Friday the 13th was an amazing day for me. I’ve not ever been one to be superstitious, or a believer of good luck / bad luck. And I love prime numbers (nerd).
Friday the 13th was the day that Gibbers’ prayers from last summer came to fruition. The day that another one of God’s miracles came to be. It was the day that “Giblet” was born.
Really, it all started on the 12th. I woke up in the morning with random, sporadic contractions. There wasn’t much to them at all. Mr Gibby and I both wondered if that meant today was going to be the day, but we opted to not say anything to his mom & dad (out here visiting and to help out and watch Gibbers while we were int he hospital). The contractions were such a non-issue that we went into Aachen for the day and enjoyed some of the old architecture/history, the open market and some Starbucks and some duper delicious bratwurst & pommes. We got home around 3 in the afternoon and all laid down for a nap before heading to Gibbers’ t-ball practice.
I woke up around 4 and had a weird feeling. Mr Gibby was up and asked what was going on with me. I said the classic line of “Either my water just broke or I pee’d myself.” Really, I wasn’t sure. At 4:30, I still wasn’t sure so I encouraged him to take Gibbers to t-ball practice. Around 4:45, as Mr Gibby was heading out the door to take Gibbers to t-ball, with his mom & dad in tow, I knew for sure. Mr Gibby peeked upstairs to check on me before heading out the door and while talking I told him to go to t-ball, that my water had for sure broke, and that I was going to shower and finish packing things up and that we’ll head to the hospital after he got home.
I enjoyed a glorious shower, put on make-up, fixed my hair, got dressed, packed up more stuff to take to the hospital, and then I waited. The contractions were still minor… more gentle than menstrual cramps. Once Mr Gibby returned home, he finished grabbing the last of the odds & ends and loaded up the car. We kissed Gibbers good-bye and told him that we were going to the doctor to have his baby brother.
In the car, I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they were lasting around 30 seconds each. Most were easy to handle, and the few that were more painful I took as an opportunity to practice breathing. We made it to the hospital around 7:20pm and were checked in. The midwife on duty came in and checked things out. She verified that my water was indeed broken, but also that I wasn’t dilating. She said that they will go ahead and give me a room since my water had broken, but that we were in for a long evening. She also recommended to take advantage of pain management & an epidural (I assume because it was going to be a long labor and that I would need some rest that evening in order for me to deliver the baby).
We were put in our room and left to labor and be checked periodically. Suddenly, the real contractions started. The kind where you can’t talk anymore, the kind where it takes all of your energy to breathe and not scream in pain. OH.MY.LANTA. They were horribly painful. But the worse part is they were coming so fast. I went from soft and gentle contractions to contractions that felt like my innards were trying to push their way out of my lady parts (which, in a way, that was what was happening). They were every 1 min 45 secs, and lasted for 45 of those seconds. I received a shot of pain medication that was to take the edge off. I don’t recall the edge going anywhere. I was checked again and was around 2 centimeters and sent back to the room to labor some more. An hour later, I was checked again and was at 4 centimeters. The midwife was called in and wheeled us down to labor & delivery.
I don’t remember much of labor and delivery. Well, except for extreme pain. My contractions were still strong and close. Mr Gibby would give me his hand when I was having a contraction and I would squeeze the stink out of it.
Sidenote: If you are a fan of the TV show “The Big Bang Theory” you should know the episode where Amy Farrah Fowler goes out with Penny and Bernadette, and Penny’s ex, Zach, comes into the restaurant/bar where they are having a ladies night. Penny introduces everyone to Zach and Amy Farrah Fowler, instead of giving a traditional greeting says “Hooo.” Well, that it what I said during my contractions. I would inhale, and then my exhale would be “hooooooooo.” I would have laughed at myself except I was in too much pain.
The doctor offered me an epidural and I accepted. (So much for my natural waterbirth plan.) In Germany they do a walking epidural, so you still have use of your legs and so you can also still feel the contractions and when to push (rather than being told you are having a contraction and being told to push). Really, the walking epidural is over rated. I remember the doctor asking if it was making things easier and I said a little bit, and she asked if I was to the point where I would be able to sleep through a contraction and I told her no. She told me I would get to that point. I NEVER got to that point. I couldn’t even rest through the contractions. I got to the point where I wasn’t squeezing all heck out of Mr Gibby’s hands, and sometimes where I wasn’t “hooooo”-ing, but they were never anything but horrible.
Anyway, labor continued. By 1am, I had dilated to the required 10 centimeters!!! Oh, but hold those exclamation points. Giblet was still “floating”, having not entered the cervix at all. His heart ate was little crazy, so they wanted to do a test to see how his body was handling the stress. So they drew blood from his HEAD!!! Turns out, he was doing okay so they wanted to wait another hour to see how he held up and to give him time to drop into position. But there was mention that if things didn’t progress, that we would have to discuss a c-section.
So, around 2am, with an epidural that had worn off, they checked to see where he was. Still floating. And his heart rate was even more crazy, resting around 140 bpm, raising up to the 190s right before a contraction would make me kick in pain, and then drop into the low 100s during the contraction. My contractions were horrible, I couldn’t recover from one before the next one hit. (Mr Gibby told me after the fact that he had timed some of them and they were every minute, lasting for at least 45 seconds of that minute, leaving me 15 seconds or less to recover.) The doctor came in and said she thinks we need to do a c-section. We gave our consent. And Mr Gibby prayed for us, for Giblet and for the doctors and staff while we had tears run down our cheeks. They brought the anesthesiologist back in to give me the epidural that would “paralyze” me from the ribs down. She pumped that in while they wheeled me down to the operating room. Things began while Mr Gibby got suited up in scrubs.
Sidenote: I’ve watched c-sections on those baby shows, and have viewed photos taken during a c-section. Everything I’ve ever viewed was pretty modest. Not the case in real life… at least not in my experience. I had a hospital gown placed on me for the trek from L&D to the OR. Once I was in the OR, prior to being shifted to the operating gurney, that was whisked away and I lay there, naked. They put the sheet up in front of my face and I remained naked for a time. They cleaned me and put the operating tape looking stuff on me. I adjusted the sheet/blanket to cover my boobs… come on, a girl wants some dignity, that’s why we always wear socks to the lady doctor, right?
Mr Gibby was able to join me and he was a bit shocked at how much I was shaking. He thought I was cold, but it was the epidural making me shake. He held my hand and we talked. The anesthesiologist came and held my other hand and talked us through the surgery, telling me when they were cutting, when I would feel pushing and pulling, telling us his head was out, when his shoulders were out, telling us that he was a BIG baby. Then we heard him cry. Oh, that was the sweetest sound… to hear our newest miracle breathe life at 2:35am. Mr Gibby gave me a kiss and went to watch the staff check Giblet out while the doctors continued working on me. Giblet weighed in at 8lbs 14oz and 21 inches long. (We had no idea he was going to be that size… last we heard was in the 7.5 lbs range.) Mr Gibby came over with Giblet in his arms. It was so sweet to see. And I got to kiss his face. And then I was able to awkwardly hold him for a few minutes before they whisked my guys out of the OR (too cold for the baby). Luckily, the anesthesiologist was one of the sweetest people I have ever encountered, and she again held my hand and told me that the baby was perfectly healthy and walked me through the rest of my surgery, telling me when I would feel more tugging and pulling, that there were only two more layers to stitch back together, only one more layer to stitch, almost finished, and done! I whispered a prayer of thanks for my health and for the skill of the medical staff and for God gifting us this miracle, and asked for strength and grace to raise him. Then I was wheeled out of the OR, transferred to a bed and wheeled back to L&D to meet my guys. We stayed there for a little while longer while the midwife took care of some paperwork and we were eventually wheeled to our room for the next 5 days.
So, our labor and delivery didn’t go anything like what we had planned. And I knew going in to be flexible. But in the end, we have another little boy to love and raise.