Motherhood x3 – The Arrival of John-Benjamin (J.B.)

Today I was meeting with the lactation consultant about getting John-Benjamin (J.B.) to latch on and maybe adjust to breast feeding and she asks, “How old is your baby?”  I though about it for a little and then me and Steve both replied, “He is exactly a week old today.”  It didn’t dawn on me until then and the clock has already started ticking fast on baby number three and than soon my response will be in months and then before I know it he will be in Pre-School, Pre-K and then Kindergarten.  See even though I am not a first time mom, I have definitely had some new experiences with this baby.  Enough to make me declare him the last in the Steve and Nickida Stephens linage.

About five weeks ago while in for a regular prenatal check up the nurse noticed that my blood pressure was a little elevated.  She asked me to lay on my left for a few minutes and retook it again hoping it would be lower, when that didn’t work she left me on my side to relax and bit and then have my doctor discuss with me the possibility of something developing.  She had me do some blood work and then explained to me that I could be showing signs of early Preeclampsia.   She explained some signs I should be aware of and then I was off to rest until my next visit in two weeks.  Within a week I noticed that none of my tennis shoes fit any more and all I could wear where my slippers.  Thank God for my comfy Bass flip flops that made it easy to just walk around.  However I hated looking down at my constantly swelling toes and just thinking I hope this is not serious.  Two weeks later I was in her office again and my blood pressure was still elevated.  This time I had to do some more test and start my weekly check up until it was time for delivery.  Of course those visits got more and more interesting because the blood pressure was still getting higher, protein was found in my urine but my blood tests were still showing that things were safe for me and baby.

Everything started to get more crazy on Trey’s third birthday.  It was May 27th and when I went in for my visit, (which was now twice a week and I had to arrive an hour early each time to be hooked up for fetal monitoring ) I was on the fetal machine and it seemed like my blood pressure would not decrease at all.  Nothing they tired seemed to work so my doctor sent me to Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) for lab work just in case my now Chronic Hypertension had indeed turn out to be Pre-eclampsia.  I was having the worst day possible, it was Trey’s birthday, I was still on bed rest so I wasn’t able to do much with him and on top of that I had misplaced my wallet and now I was being sent to the hospital.  I was praying that I would just have to wait it out a few hours and then return home in time so spend at least some of that time with Trey.  Thankfully four hours later we were home and I was enjoying time with my family.  On Saturday I baked Trey a birthday cake and had it ready when he returned home from his daddy and son boy days out.   I noticed my feet were extremely swollen and my fingers were getting fatter.  I figured I was a little tired from baking and so I just brushed it off.  Sunday our family grilled for the holiday weekend and I tired to sit and relax all day but I  noticed that night my back started hurting really badly so I just tried to get to bed early and lay down.

Monday 30th May arrived and I started to get Braxton Hicks contractions pretty early in the day.  As the hours passed I noticed that they were not stopping.  I tired to time them but they seemed so irregular and all over the place I just couldn’t get a good handle on them.  My back was hurting so bad and all Steve could think about was Memorial Day 2008 when I was sick all day and wouldn’t go to the hospital, when we finally arrived after a three hour wait only to discover not only was I in labor but I was 7 and a half centimeters dilated and fully effaced.  He didn’t want this to be a repeat, but we all thought it would be funny if I started labor on Memorial Day and delivered this baby boy just like I did with Trey.  As the day progressed I started to feel more and more sick, finally I asked my mom to take my blood pressure, and just like I suspected it was high.  I called my doctor and was told to go to Labor and Delivery for a Labor Check just to be certain I wasn’t in active labor and that baby was doing fine.  Five minutes after being placed in the triage room I was told by the midwife on duty that I wasn’t going home that night.  We were either going to be there to get my blood pressure, which was 184/121, down to a much better number or they were going to induce based on what my blood work showed.  I was moved to a birthing suite while I waited for them to tell me which way we were going to be going that day.  Forty five minutes later I was being told that I was going to have my baby today.  From Friday to Monday I went from being fine to my labs coming back showing I had developed Severe Pre-eclampsia.  It was 7PM when they started to run the meds to induce labor.

Everything seemed to be going fine until around 11:45 PM and I told my mom that I was having lots of pressure in my back like I had to push but the doctor had said less than two hours before I was only half way there and the magnesium they were running to keep me from having a seizure during labor was slowing down the process a bit.  I pushed the button to ask the nurse to come to my room to tell her how I was feeling when the new midwife on duty ran into the room asking me to turn on my side because baby was in distress.  Before I knew it four other nurses were in the room rolling me over in all kinds of positions to find out where the baby was sitting and to get his heart rate up.  When the doctor arrived she said I was only 8 centimeters dilated and the baby’s head was still high up next she was asking me to sign a consent from for her to perform and emergency c-section and I had an oxygen mask on my face.  I could barely hear what she was saying all I could think about was I hope my baby was safe.  Then she told me I had to go into the OR alone because of an earlier power outage the ones in Labor and Delivery were not ready for the procedure.  I began to get scared and just said a quick prayer to God hoping it would all be fine.  Next Steve was being given scrubs and being told he could come with us.  Waiting for the bed to arrive and take me out the anesthesiologist noticed that the baby’s heart rate went up and he suggested that maybe I could try to start pushing.  Within five minutes I when from 8 to 10 centimeters but the doctor was still concerned that the baby’s head was too high.  I told that I could feel pressure like I had to push so she decided to try it first before doing a c-section.  It took muscles and strength I didn’t know I had but I gave a big push and waited.  The next two minutes seemed like it was twenty and I gave a big push again and his head was right there and then the problem was clear the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.  I had to stop pushing while the doctor removed it from his neck and finally with one big push he was here.   John-Benjamin Charles Stephens arrived at 12:03 AM.  Just like his older brother he started his journey on Memorial Day but was born the day after.  He had arrived in grand style.  When they handed him to me he was blue and his lips were purple.  It took him a few to cry but then I heard the best sound any expecting mother could hear, the sound of your newborn for the first time and I was relieved.  I didn’t have to have surgery and my baby was delivered safe and after a check out from the NICU he was given a good and healthy seal of approval.  Even though he was three weeks early and we hadn’t finished all our last minute loose ends to be ready we were blessed to have out new bundle of joy healthy and thriving.  I am blessed to be a mother of three and I hope this post will be the first in many about my journey with the Stephens Kids.


The Submissive Wife.

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