Timing is everything: The birth of Deacon
It was Saturday night, June 17, and expectations were low. Although my due date was less than a week away, my OB had reported very little progress in the last month. I fully expected to put in my typical effort at a good night’s sleep, then wake up early to make a special Father’s Day breakfast and rally the kids in celebrating their awesome dad.
Instead, I got to bed about midnight (there’s no rush to get to sleep if you know your slumber won’t be very satisfying anyway), then had a more-restless-than-usual few hours dotted with strange dreams that incorporated waves of increasing discomfort. At 3 a.m., I woke up to make my nightly pilgrimage to the bathroom. As I waddled forth, half asleep, I realized that the waves of discomfort in my dreams were still flowing and becoming less tolerable. I woke myself up more fully as I recognized that I was in labor. I began to time contractions on my phone, measuring the interval from the start of one contraction to the start of the next. They ranged from 4 to 8 minutes apart.
Because I was expecting my fourth baby, and baby number two came exceptionally quickly, I knew I didn’t have much time to play with. I woke Shawn and told him it was time to go to the hospital. He bolted awake. “Right now?” … Yeah … As Shawn jumped up and threw on a jacket, jeans and a hat, I gathered a few last minute things into my pre-packed hospital bag (thankfully I had the presence of mind to remember my pills and makeup—ha!) and woke up my babysitter. It is wonderful having a 10-year-old little mama in the house. I told Charlotte we were going to the hospital to have the baby, and I asked if she would feed and watch over her brothers when they woke up. She was excited and happy to help. And I didn’t have to knock on neighbors’ doors in the middle of the night, looking for a sitter!
After grabbing a couple of plastic bags and lying towels down on the car seat, Shawn and I left for the hospital around 3:30 a.m. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, there is zero traffic, so we made great time. Shawn offered to grab a wheelchair for me upon arrival, but I wanted to walk. By the time we reached the registration desk for the maternity unit, my labor was getting pretty intense. I asked the nurse at the desk to send the anesthesiologist along quickly because I was going into transition. She gave some vague reply that told me she wasn’t taking my request very seriously. Then, I bent over and lost last night’s dinner—good thing I’d brought plastic bags!
A few minutes later, I was getting set up in a labor and delivery room; It was, in fact, the same room we’d viewed on our hospital tour just four days earlier. The nurse initiated the fetal monitor, checked my dilation (6-7 centimeters) and attempted to start an IV. After an eternity of struggles sticking the IV, which would leave me with weeks of bruising in my hands, it was hooked up. Then, they announced it was time to call the anesthesiologist. My husband was annoyed they hadn’t called sooner, but I wasn’t surprised. I was nervous, however, that I wouldn’t have time for the epidural before I needed to push. It always feels like the longest stretch, anticipating the anesthesiologist and waiting of the epidural process to deliver relief.
When the epidural was in place and the heavy dose of pain meds kicked in, it was like someone had turned a switch. I was smiling again, feeling not a pain in the world. The nurse checked my cervix again: 9 centimeters. She called in my OB, who broke my water and then told me to push. Three pushes and seven minutes after my water broke, baby crowned! My OB told me to stop pushing as he gently worked baby out and held him up for me to see. It was 5:44 a.m.
Deacon was startlingly quiet at birth, which had me worried. A couple of pediatric people came in and worked on him in the corner. They cut the cord and sucked out a bunch of fluid so Deacon could breathe better and get in a good cry. They wiped him off and brought him back to me so we could get our skin-to-skin time. There is no joy like meeting your little one for the first time. I was so grateful to receive that beautiful, healthy boy! So much relief and love.
Approaching this fourth birth, my greatest worries were that I wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time or that I wouldn’t have time for anesthesia. In several ways, I was saved by the timing of it all. Because labor began in the middle of the night, my husband was there to take me to the hospital, rather than at work 45 minutes away. I made the right decision by heading to the hospital as soon as I knew I was experiencing earnest labor—a nurse told me if my water had broken at home, there’s no way I could have made it to the hospital for the delivery. And luckily, the anesthesiologist was in the building and prepared to act quickly. I was completely amazed at how painless the birth was. To my joy, I didn’t tear at all, meaning no stitches, much less pain, and the promise of an easier recovery. This was my easiest delivery of the four!
Name: Deacon Ray Butler
Birthdate: June 18, 2017 (Father’s Day!)
Time of birth: 5:44 a.m.
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, UT
Weight: 8 pounds, 7 ounces
Length: 21 inches
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By Ginny Butler