The day before David’s arrival, my oncologist called to tell me my blood counts had already surpassed the threshold we needed for delivery. I was so surprised. I went around the house literally jumping for joy (figured it couldn’t hurt now that I wanted to go into labor). I couldn’t believe it happened so quickly. I figured it would have been another 2-5 days until we could start the induction. What a HUGE answer to prayer!
My mother-in-law landed in Dallas just hours before the call- her timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I called my sister-in-law who had just delivered our niece, Julia, a couple weeks before to see if she had handy the list of “things you need to pack for the hospital”. She walked me through what I needed to bring as I ran around the house throwing things in a bag.
This reminds me of going into labor with Noah…with Noah my water broke in the morning and doctors assumed they would have to induce me later that night. I figured I had all the time in the world. I did an interview over the phone, almost had a conference call with my boss to-be, we even went to Babies R Us to buy the car seat. The ladies at the checkout counter asked when I was due and we told them, “in a couple hours”.
When we got home I started having major contractions but we still hadn’t packed a bag. My labor went super quickly so poor Brad was having to hold me during the contractions and then the minute in between contractions, run around the house throwing things in a bag (see, sounds familiar right?). Brad pulled the classic “running through red lights” and “leaving the car parked out front in the tow zone” thing and I
waddled very quickly went running in. We skipped past admissions and triage and went right into the
delivery room. I was there for 15 minutes before I started pushing with Noah. I
like to claim that I delivered Noah naturally without drugs, but really it was
just because the anesthesiologist didn’t have time to get there and I didn’t
have another choice!
Once we arrived Wednesday evening, the doctors started up the drugs to induce me. It hadn’t done much by the morning so they started me on Pitocin around 6:30am. Throughout the day they slowly ratcheted the Pitocin from 2 up to 20 (not really sure the units) on the machine but I still wasn’t feeling the contractions. The doctor broke my water around 2pm and then I felt those contractions like whoa! I called for the epidural immediately! Once I had the epidural, I was feeling good. Of course, that led to my blood pressure dropping, in comes more medicine. That medicine makes me nauseous, in comes more medicine.
I felt so helpless lying there with the Pitocin controlling my contractions and an epidural chaining me to my bed. I loved that my last labor was just the baby and my body. No other interventions (listen to how hippy I sound! It’s that Boston midwifery in me!).
This time though I didn’t I have a choice. My body technically wasn’t ready to deliver David. This was all about the right timing for my chemo and needing to deliver him on that very day. I hate that things weren’t completely perfect for David- that he wasn’t able to come when he was naturally ready. I am thankful though that it was at least 37 weeks and not 34. That was a huge blessing.
So by 4pm I was getting pretty discouraged because I wasn’t making a lot of progress (only 3cm after 9 hours on Pitocin). I texted a few of my friends asking them for prayers and called a friend who used to be an OB nurse. She had long and difficult labors with her two kids and I knew she would be able to relate. She prayed with me and helped calm me down. At this point all we could do was wait (which I’m terrible at by the way).
The OB nurse that worked with us was awesome. We asked the night shift nurse to see if the charge nurse could assign us a really great nurse for the labor during the day. They definitely delivered (pun intended) and found us a rockin’ one. Her personality fit mine perfectly – she had an awesome sense of humor and was a self-proclaimed “A-type” personality. She told me I had to finish the delivery before her shift change at 6:45pm. She didn’t want to do all the work and then have some other nurse get all the glory right as the new nurse’s shift starts. We both said we were “goal-oriented” and that we would get it done!
Since I was still so far away at 5pm, we started apologizing to each other for not helping meet the others’ goal of wrapping this up before shift change. Then, essentially in the matter of minutes I was “complete”. I had to ask the nurse what that meant because I knew there was no way I was 10cm already. Talk about an answer to prayer! My OB nurse friend said she had never seen someone go that quickly between 3 and 10 after so much time on Pitocin. Thank you Jesus!
My OB had called to check my status to see whether or not she had time for a run. Since I was only 3 cm when she called, the staff told her she had plenty of time. They had to call her back and tell her to turn around and come in because a baby was coming out whether or not she was here! I was told that I needed to stop laughing so the doctor could get there in time. What a different (and much better) experience compared to Noah (where we had 2+ hours of pushing since he had a hand on his head).
My OB was able to make it in time and it only took two contractions to get him out. Woohoo! David was delivered at 6:39pm and in my arms at 6:44pm - as I pointed out to our nurse, one minute before shift change. Pretty awesome, right??
The tone in the room was different with David than with Noah. There were many more tears shed this time. It felt like everyone in the room was crying. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the juxtaposition of the joy of birth and the three weeks prior of dealing with a cancer diagnosis? Maybe it was because we didn’t take a healthy, full-term baby as much for granted this time? Maybe it was the uncertainty of the future for this baby’s mom? Whatever the reason, lots of tears were shed.
I remember telling David as he lay immediately on my chest that I was going to make it. I had to make it for him. I wasn’t going to let him grow up without his mama. I had such a peace about the future holding him for the first time.
It was extremely painful (emotionally) not being able to breastfeed. One of my most precious memories from Noah’s birth was him nursing within minutes of being born. David was crying and rooting and there wasn’t anything I could give him to calm him down- very, very difficult.
In the days to come it was really sad missing out on that bonding time like I had with Noah. I really enjoyed breastfeeding and was looking forward to doing it again with David. It has been difficult emotionally not being able to provide for David but I know that it has all worked out for the best. There is pretty much no way I could be nursing and taking care of Noah and getting to all my doctor’s appointments and dealing with the physical effects of treating cancer. In some ways it is a blessing that feeding David is so quick, that he sleeps so well at night, and that someone else can always feed him if I need them to.
We are so incredibly thankful that David’s birth was a complete answer to so many prayers- my white counts rebounded at record speeds, David was born without a C-section, I didn’t have to delay chemo to heal, and most importantly, David was born completely and totally healthy despite being induced three weeks early and having a round of chemo while in vitro.
We praise God for working all things together for good. He once again proves He is in control and is so, so good.