Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jackson Paul's birth story

Today, February 21st, was my original "estimated due date" as the doctors call it, because the likelihood of giving birth on this day is slim and really it is an estimate because very rarely does someone know the exact moment/ day of conception. . . anywho
It's surreal to sit down today and think about how much life has changed and what all happened as I stare at my sweet sleeping baby who will be five weeks old on Saturday and was 1 month on Tuesday!

I am a planner, an organizer, almost anal some would say. . . I just feel more comfortable knowing exactly what's going on, what's expected and so on. I like consistency and I'm not great with change, so from the beginning of my pregnancy I've been a little terrified of the birth. The pain and the actual process but also the spontaneity of it. This was something I could not plan at all, and I've been preparing myself for that for awhile, but nothing could have prepared me for what actually happened! So I'll start from the beginning- and if you don't care about the details, skip this post (it's going to be a long one!) and come back next time for more pics- but I need to write this out for myself if nothing else!

To really get the whole story I have to start about a week before sweet baby Jackson was born.
January 11th- I am about to be 35 weeks pregnant and I really can't believe it. I've been putting off reality and haven't been nesting or preparing for baby much at all but I woke up on this Friday and went into overdrive. Starting on Friday and really going through all of the next week, I made a list of things I wanted to take to the hospital and started packing my bag, I washed all of the baby clothes, towels, sheets, anything the baby would touch with his special detergent, I went wild at the grocery store buying things in bulk so I wouldn't have to worry about them later and the next week I started cooking casseroles and other meals to freeze for after the baby came. You know- so I could start our stash and just add to it. Heck, we went out on Saturday January 12th and bought a small fridge to put in our garage to hold all of my freezer meals! It was delivered on January 17th and I stocked it full!

Tuesday January 14th, Patrick called one day from work to see how I was doing and I told him, "well, I'm definitely in full on nesting mode now" He laughed, my sister said I had time, friends told me I was crazy for doing stuff so early but this was my way of planning our arrival! Looking back it makes you wonder if my body knew something was happening. It just seems crazy to think out of nowhere I started preparing for our baby and doing things people were telling me it was way too early to do but it was just in my head that I HAD to get this stuff done!

In this midst of all of my nesting, I was having some small abdominal pains nothing crazy but noticeable, mainly when I moved from sitting to standing. I figured it was just one of those normal pregnancy pains that would dissipate but made a mental note to talk to the doctor if it was still bothering me on Wednesday. I went into the doctor for my 35 week appointment on the morning of Wednesday January 16th all excited- this was the beginning of going to the doctor every week! That sounds awful I'm sure but it was exciting because to me it meant Jackson's arrival was imminent and THAT was exciting. I was in and out of the doctor fast and never mentioned the small pains because they hadn't been bothering me that morning.

Friday January 18th, these abdominal pains, that were low and shot across my stomach were a bit worse today. Usually when I would stand up or change positions it would hurt then go away. Today I'm walking through Target grocery shopping and have to hobble out because of the pain. I think I even was making audible noises in the checkout line I was in so much discomfort. I come home and call the doctor. They tell me it's "round ligament pain" which is standard for normal pregnancy pain. I try to tell them it feels different as I've had the round ligament pain for a while through the pregnancy but she said to take some Tylenol and rest the remainder of the day. This was a little before lunchtime.

Around 2 I call back saying its getting worse, and do the same around 3:30. Finally the nurse tells me to go up the hospital to the Labor and Delivery testing area and they will check that everything is okay. I tell her, I KNOW I'm not in labor, I'm not that silly, I just think something is wrong with me and want to figure it out! She agrees and sends me to the hospital. At this point I call P and tell him I'm headed up there, so he heads home to drive me up there.

We are checked into Labor and Delivery around 4:30pm kind of as a fluke because there are no beds left in the "Testing" area. They are very nice, run a bunch of blood work and tell me nothing is wrong, it's round ligament pains. MAN I felt like an idiot at this point, and it wasn't anyone trying to make me feel that way, I just felt like a fool for thinking something was really wrong when it was just normal pains all along! We are discharged at 6:30 with instructions to take Tylenol every 4 hours and "bed rest" for the weekend. I have another doctor's appointment next week anyways so I can talk to my own doctor then if the pain is still bothering me. We pick up dinner and I eat on the couch with my legs up. Around 10pm I tell Patrick maybe I am feeling better, I guess the Tylenol is working.

We go to bed, probably around 11pm or a little after and I'm sleeping relatively comfortable (for 35 weeks pregnant at least). I get up a few times to go to the bathroom and notice P is not in bed. At this point in my pregnancy this isn't uncommon. Apparently, I snore while pregnant. I don't know if I believe this or not but so says my bed mate! So he had abandoned ship to sleep peacefully in our guest bedroom, no big deal!

5:21am Saturday January 19th- seriously I don't think I'll ever forget that time. I wake up in SERIOUS pain. Like none I've ever been in before and note the time. I try to think through it rationally- did I just wait too long to go to the bathroom. Maybe I'll try going to the bathroom again. I get up and barely make it the 10 steps to our bathroom before falling on the toilet. I don't get up for 20 minutes not because I am using the toilet but because I seriously can't move I am in so much pain. I remember thinking: "Okay, even if this is a bad contraction, it will eventually get better. The pain HAS to subside. Pain like this can't last forever, right??"

5:43am- I realize this is definitely not okay. The pain has not subsided in the least. In fact it occasionally gets even worse for a short time then goes back to a constant horrific pain. I decide I have to call the doctor, even if they think I am the stupidest pregnant woman ever. I mean seriously they just discharged me from the hospital telling me I was FINE! And less than 12 hours ago! But I could NOT live like this. So I call the emergency line and start crying while talking to the operator who puts me through to the nurses line. I am on hold for about 5 minutes. P hears me crying and hears the awful hold music on the phone and comes in asking if I am okay. (back story- P is super overprotective of me and a worrier. Anytime I have a pain he worries and thinks something is seriously wrong so I usually downplay some of my pain) But this time when he asks if I am okay I flat out tell him NO! I feel like I am dying and something is seriously wrong. And then I hit him hard- also I haven't felt the baby kick since I've been up. This is hard to tell him because I know its going to seriously freak him out, but it was starting to freak me out as baby boy was a mover and a shaker, and night time were his prime hours. I say a quick prayer, "PLEASE tell me what to do to keep the baby safe, even if the pain never goes away, keep the baby safe"

Finally, no one answers the phone and I have to leave a message and a nurse will call me back. This felt like eternity. We tried to get me back to the bed and I couldn't do anything but sit on all fours and not move. 15 minutes later a nurse called back. I end up being on the phone with her for what feels like 30 minutes, turns out it was about 5. She tells me that the sharp pains I am having where the pain gets unimaginably worse are contractions. She says I need to start timing them. OMG- I start to panic. She also tells me to drink some orange juice or eat something sugary and start doing a kick count to make sure the baby kicks ten times in an hour. She ends by telling me to call back if I have more than 4 contractions in an hour or less than 10 kicks.

I down some orange juice and we wait- while I wince in pain, barely able to catch my breath it hurts SO bad. After about 20 minutes I had had 5 contractions and hadn't felt the baby kick at all. FREAKING OUT! I tell P, "screw an hour, call back NOW!" Again this is very unlike me to be such an alarmist but I don't know what else to do and now I've got crazy terrible thoughts running through my head about possible problems. This is not a good place to let your mind wonder. P calls back and the nurse tells us to go ahead and head to the hospital she will let my doctor know we are on the way.

6:25am (I think): P literally carries me to the car. I can not move. I'm still in my pajamas, no bra, no contacts, hair un-brushed. He throws a sweatshirt on me because it's cold outside and we go. Every bump makes me feel like I'm going to die. I seriously don't know how I made it through that car ride. Thank goodness the hospital is about 5 minutes away. The only other thing I remember about this trip is the sunrise. There was a beautiful sunrise that morning. I remember noticing that. We arrive at the hospital and P and the valet carry me into the wheelchair. They take me back to Labor and Delivery. Its a long ride and the bumps are making me keel over in pain. I think I was crying but I honestly don't remember.

6:35am or so- Not sure of the exact time but it was fast- I am checked in and getting an IV of fluids. P had to undress me and put me in the hospital gown in my wheelchair because I couldn't stand up. He and the nurse put me in the bed. I am in unbearable pain, to the point of almost blacking out. I remember them strapping the heart rate monitor around my stomach because it took me a second to figure out I had to lean forward for them to get it behind me. The on call doctor finally comes in and give me pain medicine. Side note- the day we were there I really thought this took over an hour to happen but I found out later it was less than 20 minutes because this doctor's 24 hour shift was over at 7am and she is who administered the drugs. But they didn't work. I was still in serious pain although it was maybe a little bit better. The only helpful thing they did was make me super groggy and almost like a drunk person.

I remember very little from this point on. I know they ran a bunch of tests and I remember them telling me the only thing out of the ordinary was my white blood cell count was "slightly elevated" but nothing to be of major concern. They wheeled me out of the room for an ultrasound. I remember people putting me on the ultrasound chair and that the doctor had an Indian accent. I found out later he was a high risk doctor and they were checking to see if the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck or the placenta was pulling away from the uterine wall. He tells P that neither seem to be the case. The nurse and P wheel me back to my room and P asks her, "So, the baby is fine right? And we aren't going to have this baby today, correct?" I don't remember this but he tells me the nurse just said, "well I don't really know"and "we never say never."

They wheel me back into the room. The new on-call doctor is there. We determine this is now around 10:30am. They put me in bed and get me situated. Then the doctor starts, "Well, you are going to have a baby today" I think P almost fell over and I woke up from my drunken/ drugged state for the first time all morning. WHAT?!?! Panic sets in- for both of us really. We both start asking questions but the first one being WHY?? What's wrong?

The doctors and nurses had failed to mention to us, most likely on purpose so as not to alarm us, that Jackson's heart rate was very high. I had actually noticed on the monitor it was higher than normal but didn't realize it was in a dangerous high zone. So it was high, in the 170 range but then every time I had a contraction (which I didn't know I was still having thanks to the pain medication) his heart rate would drop extremely low, into the 90's. All of my pain was putting Jackson in distress and they needed to get him out. So the on-call doctor throws P some scrubs and tells him to wash up to his elbows and get dressed. I remember him asking if he had time to call my parents. They said yes but FAST! I remember telling P as they wheeled me into the OR to call my sister and tell her too!!

They wheeled me out and into the OR, gave me the epidural and actually started the procedure when they brought P in. Sweet Jackson was born less than 45 minutes after they told us he would be coming.

At 11:15am Jackson Paul was born! 5 pounds, 7 ounces and 18.5 inches long! They cleaned him up and I got to hold him for about 5 minutes before they whisked him away to the NICU.
pardon the IPhone pic- we didn't think to bring my hospital bag with us at 6am when I thought baby was fine!! 

 Being so early they had warned us that he might be on oxygen and a feeding tube and would be in the NICU for 7-10 days. P left to be with the baby while they continued to work on me to figure out what was causing all of my pain.

They ran a bunch of tests and swabbed fluids until they finally decided it was my appendix causing the pain. Then they had to find it. WHAT?!? Yep! They couldn't find my appendix. The nurse even asked me at one point if I had an appendectomy before! Nope, it should still be in there people!! Finally they found it. Apparently when you are pregnant your appendix shifts up to make room for baby but mine stayed low and went back behind my uterus- thus making it hard to find. So then they have to call in the general surgeon, who was of course at lunch with his wife on a nice Saturday afternoon! Finally he arrives and scrubs in. At his point most of my early pain medication has worn off so I am lucid and alert even though I can't feel anything from my chest bone down! I remember the surgeon walking in and saying SWEET! You got me out of dress shopping with my wife! Thanks! Strange little memories I have of this room! I also remember a nurse asking me for P's cell phone number because they couldn't find him in the C-section recovery room and they needed him to sign papers so the surgeon could remove my appendix! Finally they remove it!  At one point they told me I would feel a lot of pressure as they moved organs out of the way to get to my appendix. THAT was a strange feeling for sure. And finally, at 1:30pm, over two hours after my baby boy was born, I am wheeled out of the operating room and into recovery! In the meantime I find out that Jackson is a fighter! No oxygen needed, no feeding tube needed! He is doing great, amazing really for being 5 weeks early! All of the doctors are impressed by his well being. This makes my heart SOAR!

I get to our room around 3:30 or 4pm and Jackson is released from the NICU after the minimum 6 hour stay and comes to stay with us for good around 6:30 or 7pm that night! By this time my whole family had driven in from Dallas and P's family had come over from Beaumont. You would think I would have been tired and in a lot of pain but after the morning's pain, recovery felt like a breeze and I was just on such a high from getting to snuggle with my healthy baby boy that sleep never crossed my mind!! It was an amazing, intense and blessed day. Later the doctor told me that if I had waited and my appendix had ruptured it could have killed Jackson and I both! THAT sends chills down my back. The same doctor told me how very lucky I was that this hadn't happened earlier in my pregnancy and I told him luck had nothing to do with it! We were so very blessed and looked after that day and with all of the bad circumstances to have everyone come out healthy and thriving is pretty amazing. It still makes me cry, happy tears, thinking about everything that happened that day and all of the family and friends praying for us.

Jackson Paul you have blessed us beyond measure and I feel lucky that we got you 5 weeks early and get to spend that much more time with you!! 


  1. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I was just riveted to this post! My mouth was hanging open the entire time, and I was shaking my head in disbelief. That is CRAZY! What a story. I'm so, so glad it turned out well and that everyone was fine. God is good!

  2. Susannah, thanks for sharing your story. I am glad you all are all ok. Life is truly a miracle and so nice to be reminded of that in you and Jackson's story.

  3. congratulations on your newest little one! and so glad that everything turned out ok! pam

  4. I love you Suz. I just cried happy tears too. You had an army of people praying for all three of you in those hours and angels watching over you the whole time. Can't wait to meet J!

    PS. My appendix was the absolute worst pain I have ever felt in my life as well.