Story
Absolutely beautiful story. :)

w292737 May 20th, 2011 05:56 PM

Re: Birth Story

tobi4 May 20th, 2011 06:01 PM

Re: Birth Story
Well done, Rae, I can only imagine the tears and love that went into writing Xavier's birth story. It is beautiful, and each moment is captured with emotion.
Absolutely beautiful.

momopotamus May 20th, 2011 06:06 PM

Re: Birth Story
beautiful birth story Rae, I really did tear up. So glad that Xavier is doing well.

Kimber77 May 20th, 2011 06:52 PM

Re: Birth Story
Tears welling up in my eyes. Xavier's birth story is beatifully written and you both will continue to be in my prayers.

Dee Darling 3 May 20th, 2011 09:04 PM

Re: Birth Story
Beautifully written. I can imagine the tears shed as you wrote this, much as I wipe mine away now. Thank you for sharing.

mico May 21st, 2011 07:48 AM

Re: Birth Story
Oh Rae, that was beautiful. And I am so happy for all 4 of you, I pray that he keeps getting stronger every day!

Crystal_Lynn May 21st, 2011 11:11 PM

Re: Birth Story
I'm lurking, however I wanted to post and say that your son and family are in my thoughts. Xavier seems to be a strong BIG boy. :P I just read nearly your entire blog and WOW the birth of your daughter was almost identical to that of my son's. Good luck momma!

RASCAL821 May 22nd, 2011 07:37 AM

Re: Birth Story
Such a wonderfully written birth story!! thanks for sharing!!! We all continue to think of you and Xavier!!! Keep on updating!!!:)

babi_lovin11 May 22nd, 2011 07:55 AM

Re: Birth Story
TFS! :inlove:

Nami May 22nd, 2011 08:58 AM

Re: Birth Story
TFS! Beautiful birth story! :wub:

CherZ May 24th, 2011 03:16 PM

Re: Birth Story
Thanks for sharing...I had tears when reading your story, beautifully written and am SOO glad that both you and Xavier are doing well.

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