Saturday, April 16, 2011

Baby Catching - Reader's Beware!

I got to hold sweet Skyler at two days old (under more calm circumstances).  I will have a forever bond with this little infant and her family. 

Here's her champion of a mom, Renae.

Although many of you have heard most of the story already, I felt it was important to tell the whole story before I forgot details.  I must warn you though, this is mostly for me and my personal journaling so there is much more detail than most of you want.  It's very long, so feel free to skim!  It's an experience to remember (even if it's just for me) as it was most definitely a life-changing moment.   I know it's a bit hard to follow and I'll try not to be very graphic. 
Anyway, I want to start out by saying just how humbled I am by the whole thing.  I KNOW that we were all watched over and blessed that night.  I feel like angels were around us and protecting us all.  This experience was faith building to me.  I still don't think the full magnitude of it all has totally hit me, but I do feel it's amazing to have been a part of the miraculous event of child birth in that capacity.  I also feel honored that I got to be the first one who touched that little human being.  I've also discovered that anybody, ANYBODY, anybody can deliver a baby (as long as there are no complications).  Seriously!
OK, so first a little background...
At church on Sunday (4/10/11), Nate chats with Renae as she tells him they're really hoping to have the baby in the next few days so she doesn't have to be induced.  He tells her that I swear by castor oil because it was VERY effective when I had McKinley.  I guess that plants a seed in her head, because after church she decided to drink some without knowing about the chance of the baby coming quite quickly. 
She and I went visiting teaching (visiting with other women from our church in their home and sharing a message) that afternoon and evening.  During our time together, I did pass on the warning to her that she needed to take the contractions seriously if she starts getting them, even if they're not very painful.  I told her I barely made it to the hospital and that there was certainly not time to get an epidural. She wasn't too pleased with that information but didn't seem very concerned.  All of our conversations that day seem way too ironic now.  Especially when I joked with one of the ladies we visited that Renae might have the baby in her living room since she had taken some castor oil.  Haha!
Later that evening Nate went back to church to attend to some of his leadership responsibilities.  Around 8:30pm, Al (the baby's dad) calls to ask if they can drop off their 2 yr. old son at our house because he thinks he should take Renae to the hospital.  Soon after they drop him off with the plan that he'd spend the night.  He was dropped off in a bit of a hurry because it seemed things were getting pretty serious.  The kids and I then tried to make their son feel comfortable as he wasn't very used to us.  Not even ten minutes later, I get another call from Al saying we're pulling back into your driveway, call 911, she's having the baby NOW!!!
What followed was utter chaos and it all happened in the span of just a few minutes.  I immediately ditched the kids, ran to the front door while calling 911.  With super-human ability, Renae got out of her car, up my driveway, up the stairs to the door, then back down the stairs to my basement all within seconds.  The whole time saying "there's a head!"  I grab a blanket and a couple pillows from our guest room and throw them on the floor (it was a down comforter because I thought there might be at least some cushion).  Renae says she can't lay down, so I go to recline our couch, thinking that might be more comfortable.  All the while the operator is asking countless questions that I'm having a hard time answering, because, well I had a few more pressing matters on my mind :) I just keep saying (or maybe yelling) "she's having the baby NOW!!,   NOW!!"  I ran to throw a couple kids back upstairs that had made their way down & to grab about half our linen closet's worth of towels etc.  Now the operator is trying to give me "instruction" as I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut-off.  He then says "Ma'am, do you understand?"  And I quickly say "No, I didn't hear anything you just said!"
Al and I managed to get her pants down and to lay her on the floor and sure enough the head was right there!  I'm thinking repeatedly in my mind "Are you kidding me?  Are you kidding me?  This is NOT happening"  I ask the operator, "Do we need water & sheets?  What do we need?"  Because I'm thinking about some 80's movie I saw as a kid where Kirk Cameron had to deliver a baby on a bus or something.  I remember him yelling "I need water and newspaper"  I also remember thinking as I saw that movie how incredibly frightening that would I was experiencing it! The operator was continuing to try to give me instructions that I still don't completely understand.  He was just reading off a card I guess.  But mostly all I got was "The baby is coming!  Support its head and neck, be careful- it's slippery.  DON'T drop it!!"  I'm still praying the paramedics will get here, so I don't have to do it.....
Then Renae pushes and the head comes out!  I hold the head as it makes a little cry.  Then it quickly starts gagging on all the fluid.  Without knowing what else to do (and not having the bulb syringe normally used), I use my finger to try to clear her airways a little and tip her head down so maybe some of the fluids would run out. Then her shoulders came out and the rest of her body soon followed.  The operator asked if the cord was wrapped around her neck, but I didn't answer...again.  He asks more urgently and I snap back "Yes, I'm sure!"  (I can at least tell that much.  I was totally annoyed with the operator.  Poor guy- it wasn't his fault).
I quickly tried to wrap a towel around her and clean off her face a bit (all the while holding the phone against my ear) - I think I must have grown a third hand or something :)  I heard the operator say it's important to keep the baby and mom warm and not stretch the cord to tight.  He suggested to lay the baby on her mom's tummy.  But at this point I realize Skyler's eyes and mouth are closed and she's completely still and silent.  My heart totally dropped and I immediately started thinking of all the horrific things that could happen (I really haven't been able to stop thinking of that since).  I will never ever forget that snapshot in my mind and how it might have been the most frightening moment of my life :(  The operator asks if she's breathing, repeatedly.  I don't answer because I couldn't tell and I didn't want the parents to scare the parents.  I start patting her on the back , gently rocking her and blowing in her face, trying anything to get her to start making noise.  I have no CLUE what I'm doing.  Where's my instruction for the whole breathing thing, huh??!!  I still shiver when I think of how I was the one totally responsible for that human being in those moments.
Al is freaking out at this point, shouting "she's not breathing!"  I try to look quickly and make sure the cord wasn't pinched or stretched too tightly.  I finally said " I don't know if she breathing!"  I try to put my face near hers to see if I can feel her breath by chance and I try to find a little pulse on her body.  All of this is happening SOOO quickly!  It wasn't nearly as calm as it sounds when I'm writing it.  Thankfully, just moments after that, I hear the fire fighter's voice.  They come downstairs, taking their sweet time.  I know their job is to be calm, but a little more urgency would have been nice!  They start looking at her color which was slightly blueish, but overall mostly pink.  They began giving her an apgar score, as I'm still holding her.  I kept saying (trying to stay calm) "I can't tell if she's breathing!"  Finally they take her from me and begin to use their little bulb syringe.  She's breathing, but still makes no sound (and didn't the whole time while in my house).
At this point, I hang up and I finally think of poor Renae who has been totally forgotten about (at least by me).  It did seem Al was pretty attentive to her, though, during the actual process.  I remember him hugging her & rejoicing with her quickly when she first came out.  I unfortunately was too frightened to celebrate at the time.  Anyway, I go over to hold Renae's hand and the first thing she says to me is " I can't believe what I just did to you!"  . Then I say "No, I'm so sorry it all happened like this"  I ask if she wants water or something because I know she's been neglected a bit.  She says she's fine. The whole time she was absolutely AMAZING!!  So calm and under control.  She maybe yelled twice as she was pushing and the rest of time, totally cool and collected (at least on the outside).  She told the paramedic who came shortly after the fire department that she was having some pain down there, but they said she'd have to wait until they got to the hospital before they took care of anything in "that department". 
When it seemed things were mostly under control, I then go upstairs because I remember I have kids.  They were audience to the whole thing with quite the view, lined up on the stairs with eyes and mouths opened wide.  I grab McKinley and gather them on the couch and say...." and that's how babies are born"  :)  Lexi and Tyler asked a couple questions, including "What's that on your hands, mom?"  (oh yeah, I forgot to wash my hands).  Anyway, they really were pretty calm and mostly just excited about all the commotion.  I think my neighbor walked in then, asking if everything was OK and if I needed anything.  I pointed downstairs to what was going on and said, trembling, "she just had a baby...I just delivered a baby."  It's also then that I started to loose it a bit and cried.  Just for a moment so I didn't scare the kids.  She gave me a big hug and offered to help stay with the kids upstairs.  We put a movie on for them and she was just wonderful. 
I went back downstairs to see what else I could do.  I offered to turn up the heat because it was pretty chilly, it being in the basement and the door was open and all.  They had put a solar blanket on the baby and on Renae I think.  They must have already cut the cord by that point.  I remember offering water to people, probably an insane amount of times because I didn't know what the heck else to do.  I remember rubbing Al's shoulders a bit and congratulating him as he was obviously a bit emotional.  I asked if he wanted me to turn his car off since it had been running the whole time. 
The fire fighters had rolled Renae onto a sling thing and started carrying her upstairs, then back down again and onto a gurney.  She was just wrapped in a blanket in the fetal position, trying to breathe calmly.  I told her she was amazing, to keep breathing and that the hard part was over.  One of the paramedics said something like " we like ones like this, nice and easy".  Then they got her into the ambulance.  At that point their little boy was getting pretty concerned.  I can't even imagine what was going on in his little head, but obviously it was all pretty scary.  My Colton was just excited there were fire trucks at our house! :)  I remember my neighbor trying to comfort McKinley because she was crying pretty hard and she also kept looking at me and saying "You're OK!  You're OK!"  like she was trying to calm me.  I thought I was pretty in control at that point, but apparently I was pretty pale.  I guess I might have been a little bit in shock.
A few paramedics stayed behind to clean up their stuff and to try to fix Al's car because it wouldn't start (obviously).  They asked me if I could use our car to give it a jump.  I couldn't find our jumper cables b/c they were in Nate's car.  So I asked my neighbor to give them a jump.  He ran excitedly in his jammies to help.  One of them drove Al's car to the hospital later.  I began to try to clean up a bit, but was very surprised at just how little mess there was, considering everything. Like I said before it was the tidiest delivery I'd ever been a part of :)  It was mostly just a couple towels that took the brunt of it and the down comforter.  Unluckily, it was a white towel that had Nathan's name embroidered on it that we got from our wedding :)  Besides that there were only a few little spots on the carpet an I was able to clean those up immediately.  Granted she didn't deliver the placenta until she got to the hospital.
One of the paramedics asked if there was anything else we needed before they left.  Then they were gone.  Ironically, Nate pulled up just as the fire truck was leaving our street.  I had already cleaned everything up and it looked like nothing out of the ordinary had ever happened, except our neighbors were here in there PJs.
I guess minutes before, on his way home, Nate called Al because he saw Al had called him earlier in the day.  Al asked him if he knew what happened and Nate of course didn't.  He told Nate they had just had the baby, so Nate begins to congratulate him.  Al tells him "We had the baby at your house".  Nate said, "Oh, you mean Gavin (their little boy) is at our house?"  Then Al says "No, we just had our baby, at your house, and Alyssa delivered it!" I wish I could have heard that conversation, but I guess there was some confusion to say the least.  I guess I called him while he was on with Al.  So Nate said hello and I began to lose it again and said/cried "Where ARE you?"  He asked "Did something amazing just happen?"  It was shortly after that that Nate arrived home.  He walks in with a big grin and asks the kids "What just happened?"  He said something like he was so proud of me and that he was so jealous :)  After we made sure the kids were doing OK and not too traumatized, we got them to bed, even though they were jumping up and down basically.  I finally tried to tell Nate the whole story much later.  He then told me, regardless of the time, I had to call my mom.  Since then I've gotten to re-tell the story many times, but still have never fully comprehended it all.  
Skyler & Renae are totally healthy and happy.  In fact, by some miracle Skyler got an apgar score of 10 (the highest a baby can score).  They did want to keep her just a little longer at the hospital since she was born in an un-sterile environment to make sure no infection developed.  Interestingly, one of the paramedics told Renae that this was his 3rd unexpected delivery this year, but it was the first one where he didn't have to do anything :)
Since the whole fiasco, I'm thinking of all the things I could have done better or differently (like put the phone on speaker etc.), and all the things that could have gone wrong, but I have to keep reminding myself that, with the Lord's help, everything worked out just fine and Skyler is doing great.  I also think of how the experience must have been for my kids.  Lexi and Tyler said they saw everything, but Tyler said he was still confused how the baby actually came out.  So I must have blocked his view a little which is probably a good thing.  The kids have continued to relate the story to anyone that will stop long enough to listen.  Apparently, Lexi's teacher had her share it with the whole class the next day.  It's funny, considering most labor and deliveries, this one went to quickly and smoothly.  Renae did such a great job of making it seem almost effortless, Lexi must think child birth isn't that big of a deal.  You just lay on the floor anywhere, push a couple times and out pops the baby.  What's all the fuss about? :)
Now life just continues on as normal....let's hope!