22 February 2011

Bennett's Birth Story

I never posted this anywhere and only shared it with a few people, but I re-read it just now as I was up and sleepless and thought that in honor of my son's second birthday today I would share it.

CAUTION: this is a real birth story written by my dula, if you don't want the yucky details click here and just look at the cute pictures of Bennett's first two years of life.

The Birth of Bennett Michael Elwer February 22, 2009

Bennett was born to Adam and Sarah Elwer early on a Sunday morning - so early they could have made it to church service, had they not been otherwise diverted. Bennettʼs birth and life in the womb represent a segment of time fairly bursting forth with the Fruit of the Spirit.

The Elwers discovered they were pregnant in late spring of 2008 (thatʼs just a portion of the love and joy), and Sarah was given the due date of February 6, 2009. This was a date she held to loosely as she nurtured her unborn baby. In the beginning she did not know how loosely she would indeed need to hold it - ah, patience.

As Adam and Sarah waited for the arrival of Baby Elwer they chose to take Bradley classes so that they could be educated about making great birth choices. During these classes the teacher inquired if the Elwers knew the position of their baby - they did not. At Sarahʼs next appointment she asked her doctor and discovered that her baby was in a transverse position.

At this point there was plenty of time for the baby to move - but move the baby must to be delivered naturally. Through the next few weeks Sarah asked for prayer for the babyʼs position. She had peace that God would do what was best for her baby. With her due date approaching and the knowledge that a transverse baby must be delivered by c-section, Sarah waited and trusted and did all that was in her power to help baby Elwer turn.

The time had come for the doctor to make a decision - she decided to schedule Sarah for a version with the possibility of a c-section. But God had a better plan, the baby turned! There was cause for much rejoicing. While Sarah reveled in the goodness of God to move on her behalf she kept patiently waiting for labor to come. And there was much waiting to be endured.

In the course of the waiting there came another turning of the baby- to breech. Back to the c-section schedule and back to prayer! Sarah and Adam were utterly dependent upon the hand of God and His perfect timing. It was during an appointment to check the position of the baby that the synchronicity of Godʼs timing was made evident. Walking into the ultrasound room Sarah was not confident of the babyʼs position, walking out she rejoiced that once again God had helped to shift the baby just in time to satisfy the doctor. Yet another cancellation on the c-section schedule, but now came the knowledge that the doctor felt it best to induce labor.

As they contemplated induction Adam and Sarah prayed and sought wisdom and counsel. They were granted their request to wait as long as the doctor felt allowable while hoping that Sarah would begin labor on her own if given enough time. Thepatience to wait at 40 weeks, 41 weeks, 42 weeks is not in many women today, but it is in Sarah.

At last the doctor felt that she could safely wait no longer for Sarah to spontaneously go into labor. An induction date was set. It passed by - there was no bed at the hospital for her. Finally, on Saturday morning (February 21), while out on a walk, Sarah received word that there was a bed for her. Off to the hospital they went at about 11:00.

The lovely nurses helped Sarah to get comfortable and communicated the doctorʼs induction plans. These plans required some willing compromise for Adam and Sarah, but seemed necessary. At 11:50 am, the nurseʼs exam revealed that Sarahʼs cervix was 1 cm dilated and soft. She was then monitored for an hour, during which time we could see evidence of early labor with 3-4 contractions in that hour.

At 12:45 pm, Sarah bravely had her IV placed. 1:00 pm brought the insertion of cytotec to hopefully bring on labor. This intervention required Sarah to remain in bed for a time, but it worked! Contractions began in earnest and by 4:23 pm she had dilated to 3 cm. The doctor was pleased and ordered the pitotcin to produce more productive contractions. Sarah watched Emma, enjoyed a lollypop, and applied some chapstick.

During the next few hours life became a vast deal more serious. Emma was abandoned, half eaten suckers cast aside, and all that Adam and Sarah learned in class was employed. Relaxation was encouraged, massage and counter pressure applied, soothing words spoken. Sarahʼs labor progressed steadily: by 8:50 pm the nurse reported that her cervix was 6 cm (though she could stretch it to 8 cm), the babyʼs head was at -1 station and there was bloody show. Hooray for progress.

In the next few hours the gentleness of Adam and Sarahʼs love for each other was evident. Adam breathed with Sarah, stroked her, encouraged her. Sarah faithfully pressed on performing the biggest work of her life. At 10:50 pm Sarah was 9 cm, 0 station with the babyʼs head engaged. The joy of progress was acknowledged alongside the toil of what lay ahead. Sarah never wavered in her desire to avoid pain medication, she only asked us to help her and to pray for her.

(On an “only Adam” note there was a point at which I recognized the smell of impending childbirth. I donʼt know how to describe it, but I have experienced it at other births and merely made a mental note of progress. A few minutes later, Adam sniffed and communicated a questioning look to me. Mr. Super-Sense-of-Smell knew that there was a change in the state of his wifeʼs body with just a little sniff.)

Nurse Angie came in quietly and often to assess labor all the while praising Sarahʼs natural management of the pitocin intensified contractions. By 12:10 am, Sarah was complete. After a couple of pushes Angie asked if Sarah would consider having the doctor break her membranes so that she wasnʼt pushing against a pocket of water. Sarah agreed, but before the doctor could arrive to complete the task it broke spontaneously with the next push. Some meconium was present in the water.

It took a few contractions for Sarah to coordinate her pushing efforts, but she finally found success. At 12:45 am she delivered and the baby was placed on her chest. The attendants had been reminded that Adam desired to discover and communicate the babyʼs gender to Sarah. He lovingly announced to Sarah, “We have a son.”

After a few moments the baby was weighed, measured and suctioned to clear his lungs of any residual meconium. Bennett Michael Elwer weighed in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces and his length was 20 and 3/4 inches. His APGAR scores were 9 and 9, and he was ready to nurse right away. During this time Dr. Lineback assessed the repair work that Sarah would need and determined that it could wait as she needed to deliver a baby in the next room.

Sarah, Adam, and Bennett enjoyed a golden 90 minutes together. There was skin to skin contact all around! Bennett nursed well, Sarah drank her juice, and Adam made a few phone calls. When Dr. Lineback returned to begin suturing she communicated to Sarah the intensity of the damage as Bennett had been born with a compound presentation (hands up by his face) which caused serious tearing within. The doctor offered her the option to be repaired in the OR under anesthesia, as the pain was incredibly intense.

With a little encouragement Sarah chose this option. At about 2:30 am she was moved to the OR, and Bennett and his daddy headed to the nursery. While waiting for Sarah, Nurse Angie commented that all of the nurses were impressed by Sarahʼs control. She said many women say they want natural childbirth even with pitocin, but the few who make it through without an epidural are mean and nasty. Angie and all the nurses were so impressed that Sarah maintained her control all the way through.

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

1 comment:

danielle.schenck said...

Sarah, this is the most intense and the most beautiful story that I have had the pleasure of reading. Your such an amazing person. I'm so happy that God granted you the gift of being a mother.