Man I was fat.
So here it is...not that anyone cares, but my memory, only 8 months later, is already getting fuzzy.
Let's start a few days prior to the actual birth day. Sunday night, February 4, was the night that the Superbowl was on. Playing the pregnancy card, (I miss that card!) I was allowed to stay at home and rest while Kris joined the Leathermans at Bethany's parent's house to watch the game. I was somewhat comfortably sprawled out on the couch that evening when the phone rang. Kris was calling to tell me that everyone at the Shaws was SHOCKED that I did not have my bag packed yet, 6 weeks away from my due date. Being the procrastinator that I am, I assumed I would get around to it at some point. He gently reminded me that I really needed to get around to that NOW. I said I would do it soon. Then we hung up and I went back to watching HGTV.
The next night we had our birthing class. We were going to the classes given by First Birth Ministries. I was having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions but otherwise felt fine. We decided that night that we really needed to type out a birth plan--basically a list for the doctor's reference of what we wanted and didn't want when I was laboring and delivering.
Then the next day, Tuesday, I had my 34 week check-up. Dr. Schroeder, who I LOVE, told me everything looked great and that she would start seeing me every week after my next appointment, which would be in 2 more weeks. We gave her our birth plan and made it clear that we understood that things can happen unexpectedly and this is just a guideline of what we would like, assuming there were no emergencies. She said everything that we requested sounded good and she would work with us to make sure we had the experience that we wanted. We were opting for as natural and unmedicated delivery as possible. We were not opposed to medical interventions, but we wanted to make sure we used them wisely, not because I was scared or impatient. Our desire was to allow my body to do what God designed it to do with any unnecessary interferences, but still remain open to the blessing that modern-day medicine can be if the unexpected happens, which of course it did.
After my appointment, we went to Target. Kris suggested that I get some things that I might need to have in my bag to take to the hospital, but I was exhausted and thinking about a mundane detail like that just did not appeal to me. So once again, I put it off. I wasn't even sure what to get. I told him I would think about what I needed and go to the store later that week.
The next day was Wednesday, February 7, now known as Asher's birthday. It started as usual--with me whining that I didn't want to go to school. I think kids would be amazed that the teachers probably complain about having to go to school more than students do. Kris reminded me that Spring Break was only a few weeks away and then I could sleep in and rest up before Asher arrived. I threw on some clothes because I had long passed the point of trying to look cute and left for school. I got there at 7:30 and went back to room to figure out what the heck to teach that day. I didn't feel any different but when I stood up to go out to the hall to tell my kids to come in the room, I felt a little..ummm...trickle shall we say? I was horrified because I thought incontinence had set in. I thought that didn't happen until after you had a baby! As I took steps, more started coming. Great! I'm wetting my pants right in front of a bunch of second graders. I wasn't gushing, but I felt a constant flow of something! I walked over to another teacher's room and asked her what it felt like when your water broke, but not believing mine really had. I was holding a folder in front of me and when I took it away, my pants were totally soaked. One teacher graciously offered her long sweater so I could cover up and another teacher walked me down to the nurse's office.
The nurse told me I needed to call my doctor. I didn't think it was necessary. I thought the nurse, who wasn't big on patience anyway, would just tell me I was just wetting my pants and to not call for stupid things like that anymore (ok--maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. I just thought there was no way, at 34 weeks, my water could break.) I called the office and sat on a towel on the nurse's floor, waiting to get through to the nurse. Meanwhile, my pants are drenched. I get through and she tells me I need to come in right away. What!! I couldn't believe it. So I called Kris who, providentially, was at home still because Wednesday was his day to work from home when he was still working for his dad. I told him what was going on and that we needed to go to the doctors and that he needed to bring me pants.
We headed up to the doctors and I called my mom just to give her a heads up. I told her they would probably send me home, but I would keep her updated. We got to the office and we were sitting in the waiting room. I felt that wet pants were a good reason to cut in line, so I made Kris go knock on the door and let them know that I needed to come in NOW. We went back and Dr. Schroeder said, "Didn't think I'd being seeing you so soon!" That made 2 of us. She examined me and confirmed that my water had broken and that she check me in to the hospital and see if labor would start naturally. "Unless," she paused, "he is breech. I'm not sure that that is a head that I felt." So off to have an ultrasound.
Sure enough--butt down, head up. The child has one job. Turn. Too much to ask, I guess. So then she asks, "What are you guys doing at lunch? How 'bout a c-section?" WHAT??? I told her that she could take that birth plan I gave her and toss it. All bets were off at this point. I just wanted him here safely. I couldn't believe that Asher was going to be here in just a few hours. She sent us over to the hospital which was right across the street. We called our families and told them. I called the school and said thanks for the memories but I am done there. (I didn't really say that, but I thought it.)
With no bag, because I never packed one, we entered the hospital. Also keep in mind, that at this point, I did not have ANYTHING ready at home and had not had any showers yet except the one at school where I, thankfully received a car seat, but not much else. We got put in a room and an old friend from a church I used to attend was my nurse. It was so nice to have someone I already knew be there for us. I got all hooked up to an IV and a monitor. Then the neonatalogist came in to consult with us. He told us that there was a very good chance that his lungs were under-developed and that he would definitely need to be in the NICU for a while. He wouldn't know until Asher was out if it would be Level II, which was for moderate problems, of Level III, which was for more severe problems. We were told to expect a minimum of 2 weeks in the NICU, which would put him at 36 weeks gestation. Everything was so surreal at this point, I just basically stopped thinking and just went into "just get through this" mode.
I checked into the hospital around 10 I think and at around 1:30 I was rolled into the OR. Of course I hadn't eaten breakfast yet so I was starving! I remember thinking that it looked like a set for a TV show. My sweet friend, Osia the Nurse, was with me. I got an epidural (which took a while because he had trouble finding which spot in my spine the needle should stay--that was fun!)
I was laid out on the table, petrified that the epidural wouldn't work and I would feel them cut me. Dr. Schroeder was there by then and I asked her if she was sure I was numb. She told me she had been stabbing me with needles that whole time. Guess it was working just fine. Kris wasn't with me yet, but they got started. Asher's feet were out by the time they brought him in. He stood by me and watched the whole thing. Dr. Schroeder remarked that he would be able to dictate her notes for her.
They had a little trouble getting him out. The cord was wrapped around his neck and Kris said they had to tug pretty hard to get him. He was finally all the way out at 2:05 pm and they rushed him off. I knew I wouldn't get to hear him cry because, thankfully, the neonatalogist had prepared me. They rolled him back in and let me touch his arm through the isolette and then wheeled him away. They sewed me up and sent me to recovery. I remember laying there trying to process what just happened. That's hard to do on demerol. Everything seemed so unreal--like it wasn't really happening. Eventually, I was sent to a room. After a c-section, you have to remain horizontal for 8 hours. I couldn't go to Asher and he couldn't come to me so i had to wait until after the 8 hours to go see him. I was allowed to get up around 10 but the NICU was closed for shift change then so I had to wait until almost midnight to go up there. In the meantime, friends and family came up to the hospital. It was good having a lot of people there because it kept my mind from worrying too much. I was really grateful to see everyone.