I went to my last scheduled doctor’s appointment on Dec 18th. I was 38 weeks and 1 day. I had zero progression so my doctor scheduled my induction to be Dec 28th. She was going to be out of town until the 26th for the holiday, so that was a sensible time for both of us. Since I didn’t dilate on my own last time – we figured I would have to be induced anyway. And with the holidays I got to choose if it we before Christmas or after. I chose the latter. I remember my doctor saying a few weeks prior – “If I had it my way, you’d go into labor on your own at 38 weeks.” She was just two days off, we’d find out.
That night I got up to use the restroom around 4 am and noticed some development of the labor process. I’ll just leave it at that. I decided to go back to bed and see what would happen. Around 4:30 my water broke as I was in bed. I felt it coming and jumped out of bed just in time. [For some reason my biggest fear was my water breaking in our bed and then having to deal with a disgusting mattress when we got home from the hospital.] I woke Zach up and told him my water broke. I’ve never seen him spring out of bed so fast – I swear he got two feet of air off the mattress before his feet hit the ground.
Luckily our hospital bags were already packed. I decided to get in the shower and get ready before heading to the hospital. I called my mom around 5 am to head up to our house to be with Sloan. I shoved a few things in a bag just as my parents showed up. Zach gave me a priesthood blessing – assisted by my dad – and we were out the door.
Zach said something in his blessing that caught me a little off guard. I asked him about it when we were alone in the card together and he told me he didn’t know what it meant, just that he was meant to say it.
As we made our way to the hospital I had a few big contractions – so I told Zach we didn’t have time to stop at McDonald’s for a sausage egg and cheese McMuffin like our last go around with Sloan. We pulled up to the University around 6 am and they made us wait to be admitted until someone could confirm that I was actually in labor. The on-call midwife confirmed my water had broken and then did a little monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat. It was then that she told us that his heart had an arrhythmia. Considering we had been at the hospital for all of 12 minutes, I was a nervous wreck. She told us it wasn’t a big concern – but that she would have to alert pediatrics and cardiology. Since I had high blood pressure towards the end of my pregnancy with Sloan – they kept monitoring my blood pressure while we were waiting. Once we got the news about the baby’s possible heart problem my blood pressure was sky high on every single test. There weren’t any delivery rooms available at the time – so we continued to wait to be officially admitted and moved over. Zach and I used the time to talk and say a prayer together. He felt great about it all – and I was still worried sick. I had a fantastic pregnancy with zero complications. I wasn’t sick even one hour of my entire nine months. I knew that there had to be a catch, and this was it. Our baby had a heart problem.
Zach was starving and made his way downstairs to get a sausage and egg biscuit from Starbucks. If there is a will, there is a way with Zach. He managed to stink up our room in a way which only that exact breakfast sandwich can. At least this time he brought me a hot blueberry muffin.
An hour or so later we were officially moved over to L&D. They hooked me up with an IV and I met my nurse who I adored instantly – Sandy. We went over my birth plan and Sandy explained that pediatrics was going to have to stop by and have a chat. I never dilated on my own with Sloan, so I didn’t think my body was even capable. I was at a 3 when Sandy checked me, which was a surprise considering I thought I would be Fort Knox. But since my contractions weren’t progressing, they decided to start me on Pitocin. Right after that the pediatric and cardiology teams stopped by to talk to me. They apologized – but told me I probably wouldn’t get to hold the baby right after he was born because they would need to asses the situation with the arrhythmia. I just tried the entire time not to burst into tears, and kept my mind busy with asking questions. They left and told me they would see me when it was go time. Then anesthesia came around and asked if I would like to get my epidural going. Last time with Sloan my epidural was a complete disaster (the worst part of the labor process if you asked me) and I was hesitant. I told him I wasn’t feeling any contractions, but to “Check back in, say…30 minutes. Nothing can happen in 30 minutes.” As I said those words he started wheeling his cart out of our room and a massive contraction hit me. It was so intense that I stopped him as he was going and told him to turn that little cart around and come back. He laughed and said he knew from the moment I told him nothing could happen that it WOULD in fact happen. He administered the epidural – and this time Zach was sitting in front of me in a chair, holding my hands. With Sloan’s delivery he got really sick at the sight of the needle and nearly passed out. Our guy, Adam, was a pro and administered the epidural without a hitch.
Almost as soon as the epidural kicked in – my contractions took it up a notch. I started to feel some big time pressure and they checked me. I was at a 5 – which I could have sworn was wrong. I felt a little bummed that there wasn’t more progression. They told me they would check back with me in an hour. As they walked out the door everything switched gears. I had the biggest contraction yet and started to feel the urge to push. I pushed my call button for the nurse and told them to come back in. I told Zach, “He’s coming. I can tell. It’s time.” They checked me again and saw that I was complete. I went from a 5 to a 10 in 2 minutes. They all were completely shocked. Then, as Zach explains it, “an entire basketball team rushed into our room”. Including the pediatric team. As they were prepping for the delivery I explained that I have never been able to hold my babies as they came out. I’ve always had to wait to get them checked. My doctor was doing clinicals in the hospital that day, but I didn’t see her in the room with us. I asked if she had been paged, and they told me she would be here as soon as she could. I remember thinking – she’s not going to make it, again. I really wanted her there considering how worrisome it all was with the baby’s heart issue. The on-call resident started to give me instructions and got all geared up. Sandy, our nurse, asked Zach, “Alright Dad, want to grab a leg?” Zach switched over to my left side and grabbed a hold of my leg. I started pushing and right in the middle of my second set of pushes my doctor ran in, huffing a puffing. She explained she ran all the way up here and I couldn’t have been more grateful to see her. I remember I said, “Welcome to my vagina!” As she settled into position. The whole crew of 10+ people burst into laughter. I told Zach not to look down – to focus on my face, but I could see him staring down into the gaping abyss that is a woman wide open – with a baby’s head crowning. Then another round of pushes. On my second big push I heard Zach say, “Guys, I’m going to need some help here.” He loosened his grip on my leg and passed out cold on the floor. He dropped down to his knees and then I completely lost sight of him. A few people rushed over to help him and another nurse rushed to my left side to grab a hold of my leg. I lost focus on pushing and was calling out his name, asking if he was ok. He didn’t respond for quite a while. The nurses urged me to switch my attention and focus on the task at hand. Someone got Zach some smelling salts and he finally awoke. I kept asking someone to get his orange juice [which he had acquired at Starbucks as well] and Zach kept telling me he was alright. “I’m ok, K. Just keep pushing.” After another set of pushes I checked in on Zach. He was soon by my side and staring only at my face. I vividly remember him patting me on the head like a dog – telling me that I was doing a good job. He was still as white as a sheet. We’ll work on his labor coach skills some other time, I guess.
On my fourth round of pushes I heard the nurse saying, “That’s it! He’s almost here!” And then someone said to me, “Open your eyes – it’s your baby!” I looked and there he was – screaming his guts out! I’ve never been more grateful to hear a piercing cry like that in my entire life. My doctor, who likely hadn’t been briefed on his heart situation, placed him right on top of me. He was still hollering and wailing, which apparently was a good sign. The pediatric team seemed a bit flustered that they didn’t get to inspect him – so they all came to me. Using stethoscopes they all determined there was no arrhythmia after all – that his heart and lungs were more that perfect. I burst out in tears.
What Zach said in his blessing all made sense at that moment. But it sure didn’t to me at the time. I got to hold my baby, Zach got to cut the cord. Then the basketball team left, my doctor congratulated me, and it was just the three of us. If I could bottle up a feeling – it would be the moments right when your baby comes into the world and into your arms. I never feel the spirit as strong as those moments.
Calvin Zach Henderson | 6 lbs 2 oz | 19.75″ long | 3:19 pm
We are officially a family of four.