meet henry: birth story.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

henry levi rhodes
6 lb. 12 oz
1.1.14 | 8:07 pm

We rang in the new year, the best way possible. By welcoming our perfect baby boy into the world. It was completely unexpected. My due date was January 6th so we thought we had more than enough time to relax, sleep, and wait for my due date to come and go-- because don't most first time mom's go way past their due date? Well, our little Henry just couldn't wait any longer. Which turned out to be a miracle.

We had a very late morning on the 1st, I mean it was New Years Eve the night before after all, so we slept in and found our way to the couch cuddled up watching Zach Galifianakis on TV. I must have found him way too funny because before I knew it I felt a gush of liquid (gross, I know!) and all I could say was, "Uhh...Tanner! Tanner!" as a rush of nerves flooded over me, right then I had a pretty good idea that my water had broke. Thinking back on it, it was pretty hysterical. I'm sure every first time mom knows what I mean, because with your first you have no idea what to expect or simply even know what the heck is going on--because hey, you haven't done this before. The only reason we had a sense of urgency was because at 35 weeks I tested positive for Group B Strep which didn't really affect me but could severely affect my baby as soon as my water broke, so they needed me to rush to the hospital to start me on antibiotics. So as soon as we were sure it was in fact my water that had broke, we grabbed our already packed bags (thanks to my over-prepared self), said a prayer, and started our 5 minute drive to Utah Valley Regional Hospital. 

We checked into the hospital around 3:00 in the afternoon, they checked me and my water had indeed broken and I was dilated to a 2.5--which was what I was at a week before at my doctor's appointment. Because I wasn't dilated very much but my water had broken, they needed to get things moving due to the Group B Strep, so they started me on Pitocin around 4 o'clock in addition to the antibiotics. I wasn't too excited about the Pitocin since I had heard not so great things but because it was for the benefit of my baby, I knew it was the right thing. Shortly after that, I started feeling pain. Lots and lots of pain. But since they had just checked me and I was a 2.5, I figured I was just being a pansy and decided to simply work through it since I was only a 2.5 and no reasonably strong woman needs an epidural at 2.5 cm. Right?! Wrong. After one hour, it had gotten unbearable so I had them check me again and I had progressed to a 5! A FIVE, I tell you, in one hour I went from a 2.5 to a 5. I sure didn't feel bad asking for my epidural at that point. But unfortunately my epidural took a mighty long time to kick in. So I spent about 3 and a half hours in the worst pain I had ever felt, with the nice old anesthesiologist man coming in frequently to check on me to give me more and more (but still not enough I tell you). 

During those painful hours, they found that I had a high fever and that our baby boy's heartbeat was showing signs of trauma, which are both very scary things especially during labor. So they put an oxygen mask on me, so that our baby could get more oxygen and that was that. I was worried, but didn't think too much about it since it had never crossed my mind that I wouldn't have anything but a healthy hefty baby. Around 7:40 pm they said it was time to push. By then I had had 30 minutes of pure bliss. The epidural had finally kicked in, I was chit chatting with family and feeling oh so good. (Word to the wise, if you have decided to get an epidural--there is no need to wait. If my whole labor had been like those 30 minutes, I would've been one happy lady).  When the doctor came in and Tanner and my Mom were by my side, holding my super heavy numb legs (one of the funniest parts about having a baby), I just couldn't help but be excited and a little anxious. I was expecting a good many hours of pushing but thankfully it turned out to be only 25 minutes of pushing. Which yes, was great for this mama to be, but more importantly it was the best thing for our little guy.

As I was getting closer and closer, and even with only 25 minutes of pushing, getting more exhausted with every minute--when the doctor said he could see our baby boy and that he had HAIR I went into full force mode because I just couldn't wait any longer to see my beautiful baby boy with a head of hair (which was a surprise for these former bald babes)! Before I knew it, with one more push, he was there. It was the most beautiful and surreal experience and I will never forget it.

But after that moment, all there was was silence. Which is every mother's fear. Right after you deliver your baby, the most beautiful sound to hear are those little lungs crying and crying some more. But with our Henry, there was too much silence. All I could say was, "Why isn't he crying?" over and over again. Henry came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around his little neck twice. Thankfully, it wasn't wrapped too tight, but still he had a hard time breathing and making any noise at all. All of a sudden, the room was full of nurses whisking him away and minutes later we finally heard that perfect noise. It was faint but our boy was using those set of lungs of his the best he could and we heard his sweet little cry. We watched the nurses clean our little guy up and all I could do was stare. This beautiful boy was all mine. This was the little person that I had carried for 9 months. And all I could say is how he looked like a Henry. He was my little Henry and all I could think about was how I wanted, no needed to hold my son. 

Henry was still having a hard time breathing so once they finished cleaning him up, they gave him to me for a very brief minute before taking him to the NICU. That was a perfect moment. Holding Henry for the first time, this sweet baby boy that made me a mother, was a humbling experience. I felt so close to heaven and now looking back on it, I'm so grateful, because at that moment I didn't know how badly I would need heaven close to me. 

The next week and a half would be beyond anything I'd ever experienced--with Henry being in the NICU, for what would be much longer than we ever expected, as well as my own stay in the hospital. I'll talk about that in the next post (this one is long enough on its own, and if you've made it this far, bravo!), but given everything that happened and everything that could have happened, I am so grateful for my Heavenly Father's hand in our Henry's coming into this world. I can't help but think if my water had not broken when it did, if my body hadn't progressed as quickly as it did, if I had to have pushed longer than I did, or if anything had gone just even a tinge differently in the labor and delivery process, would my little Henry be pictured there in my arms. I know that might be a bit on the dramatic side, but I'm a mother now, and I think it comes with the territory. But even so, it's not that. It is me being grateful. Me being forever grateful for how things turned out, for this beautiful baby boy, and the blessing to be his mother. 

-- part II, with our NICU experience and why Henry was there can be found in this post

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