Monday, December 6, 2010

The Birth Story of Micaiah Gabriel

Hey Everyone, Will Stern here.
I'm here to tell the birth story from my perspective, because we both agree that I will be much more aware of the details. Here we go.

5am, Saturday, Dec 4th (the day before the due date).
I had been lying awake for about 10 minutes, which never happens at 5am for me. I suddenly noticed Laura's breathing change. I asked if she was awake and ok, she replied "My water broke."
A strong contraction had broken her water, and immediately, 60sec contractions started 3 minutes apart. We called it in to our midwife and began labor at home.

With 2.5 straight hours of contractions only 2-3 minutes apart, we knew that that 45 minute drive was going to be longer the more we waited. We called in again and were told it was good to come in to the hospital if we wanted. We packed up and headed in. The trip in went well - there's no traffic on a Saturday, so the only thing we had to deal with was Atlanta drivers not moving aside for a speeding suv with hazard lights on. Laura was far from happy, but was doing great, and the Mercedes and I were enjoying driving 90, turning the 45 minute drive into 30.

We check in. Laura's frequent and strong contractions hit her 4 times between car and the 7th floor. We get a room quickly and she finds that she's 5cm already. Things are moving along nicely! She labors for a few hours, while they take the mandatory 20min fetal monitoring strip. Everything looks good, so she's cleared to hop in the shower. We get her on a birthing ball in the shower, and ahhhhhh...this is more like it. Still VERY tough, but much more manageable. An hour later, we find out the bad news that there are so many births happening today that there is no way we will be able to have the water birth tub we had so looked forward to. Apparently, they forgot to mention that if the staff is over a 1 to 1 ratio, they don't allow water births. Our midwife is angry, and Laura is...well...contracting harder than ever.

Laura has done amazing. However, without a single one of those rumored 8 minute breaks you get in-between contractions, labor has taken a huge toll on her. She looked at me and said "babe, this time I really can't do it anymore. Will you hate me if I get an epidural?" "I absolutely trust anything YOU choose" I said without hesitation. Laura (and I) had really wanted to go without induction or epidural for a multitude of reasons, but I could see that things really were tough, and there's no way I, the husband just sitting on the chair, was going to say no. She had made it past at least 2 hours of "I can't do this anymore" and this time, she meant it. The nurse drew her blood to get the prelim epidural tests going. We had 45 minutes until the epidural would be here.

Much to Laura's dismay, still no epidural, and no breaks longer than 2 minutes. Our midwife, Margaret has finished her other 2 births and is now in our room. She checked Laura and said. "You don't want an're 8cm. You'll be pushing any minute!" And any minute it was. 5 minutes later, at 2:00, the pushing began, and what followed will stick with me my whole life.

Laura's pushing lasted 3 straight hours. It was over 120 pushes. Micaiah was a persistent posterior, meaning he started by facing up instead of down and STAYED facing up instead of down. This is the #1 cause of being taking in for a c-section, because the babies head turned this way will often be too large to make it out...especially for a first baby. After 1 hour, we began seeing Micaiah's hair. He moved as slow as molasses for push after push after push.

What I saw in my wife for these three hours went so incredibly far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed she had in her. She couldn't stop, she didn't stop, and she just decided she wouldn't stop, for the longest 3 hours of my life, and certainly of hers as well. With the baby stuck for over an hour, our amazing midwife, Margaret, pulled out every trick in the book to keep him moving. It took an hour of me pushing one knee almost up to her shoulder, with the nurse pushing the other. As he got further, it took even more, so she tied knots in either end of a sheet, and had Laura and I play tug of war while she and the nurse both pushed her knees. It was a miniature eternity, but Laura somehow was able to push only harder as time went on.

In the third hour, her pushes got so strong that her face swelled up twice the size of normal, until she literally looked 200lbs heaver like a contestant just arriving at the biggest loser ranch. To be quite honest, I almost lost it during that hour. I got to the point where all I could say was "God have mercy." In the moment of that prayer, he made more progress than the last 30 minutes combined.

FINALLY, he made it around the dreaded curve and was out in 2 pushes. He was healthy as could be, perfect as could be, and poor Laura was too tired to even notice ANYTHING but the fact that it was over. What will almost certainly go down as the most difficult day of her life was now complete.

Our boy was 8lbs, 2oz., 21.5" long. That 80th percentile head of his clocked in at 14.5in when it finally made it out. Margaret saved us from almost certain c-section.

In the aftermath, Laura walked out the next day feeling tired and sore, but great. Her swelling was mostly gone already, and is totally gone as I write this. Biggest Loser Laura was left behind in the hospital. Micaiah is definitely the most peaceful baby either Laura or I have seen. The moment he gets that one thing he was crying about, he goes back to his peaceful self within seconds.

God is more amazing than any of us will ever deserve.
This is the story of Micaiah's birth...if any men ask, you can summarize in man-eze by saying. "10 fingers, 10 toes, he came out with a Mohawk."

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