Thursday, December 19, 2013

A perfect little surprise!

Introducing Frederick William!
Once I was home from Nashville, we settled in for me getting better and enjoying some quiet family time before Christmas.  Apparently, that wasn't quite yet in the cards.  Brittney's mom had come out to be here to help with Brittney and the kids as I transitioned back to home and regained strength.  What a blessing to have her here.

On Saturday we went for a walk with Thom and Brittany and their kids, showing them some of campus and stopping by the bookstore.  As we returned home from the walk, we had the first sign that something might be wrong.  Brittney was leaking some sort of fluid.  This kept up at a gradual pace for the rest of the night and throughout the next day.  She still felt the baby moving, so we weren't super worried, but we started to think that she might be leaking amniotic fluid, and what we found out about that online showed that this could be a problem, and lead potentially to inducing birth immediately, which was a little concerning, since there was still 3 and a half weeks until the due date for our little one.  All of our other kids have been so strong right from the get-go, that I feel like we have almost gotten to avoid the super-newborn stage.   Having a premature little one felt like a new challenge, and I feared spending the next week or two in some neo-natal intensive care unit keeping an eye on a struggling little one.

Monday morning Brittney called her doctor and got an immediate appointment to get checked out.  I was able to go with her, since I got grades in that morning.  The doctor couldn't get a lot more fluid to come out, and sent us to an ultrasound.  The ultrasound revealed that the fluid levels were super low.  The doctor decided that it would be best to induce labor immediately, due to the risk of infection for the baby.  So we headed directly over to the hospital.  We got there a little after noon, and it took until almost two to have Brittney hooked up to the pitocin.  Over the next 7 or so hours they kept gradually increasing the dosage, with seemingly little impact.  Brittney said that she could feel the contractions, and the monitor showed them as happening, but if I was just watching her I couldn't really tell that anything was happening.  We watched some tv, I took a nap to try and conserve energy for the coming storm, we tried to deal with the weird deja vu of being in a hospital, but with me in the bed, so recently, and we tried to get our minds around the fact that this was really happening.

Around 9:30 or 10:00 the contractions finally started getting painful and feeling productive.  Around this time we had the doctor check Brittney and she was only at a 2 or 3 and her cervix wasn't feeling very ready.  This was a little depressing, but not too surprising, as with previous pregnancies it seems that the painful contractions are the ones that actually do something.  After about two hours of painful contractions, the doctor checked again and very depressingly, Brittney was only at a 4, but the cervix had made huge advances and was pretty much ready.  I think this really set Brittney back mentally, but she pushed on.

It was getting so late, and had been such a long day, that Brittney was quickly hitting her wall.  A little after 12:15 she told me that she wanted an epidural, that she didn't think she could go any longer.  We called the nurse, and she got things set up, then the doctor came in and started things for that.  During this time Brittney had to sit on the edge of the bed, and she wasn't really supposed to move much during the contractions that continued while the doctor got things going.  This was really hard for her, and tough for me, without much I could do to help.   The epidural was all done about 12:45 am, and the doctor said it would take about 15 minutes for it to kick in.  We got Brittney situated back in the bed, and at this point she was barely hanging on, but felt like pushing.  The doctor checked her again and said that she was at a 10! and totally ready to go.  She held off pushing for a contraction or two while the nurses and doctors got everything ready, and then pushed about 6 times through 3 or so contractions and out he came.  The official birth time was 12:59am, and the epidural hadn't kicked in really at all yet.  I think it did do something to help ease the pain of the aftermath, but didn't really help at all with the birth process.   The whole thing was a great reminder of Brittney's strength, courage, and determination.  She amazes me and is the strongest person I know. I sure love her.

The first sound we heard as our baby boy came out was music to our ears: crying.  He was loud and strong, and I knew right away that we didn't need to worry about his lungs being underdeveloped or anything.  They set him right on Brittney's chest, and almost immediately he calmed down.  Both Brittney and I were at or past the end of our ropes (my stamina is still so low due to the stem cell transplant) and tears came easily as we beheld the perfection that is our new baby boy.  So many of our hopes and dreams, faith and prayers, fasting and concerns had been tied to this little boy since at least a year before.  It was quite an emotional event, and I for one was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and joy.  Once the initial commotion died down, I crashed for the night on the couch, and Brittney kept feeding him and caring for him through the night.  He did really well with eating, and seemed strong and again, just perfect.  He was 6 lbs 1.8 oz, and 19 inches long.  He scored 10 on his Apgar, and we have not had any worries about his health.

In the morning Brittney's mom brought the kids by to see their new baby brother.  This meant that we had to finally decide on a name.  We chose Frederick William Archibald.  It was great to see the kids with Frederick.  They each wanted to hold him, and were each so tender and careful around him.

Things continued to progress nicely, and we were able to return home from the hospital the next day.  Now we are finally all together, in time for Christmas.  Never has a quiet holiday all together as a family sounded quite so good and meaningful.  We are so grateful for Frederick's safe arrival, so grateful for his and Brittney's health, and so glad we are a family.   Now on to the challenging rest of our lives: together, healthy, and blissfully happy.


Janelle said...

Your family is stunning. You are all so strong. What a beautiful blessing this little guy is. May you have the peaceful holiday that you all deserve a million times over!

Christy Harker said...

Jenna was laughing at how small Frederick is in his car seat. you do forget how tiny they are to start out and then soon they are filling that car seat and you can't carry it anymore. Congrats, he is so sweet and super cute.

dixie said...

I love all the pictures. And all the catch-up posts. Love you all!

Alicia said...

Congratulations! Wow, miracles and miracles and more miracles. I can't believe how everything just worked out. It ws great that Chris was able to come home early, that your mom was able to come, and that Frederick was healthy and perfect. What a huge blessing for your family! Have a very Merry Christmas with them all!

Stephanie said...

I love that you have a Christmas baby and that you are all home together.

merilee said...

What a beautiful, perfect little guy! I love all the pictures you posted. I'm so happy that everything went well and send my love!

Radene said...

What an amazing little boy, that Frederick! So exciting and so happy for you all. We love you and also love witnessing the blessings of Heavenly Father in your lives. BIG BIG Hugs to each of you for a very Merry Christmas and happy new year! we love you! And your pictures ARE perfct. Love it!

K said...

Chris, you look great! These pictures make me smile! Especially those feet....! Have a very wonderful Christmas!

Barb: said...

He's perfect! It was so good to read all your recent posts! You are an amazing family! We love you!