A Birth Story.

We named him Judah, which means praise. And I've been thinking a lot about his name, and thankful that I've had that reminder that we praise God for him, and we want to keep praising God through good times and bad.

The day he was born might be both the best and worse day of my life.

My water broke Tuesday at 3:30 pm. And it was meconium-stained. (This can often be a sign of distress in the baby.) Unfortunately, I wasn't really dilated and so I knew immediately there would be no laboring at home, no showers or walking the halls, and that I would almost definitely need pitocin. After your water breaks, you have about 24 hours or so before you need to get the baby out. After that, the risk of infection goes way up, both for mom and for baby.

I had started having some contractions, but they weren't very bad. I wanted to wait to start pitocin until I knew for sure I wasn't going to change with my own contractions. We ended up starting pitocin around 8pm or so. I was doing pretty well, just breathing through them. I had to stay hooked up to the monitors since I was on the pitocin, but I could still change positions. I used the birthing ball, sat up in bed, and moved around as much as I could. Around midnight they got me on the maximum dose of pit, so now I was contracting every 2-3 mins, and they were pretty strong. I still wasn't making much progress. I could tell I wasn't really relaxing very well. Around 3 or 4 am, I decided to take some IV pain meds. I was finally able to rest a little, and felt like maybe it helped me relax more. I finally dilated to 4 cm, and so thought that maybe now I'd really start to change. I was so exhausted I thought that getting the epidural might actually speed things up at this point - I've definitely seen it allow people to relax enough that they finally get their labor going. So I got it. Except it only worked on one side. And then Judah's heart rate starting going down with every contraction. They had to turn down the pitocin. And then the contractions slowed. So then I didn't change much. Every time they'd try to turn it back up, his heart would start to dip again.

Eventually, they tried to infuse some fluid back in to my uterus to see if that would help, which it did for a while, but eventually we ran into the same problems. Around 5:30 or so, my cervix was still only 6-7cm, where it had been for hours. Daphne, one of my attendings, just told me that even though she felt like I could have this baby vaginally, she didn't think the baby was going to tolerate it. It had now also been almost 27 hours since my water had broken. I hadn't really slept. And even though, more than anything, I didn't want to C-section, that was what needed to happen. I feel like even if I had been able to get to complete, pushing would have been nearly impossible considering how tired I already was.

It was a painful realization. I realize now I had a lot of pride that I wasn't going to need a C-section, that I had exercised my way through this pregnancy and tried to be healthy and so a C-section wouldn't be needed. I viewed c-section as a personal failure. Which I realize, of course, is ridiculous. Most of wednesday afternoon I was praying, pleading with God that my body would cooperate. I was also weeping because I was already feeling like we were heading for the c-section.

It still makes me sad to think about. I wish things had happened differently. But I keep learning that I do not know what is best for me. Would I ever have chosen to struggle with infertility? Of course not. Would I have opted for the miscarriage? No way. But all those experiences have allowed me to see God's goodness, have shaped my worldview, have given me greater compassion and chipped away at the sin that still is lodged so deeply into my heart. When I finally got pregnant, I decided that I was NOT going to complain about pregnancy. I would not mind the nausea, the heartburn, or the regular aches or pains because I was so thankful to finally be pregnant. I realize how blessed I am to even get to experience any of it. And I feel the same way about the delivery.

When I heard that strong, loud cry and they told me it was a boy, when my friend Karissa turned around from his initial assessment to say that he had hair, that he looked like me, when I got to hold his hand and kiss his head before they took him out to meet his daddy, that was one of the best moments of my life.

And so, I continue to praise God - for the sweet boy he gave me, for the experience of giving birth, and for continuing to work on the sin in my life.

We had our first sponge bath yesterday. I think he sort of hated it, but he was awfully cute in the ducky towel.


Emilie said…
Jacob sort of hated his first (and second) sponge baths too. :-) I was really disappointed when I was told I was going to have to have a c-section with Joseph too. I broke down in the doctors office because "I had a plan." But I am so thankful now that our babies can be born safely through c-section. And as much as I would love to do a VBAC, I know that with my septum it's just not really possible. So - I just need to be thankful.
Cyrus said…

I could not pass up the opportunity to say thank you for: 1) you amazing honesty (which sparked wonderful discussion between Carissa and myself as we approach our day of birth)
2) your praise of God during very real and very trying times (seeing you live your life through these times and still praise puts many things in perspective)
3) your ability to go against culture (which tells us how pregnancy is a huge burden instead of a privilege)
4) and last the beautiful picks they are amazing

Congratulations to all the Tell's
Melanie said…
I feel your pain. And your joy. I, too, am impressed with your honesty through this whole process. You are so normal. Just think: this whole time - all the waiting, all the not knowing what the Lord was doing - this sweet boy, this Judah, is the one you've been waiting for. You just didn't know it until now!
Pam said…
Aubrey, thanks for sharing your birth story. So interesting to hear your perspective on your own labor and delivery given that you're a doctor who delivers babies. I'm sorry you didn't have the birth you had wanted but I'm very impressed with your positive attitude about it. Congratulations again. Love all the pictures ya'll have been posting, especially the wakey Judah on the last post -- he's just gorgeous!
Carissa said…
Thanks for sharing such an amazing testimony. Your little boy is beautiful - what a blessing!
Thanks for sharing your story. I know it wasn't the event you envisioned for 9+ months, but it never, ever is. And look at your little duck! Simply adorable and worth everything.

I think even when birth goes exactly the way we want, it's still stunning and never at all what we think it will be. Especially the first time around.

Also, Judah is so alert. He looks like an old soul type, I think. Wise, already.

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