Thursday, September 15, 2011

showing up for his party: ezekiel's birth story.

We'd been asleep for a few hours when I suddenly awoke in a puddle at 2:45 a.m. on July 28th. I thought I had peed my pants and in my sleepy, dazed state I said, "Matt, I can't stop peeing." He mumbled, "Go to the bathroom then."  I replied a little louder in a whiny voice, "Maaatt, I CAN'T stop peeing!" I was really upset because I thought I was dreaming about going to the bathroom and then suddenly lost all control of my bladder muscles. A pregnant woman crazy-dream brain in full force.

Matt got out of bed and helped me waddle to the bathroom, uncontrollably dripping all the way. It still hadn't clicked. I sat down and said "WHY am I so wet?!"   I looked up to see Matt's eyes wide and a little panicked. "DID MY WATER JUST BREAK??!"

And that is how Ezekiel's birth story begins.

I was 37 weeks and we were not quite expecting his arrival this soon.

After we realized that it was indeed the breaking of the water, we got really nervous and I cried a little, then we went into excited baby mode. He was coming! Holy hell he was coming! Our baby!

I cleaned myself up and wrote a list for Matt to head to Wal-mart to pick up a few things for the hospital bag (like baby onesies, you know... for our baby!) I also told him to pick up Windex because it was really important that we cleaned the bathroom mirror before we left. I just couldn't comprehend having a dirty mirror when coming home from the hospital! Matt went and picked up supplies, including a sweet baby blanket and a bouquet of flowers that he called "water breaking flowers." So sweet.

We started some laundry, prepped the hospital bag, and then laid down around 4:30 to try to rest up for the festivities ahead. I didn't feel like it was urgent to get to the hospital because my water was clear, and I figured we'd go once the party actually got started. We both were able to fall asleep for a bit, and around 7 a.m. I called the midwife's office to let them know what had happened. She suggested we come into the clinic to make sure all was on track. Contractions hadn't started yet and I could still feel baby boy moving about. We packed the car and headed downtown to the hospital, stopping at Einstein's Bagels where I scarfed a sausage sandwich and a blueberry bagel. If I could have seen into the future, I would have eaten more!
(remember when I was this pregnant!? it's so weird bc it doesn't seem real.)

We checked into the hospital around 11 a.m., and the midwife said we could try to get things going without intervention, but I was only at 2 cm and wasn't actually actively laboring yet.  We walked and walked and walked the halls while simultaneously begging for labor to start, but by 3 p.m. it had been 12 hours since the rupture and no active labor. Bummer.  Matt and I had prepped with a Hypnobirthing class and really wanted things to go naturally if possible, but knew we would have to go with the flow to get him here safely, so with the flow we went.

We started pitocin and labored with steady contractions until around 9 pm. Matt and my mom were really supportive and awesome the whole time, gotta give that shout-out! And David and Carole and my dad stopped by to keep morale up. Unfortunately, after 6 hours I was only at 4 cm. Second bummer. I hadn't eaten for nearly 12 hours and knew I wouldn't have any energy or strength to meet my son if I didn't get pain meds to help get him here, so I opted for an epidural. Getting an epidural while also experiencing contractions every 3 minutes... ouch.  Good thing the doc was a sweetheart. Thanks Greg!

I was not a fan of the epidural. Yes, it totally took away the pain of contractions, but holy smokes I hate being numb. Gah. Not awesome. And it gave me the shakes & made me fairly sick. Then EZ's heart rate immediately decreased from 150 to 70 when I laid down to get checked, and even though I was at 7 cm by 11 p.m. that night, baby boy wasn't doing so hot. If I moved, his heart rate would drop. If we upped the pitocin to kick up the contractions, his heart rate would drop. He also hadn't moved very low in the birthing canal, and if we could get to 10 cm we'd have to use forceps. My midwife brought in the on call doctor to assess the situation, and that was the first time a C-section was mentioned. Forceps? C-section? These were possibilities that we hadn't even considered because we'd been focused on things going smoothly. At one point we had 3 doctors and 2 nurses all talking medical jargon about me and my son, and I had my mom push everyone out of the room so I could just cry.  Matt held my hand and we just took a moment to wrap our heads around the situation and just cry it out.  The excitement & fun from the previous water-breaking-in-bed morning was dwindling, and I just wanted it to come back. Or at least let go of all the fear so we could focus on getting our baby boy here, all expectations aside. They had to monitor EZ very closely, and at one point had to give me a shot to stop contractions in order to allow him to recover his heart rate. Stop contractions? Not helpful when we're trying to have a baby.

I was at 8 cm by about 1 a.m. on the 29th, but had to stay sitting in a completely upright position with my legs straight out - otherwise my sweet son's heart rate would drop instantly. Third bummer.  The doctor was upbeat that we could get to 10 cm, and allowed us to try for a few more hours. It was exhausting and very emotional, and thankfully Matt kept me calm (and laughing) while my mom kept us both sane. And at least EZ would always recover after his heart rate dropped, because it did multiple times over the next 4 hours.

5 a.m. arrives and it's determined by the doc that I'm still at 8 cm, and my contractions have mostly died off. Baby boy responded negatively to pitocin, so they couldn't give any more of that to help the process. At this point it'd been 27 hours since my water ruptured and the doctor declared it was time for a c-section. They weren't sure why his heart rate was dropping (the most likely suggestion was severe cord compression), but it would be impossible for him to come vaginally and they didn't want to put me or him at any more risk. It was time to have this baby.

Matt got dressed for surgery, we had a sweet moment together to say goodbye to our time as two, and then they wheeled me into surgery to make us a three. Matt held my hand the whole time until the doctor said "Stand up, Dad." We heard Ezekiel cry out immediately and it was thrilling! I'd never been more grateful to hear a sound in my life. They rushed him off to the adjacent room and Matt followed closely behind with our camera in tow. The surgery went well, and after they pulled the placenta out they realized the umbilical cord was attached to the side instead of the middle which probably caused the water to rupture prematurely, and also caused the dips in EZ's heart rate. The midwife and doctor both agreed that he wouldn't have come out if they hadn't done the c-section. Super grateful for doctors and hospitals and modern medicine.

Oh, but our sweet sweet son. He screamed so loudly until Matt started talking to him and touched his little hand. I could get glimpses into the other room and all I saw were big eyes staring intently up at his daddy. It was so incredible. He was here and he was with his papa. Matt would rush back and forth between the rooms showing me pictures and telling me how perfect he was, and then head back to hold his son's hand. There was never a baby more perfect. Healthy and strong and cute and just perfect. That has been our word of choice ever since.

About an hour after he was born I was able to hold & meet my boy. Oh, the feelings! He was mine and fit so perfectly on my chest that I never wanted him to leave. He calmed me and I calmed him, and we felt complete. Deep, raw love that rips your heart open and leaves you a new, better version of yourself.

Unfortunately, I didn't do too well after surgery. Lots of shaking, and sickness, and throwing up for hours after, and I wasn't my usual self until about 24 hours later. Matt was amazing with EZ and the nurses helped so much, but most of Friday is fuzzy. We had excited visitors come over, but no one stayed too long because I was too exhausted, and frankly so were EZ and Matt. The last 24 hours were quite traumatic and we definitely needed some time to recover.

When Saturday morning came, I finally had some food (48 hours had passed since I'd had anything real to eat), and all seemed right in the world.  I was me again, Matt was right by my side, and we had the most perfect little baby boy to stare at for hours and hours and hours. 

Never before have we loved so fiercely.  I'm writing this story down so he knows how he got here, but also so he knows that I'd immediately do it all over again a million times for him. It doesn't matter that it didn't go to plan or that it was long & exhausting.  What matters is that he's here. And he's ours. Oh how I love that he's ours.

Ezekiel Red, we love you bigger than the sky and wider than the sea. Thank you for being ours. Forever and ever and ever. And ever.
 {photo by jalene}


  1. Carla, this makes me so happy. Have I mentioned lately that I am THRILLED for the three of you? (It's amazing how much he's grown since then!)

  2. You make me laugh and cry. I love this. You are one tough momma!

  3. He really is so perfect, Carla! I'm glad he finally made it here, and that you are both doing well!

  4. sobbing. just sobbing at what a beautiful story that is. so glad he is here safe and sound!!


  5. water works! gahhh
    this is so special.
    i started bawling when he stopped crying when matt started talking to him. and that when you held him you calmed each other. i'm always telling james he never talks to ike and he needs to talk to him more so he'll recognize him. maybe i can stop nagging so much :) and i'm really worried he won't like me and i won't be able to make him stop crying so it was nice to hear that your son loved being in your arms :)

    really happy for you guys!

  6. I love love love the last picture of EZ! What a beautiful story. I'm a sucker for a good birth story, and this is definitely a good one. I'm so glad he make it her safely,even if he was early and took his time. You're a champ! Birth truly is the greatest miracle...Thanks for sharing.

    PS Motherhood looks good on you.

  7. crap. i'm all teary eyed reading this at work.

    beautifully written and captured. you make a gorgeous momma.

    i want one so much lately ( more than ever in fact.) i hope 2012 is my year. :)

  8. bah! i totally teared up. such an amazing story. i know we were hoping for a photographed birth story here, but i think he came into the world just as he was supposed to. :)