Monday, July 13, 2009

Kate's Birth Story

My wonderful mom, affectionately now know as "Mimi," attended a Parents Behind the Lens course I taught back in May. She then agreed to take photos of our labor and delivery. This was a big task that many folks would have been nervous about, but she took it on! We are so thankful that we have the wonderful memories in photographs- Kate's birthday is by far the greatest day in our entire lives! I have put together a slideshow of those photos, along with a few of my own words to tell the story of how the day went. Luke and I will watch this with Kate every year on her birthday and tell her just how much her being here means to us!

The last few images were taken by me on her first day home, her first bath, and of course, the first time she sucked her thumb (9 days old!)

**These images are of a labor and delivery! They aren't graphic, but just wanted to give a warning!

To view the show in full screen, go to: http://www.voguevisions.com/slideshows/HappyBirthdayKate


By Luke Powell (aka Daddy)

I was awakened by thunder and a scared dog, but mostly a scared dog. It was around 5:00 am on a Saturday morning. I had planned on going on a long bike ride around 7:00 am, like I had done every Saturday morning over the past few months in preparation for a triathlon in August. I was upset that the thunderstorm was going to keep me from going on my ride. I laid there in bed, unable to go back to sleep due to the constant whining from our dog, Julie. Around 6:30 am, I got up and checked the radar…sure enough; it looked like more rain was on the way. I decided to stay up and clean up some things around the house. Once the sun was up, I went out and did a tune-up on my bike. By the time I was done with that, it was around 8:30…and the rain hadn’t come. Another check of the radar revealed that the rain clouds had dissipated and it was going to be clear for the rest of the day.

Somewhat aggravated that I hadn’t gone on my ride earlier due to the threat of rain, I decided the cut the grass. I went back in to let Jessica know that I would be outside if she needed me. She was still in bed, trying to catch up on some sleep. After I cut the grass, I went back inside to plug in the extension cord so that I could trim the bushes. Jessica was sitting on the couch in the living room in her robe, fresh out of the shower. She said that she was having what she thought were contractions. I told her to not panic, and don’t bother timing them yet. We both knew that it was more than likely false labor since the due date was still 10 days away.

After trimming the bushes, I came in and hopped in the shower. Jessica was still having contractions, but she was able to walk and talk during them, so I knew it was nothing too serious yet. I asked her if she was hungry, thinking that if this was true labor, she would need nutrition for the long process that lay ahead. She said that she was starving and wanted some waffles. With a Waffle House just down the road, it was the obvious choice. I packed some towels for the ride just in case her water broke while we were in the car…it was a long shot, but I wanted to be prepared. We also drove Jessica’s car because it was the one with the car seat already installed…again, better safe than sorry!

While we were eating our waffles, I noticed that her contractions were now intense enough that she had to stop eating and really concentrate in order to stay relaxed. Without telling her, I began to look at my watch and note the time between contractions. They were pretty consistent around four minutes apart. While this wasn’t a reason to run to the hospital, I knew that with her having contractions now for close to 3 hours and them being consistent…we were going to have a baby way before the due date!

The plan was to stop and pick up a Father’s Day gift for my dad on the way back home. But before we even left Waffle House, Jessica became nauseous. So making any stops on the way home was out of the question. Once home, I tried to help Jessica relax as much as possible. Our Bradley Method childbirth training helped a lot. I was able to get her in the bed and keep her pretty relaxed during contractions for the next half hour or so. It was around 2:00 pm when I called our Bradley instructor, and Doula, Dori. I wanted to let her know what was going on and that we were more than likely going to have a baby at some point in the not too distant future. She was teaching a class until 2:30 pm, so she suggested that I run Jessica a warm bath to try and help her relax. With the candles lit, and her iPod playing James Taylor, she was able to relax a little more while in the bathtub. I sat on the toilet seat and massaged her legs, while singling along to “Carolina in My Mind”.

Contractions were now closer to three minutes apart, and were definitely more intense now. While Jessica was in the tub, it became clear that the Waffle House was a very bad idea! Let’s just say the waffle made another appearance. Jumping out of the tub to stick your face in the toilet is not a good way to relax! The vomiting caused Jessica to come completely out of her relaxation mindset and that’s when the pain really set in. My mind scrambled through all of the relaxation positions and techniques that we had practiced…squatting on the birthing ball, getting on all-fours, leading over the seat of a chair…we tried them all. Nothing was working!

By this time I was starting to panic, which is very rare for me. I made sure not to let Jessica know that I was nervous, but being unable to help her ease the pain was tough for me. I was her coach, the one that she was supposed to rely on for help…and I was out of options. I called Dori back to let her know that we were having trouble getting relaxed after all the vomiting. I was sitting on the bed next to Jessica while talking to Dori. I told her that the contractions were now averaging two and a half minutes apart and hard for Jessica to get through. While I was on the phone, Jessica had a contraction and Dori heard her in the background. After hearing Jessica and knowing what I had already told her, Dori canceled her plans to come over to the house and thought that we should go ahead and just meet her at the hospital.

With Jessica still wearing only her robe, and laying on the bed trying to get through the minute-long contractions that were only giving her a little over a minute of rest in between, getting her dressed and out to the car became quite a task. Having a little over 30 seconds of useful time between contractions, it took us half an hour to get in the car from the bedroom. By this time, it was around 3:30 pm and my nerves were shot. But we were on the way to the hospital, fighting Saturday afternoon traffic!

I felt very helpless while driving to the hospital. Jessica was having very painful contractions and still vomiting. There was nothing I could do except encourage her to breathe deeply and try to relax, which is next to impossible to do in a car seat while holding a Wal-Mart bag full of your own vomit! When we arrived at the hospital, Dori was there waiting outside the entrance to the Woman’s Pavilion at Norton Suburban Hospital. She took over my coaching duties while I ran inside to get a wheelchair for Jessica. When I got back down to the car, Jessica was standing outside the car, bent over with her head resting on her arms in the seat. The air conditioning in the car was on full-blast to try and combat the 90° heat.

By the time we got Jessica up to Triage, she was already dilated 6 cm. This is exactly what we hoped for. We were able to labor at home for a long time and didn’t get to the hospital too early. Our plan for a natural childbirth would have been much more difficult if we had arrived too early. I had to leave Jessica in Dori’s capable hands while I got her registered. I had called Becca and Mendy on the way to the hospital, and they arrived while I was getting her registered. I had Becca call my mom and dad to let them know that we were in labor!

When I met back up with Jessica and Dori in Triage, it was very hectic. One nurse was trying to get a monitor on Jessica to check the baby’s heartbeat, while another was trying to get an I.V. started in her hand. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that our 15 minutes in that room seemed like an hour!
Once we were moved in the Labor and Delivery unit, things settled back down. Our nurse was named Joy (very appropriate name for a L&D nurse) and she was fabulous. She helped get Jessica comfortable as we continued to work though the contractions. With the lights dimmed and the iPod playing, Jessica was able to get some control back during contractions. She fought through these contractions for another few hours. I could tell that she was still in a lot of pain and with her now being 8 cm dilated, we had to make a decision on whether or not to get an epidural. Our plan all along had been to give birth completely natural without any pain medication, but I ultimately left the decision up to Jessica (as any husband should). Knowing that she would still have several more hours of labor, Jessica made the decision to get the epidural.

As I left the room for the anesthesiologist to put in the epidural, all my built up emotions came out in a flood of tears. It had been a long day and seeing Jessica in pain was really hard for me. She had done so well all day long and I was so proud of her, but I knew that she would now be able to truly relax for the first time in more than 8 hours.

While sitting in the waiting room with my parents, Becca, Mendy, Jerad and Grandma Pat I actually became excited for the first time. All my attention had been on helping Jessica all day and I hadn’t really had a chance to sit and think about what was actually happening…I was going to be a daddy! It was at this point that I realized we are going to have a baby before the end of the day!

After the anesthesiologist made a pin cushion out of Jessica’s back, I was allowed to go back into the room. Jessica was relaxed and was finally able to take a break and prepare for what we both knew was going to be an exciting, but tough next few hours. I kept a close eye on the E.K.G. machine, watching the baby and Jessica’s pulse rate, as well as Jessica’s blood pressure. Becca and Mendy were back in the room now along with Dori and me. Everyone was getting excited for what we knew was coming!

Another check around 8:30 pm reviled that Jessica had dilated to almost 10 cm…which means only one thing…it’s time to start pushing! Jessica said that she felt a little “stoned”, so she asked for the anesthesiologist to come back in and turn the epidural down. Before he could make it back in there, the doctor came in and it was go time! With me holding one leg and Becca, Dori and Mendy rotating on the other, I counted out loud to ten while Jessica pushed. Three sets of ten during each contraction then turned into four sets as Jessica gave the extra effort to bring our baby into the world.

After the epidural was turned down, Jessica could feel when a contraction was coming and was even telling us to get ready for her to push as one approached. Our obstetrician (Dr. Nett) had been out of town the previous week and we didn’t think that she would be able to deliver our baby. As Jessica began to push, she asked the on-call O.B. to call Dr. Nett and see if she was back in town. About half way through the pushing, we were told that Dr. Nett was on the way! This was a huge relief for both of us as we really loved and trusted Dr. Nett and wanted her to be the one in the delivery room.

I’ll never forget looking down and seeing a little head of hair crowning. It was the first glimpse of our child and it’s forever burned in my memory. A few more pushes from Jessica and then I was quickly ordered to get on a gown as it was time to catch the baby! I ran over and washed my hands quickly and threw on a blue gown. All of the sudden I felt like a doctor being rushing into surgery…it was kind of fun! I moved into position right next to Dr. Nett and had both hands extended ready to catch my baby. One more good push and out it came, into my waiting hands. I was the first person on earth to see and hold my new baby…what an awesome feeling! I was so completely in awe that it didn’t even dawn on me to look and see what the sex was. Dr. Nett yelled out, “It’s a girl!” I couldn’t believe it, Jessica and I had made a little girl!

As I handed Kate up to Jessica I remember my vision being blurred with tears of joy. What a beautiful moment, a true miracle from God. I healthy baby girl, brought into this world by the woman I love more than anything on earth.
My life was forever changed on that Saturday at the end of June in 2009. My heart just overflows with love for my beautiful wife and our new baby girl. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Jessica, Kate and I.


Drew&Samsmom said...

Congrats Jessica and Luke! Hold her, cuddle her - soak every bit of it in! They grow so fast! She is beautiful! I can't wait to meet her! Kate's birth story brought tears to my eyes!!


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