Well, he is here! He is about 3 1/2 weeks early but Trey and I are the proud parents of
William Clayton Howell
5 lb 6 oz
19 inches long
12 1/2 head circumference
(this is really long but I want to have it all written out so I don't forget,
you probably just want to skip to the pictures!)
It has been quite the week. I'll take you back to explain our little man's arrival. Last Friday, October 19, I went in for my 36 week check up. When they measured me I was only measuring 32 weeks. Immediately they sent me downstairs for an ultrasound. From what they could tell on the ultrasound he looked healthy, just small (the u/s estimated 4 lb 13 oz). We were praying this was the case. They hooked me up to the monitor to listen and his heartbeat was fine but he wasn't moving as much as he should have been. The nurse had to "shock" him to get him to move more which he did. On top of this, when my doctor checked me I was already dilated to 3 cm and while on the monitor I was having regular contractions. Started out 6 min apart but were eventually FOUR MINUTES apart! I was beginning to freak out. Fortunately my mom was at the appointment taking care of the kids. I was SO NOT prepared to be having a baby! I didn't have a bag packed, the car seat was in Auburn (my doctor is in Montgomery, and I deliver in Montgomery), Mollie (the dog) was in the house in Auburn, nothing was ready for baby, not even his name. They let me go home thinking I would just be getting stuff ready and my nurse was convinced I would be back that night to have the baby. I called Trey and let him know what was going on. Needless to say he was freaking out. By the time I got downstairs at the doctors office to make my appointment for Monday I turned around and he was walking through the door. The doctor told me that I would be coming for 2 appointments a week, one to see him and hook up on the monitor and the other for monitor and ultrasound...this is assuming I had not gone into labor. He also told me to rest as much as possible and count the baby's kicks every hour. Oh and he told me that I would not be able to deliver at Jackson Hospital like I preferred because there was a chance we would need the higher level NICU which is at Baptist. This stunk but I knew I didn't really have a choice, we needed to be there in case William needed it and I didn't want to be at a separate hospital.
So off we went to Auburn. Fortunately when we got home the contractions slowed down. Later they pretty much stopped. Praise the Lord. But now I was obsessively counting the baby's movements. That is a very nerve wracking thing to have to do. He was moving well Friday night, then Saturday and even Sunday. In the middle of the night Sunday during one of my bathroom trips I was overcome with fear. I wasn't feeling him move near as much. But was it just because it was the middle of the night and he was sleeping? I didn't know, tried to stay calm but I was freaking out. I hadn't slept all weekend, I was exhausted. Monday morning I basically had a breakdown. I knew I couldn't wait until my 1pm appointment, he was not moving much at all. Trey was staying home with me that day to help with the kids since I had an appointment that afternoon anyways so he was here. I hopped in the shower and took AM to school and headed to Montgomery planning to be back around lunch. I called the doctor's office on the way to tell them that I wasn't feeling the baby move and couldn't wait until the afternoon to come in. How could I ever forgive myself if I waited and then something tragic happened. I had tried to keep my emotions to myself like I always do but I couldn't anymore. I couldn't even talk without crying. I was a wreck.
When I got to the doctor's office they checked my BP and hooked me up to the monitor. My BP was a little high, which it had be slightly during the latter part of this pregnancy (and I always have had perfect BP). As far as the monitor goes, the baby was not moving. We could hear a good heartbeat but he wasn't moving. She had to shock me again and that got him moving. I was still bothered by the fact that it took that to get him to move. My doctor was not in the office that morning so they had one of the other ones look at the monitor strip and he said it looked good after he was moving. But I wasn't relieved enough to not hang around town for my 1pm appointment with my doctor since it took the shock to get him to move. Fortunately I called my mom on my way into town to let her know that I was going in early. Well she couldn't sit around at home waiting to hear so she drove in from the lake to be with me since Trey had to be at home with the kids. We left the office to run errands and get lunch and be back for the 1 pm appt. We didn't have anything to do so we decided to get a pedicure before lunch. It was so nice but I was still not really there mentally. Still trying to count kicks and I just couldn't count very many. 1 pm couldn't get there fast enough. We walked in to the appointment and they checked my BP again and it was really high. We filled the doctor in on what was going on and he pretty much said we were heading across the street to have the baby. He said that while I was 36 weeks 4 days the benefit of delivering far outweighed any reason to wait to deliver. My body was obviously telling him that we needed to get the baby out! I have the most wonderful Christian doctor who I have complete trust in, there are so many reasons I still drive from Auburn to see him. He prayed with me right then and there, called the hospital to let them know we were on the way.
My head was spinning a million miles an hour. I called Trey to tell him we were having a baby that day but to let the kids get a nap in since it was already nap time and it would be a long, eventful afternoon/evening. Well if you know Trey, he was freaking out! I was trying to figure out what we were going to do with the kids, with the dog, everything. This was happening so fast and before we could finalize the plans, they changed with another idea and then again, etc. I don't think I could even speak a complete, clear sentence at that point. This is not where I wanted to deliver (I love Jackson Hospital), when I wanted to deliver or how but it was just God showing me once again that everything is in his timing, not mine. Mom and I checked in, I was in the room with an IV started by 2.
It was a zoo. Remember the kids did not get to nap and now they are in a hospital delivery room with Mommy hooked up to a bunch of stuff. Right after they get there I realized that while I sent my mom home to get clothes (since she came to town planning to go home too) that we needed another set of hands to help Trey since I was out of commission. They came to do my epidural soon after he and the kids arrived so he had to take them out of the room and I had to do the epidural without him. Nothing went smoothly, not even the IV, now the epidural didn't either. It hurt so bad and turns out it didn't even work on one side. Whatever, let's just get this show on the road now! Head is still spinning. They turn up the pitocin, contractions are coming quickly, Trey has to go get a nurse and tell her to come check me. She told him "oh we just check every couple of hours here" to which he told her "you don't know my wife, she goes quickly!" She came to check me and I was at 6. We reminded her she may not want to wait too long to check again and she kind of shrugged it off. Well a few minutes later when I told her about the pain and she noticed the pattern of contractions she decided to check again. Within 10 minutes I went from 6 to complete! It was time to have this baby!!!
They called the doctor. They also had to call in the NICU nurses. That was pretty nerve wracking. Once the doctor got there he said the baby was face up but he was able to turn him easily because he was so small. One push, really not even an entire push, and he was out! No kidding. He was perfect! He was tiny, but he was healthy. And beautiful. And I was overcome with emotion and relief. They told me that I had 20 minutes to hold him and then they had to take him to the nursery for observation. They were going to have to keep him there for 4 hours just to make sure that nothing took a turn for the worse. This meant that the family didn't get to come in and see him or hold him. They had to watch them cart him down to the nursery and then watch through the window. Therefore we don't have any pictures of family with him and only have pictures from that first 20 minutes.
There was such an overwhelming sense of relief I just can't even describe. He was little, 5 lb 6 oz but he was fine. He didn't need any assistance!!!! Praise the Lord! I told Trey to go home to Auburn with the kids. AM loves Tuesdays, not only does she have school but she has music class at school, ballet that evening AND she was line leader for the week at school! Laugh at that last part but she was so excited to be the line leader I didn't want her to miss out! As Trey said they made it home 7 hours after leaving-shorter than a work day-and we had a baby! This all happened SO fast.
My mom headed to Auburn Tuesday morning to keep AM and Jason and Trey came to be with me and William. Wednesday was my birthday and let me just say that getting to go home with my brand new baby boy that night was the best present I could ask for! It is such a joy and a relief to have a healthy baby home with us. Though it is still different as he is so small so we have to be more careful and watch little signs closer but he is perfect!
AM and Jason are just as in love as we are. I'll have to share about their love of him in another post, this one has been long enough!