So he’s almost three months old, but better late than never, right? I wanted to write down his birth story to remember that sweet, crazy time.
On Wednesday, March 20, I was enjoying a rare break on the couch watching Downton Abbey(!) when I noticed that my Braxton-Hicks contractions (present from 22 weeks…) were seeming a bit regular. I started timing them and found them to be every two minutes, on the dot. They weren’t painful, but seriously, contractions every two minutes? I called my doula, who suggested I rest for another hour, drink water, and see if they let up. Nope. I waited a few minutes for PJ’s class to end before letting him know that we just might be having this baby. He came home, I showered, and we got the bags together. I called my OB office and was sent straight to the hospital.
We spent a few hours in L&D triage monitoring the contractions. Eventually, it was decided that I wasn’t in real labor and that I should go home. This was insanely frustrating for me because I was at term (37 weeks) and needed a c-section because Seth was breech. Also, my discharge instructions were…confusing. “Come back when the contractions are 3-5 minutes apart and last for at least an hour.” They had been every two minutes for six hours now. “Well, I bet you’re dehydrated. Let’s run a test.” Nope. “Drink at least ten glasses of water tonight…and get plenty of rest.” Can you rest while drinking/peeing ten glasses of water? I can’t. Sigh. We went home, where the contractions lasted into the night.
I lumbered through the next few days, exhausted and so tired of being pregnant. Everyone I talked to, even strangers, said, “you look so tired.” And I was. However, we got to complete our membership class at church while we waited on Seth to arrive.
On Saturday night, March 23, I tried to sleep but was kept awake by sporadic contractions. I gave up and went to the couch to watch “Extreme Couponers”. Right at midnight, the contractions kicked into a regular rhythm, much more painful than Wednesday’s. After an hour, I woke up PJ. The poor guy had taken two Benadryl only a few hours earlier, but he jumped right out of bed, called our friends to watch the kids, and repacked the bags. We headed to the hospital around 2:30AM, where I spent the 45-minute drive screaming at the GPS to stop talking already. I was greeted at the ER entrance with a wheelchair and ushered straight up to triage. At this point, I was put on the monitor and told that the doctor would be in shortly. Three looooong, painful hours later, it was decided that I really was in labor and would be having a baby that morning. This was around 6 a.m. At that point, things started moving quickly to prep for surgery. Also, my doula arrived. Bless her—she jumped straight into rubbing my back and fending off consent forms that seemed to arrive at the peak of each contraction. Ladies, I highly recommend hiring a doula for labor. The two hours she was with me were so much easier and less painful. I can only imagine how helpful she would have been for a full labor and delivery.
6-8 a.m. was a blur of consent forms, medicine administration, answering questions, asking questions, needle sticks, and an unpleasantly high repetition of the words “intubation, hemorrhage, infection, and death.” But at that point, I just. wanted. that. baby. out.
At 8 a.m. I was taken back to the OR. This was by far the hardest part of the birth for me. PJ couldn’t come with me for the prep, I was having increasingly painful and frequent contractions, and the thought of getting spinal anesthesia and having major surgery while awake scared the crap out of me. Thankfully, I had a very sweet CRNA who hugged me during the spinal, worked hard to keep me calm, and kept me informed of what was happening. Finally, PJ got to come back right as the surgery was starting. I was sobbing uncontrollably at this point, my forehead pressed against his. Soon, I heard the words, “I’m opening the uterus”, and I knew it would be just a minute before we heard our sweet baby’s cry. 8:38 a.m. What a beautiful, blessed sound that was! A few minutes later, PJ got to go meet our son. I was so anxious to see my baby—it seemed to take forever! The sweet CRNA sensed that I was about to lose my mind after about five minutes and encouraged the nurses to let me see the baby. PJ came back to me and said, “Katie, he’s blond. He looks like a Carroll [my maiden name].” I started hissing that this was not a time for jokes. After all, we had both been expecting a dark, hairy man-child. He offered to show me pictures, but I wanted my first glance to be in person.
I have never experienced anything like the first time I laid eyes on this child who grew inside me. He looked nothing like I expected. I was meeting a stranger I knew nothing about, other than he had spent the last few weeks head-butting my ribs vigorously. And yet…he was mine!
The hospital was great about promoting skin-to-skin time right away, so I wasn’t separated from Seth from the time I was rolled out of the OR. I got to hold him all throughout my time in the recovery room. It was a long time before I put him down. We spent a few (mostly) relaxing days in the hospital before coming home Wednesday afternoon. Thankfully, my mother came to help and was immediately followed by PJ’s mom and sister (and then lots of other family over the past 2 months).
About his name: “Seth” comes from Genesis 5:3. “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.” Seth joins our family as the first child made in our image. PJ suggested his name, and I liked it enough to forfeit my claim to all naming rights after he got his Vernon Ray King, IV (which rightly went to our oldest son). “Christopher” is a name we both like and is a tribute to our dear friend, Chris Krycho. We hope and pray that Seth will grow to be a Godly man like his namesake.
What a blessing Seth is to our family! I am so thankful to have had the experience of being pregnant and having a newborn. He’s a sweetie!