Wednesday, March 29, 2017

William's Birth Story

Another pregnant day was in the books!

As a crawled into bed, a week overdue, I noticed a new text message.  My heart skipped a beat as it was from a friend that was awaiting the arrival of her little one as well.  I opened the message to find pictures of a sweet little boy, Wilson.  The name they picked was so close to our boy name, which sent me down a train of thoughts.  
Mike and I said our goodnights and I continued to lay there looking at his pictures.  My thoughts wandered to my own baby that was wiggling inside.  I wondered if it were a boy or girl, I wondered when it would make its own debut, and of course I wondered what kind of birth story this baby would have!
I finally turned off the lights around 10:30pm. I thought, if baby weren’t coming tonight I should at least get some sleep.

I tossed and turned. Right side. Left side. Up to pee. Back to left side. Up to pee again. Right side. Semi-right side. Up to pee. Back to left side. On my head....ha!
Ugh. This was going to be a long night!
This scenerio continued several times before I started to wonder if something was going on.
And then it hit me.  A contraction.  Not a braxton hicks contraction.  A REAL, 'I need to breath through this' contraction.  I looked at the clock: 11:37pm.
Two minutes later another hit, although not as strong.  "Hmm, could this be labor?”
I sat there on the side of my bed.  My husband fast asleep.  Madeline, 14 months old, sleeping soundly in her crib.  I thought about all the things I needed to do if this was indeed labor.  
I needed to call my sister, Stacey, to come over.  I needed to finish packing.  I needed to make sure everything was set for Madeline.  I needed to…
Whew.  Another strong contraction grabbed my attention.
Within 10 minutes, I had 5 contractions.  I decided that it was probably labor, but I still wasn't certain! You would think after having been a nurse on labor and delivery for 8 years AND being on my second rodeo myself, that I would KNOW!  
I finally rang up my sister.  I asked her to come sleep on the couch, even if this wasn't labor.  I knew it would take her about 25 minutes to get to our house, so I figured that would give me time to figure out what was going on.
I got off the phone, had another strong contraction and decided I better wake up Mike!  I had decided to wait to wake him up until I was pretty sure I was in labor, as he had told me that once I started contracting, he was pushing me out the door IMMEDIATELY.  (If you didn’t know, my first labor was only 3.5 hours and Mike had a hard time getting me in the car to go to the hospital!!)
"Miiiike. Hey Mike,” I said softly.
A groggy, "Yes?"
"I think I'm in labor."
"You THINK you are in labor?"
"What does that mean?"
"It means, I think I'm in labor.  I'm having contractions every couple of minutes."
"Oh." Followed by silence and still no husband getting out of bed.
"Are you going to get up?  You probably should pack the car."  I say it with more push and urgency.
"Ummm. So, you ARE in labor or you just THINK you are in labor?"
"Um, I'm pretty sure.  And I think you should get up."
At the time I was irritated about this conversation, but now I can laugh at it.  Mike had just fallen into a deep sleep when I woke him!  As he packed the car he even asked if we could stop at a gas station along the way to get an energy drink for him.  I think my face (and the contractions) gave away the answer.
Stacey arrived at our house just in time.  I knew we needed to get going out the door.
The ride to the hospital was so different than my first baby.  Really the whole labor was different since it started with contractions instead of my water breaking.  Contractions were more like 2-5 minutes apart versus the every 1-2 minutes apart that I had experienced with my first.  So I remember this ride more and had time to think about what was to come!
We called the labor and delivery unit on the way to let them know that I was coming.  My old co-worker Jaci was coordinating that night and answered the phone.  I was so grateful, as she was there when Madeline was born too :)
We arrived at the hospital just after 1:00am. I was greeted by my birth team.  Another old co-worker, Natalia, was my nurse, Erin was my mid-wife, Jaci was coordinating (as stated before) and my friend/photographer Kari was there to capture the experience!  What a great, Godly team that the Lord provided for me :)

After answering a few questions, Erin checked me.
"I'll call you 4 centimeters, 100% effaced and -2 station," I think she said.  
4?!  Did she get that right?  
I was already 4 in the clinic so I had hoped to be more.  A feeling of disappointment came upon me.  I was hoping to just come in and have the baby quickly again. (Last time I was 9 upon arrival.)  I began to think about my birth options.  Maybe I’d need an epidural this time.  Maybe I should have waited longer to come in.  Maybe, maybe, maybe….
My thoughts were interrupted when Natalia asked if I’d like to try sitting in the whirlpool.
Yes.  I’ll start with that and go from there.
Over the next hour-ish, I labored in the tub, never really able to find a position that felt good to me.  I finally decided to get out to use the restroom, and the whole process felt like an eternity!  As I sat on the toilet, a feeling of disappointment again swept over me.  I no longer wanted to do this naturally.  If I wasn’t making much progress, I wanted an epidural!
I requested that Erin check me.
“Oh Heidi, you are complete!  You can start pushing if you’d like or you can just listen to your body.”
Oh boy.  Oh NO!   I had set my mind on needing an epidural.  I really thought that I wasn’t dilating much.  And now I needed to push this baby out without any help?!  
“I don’t think I can do this!”  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get an epidural, but I just had to say that.  The contractions were so intense but I didn’t have the desire to push yet.
At this point I had a huge mental block.  Like I mentioned before, my contractions were far enough apart that I had time to think about my situation and who was all in the room.  And while I appreciated everyone that was there, I was nervous about pushing.  You see, I KNEW I needed to have a bowel movement before baby would come down.  But I didn’t want to.  I wanted to get up to the toilet, but I knew I physically couldn’t at this point.  Every movement hurt!  I now know how all the women I’ve coached through labor, have felt over the years.  I cannot count the number of times I heard, “but I don’t want to poop!” And I would say back to them, "Just poop already!"
Finally, I couldn’t take it any more.  The pain was too intense to keep laboring.  And I started to push. And Push.  And PUUUUUSH with all my might.  My body emptied every bodily fluid and then baby’s head came sailing down.  
I think I pushed around 20 minutes, but I really have no idea.  Maybe it was 40.  Maybe it was 10. Who knows!  All I know is that when I really started to push that there was no going back!!
“Ok, easy pushes here.  The head is coming.”
There was no ‘easy pushing’ for me.

I launched baby out at 2:54am and found myself staring at testicles!

I then heard Mike say, “It's a boy!  It's William!”

I was definitely in shock.  I not only thought we were having another girl, but I was constantly trying to prepare Mike for another girl.  Whenever Mike talked about the baby inside, he used “him and he” and I would always correct him with, “you mean her and she!”
I ended up with a ‘unique’ tear again so we called in the OBGYN, Dr. Kemper to do my repair.  You see, Mr. William came out ‘superman’ style with his hand up by his head.  He was also 8lbs 11oz!

And with that, we had ourselves a precious little BOY!   And another 3.5 hour, natural labor in the books!

William Steven Vetter.  I grew another heart the day he was born.  He was named after Mike’s two great-grandfathers, William Vetter and Wilhelm (William in German) Behnke, and Mike’s dad, Steven.  All great men of great faith.  There is a story passed down of William Vetter.  He was a farmer.  He once saw a hail storm heading towards his fields.  He prayed and asked God to spare his field.  He watched as the storm approached and literally went around his field, damaging other fields, but leaving his untouched!
We pray that our little William will have that kind of faith in our Lord Jesus!  We are so thankful for our sweet boy :) He is truly a gift to our family.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A call to get ready

I turned around to stare at her from my chair. My sweet baby girl, 15 weeks, sleeping so peacefully in her swing. I had just finished my devotional for the morning. A call to be ready to give God glory in all circumstances. In all suffering.

What I cannot fathom though is how God sent His SON Jesus, knowing He would suffer a tormenting death. For me.

For her.

I sat there. Staring at her. My little girl. So perfect. So gentle. So innocent.

How did God do it?

I knew God was asking me, "Heidi, will you do the same? Will you give your daughter over to me to be used for MY glory? What if it means she will become ill? What if it means she will be injured in some way? Will you still do it?"

My mind says NO! But when I read the Word, I know the truth.

"And the truth will set you free." John 8:32

I know that whatever the cost, I must be ready. Ready to surrender. Ready to walk in pain. Ready to give over my baby girl.

But honestly, today, I'm not ready. I want her to stay here with me. Safe in her swing. Fast asleep. No cares in the world. I want her to live in a world where she doesn't have to fear going to school and getting shot. Or face persecution. Or deal with unmet expectations. Or (fill in the blank).

But reality is, what I'm asking for is heaven.

We are not in heaven (yet).

But some day, I pray, my sweet baby girl will say "YES" to Jesus. "YES" to whatever He calls her to.

And her mommy will have to sit back and say, "Yes, Lord, she is yours."

I can only pray I'm ready.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Madeline's Birth Story


I jumped out of bed and made a mad dash to the toilet as I heard Mike yell from the bed, "What happened?!"  

"My water broke!" I exclaimed.

He came running to the bathroom, grinning from ear to ear.

"Sweetheart, this is it!  This is what we've been waiting for!"

It was 10:50 pm, we had just said our goodnights, prayed labor would come on its own and drifted off to sleep.  I was 41.5 weeks and frankly, in bit of denial.  I'd been waiting for this moment for weeks, but began to think it wasn't going to happen on its own.  

My contractions were instantly 1-2 minutes apart, at least it felt that way.  While my water leaked out, they only intensified.  There was no turning back, this is what I had prayed for!  

I had an idea of what I wanted for labor.  My mom, sister and many cousins had relatively fast (6-8 hour) labors, so I had that in mind.  I thought I would labor at home for a while.  You know, do dishes and clean, sit on the birthing ball, take a shower, take a bath, have Mike rub my back, take a walk outside.  I even made Mike a list of things he could do for me or offer me during labor.


With contractions so close, I wanted nothing else than to sit on the toilet.  Every time I tried to get up, another contraction would come and I would run back to the toilet!  Mike tried to encourage me and offer help, but I 'shushed' him every time!  (Sorry babe)  He did eventually get me out to the living room to sit on the birthing ball, but after one contraction I made a dash back to the bathroom!  

I knew in my head all the things I needed Mike to do to help me, but found it difficult to speak.  Finally I had about a three minute break between contractions and said, "Text Terry and Kari."  That's about all I could say.  I wanted my midwife and birth photographer to know labor had begun!

Quickly, Mike knew he needed to get me to the hospital. Thankfully I had made a list of items that he needed to load into the car.  Mike started packing the car, while I sat...on the toilet of course!  (I've never loved the toilet more...ok, except maybe when I returned home from Haiti, but almost just as much!)

I heard Mike shuffling around the house and garage, and all I could think about was how insanely close these contractions were!  

Mike eventually came back to the bathroom and asked, "When do we go to the hospital?"

I replied, "Now."

As he tried to get me moving, I didn't want to budge.  Everything inside of me just wanted to roll into the tub next to me and deliver there!  Mike finally corralled me to the garage.  

I just stood there, staring at the car.  

"I can't do it.  I can't get in.  I can't go to the hospital!"

Mike was CERTAIN I was going to get in the car.  He laid my seat back and assured me that I could do it.  As we started driving down the gravel road (we only have 3/4 mile), I kept telling Mike to slow down.  I got SO angry that he was going so fast!  

"You better slow down RIGHT NOW!"  My teeth clenched.  "Oh oh oh..." Another contraction began and took my breath away.

What I later learned is that Mike was going 3 miles/hour at that point!  I swore he was going 30!  He quickly sped up, knowing if we crept along at that speed, we were going to have a baby on the side of the road.

Mike called the labor and delivery coordinator on our drive in to let them know I was in labor.  We arrived at the hospital shortly after 12:30 am and were quickly escorted up to my room.  I felt a safety and assurance, as I was greeted by my co-workers.  Coordinator Jaci met me in the hallway, while my nurse April met me in my room.  

The monitors were placed to check on baby and my cervix checked.

"Heidi, wow, you are 9 centimeters!" exclaimed April.

I was so thankful she didn't say 3 centimeters!  I thought I was either close to delivering or needing an epidural!  All I could think of at that point was getting up to that toilet.  April and Mike escorted me to the bathroom and coached me along.  I remember asking for an epidural.  I knew in my head it was too late for one, but I wanted them to know that the contractions were bad enough that I wanted one!

Everyone in the room assured me that I could do this, that I was doing a good job and that my body was made for this!  I remember saying lots of "Oh no's," "Ooooo Ooooo OOOOO's," "You guys, I can't do this," and "Jesus, help me!"

I didn't want to be touched or talked to.  I didn't want massage.  I didn't want to be fanned.  I didn't want Mike even touching my bed!  I laugh at it now (and feel a bit sorry for everyone in the room!) but I was in a zone.

There was one thing I wanted: water!  Mike became my water boy and jumped on the opportunity to help me.

I started to grunt on the toilet and was escorted back to bed to try a new position.  My midwife arrived as I started to push.  I felt like I was vomiting out of my bottom.  You know, that irresistible urge that everything in your abdomen wants to be out!?

The pressure soon became increasingly unbearable as I pushed.  Most women say it feels like your having a bowel movement.  That was not the case for me.  I felt like my front lower pelvis was breaking in two!  I even remember opening my eyes at one point, staring straight at my midwife and saying "I'm tearing!"

I had so many thoughts and yet none at all while I pushed.  Thoughts that I could do this, followed by thoughts of doubt and exhaustion, followed by thoughts of the next contraction.  

I continued to be encouraged by everyone in the room and soon heard:

"Heidi, good job, we can see the forehead."

After being a labor and delivery nurse for 7 and a half years, I knew this was it!  I was close to delivery, actually closer than it even felt to me.  I pushed maybe one or two more times and then out came baby!

Our daughter, Madeline, was born at 2:18 am.  As she made her arrival into the world, I was the first to see that it was a girl!  I couldn't say anything though, as I was in a bit of shock.  Even though I've always wanted a girl first, I had many thoughts throughout my pregnancy (and so did many others) that it was going to be a boy.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  

I waited for Mike to make the big announcement.

"It's a girl!  It's Madeline!"

As they placed her on my chest, I kept announcing over and over that we had a girl!  

"Mike, you have a daughter!"

He smiled ear to ear, "Yes, sweetheart, we have a daughter."

Our 8 pound blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl captured our hearts right at the start.

A lot of the remaining details seem more of a blur to me.  It turns out Madeline tore me up quite a bit on her way out!  My midwife called in the OBGYN to help with the repair.  I had a 3rd degree, bilateral periurethrals, many other vaginal tears and tore my cervix too!  After trying to hold still for a while, I was taken to the operating room to be put under general anesthesia for the cervical repair.  

While this wasn't the ideal situation (some would call it the nurse curse!), I look back on everything with great faith that the Lord knew what he was doing.

You see,

1. I was able to do skin to skin and nurse Madeline before I had to go to the operating room.

2. Mike was able to do skin to skin and spend time alone with his new daughter for about an hour while I was gone.  Mike says that moment when his daughter was on his chest and everyone in the room had cleared out was one of the most amazing moments of his life!  God knew what he was doing to solidify their bond! (If I hadn't left, I'm sure I would have hogged her the whole time!)

3. I had the best staff on that night.  Everyone took amazing care of me and my family.  April coached me in such a gentle and kind way.  She gave me autonomy and showered me with compassion through it all.  I had a room full of prayer warriors: my husband, nurses, midwife, photographer/friend, and other staff!

You guys,

God is so good.  Praise Jesus for His indescribable gifts!  He has blessed me with an incredible husband and now beautiful daughter.  The miracle of birth is truly just that.