So where to begin…Obviously it has been a while since I have blogged and a TON has happened, but for readers sake I will try to keep it as short as possible.
WE HAD OUR BABY!! Cashton Porter Day was born on Christmas Day at 7 pm exactly. And yes for all you math people, he was early. 5 weeks and 1 day early to be exact. What possessed this little one to do such a thing is still a mystery to all of us but nonetheless we are so blessed that we had those extra 5 weeks with him. Here is the story of how the drama unfolded.
It was the week before Christmas and uncomfortable is an UNDERSTATEMENT to describe how I was feeling. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t lay down; and the thought of another month of being pregnant pretty much put me into a deep depression…ok not really, I'm being a little dramatic, but it was BAD! Then one day out of nowhere I was completely better. I had a ton of energy, I could breathe, and I had this urge to deep clean the entire apartment, make frozen dinners for once he arrived, and set up his entire nursery. And yes, I had heard about this whole “nesting” thing that happens before you go into labor, but I was still a month out so I didn’t think anything of it. Little did I know…
It was Christmas Eve that I started having contractions at about 11 am. We were at a family Christmas party, and at first I wasn’t sure what was going on. All I knew is that they were consistent and getting more intense. Finally, four hours later, I was convinced to go to the hospital to see what was going on. At first the nurses told me that I was most likely in false labor (which is where your body thinks you are in labor but nothing happens). False labor can be just as painful as real labor but without the prize at the end. A little frustrated that this is how we were spending our Christmas Eve, we waited for the nurses to confirm what they suspected. After an hour they came back in and were surprised that I was actually dilating! This was the real deal they said, however since I was so early, and since I was dilating so slowly they said they were going to try to stop it. They sent me home, but before they did they doped me up on a mixture of morphine and ambien… and yes I slept well that night… They told me one of two things would happen. A) The contractions would stop and not come back, or B) they would stop, but come back in the morning full fledged and there would be no stopping it.
The contractions stopped and Christmas morning rolled around and I seemed ok. We headed up to Sandy to celebrate with our families. Literally as soon as we walked in to Brody’s parent’s house the contractions started again. They increased in intensity fairly quickly but I was aware of how slow I was dilating and wasn’t going to go into the hospital until I was ready to pop this thing out. So we decided to open gifts. Before I knew it, the contractions were getting pretty hard to handle. I would open a gift with a smile on my face, and then immediately after curl up on the couch in tears for about 40 seconds, and then return to opening my next gift. It was quite the site…. I think Brody’s grandpa almost drove me to the hospital himself, but I insisted that I was fine and we went to my parent’s house. By this time the contractions were BAD. We walked in the door, sat down, and literally stood back up, announced that we were going to the hospital, and walked back out the door.
My contractions were about every 3 minutes and were lasting about 90 seconds. Lets just say Brody drove well over the speed limit to Orem and my mom thought she was going to be delivering a baby in the car…. As we got to the hospital I “walked” in to labor and delivery and they quickly checked me. I was dilated to a 3. My heart sank. They had no explanation as to why I was dilating so slowly, but the hooked me up to be monitored and gave me some morphine. They couldn’t help me out more than that since I was only 35 weeks. The contractions continued to get closer together, and finally were to the point where they were basically overlapping. They continued to give me morphine shots but considering that I hadn’t eaten in nearly a day my stomach wasn’t too happy. Before I knew it I was throwing up everywhere (more than I think I have ever thrown up in my life). The pain wouldn’t go away and it was literally the worst pain I have ever felt. You know when you see labor in movies and the woman is screaming in pain…ya that was me. I was swearing at the nurses, I was losing consciousness in between contractions and I didn’t know how much more I could take.
6 hours later…I was still only a 3. At this point I still hadn’t even seen a doctor because lets face it, it was Christmas and he wasn’t going to come in until he absolutely had to. Finally, assuming that they knew, I mentioned that the baby had been breeched in the past few ultrasounds and wondered if this could be causing the problem. The nurse had an “ah ha” moment and said that she would order an ultrasound. Why I hadn’t been checked since arriving at the hospital is still something I will never understand to this day. Sure enough, baby was trying to come out butt first, which explained why I wasn’t dilating. Now the doctor had arrived. They tried to turn the baby but had no success.
At this point I had been in labor for going on 30 hours. I was exhausted and in unimaginable pain. For those of you who know me, you know I am deathly afraid of needles and going into this the IV and epidural were two big concerns for me. However after 30 hours of labor I was begging them to poke me. During both I didn’t even shed a tear…this was a miracle in itself that I still cant believe happened.
Before I knew it, I was pain free and unable to move or feel from the waist down, and being wheeled off to the OR. Brody was coming with me and looking very attractive in his blue hospital attire….
Once in the OR, they prepped me for the C-section. Normally, this would have been a time of great anxiety for me. I don’t do well in hospitals, especially operating rooms; I was about to be cut open, my baby was early, he was under stress, and my blood pressure was plummeting as we spoke. However, I was so calm and at peace. I just knew that everything would be ok and didn’t have any fear. I know that this can be attributed to the priesthood blessing that Brody gave to be before leaving to the hospital. I have no other explanation for this miracle, and know that it was through the priesthood that this occurred.
And then I heard the cry. That first breath of air. He was here. I couldn’t see him yet (in fact all I could see was a big blue sheet) but just hearing that cry INSTANTLY made my 31 hours of labor COMPLETLEY worth it. I can’t describe in words the feeling of hearing your baby cry for the first time. This instant, without question, was the single best moment of my life.
Our Christmas baby arrived at 7 pm exactly, weighing in at just 5 lbs and 3 oz. He was a little guy, but boy was he a cutie. When they finally showed him to me the first time I was convinced that my drugs were too strong and that I was hallucinating because no new born baby could be that cute. I kissed his cheek and then they took him to the NICU for evaluations.
Cash was fine, just premature and needed to stay in the NICU, and little did I know how hard the next few weeks would be for us. I was discharged from the hospital after four days, and leaving him there while I went home was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I cried for nearly 5 hours straight that night. Cash stayed in the NICU for three weeks to the day and Brody and I spent hours each day with him. He had his setbacks while in there, including getting RSV and having to be put in isolation, but he was such a little trooper. He gave me courage when I didn’t think I could do it anymore. We received so much support from family, friends and from the ward during this time. We had dinner brought to us nightly for 3 weeks straight. We had countless prayers uttered on our behalf and even had a family fast. Those three weeks were some of the most trying times of my life, but I learned a lot about myself and became stronger for what we were going through.
But our NICU trial did end. The day we were able to bring him home was one of the most exciting things I have experienced. We gratefully said goodbye to the nurses who had been taking care of our baby for nearly a month and welcomed Cash to his new home, a home with no monitors beeping constantly, no IVs or oxygen tubes, and only two caretakers, me and his daddy.
Life in the NICU is about having strength when weakness makes the most sense. Of tuning in when tuning out is the easiest path. Of advocating without the confidence to do so. Of having faith in the Devine plan rather than anger at my situation. Of being positive when everything seems to be working against me. And being the mother my baby can be proud of long after its over.
I am so grateful for my little guy, who taught me so much about patience and gave me courage when I needed it the most. “Too early” turned in to “perfect timing.”
Cash is now home and doing so well. Brody and I are sleep deprived but enjoying every second of parenthood. I honestly couldn’t be happier and am so blessed to have my little family. I love my husband and my son; they have both brought so many blessings into my life.
I guess my attempt to keep this post “short” failed miserably, but that is ok. For those of you who stuck with it and read the whole thing, I hope you enjoyed reading about the little glimpse of heaven that I experienced on that day and continue to experience everyday by being a mother.