Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sullivan's Birth Story

I have been wanting to sit down and write this for what seems like forever.  In reality, it's been the last six weeks.  Just six weeks.  But somehow it really does feel like forever.  This post is for my son but I'm sharing it because it's so much of my heart and because I read a birth story while I was pregnant and it touched me, encouraged me and shed some light for this girl who hadn't yet walked that road.  For that I am so grateful.

So, here is Sullivan's birth story.  It was quite a journey for both of us.  I'm so glad I'm his mama and that I get to tell it.  Here goes...


You were estimated to make your arrival into this world on Sunday, August 12th.  There was some speculation that you would either come early or that you would be quite a large baby.  As your mama, I was hoping you'd come early.  Both because I was excited to meet you, but also because I was feeling as if you were quite large and it was the hottest summer in Buffalo since the summer I started dating your father (10 years ago!).

The Tuesday before you were due was my last day at work.  That Wednesday I had a routine doctor's appointment.  I learned that there seemed to be no progress in you making your way out early.  I was not dilated and you hadn't even dropped.  Part of me was ok with this because the truth is, having never gone through this before, I was scared to death.  I was scared I wouldn't be able to handle the pain.  Scared of the unknown.  Scared something would go wrong.  I knew I could handle being pregnant because I had done that for the last nine months.  Giving birth was a whole other story, and I was scared.

I had heard several people say that when they got to the end of their pregnancy they were so uncomfortable that they didn't care how that baby got out, they just wanted it out.  I was uncomfortable the last week.  I was huge.  My ankles were swollen.  I got up to go to the bathroom 3 times a night.  But I hadn't reached my limit and I knew it.  But I would.  Little did I know, it would take more than the previous three things I mentioned to push this girl to the brink of, "Get this child out of me NOW!" land!

The Friday before you were due was the closing ceremonies of the Olympics in London.  I sat on an exercise ball in our living room while your dad rubbed my achy back and I bounced.  I bounced in hopes that it would make you drop and maybe cause me to go into labor (even though I was scared to death of that very thing).

That night I woke up a bunch of times with "cramps" and lower back pain.  When I got up on Saturday I realized that I was having contractions.  I cried.  Your mama was a big chicken!  And I didn't want to tell your dad because if I said it out loud it would make it real.  And I didn't want it to be real.  Fear does funny things to us.  But your dad came in the bedroom where I was and said we needed to pray for a friend's son. And when he sat down next to me and took my hands I told him to pray for you and me because you were on your way.

He was giddy like a little kid.  Ecstatic!  And I wanted to punch him because his joy meant lots and lots of pain for me.  Even though I spent the whole night incredibly uncomfortable I still hadn't reached my breaking point.  And I wouldn't.  I would have back labor for three more nights.  Each night would be more intense than the night before and each night I would sleep less and less.
Last pregnant picture before we left for the hospital

Monday your dad stayed home for work because I really thought you were coming that day.  I called the doctor and told them how the back labor was 7 minutes apart but that it always stopped during the day.  They told me that I probably wasn't in labor and to just come to my regular appointment the next day.

So, that is what I did.  Tuesday morning when your dad woke up he asked if he should go to work.  Exhausted and frustrated I told him yes because it seemed that everything was just the same as the day before.  He left for work and I was able to get two hours of sleep after being up all night.  I woke up, showered, blow dried my hair, painted my nails (the one thing I really wanted to do before giving birth but I just kept putting it off) and I left for my appointment.

I sat in the waiting room of the doctor's office and I prayed.  At this point I didn't even know what to pray for, I just knew I didn't want to walk out of that office without having something be different.  I thought maybe at least I would be dilated and have an idea that you were coming in the next few days.

And the Lord so graciously answered that prayer!  The nurse did the usual- took my blood pressure, weighed me, etc.  Then she hooked me up to the fetal monitor.  "If you have a contraction, push this button.  If the baby moves, push this button."  Both happened.  Dr. Falkner came in and we talked about the potential of inducing me later that week.  She checked the monitor and she checked me and I was 4 1/2 centimeters dilated.  Our conversation changed right then and there.

"Go home.  Get some food because once you get to the hospital they won't let you eat.  Get your husband and head to the hospital.  You are going to have this baby today."  It felt surreal.  It still does even as I type this.  I couldn't believe I was going to finally meet you.  And let me just say, after 4 nights of back labor, I had reached my limit.  I was finally to the point where I didn't care how you came I just wanted you out.

Apparently my breaking point was higher than I thought, but God knew.  He orchestrated each back contraction, each sleepless night, and he prepared my heart to say, "God, I trust you.  I'm scared, but I trust you."

last day Cole was the only baby in the house 
 So, I left the doctor's office and called your dad to meet me at home.  I called Aunt Kristie and your Great Grandma and Lauren.  I went through the Dunkin' Donuts drive through and ordered a chicken salad sandwich and a donut.  I got home and your dad was already there.  He grabbed my bag, we took some pictures and we drove to Mercy Hospital.  In the parking ramp I had a contraction (all back labor- only ever back labor).  There was a kind construction worker that asked if I wanted a ride.  Sullivan, I was so overjoyed you were on your way that the pain, at this point, didn't matter.  We declined the ride.

I checked into the hospital right around 3pm on Tuesday, August 14th.  Your father and I watched Everybody Loves Raymond on the tiniest television ever made in the hospital room.  I had inconsistent back labor contractions for about 4 hours.  I had an allergic reaction to the Ampicillin they gave me and almost yakked up that chicken salad sandwich.  They gave me petocin (no, I have no idea how to spell that) and then the back labor became intense.  Very intense.  Every three minutes intense.  Sweating, deep breathing, gripping the side of the hospital bed intense.  And I asked for the epidural.  The contractions needed to be continually consistent.  Oh, back labor is a horrible thing.  Horrible.  Not that labor is not horrible.  But back labor, it is especially horrible.

Your father can tell you I only had one break down in labor.  I kept my manners the entire time except for when the nurse had me get in position to the get the epidural- sit in the middle of the bed, legs out straight, and lean over- only the doctor was taking his time coming.  I had a contraction while waiting for him while in that position.  Back labor while sitting is especially painful.  What flew from my mouth was, "Where the hell is the doctor!"  I'm not proud of it.  But it is what I said and it's part of your story.  :)

Your father was standing behind me.  I couldn't see him.  But he later confessed to laughing at that.  A few minutes later, Dr. Harvey came and gave me the epidural.  It was an instant warm, numbing feeling.  It was amazing.  I told him he was my favorite person of the night and as he left I told him to keep up the good work.  I was giddy with numbness!

Welcome to the world Sullivan!
That was 10pm.  I slept for the next 4 hours, turning from one side to the next when the nurse came in just about every hour.  I hadn't slept that many hours straight in four nights.  It was wonderful.  WONDERFUL.

The most amazing labor and delivery nurse, Eileen. She took amazing care of me!
At 2 am I felt like I had to poop.  Sorry, kid.  Birth stories aren't neat and pretty.  They aren't rainbows and sunshine.  That meant you were there, ready to come.  The pressure was you.  I pushed for just about an hour every time I felt that pressure.

 And you, Sullivan Henry Kader, were born at 3:08 am on Wednesday, August 15th.  You weighed 9lbs 2 oz and were 21 1/2 inches long.  Your head looked like a football and you had the quietest, raspiest little cry.  And it was love at first sight.  Your dad cried and I just smiled and laughed- giddy and filled with joy as I looked at you- the son I had carried, worried about, prayed for, dreamed about, talked to and prepared for for the last 40 weeks.  There you were, healthy and in my arms.  And my life changed at that moment.  And it will truly never be the same.  Once you are a parent, you just can't go back.  I will never not be your mama.  And I love that.
With Dr. Falkner, my amazing doctor!

Sullivan in the hospital
 What else do I want you to know?  Your Grandma and Grandpa were in the waiting room most of the night.  They both had to work the next day so Grandma left around 11pm.  Grandpa stayed until around 1am.  Uncle Sean and Uncle Todd were there, too.  Uncle Sean left, but Uncle Todd stayed until 3am.  He missed being there by 8 minutes.  But he was your very first visitor in the hospital.  Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Sean all came that day to see you, too.

In the car seat ready to go home

Aunt Kristie was out of town but we all wanted her to be there for your birth.  She came as soon as she got back in town!  Lauren visited us in the hospital and so did Ms. Deanna.  We brought you home that Friday and you, kiddo, looked quite adorable!
 I know this is a long post, and it honestly could have been so much longer.  But how does one summarize one of the best, most life changing days, in a simple, short paragraph?  This is your story, Sullivan.  It's just the beginning of your story and I get to be a part of it.  What a gift- a sweet gift that humbles me.  Six weeks later, this sleep deprived mama is just as crazy about you as I was those first moments.  Sometimes I just stare at you and think how I can't believe you are my kid.  I can't believe God's trusted me to love you and teach you, snuggle you, provide for you and care for you.  Your dad and I are blessed- way, way, way more than we deserve.  Way more than we could have ever asked to be.

I love you.