God blessed us with our sixth baby four months ago. Josiah David was born on June 26th at 7:20 in the morning. He was 5 lbs. even and 18 3/4 inches long. As is tradition in the Bell house, the birth story follows (four months late).
On June 22, Bill’s 30th birthday, I began bleeding first thing in the morning. I was only 33 weeks along. We called my doctor’s office and were of course told to go to labor and delivery. We dropped the kids off at a friend’s house and headed to the hospital. By the time I got there, contractions had started and were three minutes apart. Naturally, the doctor told us he was going to admit me and try to get labor to stop. The next couple of days were filled with IV’s, meds, and tests. Originally the thought was that I might be having an early placental abruption (this is why I had a c-section with Ariana), so an ultrasound was done Friday and again on Saturday when my bleeding got heavier. Nothing showed up.
I was closely monitored and on strict bed rest, being told several times that I should be prepared for a c-section if the bleeding couldn’t stop. My blood pressure was up (abnormal for me), so they tested me for pre-eclampsia. Negative. Josiah’s heart rate dropped several times, so they still thought it might be early abruption, but all those tests were normal, too. Sunday, the bleeding stopped, my blood pressure was more normal, and Josiah’s heart rate was good. Around 2 on Monday afternoon I was discharged to full bed rest until I was at least 37 weeks along.
Bill and I stopped to get a prescription refilled and headed home. I took a nap while Bill picked up dinner. Afterward, I took a bath and settled into bed for the night. A moment after I sat down I said to Bill, “Crap, I’m peeing!” (little random insert here–I find it funny that I used the word crap to express my disdain for the fact that I was peeing–end insert). This is, I’m sure, too much information, but after having this many babies, involuntary peeing is kind of par for the course. This was not the normal I-should-do-more-Kegels teeny pee, though. This was gushing. As I ran to the restroom, I soon realized it was my water breaking.
So back to the hospital we went. Six hours after leaving it.
At this point, there was no stopping labor. Normally if my water had broken, I would still have done most of my laboring at home. Because there were already complications and we knew this would be a preemie, I took no chances and headed to the hospital. That means when I got there I was only 2 cm. I had a long way to go, I was anxious about Josiah being born early, and I was exhausted from a four day hospital stay already. I asked for an epidural. I had no meds with the last three deliveries. I felt guilty for about two minutes, then I remembered gospel freedom and let them stick that sucker in my back. And it was awesome.
At this point I relaxed a bit and started sleeping off and on. Josiah’s heart rate was unstable at best, so there were many interruptions throughout the night as they would come in to adjust me. Sometime in the 6:00 hour, the nurse came in to check me. I was at 4 cm. Josiah’s heart rate did a huge dip, so more adjusting happened. At this point they called the doctor in. Since the c-section word had been thrown around all weekend, I was expecting him to come in to suggest that option. Instead, he checked me again. It hadn’t been 15 minutes since the last check, and now I was at 7 cm. He started calling nurses in to get ready for a delivery. I remember a bunch of movement and talking, and I remember someone shouting that the special care unit nurses needed to get in there asap, cause this baby was coming. Then I remember looking at the doctor and saying, “Um, I’m sorry, but I can’t stop this. I’m really trying.” Then I felt Josiah slip out into the doctor’s hands. Yep. No pushing.
I heard the beautiful cries, quickly saw him, and heard how big he was for a preemie. Then I felt the ache of watching them whisk him away without getting to hold him but resting knowing God was holding him.
During all this, the doctor was trying to deliver my placenta with no success. There were problems with the last two deliveries, too. He tried for a good long time and finally told me I would have to have a D&C. I won’t get into that, but it was unpleasant. Very. Moving on.
A couple of hours later the meds had worn off and I was wheeled down to really see my little man for the first time. He was beautiful even with all the tubes and cords sticking out of him. The nurses (good grief I miss all those ladies!) let me know he was a champ, and after a while I went back to the room to rest.
I had been feeling crummy all day, but I just chalked it up to the fact that I’d had an epidural. I was also having more than the normal bleeding. Mid afternoon I started feeling past crummy. I felt as though I was in labor again. Hard labor. I called the nurse in, and she said I looked as white as a ghost and as scared as if I’d seen one. She called the doctor in. He sat on the bed, told me to put my foot on his chest, apologized, and stuck his hand, well, you know. When his hand emerged, it was holding…my placenta! When he had done the D&C, he was only able to get bits and pieces, so they didn’t realize the bulk of it was still there. I felt beautifully better after that, and everything started returning to normal.
That feels like an eternity ago, especially when I hold my smiley, giggly, chunky little man in my arms. We’re grateful for how God provided and protected both Josiah and me during the delivery and hospital stay (Josiah was in the hospital for 3 1/2 weeks). We’re also thankful for the nurses and doctors who took fantastic care of us. They became a second family, and we miss seeing them. Josiah is doing great and acts more like a four month old than the two month old he should be acting like. He is a joy to our family and has been making sure he doesn’t get lost in this messy family since before his birthday.