*Disclaimer: A long + detailed post ahead about my labor and birth experience! Skip if birth and its' details are not for you! Thank you!
In honor of Jethro's O N E month, I finally wrote up his beautiful and unexpected birth story. My labor and delivery was the complete opposite of what Paul and I had hoped and planned for but served as yet another experience and reminder of who IS in control and that He always knows what is best. There is nothing more amazing than knowing that the Lord had written Jet's story a long time ago. Though unforeseen, Jet's birth was beautiful and the second most incredible, life changing moment of my life (Haven's birth being the first). God's faithfulness and hand was seen through every single detail. Here is the story of the birth of our Jethro Brave -
I had began feeling real symptoms of labor around 38 weeks of my pregnancy (a week after my stitch was removed) - irregular contractions, episodes of intense lower back pain, increasing vaginal pressure, my stomach "dropping", and the loss of my mucus plug which progressed little by little daily. This all started on the night of sister's birthday, November 9th. Jethro's estimated due date was Monday, November 20th and as soon as we found out that he would be a November baby, I prayed from the start that I would go into labor on November 12th and hopefully deliver him on November 13th, my birthday. Sharing birthdays, I thought would be so special - little did I know that Jet wanted his own.
When my 29th birthday passed and my symptoms remained constant yet unchanged, the next feeling I had was that he would go until or even passed his due date.
Paul and I went to what we didn't know would be our final prenatal appointment for this pregnancy at 39 weeks and 2 days on Wednesday, November 15th. The last weight we got on Jet was 5 pounds and 4 ounces, so we asked our doctor how much Jet was currently weighing (we were aware that these weights served as just estimates). Our doctor did his scan, said Jet was looking good and that baby was weighing about 7 pounds and 7 ounces. He also mentioned that Jet was too big for me and my stature (I am 4'11 and 130 pounds pre pregnancy). Paul and I were shocked and a bit nervous - both him and I were only 6 poundish babies. At the end of our appointment, my doctor asked if we preferred Friday (November 17) or Saturday (November 18) night. Initially we were both a bit confused and just stared at each other. It took us a few seconds to realize that our doctor was talking about scheduling an induction. He brought this up as he was afraid that the baby would reach 8 pounds if we waited for labor to progress naturally and even passed his due date. He was concerned about Jet's size and him being able to descend through the birth canal/ my pelvic region safely. Leaving this appointment, I was 2cm dilated and 60% effaced.
Paul and I excited to finally meet our little one both agreed to be induced on Friday night, November 17th at 7:00pm. We let our immediate family know and sent out our birth plan text.
At 2:00pm on November 16th, after using the restroom I thought my water broke! After feeling a warm gush of fluid, I yelled for Paul and he immediately packed our things into our car - he even placed a towel on the passenger seat for me (Thanks for remembering this, babe!). I let my sister and brother in law know and they excitedly rushed over to the hospital to support us. A few hours later, a test was done to check and see if the fluid was positive for amniotic fluid and it turned out negative. Though we were growing anxious to meet Jet - something inside calmed and assured me that my body and baby were working together and knew when the right time would be.
Paul and I spent the 16th and morning of the 17th resting and taking things slow. I recall spending the 17th in bed, napping and praying for peace and guidance during my labor. My symptoms, specifically my contractions had begun to increase at 4pm on the afternoon of the 17th. When my contractions started to become more frequent, closer together and lasting 45 seconds and 1 minute apart, I told Paul that it was time to start heading over to the hospital. We got to the hospital at 5:00pm (two hours before our scheduled induction).
My brother, sister and one of my best friends joined us for support and love an hour after being admitted. My parents and sister in law, also made their way to the hospital as the night went on.
After being triaged, admitted and getting settled into our room - Pitocin was started and induction began at 7pm. My sister and Paul readied the room for my comfort - my Young Living diffuser turned on with Surrender and Lavender diffusing and with the "Peaceful Guitar" playlist on Spotify on in the background. At this time my nurse checked me and I was 5cm dilated, 100% effaced and my bag was bulging! Everything was looking good and my nurse stated that she felt that we were going to have our baby early morning on the 18th! We couldn't believe it was going to be so soon! Paul and I did laps around the Labor & Delivery unit, I danced to some music in our room and bounced on my labor ball to help get things going.
*From the beginning of my pregnancy, I confided in Paul that I wanted and prayed for a natural, vaginal delivery and if possible without the use of pain medication. He supported me, encouraged me and believed that I was more than capable of doing it! We started to read up on ways to get labor naturally going and Paul researched on ways he could coach and best support me during labor and delivery. Though induction was not in our original plan, we went on to use the methods we read and studied about.
However, just like the induction that we didn't expect, my pain started to get real bad. It got so uncomfortable for me that the idea of resorting to get an epidural started to come to mind. I did my best to shake off the idea, prayed and gave myself mental pep talks that I could go on without getting one. But the pain increased and I knew deep down inside that I couldn't go on anymore on my own and needed help. I finally mustered up the strength to share this with Paul out loud. He saw the frustration in my eyes - how I so badly wanted to go on without it and to do things naturally so he was torn. He not once stopped supporting me, encouraging me and cheering me on. He simply explained that because I eventually wanted help through the use of medicine did not mean I was weak. His adoration and affirmation alone during this vulnerable time kept my spirits lifted and strong - T H A N K S, babe!
Around 11pm, I got into bed and said goodbye to my labor ball and around 11:30pm, both my epidural and Foley catheter was in place. At midnight on the 18th, I was 7cm dilated and my bag still bulging. (My nurse was shocked at how my bag was still intact and made a comment that my bag was very strong!)
Around 1am, our nurse placed me on 3 liters of oxygen via Nasal Cannula because she started to notice Jet's heartbeat decrease / decelerate.
At 2am, the nurse checked me again and I was still at 7cm dilation. At this time my bag had also broken and was found to be mixed with meconium (a medical term for baby poop). Jet's head was also at 0 station, meaning that his head was now at the middle of the pelvis, also called "engagement".
The monitor was also showing early decelerations. Early decelerations are caused by fetal head compression during contractions, resulting in slowing of the heart rate.
From 2am to 5am, my nurse repositioned me from one side to the other and even implemented a peanut ball to help get my pelvic area to widen/ open up more to help Jet descend down.
At 5am, the nurse checked me again and found that I was still at 7cm. This started to worry and concern Paul and I but we remained hopeful and calm. The nurse now had placed me on 10 liters of oxygen using a non-rebreather mask to help Jet out.
Half an hour before change of shift at 6:30am, my nurse came into the room and checked me for the last time before the next shift would begin and saw that I was still at 7cm. She phoned my doctor, whom also slept at the hospital overnight waiting to and in hopes to deliver me that night/ early morning. Right at 7:00am, my doctor came in and checked me himself - I was still at 7cm. So from midnight to 7:00am I remained at 7cm dilation even with Pitocin running and it being increased slight every hour (which is usually not supposed to happen). My night nurse then came in explained that a C-Section was going to be performed. She apologized and was so sincere in explaining that she did everything she could during her shift to try and help progress my labor and deliver Jet. She explained to us from a nursing stand point that Jet was indeed doing his best to descend and come down on his own. She went on to say that during her checks, Jet's head felt swollen, was in distress and that that's why his heart rate would drop and why she placed me on oxygen. She said that I probably did not progress more than 7cm (even with the Pit running) due to Jet's size and the size of my pelvic region and that's why other measures such as the use of oxygen were implemented. In other words, there was no way I was going to be able to deliver/ push Jet naturally as I had hoped due to size on both our ends. A C-Section was the best and safest option for us both.
Factors that pushed for a C-Section:
- not dilating past 7cm even with Pit running -- Failure of Labor to Progress
- Jet's "big" size was no match with my pelvis
- decelerations, possible cord compression, Jet's swollen head -- Fetal Distress
- meconium found in my water (meconium is sometimes found when the fetus is in distress)
- use of Oxygen
Around 7:15am, Paul and I called our family members (that waited and slept ALL night in the lobby) into our room to explain the change in birth plans. Minutes after explaination, both my night nurse and day nurse came into the room and began to prep me for my C-Section. Reflecting on this day, we saw God in every detail -- our nurse for delivery was my cousin in law (Paul's cousin)! If you work in the healthcare field and are reading this, I'm sure you're thinking, "Hey, that's not allowed!" however both Paul and I requested her and wanted this. Plus it made the biggest difference during my labor, delivery and first hours in postpartum! I didn't have to worry about support, comfort or the fear of asking "silly questions. Sam, if you're reading this - THANK YOU AGAIN!
My doctor had four other scheduled C-Sections that day and mine was the unexpected one however by the grace of God and his timing - my doctor wanted to perform mine first. We also knew he wanted to do mine first as my last temperature was 99.1 and was slowly rising. It felt like it took about half an hour to forty five minutes to get both Paul and I prepped for my surgery. Sam worked effortlessly and quickly while we were taking photos with our family members at the same time. It also helped the preparation process that I already had an epidural in place. We said our "See you laters!" to our family and added "See you soon with a baby with us this time," as the staff wheeled me over to the operating room.
The staff members in the OR were all wonderful and compassionate - so this helped ease the nerves. My anesthesiologist was also the same doctor that placed my epidural during my cerclage procedure AND she remembered me! So though everything up at this point was not as planned, as I laid on that OR table I remember feeling so much peace and reassurance that everything was going as planned by HIM and that that was all that mattered. From admission to recovery everything was thoughtfully and intentionally put together.
I laid there staring at the exam light and then started to softly close my eyes. I started praying hard, seconds later I saw Haven in a white flowy dress in a field of hundreds of endless flowers. I watched her pick the ones she liked most and then handing them off to me. This went for a few seconds more until a voice called out for her on top of the hill. I looked up and saw all my family members gone before me including her grandmother in heaven (Paul's mom). They waved at me and smiled with assurance that she was well, whole, and happy. She squeezed my legs hard and then ran off towards them. I opened my eyes, my doctor came in, said a few words as he held my hand, Paul with our camera readily in place, Sam called a time out and almost immediately as a river of tears began to well and flow from my eyes, our Jethro Brave was born.
Saturday, November 18th, 2017
0841 am | 7 pounds + 10 ounces | 20 inches long
He came out with a good cry and it got louder and stronger after the nurses suctioned him. I heard his cry and the tears kept on coming. I remember looking up at Paul the whole time even though my vision was blurred due to my crying to see him crying just the same. There are no amount of words to describe what it felt like watching my husband become a father again. He looked so happy and so proud. I fell in love with Paul all over again. All these feelings beautifully overwhelming.
I remember asking Paul so many questions: "What does he look like?", "Who does he look like?", "Does he have lots of hair?", "Can you see him yet?", "What's he doing?"
After a few short minutes, that felt like forever to me, Sam called Paul over. He was so excited. He cut Jet's cord and held him. It took him forever (or at least it felt like it to me) to come back over and tell me all about him. The first thing he said was, "Baby, he's beautiful. And he looks just like your brother." (My brother was such a cute baby). I cried some more. After the nurses, cleaned and washed him up, Paul finally brought Jet over to me and we met for the first time on the outside. I cried a whole ton more.
Paul wasn't joking, he was beautiful. More beautiful than I could have ever dreamt up. I remember everyday dreaming and wondering about what he'd look like since May and now he was physically here; I was finally looking at him from the outside and I couldn't stop staring. Unfortunately, I didn't get to hold him in my arms until we got to the recovery room because both my arms were so numb and I felt so tired due to all the medication. But when I finally did in Recovery, it felt like a dream. The warmth of his body, his scent, his skin on top of mine - the experience was all so incredible. There are honestly no words to describe the moment when you get to meet the person you've been growing, nurturing and protecting for so long - a flood of a million emotions overcome you all at once and your world forever changed.
Though tired, numb and in a daze, Sam placed Jethro in my arms and suddenly everything around me stopped and it was just him and I. I looked at him and thought, "My baby. My second baby. Havey's baby brother. Our miracle." I looked at him and said, "Hi Jet, I'm your mama! I love you, I love you!" I looked over at Paul to my right side and told him that I couldn't believe he was finally here and we kissed.
After what seemed like a long pregnancy due to my bed rest and cerclage (+ other bumps along the way) - our Jethro was finally here!
GOD IS SO GOOD AND SO FAITHFUL
The following photos were taken by the hospital's photographer an hour before being discharged to finally start our new life together at home!
The day Jethro graced himself into the world was one of the best days of my life. Every detail and moment of our labor and birth experience is embedded into my memory and will be forever cherished because it was unexpected, the total opposite of my plans (revealing that God's are always best), long, surreal, and beautiful even through the plans of a scheduled induction and surprise C-Section. If you're an expecting mother, please remember this is my story and yours will be yours + beautiful in itself. So as you read this, don't displace yourself and embrace that perhaps your labor and birth may not go as planned or as prayed for - just as I had to. And if you are pregnant and expecting after a loss just like Paul and I were, I pray our story encourages you and gives you hope! Also, if you too have Incompetent Cervix and/ or are spending your pregnancy on bedrest due to a complication - I want you to know that carrying a baby to full term IS possible, the journey may be hard + long but is so rewarding and worth it once your child is in your arms, and that you CAN and WILL experience joy again.
If you are reading this and have been following my pregnancy with Jet, have stuck around, prayed for us, encouraged + supported Paul and I through text, call, DM, Instagram comment, personally, gifted us with your presence at our baby shower, sent baby and/ or us gifts, and even saw and visited me through the hard and vulnerable bedrest days - T H A N K Y O U, T H A N K Y O U!
How I wish I could hug and thank every single person that I've met (through the internet + Instagram) and have been touched through both Haven and Jet' stories. I pray our roads get to meet one day and I get to do so.
And those who have been + stood with us from day one (you know who you are*) - from the bottom of Paul and I's hearts, we are forever grateful and in debt to you. We love you.