Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Max's Story Part 3: Lot's of people make babies; We made an angel

I have always believed that birth stories are extremely important. They are not a medical procedure or process. Birth is a journey and a transformation. Mom and baby go into birth as one and end as two (or more!). The process of becoming a mother for the 1st, 2nd, or 20th time is such a gift. I still held this belief when I went to give birth to Max. Our transformation would include a sad and different ending than most but it still changed me for the better. I still experienced a transformation of myself and the world I lived in. For me,  I was no longer so naive to the evils on this Earth nor did I take the beauty of it for granted anymore either. I got to experience the gift of holding an angel and seeing God's work first hand.

Our induction with Max was scheduled for June 4th, 2014 at 4pm. Yes, 4pm. Which gave me an entire day to sit and evaluate life before walking into a hospital to say good-bye to my sweet little boy.

The night before the induction I had to pack a hospital bag. I had packed a hospital bag for Labor & Delivery two times before but I couldn't even begin to figure out what to put in it for Max. I packed a few changes of clothes, my Bible, and some toiletries. That was it. No going home outfit, no receiving blanks, no boppy pillow, or nursing bras this time.

 The morning of the 4th, I woke up, sat down at our kitchen table and began to write down some "silver linings" that I had seen throughout my experience up until that point. Tears poured down my face and onto my notebook pages but I kept writing. I was amazed that I came up with 50! 50 silver linings in this horrible experience?! Showing gratitude and thankfulness for being able to have the time I did with my Max was very helpful for my grieving process. I decided to take it with me to the hospital in hopes I could come up with more (and indeed I did!!).

Around lunch time I received a very timely and comforting call from my regular OB. He was the same one who delivered Parker and had provided me with all my prenatal care with Max as well. He was apologetic, reassuring, and I was so grateful to have heard from him.

We headed over to Abbott in the later afternoon. Andrew and I parked in the ramp and I sat hugging him for a few minutes while we both cried. Finally, we had enough courage to get out and go walk-in to the Mother Baby Center. My doula, Katie had already arrived and greeted us at the entrance. Having her there from the very beginning was such a blessing for our experience. We were brought to our room where I immediately noticed that our nurse had written Max's name up on the patient whiteboard. She really cared. She always called Max by his name, as did all the other staff there--definitely a silver lining. She was a wonderful nurse and the perfect, calm, and patient person who I needed to begin our care.

The induction began very slowing and by late evening my mother, Claudia arrived and around 9pm our Pastor, Rob. We cried, we prayed, we even laughed a bit that evening and I even got a decent amount of sleep that night. I was still feeling Max move a lot and was just doing my best to soak in every movement and moment with him.

The morning of June 5th continued from the night before. Again, another wonderful few nurses, a supportive husband, doula, mom, and Pastor. One staff member that came to meet us was a nurse who practiced a lot of natural, homepathic care. She came in with a bright smile on her face and the first thing out of her mouth was, "Please tell me all about Max!" I broke down sobbing again, explaining that someone asking me to talk about my son, who had not even arrived yet was so touching. She put some lavender essential oils throughout our room and gave me a little "massage". I will never forget her amazing compassion and care.

 In the afternoon I elected to get  an epidural after talking with the OB. The reason being that babies born far from full term can cause after birth complications for moms. There was a decent chance that Max's placenta would not deliver and I might need to go to the OR. If it became an emergency and I did not have an epidural I would need general anesthesia. I decided to just go with the epidural. However, I made it clear to everyone in the room and especially the anesthesiologist that I was not in any pain and had done this all naturally before. I had a hard time giving into the epidural because of my amazing natural waterbirth with Parker. I truly enjoy labor but knew Max's situation was different.

I was able to relax more and later that evening the OB told me I would probably deliver later that night. I was soooo nervous. I remember just shaking at the idea of actually delivering Max and that after 24 hours I still wasn't "ready". Andrew and everyone assured me that when Max came, I would be ready.

Everyone ended up finally falling asleep around 11pm that night. Around 2am I awoke with intense pressure. I hit my nurses button and hollered for Andrew. I told him I felt like I had to push. He got my mom, doula, and pastor (he waited outside the room.) The nurse came in and checked me. Max was there. She told me not to push while she called the doctor. The doctor came in and agreed that Max was ready to be delivered.

We decided to leave the lights low, didn't break down the bed, and the OB sat right on the side of the bed. At this point I had been in labor for 32 hours. The moment I began pushing I felt a rush of peace--I desperately needed it. I was finally ready...I was excited to meet my son, Max. A few easy pushes and Max was born. It was very quiet. No crying baby, no hustle and bustle of nurses or doctors. Andrew cut Max's cord, the nurse wrapped him in a blanket, put his hat on and brought him right over to me.

As we expected, Max was stillborn, we don't know when he passed away but there were two things I was very sure of before he was born: 1) I did not want to pick his birthday, and 2) I didn't want to know when he would pass away. Max was born at 2:08am on 6/6/2014. The number 8 being my favorite number and 6 being Andrew's made us both smile. Andrew held Max, my mom, and our Pastor, Rob came right in after delivery to baptize him. While this was all going on our doula captured over 275 pictures.--Another silver lining.

After I held Max for a while the nurses asked if we wanted to take his measurements and get his weight. Max was 1lb. 1oz. and 10 1/2 inches long. He was absolutely perfect. He looked almost exactly like Jack did and had Parker's distinct thin upper lip. For the next few hours I held him, kissed him, and studied every little detail of him. Andrew, Max and I took a nap together for a few hours after everyone left. Max slept with me right on my chest just like our other babies had as well. It was blissful to have those few hours together as a family. I remember talking to Max and just sitting in awe of this beautiful baby. Even though Max had passed away I still felt a very strong presence of him with me and still do everyday.  I was frustrated that there was nothing I could do but felt so comforted to have some time with him. After 10 hours, we decided we were ready to leave and were discharged from the hospital. Max left with he nurse when we left. We all left as a family, just not all together.

22 weeks, 1 day, and 10 hours is all the time I got here with Max on Earth....One day and for the rest of eternity that will be different.

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