Our sweet Nathan Kenyon entered this world on December 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm. He weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces, and was 20 inches long. He came out pink, healthy, and screaming. His birth story is still surreal and surprising to me–so different from his brothers’ births. I want to record the details now while they are still fresh in my memory.
Nate was due December 24, and I was scheduled to have labor induced at 10 am on December 21. At my last OB appointment, my doctor determined that I was already 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced. He felt confident that I would not make it through Christmas and could very possibly go into labor on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (while he was off work). I was planning to let baby boy come whenever he decided to come, but with Christmas quickly approaching, my body progressing, and my doctor’s (plus my dad’s) assurance that I was favorable for a successful induction, we decided that inducing a few days before Christmas Eve would be the best plan.
Adam’s parents came into town Sunday night (Dec 20) to have their Christmas with the boys and keep them Monday morning when we went to the hospital. My sister also arrived Sunday night to go the hospital with us the next day. On Monday morning, Jenny, Adam and I arrived at Crestwood Maternity Center 15 minutes late, per the usual. We opted to wait a few minutes while a larger (than the others available) Labor and Delivery room was cleaned. Before long, a friendly nurse named Molly was getting us settled in our room. Molly told us that she was Nurse Manager for all the Labor and Delivery nurses. Even though she didn’t normally work directly with patients, she would be my nurse since they were short staffed that morning. I am so thankful that God placed us in Molly’s care.
Molly started IV fluids and began to monitor the baby’s heartrate. Before long, Dr. Conrad showed up to check my progress. I had not progressed any more since my last appointment, so he decided to go ahead and start pitocin and come back a bit later to break my water. They started me on a pretty high dose of pitocin, and Molly felt like things would move pretty quickly. She said, “You’ll be eating dinner tonight!” Things were very calm and relaxed. Jenny, Adam, and I were all laughing and chatting and watching videos of Steve Harvey announcing the wrong Miss Universe. My parents arrived at the hospital about 1 pm (straight from Memphis and from celebrating my brother’s engagement to his soon-to-be-bride, Lucy.) They arrived shortly before Adam’s parents who had taken the boys out to lunch and were bringing them to the hospital to visit while we waited. Everyone came up to my room and we enjoyed chatting as the pitocin was kicking in and I was starting to feel mild but regular contractions. The family had only been in the room for a little over half an hour when they were all shooed out to the waiting room so Dr. Conrad could come in and break my water. Jenny and Adam stayed with me. WIth the birth of my first two, I had my water broken after receiving an epidural, so I felt nothing. This was a different experience. Let’s just say, there was a LOT of fluid that left my body very quickly. So much that the doctor and nurse (Molly) seemed a bit surprised by the volume, and my body felt significantly lighter to me. Dr. Conrad left, and Jenny (ironically) commented, “You have such anticlimactic birth experiences.” With the births of both Luke and John Wicks, I had an epidural early on during labor, progressed fairly quickly, and both babies were out after about 10 to 15 minutes of pushing. Being the future MD that she is, I guess she was hoping for a little more action—at least for me to feel a couple of rough contractions.
Just minutes after Jenny’s comment, Molly (who had been quietly watching the monitor) calmly said, “I’m going to call in some help.” Her voice was calm, so we didn’t think much about it. Within seconds, two (maybe three?) other nurses had rushed into the room and snapped into immediate action. There was an urgency in their voices: “Alright, honey, we’re going to help you roll onto your side….Ok, now roll to the other side…We need you to flip over and get on your hands and knees….Call Dr. Conrad….Get Dr. Conrad back now…FIND HIM!” I was so shocked and remember mumbling to Jenny, “What is going on?” Someone told me that the baby’s heart rate had dropped dangerously low (below 50, I think), and they couldn’t get it back up. They were having me change positions in case the cord was compressed in some way with hopes that things would shift and his heart rate would go back up. Molly shouted, “We’re headed to the OR!” And just like that, with me still on my hands and knees, they started rolling my bed out of the room and down the hall to the operating room. I heard someone say to Adam, “Stay here. We’ll be back if it goes up, and if not we’ll send someone back with clothes for you.” The rest of the day was like a whirlwind, and some of the details are a little foggy.
In seconds, I was in the operating room and being transferred from my bed to the operating table. There were lots of medical professionals running around. “Have you had an epidural?” someone asked. “No.” Someone else said, “I’m going to take your rings off and take them straight to your husband. Is that ok?” “Yes.” Then, I managed to whisper the dreaded question, “Is the baby still alive?” Molly was by my side: “Yes, baby, he’s alive. His heart rate has gone back up, but it still isn’t high enough. We’re going to take care of you and your baby. Everything is going to be ok.” The nurse anesthetist and someone else introduced themselves and reassured me that they would take good care of me. Dr. Conrad showed up and checked to see if the cord was around the baby’s neck. No cord around the neck and no other obvious explanation as to why Nate’s heart rate plummeted with every contraction. Sweet Dr. Conrad looked me in the eye: “I can’t explain why his heart rate keeps dropping, but it’s not high enough for me to feel certain that he can make it through labor and delivery. We’re going to put you to sleep and get him out, ok?” “Ok,” I managed. Dr. Conrad said, “I’m going to go talk to your husband quickly.” (Adam couldn’t be in the OR for delivery since they had to put me to sleep). In what seemed like seconds, he was back preparing to operate. Slightly panicked, I remember saying, “I can still feel everything.” The nurse anesthetist said, “We’re waiting to put you to sleep until Dr. Conrad is ready to cut so the baby gets as little of the anesthesia as possible….Are you ready Dr. Conrad?” “I’m ready,” he said. Two fingers on my throat, and I was out.
In what seemed to me a few seconds (but was actually about four hours), I started waking up. The worst pain I’ve had since the C-section was right when I woke up, and I remember groaning and saying over and over that my stomach hurt. But it wasn’t long until the pain meds kicked in, and I was feeling some relief, though still mostly asleep. At some point, Adam was by my side: “He’s here, and he’s completely healthy. They got him out in minutes! He’s beautiful! Do you want to see him?” Adam held Nate in front of my face for me to see, but I could barely open my eyes and when I did, my view was still blurry. I could see that he was all cleaned up and swaddled with his cute little hat on, but I honestly couldn’t really tell what he looked like. This was so different than the way I met my first two boys who were placed on my chest immediately after delivery. I am so glad that Adam got to meet Nate and be in the nursery with him immediately after delivery. I’m also thankful that my sister got pictures of their first meeting and that she was with Adam when I was rushed to the OR.
Somehow, Adam and the nurses got Nate to latch and nurse for the first time even though I was basically still asleep. The rest of that night, I was in and out of sleep and extremely emotional during the brief awake periods. Our families had been in the waiting room (with the boys! YIKES!) for at least four hours waiting for me to wake up. I was rolled into a room and saw the family for a brief minute before they headed out to get dinner and let me sleep. After seeing me, Luke could tell something wasn’t right. Jenny told me that when they got to the car, he said, “I’m kinda worried about my mom!” Sweet thing. I remember reading and trying to respond to texts from friends who knew I had been induced that morning and were worried because they hadn’t heard anything from me or Adam in hours. I think they brought Nate in from the nursery to nurse several times that night, but it’s honestly hard to remember. By the morning of the 22nd, I was much more awake and feeling better (thanks to the meds :)). Several of the nurses even commented, “Wow, you look so much better today!”
When I reflect on Nate’s birth, there are so many reasons to give thanks. First, I’m thankful that I was induced and my water broke at the hospital. Had it broken at home and the baby been in distress, I would not have known it, and the outcome could have been different. I am also unbelievably thankful for the excellent staff/medical professionals at Crestwood Hospital. They immediately jumped into action at the first sign of a problem and took no chances. And they were all extremely kind. I later told Molly that I was so grateful for her because she saved my baby. Finally, I’m thankful that God saw fit to bring our third son safely into the world. He would be no less good, loving, and kind had he sovereignly chosen to call our Nate home to heaven at that time. Nonetheless, I’m just overjoyed because of his safe arrival and the time we’ve had with him so far. He has been such a sweet, easy baby, and I am so excited to watch him grow and see the plans the Lord has for him unfold. Nate’s Christmastime birth led me to relate often to Mary who treasured the events surrounding Christ’s birth, “pondering them in her heart” and worshiped God saying, “. . . for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”