Sunday, March 30, 2014

He's Here! Abram's Birth Story

Abram Kenneth Gray was born at 2:36am on Tuesday, March 25. He weighed 7lbs, 9oz and measured 20.25" long. His entrance was fast and exciting and, in our opinion, ended with a perfect little baby boy.

Shall I start at the beginning?

This picture was taken last Saturday. We were very restless and anxiously anticipating the babe's arrival. We kept saying to ourselves that we couldn't be too disappointed that the baby hadn't been born yet since I hadn't even reached my due date, but we were so SO ready to meet our baby (and I was so ready to not be pregnant anymore).

And here's the birth story in case you're curious, but mostly this is documented so we can remember this special day. I don't think there's anything too graphic aside from me using the terms bowel movement and menstrual cramps.

On Monday, we had our 39 week appointment, and it was late enough in the day at 5:10pm, Kyler was able to come with me. I was only 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. The Dr. said the baby was working its way out but wasn't really ready yet. So Kyler left the Dr's appointment to head to a church meeting, and I went to Meijer to occupy my time since he wouldn't be home for a while.

That evening, we were watching TV, and I was so restless I told Kyler I was just going to lay down on the couch and sleep to get my mind off my baby that wasn't here yet. And so we both fell asleep on the couch. About an hour later I woke up with an intense urge to 'go' to the bathroom, but was 'unsuccesful'. Meanwhile, Kyler had woken up and came knocking on the bathroom door. I told him I was using the bathroom, but he protested and told me that he needed to take his contacts out. So I told him again that I was USING THE BATHROOM, to which he said he needed to BRUSH HIS TEETH. I was aggravated so I came out and got into bed so he could take out his contacts and brush his teeth. You know, important things.

Once in bed, I told him that I needed to sit up for a little while because I was having cramps. He told me I should lay down and try to get some rest and maybe that would help. So I crawled under the covers, only to sit up and turn the lights back on a couple minutes later. This was about 9:30pm, a little early for us to go to bed, so we sat up to watch TV in bed. Then I got the urge to go to the bathroom again, and when I came out Kyler asked me if I thought I was having the baby, if I was having contractions. I kept saying I didn't know what contractions felt like, but I thought I'd be able to tell if I was. So he googled "What do contractions feel like", and the first response was pretty much verbatim what I had said: the urge to have the biggest bowel movement of your life and the most intense menstrual cramps ever.

Oh goodness. We thought this might be the onset of labor.

My doctor had told me to follow the 5-2-1 rule. Contractions coming 5 minutes apart, lasting for 2 hours, and 1 minute long. We began timing my contractions, and they were only lasting 40 seconds, but we thought we were getting close to being ready so Kyler began packing his bag and loading up the bags I had already packed. As I tracked my contractions, I realized that they were only 3-4 minutes apart. So I was stuck between them not lasting long enough but coming faster than the Dr's rule of thumb. I gave the 24-hour line a call just to ask what I should be doing, and my Dr told me to generally wait to go to the hospital until the contractions lasted a minute long and to notice if they became stronger over time.

After an hour, the contractions were still 40-45 seconds long but were coming closer to 2-4 minutes apart. Seriously, these things were not consistent so we kept debating what should be done. Kyler and I, in first-time parents mode, decided that we were NOT having a baby at home. The worst that could happen was being sent back home if the hospital didn't think I was far enough progressed. So I called the Dr. again and told her I really thought I needed to come in. She was great and said she'd let the hospital know I was on my way, even though I'm sure she thought I was being paranoid.

After a rough ride on the hilliest, curviest, pot-holiest, Cincinnati roads, we got to the hospital and checked in exactly at midnight. The first stop was an ER-type room where they just got a quick 'status' check and monitored the baby's heart rate. In just 7 hours, I had progressed from 3cm to 5cm, and our nurse said I was far enough along to stay over night and even eligible for an epidural if I wanted one. (Yes please).

Getting admitted at exactly midnight.

When the decision was made to stay over night, I was moved to the labor and delivery room probably around 1am-ish, got my epidural, and was told that the Dr. had been called but was stuck in traffic. It was a new over night construction project that had just started that night...I'm not sure why I think getting stuck in traffic at 1am is so funny. Probably because I know that the Dr. makes it to the hospital in time.

After I got my epidural, my blood pressure dropped, which is normal and expected. However, at the same time the baby decided to roll around, and his heartbeat was undetectable for a few minutes. This had been the case since we arrived, but since it was coinciding with my low BP, my nurse (who was awesome, by the way) decided to call in the resident OB just to check things out. Of course, by the time her and her team got into the room a couple minutes later, his heartbeat was found, strong and loud. Just to be on the safe side though, they decided to break my water so they could put a monitor on the baby's head to guarantee they wouldn't lose the heartbeat again. Just when the resident Dr. sat down to break my water, it broke on its own. Score! I wasn't opposed to have my water broken, but it was nice that everything was happening naturally.

So my Dr. arrives around 1:45am. Kyler had been in the room for less than an hour and was already pacing, checking out the monitors, asking lots of questions. If you think he gets restless on a Saturday afternoon on a rainy day, just imagine him in a hospital room at 1am. Anyway, the Dr. comes in for a quick check and says I'm fully dilated and thinned out. I think her exact words were, "Are you ready to have a baby? I'm going to go wash my hands."

Just found out we're going to have a baby tonight.

That progressed quickly. Everyone was surprised that I was ready to start pushing so quickly. My Dr. had another patient there who had been in since 7pm, so we agreed not to tell her that in just 2 hours I was ready to push. Since I had tested positive a month earlier for some strain of strep, I knew I was going to be given penicillin to prevent the baby from getting it which could lead to pneumonia or meningitis. However, it's supposed to be in the blood stream for 4 hours prior to birth and I was getting the full dose as quickly as possible since I was nowhere near lasting 4 hours. This was the most painful part of it all. Intense stinging in my left arm from them flushing a super pack of penicillin through my IV!

The dreaded penicillin arm. I couldn't move it, it hurt so bad. My arm just laid there where the nurse had left it.

The Dr. leaves and the 'prepper' person comes in and lays out all the tools that could be needed, sterilizes everything including me, and wishes me the best of luck.

Meanwhile, my nurse tells me while we're waiting on the Dr. to get cleaned and dressed, we're going to push through the contractions. She's on one side and Kyler's on the other, holding my legs. Since I had an epidural, I couldn't feel the contractions down there, but if I sat my hand on the top of my belly, I could feel the muscles tense up. So when I 'felt' a contraction, I would tell them, take a deep breath, hold it and push for 10 seconds. We did this for 3 contractions. Then the Dr. came in all decked out in delivery gear. Three more contractions of pushing and the baby was here!

Getting all cleaned off.

Ready to be weighed and dressed.

Meeting Baby Abram.

We're overjoyed that he's here! I'm so thankful for answered prayers. We had been praying for a strong, healthy baby and an uncomplicated and as painless as possible delivery. And we had both! I'm so grateful for the way the delivery turned out. After the baby was born, we had to stay in the delivery room for two hours while 'things' were tended to, which put us getting to our Mother Baby room at 5am. At that point, both of us had been awake for 24 hours. Even though the delivery was quick, exhaustion was setting in and a new day of busyness was about to begin.


  1. Edit your last sentence..."a new LIFE of busyness" I'm sure you've discovered, things will never be the same! Thank you for the precious gift of Abram! You guys done good!!! Love all 3 of you!

  2. I'm so excited you posted this story! So amazing how quickly he came. Thanks for posting and Abram is so amazing!