My Birthday Story

Obviously, I wasn’t there for the story of my birth. So, these are the events that happened as I remember people telling me. As it is my birthday, I thought I would share.

Around 8pm pacific time on Wednesday December 6th 1978, my sister, who was 4 1/2 at the time, sat down to watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’s special presentation on ABC.

My very pregnant mother zoomed around the house cleaning up after dinner, not realizing she was nesting. I know my father was home, but I’ve never really heard what he was doing before all heck broke loose.

About twenty minutes into my sister’s TV special, my mother felt that she had to use the restroom, as she had drank quite a lot of tea that afternoon. While in there, she had realized that she did not in fact have to use the restroom, but her soon to-be-son’s head had already crowned. She had already started active labor and had no idea. (My mother was blessed with quick labors)

During the annual storytelling of my birth, this is when my father usually added some joke about always knowing I was a turd. *shakes head*

My father quickly called the neighbors, good friends to our family, to come get my sister and take her over to their house while he tried to get my mother to relax and by all means, please, wait for the ambulance.

I just didn’t want to wait. I guess I’ve been impatient from the start. Sorry, Dad. So, at 8:25 pm, my father delivered me into this world. (Insert another joke about being dropped on my head and that explaining my weirdness.) Shortly after that the ambulance arrived, the two medics looked around, relieved and said “Well this is an easy one.” And whisked us all off to the hospital.

To this day, my sister will never forgive me for interrupting Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’s Christmas Special.

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Daddy Blog: From Dining Room Table to the Hospital

Keira’s Birth Story(Daddy’s view)

Part One:

From the Dinning Table to the Hospital

I watched as her hand reached out to mine. Before our skin touched I knew. I knew to look at the clock. The past few weeks the clock and I had become close friends as he tortured me minute by slow minute, while I waited for “The time.”

I turned my head and told her the time. I looked down at my food thinking to myself “Well I better eat up if this is it. At least it’s steak.” From the look on her face and the tension I could tell that another contraction was on her, and glanced over at the clock before she could even tell me to. Five Minutes apart. We looked at each other in the eyes and I knew she was hurting. We both tried to get through dinner with out drawing too much notice from the boys or Nana and Papa. Once Dinner was done I told Kirsten to go lay down while I got the boys ready for bed and cleaned up the Kitchen, I wasn’t about to leave a dirty kitchen. I watched her go up the stairs slowly and struggling. I knew in my heart she was gun-shy after already being sent home from the hospital once for “False Labor.” If she was telling me now that they hurt I expected us to be on our way shortly.

The boys ran around for about 15 minutes then headed off to bed. I was able to get the kitchen clean and take the puppies out one last time then made my way up the stairs. The only light in the room came from the dim lights reflecting out from the bathroom. Kirsten laid on her side as I approached the bed and quietly asked how she was doing. “3-4 mins apart.” In my mind it was go time. I started mentally listing out everything that I needed to gather up and where I could find them. I told her to rest and just keep me updated on any changes. I Gathered up all the last-minute items I quickly put them out in the car. Between the trips I updated Kirsten’s parents of the situation. When I came back in I told her I was going to call the Doctors office she didn’t respond, at this point it was taking all her focus to get through each contraction. I called and left a message with their service to tell the person on call us back. In just two minutes my phone rang and I was speaking with the Mid-wife. She told me she was sending out information to the hospital and to go ahead and head over.

Although I knew driving through downtown would be the quickest route driving through all the pot holes and bumps while Kirsten was going through these kinds of contractions was not an option. I took the longer route that I knew would be smoother and would only costs us five minutes in time. When not in the midst of contractions Kirsten was either drinking from her blue water bottle, fussing with the radio, tweeting or asking if I wanted to call my mom. She did just about anything to keep her mind off where we were headed. It was a stark change from a week before. Her emotions where on edge and I knew to just let them run their course. As we came past the corn wagon I just remember her reaching over taking my hand and smiling with wet eyes. I was amazed at the complex emotions running through both of us. Joy, Fear, Love, Pain, Concern, and Compassion at the top of those lists.

As we approached the crossing of the state roads 999 and 741, to my horror I say “Road construction signs” I mentally shook my head as I say several cars ahead with brake lights casting a red glow. As we pulled to a stop I could see the section of road that was single lane traffic and the guy with the little orange flag only doing his job.

I wanted to jump out the car and scream at him that my wife was having a baby and I needed to go NOW!” I told myself to give the poor soul two minutes before I ripped him apart verbally. He got to the two-minute marker and only moments after I rolled down my window flagged our lane to pass through. Of course Kirsten was tweeting the whole time and found it oddly amusing. Looking back I do find the odds of it amusing. As we passed him I told Kirsten “No trains when we get onto Good Street okay!” and prayed. I wouldn’t be able to yell at mile long trains. Well I could but I think the effect would be mild at best.

We pulled into the Women’s and Babies parking lot at 11:56 PM I will never forget that time. We walked into Triage and were admitted at 12:01 PM I remember this cause we both had laughed at “The Office” episode were Pam tried to wait till Midnight to be admitted. Silly I know but funny. We entered out triage room and I thought I would be able to relax just a little and could stop my worrying. I figured we are the hospital everything else is gravy. Yeah that didn’t happen.

Keira’s Birth Story – Part 5: Keira is Born!

Here we go…

Once they were sure that the pain medication had left me absolutely numb, Jason and the OB came into the operating room. I wondered privately in my head if it would be rude if I asked the doctor if he’d had his first cup of coffee, yet… As he had just been called in and it was only around 7am. I decided it was best to keep my mouth shut and not anger the man who was about to be cutting me up.

Jason sat down next to me and I asked if I was allowed to move my arm to hold Jason’s hand as my other hand had been strapped down. The anesthesiologist made me promise with a smile that I wouldn’t tear down the giant blue screen in the middle of the surgery. I promised and reached out for Jason. The other anesthesiologist returned and began telling me that they were beginning the surgery. “Great,” I thought. “He hasn’t gotten the memo that I want NO updates!!” But luckily, he gave only minimal updates as I squeezed Jason’s hand. To calm my nerves, I began talking to Jason about our little girl. “What do you think she’ll look like?” “I don’t know.” “I think she’ll be born with lots of brown hair, like her daddy. And curly hair like her mommy. Hopefully she’ll have your cute nose…”

Finally, the doctor said that they were almost done. The doctor told me I’d feel a bit of pressure, like a bowling ball. “Oh my god! It feels like Anthony & Ethan are sitting on me!!!” …and out came out little baby Keira at 7:39am! There was silence for a bit until a few moments later came Keira’s garbled cry!!

Keira is Born

At that point I heard one of the nurses say “oh my!” and Keira was whisked away to the warming tray to be cleaned up. The doctor remarked that she was all green from the meconium she had been sitting in and it was obvious it had been there for quite a while. Jason looked over at me, looking too nervous to leave my side and I said, “Go! Take a picture!” Jason went to the other side of the room, camera in hand, until one of the nurses stopped him and said she’d rather Keira get cleaned up first. As Keira was crying and they were sure that everything seemed fine, the doctor laughing joked “She looks like a little Shrek!” I laughed, too… but was now concerned about her as I still had not yet seen my little girl.

Finally, Keira was cleaned up and less green and the nurses held Keira up with her complete full head of brown hair. And the tears went STREAMING down my face! Brown hair, just like her daddy… and just like I had pictured. They continued cleaning her up as Jason took pictures and they continued putting me back together. They brought Keira over to my face and I touched her sweet face and fell in love. She was perfect. Afterwards, Jason went with Keira to the recovery room where I would join them later.

In the meantime, the doctor was talking to me over the blue screen saying that everything looked right. He said there had been a lot of meconium but that everything else looked right. He was confused as to why Keira had been in distress when there didn’t seem to be anything wrong. I informed him that I had been going through false labor for weeks. “Ohhh… that might be it…” Maybe my false labor wasn’t so false after all. Days and days of contractions had finally stressed Keira out to the max and she couldn’t take it anymore.

First Hold

Finally, they wheeled me in to the recovery room where Jason was holding an adorable Keira close to him. I smiled at seeing him hold our daughter for the first time ever.  After performing a couple tests, I asked to hold Keira. I wasn’t able to figure out how to breastfeed right away like I had hoped with the numbness of the c-section epidural reaching up to my chest. The nursery nurse handed Keira to me as the recovery nurse helped to remove the extra wires as we laid Keira down on my chest. I looked down at her beautiful face, breathed her in, and felt content knowing that through all the stress, my baby girl was finally here. A beautiful, healthy Keira Isabelle Deeds was born on May 14th at 7:39am, weighing 7 pounds and 10 ounces at 21 1/2 inches.

Baby Keira

Keira’s Birth Story – Part 4: Heading for C-Section

Another Change of Plans…

The midwife came in a few minutes later to see me and gave me a similar talk to what the nurse had previously told me. She informed me that the signs weren’t looking good and she was afraid that it was only a matter of time before we would be forced into doing an emergency C-section. This would mean being completely put under and Jason would not be allowed to be there when the baby was born. “Talk to me,” she said. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”

Immediately I started choking back the tears again. This wasn’t how I wanted it to go… But I told the midwife that we had a breech scare earlier in the pregnancy and I had prepared myself for the possibility of a C-section. At the end of the day, I wanted to make sure that the baby was healthy and that was my first priority before considering all of my other plans. So she called the doctor who would perform the surgery…

I asked who the OB on call was… and was told it was the male doctor of the practice. “Oh man,” I thought. “I am soooo not comfortable having a male doctor.” I groaned and asked the midwife and nurse if it was possible to have MY doctor come in. They said she was scheduled to come in later that day and that we could wait for her… but it could also mean gambling on how the baby’s health would be by that time. I reassured myself that what was most important was the baby’s health. We want a happy, healthy baby and laughed as I said, “Ha! Well… at least it’s not a vaginal birth…” The nurse smiled at me sweetly. “That’s true!”

The doctor came in and gave me the same speech on how he truly believed we were looking at an emergency c section on our hands if we waited. “All we need is one more sign that this baby is going into distress….” And with a little nod from me, the anesthesiologist was called back in to get ready to up the epidural. Jason was given his scrubs and my gown was lifted so the doctor could sign my belly. (And I’m still unsure why this is standard protocol! Took me DAYS to wash that signature off!!)

As I was wheeled off to the operating room (laying on my side – as they were afraid of the heart rate dropping again), Jason was told he had to wait in another room. I begged that he stay with me… I was sure I’d be headed to another panic attack if he left my side. No, they told me, he has to stay out of the operating room until they were completely set up. I gave myself yet another pep talk….

In the operating room, they were about to transfer me to the operating table. I panicked and said, “I can’t be on my back! The baby’s heart rate will drop!!!”

“Don’t worry – we spoke to the nurse about it and we’ll put a wedge up until the very last moment.” I relaxed a bit then… “Now, can you move over to the operating table at all?” I told them I wasn’t sure, but somehow I was able to garner up enough strength through the epidural numbness to scoot over to the operating table, needing only a little bit of help getting my legs situated into the right spot. I was proud of myself!

The blue screen went up and I remember the nurses talking about the clear diet I’d be having after the surgery. “Wine is clear, right?” I heard one of the nurses say… and the rest laughed. Well, it was reassuring to have some light hearted nurses on staff. Serious nurses would make me worry. Then I was introduced to 2 different anesthesiologists who would be there during the surgery. I made fun of one of their colorful hats, commenting that he was the only one wearing anything but plain blue scrubs in the operating room. He quickly caught on to my nervousness and started teasing back. At that point he started testing the epidural to see if I felt anything. “Feel that?” “Nope” “How about that?” “Nope.” “Excellent”. While one of the anesthesiologists was attending to something else, the funny one started telling me what was going to happen. I looked at him and told, “Don’t tell me anything. I don’t want to know.” He looked back at me, got the picture and said, “Okay, I’ll just let you know when they’re pulling the baby out.” I was extremely grateful for his understanding.

Keira’s Birth Story – Part 3: Labor

A Moment of Rest

As I got into the labor and delivery room, my contractions were 2 – 3 minutes apart and were very intense. I was breathing through them like a champ as I massaged my back through the pain. I remember overhearing the nurse asking Jason, “Has she had this back pain the entire time?” I just kept reminding myself that the anesthesiologist was on the way!

The anesthesiologist had arrived and asked that I sit up from where I was laying on my side on the bed. Oh man, did that hurt… In between contractions I asked the anesthesiologist if I might be able to lay down on my side. The nurse and anesthesiologist gave each other a look. “I can… but it’ll be a lot harder….” Bells exploded in my head… Picturing him messing up and me being paralyzed for the rest of my life, I told myself I could do this for just a few minutes. With Jason’s help, I got up in bed, grabbing his shirt and burying my head in his chest as the nurse supported my back. I believe I somehow got through 3 or 4 intense contractions, groaning and breathing through the pain, as he got the epidural in. He must have been an awesome anesthesiologist because the only thing I felt was a pinch as the final needle went in. (Or the back pain from the contractions were just too strong for me to care…)

Around 5am, the pain had finally subsided and I was able to rest. My throat was raw from the groaning and moaning and I asked the nurse for a Popsicle to help calm it down. Jason almost grabbed the extra Popsicle until we both realized it was strawberry. I informed the nurse he was allergic to strawberry and that I really didn’t want him to be in the hospital as well! I finished off my Popsicle as the nurse read my chart and informed me that she wasn’t very happy with how the baby’s heart rate was responding. Apparently, the heart rate should increase and decrease through the labor and our little baby’s heart rate was staying completely flat. She turned me over to my other side and hooked me up to the oxygen as Jason and I laid down to rest a bit.

A few minutes later, the nurse came back in to put in my catheter. She flipped me onto my back for a moment… and almost immediately I felt a panic attack rising up. (Funny – I was thinking about how great I had been through the rest of labor without having any panic attacks and NOW I have one!?) I tried to calm myself down by breathing through it as I felt so lightheaded. The nurse quickly finished and hurriedly flipped me back over to my left side. That’s when I noticed that Jason had woken up from his little nap and that the alarms were going off on the machine in the room.

“Your heart rate dropped,” the nurse said. I informed the nurse that I had just had a panic attack while I was on my back. “Yes, you looked a little white…” She then told me that the baby’s heart rate had also dropped… as well as my blood pressure. She quickly flipped me again to my right side, telling me that apparently, the baby didn’t like me laying on my left side either as her heart rate still wasn’t at the right level and put the oxygen mask back over my face. From that point on, the nurse barely left the room. The contractions had started to slow down a bit – of course, I couldn’t feel them any longer with the epidural in.

The nurse thought maybe having the baby “sunny side up” was causing the heart rate problems. She decided to bring in a peanut ball to put between my legs to help open my hips. Nurse Jackie kept flipping me back and forth every couple of minutes to coax the baby to turn around. In the meantime, she called in the “doctor” on call from my OB/GYN practice… which happened to be the midwife. When she got off the phone, she told me that she wanted me to start preparing myself. The signs on the baby weren’t looking good with the heart rate problems and the increasing amount of meconium in my water. She said, “I’m not a doctor but I’ve been doing this a while. The doctor is most likely going to want to perform a C-section.”

Keira’s Birth Story – Part 2: Labor Begins

Gearing Up

After being sent home from false labor, you can imagine how I felt about the possibility of being turned away again. I continued to have contractions in varying degrees of intensity for days. Sometimes they’d be regular and sometimes they would be 15 minutes apart, 7, 3, 12… and all over the place. At my 40 week appointment on May 10th, the doctor found I was still sitting at 2 cm dilating. However, the baby was a LOT lower and I was now at 50% effacement. Doctor swept my membrane and gave us the plan that if baby didn’t arrive naturally by my 41 week appointment, we’d be setting a date for induction that week. However, the membrane sweeping must have worked as I had my “bloody show” the next day. Being the google lover I am, I found that statistically, this meant the baby was most likely to show up within the next 3 – 5 days!

As I went to bed on the 12th, I again started having contractions about 15 minutes apart. As they didn’t bug me much, I didn’t pay much attention. Secretly, I hoped it was true labor and decided it would be best to just get some rest and see how it went in the morning. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of them after being duped by false contractions before.

Morning came and I woke to more contractions around 10 minutes apart. Again, they weren’t that intense so I ignored them and went off to work with the following tweet: “Either in early labor or another false alarm. Planning to go about my day until it gets uncomfortable.” Through out the work day, the contractions stayed with me, gradually picking up to 8 minutes apart. I ended up leaving work for my planned half day and went home to rest. With Jason conveniently having the day off, he decided to make dinner for the family. As we’re getting dinner together, I was continually bending over and trying to breathe through the contractions as they radiated through my back. I remember looking up to Jason and saying, “this might actually be the real thing.” At that point in the day I had given up timing the contractions and had no clue what was going on.

As we sat down to dinner, I had another powerful contraction and asked Jason what time it was. “6:22”. Dinner continued…. “What time is it now?” “6:27”

And we stared at each other with wide eyes… and tried not to alarm the family or get them excited. “What about now?” “6:31”

The Real Thing

Somehow I made it through dinner without the kids worrying about me. Jason… was a different story. He got dinner cleaned up while I went upstairs with my water bottle to hydrate and lay down. Around 10pm, Jason decided it was time to double-check the hospital bag to make sure we had everything. I got up from the bed and felt like I may have wet myself (oh, the joys of pregnancy!) and went to the bathroom. At first, I wondered if it had been my water breaking but quickly dismissed it as it wasn’t the clear liquid I expected it to be. As soon as I walked out of the bathroom, I felt it come on again and would walk straight back to the bathroom. Back and forth 4 or 5 times. I remember thinking how annoyed I was with myself that I made it through most of my pregnancy without peeing my pants and now I couldn’t control it!!

As the pain of the contractions started radiated throughout my back and my hips and I was groaning in pain, Jason decided to start re-timing the contractions. (At that point, I was tired of watching a clock – I really didn’t want to get myself too excited.) 3 – 4 minutes apart. Jason wanted to call the doctor… and I started crying and saying I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t mentally prepared to start labor and I was just so so scared of going back into triage and being told to go home. So we waited….

An hour of me flipping back and forth on the bed in pain, clutching my back, Jason finally says he’s calling the doctor. Jason informs the midwife that contractions are 2 – 4 minutes apart and that I had lost my mucous plug earlier that week. She informed us to get over to the hospital ASAP! I start waddling down the stairs towards the car as Jason was running back and forth from the car to the house, getting everything together. My mom came over to me to see if I needed help. With tears streaming down my face I tell her, “I don’t want them to send me away!” “Oh, hunny… don’t worry about that. You’re a lot further along than most women would be checking in!”

I got loaded into the car, again shaking in the pain, and notice the contractions were narrowed down to 2 – 3 minutes apart. Jason seemed to be worried that we were not going to make it in time even though we were 20 minutes away from the hospital. Halfway there, we were stopped by a construction man with a STOP sign. I started to laugh a little. Of course. Stopped by construction on our way to the hospital. Luckily, we only sat for a couple of minutes (although, I’m sure Jason was prepared to jump out of the car at any minute to smack the construction dude).

We get to the hospital and I remember thinking “I’m glad we know where things are…”, thinking of how we walked the halls of the hospital for an hour during my false labor. After several trips to the restroom, cursing myself for continually peeing myself, I was again hooked up to the machines. Triage nurse informed me that I was 80% effaced and 3 cm dilated. I groaned… sure that I wasn’t far enough along for them to admit me even though I was groaning in pain with tears streaming down my face. So many times I was clutching Jason’s shirt with my face in his chest, trying to breathe through the pain… and my free hand massaging the intense pain radiating through my back. “3 cm”, I thought. “I’m in all this pain and only at 3 cm.” The nurse tried to reassure me: “3 cm to 4 cm is the hardest part! Don’t you worry!” I’m beginning to think she was full of it….

Around 1am on May 14th, the nurse informed me that they were going to admit me! (YES!!!!!) But unfortunately, they were out of beds and there were women in triage who were further along than me and would be admitted first. She asked what my plan was for managing the pain, knowing full well the intense back labor I was having. I told her I had hoped for a natural birth but with the back pain, I couldn’t handle it and wanted an epidural. She could obviously tell I was disappointed in myself as I choked back tears and told me that plans change when labor begins and not to be hard on myself.

Unfortunately, epidurals could only be given in Labor & Delivery. She asked if maybe I’d like to shower to ease the pain as she was reading my “contraction contraption” graph. After I accepted, she took it back… and said she wasn’t happy with how the baby’s heart rate was responding and wanted to keep me hooked up to the machine for observation. No shower for me. Instead, she offered the use of the labor ball. They brought in the labor ball and Jason grabbed my favorite slippers as I flipped my feet over side. After I got through the next contraction, I got my feet in the slippers, stepped over the side and there was a big SPLASH onto my poor slippers. Jason ran out to the hallway to grab the nurse. “Uh! Her water broke!!”

“No, no… I peed… I just peed.. that’s all it is…” I was so embarrassed….

All the while the nurse and Jason are running around trying to get me cleaned up and I’m crying in pain. “No”, Jason reassured me, “that’s too much fluid”. My water had definitely broken. And it was full of meconium. (I guess that explains why I thought the color was wrong to be my water breaking…)

At that point, things seemed to go so quickly. My water breaking must have moved me up in line as the next thing I remember is wonderful, sweet, Labor & Delivery Nurse Jackie showed up to take me back to my room. She assured me we could stop walking if I had a contraction. I wasn’t having it. I walked as fast as I could to get to that room, knowing an epidural was in sight.

Keira’s Birth Story – Part 1: Pre-Labor

The Plan

Before taking any childbirth classes, my birth plan consisted of me sticking my head in the sand and trying to ignore the fact that pregnancy ended with painful labor or a painful surgery. I’m known with the people who know me best as being the one who passes out from giving blood or even getting my eyes dilated. It wasn’t until I took a 6 week birth class through the hospital that I finally got comfortable with the idea of childbirth. And researching different comfort measures, I felt I could handle doing a natural childbirth without the use of any medications using the mantra “I can do anything for 60 seconds.”

Pre-Labor

About a month before Keira’s May 14th due date, my “fake” Braxton Hicks contractions started getting more painful and regular. While the BH contractions felt just like tightening around my belly, these contractions seemed to start in my back and radiate over to my belly. There were many times that I thought I was in the beginning stages of labor and would have Jason begin packing the bags.

Dress Rehearsal

On Monday, May 3rd, I woke up to find my contractions were getting a lot more painful and were 4 – 6 minutes apart. I found myself having a hard time concentrating through the contractions. After a month of false contractions, I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it but was quickly talked into staying home from work by Jason and my dad. I had my 39 week prenatal appointment that day anyhow so I figured that if it turned out to be false, I could return to work that afternoon.

However, just an hour before my scheduled appointment, I was having a hard time focusing on what people were saying to me and contractions had come to 4 minutes apart. Jason called the doctor’s office to ask if we should be going to their office or the hospital. They asked us just to come in early to our appointment.

As we got into the office, I was shaking and having a hard time figuring out what the nurse was saying to me. Somehow I finally ended up on the examination table to be told that I was about 2 cm dilated. The doctor informed us I was in early labor. When Jason asked if we were talking days or weeks, she responded that we should expect a baby “in 12 to 24 hours” and asked us to go ahead and labor at home until I couldn’t take any more and felt I would be more comfortable at the hospital.

For the next 24 hours, we tried to speed labor along. We went for a walk through the mall, Target, drove over bumpy rides, and tried pressure points but contractions stayed at 4 – 6 minutes apart with varying degrees of intensity.

Around 5pm on May 4th, we decided to go to the hospital as the intensity of the contractions brought tears to my eyes (still at 4 – 6 minutes apart). However, as soon as I was laying on the table in Triage and hooked up to the machines, the contractions slowed down to 15 minutes apart and the intensity died down. We were sent back home with a sheet on “false labor” and told that it may be dehydration that had caused the false labor.