Monday, May 5, 2014

talon michael...his birth story.

rainbow baby. it's the birth of a baby after the loss of one.  a rainbow after the storm per se.  i think there should also be a name for the birth of a baby after having one with special needs.  i say that because there was nothing that could prepare me for the emotion that i would feel when i laid eyes on my healthy baby this go round.

it is no secret that i worried myself to pieces throughout this pregnancy. the high blood pressure and migraines were the proof in the pudding. it was, i suppose, inevitable after the last four years.
no matter the tests or various ultrasounds i would not rest until i laid my physical eyes on this baby.  

as i neared the end of my pregnancy, my blood pressure rose and stayed there.  the migraines increased in frequency and as fate would have it all THREE of my little guys got sick with the flu at once. this would be the first time all of them were man down at the very same time. one typically follows suit, but never at the same time.  i was 38 weeks pregnant caring for three boys who had the flu.  well you can guess what happened next.  i, too, got it. it was a friday that i went in for what would be my last check up. my blood pressure remained high and i was incredibly sick.  so he sent me over to the birth center for evaluation. i was severely dehydrated, put on fluids and told to rest until sunday evening when i would be induced. it was time.  i had a couple of days to lay in bed and do nothing. except that's not really possible with 3 other children at home. thankfully, my closest friends rallied around. brought me food. picked up my kids.  kept vigil making sure i was ok.  i powered through prepping our home and  the boys for my short absence.  i could NOT wait to meet my baby. i thought for SURE it was a girl. i just knew it.  this west baby was the most highly anticipated baby for sure.  everyone could not believe we waited to find out the sex and on delivery day our phones and facebook were all a buzz with friends wanting to know if s/he was born yet.

my aunt and uncle were down from arizona anxiously awaiting the birth as well. 
sunday morning i got up, went and got donuts for my boys, got the weeks groceries, prepared the house for the boys and their caretaker, took a nap and before i knew it, it was time to call and confirm there was a bed for me. there was and i was to be there at 7 to be admitted. i couldn't believe this was happening.  i was going to meet my baby. this baby i had worried over and fallen in love with the moment i knew s/he was in my belly.
we loaded up the car with my carefully packed bags,  said good bye to the boys who were incredibly excited to meet their baby brother or sister the next day (they thought it was a sister too for the record ;),  and took this last, most priceless picture 

and then we left.  as we drove down our street i looked over at my husband and said "the next time we drive down this street together we will have our baby with us, i can't believe this is happening"  we blew through mcdonalds for one last diet coke before i was banned for however long this labor would take. i remember every moment.

even the simple moment of finally walking in to the birth place to actually, finally be there to have my baby this time instead of being there for a migraine or blood pressure.  so many times before i longed to be there for the birth and it had finally come.  we waited in the chair for our nurse to come get us. the double doors opened and out walked miss karen. i knew right away she was going to be awesome. i knew she was just the nurse to hand my letter to.  the one i had typed weeks ago and filed in an envelope with the words "to my nurse" written on them.  it was a letter explaining my last labor and delivery and what followed it.  it explained how terrified i was to do this again. how terrified something would go wrong and how there would be tears and needed reassurance if she didn't mind. i handed that to her when she was stepping out of the room for bit.  she came back, put her hand on my arm and said "i read your letter and will do everything i can to help you through this" and she more than did.  after that we got things hooked up,  meds started and i dozed off until around midnight when contractions woke me up.  i had dilated to two centimeters already and by four i was four centimeters.  i was moving along nicely and definitely feeling the contractions. the anesthesiologist was next door doing another epidural so we decided to go ahead and get mine. i am freaking terrified of epidurals. anything going into my spine doesn't sit well with me, but karen got me through and allowed me to squeeze the ever living hell out of her hands. we thought i would continue to dilate and have the baby come morning which led me to alert the family. they started filtering in around 7 when karens shift ended and right about when i stalled.  
little did i know it would be my longest labor. i fell asleep the night before around 10:30 and was woken up with those contractions by midnight. awake again at 2, epidural in at 4 and up from then on. i was b.e.a.t.  and throwing up every hour from the epidural to boot.  
we waited. they checked me. no changes. we waited some more. no change. by the time noon rolled around with no changes, the throwing up and not being able to move since i had had an epidural for nearly 8 hours by this point ( i was OVER being numb)  i began to get frustrated. i shed a few tears, puked a little more and tried to stay calm. my family was amazing. my aunt kept me excited through the exhaustion. dave held my puke bucket. dad kept the jokes flowing. my sister who had pink eye showed up with magazines galore andboy and girl balloons, ya know just in case. she stayed in the waiting room for hours, we even snuck her around to my window outside so she could see me.  my brother and uncle stood guard quietly waiting and offering to get whatever i needed and my mother had the cameras set and where everyone was to stand for the best footage. finally at two o'c clock i was about 6 centimeters. not where i wanted, but at least some change. then come 2:45 ish my OB came in and said " i would have thought you'd have had your baby by now jen." i was like dear god me too dr. b.  our pediatrician had called to see if i had and behind the scenes miss karen was calling too.  he decided, then, to break my water.  i was all like "halllllelujahhhhh!" actually everyone that had been there since the early morning was all like "halllllelujahhhhh!"  the moment he broke my water the baby descended. i said i feel him or her. the doctor said that happens when the water breaks and left. as in left the building. apparently he thought since i moved so slow all day that i would continue to, but when i said i felt the baby i meant i FELT the baby.  within minutes i was asking the nurse to check me. i was 9 cm.  within minutes after that i said i needed to push. she checked me and i was complete.  it was go time!!! only my dr. wasn't in the building. the room was suddenly a whirlwind with prepping going on, with students and doctor assistants. i was overwhelmed and by overwhelmed i mean four years of emotion and fear coming to a head. there were days i didn't think i had the emotional strength to have another baby after paxton. the fear suffocated me at times, but i had done it. i was about to see the fruits of my labor. literally.  and as i lay there on that table, legs in stirrups i felt suspended in time.  the minutes were moving in foggy, slow motion. in hindsight i am glad he wasn't in the building because in those moments of waiting, the tears streaming my face as the emotion of meeting a healthy him or her are moments i will remember as long as i live. i laid there crying. dave on one side telling me it was going to be ok, my aunt on the other stroking my hair.  suspended and so very grateful for it.  i will never forget the feeling of being moments away from meeting my baby. feeling him in my belly trying to come out, but having to wait.  it was only 15 minutes or so, but it felt much longer. and then he walked in.  i cried as i pushed. cried because it was really, truly happening.  months and months of worry and anticipation slamming into mere moments that changed me forever. it would only be two big pushes.  i remember hearing that his head was out. i asked through the tears what color hair s/he had?  a brunette my aunt squealed!  i cried. the sobs audible. it was happening. and the next moment there were legs hanging in the air and i instantly saw that it was a BOY!  immediately the entire room erupted in laughter. i was laughing so very hard through the tears saying it's another boy over and over.  of course it was a boy! we are a boy family and let me tell you how utterly perfect and beautiful he was.  screaming as loud as he could.

his name would be Talon Michael West. born 11/4/2013 at 3:06 pm weighing 7 pounds 6 ounces.

i did not believe it at the time, but he was also very, very healthy. they laid him on my chest and i cried and kissed him and scanned him from head to toe memorizing every square inch of him. when he cried i would talk to him and he would immediately stop crying. he knew his mama already and that slayed me. they left him on me for quite some time and as it turns out he got cold. i could see his feet turning purple only from the chill, not because he was sick, but i panicked anyway asking everyone if he was ok over and over.  they promised it was only because he was cold, so i sent him off to be warmed up.  this picture of me looking at his feet and the emotion on my face is the emotion of nine months of worry that he wouldn't be ok. there's doubt and sheer fear there as i try to analyze his feet. the feet are a big deal to me since paxtons were blue/purple until his second open heart surgery.

seeing talons turn purple literally made me freeze up inside and whats sad is that my mom happened to send this same picture to my dad who had gone back to work because talon took his sweet time and when he saw the picture he too noticed that talon looked purple. then he saw my face and immediately asked my mom if everything was ok and she said yes why. he said the picture made it look otherwise.  my dad clearly has remaining fear as well.  that doesn't ever go away i suppose. i spent the next hour staring at him, nursing him and loving him.  such instant deep, seeded, overwhelming love.  quite frankly the pictures tell it best...

and then it hit me.  i had been up all night and i sit here today and can say i have never felt such sheer exhaustion in my life. i had been so far behind from the boys being sick, from being very pregnant, sick myself and then the long labor that i was maxed out.  i remember as they prepared to move me up to recovery i could barely keep my head up. once i was all settled upstairs, dave and i just stared at him for the longest time.  we couldn't wrap our heads around that fact that we had FOUR boys. it was then that we both looked at each other and agreed "what would we even do with a girl, we are such a boy family".  nothing ever felt more right than adding talon to the mix.  then i dozed off with talon tucked in right beside me.  he wasn't leaving my side and luckily i had nurses that let me keep him in bed with me.  i remember him waking me up in the middle of the night to eat and hardly being able to believe he was finally here. even through the exhaustion i relished every single moment.  i relished being able to hold him whenever i wanted.  i relished nursing him.  i relished being able to sleep with him tucked in beside me.  all i could think in those foggy, first hours were... "these are the moments i thank god that i'm alive. these are the moments i'll remember all my life".  that song was like a distant lullaby that played in the background of my head those first days in the hospital.


growing my children, giving birth to them, that entire experience is what it's all about, for me anyway.  i would relive it every day if i could.  my proudest moments. ever. end. of. story.  and to experience birth after a birth surrounded in fear. to experience healthy after unhealthy. to experience that release after holding on for so long. it's profound.  it changes your very being.  it's fierce.  literally the only and best word i know how to describe it.

today talon is six months old. half a year on this earth.  i am finally completing his birth story.  

i have drowned myself in every moment with him.  cried many emotional tears over the intense love that fills me up over him. given thanks a million times over him, for his health. for his calming, peaceful, joyous presence. 


november 4, 2013. 

the day he was born.

we saw God that day...

1 comment:

cici said...

Beautiful Story. Just Beautiful. What a doll he is. Give him a big kiss from me and one for you and your whole sweet family.
I am soooo happy for you!

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