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Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Boston's Birth Story (Paralysis and Birth)
As we approach our firstborn, Boston’s sixth birthday, I’ve reflected on his time on this earth with us and the wonderful journey we’ve had with this little guy. In his story, we would be remiss to not mention the events and emotions leading up to bringing this little child into the world.
Already nervous as most first-time parents are, uncertainty with paralysis and baby birthing added an extra layer of anxiety as we were going through this crazy, new experience. Going over a birth plan with our doctor added to the anxiety as no one had any idea what to expect since spinal cord injuries vary from person to person and each person's experience is very much their own. We had many questions: Can we do natural birth or C-Section? Will my body respond to pushing? Do I have control over pushing? Would I feel pain? Do we need epidural or no epidural? I wanted so badly to have this baby naturally as the C-Section option as described to me was left to even more unknowns, mainly ones that could seriously debilitate me. I didn’t want to transfer from my chair to other places and risk ripping open stitches every time, nor did I wasn’t to stay stuck in bed weeks after having my baby. As with from the beginning of this pregnancy, we went through this whole process as optimistically as possible, praying that everything will turn out alright, knowing that as with all pregnancies, there are risks involved and we were willing to go for it. To minimize some risk of me going into labor without knowing, we planned on an induction for the week before baby’s due date (Sept. 21).
On September 4th, we grabbed some burgers and fries at In-N-Out to satiate my pregnancy-induced carnivorous urges. After lots of emotions and goodbyes, we dropped my brother off at the Missionary Training Center for his two-year mission for our church. Trying to process all the emotions and go about the rest of our day, I started feeling a little more off than “off” has been since the onset of many pregnancy related offs. My stomach was feeling queezy, my head was spinning, my body felt weak, and I had a fever of 101.9F. Since pregnancy brain set in, I wasn’t one to remember much, but one thing I did remember about pregnancy is that if your temperature is above 100F, you should go see a doctor. So, my husband drove me to our primary hospital to check on my fever, thinking we would be in and out in 2 hours tops. Little did we know, we were going to be there for the long haul as we found out I was in labor and had progressed from 2 cm to 3 cm within the hour I was waiting. At 9pm, we checked in for the night. Suddenly, that anxiety got more real as the realization that this baby coming got even more real and that beefy In-N-Out burger was starting to feel extra greasy.
The spinal cord injury is a package deal that comes with a slew of crazy experiences, one of them being nerve pain. Usually, normal, able body nerves send signals to the brain to warn us when we’re getting too close to a hot stove. With nerve damage, everything is out of whack, so your body sends mixed signals even when you’re not even close to getting hurt. I get shock-like sensations that shoot through my back and around my stomach on a daily basis, sometimes to the point of debilitation where I have to stop what I’m doing (at work, in meetings, at school, etc.), take deep breaths, and try not to draw attention to myself until it passes. Over time, I’ve learned to just deal with it. During labor though, I noticed that as contractions were spiking up on the monitors, my nerve pain level was spiking as well—although the nerve pain went to a new level of excruciating and frequency. Along with that, extreme pressure surged through my upper abdomen, fading at the belly. These crazy sensations were particularly exhausting that night! So in a sense, I was experiencing pains of childbirth, but I guess a perk of paralysis is no need for epidural, right??
The nurses administered Pitocin to try to help with my progression. But by 2am my body had stopped progressing at 4 cm. My nurses told me to prepare for a C-Section, and my anxiety kicked in. My thoughts ran into a wild field of anxiety. I REALLY didn’t want a C-Section, but I will just have to go with the flow because it that was the only thing within my control. AJ and I said a little prayer to feel peace and at ease about whatever would come our way, which helped calm my “nerves” (haha) a bit. Miraculously, I progressed to 6 cm dilation within the hour—a ways off from 10 cm but still progression.
I was beginning to feel settled in, when without reason, the baby's heart rate started to dip with each contraction. At this point, the nurse was convinced that a C-Section was the only option. And the anxiety set it again. Between not knowing what my body was doing, the delivery dilemma, the unknown status of my baby’s health, and a whole night of NO SLEEP—this was an emotional roller coaster ride I tried to be prepared for but was NOT prepared for. All I could do was wait it out and tell myself it was going to be OK, because the other option was start crying hysterically and that really wasn’t a great option for anyone’s sake. haha
And prayers. Lots and lots of prayers, and resting whenever I could. Although, hospital resting is never really resting, right?
By 7am, my doctor came in, checked my progression and suggested that we just try it. “Let’s push and see how baby does,” he said. Hoping for the best, we all started the birthing process. I say “we” because it was a whole team effort. Nurses running around and getting things ready for the baby, doctor and AJ holding up my legs. It was a lot of commotion for one hospital room. Doctor checked the monitor for contractions and told me when to push. And I, of course, did the pushing. Pushes were relatively simple as I curled into a ball, took a deep breath, felt the tightness of the contractions descending from my upper ab, bore down, and pushed (The workouts paid off. Haha).
45 minutes and a pair of forceps later, I felt a huge release of pressure from my body as a little being entered the world. At 7:47 am, weighing in at 7 lbs 1 oz, 20.5 in. long, little Boston was born, healthy and happy. I remember after the nurses had cleaned him up and put him on my chest. As I laid there with this tiny little being on my chest, touching his baby soft skin, running my fingers through his little hairy head, relief and tears of joy streamed down both of our faces. FINALLY, after hours of anxiety and uncertainty, he was here with us and he was healthy.
Not everything went as smoothly as hoped for, there was a lot of ups and downs in the process, tears were shed and pain was felt, but in the end, we were so grateful for this little moment in time. We felt so blessed and we knew were so lucky to have this little babe. It was so worth it. We embraced that little boy and savored that moment for as long as we could. And just like that, a little piece of JOY and HOPE straight from heaven was in my arms. And just like that, we were parents. And now, another adventure begins...
Happy SIXTH birthday, Boston Boy! We love you so!
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