I sat down to write out your birth story, so I wouldn’t forget, and so you would always know, and I couldn’t do it. Not in the traditional way at least. You are currently laying beside me, one of the two most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in my life, but you are still supposed to be in there cooking. You see, you came a month early Pumpkin. And I realized that your birth story is a little bit longer, it’s the story of your fight to be born.
After months and months of trying for you, I finally found out you were on the way on a cold day in February. Just three weeks later, an ultrasound revealed that along with you, I was housing a large blood clot. The doctors said that there was a good chance you wouldn’t make it, and that there was little I could do about changing the outcome, whatever it might have been. So I did what I do best, which is worry, and you did what you do best, which is thrive. Weekly ultrasounds showed that the clot was getting slightly bigger, but you were getting bigger as well. Finally, at 12 weeks, the clot was no longer visible—you had the place all to yourself with plenty of room to grow. And grow you did. Starting at 28 weeks you measured very big, at one point you were off the charts. Towards the end they were estimating you’d be about 10lbs at birth.
Two weeks before your arrival, I started to have some high blood pressure readings, which led to increased doctor’s visits and tests. There for a while we thought you might have to come out at a moment’s notice, so that you and I could stay healthy. It turns out that I was diagnosed with cholestasis, which meant that my liver wasn’t working quite right, and that you had a definite eviction date: October 13th, 37 weeks exactly. We decided this on Friday, the 4th, and I left the doctor’s office thinking I had one more week of preparation (and worry) to get through and you’d be here. But once again, you had other plans.
On Monday morning, October 7th, at 4:45AM, I woke up feeling like I needed to pee for the 5th time that night. I stood up and realized that it was actually my water breaking instead. I woke up your Daddy, and got in the shower. Looking back, I don’t know how I remained so calm and rational. Thankfully I had our bags packed and everything ready to go from the it-could-happen-any-moment-now mentality of the previous week. We drove to the hospital in the dark, rain pouring down. It seemed like a scene from a movie. I just kept concentrating on you moving in there, but you slept through the whole thing.
Once at the hospital we were hooked up to the monitors and they checked me to see if there was any progress. I was only at 2cm so I was given a dose of medicine and then took a nap for an hour while they watched us some more. We left the hospital to get some breakfast and call all your grandparents, and we returned at 11:00AM to get the show on the road. Since my water had broken, we were on somewhat of a timeline to get you out. You had your own timeline, so I needn’t have worried about that.
Once we went back to the hospital, I got my IV in place and the nurse started me on Pitocin, a medicine to speed up and regulate my contractions. It was 12:30PM and your Daddy and I settled in, expecting to be there for quiet some time. The contractions started to become more frequent and uncomfortable really quickly. I wasn’t really in any pain, just uncomfortable every now and then. We talked about getting an epidural with the midwife, and she said that she recommend I have contractions that were 2-3 minutes apart for 2 hours before getting one, so that my body would have a chance to get into a good rhythm. I felt that I was in a good rhythm, but since the nurse and midwife couldn’t ever see a contraction on the monitor, they didn’t exactly believe me. After an hour of the contractions, and many different position changes, they saw a contraction on the monitor and said I “got credit” for one finally.
I sat in a rocking chair and breathed through the contractions for the next 2 hours. They were moving quickly from uncomfortable to the full mental and physical takeover that I remembered with your big brother. Around 2:30PM I decided that I had had enough. That while I could have chosen to keep going, I just didn’t want to feel the pain anymore. More than anything, I wanted to sleep. Mama was so, so tired, buddy. We called for the anesthesiologist to do the epidural, and they brought a whole team. If I’d had my wits about me, I would have asked what was going on. This was actually a teaching team, and they were instructing someone how to give an epidural for the first time. I wasn’t too excited about this, but figured that it couldn’t take that much longer. Your Daddy had to leave the room for this part so I just held the nurse’s hands while they did the procedure.
At this point, I lost all track of time. The contractions were getting more and more painful, and with each one the nurse said “Just get through this one, this could be the last one, you won’t feel them soon.” I vaguely remember your Dad trying to come back in the room but being told to leave. I remember all of the doctors talking and walking the youngest doctor through the procedure. I remember each contraction being more painful than the previous. Finally, I heard the doctors talking to me again, telling me that they were done with the procedure and that the 15-minute countdown would start now—I should feel some relief in 15 minutes. They announced the time: 3:15PM. It had taken 45 minutes to do the supposedly 15 minute procedure. Your Dad was back by this time, and pretty upset that it had taken so long. The doctors kept asking me if the pain was lessening, if I was getting some relief, but each time the answer was no.
I must have had a panicked look in my eye, because the nurse and your Daddy kept repeating that I was okay, it was going to be okay. I remember saying that it hurt, that something was happening and it hurt. I was scared because I couldn’t believe that you might actually be about to come, it was too soon. The plan was to get the epidural, take a nap, and let the medicine work. The midwife came running in, and by this point I remember saying “I’ve got to push, I need to push,” to which she replied “You cannot push. Do not push right now.” The team of anesthesiologists left the room, and more nurses came in to get ready for you. Everyone got ready, the midwife checked me out, and sure enough, you were on the way! It was time to push. Fifteen minutes later at 3:39PM there you were, a miracle lying on my chest. Once again, you had your own plans about arriving, with a schedule and plan that was different than any that anyone had envisioned.
I laughed and cried simultaneously while I held you. Your Daddy cried. “Hi buddy, it’s Mama. We did it.” I sang you the song that you always kicked to in my belly, the song I sang to myself as a reminder: “Baby don’t worry about a thing. Every little thing is gonna be alright.” I couldn’t believe you were finally here, Asa. That after all this time, and all of our scares, that you were here. We were both healthy. We made it. Everything was gonna be alright.
Finally, though I don’t know where this fits in the story, I want to let you know how I felt on this special day. Though there’s not really a way to describe it, the best I can do is that it felt like coming home. Like I had finally arrived where I’d always been meant to end up, and I just didn’t know it. When your big brother came to meet you a few hours later, I remember saying “we’re all here now.” It all came together with you, Asa Samuel. You were the missing piece—of our lives and of my heart.