Thursday, March 24

Not According to Plan (Brock's birth story)

Well, tomorrow I will be 38 weeks pregnant. Oh, wait, no I won't because we have a 5 day old son now! Brock Grayson Vandegriff decided he was coming early so last Saturday, March 19, he made his entry into the world. The entire process was completely different than everything that I had expected, anticipated, or planned for and I was completely thrown for a loop, but the end result was a healthy, beautiful baby boy and an incredibly happy, new little family. In this blog, I thought I'd break down the actual experience that we had last Saturday. Warning: It's a long one because I wanted to remember every detail.

Friday Evening: I wasn't feeling anything out of the ordinary, no contractions or any indication that I had less than the expected 3 weeks until Brock arrived. We went to JC Penney to get Blaine some clothes and then had dinner at Carrabba's with some friends from church. My mom came over to visit when we got back home and still insisted that Brock was going to come early. We went to bed around 11:00 pm.

3:30 am, Saturday: My water broke while I was sleeping. Disoriented and a little confused I went to the bathroom and realized what had happened. I walked back to the bed and said with a little uncertainty, "Blaine, I think my water broke?" Blaine jumped out of bed ready for anything and asked what I needed him to do. I still wasn't sure what was supposed to happen next even though I'd been to the birthing classes, read 3 books on pregnancy, and made all kinds of plans. All I could think was My doctor is leaving to go out of town today; My mother-in-law is leaving to go out of town today; Blaine is supposed to go to Atlanta to teach today; I was supposed to clean my house today; We were supposed to have dinner with friends tonight; I'M NOT READY!!!

3:45 am, Saturday: I called my doctor's office to get the on-call doctor's number. I called the on-call number and a very kind nurse calmly explained to me that Dr. Brody was the on-call doctor and that she was putting in a page to him and would call me right back. In the meantime Blaine was busy starting the car, getting our things together, and playing the role of steady, level-headed rock that I desperately needed at that point. I had packed a bag for the hospital just three days before. This was so fortunate because I didn't even have the presence of mind to figure out what I was going to wear to the hospital. I stood crying, staring into my closet when Blaine asked what he could do to help, and I sobbed that I didn't know what shirt to put on. Where was the rational, calm, collected Shelby I always prided myself on being?? Still crying, I kept saying to Blaine, "I'm not ready; I had three more weeks."

4:00 am, Saturday: At this point the nurse had connected me to Dr. Brody (whom I had never met) and he informed me that I was going to have to come downtown to Erlanger because he was the only doctor on call and that he had two other deliveries to take care of there and wouldn't have time to make it to Parkridge for me. "Ok, thank you," I said. I hung up the phone and started crying even harder as I told Blaine we'd have to go downtown. I took the tour at Parkridge; I knew where to go at Parkridge; I had timed the drive from our house to Parkridge and knew what to expect; I don't even know where to park at Erlanger... the emergency room garage? the parking garage? As we headed out the door, I glanced around at my house and panicked again: My house is a wreck! I was going to clean today! I can't bring a baby home to this! We got in the car and headed downtown, Blaine calmly assuring me it would be okay and he would come home and clean everything.

4:30 am, Saturday: We made it to the emergency room and someone sent a nurse to get me a wheelchair. At that point, Blaine and I had to separate because he had to park the car. My rock was being taken away! I started to cry again and the nurse consoled me as she pushed me to the labor and delivery floor. All I could think was I hope Blaine knows where to go; What if he can't find me? I don't want him to be upset. They checked me into Triage and put me in a room by myself to examine me and figure out how far along I was. I heard Blaine's voice just a few minutes later so I was able to calm down some, and slowly my sanity started to return as I realized we made it to the hospital; we were in safe, knowledgeable hands now and everything would be okay. <Insert deep, dramatic, heavy sigh of relief here>

5:15 am, Saturday: Blaine was allowed to come back to be with me after they asked some personal questions they thought I might not want to answer in front of him (one in particular made me laugh "Is your husband the father of this baby?"). Blaine sat next to me holding my hand and said a quick prayer when we had a moment to ourselves. I was a little worried because the triage nurses seemed to be doubting whether my water had, in fact, broken since I wasn't still gushing or leaking and wasn't having any contractions. I was a little frustrated because the questions they were asking seemed to suggest that they thought I might have just peed myself instead. I told Blaine I was going to be so embarassed if that was the case, but I was pretty sure I could tell the difference. At 5:15, Dr. Brody came in, introduced himself, and did a pelvic exam where he confirmed that I was 4 cm dilated and even though he wasn't positive my water had broken, he was going to admit me and we were "having this baby today". Whew, at least I wasn't going to have to go back home in shame because I had confused incontinence for labor.

6:00 am, Saturday: I was moved to a labor and delivery room, given a popsicle, started on a Pitocin drip, and gained full recovery of the logical side of my brain. Blaine and I began to get really excited. The nurses, although numerous and constantly coming in and out of the room, were all so kind and compassionate. I was repeatedly asked whether I wanted to start my epidural yet, but I kept putting it off because I still couldn't feel any of the contractions that I was apparently having. I didn't want to start the pain relief until I actually had pain.

7:00 am, Saturday: Blaine and I called and texted our parents, siblings, and a couple of close friends to let them know what was going on and that we were in the hospital. Excitement was continuing to build.

10:00 am, Saturday: The resident doctor came to check to see if I was any more dilated and to make sure that my water didn't need to be manually broken (which I've heard is pretty painful). I had progressed to 5 cm and she couldn't feel the bag of waters anywhere so they decided they were going to put in an internal monitor to measure the intensity of my contractions since I still wasn't feeling any pain but they were coming in pretty regularly now. Ok, that was painful! Our nurse, Laura, couldn't get the internal monitor to insert correctly after several attempts and I was writhing every time she tried. Finally, Laura called a nurse tech to try because she had more experience and her "hands are smaller". Oh, please let the nurse tech get it right the first time. She did, thank goodness.

11:00 am, Saturday: I began to feel slight pain with my contractions so I went ahead and asked for the epidural since they had told me over and over how it could take a while to get it prepared and that I should ask for it before I was really needing it. I was told that the anesthesiologist was just about to start a C-section with another patient so it would be about an hour but they would get it to me as soon as possible. This was fine with me because I still wasn't hurting bad at all. Blaine was still by my side and displaying very un-Blaine-like characteristics, such as answering his phone every time it rang, responding to every text he received, sending out periodic text updates to people in the waiting room, and completely ignoring the French book he had brought in case he wanted to read or study (he constantly keeps a book with him everywhere we go so that he can take advantage of every free moment).

11:30 am, Saturday: Pain was starting to get stronger and contractions were getting closer together, but the anesthesiologist was still sitting in on the C-section, so nurse Laura gave me a temporary pain killer called Stadol. She told me before she administered it through the IV that people either love it or hate it because it can make you dizzy and loopy. And that it did. I had to keep my eyes closed, but I didn't hate the medication. It caused me to have a sort of out-of-body experience. At one point, I remember the thought coming into my head I think there is a baby in me that I have to get out today? and I remember at another point, I wasn't worried about my house anymore because I was able to get home and get it cleaned up. Stadol was an interesting experience.

12:00 pm, Saturday: The anesthesiologist made his grand entrance at noon. They set me up and he instructed me to relax my shoulders, rest my chin on my chest, and arch my back like an angry cat. He administered the local anesthetic which was just a slight sting with a warming sensation. Then came the epidural. "Relax your shoulders, rest your chin on your chest, arch your back... Relax your shoulders, rest your chin on your chest, arch your back." He repeated the mantra over and over and I found myself doing each action each time he said it. The epidural was over, my toes and legs began to warm and tingle, and then the lower half of my body became dead to the world. Ahhh, sweet relief. Alright, bring on the baby; I could do this forever.

1:00 pm, Saturday: Waiting...

2:00 pm, Saturday: Waiting...

3:00 pm, Saturday: Waiting...

4:30 pm, Saturday: Dr. Brody comes back in to check my progression and see if I have dilated anymore. When he informs us that I'm still only at 5 cm, I feel slightly disappointed. Then I'm blindsided once again. He tells me that by now I should have progressed more, and the baby should have dropped further into the pelvic floor. It has been more than 12 hours since my water broke, and the risk of infection to myself and the baby will go up from here. He has a suspicion that my pelvic cavity is too small to birth the baby, and I need to start considering the possibility of a C-section. Here come the tears again... ugh, I never knew I was such a cry baby! He says he'll come back in about an hour and check me once more, then we'll talk about our options. The doctor leaves, the news is sent to the family in the waiting room, Blaine and I talk it through with each other, I cry some more, Blaine and I pray together, and we decide this is what we want to do.

5:30 pm, Saturday: Dr. Brody joins us again, checks me, finds the same result, and takes a seat next to the bed. We discuss the risks and possible complications of C-sections and he asks what we want to do. I told him we were ready, and he tells me he's really excited about our decision because he's "read a lot of literature on this procedure and he's been dying to try it" (haha). So he initiates the protocol and a flurried frenzy of activity takes over the room that had been so quiet and boring for so many hours. For some reason I became extremely sleepy at this point. I don't know if it was the drugs, the anxiety, or just the relief of knowing this was all about to be over, but I could not hold my eyes open so I rested while nurses bustled all around me. I am prepped and given a stronger dose of anesthesia (which brought on the worst case of chills and shaking I've ever experienced) then moved to the operating room.

6:30 pm, Saturday: They roll me from my bed onto the operating table and stretch me out, crucifixion style, then hang up a curtain just above my abdomen in front of my face. Dr. Brody comes in and tells me he's a little upset because he just went to his locker and his Vodka bottle is empty (haha again), then he goes into his zone and I hear him setting everything and everyone up for the procedure. They bring in Blaine who looks completely adorable in his scrubs, hairnet, and Coach's shirt. I think how much I love him and how thankful I am that he's there with me.

7:18 pm, Saturday: Our son, Brock Grayson Vandegriff, is born. This is the exact point in time that our lives were turned upside down and everything we thought we knew about love was completely obliterated and replaced with a new definition. This 7 pound, 5 ounce little human joined our world and turned us into weeping, sentimental, anxious, overwhelmed parents all in an instant.

Nothing about that day went according to my plans, but at some point God put an impression on my heart that made me realize I am not the one in control of my life. I told Blaine that this was my first lesson in parenthood: I am not in control. We will be this child's guardians, his disciplinarians, his protectors. We will love him, teach him, scold him, and direct him, but we will never be able to control him. He is his own individual, and he will make his own decisions, and we will guide him and pray that he makes wise ones and that he will seek to honor us as his parents and that he will one day recognize his need for a Savior, but we have to trust God to be in control and take care of this little person from now on for the rest of his life. So ultimately, all those things that I thought went wrong about that day served to show me my smallness and to magnify the greatness of our God. What a day!

Thursday, March 17

The Waiting Game

Ok, first of all, does anyone see the countdown ticker at the top of this blog and how it says our baby is the size of a watermelon now?! Judging by the way I feel, I don't doubt that one bit, but have you looked at a watermelon lately? That's basically what is inside my stomach... I really just can't completely wrap my mind around that (which is probably a good thing because then I'd be a lot more anxious than I already am about the birthing of this watermelon). Here we are though, 37 weeks, with nothing left to do now but wait.

I went to the doctor today and I am two centimeters dilated (same as last week) and about 70% effaced (10% more than last week). He seemed pleased with that but told me to keep my legs crossed this next week because he's going out of town on vacation. My mother-in-law will be out of town during this time too, so hopefully Brock stays put a little while longer. I haven't had any contractions yet, or well, if I have I'm not aware of what they feel like, but I've had every other discomfort in the book I think. The most recent development would be pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel which is basically tingling numbness in my hands that prevents me from doing anything where my fingers have to work together to complete a task: writing, picking things up, brushing my hair, etc. This pleasant little symptom apparently likes nighttime the best because it flares up with a vengeance while I'm trying to sleep. So now I not only have hip pain, a huge stomach, and a dime-sized bladder fighting to keep me awake at night but I can also add to that mix the thousand tiny needles that attack my hands every hour or so. I may actually get more sleep when the baby does finally come.

Speaking of hip pain, I'm pretty sure that Brock has taken up residence on my left hip. I think I've made my last pre-baby trip to the grocery store that I'll be able to make because I was almost certain I was going to have to get one of those motorized carts at Walmart when I went last week. Several times my hips would just lock up, which was incredibly painful and slightly embarassing as it would stop me in my tracks. I mostly played it off I think and would just pretend I saw something on the aisle I really wanted, but I'm sure my walking patterns looked odd to anyone who might have been paying attention.

So aside from the heartburn, overactive sweat glands, swollen hands and feet, and general exhaustion I'm feeling great! We got all of the baby clothes washed (thank you Mom for your help) and I finally got all of his tiny, little socks matched back together. The car seat is installed, the room is set up, and all the thank you cards have been completed and mailed out (considering all the gifts we received, that may be what brought on the carpal tunnel haha). I must give props to Blaine too for all of the extra help and attention he has given me lately; not to get all mushy, but I really am grateful for such a wonderful, caring husband to be my teammate in all this. At this point I think everyone is mostly ready for Brock to make his appearance, after next week of course. So now we're just waiting...

Tuesday, March 8

Everything but the Baby

It's getting closer and closer to delivery day (4 weeks to go!), and we have been showered with so many gifts from so many people. Both Blaine and I have been humbled by and grateful for all that we have received, and it has been such a huge blessing and help. I wanted to post a picture blog of his room now that we've pretty much gotten it all organized. I think we basically have everything in there but the baby now!   

The above picture is the view of Brock's room looking in from the doorway. I have one more thing to hang on the wall to the left of the window, a framed picture of dandelions blowing that my mom bought for us. The picture below is the view of the room from the opposite corner. Blaine recently installed the sliding mirror doors for the closet because the previous homeowners took out the closet doors in a couple of the bedrooms for some reason.  

This little corner of the room will be the nursing/reading/rocking corner. I love our glider rocker (as I posted in a previous blog), and we got a little lamp and cd player to complete the corner. You may also notice the diaper bag sitting in the chair which is being prepared for the trip to the hospital.

A lady at my church whose daughter is in our Sunday School class makes these personalized buckets that I absolutely love! They gave this to us as a shower gift filled with diapers and other little items. We're using it now to hold the stuffed animals Brock has so far.

It's probably a good thing that all the showers are over now because I don't know if we could fit much more in his closet. We are definitely stocked up on clothes, diapers, and wipes which I am so thankful for. I'm sure we'll go through all of it very quickly though. We also put up a small dry erase board next to the closet to help keep track of feeding and nap times or other important information. It's part of my Type A personality :)

One thing that we clearly have plenty of are socks! They are so tiny and cute. It is hard to imagine feet that are small enough to fit in those socks, but only a few more weeks and we won't have to imagine anymore. Brock has a few pairs of shoes already too. I can't wait to put those flip flops on him!

We're borrowing this bassinet from Brock's cousin, Anna, who was born back in November and has outgrown it now. It is sitting next to his crib in his room for now, but we'll actually move it to our bedroom for him to sleep in for the first few weeks after he comes home.
I was going to get some wooden letters to paint and hang Brock's initials above the changing table, but my stepmom went one step further and painted his entire first and middle name for us! I had no idea she was doing this, but they turned out great and it filled that blank spot on the wall perfectly. I love the varying patterns she did with the stripes too. Brock will have no excuse for not knowing how to spell his name now. :)
I think we're materially and physically ready for Brock now, but we're both still trying to prepare mentally as much as we possibly can. We'll be welcoming him soon though, and meanwhile the excitement, anxiety, and weird dreams about his arrival continue to increase.