Monday, October 10, 2016

Brigham Steven Jensen : Birth Story

Brigham Steven Jensen
September 30, 2016
9:24 PM
6 lbs 11 oz
19 inches 
American Fork Hospital

It was the Wednesday afternoon of September 28. We were at my 38 week check up and things were looking great! I was dilated to a 2, almost 3, and 90% effaced. Dad had been here for about a week and was leaving a week from that Sunday to go back to Africa until next July. Grandma Benson was on the brink of death, and Bethy's wedding was a week away. I explained the chaos that was our lives to Dr. Jones and he latched onto the fact that dad was leaving. I didn't want to be induced, and he wouldn't anyway, but he did say that he would strip my membranes. He asked if I would come in the next Wednesday. I agreed with a little hesitation and he noticed. I explained again that that would be fine and I would love if it got the ball rolling enough for my dad to see him, but that I would miss my sisters wedding and my grandma's funeral. He shook his head and asked "Wait, what's happening next week?" I explained it all again, and without hesitation he said "Can you come in tomorrow morning at 9:00?" I could have hugged him! He of course didn't want to give me any hope and said that there was a chance that nothing at all would happen, but it was our best shot at getting things going. I went home, got work off for the next day, and prayed to the highest heavens that the membrane sweep would work!

Steve went to work the next morning and was sure to have his ringer on loud! We were so hopeful that something would happen, but also keeping ourselves from holding our breaths. Mom took me to my appointment and Dr. Jones walked in with a grin on his face. He agreed to "strip the heck out of those membranes" and then proceeded to do so. I was immediately crampy and bled pretty significantly. He sweetly asked about my Grandma who had held on throughout the night, and when I told him she hadn't passed yet he said, "Well, that's why your little one isn't here yet! He wants to meet his great grandma!" I loved the thought of them meeting before she hopefully would lovingly and quickly kick him out of heaven!

Not 2 minutes after we left the office, mom got the phone call that Grandma had passed. We went up to Beehive where she had been living for the past 2 years and she was able to be with her siblings. We spent the rest of the day between Beehive and running errands. Dad met us for lunch at Cafe Rio and we joked that it could (and would hopefully be!) the "last supper" before the baby came. Mom asked me every 5 minutes how I was feeling and I was always so disappointed when I hadn't contracted for a long time. We got home and took the afternoon easy and by the time I got in bed, any contractions that I was having were now very light and almost an hour apart. 

On Friday, mom and I started late morning and ran a ton of wedding and funeral errands. I wanted to be up and going, hoping that my body would get into go mode! I knew that the baby had dropped significantly because the major pain I'd been having in my ribs since July had completely gone away the Sunday before. Throughout the day, I felt like he was dropping lower and lower but my contractions were still pretty wimpy. Starting at 1:54 though, they were a consistent 5 mintutes apart. Mom and I were about 30 minutes away from being done with our errands and by the time we got home, they were very consistent and getting stronger. I got a hold of Steve and told him he should come home from work as soon as he could. I got in the shower and worked through a few contractions with the high pressure warm water on my back which felt really good. I dried my hair and got ready and was glad to feel clean and somewhat put together. Getting ready took far longer that it should have because I was breathing through contractions every 3-5 minutes. I ordered Steve around and had him finish getting our hospital bags ready. I was glad to have packed most everything a couple weeks before and then made a list of the things I wanted to grab last minute. 

I had always pictured us running around the house in the middle of the night after my water had broken in a frenzy trying to get to the hospital. 4:00 in the afternoon, totally calm and ready was not what I had imagined, but I'm so glad that's how it went. My parents were both home, which was a miracle in and of itself, and we were able to have a few quiet minutes before we left. Steven gave me the sweetest blessing, blessing me with strength and courage and letting me know how much he loved me, It meant so much that we were able to begin the crazy with a quiet and peaceful moment!

By 4:00, we packed up the car and were on our way to the hospital! When we got there, I had completely convinced myself that they were going to send us home. My contractions were 5 minutes apart but I still felt like they weren't justifiably strong enough.  I just grabbed my purse and we left the rest of the bags in the car, and walked up to labor and delivery. At the top of the elevator, there are double doors and a phone you have to call on to be let in. When they answered, Steven calmly said "Hi, we think my wife is in labor." They buzzed open the doors, and we walked to the desk and the lady looked me up and down and said "Hi, how are you guys?" and I said "Good! I think I am in labor." She looked as if she was trying to hold a laugh in, and who could blame her? I was walking just fine, could talk to her no problem, my hair was curled, for heavens sake! But she was sweet and got us all checked in. I explained that my contractions were 5 minutes apart, and so she checked me into triage and said they'd monitor me for a while.

We got in our room, I changed into the gown, and a cute nurse, Christie, came and talked with us. I explained my symptoms and she said that she'd check me and we'd go from there. When she checked, she said I was dilated to a good 4, but since I hadn't changed much from my appointment the day before, they wanted me to hang out for an hour and they'd check me again at 6:00. She didn't want to seem too encouraging, but she did say "I've done this for long enough to think that you're going to be having a baby tonight. Your cervix feels like a 'laboring cervix' which is definitely encouraging." Our one hour wait started at 5:00 and from that very moment my contractions started getting stronger and closer together. Steven flipped on the TV and we watch Seinfeld while we waited. The two episodes that were playing were absolutely horrible but I'll never forget that we watched Seinfeld while we waited for our baby to come! By the end of the hour, my contractions were strong and close together, and I felt like I was going to squeeze Steve's hand to death with every one that came. Christie came and checked me again and within one second said "Oh yeah, you're at a 5. You're going to have a baby tonight!" I looked at Steve in utter shock and he said "Welp. Here we go!" I couldn't believe it was happening!

By 6:30, they had us admitted and put into Labor and Delivery room #2. We got the best and cutest nurse, Steph, who came in and helped me breath through contractions while coaching Steve on how to apply counter pressure to help the pain. They had a newbie tech come in to place my IV, and as luck would have it, she stuck my left hand and it didn't take. Drawing blood has always been a struggle for me and my first IV was no different! Steph also tried, but they eventually had the charge nurse, Kimmy, come in and place it. She was a champ and found a vein in my right hand to place it in and did it in no time. They got some fluids in me and got me on the list for an epidural. The anesthesiologist had 3 moms ahead of me, one delivering twins, so we knew it would be a while. Steve was so great and stood at the end of my bed for an hour and a half and pushed hard on my knees during each contraction. 

Just before 8:00, the anesthesiologist, Kevin, came in. At first, he seemed very disinterested and stand off-ish bur warmed up in the following 10 minutes before he gave me the epidural. I filled out some paper work and he talked me through what he would be doing. They raised the bed up and I swung my legs over the side. Steve sat in a chair directly in front of me. I put my feet on his calves and held his hands through it. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, I had a strong contracting throughout the entire duration of placing the epidural, so I was totally distracted and wasn't phased by the epidural at all. My blissful labor started moments later as each contraction got less and less strong until I couldn't feel anything at all. It was heavenly. I actually got to the point that I couldn't even feel any pressure and the only way we knew I was contracting was by looking at the monitor!

My doctor was not on call that night which was a bummer, but one of his partners, Dr. Cloward was. She was darling and I was totally comfortable with her from the moment we met. She came in at about 8:15 to check me and asked if it would be ok if he broke my water. I said yes, and Steph began getting the instruments ready. Dr. Cloward checked me and said "Yep, that's definitely a bulgy bag. You're a 7!" and then, while she was still checking, I contracted and said "Just kidding, you're an 8...and...your water just broke!" She had barely touched the bag and accidentaly popped it with her fingernail! Easy as that. I felt the gush of water and everyone commented how "that never happens!" Dr. Cloward told me to watch out for a ton of pressure and to let my nurses know if I felt like I needed to push. She said she'd come back in 2 hours unless we called her before then. She left the room about 8:30.

I had texted Kalynn who was going to come and take some footage for a birth video, and told her we were a couple hours out and to be ready! Luckily she was just at her parents so she could come quickly if we needed. The next half hour of labor was filled with chatting and laughing with Steven and the nurses and we were just in awe that I literally could not feel a single thing. At 9:00 Steve decided to go down to the car to get our bags. Not 20 seconds after he left, Steph came in to check me. She asked where he had gone and when I told her I asked if I needed to call him to come back. She said "oh no! I was just curious." She proceeded to check me and said "Actually, you'll want to call him. Your cervix is completely gone, you're at a 10! It's go time, girl!" I was in shock! I texted Steve right away and said "Come back right now!!" And he flew into the room seconds later. He had been stopped by a janitor in the hall who wanted to chat about the BYU game and hadn't even made it to the car! THere were several nurses in there helping get everything ready and amidst all the chaos, he and I locked eyes and had a sweet moment. We were about to be parents!!

I texted Kalynn in the same panic and she told me that she was in her car on her way! The nurses set me up on oxygen and started getting the bed ready. Kalynn got there just before I did a pracitice push. Steve was on my right side and Steph was on my left. They asked if I wanted a mirror, and I hadn't even thought of it! I said yes, then no, then yes, and settled on no. I ended up being able to see most of it reflecting off of the TV! Steph told me to act like I was doing a crunch, to hold my thighs, take a deep breath, and then push for 10 seconds. I did just that and BAM, his whole head crowned! She said "Ok, nevermind, stop pushing!" My eyes filled with tears as I realized that I was seconds away from meeting our little boy. I looked up at Steve who was still holding my right knee, and he and I shared the same expression of love and excitement and tear filled eyes. The next few minutes were a whirlwind as Dr. Cloward came rushing in, nurses stood on each side and got her gowned and gloved up, and she sat at the foot of the bed. She laughed at the fact that he was already crowing and made a fohawk out of his little head of hair!! 

As my next contraction started, Dr. Cloward told me to push! I took a deep breath, and pushed for 10 seconds, took one more deep breath, and by the time I counted to 5, he was out! I was a mom! I panicked when I heard the doctor say "double nuke" and knew the cord was wrapped around his neck, but she was able to get it right off (Steve said later it was the scariest thing to watch her try to get it off!) and they quickly lifted him to my stomach. I'll never forget his first little cry. It sounded more like a little wimper! They quickly wiped him off and then laid him on my chest. I have never felt happiness or love like I did in that moment, with Steven standing right at my side, holding my son for the first time. I looked him and immediately felt like I knew him! We were a family and he was absolutely perfect. He was squirmy right from the get go, but as soon as he tucked his little legs under his tummy, he settled down right on my chest. Without thinking, I blurted out the words "That was the easiest thing I've ever done!" and it was!! Everyone laughed and joked how that is not the usual response of someone who just pushed 6 pounds of baby out! But it was! It was the easiest, best, and happiest moment of my life. 

After they got him all cleaned up, weighed, and measured, they wrapped him up and Steve got to hold him for the first time. I thought I loved him when we first said I love you, when we got engaged,  on our wedding day, on our anniversaries, and especially the day I told him we were going to have a baby, but none of that compared to the moment that he first held our son. The sheer and absolute joy that was on his face and the love in his eyes as he held our little boy is something I will never ever forget. 

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be Brigham's mama and to be married to his daddy. I love them both with my whole heart.