Friday, December 10, 2010
Ben Is Three Today! Here is His Birth Story
I remember when we first discovered that I was pregnant with Ben. I did not realize that I was pregnant until I was apparently around 7 weeks along. Pregnancy was the furthest thing from my mind. We thought that Jackie would be our only child unless we adopted. Looking back, I should have know something was going on because I suddenly developed an aversion to a couple of my favorite foods. I used to enjoy French Toast bagels from the Bread Company and I would often stop and pick up one on my way to a couple of graduate classes that I was taking at the time. The last couple of bagels that I bought, I took one bite and just lost interest in finishing. For some reason, I just did not care for them anymore. (This happened with broccoli, too, and to this day, I really don't care for either of those foods anymore.) I really did not even think about the possibility of pregnancy.
One morning at the end of a church service that we were visiting one Sunday, we stood for dismissal prayer and I immediately felt like I was going to pass out. I grabbed the chair in front of me and slowly sat back down. It was then that the thought of pregnancy hit me. The only reason I even thought of that was because Jackie's occupational therapist at that time had mentioned how she had passed out at the beginning of her first pregnancy. Well, I kept my thoughts to myself throughout the day and every time I thought that I could be pregnant, I shuddered and tried to shake those thoughts off and distract myself with something else.
The next day was a Monday. It was a good day but again, every time the thought of possibly being pregnant occurred, I just shuddered and distracted myself with something else. I just could not bring myself to believe that it was possible. That evening, Tim had a meeting that he had to attend after which he planned to make a stop at the store. He asked if I needed anything. At first I said no but then hesitated and said yes. When he asked what I needed, I told him to buy a pregnancy test. Tim looked at me sort of funny but I just reassured him that I probably was NOT pregnant but I just wanted to rule it out. When Tim came home later with the test, I immediately went upstairs and within seconds of doing the test, the test showed a positive sign. I didn't have to wait the suggested 5 minutes. There was No way! I thought. It just couldn't be. I started to shake. I really didn't know whether I should laugh or cry. Yes, laugh. Then I became scared. I ran downstairs and showed the test to Tim. He asked "are you?" I reassured Tim that it was probably a false positive and that I would have it ruled out when I called the doctor's office the next day for an appointment.
It turns out that the clinic offered walk-ins at certain times throughout the day for pregnancy testing. I submitted a urine test and after what seemed like hours of waiting, the nurse called for me. She took me to a private room and took her time closing the door and sitting down. I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat. Literally. hen she looked at me and confirmed the positive result. Again, I was tossed between laughter and crying. The nurse asked me if I was okay. I told her I was but I guess my face told otherwise. I was just in so much shock. She then asked me in a roundabout way if I was planning to carry to term. Of course, I was. There was no way that I could willingly end this pregnancy. So, the nurse gave me a prescription for prenatal vitamins and some information about pregnancy (as if I didn't already know). Then she gave me an appointment for the geneticist in St. Louis since I was considered somewhat high risk. The appointment was made for when it was thought I would be around 12 weeks. Then the nurse wanted me to see the doctor briefly. The doctor confirmed what the nurse told me and then he said that I also had a urinary tract infection and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic.
After Tim returned home from work that day, he asked what the doctor said. I told him that yes, I was pregnant and that I also had a urinary tract infection. Apparently, Tim did not hear the first part (maybe selective hearing), and asked "so, you're not pregnant?" He almost sounded relieved. Then I reiterated what I had just sad. I could see the blood drain from Tim's face and then he asked "how did this happen?" Well, I didn't feel the need to answer that question for obvious reasons. Then I felt a little guilty for allowing this to happen. But we were in this together and there was no turning back. This was something that neither of us ever expected to happen and we were very unprepared. In fact, we were in such shock that we didn't break the news to family until I was past 12 weeks gestation. That was easy to do being separated by a thousand miles.
Fast forward to the 12-week appointment at the geneticist office in St. Louis. An ultrasound was performed and a series of medical questions were asked. The technician asked about my LMP. She kept scanning and measuring. It was a little unnerving at first because I was thinking that perhaps she was finding something wrong with the baby. By this time, I was excited about adding another baby to our little family but the technician was making me nervous. Then the technician left to get a staff doctor. After what seemed like hours, the technician finally returned with the doctor. The doctor asked me about my LMP, too. I was beginning to wonder what was going on and why they were so concerned about the LMP. After I provided the information to the doctor, he then explained that the ultrasound was showing that the baby was measuring larger than it should with the information I provided. So my due date was moved up from Christmas day to December 15, ten days earlier than I calculated. This should have been no surprise because at my first prenatal appointment just a few days prior at my own clinic, that doctor there said that she thought my fundal height was larger than anticipated.
We were scheduled for one more appointment with the geneticist for 8 weeks later. If we wished to, we would be able to find out the baby's gender at that appointment. Plus, my blood would be analyzed to help determine my odds for 4 different fetal anomalies. Thankfully, my odds for 3 of those anomalies were very low. The Down Syndrome test showed that my chances were 1 in 33. That was a little nerve-wracking. We did, however, opt out of the amniocentesis. No matter if there was truly something wrong with the baby, we planned to carry to term. The ultrasound was performed for measurements again which still showed that I was measuring consistent with the first ultrasound. The due date was still December 15th. The next big news? It's a boy! I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at first. I had always wanted a sister and perhaps I wanted to live vicariously through Jackie because I was hoping for a little sister for her. But Jackie was going to be a big sister to a little brother. I called a couple of my friends who were moms of boys. They were so happy for me and reassured me that my relationship with my son was going to be so different and very special. Thank you Pam and Lisa. You are so right.
Now I should reassure that I love both of my children with all of my heart. But having a son is just so much different than I had ever imagined it would be.
I had a relatively healthy pregnancy with the exception of off and on bleeding during the entire first trimester. I had experienced that during my pregnancy with Jackie and was diagnosed with a chorionic hemorrhage which eventually resolved after my first trimester. It did make me nervous because I knew the risk of losing a pregnancy with a chorionic bleed was at 50%.
Toward the end of the pregnancy, I became so uncomfortable as Ben's head was engaged and he was ready to be born at any moment. I was so uncomfortable, more than with his sister. Jackie never engaged and was in a breech position so I never felt that extreme pain down below like I did with Ben. Oh, it was so uncomfortable and I could not wait for Ben to make his debut. Since I opted for a repeat c-section (I chickened out on the VBAC), we had a date scheduled for December 10th. I was so excited to finally be free from pain and to meet my little boy.
The morning of December 10th, 2007 arrived. Tim and I got up early, checked on Jackie, and left instructions for Mother on what to feed Jackie for breakfast. We told her to keep the phone close so we can call after Ben was born.
Upon arrival at the hospital, we checked in and were sent up to L&D. After arriving on the L&D floor, we were escorted to a room where I was prepped for the surgery. The nurse blew out my vein when she tried to insert the needle for the IV. That really hurt and I had to endure another size 18 needle poke in the other arm. Painful! I remember soon after the IV was started, I started to shake violently. I experienced that with Jackie after my water broke. My teeth were literally chattering. I couldn't control it no matter how hard I tried. I was a little scared, too. The medical staff did their best to reassure me that I was going to be fine. The delivering doctors, Drs. Vitrikas and Pickett arrived to check on me. Dr. Pickett even asked to pray with me. That was reassuring.
Finally it was time to go to the operating room. I was escorted to the OR and helped onto the bed. The spinal anesthetic was inserted. Believe it or not, that was not too terribly painful. Then after laying me down, I remember one of the doctors came over to take a look to see where the incision would be made. Before I knew it, I had an audience of nurses, doctors, and anesthetists gawking at my previous c-section scar. They kept commenting on how beautiful it was, how perfect it was, that it was hardly visible, etc. They also asked who performed my previous c-section because he did such an awesome job. I don't really remember how I responded because I was starting to feel the effects of the spinal and my mind was on that. However, I do remember wondering how many people had come in there just to look at my scar. I mean, it seemed like the whole town of Belleville was going to get a glimpse at what I looked like before my surgery even started. I look back at it now with humor.
Once the surgery started, I remember laying there and trying to stay calm. I was so nervous and scared. I did not like having no feeling from the chest down. I felt like I couldn't breath. I just wanted the doctors to hurry up and get my baby out. It seemed like they were taking way too long. Finally, just when I was ready to doze off, the anesthetist gently shook me and told me to try to stay awake because my baby was going to be out at any moment.
The next thing I remember was hearing a cry, a lusty cry before Ben was completely out of me. Aww, that was the sweetest sound. As soon as Ben was out, he was transferred to the nurse who assessed Ben, gave him a clean bill, wrapped him up, and had Daddy bring Ben over to me to hold for a moment. I was immediately in love. Tears are coming to my eyes now just remembering that moment. Ben was so beautiful. His head was perfectly round and he had the sweetest little lips. And blue eyes. I was in LOVE. I felt an immediate bond. Finally, the nurse took Ben and Daddy away to get Ben cleaned up and measured.
The doctors continued to stitch up my incision. Apparently, I must have asked too many times during the surgery if they were almost done with the surgery and it must have continued during the incision repair. Because I remember very vividly, the two doctors commenting "Samantha, it's like being on a trip with you. Are we there, yet?". Then everyone in the OR burst out in laughter. I can look back on that now with laughter, too. I guess I have a way of unintentionally bringing laughter to others.
When I finally got to my room after the recovery process, I asked for my baby right away. It sure seemed like the nurses were taking their sweet time with everything that day. I just wanted to see my baby. Finally, a nurse wheeled Ben into the room and she immediately put him on my chest to see if he would nurse. Ben started nursing immediately like a little champ.
Later in the day, Tim went home and brought back Jackie and Mother (Mimi). Jackie, being the little drama queen that she is, refused to get too close to Ben. Then she went into meltdown mode. Needless to say, they did not stay very long. Jackie was just having a difficult time. I felt guilty about it but what could I do. I felt helpless because I was not in a position that I could just get up and go comfort her.
Ben was such a sweet, easy baby from day one. And I kept him in my hospital room with me for most of our stay. Whenever Ben did go to the nursery, it was mostly for testing, measuring, or when I took a shower. The nurses in the nursery remarked how beautiful Ben was. Everybody kept commenting on his beauty and on his easy disposition.
Tim did not bring Jackie or Mother for another visit until our third day. By then, I think Jackie must have gotten used to the idea that I was going to be bringing home a new baby. For good. And she didn't have a meltdown. Whew! She actually seemed to enjoy visiting me in the hospital although she still was not too sure about her new brother. The nurses also paid special attention to Jackie. It also helped that I had a present for her.
We were finally discharged on the fourth day. I remember it was a very cold, snowy day. I was so nervous to have my precious newborn son in a vehicle in that weather. Remember, I'm a Florida girl and I was still not used to the idea of driving in snow or ice.
Ben continued to be an easy baby to please and sooth. He was so affectionate. And he was quite the momma's boy. I loved it. Well, most of the time. It did make it difficult sometimes to be able to go somewhere for a short time without him.
Ben is still my sweet, affectionate boy. He has also acquired a bit of a strong-willed, perhaps following his sister's example. Now that Ben is three years old, he is getting more into big boy toys and wanting to spend more time with his daddy.
I sure do love having a son more than I ever imagined I would. As frustrating as Ben can be at times, he still brings so much joy and laughter into our lives. I love Ben so much and I love that he is wanting to be with his daddy more. But I hope he will always be my momma's boy.
Happy Birthday my sweet Benjamin! You (and your sister) are one of the best surprise gifts in my life.
Just a side note that the date on the picture below is incorrect. This was actually taken on 12/11 at a day old.