Friday, November 13, 2015

A Birth Story: My “baby” is 10-years-old today!

“Are you sure you don’t want to try the forceps or the vacuum?” Dr. Z asked, after I had spent the better part of the past three hours pushing, grunting and contorting my body into unimaginable positions in an effort to release my first born from my pelvic cavity.  “During my labor I was determined to have that baby vaginally, since I’d spent so many hours pushing,” she continued on to me, re-living her own labor and delivery experience that thankfully ended in success for her. I, however, didn’t feel like that was in the cards for me.

Call it what you will. Mother’s instinct. Guidance from my own mother from above. Whatever it was, I knew this baby needed to come out, and it needed to do so in the very near future. I wasn’t in much pain, because I had received a very effective epidural. However, it was nearing 7:30 in the evening, and I had been laboring since 2:00 that morning. My body was utterly exhausted. But most of all, I could sense that something was wrong.
We opted for the C-section a few moments after Dr. Z's unsuccessful "pep talk". All the family came in and wished me well with lots of hugs and kisses and encouraging words. But, it was my dad’s face that I’ll never forget…I think he might have sensed something as well. He leaned over to kiss my forehead with tears in his eyes and said “I wish your mom was here to help you with this.” I knew he was referring to my grand entrance into the world some 28 years earlier. The similarities in how my mom and I carried our “firsts” were striking. My last few weeks of pregnancy with Connor played out just as my mom’s had when she was carrying me:  a rapid fluid gain towards the end and elevated blood pressure, leading to several weeks of bed rest. And now, the dreadful two words no first-time mother wants to hear: “cesarean section.”

Connor entered this world at 8:31 p.m. on November 13, 2005. But, he wasn’t crying. Why wasn’t he crying? Why wasn't my baby crying. Newborn babies are supposed to cry!

All of the sudden, all hell broke loose right there in the OR. The baby was rushed off out of my view. I looked up at my husband from my flattened position on the operating table and the fear in his eyes is something I will never forget. Then, tears began rolling down his cheeks as he looked beyond me at whatever they were doing with my baby on the table behind me. He just kept squeezing my hand harder and harder...the rest of him frozen in fear at what he was witnessing.

After several minutes, Connor was stabilized and rushed off to the NICU.

I don’t remember much about that night, other than the on-call pediatrician’s arrival at my bedside about 30 minutes later to brief Chris and I about the crucial next 12-18 hours for our new baby. Connor was down in the NICU all by himself with an air dome over his head and wires hooked up to his poor little 7 pound, 14 ounce body. The doctor explained that due to the stress of the labor, our baby had experienced a bowl movement in the womb, and had swallowed it. I read about the possibility of this happening when I was pregnant, but shouldn’t the doctors have noticed this during my nearly three hours of pushing?

Turns out, there were no visible signs during labor, because Connor was lodged so tightly into my birth canal that the meconium never passed out of me and onto the table. No one had reason to suspect anything was wrong.
After the pediatrician left the room that night, Chris and I wept.

It will be such a joyous time for you! That’s all we’d heard from many friends who were new parents- how wonderful of an experience the birth of our child was going to be. And there we were, alone in our hospital room without our new baby. All we knew to do was pray. And, so that’s what we did - we prayed together. We prayed for God to wrap his loving arms around our newborn baby and give him the strength he needs to make a full recovery. We prayed for peace that surpasses all understanding. We prayed for health and well being for our family.

When we were done praying like we'd never prayed before, Chris presented me with a beautiful necklace to commemorate the birth of our new little boy. And, then he promised me everything was going to be okay, even though I knew he was scared to death. That’s the last thing I remember until the next morning. My body, mind and soul were utterly shattered and drained.

Thank goodness for my persistence to endure a c-section, that I later realized was supported by my mother’s voice telling me what to do that night. A devastating outcome could have resulted in the form of oxygen deprivation, or severe lung problems had my baby boy been forced to endure a strenuous vaginal birth with forceps or a vacuum.

That next morning, the air dome was removed from Connor's tiny head before I even made my way to his bedside down the hall. I sat in my wheelchair with anticipation as the nurse untangled the wires he was still connected to and the little oxygen line, and slowly lifted him up and out of the warming bed, and down to his mommy. I wept when he was placed in my arms. He was so beautiful. He nuzzled up to me like he was right at home. And, I knew at that moment he was going to be okay. He came out fighting, and a fighter he remained!
Fast forward to exactly 10 years later. Connor Lee Murray is still quite the fighter – with his little brother, that is! My eldest is smart, and passionate, and believes in God. What more could a mommy want in her 10-year-old son?! I tell him often I’m confident his little soul crossed paths in heaven with his "Meema," as he was born only nine-and-a-half months after her passing. But, he’s not much like her at all…rather, he’s far more a mold of his “Papaw Denver” (Chris’s dad) – a “gear-head”, who “knows it all” (just ask him…he’s got an answer for everything!). Connor has a head made of pure concrete, yet a heart of pure gold. He's a very old soul.

Last weekend, Connor's daddy took him on his first “guys trip.” This getaway was something he started asking for nearly six months ago after watching his favorite Sunday morning program – Fisher’s ATV World, an adventure series on Destination America. He wanted to take a trip on his quad with his daddy for his big upcoming birthday. He also requested the presence of his “Uncle J,” his cousin / best buddy “Chappy,” his PaPaw Larry and “Captain Nick,” all of which are proud ATV owners and his riding buddies.
And, so they all headed down to Pioneer, TN last weekend for an ATV adventure at the Ride Royal Blue Resort located at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. They stayed in a cabin protected within the resort grounds, experienced mountain side vistas by-quad, as well as waterfalls, lots of mud, and even got to see a few elk in their natural habitat. With more than 600 miles of trails, and 200,000 acres of nature, Connor and “the guys” were in seventh heaven for a few days. Now, that’s what I call one fantastic way to spend a birthday!
Once back from a full day of riding on Saturday, and their Mexican birthday dinner spent “in-town” (complete with whip cream in the face for the “birthday boy,” albeit a week early), Connor called his mommy to tell me all about his day. I listened intently, secretly wishing I had been there to experience every bit of all the unadulterated fun they had partaken in all day long. He sounded completely exhausted, but utterly full of joy. I asked Connor if he had a good day. His response warmed my heart. “Mommy, today was the best day of my whole life!”

Happy birthday, Connor Lee Murray!


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