04 June 2008

Where's Levi?

Do you see him among all the clothes?
He fell asleep while I worked!

Here's a close-up of our 3 month old.

I don't know how many times I started to write about his birth story only to be interrrupted and never finish. Well, Reagan Lu needs to go down for a nap and Addison needs to have a little rest time in her room right now. But, I'm risking a future meltdown to get this story written before all the details get too hazy.

I wrote about how memorable Baby P's birth story would be because it snowed the night before I was induced. It was one of those quirky Texas weather things and we really thought the snow would be what we remembered most about the night before our third child was born. After what really happened, I'm surprised I remember the snow at all!

The girls were at their Nana and Poppa's house and Bryan and I were all packed for the hospital. We had to leave at 5:30 the next morning, so about 10 pm I jumped into the shower. After I turned the water off, I could faintly hear shouting. It was very quiet and my mind was occupied with meeting my new precious one and all that involved, so I didn't think too much of the noise. But, as I walked out of the bathroom I noticed the shouting again. I asked Bryan who he thought it was and he replied it must be some kids out playing in the snow. You can tell I'm a previous school teacher and a mother who values bedtime because I immediately thought, "What crazy mom would let her children out at 10:30 on a school night to play in the snow?!" Something didn't seem right about his guess.

I walked to our window to find our across-the-street-neighbors all huddled on their front porch. They were yelling which made me think they'd locked themselves out, it was cold, and someone was inside they were trying to get to open the door. About 2 seconds after that thought, I saw the black smoke. I yelled, "Bryan, their house is on fire!" He shot out of bed to throw on some clothes. I shot to the front door to have them come in our house. They couldn't hear me over their own terrified screams. Thinking I could alert them, I turned on our porch light. It didn't work. But then Bryan ran out our front door and I ran to call 911. This really all happened within a matter of minutes.

The 911 operator informed me that the fire trucks were already on their way. Bryan grabbed the 2 older boys and brought them into our house. The mom ran over and handed me her baby boy. She was hysterical, shrieking, "Where are the fire trucks! All our stuff is gone! Everything's gone!" Apparently she was also screaming that she couldn't find her husband. Just as the 911 operator asked me if everyone was out of the house, I saw Bryan run inside.

Just try to imagine my state of mind. I'm 9 months pregnant with our third child, scheduled to be induced early the next morning and I see my husband run into a burning house. I'm telling you, had I not been holding a new baby and pregnant, I would've become a crazy person and run across the street in just the t-shirt I was wearing (thankfully it was a long Army pt shirt) to GET HIM OUT OF THAT HOUSE! As it was I had to trust the Lord and believe Bryan wouldn't do anything stupid(-er). I remember saying a quick prayer as I told the operator that my husband had just run into the house. She told me to get him out, but he couldn't hear me yell. I know now he wouldn't have listened to me anyway because the neighbor lady had said her husband was in the house. Bryan wasn't going to stand outside the house when there was a possibility someone was still inside.

I never saw him actually come out of the house. Thick, black smoke covered the house across the street and there were 2 scared little boys on my couch shivering from standing in the snow in only their underwear. I did my best to take their minds off what was going on.

About midnight, I realized there was no end in sight. I felt a little selfish, but I knew I needed rest because I would be feeling every single pitocin-induced contraction while I delivered our baby. I waivered between heading off to bed with my house full of people or staying up to help. Once the boys left with other caregivers and a grandmother came to take care of the baby, there wasn't much for me to do.

Except maybe clean. Our house was full of smoke because the door was open so much as all the neighbors streamed in and out offering help. Our carpet was sopping wet because the firemen tredged in snow on their big, soot-covered boots. Our washer and dryer were loudly banging because each was filled with clothing and shoes saved from the house. Although that just made our laundry room smell like a bar.

At some point, Bryan and I found out our neighbors had no place to go for the night. We had 3 spare bedrooms upstairs, so, naturally we offered. It was clear our neighbors felt bad about taking up our offer, but they did anyway. So, about 3 am Bryan came to bed and told me they were upstairs and all the other neighbors were gone. I had tried to go to bed about 1. I'm sure you can imagine how well that worked. The fire trucks finally left about 3:30. I fell asleep sometime after that and our alarm woke us about 5 am.

We got to the hospital still in disbelief, but so excited. I settled into my room with butterflies in my stomach. My nurse came in ready to poke my arms full of needles, but I was ready for her. My OB promised me she would only break my water and not give me any pitocin unless breaking my water didn't move me along. She had also told me I wouldn't need an IV unless I had to have pitocin. That was my plan - an all-natural induction! The nurse was obviously annoyed with my plan and insisted on giving me an IV. She called my OB to complain about this nutty woman who wanted to interfere with the conveniences of modern medicine see when she'd be coming by to break my water. My doctor didn't get there until 8 am. Clearly she never had any intentions of "just breaking my water" or she would've met me at the hospital and she would have instructed my nurse to wait to give me pitocin. Instead the nurse hooked that drug up to my IV before the doctor even left the room. So much for my plan.

My parents got to the hospital about 10 am and I was feeling those contractions. They weren't too close together so we were able to talk a little. At first, at least, and then they just got too strong.

The nurse came in to check me about 10:30 and found out I was at 5 cm. She was calm and said she'd check me again in about an hour. I told her that my labor with Libby progressed very quickly once I reached 6 cm. I was at 6 cm at 3 pm and Libby was born at 3:27. The nurse got a little fire under her when I mentioned that. She called my doctor and checked me again 15 minutes later. All the "extras" came in and started preparing for a new arrival. Levi was born at 11:17.

I'm not sure how long I was actually pushing, but it was a lot longer than I pushed with Libby. She was my easiest delievery. Not coincindentally, she was also my smallest baby. Looking back I think my biggest struggle was my exhaustion. I really started to wonder how long they would let me push in vain. Of course, what seemed like an eternity to me was probably not more than 10 minutes.

It's funny when I hear women say that you forget the pain as soon as you see the baby. Those women must have gotten epidurals! I didn't forget the pain. I still remember the pain. But, it was so worth it! Every pound, every contraction, every worry is worth it.