Alexander Keith – June 21, 2011

Alexander Keith

Again, I am not eloquent with words nor am I friends with grammar. With that said this is mostly for my benefit as a way to remember, a way to get my thoughts and feelings down about the most moving day of my life. Everything is also my humble opinion. Please don’t feel attacked or guilty as these are my own personal thoughts and experiences.

Tuesday June 21st, 7am
Keith and I arrive at the hospital for our 7am scheduled induction. This was an elective induction. According to my bishop score, things seemed promising that labor would come easy. I was nervous about it all but also extremely excited. Keith mirrored these emotions. We couldn’t wait to meet our son! My water was broken around 8am and pitocin was started. It took several hours for me to actually feel “pain”. I felt contractions immediately but they were bearable. I simply breathed through them. Naturally the contractions grew stronger and pain grew much worse. Just ask Keith’s hand. My doctor checked me at some point and I was ONLY 4cm dilated! Only 1cm dilated more than when I came in that day. I was shocked to realize I hadn’t progressed any further especially with the pain I was feeling. My hip and pelvis felt like it was ripping apart. I broke down and asked for the epidural. I had originally said I would not get one until at least 6cm. I failed at this horribly. I was disappointed in myself for asking for an epidural so early in the game. I wish I would have stuck it out longer… perhaps then what happens later may have never happened? I was numb immediately and I kept saying “It feels so weird!” if there was a transcript out there with my conversation that day you could bet “weird” was uttered a hundred times!

Anywho, they had to flip it from side to side once the epidural was in so that the drug could spread evenly. This is where we ran into trouble. My little boys heart rate went down! However they were able to quickly fix it by changing my position. Things seemed to be going well at that point, that is until that is they came in and repositioned me once more on my left side. Once I was on my left side it was immediate that his heart rate lowered once more. This time they couldn’t get his heart rate leveled off again for 7 minutes. This was a very scary situation. All these nurses came running in, lowered my bed, put an oxygen mask on me, and demanded that my Doctor be called for. Once my doctor came in, the word “c-section” was tossed around making my stomach drop and a sick taste in my mouth.

The Not-So-Ideal-Situation
My doctor suggested that I think about a c-section and why. Since his heart rate dropped twice and the second time took longer to get things back to normal they wanted to make sure that things were under control instead of waiting to see if it were to happen again, and that time being a real emergency where no time would be spent talking about what if this, what if that. I cried when I was told that this was for the best. I cried when I agreed, because afterall it was about Xander and his health, not me and my selfish desire of having my way of things. I cried because I couldn’t see Keith and his reaction while all these nurses and my doctor hovered over my numb body. I cried when they left me to prep everything and I could see Keith again. He held my hand. My rock. My strength! Less than an hour later, a nurse always by my side monitoring Xander, the OR was ready for me. The anesthesiologist behind me kept encouraging me and talking to me while I was lay there paralyzed on the table. Keith had to wait outside while they prepped me, a time I know felt like ages for him. I felt alone  though very thankful for the woman behind my head talking to me in a soft tone. She said she had a son named Alexander too. Keith finally was allowed to sit beside me and while he held my hand my doctor and several others got busy cutting me open. I felt nothing- the soft spoken anesthesiologist had done her job well! I felt some weird sensations of tugging and then bam! A scream! A babies cry. MY babies cry. Keith could see over the barrier that they put up for me to not see the surgery. I burst into tears immediately upon hearing that cry. It was one of the best sounds I could ever hear. Keith left my side then to go check out Xander and to take photos. Once that happened he came back to me and they brought Xander to us. I was able to see him finally! Not touch or hold him though, just see him. They took him away after they realized that the noises he was making sounded like he still had liquid in his lungs. I got to kiss him and they took him away… for four friggin’ hours. They sewed me up and rolled me back into room… like nothing had happened. Again, I had to wait for four painful hours before having him in my arms. Let me tell you, that was TORTURE. I immediately fell in love with him… I did so when I heard his cries. But nothing beats finally being able to hold your son. To see him, to feel his skin, to see his sleepy eyes blink and try to focus on you. To feel fearful of letting him down as a mother, to the other extreme feeling so empowered knowing what beautiful life you brought into this world and the love he will give to you and vise versa. And to see Keith interact with him… made my heart burst! While we may not be Grinchs, our hearts that day grew in size that day!

Thoughts and other Things
Having a c-section was not part of any plan of mine. I did NOT go into the hospital with a birth plan, I am not that type of girl. However, I did want a vaginal birth. I had this dream I guess of having a vaginal birth, being told to push, feeling something (albeit under the epi) Keith at my side holding my hand, hearing our sons scream as he arrives, seeing my son as he arrives  everyones excitement in the room, happy tears all around, Keith cutting the cord, Xander placed on my chest for some skin to skin, have him latch on to breastfeed… all these visions of the ideal situation.

I never got my dream. I secretly mourn for this dream of the “ideal” birth experience and find myself feeling jealous of other women who had a vaginal birth. In fact I really can’t stand to hear about them right now, although happy of those who are having a baby, I still feel jealous of what they got to have. I hated how I couldn’t hold him right after and that I had to wait four hours to see my own son.

Having a c-section is also very painful. I was immobile for days, relying on everyone else around me. Not cool. I just had a baby and I am not able to get up on my own, shower on my own, grab my baby when he cries without help, I couldn’t even change him unless he was in reach! I felt useless. Like a piece of old furniture in the corner of a room. NO one made me feel this way, but me. Everyone that I was around was extremely supportive.They knew I had gone through major surgery and they knew I needed help and time. I was my worst enemy here. As I type this I am feeling better thank the Lord! I can finally get on the floor and play with Xander, get up when he cries, get in and out of bed by myself… being immobile really is demoralizing so it is nice to be able to move again with little pain.

To beat it all, my milk supply never came in to nourish my own child. I had enough colostrum for the first two days in the hospital but once his demands became greater I had nothing to give. Before he was even born I was adamant on one thing: to breastfeed exclusively, even for a month or two while I was off work. I wanted to have this experience and once more I was cheated out of something that I desperately wanted. My mother in law, who is a lactation consultant supported me greatly during this time…she tried to help me and was gently realistic that sometimes these things happen and to not feel bad about it. I know the health of Xander is most important so supplementing is what I had to ultimately do. Once more though, I was my worst enemy here. While others did not believe me a failure, I did. Even at day three of being a first time mom I felt like I was failing miserably at being a mom. I mean, c’mon! I couldn’t even feed my baby from my breasts– the reason behind having breasts in the first place, right? I have slowly come to terms with this one. Xander is happy, healthy, and close to his birth weight already and is sleeping for 3-4 hours at night which has been great for my recovery and emotional health. I do pump and what I do get I feed him. There is nothing better to feed your child and they look up at you totally trusting! You get this with bottle fed as well as breast fed.

I understand that even if my body had dilated further and his heart rate hadn’t dropped at that point in time, anything could have happened to me or to Xander where a c-section would still have to be done in the end and all the above could have still happened as it has right down to the four hour wait to the supply issues. I sometimes wonder if I should have induced and just waited. Later, looking at photos (because remember, I couldn’t see anything…) I saw his head was extremely cone shaped and lopsided. Apparently he had been stuck somewhere inside me and had tried his hardest to come through the birth canal himself to no avail. So perhaps, a c-section was in fact inevitable?

The point is, everything that happened was not my plan… except for one very important thing: having a happy healthy boy. I did get that, which is the important thing! In fact, I never thought I could have a baby, so to have Xander in my life is a blessing and thinking that way has really helped me get over my silly notions of being a failure or useless as well as getting over the disappointment of a c-section. I have my son! And that  is the most important thing out of this whole experience. God once more has tsk tsk’d at me and reminded me that I need to hand over my own plans and trust in Him. He has given us such a gift and that is the ultimate plan that I am so thankful for!

Since being mobile I have become happier and much more involved with Xander. I have even slept better. Xander is a very easy baby thus far. He sleeps, looks around, makes me and Keith laugh constantly, and is all around my little miracle baby. God has blessed us with such a treasure! I never knew how much I could love someone so fast. I loved him in the womb, but once I heard those first cries that love grew! I enjoy being a mommy and can hardly remember my life without him already.

And Keith? Let me tell you how WONDERFUL he is! I love watching him with Xander. He was born to be a dad for sure. Xander is lucky to have Keith as a dad. He holds him, consoles him, feeds him, changes him and plays with him. Sometimes I catch Keith just staring at Xander with this small smile on his face. It warms my heart that the man of my dreams has so much love for his son. I am one lucky woman having a husband like Keith. And Xander is one lucky boy having a dad like Keith.

I love my little family. And it is an experience that I will never forget. An experience that I am still living. I can’t wait to watch Xander grow, though I know time will fly! We are blessed.


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