Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CREW JAREN NESLON - A Birth Story!

....That sounds like it should be an episode on TLC. Basically it should be, because Crew's birth story is beautiful! Full of ups and downs, scary and sweet moments, and tons of other thrills in between :) And I just love seeing/writing/hearing his name! Crew Jaren Nelson is finally here! Our sweet, perfect angel baby made his appearance September 3, 2014 at 9:19 PM. He weighed in at 7 lb, 1 oz and was 21.5 inches long! Just a tall, skinny guy. Our love for him was instant! Here's his story:
 At 11:10 AM on that Wednesday, I was walking down the stairs when suddenly -- I peed my pants! Or at least I thought I did. I went to the bathroom... discovered it probably wasn't pee. I called my mom who was at her hair appointment and said, "Uh, I think my water just broke. Yeah, I'm not kidding." She said, "Call your husband!" So I did. Jaren was just leaving Rexburg and heading towards Idaho Falls for a big meeting (perfect timing, right?). When I told him I thought my water broke, he kept saying, "Haha. Are you serious? Haha. Haha!" I think he was excited, but I was crying. Or at least trying REALLY hard not to cry. I was scared! I was having a baby that day! I had never done that! Jaren assured me that everything would be just fine, canceled his presentation in Idaho Falls, and headed towards Ririe to pick me up instead. It was Baby Time! 
Luckily, our bags were mostly packed and I had JUST finished curling my hair all cute. Again, perfect timing! I gathered our stuff together while I waited for Jaren to get home. When he walked in, I had never been so happy to see him. He hugged me and was so excited! I cried again. 
Then, my dad got home and I asked for a blessing from the two of them. It helped calm my fears and I know I had extra help from heaven throughout the day because of it. I'm so grateful for those two men! We got in the car and headed to the doctor's office to make sure it was the amniotic fluid I was feeling, and it was (duh!). So we went straight to the hospital from there! We were already pre-registered and the nurse called to let them know we were on our way. Once we got to our hospital room, I changed into the gown and they got my IV and monitors started. I was nervous for the IV (lame, I know) but it wasn't bad at all! Like... at all. I just looked away and had the nurse put some ace bandage around it so I didn't have to stare at it all day long. Since I wasn't have any contractions (that I knew of), they started me on Pitocin. Pretty soon I was feeling some uncomfortable pains. I looked at Jaren who was watching the monitor and asked if that was a contraction. He said yes and that it was a pretty big one. I was only dilated to a 2 and 80% effaced (which I had been for two weeks now), and my mind immediately raced thinking about enduring contractions at a 10!!! I was already looking forward to the relief of that epidural, even though I was also a little scared for it, too. :) Jaren made himself comfortable on the couch and began working on his laptop. I told him he was in charge of my phone and to text our family updates. I turned on the TV to "Friends" to help take my mind off the contractions. They were getting stronger! My goal was to make it to a 4, and then get the drugs. That 1 minute break in between was not long enough! I've heard contractions described as cinderblocks being shoved up your bum-hole, and that is fairly accurate. I kept making Jaren unplug me to take me to the bathroom.. because it felt like I had to poop!!! We also learned in our birthing class that laboring while sitting on the toilet helped... uh... idk if it helped, but I did it a lot! Jaren kept saying, "Didn't you just go?!?!" Yes, now take me again. A few hours passed by and I was starving. My last meal was breakfast. You can't eat during labor (which I didn't know!) so I was living off of ice chips, jello, and apple juice. All the while, getting cinderblocks shoved up my you-know-what. So pleasant. Jaren tried to help with contractions by doing some methods we learned in class. He tried the one where he pushes on my lower back/bum. It helped, but I felt bad making him get up for every contraction (I'm so thoughtful, I know), so I just endured and worked on my breathing. 
At about 4 PM, the nurse came in to check on me. She said I was dilated to a 3 or a 4! I immediately said I was ready for the epidural. Within 10 minutes, the anesthesiologist was there! He was the son of Bishop Karen from our old ward. He explained the risks/benefits of the epidural and began the procedure. At this point, I was NOT worried about the huge needle/catheter that would be placed in my spine. I was in PAIN. I know, I'm a wuss. I just wanted it IN. He told me to dangle my legs over the side of the bed while he prepped my back. I asked if I could sit indian-style instead. He and all the other nurses were appalled that a pregnant woman could be so limber, it was funny! I rounded out my back while he worked and felt next-to-no pain at ALL! Seriously. It was so easy. Then they laid me down and the nurse came in every 10 minutes or so to tip my body to the other side to make sure the medicine was distributed evenly. I was in HEAVEN. I had the nurse shut my blinds, shut off the lights, lay my bed allllll the way back, and I sent Jaren to the cafeteria for chicken strips (what he had been waiting for!). He also went to his office for a bit. 
I laid there in total silence and peace, and was seriously questioning labor at all. Was this real life!?!? How could labor be so EASY!?!?! I LOVED IT. I am thee biggest fan of epidurals now. 
I still wasn't leaking a whole lot of amniotic fluid like I should, so they sent for Dr. Meredith to come. At home, apparently my water "broke high" and not completely, so he finished breaking it. He kept saying "That's interesting!" over and over again while he was checking my cervix. :) I was starting to worry. He then said that the baby had pooped in the womb and something called meconium was leaking out of me. LOTS and LOTS of meconium. It's fairly common for a little meconium to be present, but I had a LOT. I had read about this prior, and I knew that it could be dangerous for the baby to inhale the meconium. However, if they just swallow it, it's not a big deal. I grew more and more worried by the minute. The doc placed something called an amnio fusion in the womb which is a catheter that helps flush out the meconium, and replaces it with clean, sterile water. I was basically peeing 1 liter of fluids per hour. I was numb from the epidural, but I could still feel the warm sensation from all that water leaking out of me. It was weird! Like I was constantly peeing my pants, or the bed, in this case. They had tons of towels and puppy pads under me to try to catch everything. They described it as olive-colored poop-like substances mixed with water gushing out of me. Jaren said it was pretty gross. The nurses left me for a while, and suddenly Jaren said, "Uh that stuff is like everywhere. It's spilling onto the floor.." We called in the nurse to come take care of it. I was again reminded why I never went in to nursing!!! I couldn't do it! Then, the best thing ever happened. It was 6 o clock and time for a shift change.  My new nurse walked in, and it was my visiting teaching companion, Robyn! I was soo happy to see her. She's basically the nicest person ever, and was even Jill's nurse when she delivered Easton. Jill and Carlos both say she's the best. And she IS. I'm convinced my delivery would've been completely different without her. She asked me if I thought it would be weird to have her as my nurse, and I pretty much screamed HECK NO! STAY HERE! She immediately got right to work. Prior nurses were letting me just sit in all that meconium/poopy water stuff, but Robyn changed the sheets because she said it could really irritate my skin. WHAT!? Then she got got me more jello and RASPBERRY flavored ice chips, and even got Jaren a Pepsi. I felt so much better having her there. She got me tons of pillows and made me so comfortable then let me be to continue to progress. Not long after that, she came in to check me again. She said I was completely dilated and was ready to push! WHAT!?!? I went from a 4 to a 10 in just two hours! The doc/nurses were saying that if I didn't have an epidural, I would have been in some pretty intense pain to go that quickly. I also began to actually feel the intense contractions, even though I had an epidural. I asked Robyn if I could give myself another dose of medicine by pressing a little button, and she of course! It was JUST the perfect amount to keep me comfortable. I never had to press the button for more. Did I mention that I'm a huge fan of epidurals? Mom, Dad, Tate, and Jill were all there for support! Robyn proceeded to explain how we were going to push. She took hold of my left, limp leg and Jaren was in charge of my right. I was told to grab my thighs and pull. Jaren was instructed to count to 10 while I pushed and then breathed out. He was such a champ. The best labor coach in the world. I locked my eyes with his and focused on his counting. I was not in pain, but I could feel the pressure of the contractions and knew when to push. It was seriously the coolest feeling ever! We pushed for a little while, and then Robyn said the baby's head had crowned enough and it was time to call Dr. Meredith! He was at a soccer game down the road. He got there in about five minutes wearing his jeans and a sweatshirt! He put on his scrubs, but called it his "birthday suit." Pretty funny. He then explained that because the baby may or may not have swallowed some meconium, they were going to take every extra precaution. They would have the NICU and the Respiratory staff on site when the baby arrived to immediately start working on him to remove that meconium. They were actually hoping that the baby would arrive "limp" and not screaming because that would mean that he hadn't swallowed any. However, that would mean it might look a little scary to see a limp baby. Especially because Jill would be there taking pictures of the whole thing (from behind me, of course). AHH I was nervous, but was trying to stay calm. Robyn told Jill the plan. You could feel the excitement in the room. There were a lot of people there, all waiting for our little boy to get here. It was surreal. My emotions were all over the board. I was praying inside that all would go well! I just focused on Jaren's face and he counted and we continued to push. In between contractions I looked at Dr. Meredith and said something like, I can't believe this is THIS EASY and that I was loving this epidural. He said something like, uh YEAH, I'm not sure how/why women do it without. I love his candid bedside manors! As the baby's head progressed, I felt my body becoming more and more exhausted. I could feel pressure but no pain, but my body was still enduring excruciating labor. I remember saying how TIRED I was in between contractions. There were a few times where I actually laid my head back and took a 60 second nap. REALLY! It was crazy. They said my body was working so hard, and it was perfectly fine rest in between. It was such a crazy experience. Dr. M asked if I wanted a mirror. I said no... Then he asked if I wanted to touch the baby's head. I said no again... I asked him if the baby had hair? He said yes. I said, what color?? He said it was olive green. I didn't believe him so he wiped some meconium off the top of the baby's head and showed me. He was SOO right! It was gross. Then he asked me if I wanted to feel the head again. This time I said yes... I still don't know why. Haha. It was slimy but it was there. There was a HEAD coming out of me! Pretty soon, the whole thing was over - just like that. I could feel the baby's head come out, then the rest of the body just easily slipped right out! He was here!!! They laid him on my tummy for a quick second. Jaren cut the cord. And I was SO tired and relieved he was here. Then, the team of nurses took him to the little station. My eyes were fixed on this little white baby with LONG fingers and LONG feet kicking and screaming for dear life. I was secretly counting each little body parts and examining him to make sure he was all there! The nurses were sticking all kinds of tubes and bulbs in his face and he was NOT liking it! I looked over at Jaren, but he was busy studying the placenta with Dr. Meredith! I kept staring over in the corner of the room at that baby. That was my baby! I was praying over and over again that he would be alright. A nurse, Faye, came over to me and said, "He is really pale and really struggling to breathe right now. We're going to take him to the NICU. But first, we'll let you see him." The NICU. A mother's worst fear. I told her she could just take him now! Take him, it's fine! By this time, my mom and Jill had come in. Tears were rolling down their cheeks. We all were so worried about this little baby. And just like that, they whisked him away. Robyn told Jaren to run after the nurses to the NICU! He said he went out to the hall where dad and Tate were standing and the nurses were no where in sight! They had literally ran our son to the NICU. Luckily, dad saw which way they went and pointed for Jaren, just in time. He ran. While Dr. Meredith stitched me up, Robyn, Jill, and my mom tried to distract me from what was happening. My mom played with my hair from behind the bed. I know she was trying to be brave, but she was wiping tears from her cheeks and from mine. The longest 10 minutes of my life passed by, and Faye finally returned holding my boy! She came up to the bedside and said, "Sometimes, babies like to make liars out of us. He's perfectly fine." And handed me the cutest bundle ever! He had on one of those pink/blue gender-neutral beanies and was swaddled in TWO white thermal blankets. His eyes were all goopy, but WIDE open. He was so adorable!! Faye laid him on my chest - he was perfect. Robyn said something like, go ahead and kiss him, Kassie - he's yours! And I did. Over and over again. Suddenly, it felt like no one was in the busy room but us. It was such a sweet moment. I held him for a few more seconds, surrounded by my family. Then I realized Jaren hadn't held him yet, so I handed him off. Jaren was SOO awkward holding him, it was the cutest thing! I began to cry even more. I was SO happy! I felt like the luckiest girl in the whole world. At that moment, I had it all. A handsome, loving husband, and an adorable, HEALTHY baby boy. I was on top of the world! These pictures of Jaren with his baby boy for the first time are unforgettable and so special to me!  OMG seriously!?!?! I love them both so much. Dr. Meredith finished stitching me up. He said I ripped on both sides, and he did about a 1.5 inch episiotomy down the middle. Ouch! Then, my family quickly left to let me rest a bit. I immediately wanted to do skin-to-skin with the baby so my milk would come in faster (something I learned in my birthing class). He was really rooting around so we decided to try feeding him, and he latched on like a champ! We were all impressed. Jaren's parents came all the way from SLC and arrived that night. We all stayed up and enjoyed this new baby boy. At about 12:30 AM, my epidural had worn off (yeah, I love epidurals!), so Robyn helped me take a shower because I still had sea legs. It was the best shower of my life!!! I felt so skinny and the HOT water was amazing. Jaren would always get mad at me for taking too hot of showers when I was pregnant, but he couldn't say ANYTHING this time! :) I was also REALLY excited to eat so Robyn found me a sandwich and some snacks. Alli had to work late, so she came and even watched Crew get his first bath! We decided his hair was light brown and not red after it was washed :) The next few days at the hospital weren't too bad. We had lots of great visitors! And the hospital food?? SO DELICIOUS. In fact, the "stork meal" that came the next day complete with shrimp and steak, actually lowered my blood pressure and I thought something serious was going on! I called in the nurses because I felt so light-headed! They drilled me with all sorts of questions, then Jaren finally told them that I just ate like.. more food than I had in a REALLY long time. The nurses both laughed and put the covers back over me and told me to lay off the food for a while! But.... I still had half a cheesecake left.... ! I seriously have never eaten so much food that it made me feel like THAT. It was hilarious. Also... look how swollen I was from all the liquids they pumped into me! Crazy. And as for a name, we were still undecided! We had it narrowed down to three: Jack, Mack, and Crew. We have both ALWAYS loved Crew, even since we were first married. However, Jack and Mack were also two of our favorites. We wanted something short, and something people could remember and easily spell. Crew was actually ruled out one evening, and we even spent half a day calling the baby Mack! But it just didn't feel right. The poor babe was nameless for 2 whole days!
The night before we were to leave, Jaren and I said a prayer. We were leaning towards Crew again, but wanted to make sure. I felt great while Jaren said the prayer - I was smiling and had a warm feeling inside. We said amen, and I looked at Jaren. He still wasn't sure! He said he still had doubts. We were both so tired, so I told him to go to bed and that we would talk about it again in the morning. That night, as Jaren laid in the horrible, hospital dad-bed across the room and I was feeding our son, I kept thinking about the name Crew. I looked down at our perfect, hungry baby. He was a Crew! End of discussion. I had such a peaceful feeling, holding my baby that night. The next morning, I got up to go to the bathroom. On my way, I stopped at Jaren's bedside and gave him a quick squeeze. He opened his eyes a little bit. I said, "Just so you know, our baby's name is Crew." He paused for a moment, then nodded his head and rolled over. He knew it was Crew, too! I think he did all along. It fits him so well now. We were so excited to finally tell our nurse that we had a name picked out! It's perfect. We also found this picture of Jade, Jaren's older brother who died at 3 months old. We think Crew looks a lot like him! We love that and think it's so special that we get a jade look-a-like. We also had fun dressing him up...Cougar fan, right out of the gate! We couldn't wait to get it on him! While I took a bath in the jacuzzi the day after Crew was born, Jaren figured out to change his first poopy diaper! haha We spent the day Friday getting ready to check out and were home by 5 PM. Jill... to whom I pretty much owe like a million dollars... made this awesome video of the pictures she took at the hospital! I will forever cherish it. What a perfect day! We love our Crewzer!
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