Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Grandma's death and my son's birth

You know how sometimes, unrelated events become linked in your mind and that is that way you view them forever?

A little over three months ago, early on Easter morning, I was woken up early by a text from my dad and I drove out to the hospital to say good bye to my Grandma Schumann. It was a truly beautiful morning - the sun was rising, I remember seeing ducks on a pond near the hospital - and my family gathered around my grandma and said the Lord's Prayer as she entered the Kingdom of Heaven. It was calm, it was peaceful and it was beautiful.

It was also unexpected and sad.

I was over 38 weeks pregnant when she passed away.
Over the next week, my family made plans for her funeral which would be the following Saturday. For months (MONTHS!) I had been telling my parents - who were coming to watch Zoe while we were at the hospital - that they should come to Milwaukee that weekend because I knew (KNEW!) I was going to have our baby that weekend. Even though my due date was later that week and I was scheduled to work that Sunday and Monday, I was certain he would be born that weekend.
So I prayed that I would have peace if he came before the funeral and I couldn't attend. He didn't and I was able to spend that weekend with my family, celebrating her life. I am so thankful for that gift. Had things been different - had we lived further away - had I given birth to Elias on a different day - it may not have been possible for me to be there so I really do view it as a gift.

On Sunday, we woke up a little tired and decided to stay home. I was supposed to work that night and wanted to rest (thank goodness I did!!). I was rather baffled by the fact that I was still pregnant but when my mom asked if she should stay in town, I said no. I was planning on going to work and was feeling pretty good. I remember driving to work thinking that I never really planned to work that night - I was convinced that I would have a baby by then.

At work, my gracious co-worker gave me an easy job for the first few hours. Around 10pm, I thought I may be having contractions and by 11pm, I knew that they were regular and getting closer together. I had had a fair amount of Braxton Hicks contractions prior but when these started, I knew they were different. Now, even though I work at a hospital, we don't do babies so everyone freaked out a little bit when I said that I was in labor. =) I knew I had plenty of time - 12 hours in fact - so I called my co-worker who was "on call" for me and went home.

After a shower to see if it would slow things down - it didn't - our friend Andrew came over to spend the night with Zoe and Loki because I had told my mom that it was okay to go to Oshkosh. She drove back in the morning and was there when Zoe woke up.

Now, Zoe's labor was interesting because I had some sort of infection (a fever, high WBC count, etc) and I was started on pitocin almost right after getting to the hospital. I still had a natural (medication/epidural free) birth but it was busy. So I was amazed at how much time we had "alone" during this labor. We walked the halls repeatedly and I met the nurse in our room on the hour so she would check my vitals. I was given a little box - like telemetry - and could see the baby's heart beat and my contractions on the screen by the nurses station as we walked by. I never met the on call dr who "admitted" me. It was calm and peaceful. I tried to rest --- hahaha. My body seems to like having contractions exactly 3 minutes apart for HOURS which is what it has done with both babies.

Around 8 am, my doctor came in - it was now Monday morning - and was pleased with my progress. I was fairly exhausted and repeatedly asked Christopher and Kara, our doula, to tell me that the last stage of labor would be quicker than it was with Zoe. I pushed for three hours with her and I didn't think I had it in me. They were quick to reassure me that it would be faster.

By 10 am, it appeared that I had stopped progressing at 8 cm and my doctor broke my waters. Elias Christopher was born one (very long and hard) hour later.

He giggles in his sleep and pretty much every time we look at him.