Monday, June 11, 2012

Sullivan's story

Our Little Mister's birth story is so surreal to us.  It feels like it happened long ago and also to someone else...
Since no one has sat down with us to explain exactly the whole story, I will retell it from what we know and what we could piece together (and understand...)

Saturday morning, June 2nd, I woke up at 7am to my water leaking - so we took our time getting around, showering, packing up, and making arrangements for Miss Mylin
We dropped her off at Joel's parents and headed for the hospital - extremely calm and getting very excited to meet our new child!

We discussed again our plan for a VBAC and what parts of it we would not compromise on and what we would decide was ok as I was going through labor
We checked into the hospital around 10am and I was still at 2 1/2 centimeters (as I was 3 days earlier at my appt.) and was not having regular contractions :(

One of our first blessings from God that day was that our doctor was on-call all day!

She decided to start me on the lowest dose of pitocin to see if my contractions could become closer together and start to dilate me more
At about 1pm our nurse came in to check me and I both heard and felt my water break!
She said that I was at 4 centimeters but she could feel something else against my cervix besides the baby's head...
It was either the baby's umbilical cord, or an arm

After one hundred a few more nurses came in to check me and give their opinion (I am in some pain now from all the activity and starting to get nervous...) my doctor comes in and says "This is an emergency"
I knew what that phrase meant.
Because I had not had an epidural, I would have to be put under general anesthesia and Joel would not be allowed in the room for the birth
This is when I started wailing
I looked up at Joel, who had been standing beside holding my hand and wide-eyed throughout this whole ordeal.
We locked eyes for just a second, kissed, and I told him to call our parents right away and then I was gone
What he described seemed like out of a movie...I was wheeled away with a bunch of nurses and my doctor and the door slowly closed and he was left in a huge empty room, all alone (are you crying yet, I AM!)

A nurse had to ride the bed with me to keep the baby's head and mystery part off of my contracting cervix (yes, this was...interesting...)
I later found out from the time I was declared an 'emergency' to when Sullivan was born, was less than 15 minutes...I am so thankful to my doctor who got him out in 3 minutes, when the average is 6!

Little Mister came out not breathing.
It took 4 minutes
They intibated him and did other stuff that we still aren't clear on...and wheeled him to the NICU

In the meantime my husband is instructed to just stand in the hallway and that the baby would pass by so Joel could meet his child
As he's standing their a nurse comes up beside him and says "He's a big boy!"
My husband turns to her and shocked, thinks, "I have a son?!?!"
What a way to find out!

Joel got to stick his hand into the little 'box' that Sullivan was in and sort of touch him (I can't imagine how alone and out of control my main man felt)

Then he went out to wait with our parents and Little Miss while they finished my operation
Apparently in these emergency situations they don't always have time to count their instruments and utensils beforehand - so they have to do an x-ray afterwords to make sure nothing is left in the patient
The first x-ray showed a tube (or something) in the picture, making them unable to decipher if I was all clear
So they repositioned everything and took another one, and low and behold that 'thing' was still there!
So they reopened my incision and removed a surgical sponge, took another x-ray that was clear, and finished closing me up
I woke up about 4:30 and had been told by someone that I had a son and then Joel appeared at my side
I barely remember any part of them explaining what happened to Sully, but I do remember crying pretty much the rest of Saturday
I was able to be wheeled into the NICU to meet him
And this is my favorite part of the story:
I saw him and he was familiar to me :)
It might be because he looked exactly like his sister as a newborn - but it was as if God was blessing me with attachment in a situation where we felt so separated from him
This was my son and I would know him anywhere!

The rest of the night was filled with learning and understanding about his situation which was that the umbilical cord was coming out before his head which meant my contractions and the pressure of his head were cutting off all the oxygen and blood to his precious little body
Had this happened at home (my water breaking) he would not have survived - and chances are this particular situation would have pulled his placenta off my uterine wall - making it questionable whether I would have survived either
At this point in the story is when I think, What?! Is this my life?! Is this for real?! 
We still struggle processing all of this...but we are confident in our God's timing, plan and provision for Sullivan's life and ours

We see, hug, and smooch on our big sister daughter - which proved to be very therapeutic to her sad, confused, and frustrated mama (when she came into the room and sat with me on the bed she said "mommy crying?" - tug. at. your. heartstrings.)

After our parents and Mylin left we refocus all of our attention on our new son (whom at this point we may or may not have named yet...)
We are told we have to be gowned and gloved when we are with him which makes a very emotional-on morphine drip-angry mommy!
I argue with the NICU nurse (not my proudest moment) and try to prove my point that he just came from my body, how could I infect him?!
Nonetheless, it was an eternity later sometime on Sunday that I was able to begin touching him and PRAISE GOD, nursing him!
After that, every time we went down to visit him (every 3-4 hours was all that was recommended so as to not over-stimulate him and let him rest and heal) we were given good news!
Our boy was a thriver and a surviver!

Those 72 hours that he was in the NICU were the longest of my life
We felt like zombies 

I know that our experience with our big boy and being in the NICU are uncommon - most families have a longer and harder battle to face - and in no way do we compare ourselves to them or begin to think we know what they are or have been going through
All of our stories and different and worlds apart...
We are so thankful for the nurses that cared and loved on our little man last week
We are so grateful for their advocacy for his progression and ultimately discharge back into our care 3 days later
We did not know what to do or how to handle it all, but they did!
Now we are all healthy, home, and happy together
I don't know why our little man has already had to fight for his life multiple times, but we are confident God must have a radical plan for this life that we are in awe of!

Thank you, all of our family and friends, that prayed for us during those few scary and complicated days of the beginning of Sullivan's life - we are so appreciative of your encouragement, listening ears in the middle of the night, and reassurance in God's goodness

We praise Him not just for the blessings He has given us, but for who He is!!!


  1. WOW. Oh my word. That is CRAZINESS. I laughed at the sponge being left in you (what?!?) but the rest... wow. What an intense and emotional birth. And what a huge call God must have on Sullivan to repeatedly save and sustain him! Love you!!

  2. He was definitely watching out for each of you each step of the way that weekend! I am praising God about His care in this situation, Rachel. Thankful to hear about the progress since the birth for each of you. Have a wonderful day with your kids!:) ~Cousin Abby (and family)

  3. Oh my, Rachel...what a story! Praising God with you for His faithfulness in bringing Sullivan here safely. you!

  4. Rachel! I can't believe you went through all this - even the sponge part - so crazy! I'm so glad you both survived and that God put everyone in the right place at the right time. I can't wait to meet the little guy <3