So, I know this is a little delayed, but I know too, that if I don't get it "down on paper" soon, I'll forget some of the details. Note that this might be my longest post ever, so beware!!!
Asher's original due date was Sept. 4th (according to my own calculations), but during my pregnancy, my doctor actually moved it up to the 1st because of Asher's size. As we got closer to the new due date, I kept wondering, and expecting to go in to labor early, just as I did with Caleb. I even had my mom fly in a week early just so that she wouldn't miss out on the birth like the first time. The problem was that I wasn't going in to labor!
At my 38 week appointment, I was 2 cm. dialated and 50% effaced. At my 39 week appointment I was, again, 2 cm. dialated and 50% effaced. At my 40 week appointment, I was convinced that I had progressed since I had started having random contractions. I knew that if I went in to that appointment, and hadn't changed at all, I was bound to walk out of there with tears in my eyes. As the doctor was checking me, my ears heard him utter the words, "no change, you are still about 2 cm dialated and 50% effaced." And as I knew would happen, I left the doctor's office, climbed in my minivan, and cried. I was SOOOOO anxious to meet and hold my sweet little Asher, and clearly he was not ready to come!
Before leaving the office that day, Dr. R and I discussed my options if Asher decided to stay put, as he did, and we decided that unless Asher came on his own, I would be induced on September 9th, at 7:45am. I continued to have inconsistent contractions over the next few days and continued to grow in frustration. I even lost my mucus plug the Sunday before my induction date, but I still couldn't understand why I went in to labor so easily with Caleb, yet it seemed that my body wasn't cooperating with Asher. I did not want to be induced. I wanted so desperately to go in to labor on my own, and labor at home as long as possible. When we got to September 8th, I specifically remember waking up that morning and feeling disappointment. I had not gone in to labor that night as I had prayed so hard for. During my prayer time that morning, I really feltl like the Lord was telling me that HE knew what Asher's birthday would be, and what his birth story would be, and even if I was induced, that it was all part of his plan. Ever since that moment, I had an overwhelming peace. All of my anxiousness and fear of being induced was completely wiped away. Don't get me wrong, I still ideally wanted to go in to labor on my own, but if that's not what was going to happen, I knew that the Lord was holding Asher in his hands and that He knew what was best for him.
As that day went on, I continued to pray. My prayer, however, had changed from, "Lord, help my body go in to labor on it's own so that I don't have to be induced," to, "Lord, help me to trust that you have Asher's birth story already written and that it is far better than anything I could ever imagine." My inconsistent contractions continued and actually got a lot stronger but as I went to bed that night I just had a feeling that he would stay put through the night.
I set my alarm for 6:00am so that I could get up and take a shower before heading to the hospital, and I honestly was not shocked to wake to the beeping of my alarm. I got up, showered, fixed my hair and even put on makeup! If I could help it, I DID NOT want to look anywhere close to what I looked like when Caleb was born. (Those pictures of me still give me the creeps!) His pregnancy did not bode well with my appearance at all! We got in the car, got to the hospital by 7:30am, got checked in to our room and got all set up on the machines. They induced me at 7:45am and a VERY short while later my contractions heightened and became more consistent. WOO HOO!!! My body was reacting wonderfully to the Pitocin! Dr. R came in and checked me about 9am and I was dialated at about a 5 which was awesome! My contractions were consistent and getting much more intense. Dr. R actually asked me if I was going to get an epidural and of course I said yes. He immediately said, "well, why don't you go ahead and get it put in then? What are you waiting for?" I graciously obliged! I was definitely ready at that point, but thankful that I was able to feel and experience as much as I had. It's those moments of working through a contraction that I truly felt blessed, knowing what was coming and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! (But, there was no way I was going to "go the distance" without drugs if at all possible)!! It truly was a great reminder that even though I had been told it was not possible for me to have children, that the Lord was truly in control and that he could do whatever he wanted!
Each time the nurse checked me, I was continuing to progress. I quickly went from a 5 to a 7, to an 8, 9 and then it was time to push! Around 12:30pm, I was given the go ahead by the staff and Dr. R showed up a short time later. Asher's head was already showing and I felt like this time, I actually knew how to push correctly, which made it much more encouraging and doable. About 30 minutes in to pushing, Dr. R informed me that all of the pushing had created a hemotoma in the inner lining of my vaginal wall. Basically, I was pushing so hard that I broke a blood vessel and was bleeding out. This meant that I didn't just need to give birth, but I needed to do so QUICKLY. As I continued to push with every contraction, Dr. R held two fingers over the broken blood vessel so that I would not lose too much blood. Thankfully it was only about 10-15 more minutes of pushing and sweet Asher arrived! Another first during this labor was that I threw up, big time! All over myself and the bed, and all during a contraction and pushing. Dr. R looked up and said, "well, I don't remember that ever happening before!" It was actually kind of funny, now that I remember it, and I definitely felt MUCH better afterwards. Over all, I couldn't believe how much quicker and easier this labor and delivery was compared to Caleb's. Less than 6 hours from start to finish, and only 45 minutes of pushing, compared to the 12 hour labor and 2 hours of pushing the first time! What a blessing it was to be holding my precious little son. I cried such tears of joy and relief as they laid him on my bare chest and wiped him down. Sweet Asher was born at 1:17pm, weighing in at 8 lbs. 3 oz. and was 19 1/4 inches long!
It took quite some time for Dr. R to sew me up and once he was done, we had a little chat. He made three things very clear, 1) I, again, tore to the 4th degree (worst tear you can get), 2) the tear happened because of the shape of my vagina and it was very likely that with every birth, I would tear that bad, and 3) he had never in his 20+ years of delivering babies, ever had any woman swell up as bad as I did. He even seemed shocked by the last one, which coming from him, meant it was probably pretty awful. Thankfully, this time, my epidural didn't wear off during the repair stage and I didn't feel any sewing up or needles or anything! That was a huge blessing!
The hospital where I delivered had put in to practice a new way of doing things since Caleb's birth. Their new policy was that baby stayed with mom and dad in the room at all times, except for their first bath, and we could request that baby be taken to the nursery at night, but it was not offered. At first, I was not at all excited about this, only for the night time nursery because it was our one chance to get some good rest before going home to many sleepless nights. But after giving birth to Asher, watching him be weighed and cleaned off in the room with us, and having a TON of skin-to-skin, I absolutely loved the idea of him staying in the room with us!
That first night was a rough one. Asher cluster fed that night, which meant that I was feeding him 1-2 times per HOUR, and it took about 20 minutes to feed him start to finish. It was difficult, especially since I was nursing at the time, that meant Aaron couldn't really help, so he actually got to sleep. The 2nd night I had them take Asher to the nursery so I could sleep, and it went MUCH better.
We were discharged the morning of the 10th and went home! YAY! It felt so good to be home with both boys, and begin our "new normal" life. Then Saturday night happened. Since I already blogged about Asher's choking incident, I won't do it again, but I do want to touch on a couple things during our 2nd stay at the hospital because they are part of Asher's story. Once we got in to a room in the ER at Medical City Dallas Children's Hospital, the doctor wanted us to start supplementing formula with Asher to increase his caloric intake during the time that they would be doing all kinds of blood work and such. I was fine with that, but requested that during our stay I use a hospital grade pump so that I could continue to help my milk come in and increase production, hopefully. You see, with Caleb, my milk supply was so low that I was unable to breastfeed. I gave it a good go for the first few weeks of his life, breastfeeding, bottle feeding and pumping every 2-3 hours, but it just never really got better. I even took an herbal supplement, Fenugreek, that was supposed to help with milk production. I never learned why my milk supply was so low, and that was definitely one of my biggest struggles with Caleb. I knew that this time around, I was hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. The good thing with Asher, was that I actually felt my milk come in, and so I continued to breastfeed, bottle feed and pump during our 48 hour stay at the hospital, just as I had done with Caleb. We ended up renting a pump for two weeks to take home with us to try and help it along, but after a few short days, lots of bleeding, LOTS of painful tears and complete frustration, I decided that I couldn't continue to do all three. I looked back at Caleb's feeding log that I kept and actually had been producing 4x as much with him as I was producing with Asher, and that's when I decided to stop pumping and nursing and go straight to bottle feeding using formula. I received confirmation from my pediatrician that this was completely ok, and that my child would turn out just fine, just as Caleb did. Aaron was a HUGE support during this really difficult time and I'm so thankful for that. His words of encouragement were exactly what I needed from him at that moment in time.
Asher is now 6 weeks old, today actually, and is doing great! He's chunking up just like his big brother did, and I'm convinced that he's going to surpass all of Caleb's weight checks! We are so thankful for such a great delivery and praise the Lord for a completely healthy boy!!
My precious son,
You are loved beyond comprehension. Not only by your maker and creator, but by the two people who are blessed beyond measure, who get to care for you during your time here on this earth. Your sweet smiles and coos are music to our ears! We pray for you daily, that you will one day come to know the Lord, and pursue a relationship with him, just as we attempt to do daily. Know that we love you and are so thankful for the story the Lord has written and continues to write for you daily! You are pure joy to daddy and I!! We love you, son.
Momma and Daddy