Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Welcome to the World, Fox Edward!

On June 19th of 2017, we welcomed our rainbow baby, and our third boy to our family, Fox Edward, into the world. Fox was just two days shy of his due date when he decided it was a perfect time to grace his presence. 

I had no signs of starting labor with Fox until 2:30 am on Monday. Forrest had woken up Stu from a deep sleep, and he was upset about wetting his bed. I joined Stu to help to clean up the mess, and assured Forrest that all was well. I noticed that I had a wet discharge running down my leg. For a moment, I wondered if it was my water breaking, and had to check. As it had turned out, I had some light spotting, and it was something new to me, since I had not had that symptom in my previous pregnancies. Since it was not threatening, or worrisome, I went back to bed, and got up with the boys for the day. It was when I started having a bloody show, which was a good indicator that a labor could start within 24 to 72 hours. 

I had no contractions to indicate that I was going into labor very soon. Nonetheless, I informed Stu about the latest development. He excitedly replied that "today was the day", which I had dismissed. I figured with a bloody show symptom that I might as well just do laundry, and do some light cleaning, because who knows when labor will start? 

Stu had a flat tire on his car, and he was busy working on that situation, then went to work while I spent all morning doing laundry, and light cleaning without a single contraction. Stu checked on me periodically through the morning without any change in my report. By noon, I had a contraction out of blue, and nothing happened afterward. I opted for a wait-and-see method instead of jumping to a conclusion. Frank and I went to pick up Forrest from summer school. By the time we got home, I had a second contraction. I told Stu about the contractions, and quickly added that it was nothing to worry about, because they were so far apart. Stu insisted on coming home anyway. 

I took a shower, and did some last minute packing for my hospital bag...just in the case. By 2:30 pm, I finally sat down to put my feet up, and downloaded a contraction timer app on my iPhone to keep a track of my contractions. Within an hour and half of tracking, I realized my contractions were progressively getting closer together with a couple strong ones thrown in the mix. I emailed Dr. Mbah to follow up whether how far apart the contractions had to be in order for me to go to the hospital. She replied that time between contractions meant nothing, and just to go in as soon as I had six contractions in an hour. It was when I realized I had more than 6 contractions from 3 pm to 4 pm! 

I told Stu what Dr. Mbah had informed me, and showed him my contractions on the timer app. Stu decided he would like to leave to go to the hospital. I was more reluctant. I wanted to labor as long as I could at home before heading in, because I worried I was not dilated enough to be admitted. After all, I was only 50 percent effaced a week prior! Stu still insisted, reasoning that he did not want to risk delivering our baby at home, and called Wally to have her come over to watch the boys. 

It was when chaos began at home! Stu could not get a hold of Wally, then Spencer. I tried texting Wally to get no answer from her. While Stu packed his bag, we debated if we should take the boys with us to the hospital, having Bobbie meet us there to pick up the boys, and I started putting shoes on the boys. I also texted Andrea, our birth photographer, only to discover she was not also not answering her phone! Suddenly, Forrest promptly threw up on the floor. I thought to myself, oh no, he's sick on this day out of all other days he could get sick?! As it had turned out, it was thankfully one time incident from the stress, and anxiety from us running around, failing to contact our birth photographer, and trying to get a hold of Wally and Spencer to watch the boys. 

We were about to leave the house when Stu finally got a hold of Wally and Spencer. Thank goodness! We said our good-byes to the boys, and left them in Wally and Spencer's hands. Unlike my previous experience from being in labor with Frank, I was not sad about leaving my boys behind to bring their baby brother into the world. I knew my heart was capable was growing even bigger to make a room for all of my children, and I knew they would be loved as much as we would love their baby brother.  I kissed the boys, then went out of the door with Stu. 

Stu called Andrea, and to my relief, she answered! She had not heard text notification going off on her phone, and thanked Stu for calling her. After all a phone call notification was louder than a text notification! Then she was finally on her way. I decided that I wanted an Iced Caramel Frappuccino coffee to celebrate the fact that *maybe* I was in labor. Stu grabbed a hamburger just in case if he had to miss dinner that night!  I texted my interpreter to let her know we were on our way. 

On the ride to the hospital, I kept back playing to the night I was in labor with Frank, and how the ride to the hospital was extremely uncomfortable. I did not feel that way this time. My contractions were getting stronger, but not closer together. I remained still unsure whether I would be admitted that night. Stu assured me that it was better to be checked out  even if it ended up being a false alarm. We arrived at Bellin Hospital without any hitch. The nurse put us in the triage to monitor my contractions, took a quick history of my pregnancy, and performed a cervical check. The nurse discovered that I was at 4 CM, and 100 percent effaced. It was enough to admit us at the hospital! We were pretty excited about the fact that we were getting closer to meeting Fox! My regular interpreter had to leave, and promised to return in two hours. In the meanwhile, my back-up interpreter was able to take in the place for those two hours. I had already met my back-up interpreter from a previous appointment for one of my kids, and liked her. I assured my regular interpreter that it was not my first rodeo, and that it was fine to work with someone different this time even for a short while. Andrea showed up about the same time when my back-up interpreter showed up. We relocated to my birthing suite. Andrea started snapping pictures, and she did a fantastic job of making herself a part of the background without making it feel like there was an intruder during such an intimate time in our lives.  

There in our birthing suite, the nurse took my vitals, our histories, and monitored the baby during this process. My contractions were becoming more bothersome. I wanted to walk around. My nurse assured me that once an IV was placed, then I was free to do whatever I wanted while laboring. Bobbie showed up around 6:30 pm to exchange her car for our van since she planned on taking over to watch the boys while we were at the hospital. Stu and Bobbie left to do this while the nurse attempted to put an IV into my left hand. My vein blew. She attempted again into my left wrist only to blow my vein again. Darn my icky veins! She decided to insert IV into my right hand, and I told her that the third time was a charm. Indeed I was right! My nurse was able to insert the IV with no problem this time. Stu  returned, and I got unhooked from the monitors. I was told to inform the nurses when I felt a pressure, or when my water bag broke. I was quite ecstatic to be able to get back on my feet to ride out the contractions. 

We spent about 40 minutes walking the laps around the maternity ward. My contractions got more painful, and stronger. Stu wanted us to return to my birthing suite, and we compromised on one more lap before heading in. I wanted to be able to keep moving until I could not anymore, because I had learned from laboring with Frank that motion was what helped me the most. 

Once we entered my room, Stu asked a nurse to check me, and the nurse explained that they didn't like performing checks so frequently in order to prevent from introducing an infection. By then, I insisted on swaying by the bed, and keep moving, because the idea of laying down did not sound appealing to me. A contraction after other kept hitting me. I closed my eyes, and focused on my entire being to ride through the pain. Unlike prior contractions, I had no breaks in the between the pain. 


Stu was quite amazing as a labor coach. He may not have thought so, but I digress. He made sure that I was supported, loved, and comforted. Stu often asked me where was the best place to rub me while experiencing a contraction. When I was unable to ask, or speak for something, Stu knew what to ask, or what to say. Stu knew when a contraction was on its way, and when it was ending. We were truly a team in bringing Fox into the world. I could not ever show him enough gratitude for what he had done for me. 

Stu constantly put a cold rag on my neck, which I really appreciated, because it felt so good against my sweaty skin. I started making sounds, because the contractions were so painful. Stu helped me to power through the transition phase. It was when everybody collectively decided to see where I was at in my labor.

The nurse requested me to lay on the bed to be checked. As soon as I sat down, my water bag broke! Now, this was my first time experiencing water bag breaking on its own. It was not small short gushes, but rather one big splash! I was stunned, and announced my water had broken. For a moment, the pain all but ceased. I was able to lay down on my back, and wondered when the next pain will hit me. 

The nurse checked, and confirmed that yes, the baby's head was right there. She paged Dr. Temp, and the birthing staff to make their haste, then told me to not push. For a moment there, I thought it was doable, since I did not feel any pressure yet. However, the pain crashed over me. This time, the pain was so much more intense than I have ever had experienced in my entire labor with Fox. Little did I know that it was a calm before the storm. 

Suddenly, my body just took over! I had no control over what was going on. I was just going along for a ride. All I remembered was intense, intense, intense amount of pain, and thinking, baby Jesus why didn't I get that damn epidural? Never mind that I never requested for one to start with, and had no desire to get one, but  sometimes when you are peering at the edge of darkness, you panic a little, and think you can't do it alone. I suspect that a lot of women feel this way right before their bodies take over to bring a baby into the world regardless how a baby is born.

Fox was not definitely waiting for Dr. Temp to come. I grabbed on a poor soul's arm, probably a nurse, on the left of me and on the right side, Stu's arm, and held on for my dear life. Stu became like a sport commentator; Oh the baby's head is right there. Oh! Oh! The head is out!...Now the body is coming out...Annnnndddd he's on the bed! 

Fox was born on the bed without it being converted into a pushing table with stir-ups. The nurse  was scrambling to glove up, picked up Fox, then placed him on my chest. She told me to wait for a doctor to show up to deliver the after birth. I looked at this baby on my chest in a stunned silence, then looked at Stu, and said, did this just happen? It all had happened so fast that I had not had time to process it all. 

Stu laughed, and said yes, yes! He cut the cord, and I asked the baby nurse to weigh Fox, because he felt so small. I was SO SURE that Fox was going to be the biggest one out of all boys I had. After all, I had been told that Fox was 65 percentile above average during my pregnancy. How wrong! As it had turned out, Fox was only 6 pounds 13 ounces! My mom later told me that he was close to my birth weight when I was born. Nonetheless, all 6 pounds and 13 ounces of Fox was blissfully perfect. 


 Dr. Temp finally showed up, and said, well, well! She and I had a good laugh about how quick the birth was.  She took care of the after birth, and made sure all was okay health-wise with me. Someone commented that Stu should be prepared next time, if we ever decided on having another, and bring a baseball catcher mitts! A baby nurse brought Fox back to us, and placed him into my arms. It was when it finally hit me that we had our rainbow baby in our arms at last. It was a very special moment, the very moment that Stu and I were waiting for so long, and I was so thankful that Andrea captured this exact moment for us.  

After such a difficult loss, having Fox finally in our arms was a healing moment for us, and it was a moment that we were always going to cherish. There were so many times, especially when a nurse brought Fox to me for nursing, where it just took my breath away to have Fox in our arms, because he was such a miracle. We had waited so, so long for him to complete our family. At last, we felt complete. 

Welcome to the world, little Fox. We love you so.