The Day You Were Born: Marshall Alexander

Pregnancy has never been easy for me, it is just a fact.  With Marshall’s I rushed to the ER at 9 weeks pregnant, bleeding and fearing miscarriage, I was told it was a threatened miscarriage due to a subchorionic hemorrhage.  Mornings sickness hit me hard and didn’t let up until about 19 weeks pregnant and then at 22 weeks pregnant I was struck down with my first gall bladder attack. 

Let me tell you, you’ve never known pain until a gall bladder attack.  I was rushed to the hospital a few times.  The pain causing my mind to go blank, I couldn’t answer any questions: my social security number (for hospital billing purposes), my address, my name.  There was nothing but mind numbing pain and the only thing that touched it was intravenous morphine.  The times I refused to go to the hospital- fearing I would give birth to a baby suffering withdrawals- I would lay in agony for 12-18 hours.  No let up, just constant pain.  My gall bladder was healthy, but my five foot two frame just wasn’t paired well to carry a baby from a nearly six foot four man.  There just wasn’t room for my organs and a baby so my gall bladder paid the price and was squished to a pancake, leaking it’s bile into my blood stream.

During my various hospitalization my OB held meetings with various surgeons who would meet with me just to tell me no, surgery was not an option.  Too risky for my unborn son.

So I held on, sticking to a strict fat-free diet throughout my second and third trimesters, sometimes on a liquid diet, trying my best to avoid pain medications during bouts, and on bed rest.  Then, at 36 weeks pregnant I had an amnio done to check lung development.  The doctor stuck a long, thin needle through my belly button and into my uterus, drawing out amniotic fluid from around Marshall. Finally, it was safe to be induced.  I scheduled my induction and four week post birth surgery to remove my gall bladder (so I wouldn’t go through hell every pregnancy due to my giant husband).

The big day arrived, Brad and I walked into the hospital hand-in-hand, carrying a trick or treat bucket of muffins as an offering for the nurses.  Throughout my hospital stays I got to know every single nurse working the large maternity floor in Kansas City, I loved many but I was ecstatic to see that my favorite nurse would be with me today.

Jessica smiled and celebrated with me that my difficult pregnancy was coming to a close.  She gave me my gown to change into while Brad brought in all of our bags and set up his own little labor station of snacks and energy drinks, anticipating a long labor.  I walked out of the bathroom in my hospital gown to find that there were now several more people in the room.

Another nurse joined Jessica along with a blood technician and a secretary.  Brad was pushed to the corner as they got to work.  One setting my iv, one getting blood samples, one tagging me with various bracelets, and another explaining waivers for me to sign.  I looked over at my husband, he looked horrified and helpless, I gave him a smile to assure it was all okay.  He’s very protective.  As quickly as the whirlwind began, it was over.  They shuffled out with their papers, blood, and tools; leaving Brad and I alone.

We checked in at 6 am to the hospital, Brad woke up at 5 and was tired.  I never went to sleep the night before, too nervous from horror stories of others’ first time deliveries.  So when Brad asked me what I wanted to do to pass the time, I said I thought we should try napping and catching up on sleep while we can.  He agreed and we both laid back and almost instantly fell asleep.

Fast forward to about 9:30am, my doctor arrived for his morning rounds and to check my progression.  He decided that I progressed enough to break my water for me, this would speed along labor and I would have to deliver within 24 hours to avoid infection to Marshall.

So, having the doctor break my water was not my proudest moment.  He pulled out this long metal stick that was like a hook at one end.  He explained to me that he would insert the stick through my cervix and then gently “tear a hole in the amniotic sac”.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  I didn’t have to say anything, my eyes said it all.  My nurse and Brad held each hand and my doctor grabbed his hook.  Somehow, I still managed to pretty much crab walk up the bed and away from my doctor.  He backed away, visibly frustrated, and my lovely nurse calmed me.  “Just go to a beach somewhere, honey.  You’re not here right now, this isn’t happening.”  And suddenly there was an audible gush- he successfully broke my water for me and now it was continuously pouring out.  The nurse shoved towels all around me and told me to rest up.

I instantly felt a contraction now with my water broken.  Brad jumped to work, our birthing classes still fresh in his mind.  “Every contraction is bringing us one step closer to our son.”, “You are doing so great, you’re amazing.” We would smile at each other after these smallish contractions.

Jessica knew I’ve been through enough pain during my pregnancy so she gave my iv pain meds pretty quickly.  Brad and I quickly went back to sleep.

It wasn’t until a quarter to noon that I was woken up by awful contractions.  Brad once again jumped into action, wiping my hair out of my face and rooting me on through every contraction.  Again, Jessica was on top of it and ordered my epidural quickly.

The anesthesiologist was an older gentleman.  He had me lay on my side, constantly calling me Jessica.  I followed every direction he gave me as Brad and nurse Jessica giggled.  He quickly and painlessly inserted my epidural only to stab himself with the needle right after pulling it from my back.  He cleaned himself up and checked my chart; relieved to see I have no transferable diseases and bid me good luck.

My nurse asked me why I didn’t correct him when he was calling me by her name.  I said “he’s the one with the medicine, he can call me whatever he wants!”  We shared a laugh and I went back to sleep yet again.

Shortly after one in the afternoon Jessica woke me up to check my progress.  She exclaimed she could see Marshall’s head and told me not to move, surprised by how far down the birth canal he made it while I slept.  She called my doctor out of a meeting and within a minute he was scrubbing in.

Brad held my hand tightly as more nurses filed in.  “Do you mind if a nursing student watches?  She’s never seen someone give birth before.”  Hey, we all have to learn sometime, right?  I allowed her to observe.  She stood terrified in the corner.

They rose my bed up and asked if I wanted a mirror to watch.  I passed.  “Just let us know when you feel the urge to push.”  My doctor instructed.  I fearfully looked at Jessica “I can’t feel anything past my chest.” “Nothing?” She was bewildered “Nothing.”  I replied.  “Okay well I’ll tell you when the monitor says you’re having a contraction but if you can’t feel how to push, then we will have to turn the epidural down.”

That was all she had to say.  No epidural?  Hell no, I’m going to get my pain free delivery.  She told me when to push, I pushed, and in mere minutes I gave birth to my son.  1:24pm, weighing 6 lbs 14 ounces and 21.5 inches long.  Perfect in every way.

Brad had tears in his eyes as he watched his son take his first breath.  Marshall opened his eyes and Brad was the first person he saw.


I heard the nurses say how healthy he was and a wave of relief washed over me when I was told he didn’t show any signs of withdrawal.  “You did good mama!”

I also heard the nurses tell the student that that was an abnormally easy delivery.  This empowered me.  My body does everything it can to not be pregnant, but when it comes to labor I feel strong and confident.

Brad scooped up his son and wouldn’t let go.  Instantaneous paternal love.  He thanked me for giving him a child and told me he loved me.  I fell deeper in love with them both in this moment.

Brad changed every diaper the entire hospital stay.  So protective of his son that he didn’t sleep at all the first night in recovery.  He watched over both Marshall and I.


Marshall, from the moment you were born your daddy and I have been your biggest fans.  We memorized every inch of you and were in complete awe that we made this incredible tiny human.

Born with black curly hair and dark blue eyes that eventually turned to straight sandy brown hair with striking blue/grey eyes.  You were amazing then and amazing now.  You made us parents, bringing with an amount of love and joy we never previously knew.  All of this in thanks to you.

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