I have been meaning to write a birth story for weeks now, but I just never felt ready to relive everything that happened, I don't know that I ever will be able to talk about it without crying, but I think it's time to share the story with all of you. I've included some photos because I think that they truly tell the story.
The night before I was scheduled to be induced I could not sleep at all. I kept running different scenarios through my head. I pictured him passing away during labor, and didn't know how I would have the strength to give birth to him. I pictured him being born, strong, and living for several weeks surprising everyone and defeating the odds. I wasn't sure what was going to happen, and I think that was the scariest part of all of it.
I managed to get a few hours of sleep and woke up around 6am. I showered, gathered the remaining things to pack, and woke Jon and Dylan up to get ready. We dropped Dylan off with Jon's parents so she could get some more sleep before they met us at the hospital. Jon and I arrived to the ER, where we had to check in at 8:45. My mom was already there, I think she was just as nervous as I was, if not more, but she smiled at me and her hug made me feel safe for a moment.
I was wheeled up to the 3rd floor and taken to my room. The rooms had recently been remodeled and they made you feel as if you were in a nice hotel. I had two nurses throughout my labor and delivery, both of them were absolutely amazing. For the next hour they did the usual admission questions and procedures and prepped me for the pitocin. It was around a 9:45 when they started me on a very low dose of pitocin. We weren't sure how Eli would react, so we wanted to take things slow.
Me waiting to get things going.
Me and Jon.
After being started on pitocin, I decided to walk around L&D to help calm myself and help the labor progress. A couple hours passed and my dosage of pitocin was increased, but I still had no regular contractions yet. I had a lot of family at the hospital (11 total, including Dylan and my nephews). It was amazing to have everyone there.
When walking, my nephew insisted on helping me push my IV around. My sister is on the right, it was so wonderful to have her there with me.
Around 12pm I started to feel the contractions. I continued to walk, having to stop with every contraction, I had forgotten how painful they can be. After deciding I was done with trying to walk through them, I went back to my room to try the exercise ball. It provided some relief and I even managed to play some dice games with my sister-in-law, brother, and Jon.
By 1pm the contractions starting getting more intense, and were about three minutes apart. My doctor (who has been amazing and a blessing) checked me at 2:45pm and I was still at 1cm, but his head was in the right position. Compared to when I was induced with Dylan, when the contractions started up this time, they got really intense really fast. I knew enough from last time that I needed to ask for an epidural before the pain got too unbearable, so I told the nurse, "I'm pretty sure in an hour I will be crying for an epidural, so why don't you call the doctor up."
While waiting for the epidural I decided to give the whirlpool in the bathroom a try. Man oh man, did that good, I wish I could have one of those at home. The jets really helped relax my muscles. But after a while I had to get out to get prepped for the epidural. After getting out of the whirlpool the hard labor hit me square in the uterus. I'm glad I asked for the epidural when I did, because the anesthesiologist was running about a half hour behind. Poor Jon is lucky to still have his hand, my entire body was quivering trying to get through each contraction every other minute. At about 4:30 the anesthesiologist arrived in all his glory, and when it was all said and done, I told him how much I loved him. After the epidural kicked in I was able to relax with all of my family in the room with me. At about 6:45pm my doctor checked me and I was at 2cm and 75% effaced. They also broke my water at this time.
Around 7:30 Eli's heart rate started to take big dips, and I had to be put on oxygen. I was absolutely terrified that the moment had come, I thought I was going to loose my son. They turned the pitocin off to see if that would help calm him. He started to improve a little after 8pm and by 9:30pm I was started back on a low dose of pitocin, by that point I had reached 3cm and 90% effaced. I was so relieved that his heart rate was doing better.
Around 10:30pm most of my family, except for my mom and Jon's mom, went home to get some sleep, we were sure it was going to be quite some time until anything happened because I was still only at 3cm. We all got a couple hours of "rest" in the delivery room.
At 1:30am the next morning, my doctor came in to check me. I was at 4cm, almost to 5. The epidural didn't seem to be helping me very much at this point because the pain was starting to get almost as bad as it was before I got it. The anesthesiologist came back at 2am to help give me more relief through my IV, and it really helped. That came in good timing because shortly after he left the room I started to feel some slight pressure. I was only at 4cm when they had checked me twenty minutes ago, so I didn't think much of it. Another five minutes or so went by and I was really starting to feel more pressure and said that maybe I should get checked. The nurse said she would call my doctor to come in to check me again, but I probably wasn't much more dilated. While she was on the phone I knew it was time, I squealed, "I can feel him moving!" Jon's mom was insisting that she take a look to see what was happening before my doctor came. The second she looked down there, she started putting on her rubber gloves and said, "Looks like I might have to deliver a baby!" His head was already starting to come out.
It just so happened that my doctor's other patient was delivering at the same time as me, so while she was on her way they moved me into a delivery bed. I couldn't believe that i had gone from 4cm to ready to push in a matter of twenty minutes. I was terrified, I kept saying that I didn't know what to do, I had never done this before (Dylan was born via C-Section). The nurse insisted that everything was going to be ok, and I would know what to do.
Nothing could have prepared me for the following moments. When the doctor came in they immediately had me start pushing, it only took a few pushes in less than ten minutes. Elijah Alexander was born at 2:50 am Sunday, April 25, 2010, weighing 4lbs 15oz. I was so overjoyed to have given birth to him, he was immediately placed on my chest.
But the same moment of joy was also met with silence. The first thing you expect to hear and listen for after birth is the sweet sound of your baby's cry, Elijah did not cry. When I was holding him I had no idea if he was alive or had passed away, he didn't even move. Nonetheless I embraced the child I had cared for and loved for 37 weeks, I finally got to meet my son I had always dreamed of, and he was perfect. I mustered up the courage to let the doctors weigh, measure, and assess his health. "He is one strong little boy," is what the neonatologist said. His heart rate was doing great, in the 140's. There were a few other surprises too. We though he had 6 toes on each foot, but it turned out that he had ten perfect little toes. Another thing we did not know is that some of his intestines were on the outside of his body, but nothing too severe. At this point I had high hopes for his survival.
My family had rushed to the hospital when they found out I was pushing, and shortly after Eli's birth they came in to greet the newest member of our family. Elijah was absolutely gorgeous, and he had a full head of golden hair. Within twenty minutes after delivering him, I was up walking around and showing off my little man to everyone. He even let out his first few cries and grunts, the most amazing sounds to hear. We passed him around so everyone could have a chance to hold him. Jon and I were beaming, so proud of our son for being so strong.
Jon and I laid in bed with him, holding him close and admiring him, then things took a turn for the worse. At about 6:45am I noticed that his face was turning a pale purple and I could hardly feel him breathing at all. I asked everyone to leave Jon and us and go get a nurse, I was pretty sure the time had come to say goodbye, and wanted to spend the last few moments alone with just Jon and I. We were sobbing, hugging him, telling him to stay strong for us. The nurse came in and checked his heart rate, it had dropped into the 60's and he stopped breathing. For about five minutes we thought we had lost our son. Then suddenly he let out a gasp and started slowly breathing again and regaining color, we couldn't believe it. The neonatologist said that this could happen, and it would likely happen again. He gave him some pain reliever to see if that could help relax his breathing.
I knew now that we could loose Elijah at any moment, so we decided to start doing all the normal things you would do with a newborn. We cleaned him up and picked out an outfit for him to wear, we even helped change a poopy diaper. Who would have ever thought that I would be thrilled to change a diaper!
At 11:30 we had another scare, everything happened exactly like it did before. I can't even begin to explain how hard it is to think you have lost your son over and over again. But just like the last time he pulled through, our little warrior. After noon, a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came in to take some photos of Elijah and our family, it was so nice to have this done, and I can't wait to see the photos when they done. Toward the end of taking photos I could tell that something was just not quite right, so I thanked the photographer and asked everyone to let us have some time alone with him. I told Jon that I had a feeling that this was really it, I can't explain it, I just knew.
I laid Elijah on my bare chest, and I told my mom as she was leaving to get the nurse. Jon held be close as the nurse checked his heart rate, it had dropped down to the 20's. The nurse asked us if she could say a quick prayer, and she laid her hand on his head and said the most beautiful prayer, I wish I could remember it. She checked his heart rate again afterward and it had gone up a little. We decided to wait a couple minutes. When she checked it again I could tell by the look on her face that it wasn't there, she said it was very faint, the other nurse came in to check it as well, and by then there was no heartbeat.
Elijah was an angel now.
This is exactly where we were sitting when he passed away, this photo was probably taken about ten minutes before it happened.
Elijah's time of death was 2:30pm April 25, 2010. Almost exactly 12 hours after he was born he passed away. I've never cried so hard in my life, I could barely breathe, I did not want to let go of him, because if I did, it meant he was really gone. My husband does not cry, and at that moment he was crying just as hard as I was. We had the nurse bring our Moms in, we told them he was gone. I've never seen the kind of pain and heartache that I saw at that moment. None of us could believe it.
Jon holding him after he passed away.
The rest of our family came in to see him too, and everyone got to hold him one last time. We decided that we wanted to have him spend the night with us, I know this is probably hard for most people to understand, but it was just something that we needed to do. We gave him a bath later that night, we even changed him into his pajamas. I spent the night with my two favorite guys by my side. Just when you think the hardest part is done, there becomes a new hardest part. In the morning we dressed him into his outfit he would be buried in.
Now here comes the hard part. We wanted to be present at the funeral home when he was handed over, so we packed up our things and I was discharged. Going into the funeral with a baby and walking out with just a blanket was the hardest thing I have ever done, I still feel physically ill when I think about it.
The viewing was held Tuesday night, and the funeral was held Wednesday morning. I couldn't believe how many people came to the funeral, over a hundred people showed up and the chairs spilled out of the chapel because there was not enough seating. The funeral was so beautiful, and the chapel was filled with flowers that people had sent us. It was so heartwarming to know that so many people loved and cared about our Son. Jon and I want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for your love and support. This experience has changed us forever, and I know that I will always be a better person and love more because of my son.
Goodnight My Angel.
April 25, 2010