I have gone back and forth on how much of this I want to write down, about how much of this I really want to remember. But then I am reminded that this is Reese’s birth story, and in the end it gives glory to God’s perfect plan. It will be part of this little boy’s testimony, his very first minutes on earth! Also this is going to be a very long post, and may contain some pregnancy related gore;)
So last Sunday I was just past 33 weeks pregnant, 33weeks and 1 day to be exact when we decided to go for a walk to the local shop. On the way back I stumbled and tripped over my own feet. I fell hard. I turned so most of the impact was taken by my left knee and shoulder, but my bump did absorb some of the blow. I started crying immediately thinking that I may have hurt the baby, but David was reassuring that nothing was wrong and that we would just keep an eye on me. A few hours later we were sitting in the living room and I started to feel contractions. I had been having braxton hicks for several weeks but these were stronger and I was able to time them. Marye came over and we watched a movie, during it the contractions stayed consistent and were coming at 7 minutes apart. We went to bed and by the next morning I had begun to bleed. We went over to our Dr. he was out for the day so we saw his colleague. He did a scan on Reese and said that he could not find anything wrong on the screen but he could also not determine the source of the blood, and the contractions were not making any difference but were staying consistent. He decided to admit me to the hospital for 24 observation and he put me on medication that is used to lower blood pressure, apparently this med would cause my uterus to relax.
We showed up at the hospital at 11 am and I was hooked up to the monitors. Within minutes the machine was picking up strong but short contractions and the bleeding had increased. I was moved to a private room and given my first course of hospital food. Mmmmm! I was monitored every 6 hours with a non-stress test (a test that measures the baby’s heart rate and movements, and the contractions) and by the next morning I was ready to go home! But the dr. came in and said that a further 24 hours may be in order even though the contrax had become weaker thanks to the blood pressure medication. At noon my dr. showed up. He decided to give me steroid shots to mature the baby’s lungs. I knew this meant that the dr. thought that maybe perhaps there would be a slight chance that maybe the baby would come early, but I don’t think I totally got it. We were then sent for an in depth ultrasound to make sure that there was no tear in the placenta and to get an estimate on the baby’s size. It was a great ultrasound, we got to see the beautiful face and the dr. could not see any obvious sign of any trauma that could be causing the labor. We were pretty sure we would be sent home soon.
That night I started having strong contractions every 4-5 minutes. I was put on an I.V to stop the contractions to give the steroids a chance to work. Still in my mind I was waiting for my second 24 hour period to end so I could go home. It was scary though. When the first contraction woke me up that night I did not think much of it, but I wrote down what time it started, when the second one woke me up exactly five minutes later I raised my eye brows but by the time they had the IV in the contractions were constant. The drugs seemed to have no affect on my uterus, it kept contracting throughout the night. Luckily the stress test only showed some minor stress on the baby. The head nurse for the night came in and sat by me, she chatted with me for over 2 hours. We spoke about random things like Christmas traditions and serious things like race relations in Africa and the state of Namibian politics. I think I would have lost my mind had she not come in. My regular night nurse was a special person too. As in I think there had to be some kind of special circumstances that allowed the hospital to hire her. She seemed bored with patients and not really sure of what she was doing. I did get to know her well while there, but would advise against getting her as a nurse By the morning time the contrax had once again faded and become sporadic, but I was still bleeding. The dr. came in in the morning and gave me the second steroid shot. These take 24 hours to take full effect. So the dr. explained that he stopped the contractions the previous night for the meds, but that the labor signs were worrying him, and that if I were to go into labor after the second 24 hour period he was not going to stop it. I think I said Ok. But who knows where my head was at this point.
After the dr left they gave me my second dose of antibiotics in the I.V, the dr. had found a slight elevation in my white blood count and wanted to be on the safe side. When the nurse put the meds in I could feel a tingling in my hand. She then left the room, within minuted my wrist was on fire, I looked down and could see my skin turning purple and then and angry red. I yelped for David to get the nurse back in there. By the time she was back in I was in tears with the pain spreading. She went over to the I.V and turned it to a slower flow. This stopped the burn for a minute and then it felt like all hell broke loose on my arm. I could watch a red and purple line race across my arm as the meds spread, the more it moved up the angrier and more painful it became. The nurse RAN out of the room to go and call the dr. in case I was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic. If you know me then you know that this antibiotic is the only only only one I can take, as I am allergic to all the other ones. She turned the meds off before returning. The dr. ordered the I.V be removed. David had some ice and was icing my arm as they pulled the needle out. Even now a week later I can still see the medicine trail of doom up my arm. OUCH! Turns out it was not an allergic reaction, but when they but the new med in they “flushed the line” when they did that the needle moved and pierced the vein thus the medicine was pumped into my tissue. Antibiotics in the flesh is not fun!
Marye came in at dinner time to bring some food for David, and after David and I realized that we may be meeting our baby sooner rather than later we had Marye take some of the Maternity pictures we still wanted to do. They are extra cheesy, but now special to us.
Marye also gave me a pedicure, you know so my nails could look fabulous. Marye thought it would be nice for the first thing that Reese sees to be freshly painted toes. Marye and David then went out and bought the things that I had been planning on putting in my hospital bag when it was time to have the baby. Both of them are rockstars for doing that! So now we are on Wednesday I think. That night the dr. gave me some sleeping aids and I slept well for the first time all week. The next morning David was out getting our car fixed, since the breaks decided it was a fine and dandy time to stop breaking, when dr. Burmeister came in and told me : “We do not know why you are bleeding and why you are contracting. But at this point it is a risk leaving the baby in there. You could have a placental tear that we cannot see, and in Obstetrics it is always a risk as we don’t know for sure what is going on inside of the uterus. We have been playing it safe up to now, but your cervix is not changing and the contractions are getting worse. Then there is also the question of the bleeding. All of this leads me to suggest that we take the baby out now. You are fine but our concern now is for the baby.” I said ok, yeah I agree… then he said I have booked a C-Section for 5 pm TONIGHT. I sat in that room alone for a few moments before calling David. I would have a baby by 5 pm, my life would change forever at 5 pm. It was a strange moment. A calm came over me. I cannot explain it other than it being the prayers of all of you. I have been known to have anxiety problems. But not last Thursday.
After I called David he rushed back to the room. We spent the day pacing and taking cheesy pictures and worrying that Reese may not be mature enough. One of the reasons we picked Rhino Park private hospital is their policy on the mom and baby after birth. The mother can choose to have two hours with the baby before they will take him to weigh and wash and all that stuff. Even the C-section babies have this choice. I was never set on one method of birth over another, I just wanted to be awake to hear his first cry and to hold him as soon as he was out. My dr. assured me with a spinal C section this would be possible. Of course I dreamt of having a normal delivery, I was getting quite excited of the prospect of going through that experience, but the stress and danger to the baby had put that out of the question. So David and I had our plan, he would go over as soon as Reese was out, take some pictures and then bring him over to me. There we would get our first family photo taken and then spend some time together while the Dr’s stitched me up. Five pm came around and after all the prep for the CS they wheeled me into the OR. Once again the peace that came over me was more than I could explain. The people in the operating room were friendly and were mostly in the middle of a conversation about where they would spend their Christmas holidays. Dr. Diekman was there. The very friendly dr. who had sent me to the hospital on Monday, and the anesthesiologist, another very friendly man, but no Dr. Bermeister. This made me nervous. They had me get on the table and they went to work immediately getting the spinal going. The dr. explained everything to me as they went. Honestly the spinal was not too bad. The I.V in the arm was way worse than the foot long needle in the back. The needle entering my spine was a strange sensation, kind of like if you were to take a nail file and run it slowly over your teeth.
While he was putting the spinal needle in he asked me if there were any pins and neeldes, I said no, and then it felt like lighting hit my leg. I jumped while the needle was in my back. Everyone in the room froze and gasped. David, who was just outside waiting to be let in, said he heard that gasp and it scared him. I guess he did not hit a major leg nerve seeing that I cans till walk tough. After the spinal was in they let me lay down quickly. I could feel warmth traveling down my legs. They became more and more heavy. I touched my belly for the last time, knowing that soon I would not carry Reese inside of me any more. And then the feeling was gone. I tried with all my might to wiggle my toes, but it was to no avail. During all of this dr. B showed up. He came in wearing a big set of water proof boots. I asked him what that was all about, he said he did not feel like swimming…
After an eternity they let David in. He sat down and took my hand. This was it! I was strangely silent. They began to cut. Then pull and tug. I could feel no pain, but it seemed like the pulling and tugging was more violent than I expected. I squeezed David’s hand as hard as I could. David thought he would be brave, so he took one peek over the sheet. When he did he says a spray of blood squirted out of me across the room like a super soaker water gun. Yikes! Dr. Diekman then looked at me and said that what I was about to feel may be very uncomfortable, then he put both his hands on my abdomen and pushed as hard as he could. Then we heard Reese’s first baby sounds.
Ok, I am going to finish this post here for now. The next part is the part that is hard to think about or relive, will write that out later. If you made it this far “Yay for you!” We are currently back in the hospital for Reese’s jaundice. His levels reached 291, 300 is dangerous so they sent us in. Please pray for us and him, so his levels go down and we can go home soon. This last picture is of the sky. It is what it looked like right before Reese was born. Rainy and overcast. The perfect weather in Namibia.
Much Love, David and Sandy and little Reese Echols