josiah’s birth

April 23, 2011

as the days pass, i feel increasingly motivated to capture the details of josiah’s birth, before many leave my mind. be forewarned: this post will be long and may be boring! it is really a place for me to record all the memories, and to share them with my family and friends …

friday, april 1 was a fabulous day, and i blogged about it here! i had no idea what lay in store the very next morning. that friday night, we had our usual pizza night with 4 girls over, then hubby and i watched a show on netflix and went to bed by about 11pm. maddie made a bed on our floor, as per our usual friday night tradition.  i woke about 3:30am, went in to the kitchen and had a glass of water. i remember looking at a banana and thinking, how wild that the night before josiah’s birth i will probably have a late night banana snack! but that night, i didn’t. i crawled back in bed and fell quickly back to sleep.

at 5:15 am saturday, i woke to a flood of amniotic fluid as i sat up in bed. it hit me: this is IT!! i said to mike, ‘babe, turn on the light!’ i moved again and again, a huge gush of fluid poured out. i can hardly describe the excitement and sense of: THIS IS IT!! THIS IS THE DAY! I AM HAVING OUR SON!! mike and maddie immediately were up, rushing about. maddie got dressed and began to excitedly pack her bag for grandma’s. i was directing mike on what to pack in my bag (i’d planned to pack it over the weekend!!). i called my doctor’s office; dr. carbonell called me back in moments and in a calm voice, told me that i needed to go to the hospital, where they would confirm i had ruptured. i then called my mom and told her that my water broke – i am sure i sounded hysterical! i sent a text to some friends,  “MY WATER BROKE!” was the content, i am pretty sure. =)

i tried to think of everything i needed to bring as mike was preparing and gathering everything.  i hadn’t moved from the bed at this point. finally, when my bag was packed and everything was ready, i got up … and had another big gush. i went to the bathroom and put my toilettries together, brushed my teeth, got dressed, and we were ready.

it was probably about 6am when we got on the road to the hospital. we arrived at the hospital and there were 2 sort of random looking staff at the labor/delivery desk. i was handed forms to fill out and then they took me to room 7.  the nurse that came to the room to get me set up and registered was immediately familiar: an old friend of my mom’s! how wild. she wanted to small talk and take a few conversational diversions, which i honestly wasn’t really in the space for at that time. when she was putting the baby’s heart rate monitor around my belly, it took her several (heart-stopping, for mama) moments to find the heartbeat. ! such a relief to hear that sweet sound once she found it.  she proceeded to ask a million random health history-type questions (which we learned later, she didn’t properly save in their computer, so i got to answer them all again). i was having contractions at this time – not unbearable, but definitely uncomfortable. i had no idea what the timeframe was on having our baby; there was a sense of disorganization and disconnectedness.

and then, finally, in walked autumn … a nurse who became so dear to us over the next few days. she was an angel, and immediately i felt a comfort and relief when she introduced herself as our nurse.  i remember beginning to ask when the csection might happen; i heard the nurses talking about dr carbonell having been contacted, then maddie told me she saw him there. early on, i told mike i guessed that our boy would be born about 11am; it became increasingly clear that the timeframe was much sooner. at one point,  i heard “8 am” mentioned … and it was about 7am then! … so i told madison that we need to call grandma and she needs to get to the hospital! maddie called and my mom was getting ready to take a shower; i urged her to hurry!

the next bit is a blur … dr carbonell came in … another nurse, bev, came in to introduce herself and let us know she’d be in the surgery … hubby got dressed in his surgery “outfit” … my mom arrived … and then it was time.  my next memory is of walking in to the operating room and being struck by how bright, white, sterile and busy the room felt.  the anesthesiologist introduced herself, and put something in my iv that made me feel very cold. next, i sat on the edge of the operating table, as dr. carbonell instructed me on how to bend forward to round my back, and the spinal was being put in. then i was laying on the table … feeling my legs tingle and go numb … feeling cold, and scared. let’s be honest: surgery is scary. i wanted this to be DONE.  my catheter was put in; i asked for a pillow because my head felt like it was at a decline; the curtain was put up. i asked a few times for my husband; finally, he came in. there was some kind of pole between where he sat and my head; i felt like he wasn’t close enough. he held my hand and spoke encouragement; i remember saying, ‘talk to me, babe’, needing to hear his words constantly to keep distracted and thinking ahead to our son.  dr carbonell and the nurse talked; small talk … and then there was pressure and tugging. a lot of it. dr carbonell said something like, ‘you are going to feel some pressure and some tugging” and i thought it was time, so i asked if this was it, and he said … no, this isn’t THE pressure and tugging, yet. ahh.

(and here is a very strange anecdote: at one point, i looked around the curtain and saw one of the nurses on the FLOOR; she had tripped. it didn’t fully register in my mind at that time but later, mike told me what a stunning moment it had been. dr carbonell very graciously asked her if she was ok, then told her that she had unplugged the machine and would she plug it back in. !!)

finally, the moment of real tugging was happening … and then i heard josiah cry. i let out a cry of delight – that’s our boy!! pieces of memory here: seeing my baby carried to the warming table, mike joining the nurses around our boy; me, repeatedly exclaiming that “he is perfect! he’s so perfect!” and then mike bringing him over to me … touching his cheek, feeling like i might explode with joy and love.  

(as they stitched me up, the nurse told me she rarely saw a mama exclaim so joyfully over her new baby and that our son was a lucky boy. i am sure that i sounded so silly! i couldn’t contain the overflow from my heart, and why try?? )

mike watched some of the stitching up being done, peering around the curtain. i cautioned him, are you sure you want to watch this!? he told me later that my uterus was sitting on my tummy and they were sewing it up. too crazy!

next, i was wheeled (on the bed) back to our room #7; mike and baby josiah were behind me, and so i didn’t get to see the moment that maddie and my mom first saw josiah … but maddie told me that josiah’s eyes were wide open. =)

the next hours are a blur … i wanted josiah on me, breastfeeding, immediately and so we did. he was a CHAMP right away, despite all the wires and needles and cords around me. maddie and mike gathered close; we marveled over this perfect angel baby! mom came in, staying back but eventually coming close to see her grandson! i felt wonderful; the nurses were busily doing their thing around me, but i was pretty oblivious. i fed my baby, and rejoiced over him! thank you, LORD.

dr carbonell came in to check in, update that everything had gone well, and he also shared that the umbilical cord was wrapped 3 times around josiah’s neck. !! had this been a vaginal birth, there might have been some concern and action required; thankfully, it presented no problem for our son.

my dear sister-friend, ernestine, was my first visitor. we cried together; she exclaimed over our boy. we rejoiced and shared inexplicable feelings, as we’ve both just walked this journey of birthing our sons.  next, aunt nancy came in … and cried tears of joy over our sweet boy. later, my grandparents came, as well as my brother, my friend lori, and gretchen and her girls.

maddie was so precious; i later learned that right after josiah was born, she used my cell phone to call grandma and papa; aunt nancy; and bobby, to share the exciting news! she was so happy, held him right away, and was a very happy big sister. =)

later in the afternoon, i got pretty tired and everyone left so that i could rest. i had no appetite; i was really thirsty and loved the big drinks of icey sprite and apple juice.  i ordered a yogurt/granola/fruit plate but only took a few bites.

that first night is a blend of both physically anguishing and emotionally amazing memories (if that’s even possible!).  physically, i was hit with some of the most painful nausea i’ve ever experienced; to the degree that i remember my hubby dabbing a cool washcloth on my face, and nearly crying for me and with me …  it was pretty terrible. and in the middle of that first night, i was gushing blood so the nurses came in and “palpated” my uterus, which was the most acute pain i experienced through the whole ordeal.

the thing about pain is that i am generally loathe to take the amount of pain meds “allowed.”  i had a “pca” pump with a narcotic; the nurses encouraged me to push the button as often as every 8 min, as needed, for the pain. i kept forgetting to push the button; much time would pass and i would ask mike, can i push the button? because the pain would get pretty intense. he encouraged me to as often as i needed and i finally did, when i remembered. =) another interesting note about that first night is that the nurse was, unfamiliar perhaps, with the pca pain machine … and my meds ran out twice. she also failed to keep track on my catheter bag, which became so full that mike had to notify her. she was a young, pretty hyper nurse … who didn’t strike us as entirely competent but she certainly was cheerful. lol. and at the end of the night, she shared with us that she liked coming in to our room; that it was “peaceful” and a contrast to some patient’s rooms, who are watching mtv and have loud rock and roll music playing. agh. 

at some point during the night, they encouraged me to try to sit … and with much help, i sat on the edge of my bed, but was very lightheaded and nauseaus. they’d encouraged me to try to walk but it wasn’t happening that first night.  also, my feet kept hanging over the end of the (short, uncomfortable) hospital bed. it was quite a feat for the nurses and my hubby to try to shift my body up higher on the bed, after i repeatedly slipped down.

on a very different note, that first night is also marked in my memory with such sweet intimacy and connection with my hubby, as we shared in the magic of our newborn. hubby had set a pandora music station on the laptop (selah-inspired) that played softly in the background; the lights in the room were dim; and we spent the night awake in a blissfulness that can only be described as other-worldly. at one point, the nurse brought in a rocking chair and hubby held josiah up high on his chest, rocking away … and i lay in bed, looking at them and just beaming with so much love for my boys. josiah was such an angel that first night; he wanted to feed a lot and when he wasn’t feeding, he was either asleep on my breast, on my chest, or being held by mike. i would hold him up high on my chest, breathing in his face, whispering and talking, and my son would just relax in to mama … skin to skin … pure comfort and joy.

and through the physical pain, the memory of my husband’s exquisite tenderness and lovingkindness toward me makes me fall in love with him over again. i felt (feel) so nurtured, so loved, so deeply cared for by my beloved.

the  next morning, they discontinued the pca pain pump and i started on ibuprofen and percocet – a huge improvement. they told me that i’d be moving rooms, to a different area of the hospital. i didn’t end up moving until early afternoon – can’t remember the reason for the delay.

maddie called early, as she was at my mom’s and was eager to come back to the hospital. she said she missed us, and i missed her! mike went to pick her up … and when she returned, we enjoyed room service breakfast (this was such a highlight of the hospital experience: 2 entrees and 5 sides delivered room service, 3 meals a day!? can’t beat it. the choices were generally very “comfort food-y” and not particularly light, but some times they hit the spot. i had no real appetite the first day or so, but eventually did). one of my favorite parts were the yummy ice water, apple juice or sprite drinks, whenever i wanted one! the nurses were so sweet and attentive, always asking if they could bring me something … and the big cups of sprite with the small,crushed ice … yum!

the room i moved in to was super bright and sunny, and overlooked a garden area. sweet! i had a few visitors that day, and gretchen came to take maddie to hang out for the afternoon. later in the day, my mom came to be with me so that mike could go home for a few hours, to do some work (that required our home computer vs the laptop we had at the hospital). he also needed to install the carseat!! he did all that, picked maddie up and they returned a few hours later. i’d missed them! while he was gone, i took my first shower … which felt good, but was very tiring. it felt good to lay back in the comfortable bed when i finished. at this point, i still really hadn’t slept. maybe a few short naps but nothing substantive. 

when mike and maddie returned, i think emotions and exhaustion were running high, and we had a little tension and i even got tearful (oh, the hormones).  mike later took maddie to mom’s house to spend the night again … and that 2nd night was filled again with lots of nurses coming in to check on us, sweet pandora worship music playing, hubby helping tremendously with feeding, positioning pillows, making me comfortable. perhaps a little sleep? i don’t remember exactly but i think there were stretches of naps.

i was so enjoying having my precious baby on me, curled up on my chest, close to mama. he was just perfect in every way and i couldn’t believe this precious baby was here, our son! the joy and euphoria was pretty palpable, despite the pain and discomfort within my body.

on monday, dr carbonell came to check on me, and another pediatrician came to check on josiah (a pediatrician had come sunday evening to check on him and deemed him pretty much perfect!).  dr carbonell cleared me to go home, when i felt ready. i was able to go to the bathroom, although sitting up and walking was still really uncomfortable. i was torn about whether to stay another night and decided to give myself the day to think about it. autumn was our nurse (again! she was also on sunday – hooray!) and she said i could stay the entire day and leave in the evening, or the next morning … and no pressure making the decision. finally, i decided to stay another night. i felt like another day of support would be good … going home and independently needing to “do” many things felt pretty daunting.

that last night, monday, maddie wanted to stay with us. we decided that would be good; our whole family could be together. they brought in a cot for her, and amazingly, she was able to sleep through many of the interruptions.  my hubby spent much of the night writing a huffpo column while helping me, holding josiah, etc.

the next morning, an “older” nurse came in … cleary a pro, very competent and professional. she was so complimentary of our family, “you are such a beautiful family!” and said that josiah was the most beautiful baby on the floor. hee hee. initially, she told us that we’d have to be seen by our doctors to be approved for discharge but eventually, after checking the info at their desk, realized we’d already been ‘cleared’ to go. we received our discharge papers, ordered our last room service breakfast (ah, that will be missed!) and got ready to leave. we changed josiah in to his darling outfit, i cleaned up a bit (how wonderful do brushed teeth, some bronzer, and lip gloss feel?!) and we were ready to go.

one of the cna’s that had frequently been the one to check my vitals, came to walk us out to the car. i realized how far away the car was parked and was honestly surprised that they had planned for me to walk out to the car. i didn’t feel like i had the strength or stamina to walk down several halls then out to the parking lot. she brought me a wheelchair, which ended up being a great blessing. josiah looked so precious, and so tiny, in his carseat!! we got him all tucked in the car, i got in the front seat, and we drove away. the sun was shining between clouds – it was a classic spring day. we stopped at target on our way home so that hubby could fill my prescriptions; i waited in the car with my little man … smiling and soaking in the deliciousness of my newborn.

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One Response to “josiah’s birth”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Beautifully written Em! I love hearing all the details….Looking forward to more stories about Josiah and the Green Family!


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