Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jude's Birth Story

Jude is officially 11 days old... and the details of his birth are already starting to fade.  The pains of childbirth are easily forgotten.  But, I want to remember everything, every little detail... the good and the bad, and everything that is going to make that day come back to me quickly.

I wrote Jack's birth story once, but deleted it somehow and I really wish I had those words, my own words to look back on.  I suppose I could re-write it someday soon... but I know it won't be the same, many details will be missing I'm sure.

Any-who... here it is, Jude's birth story, exactly as I remember it :)

The day Jude was born, was by far the scariest and hardest day of my life.

On Tuesday (the day before he was born) I had a routine non-stress test to check on Jude and also a follow-up with my midwife.  I was 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant and getting really anxious.  I hadn't been sleeping much with contractions keeping me awake at night, but they were never the real thing.  I was terrified I'd go into labor while Joel was at work, and he'd have to make the hour drive home to get me, and then the hour drive to the hospital.  I was a bit over anxious that I'd give birth on the side of the road.  So... I asked if I could be induced.  My midwife said sure if that's what I wanted, and scheduled us for the following morning (or that night if I had wanted).

On the way home from our appointment with Jack in tow, my mother-in-law called me with some bad news... my sister-in-law Sharon, her brother Sam had passed away in an accident.  I ended the call with the news that her grandson would be born the following day.

When we pulled into our drive, I called my Mom to tell her about the induction, and at the end of the call I told her about Sam (she knew him from church) and I started to cry, I cried for my sister-in-law Sharon.  I really didn't know Sam, I had seen him at church many years ago, but I know my sister-in-law and I knew her world had just been turned upside down.  My heart ached for her.

My first instinct was to drive over to her Mother's house, but with our induction the following morning... I knew we needed to prepare, and mentally, I didn't know how much of a support I really could have been.  So we called and left a message.  The decision to stay home and prepare wasn't easy.

We called my sister and mom and made detailed arrangements for Jack, packed, cleaned the house some more and then we went to bed.  And I tucked Jack into bed that night with a bit of a heavy heart... our world was about to change!  I may have cried a little too... good tears though, the kind when something big is about to happen in your life, and things will never be the same again.

The following morning we dropped off Jack at my Mom's house and headed to the hospital.  We gave him lots of hugs and kisses and it was so hard to leave.  Jack has only stayed the night away from us once in his almost four years of life.  Crazy I know.  We promised him we'd see him later that night and left him with a suitcase full of clothes, his bear, blanky, his favorite library book ("Smiley Shark"), his thomas the train pull out couch and pillow, he was going to Aunt Jessica's for a sleepover with his cousin Brayden after Jude was born.  He was super excited.

Then Joel and I got into the car and drove to Dayton.  I was having contractions the whole way, but they were irregular like always.  We checked in at 10am and then we were taken to our room.  The only thing on my mind when I met my nurse was the question if I could keep my bra on. haha  Which, I didn't even have to ask she told me to take everything off, but my bra and I'm pretty sure I actually said, "yay!"

They checked me and I was already dilated to a 3 on my own, so they started me right on pit.  I didn't feel any pain for a couple hours... and just talked with Joel most of the time while I laid in bed.  We decided that this time it would just be us.

Later, the nurses asked if I wanted an epidural, and I admitted that I wanted an "easy birth" this time.  I told them I would let them know when I felt I was ready for one, but I was still a bit unsure.  My midwife also came in and thankfully let me know that I did not have to be confined to the bed as my nurses had basically implied.  She carried in a rocking chair for me, and even told me there was a blow up pool she could bring in if I wanted, or I could sit in the tub and at any time I could change my mind and get the epidural.  Cat (my midwife) is amazing... she brings such a calmness to the room.

A few hours later I was starting to have some pain, which of course got worse and worse... I was ready for an epidural!  I told Joel I wanted an epidural and he went to the nurses station to tell them because basically I was in that much pain, ha!

The nurse came in to give me fluid and said I needed to get half the bag in me before she could call the anesthesiologist.  She said it would take around 10 minutes.  Then she called, and it took an hour and a half for them to get to me.

What happened during that 90 minute period is very much a blur.  I remember going to the bathroom and not wanting to get off the toilet.  I remember my nurse getting upset with me because she kept losing Jude's heartbeat because I was moving so much and in pain.  I refused to lay in bed.  I wanted to stand!  I leaned on Joel during my contractions and moaned and breathed through them.  I'm pretty sure my nurse called Cat my midwife because she couldn't find Jude with me standing and basically ignoring her.  Cat came and sat cross-legged on the floor below me and found Jude, and held the monitor up under my belly to keep him on the screen for awhile.  (She's amazing!)  Sometime during all this, I remember Cat saying, "By the time they get here (the anesthesiologist) we may already have a baby by the sounds of it.

I thought she was joking at the time, but now I know she wasn't.

The anesthesiologist finally arrived and she brought a student with her.  I must have been giving him the stink eye because she told me he would just be watching today and not to worry.

She asked me a bunch of questions and then gave me instructions on what to do... all I really remember is leaning on Joel and saying, "I can't breath with this gum in my mouth"... and I spit it out on the floor in front of everyone.  I am so embarrassed to say I did that, but it was a huge piece of strawberry gum Joel got me from the gift-shop, and I really felt like I couldn't breath!

After they finished, I waited for instant relief... and I was really upset to hear it may take up to 10 minutes until I feel the full effects.  At this point my midwife decided to break my water, but when she did... nothing came out!  She said, "hmm... his head must be down too far."  I'm pretty sure this is when they put the small monitor thing on Jude's head to track his heartbeat since they kept losing it externally.  10 minutes went by, and I was moaning and twisting my body in pain... the pain was actually getting more intense.  I kept asking my nurse if this was normal... she said the epidural should be working by now and said she'd call anesthesia back to "fix it."  I felt everything and could move everything.  I wanted out of bed!  I forgot I could push the button myself for more pain relief... I was in so much pain I was just focusing on breathing, so the nurse told me to push it because she couldn't do it for me.  I felt the coldness enter my body, but the pain stayed.

While we were waiting, something happened with Jude... a monitor started to alarm and my nurse in a scary and serious voice told me to roll to my right side, after a few seconds she demanded I roll to my left side... after a few seconds she told me to get on all fours on the bed and she strapped an oxygen mask to my face and told me, "breath deep breaths.  Olivia you need to breath for your baby."  Then she yelled for someone to get Cat who had just left our room, while it seemed like a lot of new people scrambled into our room.

I knew better than to ask what was going on, they needed to think and just do their job.  And all I could think about was how I didn't want Jude to die.  I prayed over and over in my head begging God to let Jude be okay, and I just kept thinking and shaking my head... "this isn't happening, this isn't happening to us."  I have never prayed a prayer like that... it was the scariest moment in my life.

All this happened I'm sure in a matter of seconds, possibly just a few minutes... but around this time, Joel told me to look him in the eye.  And he told me that everything was going to be okay, and if it wasn't okay I would be getting a c-section.  He told me to trust him.

At this time a few other people had entered the room including the anesthesiologist.  The look on their faces scared me.  It wasn't about my pain anymore, nobody cared if the epidural was working or not... it was about Jude now.  All these new people kept telling me to breath and that everything was okay.

Cat came into the room and checked me, she said he was right there... and it was time for me to push.  They kicked the anesthesiologist out (no working epidural for me) and told me to push.  I pushed on my side, I pushed on all fours, I pushed laying on my back...

I took deep breaths, pushed as hard as I could, blew it out and occasionally screamed at the end... I'm sure I terrified anyone on that floor.

Pretty sure I said, "I can feel everything" once or twice too ;)

When he was crowning, Cat asked if I wanted to feel his head... I got to feel Jack's when he was coming out, but I was in so much pain this time, I told her I just needed to get him out!

It felt like every push wasn't working, even though they said it was.  I kept telling myself I have to push or I'm going to be pregnant forever and in constant pain forever.

And finally... he was born!

Cat placed him on my stomach and I looked at him, and all I could say was... "I cannot believe YOU were inside of me!  Look at you!"

Joel and I looked at him, each other, and then Joel kissed me.

      Joel was absolutely amazing during the whole birth process, constantly telling me I was strong and could do it... and reassuring me everything was okay when I thought our whole world had flipped upside down.

(Joel said Jude was mean muggin' him here)

Jude came out crying.  He actually cried before he was out of me... weird I know.  Cat and Joel both said it was super weird!  He was also born sunny-side up.

They let me look at him and hold him until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, and Joel got to cut it (he didn't get to cut Jack's cord because it was so big and they actually said he would be "hacking at it").  And I'll just skip over the details of the placenta and stitches, but they weren't bad I promise... especially after giving birth naturally!

(A video Joel took that is horrible quality, but it's the only one we have after the birth of Jude.  You can hear them ask Joel if he'd like to cut the cord.)

Then they wrapped Jude up and told me he was going to be taken down the hall just to be checked out and told me to give him a kiss.  So I kissed him on the cheek goodbye and waited.

Cat explained to us that when you dilate super fast like I did and he moved through the birth canal so quickly it can look bad on the monitors.

A little later, the pediatrician came in smiling (the smile made my whole body relax) and told us that Jude was just fine, had 10 fingers and toes, but that he wanted them to monitor him just a bit longer.

About an hour later, as I sat alone in my room.... Joel came through the door wheeling Jude in his nursery bed cart... I'm pretty sure I clapped and said, "YAY!" :)

Together just the three of us, we held him and gave him kisses.

I ate dinner and then a nurse came in to help me get cleaned up and changed and that's when my parents and Jack arrived.

I could not have imagined a better meeting between Jack and Jude.  Jack ran straight over to Jude (Joel was holding him) and told him he had a gift for him and to, "open it, open it!"  I suggested to Jack that he open it for Jude, so he ripped the bow and paper off and pulled out a wooden box he had painted with my Mom that day for Jude.  He said, "Look! Look Jude!  Look what I made for you!"  He was so excited he was basically jumping up and down and he had the biggest smile ever.  To be completely honest, watching Jack and Jude together... it made me and Joel tear up.  My heart was so full and happy.

My sister, Jessica, came in shortly after that and got to meet Jude.  She was actually at the hospital for clinicals (she's in nursing school) on the mother/baby floor.  It was perfect timing!  She got to check in on us several times and it was so nice (because we were an hour from home at Miami Valley).  She is going to make an amazing nurse, she brings such a calmness to the room and she just has that soothing voice too and she genuinely cares for people.  I maybe bias though because she's also an amazing big sister.

After visiting with Jack, my parents and Jessica... they moved us to our new room, and as the nurse was checking Jude out, Jack leaned over the little crib cart and screamed.... "HE'S GOT A PENIS!"  He was so excited that Jude had a penis like him, haha!  Everyone laughed and the following day he was pretty famous around the ward as the story got around.

Jack went home that night with my sister to have a sleepover with his cousin Brayden and we finally got some rest.

The next day my Grandma & Grandpa Copeland came to visit us and brought a couple gifts.  And of course their camera didn't work just like it didn't work when Jack was born.  It's an inside joke between all of us.  And Joel took the famous photo of Grandpa struggling with the camera just like he did after Jack was born :)  Which reminds me, I need to send them some of the photos I took.

We saw Jessica again later that day, and later we asked the hospital for an early discharge.  So we left the hospital around 8pm that evening, picked up Jack from my Mom's house and headed home finally as a family of four.

(I started writing this when Jude was 11 days old and finally finished when he was 3 weeks old.)

Oh and just an FYI: If I ever give birth again... I'm going straight for the water birth and NO epidural!


  1. Such a beautiful story Liv. It definately made me cry in fear and in happiness. Much love to the four of you!

  2. And you will be as wonderful a mama to Jude as you are and have been to Jack... and Joel the husband and father both boys will be proud to call daddy.

  3. Olivia, this was beautiful...I loved reading it. The video made me tear well as the pics of Jack meeting Jude. hearing that first cry must be amazing! You sure endured a lot...and handled it all so well! I am so sorry to hear about your sil's brother...many thoughts and prayers!
    Jude is adorable and seeing the photos - you can just see your pure happiness shining through them.
    Much love to you all!


"Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime." -Dale Carnegie

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