Friday, March 4, 2011

The day you were born III

Atticus Markley Case

Born March 4, 2011 at 4:22AM. 5lb. 4 oz., 19 and 1/2 in. long.

What a pleasant four-week-early surprise I received on the day you were born. And what a pleasant surprise you have been every day since then! 


My pregnancy with Atticus was different from my other pregnancies. For the first time I didn't have high blood pressure to stress about! I was so much more relaxed and happy during the last couple of months leading up to his birthday than I had been with the other pregnancies.  When the events of labor and delivery  occurred  I was simply overcome with peace, patience, excitement, gratitude and love.

This is your birthday story:

On Wednesday, March 2nd, around 4AM, I awoke to go to the bathroom and as I stood up I felt like I involuntarily wet my pants right where I was standing. "I think that my water just broke" I thought to myself.

Sometime while I was asleep my water broke but didn't leak out until I stood up to go to the bathroom. The reality of it sank in quickly over the next few minutes.I felt a little shocked and really excited as I thought about what this really meant. I was going to have a baby much sooner than I expected, nearly 4 weeks early!

I cleaned up and put on a robe and went downstairs to call The Baby Place Birth Center where you would be born.. The midwife who answered the phone, Jerusha Goodwin, wanted to know if I was really sure that my water had broken, so she said I should come in and do an ultrasound around 8AM, and she suggested that in the mean time I should try and sleep until labor began since I wasn't having any contractions.

I was too excited to sleep so I cleaned up the kitchen, did a few other chores and waited until 6AM to wake Lex and tell him what had happened. I said "Guess what".  Lex: "What?" Me: "My water broke." Lex: "No way. Really?" Me: "Really!"  Then we were both in shock and excited together!

 I think he and I were both surprised that labor hadn't started by then. I really didn't feel like I would be going into labor any time soon, so I went on with my day like any other day.

Lex stayed home from work and watched the kids while I went to my appointment at 8AM. At the birth center Jerusha did an ultrasound on my stomach and confirmed that my water was broke by measuring the amount of amniotic fluid in my placenta. She explained to me that since my water broke so early we would need to go by the due date based on the last day of my period instead of my ultrasound due date if I wanted to go ahead and deliver at the birth center. I felt like delivering at the birth center was the right way for you to be born so I stuck with that plan.

Back at our house Jordyn came to play while MaLea went to work. In the afternoon Cyrus, Darius, Jordyn and I went to Micah's house for a "play date" with the twins, Trenton and Traeh, but when we got there we were excited to find out that it was a surprise baby shower!  Perfect timing!!!  Cyrus and Darius went from there to spend the night at Papaw and Mamaw's house, and after work MaLea came and picked Jordyn up from our house.

Later that evening I had a music rehearsal with some women from the church in to prepare for "The Ten Virgins Musical" that I was co-directing.  The day ended up being quite eventful but it did not end up being your birthday.

The next day, March 3rd, Lex and I did a lot of waiting around for labor, then we called the birthing center again. Jerusha explained to me that the longer the baby wasn't born after my water broke the greater chance I had of getting an infection. She gave me some instructions to try to move labor along, which I followed. I drank castor oil.

Three hours and three doses later it began to work! My contractions became stronger and closer together. For several more hours we just waited patiently while my uterus did its work. At 10:30PM Lex and I went into the birthing center where they gave me antibiotics for Group-B strep just in case I happened to have it, then we decided we'd go home to sleep until labor came on more strongly.

On March 4th, at 2:30AM, my contractions became too strong for me to sleep, and I couldn't really find any comfortable way to sit or lay down, so I woke Lex up and he gave me a beautiful Priesthood blessing that Atticus and I would be safe and I would have strength through my labor. We called the midwives, and we arrived at the birthing center around 3AM.Colleen Goodwin checked my cervix and I was dilated to 4cm. Taking that and my pain level into consideration I figured it would be at least a few more hours of labor before I was ready to for pushing and delivery.

I got into the nice, big bath tub and Lex sat right by the side of the tub and for the good part of an hour I relaxed and breathed deeply through each contraction. I remember a few times I told myself to take ten deep breaths and then the contraction would be over, but I quickly gave up on counting because it felt like a big let down when I got to ten and the contraction wasn't over. 

With each contraction I slipped my body down low in the water and let the pressure of contractions flow out of my stomach and into the water. The contractions grew closer together until I had several contractions that were very intense with little or no breathing time in between them and I wasn't coming back up out of the water between contractions. I would just stay down and keep breathing. I remember thinking "this too shall pass", and that gave me something to focus on and helped me to relax.

Just a few minutes before Atticus was born I said to Lex "If I was at the hospital I'd probably be asking for an epidural right now", and although I said it almost jokingly, the pain really helped me remember why I had asked for an epidural during my other labors. It wasn't pleasant!

Soon after that I felt a sensation completely different from the contractions that came before it. It really took me by surprise because I had never heard about "pushing contractions" before. Involuntarily my body began to bear down, I felt a stinging sensation, and I had a strong urge to push. I said to Lex "I think he's coming out. You better go get them." referring to the midwives. He went in the hall and was gone for probably one minute but it seemed like forever. While he was out finding them I reached down and felt the baby's head. I got out of the tub and put on a robe. I laid down on the bed next to the tub and Colleen came to check me. Sure enough the head was crowning. She pulled over a birthing stool which I sat on and waited what felt like forever for my next pushing contraction to came.  I had a strong urge to push that seemed unstoppable. Colleen told me not to push. I said "I can't". She said "Try not to push. I don't want you to tear. Wait until the next contraction." So I breathed and tried to relax and not push. The contraction subsided and she said "If you'd like you can reach down and feel your baby's head. I don't remember what I said when I reached down and felt your head, but I remember feeling excited that you were almost and that things were going to well and so quickly.

Moments later my next pushing contraction came and Colleen coached me to gently push, then stop, then gently push, and then the whole head was born, then with another gentle push his shoulders and body seemed to slip right out. Coleen put him in my arms, I looked at him for a few seconds and then you began to cry.  That was the best sound I had ever heard.  I was overcome with love and gratitude and as I looked at his beautiful little body tears filled my eyes.

We covered him with a warm blanket and at about that time (two minutes too late) Mamaw came in through the side door, and apparently left it open too far because Colleen said "Shut the door!" and that's when Mamaw noticed me sitting on the birthing stool holding a baby and realized for the first time that Atticus were already born!

I delivered the placenta and then carried Atticus over to the bed where Lex, Atticus and I laid and snuggled. My body shook from the adrenaline of labor and right away Atticus began to nurse.  We all laughed and talked about the surprise speedy delivery that was over in just a little more than an hour after we had arrived there.

We could tell by his size that he was definitely a preterm baby, and immediately I said a prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for giving you a beautiful, tiny, healthy, perfect body and for keeping you and me safe.
After a while Colleen performed a newborn exam where she determined that he was 5 lb. 4 oz., and 19 and 1/2 inches long. She explained to us that despite his perfect health, if he had been born at the hospital he would have been taken to the NICU right away because he was so small. Then I again said a prayer in my mind to thank Heavenly Father for helping events to unfold the way they did so I could deliver at the birthing center and keep my baby with me when he were born.

After we stared at him, and ood and awed for a while longer Mamaw went home to let us sleep. We slept really well with our baby lying on the bed between us for a few hours. The midwives brought us a delicious breakfast of eggs, fruit, toast and milk. Mamaw came back with Papaw and they brought Cyrus and Darius to meet their baby brother for the very first time. I could tell that they were just as much in love with him as Daddy and I were. 
By lunch time we were ready to go home. We spent the rest of Atticus' birthday in awe over how perfect he was and how perfect the delivery was. Everything was a surprise and we wouldn't change a single thing. 
Thank you, Atticus, for helping me to become a stronger person, 
and for coming into our family!