--- warning, this is a little lengthy ---
John William was due Saturday May 12, and I had talked with my Dr and we had planned to induce on Monday May 7. John Will didn't want to wait ;) The week and half prior to his arrival I had been sick with an awful summer cold. Coughing, congested, had no voice, and just worn out. My maternity leave at work was suppose to start April 31 so I'd have a week to 'prepare' for our little one and I had lots of doctors appointments that week anyway, but because of being so sick, it actually started the week before- which turned out to be a very good thing, I was resting because of being sick.
The day before John Will came I had my last appointment with my hematologist to see if my platelets had gone up above 100,000. For those that don't know, I have something called I.T.P ( Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura), a fancy term for having a low platelets count. My body produces platelets, but for some reason they all go to my spleen instead of throughout the body. This is something we found out I had right before we got married 3 years ago, and it really doesn't affect me, I just have to go regularly to my hematologist and get my numbers checked to make sure everything is going alright. Every once in a while my other numbers will bottom out, but for the most part all is good- God has definitely taken care of me! Anyway... Around mid 3rd trimester of being pregnant I began taking steroids in order to boost my blood counts up, and try to make my platelet number above 100,000 (I was at 64,000-74,000 throughout the pregnancy). We wanted it above 100,000 so that it would be higher of course, but also so that I could receive an epidural- anesthesiologist will not give you an epidural or spinal if it's not above 100,000- no questions asked! So, I was a little anxious at this last check to see if it was going to reach that magical number! However, when we checked it, it had only gotten to 78,000. When I left I was thinking, well we've got another week, maybe it can still go up!
So now we're at Tuesday morning.. When Brett left to go to the gym about 5:00am I started having some pain in my lower back, and was thinking these were contractions, I told Brett as he left to be sure he kept his phone on him because I felt like something may be happening. I went back to sleep and about 6:45 woke up to continuing to feel these back pains. Nothing horribly bad, just cramping, and this cramping continued in a regular pattern. I got up and moving around thinking this is just braxton hicks and it'd go away. They continued. I got my handy iPhone out and downloaded a contraction timer app to see what was going on. I started timing them and they were about 7-8 minutes apart. I have to say I was getting a little nervous!! I called Brett to tell him and we decided I was just going to wait until the doctors office opened at 8 and call them. I continued moving around the apartment just seeing if they'd go away or get closer/stronger.. they pretty much stayed the same. I called a friend who has a 2 year old and used the same doctor I used just to ask her what she thought, she too said to call or just go to the office- I don't know why I was so nervous to call, I guess I was nervous about it really being time and at the same time I didn't want to make a big deal if it was really nothing! I called the doctor and they told me to just come on in. I had had mine and John William's bags packed so I grabbed them just in case and loaded up and headed to the doctor!
I called Brett and told him I was headed that way, and told him just to hang tight at work in case it was really nothing and I'd call him if anything changed and for him to stay close! I got to the doctor about 9:30 and they took me on back. I went through all the normal things of a normal check up, but when they checked my blood pressure they were concerned because, for the first time, it was high. The nurse was so sweet, she just told me to calm down and relax, I was very tense!! Because I was a 'drop in' I had to see the doctor on call which was not my normal doctor, that had me a little nervous as well. I love Dr. Ray and her nurse Mandy, they had made the past 9 months great and set my mind at ease about so many things, I was so scared to not be seeing her! Dr. Dipiazza (Dr. D) was the doctor on call, and now.. I love her too! She came in and checked me and I was only dilated about a centemeter and a half and about 75% effaced. She told me these could be real contractions or Braxton Hicks. She told me I could go home and call back when/if contractions got worse and closer together or I could go to Labor and Delivery and be monitored. I decided I'd go home and wait there where I'd be more comfortable. They wanted to check my blood pressure one more time before I left though, and when they did it was still high, so they said I needed to go to Labor and Delivery to have that monitored. So I called Brett and told him what was going on and he headed toward the hospital. I got all checked in and hooked up to the machines about 11:00 and Brett and I just waited. We hadn't called our parents or anyone yet because we weren't sure what the day had ahead of us, and we didn't want anyone making unnecessary trips to Tuscaloosa!
About 2:30 Dr. D came in and said that my blood pressure wasn't going down and began explaining Preeclampsia to me and that because I had that and the contractions we were definitely going to have a baby that day. She put me on the pitocin to move along the labor and put me on magnesium for the blood pressure which is pretty much the opposite of the pitocin! I got all hooked up and we called our family to tell them the exciting news! The anesthesiologist came in to ask questions and talk to me about the epidural-- that I was not going to get to have. I tried batting my eyes and begging, but it was a no go, my platelets were only at 78,000 so I hadn't reached the magic number. My only other option was to have a C-Section where I would be put to sleep. When I get put to sleep, I don't wake up very easily, so I didn't want to do that, I knew if I did I'd miss so much and would be very groggy even the day after. So then we waited some more. Dr. D told me I could walk the halls or rock in the rocking chair in order to help speed things up if I wanted. So I rocked. The contractions began getting more intense, I remember having one and then afterward looking at the machine that shows them to see if it was really as bad as I was thinking, sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't ;) By about 7:00 I was telling Brett that I just couldn't do it anymore. The contractions where hurting so bad, and I just wasn't going to be able to do it. I wanted them to knock me out and just do the C-Section. The C-Section would be considered more dangerous for me because of more blood loss, so Brett continued to tell me that I could do this, that he knew I could. He held my hand tight and reassured me everytime I said I was ready to quit. Dr. D was the same way, encouraging me all along and being so positive saying how good I was doing. However, I continued to ask for the C-Section... They finally gave in and said ok, however there were 2 sections ahead of me and since there was no emergency I couldn't 'jump' them. By this time I was about 5cm dilated, and that scared me because I just knew it was only going to get more and more painful! In case you haven't picked up on it, I have a very low pain tolerance!! So we waited, and contractions got more and more intense, and Brett kept holding my hand and telling me I was doing great and that I could keep going and how proud he was!
Toward the end, I have no idea what time it was, my body pretty much took over, it was so strange how it just started feeling like it was pushing for me, I could tell things were changing! Brett could to and was asking the nurse to check me again. I was still asking about the c-section and they told me it was almost time to take me, but she was going to check me one more time. When she did she told me there would be no reason or time for a section because I was at 10cm and his head was right there, it was go time! I think this was about 10:00 at this time, and everyone was getting in position, all the nurses came in and were preparing for John Will to be there. Dr. D came right in and gave me a quick run down of what was about to happen. Between her and Brett I had the best cheerleaders. Brett really got me through the pushing, and at 10:25, we had a beautiful baby boy. I couldn't believe it. He was here, and all the pain was gone. It was a beautiful moment. John Will had a bowel movement after my water had broke so he was taken straight to his 'cart' to be checked out by the NICU nurses to make sure he hadn't ingested anything, all was perfect, and it wasn't long before he was in my arms. I remember the nurses telling Brett he could take him now, Brett looked at me and smiled saying he was going to bring him straight to me and how much I deserved this wonderful prize. He kept saying how proud he was of me and how happy he was. It was such a wonderful time. Just the three of us (and the team of nurses in there) all gazing at each other. God is so good. We are so blessed.
It was now time for those waiting to come and meet our precious angel, we were so proud to show him off!! Brett's parents and brother and sister were there along with the Boykin family, it was just perfect. They all came in, ooed and gooed, each taking turns holding him. Brett and I were still on cloud 9 just soaking every second of this perfect day. And perfect it was.
So this has been long enough of a post.. I'll post about the next 3 weeks to follow later, long story short it involved high blood pressure and 5 days of throwing up :) And let me say, the natural child birth thing, not nearly has bad as I had anticipated :)
and now for some pictures..
John William Paulk, 7lbs 3oz 19in long, 10:25pm May 1, 2012
first family picture
Grandma and Grampa (not sure what they'll be called!)
We had so many visitors at the hospital! We are so blessed!!
my grandmother made the trip with my brother and sister-in-law
my 2 favorite guys!
our sweet boy!