Malachi keeps growing and getting better balance. One recent evening he was particularly balanced and so I grabbed the camera and took some photos of our sweet boy.
Malachi keeps growing and getting better balance. One recent evening he was particularly balanced and so I grabbed the camera and took some photos of our sweet boy.
It all started with my appointment at 11:20am on October 9, 2013 at 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Dr. Harbin stripped my membranes to help me move along as he was not going to let me go past 42 weeks and I was hoping to not be medically induced. I was 2 cm dilated at the appointment, however Malachi was still not engaging. The last couple weeks of appointments had been about Malachi being head down but sunny side up and not dropping. We had hoped that when contractions started, he would go on and fall.
After the appointment, I had a chiropractor appointment with Dr. Knox. He adjusted me and did pressure points to see if he could help the baby engage. At the end of the appointment he predicted that the baby would come in the next 72 hours.
Throughout the afternoon, I had what I kept describing as cramping and low back aches. Apparently, all of the cramps were actually contractions. At the time however, I thought I was just having a side effect from the check that morning. Once Wes got home from work we headed to the grocery store since we had very little food in the house. I had a feeling that the baby was coming soon, I just didn’t realize how soon. I even texted my mom to let her know that I doubt I will make it to the weekend. So I guess in nesting I felt we needed to go to the store even though I was contacting. We stopped at Wendy’s to grab a bite to eat and then headed on to Kroger. Throughout the store I would stop and lean on the cart and breath through a contraction. I realized that I had started and actually been in labor all day. I was still not convinced that I was in true labor. I still kept thinking that it was all from the appointment that morning and it would die down.
Once we got home from the store, I started putting groceries away and Wes took Simba for a walk. While out, I called him and told him to take Simba for an extra long walk because I have a feeling it would be the last for a while as the contractions were getting stronger. When Wes got home we started putting some last minute things in the suitcase and the car seat in the car. I started bleeding about 9pm, which is when I realized that this was probably it. We went to bed about 11pm to try and get some sleep but it took me a while to calm myself from excitement to actually get my eyes to shut!
About 2am I woke up and had some very intense contractions. They were coming every 3 minutes and lasting about 1 minute each. I woke Wes and told him that we needed to get ready for the hospital. We were hoping to labor mostly from home so I started on my pile of pillows. I called my mom to let her know that things were starting and that I would call once we were heading to the hospital. After his shower, I had some jello and walked through some contractions. I knew that bleeding was normal for labor but I started getting concerned how much was normal as it was getting heavier and had been going on for a while. Wes put everything in the car as I walked and bounced on my labor ball. We kept debating when to go to the hospital because I didn’t want to be sent home again. (I had gone on Tuesday the 8th because I was concerned my water may have broken. Apparently Malachi was just on my bladder.)
About 4:45am we decided that we just needed to go on to the hospital because there was no sense in waiting if I was concerned. I knew I was in labor and if they sent me home to labor more I would be fine with that but then I would know that everything was progressing normally. Wes let my mom know and apparently they were already on their way.
We were checked in at about 5am. When I was finally taken back and checked I was 3 cm. I felt good that I had progressed another cm from that morning without much pain. I was also just about completely effaced. Before admitting me they wanted to watch and see how the contractions looked for one hour on the monitor. While we waited, we talked and Wes text about everyone we knew with excitement!
At 6:30am, they looked at the contractions I had in the one hour on the monitor. My contractions were still coming regularly at about 3-4 minutes apart, however the baby was still too high and not engaging. They decided to have me walk the halls to see if I could get the baby to drop. While I walked, Wes snuck me in a granola bar and fruit snacks because I was starving! The nurses were so sweet and said that since I was not admitted yet they didn’t see anything.
At 7:15, Dr. Harbin came in to check on me before he went in for a scheduled C-section he had that morning. I had made it to 4 cm so they admitted me at about 7:30.
We made it to our labor room by about 8am and started getting settled. I wanted to do an all-natural birth without any medical interventions. I felt really good about it to since the nurse couldn’t believe that I was only describing my pain level at a 2 during the hardest contractions. To help me accomplish my med free birth, they gave me an enema to help move things along.
By about 11am I reached 5 cm so they decided to break my water. That is when the contractions started getting very intense and times and events are blurred for me. I was still going without interventions and because I wanted to move around to labor they had only put in a stint for an IV but I wasn’t hooked to any fluids. The contractions started getting more and more intense and closer together. I remember holding on to Wes as tight as possible trying to breath through each one.
The contractions started to get so intense and close together that they were not giving me any relief. They were spiking just about off the page and lasting for 2 minutes. When they would let up they would only go down about half way for about 1 minute before spiking again. I was having a lot of back labor throughout as well that was the worst. I remember having Wes help me to the bathroom because I started to become too weak to walk myself, especially since I felt like I was in one constant contraction that wasn’t letting up. I also started to feel sick with each spike. Eating ice chips helped but Wes kept grabbing for the bag because I kept feeling so sick. I also could not get comfortable.
They wanted to keep me hooked up to the monitor that watched the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. As I would move the monitors would get in the way and go off. I asked for them to take me off so I could get comfortable but they wouldn’t let me. At one point, I found a comfortable position sitting up, cross-legged and leaning forward some. However, the baby’s heart rate dropped every time I tried. I also liked standing next to the bed leaning over on it but the baby didn’t like that either. The most comfortable position that I found that the baby didn’t mind was on my side. Wes was an amazing coach and helped me remember to breath and try to relax and not fight against each contraction. Since the back labor was so bad, each contraction I had Wes dig his thumb into my low back to give me counter pressure. I’m not sure how he did everything I remember at once!
At about 2pm they checked and I had made it to 6 cm. I was a little disappointed I had not made it further. The contractions were staying extremely intense and I started to feel very sick. Looking back and talking to my mom, she said I looked very pail and sickly. Honestly, I barely remember talking to her in my room. A lot of mid day and early afternoon are very blurry to me as I was in and out of it. Wes said that somehow I was falling asleep in between a few of the contractions.
I begged to be checked again to see if any progress had been made and at about 3:30pm I was still at 6cm. I told Wes that I couldn’t do it anymore. The contractions were so intense without any progress being made, plus I was becoming too weak. Dr. Larmen (the on call Dr. I had throughout Thursday) suggested some pitocin to help regulate my contractions. I knew that pitocin would also strengthen them and did not feel I could handle it so I opted for the epidural. I felt that if I could fully relax maybe my body would continue to work and I could still deliver without any other interventions.
They ordered the epidural about 3:30pm but the problem was however, since I had not been hooked to an IV all day, they had to get fluid in me to open the spot in my back to be able to place the IV. They put me on a saline bag at the fastest drip they could. With the fluid going in me that quickly I was very cold. After I was half way through the second bag they finally felt I had enough for the anesthesiologist to come. That was a LONG 45 minute wait!
At 4:15pm, they sent Wes out of the room and sat me on the side of the bed. My nurse was amazing and had everything ready for the anesthesiologist. He was needing to get to a surgery but she told him that she would get everything ready so he wouldn’t be in here long. She knew I couldn’t wait for him to come out of surgery!! Of course, as soon as he came in and started the process, my contractions spiked again. My nurse was in front of me and let me lean on her and squeeze. She kept me still and helped me breath through it so I could get my epidural. It was not fun to be having a spike in a contraction and then the epidural that felt like a bee sting at the same time!
I immediately started to feel some relief. I remember the nurse talking to me and telling me that she didn’t know how I went as long as I did without the epidural looking at my contraction monitor and the strength of each one without letting up.
The epidural started to slow my contractions and they weren’t coming as regularly or as strong. So we started talking pitocin. They said they would give me some time to see if I would make progress. The epidural also caused my blood pressure to drop so they had to give me some medicine to get it to come back up to normal. They also had me lying on my left side and said I needed to flip every 30 minutes so the epidural would not settle onto one side. However, when they turned me and had me lay on my right side, the baby’s heart rate would drop. So I stayed on my left side for quite a while.
Dr. Harbin started his rotation. He checked me at about 6:15pm and I was still sitting at 6 cm so we decided to start the pitocin. I started to become worried that a c-section was in the future because the baby was still not dropping. They started me on the lowest drip and until we started making good progress and my contractions started working again, they were going to up it every 30 minutes. By 7pm my contractions were getting more intense and increasing in frequency.
By this time, my night nurse started her rotation. I started becoming very uncomfortable lying on my left side. I felt the epidural was settling because my right side started becoming painful and my left side was very numb, even down to my toes and my fingers. The new nurse helped me sit up and just lean back. It felt so much better and my epidural started to even out again. My night nurse was also my hero because after 12 hours of nothing but ice chips, she offered me a popsicle!
At 8pm, they checked me again and I was still at 6cm. I had been stuck here for 6 hours now but the pitocin did appear on the monitors to be making my contractions hit the markers they wanted. So we continued to wait.
Dr. Harbin came into our room and sat in the rocker and talked with us for a while as he watched my monitors. I was the only patient in the labor wing that night so I had the entire staff helping me. This is when I finally started feeling okay about what ever would happen. Dr. Harbin was talking to me about the plan of what he wanted to see and how he thought it might go. I discussed with him my fears about a c-section and even my uneasiness about using pitocin.
At 9pm they checked again and I had finally made some progress and had reached 8cm. By 9:45pm I reached 10cm and they started getting things ready for me to push. They wanted to get a probe on the top of the baby’s head so they could see the heart rate since the other monitors were coming off. They had a hard time and the probe wouldn’t attach. They tried 4 times. Every time they thought they had it, it was showing the heart rate fluctuating. They didn’t know if this was true or if it was just on a wrinkle because they would push it and it would regulate out. They finally decided to go without because they couldn’t get it to attach properly.
At 10pm I was able to start pushing. They were still concerned that the baby had not really dropped and the Dr. could feel that he was still face up at the 2 o’clock position. At one point in the pushing, the baby turned and made it down to about the 8 o’clock position. I remember Dr. Harbin telling me that with the next contraction and push he is hoping that he will go all the way down to the 6 o’clock position, which is ideal. Well, the next contraction came and the baby decided to flip all the way back up to the 2 o’clock position. I also started to get sick while pushing. Each contraction they had me push 3 times. By the third time on each one I felt sick. At one point I did end up getting sick and so as Wes helped hold one leg, he also held a bag for me.
About 10:45pm we had not made any progress in getting the baby to drop and in fact, the baby had started to regress. With the baby still face up, we decided on a c-section. Since we didn’t feel the baby was in distress it was not considered an emergency. We waited for the OR to open up from another surgery and the anesthesiologist to come give me more of the epidural drug for the surgery. They had turned my drip off when I started pushing so I began to feel some pressure. While waiting, I told the nurse at one point that I felt like I need to push but they were not letting me. The Dr. came back in to see if by miracle the baby had moved since I felt the need to push. However, the baby was in the same position.
While waiting, my parents, aunt, uncle and sister all came in to visit and talk. They had been waiting out in the lobby all day. We took some pictures (I look awful! 🙂 ) and Wes dressed in his scrubs and packed up our things since we were not going to be coming back to the labor room.
About 11:30 we were finally on our way to the OR. They had Wes wait out in the hall as they prepped me (The picture above was Wes waiting in the hall impatiently 🙂 ). As I lay there, I began to feel sick again. I told them about 3 times before the nurse at my head finally asked for a bag. I ended up getting sick but was not allowed to move my arms and was laying flat. Bless that nurse for helping me get it out of my hair and cleaned me up.
Finally, Wes came back about 12:05 am and sat on my right side. The next thing I remember are the nurses rushing to the baby’s table and I hear one nurse say “Come on buddy.” We had made the decision that Wes was going to announce the gender so another nurse said “Does she know?” I feel Wes grab my hand and I look over. He said “We have a son, honey!” All I could say was “I don’t hear him crying! Why is he not crying? Is he okay?” Wes grabbed my hand again and told me that he had come out blue but was now okay and just crying quietly. I wanted to hear him cry so badly and couldn’t.
The nurse came over and showed him to me but then said he needed to go to the NICU because they couldn’t get him to breath on his own very strong. They called him a lazy breather from the stress of the long and hard labor. I told Wes to stay with him and that I would be fine. I later learned that he had also started having a bowel movement as they were pulling him out of me. I thank God to this day that we did not try to keep pushing and made the decision to get him out because if he had inhaled any of the bowel movement, it would have been very dangerous.
After that, as they were stitching me up I started to feel pricks. I was moving my feet and they asked if I could feel anything. I yelled, “yes, it hurts!” They asked if I wanted pain meds and in my foggy state apparently asked “what are the side effects?” (I have a tendency to ask this when I won’t remember or understand the answer.) They ended up giving me some pain meds but I could still feel some of the tugging and pricks from the stitches and staples that were being put in.
I was then wheeled to recovery and Malachi followed me into the room as they had released him from the NICU after getting him to breath normally on his own. I was finally able to get a good look at my beautiful baby boy. He was wide eyed, alert, and strong. He was already lifting his head off my chest as I did skin to skin with him. He did have cuts on his head from where they had tried to attach the probe and a flat spot on the front part of his head where he was stuck on my bone. He was gorgeous and I loved him immediately.
Malachi John Koetje was born at 12:13am on October 11, 2013. He weighed 8lbs 6.6oz (7oz is what was put on the chart) and was 22 inches long.
We tried to nurse in recovery but he kept kicking my incision and they had me lying down in a funny position that I couldn’t get him to latch.
About 2 am, we where taken to my room where my nurse helped me and we finally were able to get him to latch using a nipple shield. In one of the tests that came back it showed his blood sugar level had fallen very low. They tested again after I fed him and it still did not come up so we gave him a small amount of formula in a syringe to see if it would rise. The last test showed that it was still very low so at about 3:30am they took him back to the NICU to start a glucose drip.
About 7:30am the NICU doctor came in to talk to us about Malachi’s test results. They had found that his white blood cell count was elevated extremely high. He said it could have been caused by stress or it could be the first sign of a bacterial infection. Since we knew he had been stressed throughout labor in delivery we debated about starting the antibiotic but ultimately decided to start it to be safe.
He was able to come off the glucose drip by about 10:30 am Saturday. He then finished his antibiotic early Sunday morning (48 hrs after it started). They came in to do all the tests about 7am on Sunday and all came back clear. Malachi spent the entire weekend in the NICU and was finally released on Sunday about an hour before I was released to go home.
We both went home about noon on Sunday, October 13th with a healthy and happy boy!
While Malachi has been 3 months old, we’ve had 2 snow storms. Now, even though a snow storm in GA means 1-2 inches, it does shut the town down and Wes has been able to have snow work days at home! Malachi has also had Hand Foot and Month Disease as well as RSV which actually got a hold of the whole family. We are all finally starting to feel better and getting back to normal. Malachi has been trying to sit up in his bouncy seat, so we introduced him to the Johnny Jump Up and he loves it! Malachi and Simba have also had more interest in each other lately and are continuing to develop their friendship.