is the very comprehensive birth story of Reese Foede. I had
been feeling very good the whole pregnancy, determined to go 5 days
overdue into July, just to keep up the Foede Family pattern of
birthdays. I was very confident that I would be able to make it
too, as I'd put myself on bed rest, and was having no false labors or
intense Braxton Hicks (from now on BH) contractions, which are normal
for me even with my babies that DO make it to 40 weeks.
Apparently I was the only one that felt that way, as most people
(church friends, my doctor, relatives) told me there was NO way that
I'd make it, and that I looked miserable (more miserable then I felt,
apparently!) I think I was in denial, and being so was a huge
disservice to myself, which I will go into later. On Friday the
15th Mark went to Gabby's play, and when he came home I was laying on
the couch, drinking water, trying to stop some contractions.
Nothing intensive, but I didn't want any changes to my cervix and BH
contractions can do that. I got them to stop after only 30
minutes, which is great! With the other kids I could have them
all night. On June 18th I was having what I felt like were
menstrual cramps low in my back. Mark came home from work and I
said "I was scared that I would go into labor!" He asked me if
they were a sign and I said "They can be!"
The next day (June 19th) I woke up and felt great! I told Zach "I feel so good, I can easily make it to July, and for sure I won't have the baby until Grandma and Grandpa get back from vacation." (4 more days.) The rest of the day I had a few BH contractions, and I got things ready for my maternity portraits that I had been putting off. It was the last thing I had to do to be able to say "Ok, this baby can come now." We'd done the belly cast, we'd gotten the going home outfit. We purchased a new camcorder, batteries were charged, the baby book and photo album were ready. Part of me thinks Reese was giving me a chance to get the portraits done before making her debut! Mark got home at 5:30 and we quickly ate dinner and then did pictures for 2 hours. Pictures at our house can be stressful because I like to be BEHIND the camera and have a hard time giving up control to someone else, especially when that someone prefers to photograph dead animals being gutted or sunsets and rainbows (which he is excellent at!) at 7:45 it was time to pick Zach up from swimming lessons, and Mark wanted to get a last couple of photographs at Oak Leaf Park as the sun set. We picked Zach up and went to the park, and as I was standing there for one picture a painful contraction hit. I told Mark I wanted to get home to lay down, but we had to get to the grocery store first (I can't remember for what!) and in the store another painful contraction hit (about 15 minutes later) so I really wanted to get home before a pattern was established, and drink water and lay on my left side. I sent the kids off to bed, and told Zach that I might be in the hospital in the morning, though I thought I was joking! I was able to get the contractions to stop coming so often with no problems.
I had a contraction every now and again, and at 9:30 I went to take a bath. (Mark tells me now this is when he thought "Uh oh!" because I always jump into the bath when I am having painful contractions.) Whilst in my bath I checked my cervix, which thankfully hadn't changed. I was still soft, but long and closed. But I did notice some bloody show on my fingers and thought "Darn it!" I've only gotten bloody show with Ethan and Dylan, and it meant labor starting in 16 and 10 hours respectively. So I knew I was probably going to go into labor, but I consoled myself by reading in my baby books that it could mean labor is as much as 2 weeks away. I came out of the bathroom and I know I must have had some look on my face because Mark saw me and said "What?" to which I replied "I have bloody show." We chatted a little bit about whether or not he should go to work in the morning (I insisted he'd still make it) and I said I better pack my bag. Still no contractions since the grocery store, so I cleaned the house, did a load of laundry, emailed my Mom and Dad, wrote to my pregnancy message board, and said a prayer or two. Mark had gone to bed at 11:00, and I went to bed at 12:30 AM, and just laid there for about an hour. But I was restless, and I was having contractions that were slightly painful every 10-20 minutes, so I got up and went downstairs. I tried to check my cervix, but it was so far back, but the bloody show was still there. I sat down to watch Larry King Live and listen to my labor CD, and noted the following contraction times:
2:17 AM, 2:31 AM, 2:39 AM, 2:47 AM, 2:51 AM (not painful), 3:02 AM, 3:09 AM, 3:12 AM (not painful) 3:21 AM (at which point I took another bath and did another cervix check. This time my cervix was more forward, dilated a couple of centimeters, and I could feel the bag of waters.)
I went up to wake up Mark at 3:42, but had an intense contraction that woke HIM up. I said the proverbial "Honey, it's time" and he said "Are you sure?" Uh, yes, that's why I'm breathing through these suckers, Mister! I went into Zach's room to wake him up and tell him that he needed to come downstairs and sleep on the couch while we went to the hospital. Zach was immediately serious and concerned for me. I walked over to Dylan's bed and kissed him and whispered that I loved him and loved having him as the baby of the family for the past 2 years, and cried a bit over that ending. Then we went downstairs and I phoned the hospital and told them that I thought I was in labor, that I was having contractions every 9-20 minutes, but that this was my 6th so I would probably move fast. They told me to come in. I then called my Mom, who I thought could still make it because I wasn't dilated much and she answered after many rings and I told her 'Hi, this is Jen, I'm going to the hospital" to which she replied "Oh for heaven's sake!" (Apparently the timing couldn't be worse, she'd been up for 30 hours straight!) I told her I'd call her in a little while with an update of how far along I was (Unfortunately, our cell phone wasn't getting a signal, and no long distance on the hospital phone.)
So we headed to the hospital (without my labor Ipod, which ran out of batteries...but at least I got to use it some this time!) and arrived at about 4:05. I signed in, and only had 1 contraction between then and getting to my room (I refused the wheel chair and walked, which seemed to keep contractions far apart) to change into my gown and be hooked up to monitors, which by that time it was 4:30. (I'd come to learn that my contractions never would get very close together, though they were INTENSE and LONG.) The nurse checked me and said "You are stretchy, and 7-8 centimeters." WHAT? That's when I began to panic. I really wanted to do this naturally, but I really didn't want to be there. It wasn't July, I wasn't ready to have my last baby, I wasn't prepared to feel the sensation of pushing (which I hate, because I don't get the urge to push like most women...I never have so it doesn't feel good to me.) So I asked that they get me an epidural and immediately became very whiney. That I didn't want to do this, that I couldn't do this, that I wanted to be numb, that I hated pushing. On and on. In my head I wasn't referring to the pain of the contractions. I was referring to not being ready to have this baby emotionally or psychologically. I wanted to be numb from feeling ANYTHING, not just contractions. I literally didn't want to be there...YET. Dr. Olson was paged and told that I was at 8 cm's, and she said to go ahead and give the epidural, and that she'd be there in 10 minutes. Which she was, and the first thing I said was "You cursed me!" (because she wanted me to have the baby before she went on vacation.) and she said 'I did not, but I am SO relieved that you are here!" At that point things seemed to move in slow motion. Everything the nurse or Dr. did was too slow for me. Dr. Olson checked me and said "I can break these waters and have this baby out in 5 minutes!" (she also did a thorough check to make sure the cord wasn't below the head and that H-U-R-T. I think that's as loud as I got saying "Owie owie owie owie. OWWWWWW." Of course that scared me. I KNOW I was close to being fully dilated because I could feel the pressure down low (and hey, someone who has 5 kids knows when the baby is ready!) but I told her "No, I want the epidural, I want to be numb, I don't want to feel anything, don't break my water!" She said "OK" and asked if the anesthesiologist was in the building and they said "Yes, he is on his way" and sure enough he walked in a couple of minutes later and I heard them talking and heard the word 'Intrathecal" and I said "I don't want an intrathecal, they don't work for me, give me the epidural I want to be numb for the pushing." The contractions at this point weren't fun, I was breathing through them and at the height of pain making a kind of shaky-ghost moaning noise, but I wasn't worried about them, I was worried about the pushing because I hate it so much (and as previously stated, don't feel the urge.) The doctor wanted to check me one last time, but I KNEW I would be told I was complete because the pressure was intense, so I again ask for the epidural (Gary the anesthesiologist (Not Bob!) was getting things ready this whole time.) So I get an intrathecal/epidural combo, which isn't doing anything for me on my right side (and never did work on that side, I felt everything) and takes about 50% of the pain of the contractions on the other side. I asked why I wasn't feeling numb and was told "We want to just help manage the pain, not take it all away." Well in my head I was managing the contraction pain just fine, and the epidural wasn't making me numb in the perineum which is where I wanted it to be managed! And sure enough, as soon as I lay back, I get checked and told "You are complete and ready to push" I was SO upset! I didn't want to be there, but if I had to be I wanted to be numb for the pushing, I made it to 10 centimeters with no drugs, and when I finally get the drugs they aren't going to help with the pushing pain anyway. I should have just let her break my water and ended it 45 minutes sooner! I know I kept mumbling that 'they don't understand. Why can't they just make me numb? Why do I have to feel this? I don't want to push. Why isn't the epidural working?" It was about 5:30 at this time (an hour after arriving) and I was getting the shakes from adrenaline, the nurse was breaking the bed down, I was depressed that I was there, I was told no video taping anymore at this hospital, I was whiney, it just wasn't a fun time, and I probably could have averted all of this by preparing myself mentally for the possibility that the baby could come in June instead of insisting I'd make it to July.
And then the reality of it hits. Too bad it's not July, I AM there. I HAVE to push and feel the pain, this baby is coming. So I mentioned to the Dr. that I wasn't sure I wanted to do this again, unlike with Dylan where I knew I wanted another baby even at 9 cm's. She said "Well, 6 is a nice number" and I started crying, and I look at Mark and he is crying (not sure why) so I looked at Mark and thanked him for all he has done, and for the 6 children he has blessed me with, but inside I am thinking that I'm just not ready to push this baby out and move on to the next season of life. But such is life, so I am told to push on the contractions and I try it on the first but it hurts so bad and I don't feel any progress with the baby, though the water did break and it sprayed EVERYWHERE, even back towards me (Dr. Olson said "I KNEW that would happen!") I am still just a +2 station, so I refuse on the next contraction (and the contractions are still 10 minutes apart, so it's taking a while to get the okay to push) and the doctor says "Fine, just breath through this one, we'll have a 6:00 baby!" (She was so good to put up with me!) so I stubbornly skip one contraction, and then on the next I think to myself "Fine, I''ll do it" and I start pushing because at this point I just want to get it over with so I can stop being whiney, stop worrying about a July baby, so even when the contraction was over I kept pushing and I can feel the baby move down and I can feel her crown. The doctor says "She has LOTS of hair (and I could hear Mark say "No forehead presentation like with Ethan!")...do you want to stop pushing?" and I shake my head "No" and she says 'Ok, just little pushes while we get the head out without you tearing" and so I do that and the pressure is immense, and it hurts and I just think "Will someone grab this thing and take it out of me?" (And I think I moaned something like Ow it hurts, get it out!") and then out pops the head and I hear her getting suctioned and hear the doctor say "Don't push, let me get the cord out of the way", and then I feel the baby turn and out comes the rest of her. At 6:01 AM. On June 20th, 2007 (can you believe she comes the day before Summer so I STILL have another Spring baby! And there are tornados in MN today too, so I have another storm baby!) She is laid on my lap, and I think she is one of the 6 most beautiful things I have ever seen (the other 5 being my other children of course!) and I immediately forget what month it is because that doesn't matter (though this whole issue of being 'done' weighs heavily on my heart, and probably always will.) I notice the labia and say "It's a girl!" and she is getting wiped off. and she seems so tiny to me. I'm guessing she'll be a 7 pound baby. She cried once, but immediately calms down and looks around and is peaceful, very similar to Zachary when he was born. Mark is asked if he wants to cut the 'Good size cord' which he does as the nurse takes a picture, and I feel so much better, though the pain and pressure are still there. Then it's time to deliver the placenta, which was so easy compared to Dylan. Just a few minutes and one push later and it's out, and THEN I feel tons better 'down there' pressure-wise. The Dr. gives me an examine (and that HURTS...I like it better when the epidural works!) The Dr. takes her to her warming bed for her first exam while my bed is put back together. I am given a shot of pitocin to shrink my uterus. The baby is wrapped up and given to me and everyone leaves for as long as I want to bond. I immediately put her to my breast and she is quite the nurser...it always amazes me how babies just instinctively know to do that. It was nice to not have to worry about her PKU shot or the eye cream for as long as we wanted to hold her. We call Zach at 6:30 to tell him the baby is born, and tell him to tell the other kids while we listen in and see how they react. Apparently they are very excited, and we tell them that we'll get them at 8:30 to come see her. Mark and I relax and chat about who the baby looks like (she has a swollen, bruised nose so it's hard to tell!)
Mark then went home to get the kids and to call my Mom, who is still waiting for a phone call (hey, it's only been 2 hours) and to call his parents (it was hard to get a hold of them, they were sleeping in their camper and had to get outside for a signal on their cell phones, so it takes several tries) and calls my Dad and leaves a message. The baby was taken to the nursery to be weighed right before Mark left, and she is 8 pounds, 11.2 ounces, which amazes me because she seems tiny, but her face is chubby and round, and she is so beautiful. I know all mom's say that about their babies, but it's really true with mine, I just make gorgeous babies! :-) And then I hear Mark in the hall, and I am SO excited to see the kids. Alisa looks so thrilled...big smile on her face, and Gabby is happy, Ethan wants to hold her, Zach holds back a bit (though this changes and he is now very protective of her and loves to care for her) but Dylan is shy and confused looking. So they all hold her, and take pictures with her, and they get to go watch her get her first bath while I get fresh bedding. I have my uterus kneaded and I am leaking a lot of blood, so I go to take a bath and the afterpains are kicking in with a vengeance, and I am starving, and tired (been up for over 24 hours...will turn into 36 hours before I finally get a nap!) I order breakfast of french toast sticks, hash browns, eggs, juice, a muffin, and ham, and share it with the family, then the baby is brought back clean and lovely and smelling so sweet and fresh, and we still don't know who she looks like, and the bruise on her nose is really purple now! The kids go home and I try to sleep but it's hard with the nurses interrupting so often for blood pressure, temp, uterus massage, etc. It's a busy week in Glencoe, one baby on Monday, one on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday, 1 on Thursday...it's usually empty! And now I am writing and watching her, and she is sneezing, and sighing in her sleep, and I want to hold her and touch her and cuddle, but I want her to rest...we both did a lot of work. My thanks to Mark for his love and kindness and understanding when I'd tell him to 'Shut up!' (I believe I did it twice and said 'sorry' after each one.) The baby is 6 hours old now, and so beautiful and such a miracle, such a gift that thank God for His precious, miraculous gift, and I cry in joy as I write this.
A couple days later: It took quite a while to come up with a name for Reese. I really loved Mairead, but it was so Irish and sounded awkward with our Germanic last name. We loved Reese, but it means Energetic and we're hoping that the calm she displayed while I was pregnant and so far after giving birth will carry on. But I dreamed this name before I concieved her, so Reese it will be! Esther Eleanor are the middle names, after her Great Grandmas.