Here’s the story of Jack Loren Douwsma…
The end of my pregnancy clearly didn’t end how I expected. Although I never had expectations but I thought for sure that Jack would be here on his own time, most likely days late.
Well, you can never plan the perfect pregnancy or the perfect birth. But here is our story – I hope to blog more and document moments so I can go back and reread them all. Who needs a baby book these days? No worries, I do have one.
But our birth story began towards the beginning on January when at one of my regular doctor appointments my blood pressure was high. Which was very unusual because every other appointment before was “everything looks great just keep it up!”. Well that day was not the case. It lead to more and more of “just relax and we will recheck your blood pressure”. After being checked three different times I was then sent upstairs to the labor and delivery floor of the hospital to the triage. Completely overwhelmed. I’ve never had a broke bone or anything that has sent me to the hospital to say or be hooked up to machines. I’ve been in the ER before when I got staples in my head but I was in third grade and hardly remember.
With that being said I was overwhelmed. I was hooked up to the non stress test machine over my stomach, my blood pressure was being taken every so often. My blood got drawn but my vessel “blew” so then that required more blood out of my other arm. Side note: I don’t do blood, my head is stretched in the complete opposite direction! Finally after being in triage for hours and having a “starving” husband who is way past his (and mine) dinner time at this point. All my blood work came back great and I was released to go home but then the twice a week doctor appointments began.
My blood pressure continued to stay high. At one appointment an early induction was mentioned, at the next it wouldn’t. I’d get blood work and an ultrasound and everything would be great and we would take it day by day. Then week 38 came and I was sent up to triage after the highest blood pressure (I believe it was 150/105 – now 120/80 is considered high). That day though when it was so high they told me they would take me that day or possibly induce me on Thursday night.
In this journey of being sent for blood work and ultrasounds I always had Seth by my side and he was always there making sure everything was fine. He reworked his work schedule or cancelled meetings and rescheduled…then rescheduled when plans changed again. Even the day that they called and said “You’re going to be here at 11:15 for an ultrasound and then have an doctor appointment at 1:20” without even being asked if that works for me. I definitely had my breakdowns from being overwhelmed at the day-to-day different things we would get told by each doctor. God did bless me on that first trip up to the labor and delivery floor so I wouldn’t have freaked out the first time, especially if I was in labor.
But back to the 38week appointment and to the triage…They sent me upstairs and hooked me up to all the machines. More blood work. They then sent a wheelchair to take me to the ultrasound. While Seth later told me “I bet that ride there and back was a good $200”. I’m sure it was, I’m sure they charged me for the ice water they gave me that day too. At the ultrasound we got a very nice lady that surprised us with a 3d ultrasound and even printed out pictures of his sweet face. Technology is crazy!
We left the hospital that day with an all clear on the blood work and ultrasound, once again! We left with no induction scheduled and just a normal doctor appointment for three days later. Confused and frustrated.
The next morning as I am getting ready to head to work I see that I have a voicemail. I listen to it “Hello this is Dr McBrides nurse just calling to tell you about your scheduled induction please call me back when you have a chance”. UMMMMM….Seth!?!?! So at this point my head is spinning. I call back and she barely gives me any information other than your scheduled to go in Saturday night. Call at 6:30pm to make sure they have room for you and then you will go at 7:30pm. I definitely was tearing up by the time I told her “bye”. Then the waterworks exploded. I was so overwhelmed. Not scared about induction, maybe a bit since the odds of csection are 60% but more from the fact that everyday we were told something different.
So I sat with Seth as he prayed over me because I was so overwhelmed and I drove to work with tears in my eyes. I continued to work and finished my last day on Thursday. I had the full waddle down as Jack had dropped and standing all day was exhausting. I spent Friday doing last minute things and went with my mom, Seth’s mom and my sister-in-law to get pedicures and went out for dinner. The two things I told everyone I wanted done before I had Jack was to have a pedicure and my wood floors mopped. Both were done on Friday night.
Saturday came and I was at a complete peace. I had so many people praying for me and I just knew it was going to be all right. I also tried not to think so hard about what that night would bring. Seth and I spent our whole day together cleaning, going for a long walk…or I should say waddle, relaxing and grabbing Panera for my “last dinner”. We packed our bags and called the hospital at 6:30pm and said good bye to our puppies. I asked Seth if we could leave a little early and just drive around. I walked out the door and all I could do was cry. I was overwhelmed with just again how everything would go. We drove around and I just cried. We got to the hospital and headed up to the labor and delivery floor.
It was all so surreal. They got me in my room which very much felt like a hotel stay with everything to take my blood work prepared, my oh so wonderful gown, and everything prepped for me. My nurse was a year younger than us and went to Bethel. She was the sweetest thing and I seriously was SO BLESSED she was my labor nurse! Shenel rocks people!!!
As they came in and began the iv (which was pretty painful (to me)…and I hate blood) I had an overflow of text messages staying that prayers were sent my way. I even had some of my clients that remembered 7:30pm on Saturday night. They hooked me up to every machine and the waiting games began. I was also asked what my pain tolerance was and I said I really honestly didn’t know because I have never been in intense pain. Seth thought that was so funny.
To induce me they used a “pill” that was placed up in my cervix to help soften it and get me into labor. I was told that this could work great…it could take 6 pills that would be inserted up to every 4 hours, or it could not just work at all. I went into the hospital dilated 1cm, which four days previous I wasn’t even anything. So we sat and watched Parenthood – we only had a few more episodes to watch even though this was our second time re watching the show…because it’s my favorite ever…so we sat from 9:00pm to 12:30pm watching the show. As the last minutes of the season finale began to play I began having contractions. Thanks Jack for letting me finish my show!
The contractions began at 12:30pm – mild and controllable. They ended up progressing and I was at 2cm by 2:00am-ish and since being induced speeds up your contractions the other down fall is that they can be very very close together. This is where it all began that I would have contractions long and hard for six minutes straight and have a thirty-second break. I got up and wanted to walk around but just standing alone was too much, so I sat on the exercise ball as Seth rubbed my shoulders telling me to concentrate on that. As I sat there I may have said that we’re adopting all our other kids and Seth said he wasn’t too sure he could do this three times. HA!
I was dilated to 4cm shortly. I ended up getting back into bed where my nurse told me I had some options to walk, take a hot bath or get a liquid drip of a pain med before I would consider an epidural yet. I chose the pain meds. She told me as it was being placed in that I may feel like I was under water. It was weird and tingly but I was out like a dream and slept for two hours. I woke up to it wearing off and here came the contractions again. Long and hard – super close together and PAINFUL. I was super groggy from the pain meds. I was checked and still at 4cm. She told me that she was going to go talk to the doctor on call and see if he wanted to start the Pitocin. I really didn’t want the Pitocin….clearly my body knew this and she literally walked out the door and POP… my water broke. Gushing I looked over at Seth who was fast asleep and I turned on my call button. It was my water – clearly – but they still always have to check. I also began puking.
I then was asked if I wanted an epidural and I said I wanted to wait it out just a bit because I had heard that it can slow down the process. So I got into the hot shower and it’s quite comical at how fast all your decency goes out the window when you’re in pain. Never in my life would I let a nurse undress me and stand buck naked in a shower. In pain you couldn’t care less if the whole world was watching. So the shower ended up taking me to 6cm and I could barely stand. I got out of the shower and all I wanted to do was brush my teeth. The nurse said “I’ve never had someone in active labor ask to brush their teeth but go ahead”. Well it barely happened I got toothpaste in my mouth and maybe brushed for 2 second and threw my toothbrush and said “forget it” and said “Get me that epidural!!!!”. I got the epidural around 4:30am which was heaven in a shot. Brad was my hero! As Seth sat from a distance he later told me wow I didn’t know how bad your back could bleed. I couldn’t feel a thing as I hugged the nurse and pinched her hip and apologized at the same time. It took a few minutes to get the epidural though since my contractions were so close together and I had to wait for that thirty-second break for him to start. But once he was done I was still groggy from the previous pain medication and rolled over and fell asleep. I ended up waking up to a ton of nurses all look at the monitors and around me and Brad saying “I’m going to give you this shot but it won’t hurt” instantly woke me up. My blood pressure ended up going drastically low like 90/40 and so they were flooded around watching my blood pressure and Jack’s heart beat. The shot then ended up shooting my blood pressure back up way high but it woke me up. I was pain free and so happy! I was dilated to 8cm at that time around 6:30am. We got ahold of our parents and had them start heading to the hospital. They were there within the hour and brought Seth breakfast and coffee. We called Seth’s sister and brother in law who went to a concert 3 hours away and hadn’t gotten any of my texts. With a groggy “hello” we told them well this induction went way faster than we every imagined and needless to say they were out the door and on their way within twenty minutes of that phone call they said. I was pain free and able to talk with our parents. They then left the room and I was checked and was at 10cm by 7:30am. We were told they felt lots of hair, but they were worried that Jack was face up. My next nurse was the best delivery nurse in the world as there was a shift change. Thank you Amy!
Which when I heard “face up” every bad thing ran in my brain as my best friend had the same thing happen and had a very very hard labor ending in forceps being used. They acted like they could move him so they began moving me side to side and on my knees and sitting straight up. It was weird being able to feel some of my legs and wiggle my toes but my stomach was so numb along with yeah…everything else.
Our parents came back in until they were asked to leave again to check if he moved. This was now at 10:30am. Well…my nurse Amy tricked me. She began with saying well let’s talk about pushing. I want with every contraction three good pushes ten seconds each. Knees to your chest and chin down. Let’s practice…Well “practice” turned into the real thing. Seth and I both thought that it would be a fairly quick process, but we were wrong. With the epidural my contractions were then reversed. They were short but far apart by four minutes. So with every push Jack’s head would get sucked up into the cannel and I would loose all that hard work of pushing for thirty seconds. Two hours into pushing Seth was complaining about his feet hurting and I then told him “and you’re complaining” leaving the nurses laughing. He also went and grabbed a snack and had to throw the whole granola bar into his mouth since I was pushing again. He was in pain and hungry…typical guy, right? Also around this time of pushing I looked at the clock and it was around 12:00pm and I thought oh how cute Jack is waiting on his aunt and uncle to get here and he should be here soon. Yeah…. that didn’t happen. Delivery then became hard as I was getting exhausted and sweating and loosing my breath. I wasn’t in pain but just the crazy pressure below and being out of breath. It was like holding your breath for the slowest thirty to forty seconds underwater. Also around this time Seth must have been bored and looking at facebook and instagram because he showed me a pregnancy announcement of one of our close friends and the first worlds out of my mouth was “oh my gosh, I feel so bad for her”. I definitely don’t feel that way now and I’m excited for them!
The pushing became harder and harder as my body was so exhausted. Dr McBride then asked me if she could help me. This was after I think every push they would tell me “you’re doing so good Jillian this is the push…this is the one”…never believing them again. They lied because hours past. But Jack’s head continued to stay put and get sucked back up after every great push because my contractions were so far apart. So my options of her help were using forceps or the vacuum. I said vacuum after my best friend also had the forceps used on her and it was horrible. Then my doctor said well I’d rather do the forceps. Well why did you give me an option!? My only question was if you use them please tell me that its not just pulling his head out and I still have to push out the rest of his body. She reassured me that he would come out all at once. My eyes closed tight shut and I never opened them until I saw my sweet baby boy. With that big final push out came Jack with forceps. I was super calm and never making a peep then screamed “OHHHHHH MYYYYYYY GOSHHHHHHHHHHH”. It was the most intense pressure and weirdest feeling of my life. Seth said it scared him and he quickly looked at me. But that baby boy was placed on my chest and all what felt like the nurses moved like minions all having their own jobs ran around the room. I remember looking at him and saying “oh he is so tiny! And look at his hair” but they are smart and quick to place a hat on your babies head. Hello cone head to the max. And his poor little face had a huge mark from the forceps. Seth was quick with the camera and cut the cord. We were both in tears and emotional. He was here and everything was better in the world. Seth stood by the doctor as she sewed me up asking how bad I tore. I think he could totally be a nurse or doctor – especially taking care of me post delivery.
Our baby boy was precious. 6 lbs 14oz – 19 in – January 31 – 2:09pm
We spent some time with Jack and I got cleaned up and we were able to finally see our anxious family who had left me thinking it was just a quick check at 10:30am returning around 4:30pm to see Jack. The moment our family walked in the door Jack was getting weighed and his first shots all your heard was “aw” a million times and “look at his hair”. Seth and I were in tears just seeing our family as they hugged us. Everyone stood around waiting until he could be held. Everyone agreed that my sister-in-law would be the first to hold Jack as Seth and I and as most of us in the room cried even more. That moment meant so much to me. It healed my heart a bit that hurt so bad for that moment. My sister and brother in law have three precious babies in the arms of Jesus. I had imagined that moment of watching them hold my baby and it was everything I imagined and more. Tears even as I write this. As the rest of my family gathered around and passed him around the emotions were indescribable.
Jack has already taught me so much about life. I text some of my friends and told them to thank their moms for giving birth to them. He’s taught me that even in the most pain that he was the biggest reward in the end. He’s showed me what love is and to wear your heart outside your body. God is so good and I know every prayer that I got that week leading up and that day was the reason for such a easy labor. I can’t even remember the pain that I went through. I can only remember the moments that I was in pain and the things I would say. But God takes all that pain away and you don’t remember it. Jack is the biggest miracle that I have witnessed in my life. For God to give me such a precious gift that I can call “mine” is beyond me. For Him to trust me and guide me to raise Jack for His Kingdom. I can’t wait to see who Jack will be. I hope he never forgets how much I love him and how I would do anything in this world for him. I don’t want to even begin to think about his first day of school or the first time a girl breaks his heart or his graduation and college or the day that I will get to dance with him at his wedding. I plan on taking each and everyday one by one and not looking ahead and talking about when he sits up or walks or talks. I like my six pounds of love and I never want him to grow up.
I have had an awesome healing process and was up and walking around by the next morning. My friends told me if I could pee without it stinging or cross my legs while I was in the hospital that they would hate me. Well haters gonna hate. I have felt so good and Jack has been such a good baby. He is so easy going. He is feeding so well and was a pro from the start. He’s five days old and we have gotten him on schedule that will hopefully stay. Last night he let Seth and I sleep for 7 hours with a break in-between. It was weird looking at the clock and being like holy cow he just slept three and a half hours straight. He is perfect in our eyes and we love him so much. He has us on our toes as he is on his sixth outfit for the day as I type this. He is going to make us broke from the amount of diapers we change. But that only means he is a healthy little bug. We’ve been peed on and so have my dad and brother. Jack has peed all over himself a few times. He hates being naked, diaper changes, and baths. But he loves being swaddled, cuddled, bounced and loved.
Jack is the best thing that has happened to me. I thank the Lord for him. Jack Loren, when you read this someday I hope you know how much you are loved. I love being your mama and it’s only day 5!