[i began typing this out 5 weeks ago & with all the burping, feeding, diaper changing, …. you get the picture. so here is Chambers’ birth story, a little later than i intended].
i figured i should go ahead & write this birth story before i forget too many details or get lost in mommy-land. our son is only one week old today, but i can’t imagine what life was like without him. here is the story of his entrance into the world:
disclaimer – i’m not going to get into extremely gory details or anything, but it is a birth story… also, if you’re pregnant, i don’t want to scare you – i’m just being real about all the emotions & circumstances. so if it will make you anxious about your own experience, wait until you have your little one in your arms to read 🙂
Monday, March 11: i was going into early stages of labor. i had contractions about every hour or so, sometimes more frequently. but they weren’t steady & lasted 30-40 seconds. i spent the evening eating dinner with friends & watching the Bachelor finale [i know, lame, but come on – you have to see how it ends, right?]. i left to head home at 10pm & called Yura – my contractions were steadily about 30 minutes apart by then. he headed home from work [14 hours that day], & then began a super long night.
Tuesday, March 12: my contractions got stronger & stronger until they were roughly a minute long & 5 minutes apart. & of course since the piece of paper from my doctor’s office said to call at that point, i did! so many emotions going on – excitement more than anything. we called at 2:30am to let them know we were coming & headed to Brookwood.
i was checked into triage where they monitored my contractions & we waited, just to make sure i was really in labor. Dr. Ross was on call & checked me at 6:30am – i was still only 1.5cm, the exact same as my 40 week exam on March 7. bummer. Dr. Ross told me to go home, walk around, eat & labor there as long as i could.
so at 6:30am, we headed back home. i was disappointed, but honestly prepared for it since false labor or long early labor is common. i took a shower & ate while Yura caught a nap [he was just worn out after working & then being up with me all night as my personal masseuse]. at exactly 8:00am i climbed back into bed & just as i put my head on my pillow, my water broke. i didn’t even have the second thought that i might have wet myself. i just knew my water had broken. i rushed to the bathroom & called Jonlyn Kerlin [side story: Jonlyn & her mom babysat me when i was an infant in Texas; she ended up marrying Matt Kerlin, the minister to students at Samford, & i ended up being the babysitter for their kids! she’s a labor & delivery nurse at Brookwood] to tell her i was definitely heading to the hospital to hopefully have this baby soon! she sacrificed a day off to come in & be with me! she was a true blessing to us during the whole labor process & treated us like a king & queen!
i waited until my OB office opened at 8:30am to call & go in for an exam. sure enough by 9am Dr. Ross checked me & i was 2.5cm! PROGRESS! i was checked into the water-birthing room upstairs & Jonlyn joined me shortly after. by noon i had walked around & moved & showered & i thought surely i’d be around 5cm. i was only 4, but that was still more than 2.5. i really really wanted to try laboring in the water, but little one’s heart rate was low [although steady] so i wasn’t “cleared” for water labor.
at 4pm i was checked again & was STILL at 4cm. that was a let down. Dr. Ross gave me the option of Pitocin, but we wanted to hold off, so they moved me to a normal room down the hall & i continued to walk with Yura, squat during contractions, lay in different positions & pray that my cervix would open [after all, it was my birthday, & it would have been pretty cool to share that day with my son].
Dr. Ross had offered Pitocin several times to help speed things up, especially since i only had until 8am the next day before Pitocin or maybe even C-section would be eventually necessary [they only give you 24 hours after water breaks to give birth because of the risk of infection]. by 6pm i hadn’t budged a bit. i really desired to do everything without drugs [painkillers or Pitocin]. but at around 6:30pm we decided to give Pitocin a try. i definitely started feeling disappointed in myself at that point – however i think in the moment we were so desperate for progress that Yura & i decided together that it was worth a shot.
by that time Jonlyn had gone home [hoping that the baby wouldn’t come while she was off] & Daphne came to be our night nurse – she was just fantastic. she’s been at Brookwood over 30 years & definitely knows her stuff. she helped me through every contraction & showed Yura exactly what to do to help relieve my pain. i was administered 2cc/hour & within 1.5 hours i was already 7cm! it was about 9pm & Daphne said we might even be calling Dr. Ross back in by 11pm for a delivery!
so i labored & labored with incredibly intense contractions from the Pitocin. it was the most difficult thing i had done up to that point. i tried sitting on the bouncy ball, laboring on the toilet, walking, etc. the fetal monitor bands strapped to my belly were itchy & restricted my movement, but i had no choice since i had the IV with Pitocin. i vaguely remember being so tired that i passed out or fell asleep in between every contraction. Yura said he was in pain just watching me struggle [i’ll have to write a whole post about how incredibly he served me during labor & delivery – it was astoundingly loving]. i also remember watching the clock tick closer & closer to midnight, hoping for a miracle to get him out of me by then!
Wednesday, March 13th: at about 12:30am, i was super disappointed, super tired & in super pain. like never before – that Pitocin was definitely doing its job. it was still at only 2cc/hour, but the contractions seemed to continue, even in between. i tried to make it through each one with Daphne’s advice – pushing down with the contraction, letting it do its job of moving the baby further down, & “working” until the peak, then resting as the contraction released. the contractions were lasting 1-2 minutes then.
i was in such pain that i really didn’t feel i could keep going, especially since the 24-hour mark was creeping up. but i was internally struggling with the thought of an epidural – i so badly wanted to go without pain medication, especially since one day we may be living in a country where an epidural is not an option. at 1:30am they administered antibiotics [standard 18-hours after water breaks]. at that point i was miserable, Yura was miserable & i was no longer afraid of an epidural. so i caved [i’ll admit that i still feel a little guilt/failure because of this, no matter what others say. hopefully next time i’ll be able to go all the way!].
at about 2:15am, Daphne called the anesthesiologist to come administer the epidural. i’ll be honest, that was some of the most painful 15 minutes of my life. i was still experiencing full-on contractions every 30-45 seconds, the position i was in while Dr. Kimbrell put the epidural in was extremely harsh on my neck & the worst was that Yura couldn’t be in the room with me [liability reasons]. for some reason the first spot he administered local anesthetics didn’t take – i felt a whole lot more than i should have. he moved lower & it was much better. after about 10 minutes i felt the effects of the epidural – man, was that a relief! i felt almost a little guilty for enjoying my state of comfortable euphoria. Yura came back & we all slept – praise the Lord – Yura needed that nap!
by 5am i was dilated nearly 9cm! by that time, Jonlyn had returned for her shift & became my nurse again. Daphne was so kind & ended up staying past her shift to help me deliver! i also started to feel the need to push [a feeling i had prayed & was thankful for!] around that time, so with each contraction they helped me begin the last stages of labor. Yura was still asleep for some of it, but i didn’t mind!
i pushed, & pushed, & pushed – much to everyone’s dismay, baby didn’t move but maybe half an inch. we figured out that he was facing down [instead of up], which was the cause of the intense back labor i had experienced before the epidural. i still felt the urge to push with every contraction, but it really wasn’t working, even when lying on my side.
Dr. Ross came in at 6:30am & after examining me, explained that the way the baby’s head & shoulders were positioned was going to make it nearly impossible for me to push him out alone, especially since i couldn’t move around to help my pelvis open up. he suggested using forceps, an option i really hadn’t even considered. i looked to Yura, desperately wanting him to voice the concerns i had, which he did. we were most nervous about the effects of forceps on the baby’s head/neck. Dr. Ross reassured us that it would be fine & Jonlyn told me that he would do the best job with a forceps delivery. so we gave Dr. Ross the okay & about 45 minutes later he scrubbed in & gowned up while the rest of the room was prepared for delivery [there were so many more people in there than i anticipated – it seemed like 9 or 10 extra people swooped in & out right before & after the birth! i can’t imagine having anyone besides Yura & Maribeth in addition!].
at 7:20am Dr. Ross inserted the forceps. even with an epidural, i felt a lot. i can’t imagine now what it would have felt like to use forceps without medication. as soon as they were in, i pushed for the duration of that contraction. he was crowning, but we had to wait for the next contraction, which seemed like FOREVER, even though it was only about 35 seconds. i felt the next contraction coming on, told them i needed to push & about 20 seconds later i saw our son. i couldn’t believe how fast he was pulled out or how beautiful he was!
Dr. Ross held him up for us to see & sweet boy just looked around – he wasn’t crying yet, but rather seemed shocked at the whole thing! they rushed him over to the nurses where they checked his head & vitals to make sure everything was alright. i really wish he could’ve been placed immediately on my chest & that the umbilical cord could have stayed connected longer, but that’s one downside to a forceps delivery. born at 7:22am, they weighed him in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces & 22 inches long!
at that time everyone was curious about his name, so Yura announced: Chambers Luca. a lot of people have asked about why we chose it, so here’s the story. Scottish pastor/missionary Oswald Chambers’ wife compiled My Utmost for His Highest, a collection of Oswald’s sermons, into a daily devotional. it’s one of my favorites & Yura saw it sitting on the shelf & asked if “Chambers” could be a name. i said, “Sure!” & that was it! Luca is “Luke” in Ukrainian/Russian. we just like the name [also our last name is so long that a short middle name sounded better].
as soon as they could, he was placed on my chest. it was one of the most surreal moments of my life – of our lives. he was finally there, in all of his perfect beauty, the son we had waited so long to see & know! we held him & cried. i couldn’t stop looking at Yura & then looking at Chambers, saying how perfect he was. Yura was praising me & thanking God & speaking to Chambers in Russian.
meanwhile, Dr. Ross was delivering the placenta [no one ever talks about this, but it happens to everyone – weird!] & stitching up my 3rd degree tear [TMI..sorry?]. but i hardly noticed any of it. my little family was real. after he was done, Dr. Ross came over to us, laid hands on Chambers & led the room in prayer. PRAISE GOD for such a wonderful group of doctors, nurses & staff who are not ashamed to praise the Creator for His wonderful miracle of life! it made such an impact on us. i found out later that Dr. Ross stayed over his on-call shift for my delivery – i am so every-grateful to him for that. without telling me, they had also set up for an emergency C-section thinking that the forceps may not work. so joyful that i was able to deliver him in the room & not completely under anesthetics!
after that i was able to breastfeed Chambers right away – what a wonderful feeling to know that i was providing Chambers with the best thing for him at the time. how cool is God for designing our bodies like that?! we were wheeled up to recovery about an hour later [on the way saw Kyle & Jenna, who are in our small group at church & in our birthing class – they had sweet Piper Mae later that evening! my friends Katie & Andrew also had their daughter, Evelyn, that night in Louisville. what a blessing to walk alongside so many women with babies or pregnancies & have two of them share a birthday with Chambers!]
a side-note about the scrubs Yura was wearing: it is the same scrub top that my dad wore when i was born in Arlington Memorial Hospital 24 years ago. i am still a little amazed that it survived every move & shuffling of boxes. it has my feet prints, weight, height & birthdate on it. we planned to print Chambers’ feet on it, but we haven’t gotten around – i guess we should do it soon because he’s already got bigger feet!
in case you lost track, that’s 22 hours, 10 minutes of “official” labor [by the hospital records]. i started counting when we went in the first time, so that’s almost 29 hours by my clock – & maybe that’s the “official” one 🙂
from that point on it was a lot of feeding, sleeping, visitors & recovery. my epidural wore off relatively quickly & i was up within 2-3 hours. Yura slept a lot [he deserved it!] & so many sweet friends & family came by to see us & meet Chambers. if you came & i was out of it, i apologize – i know there are a few visits i vaguely remember!
also our nurses were fantastic – Maura, Lindsey, Bridgette – THANK YOU for making such a difference in our recovery stay. it was a joy to have you care for us!
we were sent home on Friday, March 15th, with our little bundle of joy in our arms. i am holding him now as i type this & i still can’t believe that he’s been given to us – at the same time, i can’t imagine life without him! praise the Lord alone for a healthy mom & baby & family.
an enormous THANK YOU to Maribeth Jones for not only taking photos of the labor & delivery, but being witness to my extreme pain, selfishness, screams & terribly swollen face [& also to a few more medical things i’m sure she’d rather not talk about]. my gratitude abounds, heart friend.
i’ll write a post later about his first month & all that we’ve been up to since. so much growing every day!