On March 14th, 2014 at 3:18 in the morning our beautiful son, Kellan Joshua Morgan, entered our lives at 4 pounds 4 ounces and 17 inches long. This is his birth story, mostly written for myself, but if you choose to continue reading please know that it will have details of the actual labor and has not been written for the faint of heart.
As the weeks of my pregnancy progressed, my anxiety and stress levels rose to new heights. I was having trouble falling asleep at night and would just end up crocheting on the couch for hours until I was too exhausted to keep my eyes open. I wasn't anxious about anything in particular, it was just the feeling my body continually had and it was utterly exhausting.
At my 33 week appointment my doctor finally prescribed me some medication to help aid in getting me to sleep. Wednesday night was my first night to take it, and though it did help, it still took a while to wind down enough for sleep.
The next morning was very typical; Callie and I played in her room (me of course laying on the floor/chair) we sorted all of her blocks by color and when it was time for her to go down for a nap I jumped in the bath to try and get some extra relaxation and get cleaned up. At 11:00 I started noticing very tight contractions that were pretty close together. I opened my pregnancy app and started tracking the frequency; 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, etc... After 45 minutes of tracking I sent a text to Josh letting him know that they were coming pretty frequently and that I would just keep a watch on them. Half an hour later they still had not calmed down, and even though I felt like we could keep watching from home, Josh left work and came to get me.
We had so many false labors that it was just routine. This time he placed the luggage in the car and we took Callie to his mom's house (thank goodness it was Spring Break). Once we arrived to maternal observation I was hooked up to monitors and an IV was started. They thought the fluids would be helpful in stopping/slowing contractions. They also gave me some morphine and procardia to try and relax my body into stopping. They got better for about 45 minutes and then, out of nowhere, I was contracting again every 5 minutes. Along with the contractions starting back up I had a severe blood pressure crash (due to the medications) and it was one of the scariest feelings I've ever had. My blood pressure dropped suddenly to 70/40. The nurses were quick to respond and were able to get things back to a more normal level within about ten minutes.
When we came into the hospital I was 1-2 cm dilated and after a few hours in maternal observation I was making progress reaching 3 cm. At this point they realized my contractions weren't stopping and decided to move me into labor and delivery to see what they wanted to do. Once we were there we discussed options, and really the only other option left for stopping labor was to go under magnesium, the doctors said there wasn't any benefit for the baby in trying that option and with how much pain and stress I was having we all agreed to just prepare for what was coming. Our little boy was going to be making his big appearance.
I cannot even begin to describe to you the heavy weight of guilt that I have felt from that moment on. It is my body that has trouble staying pregnant and my sweet little boy was about to pay full price for that without doing anything wrong. I felt guilty for not being able to have a "normal" pregnancy, I felt guilty for not trying harder to keep him in, I felt guilty for wanting to give up and be done... The list goes on and on. We all knew that with his premature birth would come a long journey in the NICU and it was something I had been bound and determined to avoid this time through. It just goes to show, God has plans that we know nothing about, and no amount of planning/preparing can stop His ultimate plan for our lives.
Around 10:00 I was at 4 cm and the epidural was being placed. I was in such denial about the circumstances that I tried to talk the doctor out of giving it to me, thinking that once I had the epidural the contractions would stop and I'd be sent home still pregnant the next day. They kept reassuring me that he really was coming and it would be okay. I attempted to rest, but it was impossible. My loving husband was trying his hardest to sleep on the couch while my supportive mother stayed keeping watch in a chair nearby. The room was dark and filled with anxiety, excitement and worry. We all knew God was in control, but the unknown was such a heavy burden on all of us.
|Constant prayers brought me peace and comfort in such a stressful/anxious time.|
As the night wore on I grew more uncomfortable and more sick. My reflux was at a level I hadn't experienced before and throwing up was all I could do to make it better. As I progressed, my anxiety heightened leading me into panic attacks. The nurse tried her best to keep me calm and get my breathing under control. My face and body were numb, tears flowed down my cheeks and all I wanted was for everything to be over with. I went from 5 cm to 10 cm within a couple of hours and by 2:30 the room was being prepped for delivery.
My water was still fully intact at 10 cm. We tried not to intervene hoping that with my water not broken we could make the labor last a little longer, which would be better for Kellan in the long run. Once I hit 10 and it was time to push, the game changed. The room was full, buzzing with nurses, NICU specialists, doctors and family, it was all such a panicked blur to me. Finally a doctor (not my OB, since she was not on call that night) was placed in front of me and broke my water. Once the unusually high volume had finished it's escape she was instructing me to push. With each push my reflux hit an excruciating level and with every attempt came acid throw up. Kellan wasn't tolerating the pushing, so they placed an oxygen mask on me and we tried again. With this next push the eyes on all of the nurses just about popped out of their heads. I was told to stop and there was a lot of whispering around the room. I was just trying to focus and stay calm. Kellan had presented face first, something called mentum anterior. Typically babies crown with the top of their heads, making it easy to exit the birth canal. Every once in a while you have a breech baby (upsidedown) or a transverse baby (side to side) and a vaginal delivery isn't possible. With his position a vaginal birth would be impossible. The doctor called for the OR to be prepped for an emergency C section, but on a whim decided to try one more thing. She pushed Kellan back inside of the womb, reached in and manually turned his head/body to attempt to correct his position.
She then told me to push one more time and with that one single push, his head was safely out. Seconds later his body followed along with the placenta. The doctor let the umbilical cord pulse for a minute, giving him the last few nutrients and then cut the cord and handed him off to the NICU specialists. Tears poured down my face seeing the size of my sweet boy. He was tiny, so small... too small to enter the world. I cried as I watched the swarm of nurses surround my son whispering, placing cords and tubes all over his little body. It took everything I had not to get up and run over to hold him.
After a few minutes, and many tears later, the nurses wheeled his incubator over to my bedside so I could say my goodbyes. This feeling was all too familiar, it sent me back to that moment where I had to say goodbye to Callie. It was the situation I was doing everything I could to avoid, and yet, here it was. His tiny face was black and blue, apparently when my water broke it left my body so quickly and powerfully that his head slammed into my pubic bone. That, along with presenting mentum anterior had bruised his face badly. I held his little hand for a moment and then he was gone, leaving me alone with my aching heart and exhausted emotions.
|Saying goodbye to my precious little boy.|
|Kellan's first picture, right before being placed in his incubator and taken away.|
While I was sewn up the doctor informed me that the placenta shouldn't have come out with the baby. Typically it is delivered after the baby is out and being assessed. She said that it had somehow become partially detached and had I not come in, a fully detached placenta could have been life threatening for both Kellan and me. As much as I wanted to stop labor, I am thankful that nothing worked. God was in control and knew exactly what He was doing.
My mom and Josh never left my side for a moment. After receiving the care I needed my loving nurse wheeled me to the NICU at Cook Children's Hospital (connected to Harris, where I delivered) so I could see Kellan before being placed in my post partum room. Exhausted, Josh and I looked upon our son with tears in our eyes. He was perfect. Tiny, but perfect. Thus began our next journey...