As we are closing in on Wyatt’s 4th birthday and with the passing of Don Williams and after finishing Willie Nelson’s book It’s A Long Story… I have been thinking a lot about Wyatt’s birth story. How do all of those things fit in together? Well, it’s a long story of my own.
I’m going to go ahead and share both the horrible and hilarious, because this story never fails to get laughs and hopefully the horrible parts will garner solidarity with those moms out there who went through the same thing or offer light at the end of the pregnancy tunnel.
In the fall before we found out we were pregnant with Wyatt, my gynecologist, whom I have had since the very first time I needed one freshman year of high school, asked me for the 5th year in a row when I was going to hurry up and have kids. You see, he delivered me and my younger brother, my husband and I think a few of my cousins. He was a lovely man, very smart, and was helpful beyond just the normal lady bits situations. He knew my entire family and always asked about them. He didn’t leave you in the exam room for eternity alone and never left until he was sure you no longer had any questions. Then, one month after Rodney and I actively stopped trying to not have a baby, he retired. I was crushed. They offered the services of one the popular female OBGYNs when I called to get the appointment after my positive pregnancy test. She was the polar opposite of my previous doctor. She did not even look me in the eye. She came in, told me to put up my feet and was in and out of there with a quick, yes you are pregnant, congratulations. The nurse followed up with what I should be doing etc. after that. I hated the experience. Of course I left and didn’t say anything until it was time to come in for my next appointment by which time the doctor I had seen only twice was gone from the practice. One of the girls, who worked up front, who knew how I was feeling, suggested I see Dr. Garza, who was my old doctor’s protegé of sorts. I signed up! Why was this not suggested earlier? And he was great! He took the time to ask about me and Rodney and joined us in our joy of being pregnant. Sigh of relief.
At the beginning of my pregnancy I had vicious morning sickness at all times of the day. I could not eat. I could not drink. It made me sick to think of food. I spent more time hugging the toilet than a woman should. People were dismissing it as bad morning sickness and offered me so many “fixes” it made my head swim even more. Eat only at certain times of the day. Eat only certain things. Eat crackers. Drink club soda. Eat before you get out of bed. Eat only veggies. Eat a steak. Eat ginger. Spin in circles and sing Imagine while eating an apple. Ok, I made that last one up. But seriously if you had this problem, you know what I am talking about. At my first weigh in with my new doctor I was several pounds under my previous weight. He of course was concerned, he offered all kinds of suggestions and concluded with a comment on how I really didn’t look well and he wanted to see me in two weeks. I ended up in the hospital before he saw me at that appointment. I was diagnosed with hypermesis gravidarum and put on Zofran. A medication, I believe was meant for cancer patients, has been used a lot for women in this horrible situation. Zofran allowed me to keep food down, however I still felt nauseous all the time. I did not start to re-gain weight until the end of my 5th month. All tests on Wyatt during this time were good, he was doing everything he was supposed to, I was the one who was not flourishing.
Fast forward through 2 more hospital stays and more visits to the doctor than normal and I was put on bed rest and told to take my maternity leave one month early. This was after he had already put me on “bed rest” telling me I could go to work only if I didn’t walk around much or stress out, stay seated and stay hydrated. I was working at the Witte at the time and they were so awesome they moved my office to another building and really helped me out at that time. The only thing that happened during my bed “rest” that was great, was that I re-watched 9 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. Otherwise, it was so hard to sleep and I was bored. Rodney, being the great husband he is, wouldn’t let me do anything. Which is great but was driving me nuts because after leaving a very busy job, it was hard to go home and do literally nothing!
Fast forward through my month of bed rest and we entered December, the month our bundle of joy was set to arrive. Our doctor was leaning toward C-section due to all the stress my body had been through, even though I was against it. But we also soon found out Wyatt was breach. He set our C-section date for December 14th, which was six days before his due date. We asked about what we could do to have him turn around and I tried all the suggestions except having them physically try to turn him. All three of us agreed it just wouldn’t be best.
Two weeks out from our date, I was 1 cm dilated and was spending a good 30 min to an hour hooked up to machines listening to Wyatt’s heartbeat and watching my contractions (that thankfully I wasn’t feeling). I was going in for my appointment every day. Every day we brought the bag with all our stuff. Every day we came back home. On December 11th, the doctor said, you are probably going to make it to the 14th. I think he’ll hold out. December 12th we went in and somehow forgot the bag and my iPod with my music I specially selected. It was all Don Williams. You see, I love Don Williams. I think he has the most soothing voice I have ever heard. Rodney’s dad took us to see him when I was pregnant and I cried, literally, through the entire show. Partly hormones and partly because he was just so amazing in real life. I wanted Wyatt to be born hearing the soothing sounds of Don Williams. I bet you can guess what happened next….
I was now 2 cm dilated and in labor. The machines I was hooked up to showed I was having pretty serious contractions. I was uncomfortable, but I just didn’t feel them. Our doctor, after about 20 minutes of monitoring, informed us that today was the day. We were headed straight to the operating room. GREAT!
I called my mom, “Mom, well, you are about to have the best birthday gift ever! We are having a baby today!” She was very excited and it being her birthday only made it that much more special. Our families were on their way to San Antonio and Rodney and I were in that little room where you get prepped for surgery. It took three nurses to finally get my IV in. And I don’t know if it is customary to get local anesthesia for a catheter but I did NOT have any. That was no fun. The nurses were all in hurry the entire time and that made me super nervous. It seemed like there was lots of mumbling going on just out of my ear shot. Finally after my IV was started, seriously like it was the 5th or 6th time they stuck me, they had me walk, while I held the catheter tubes and IV stuff down the hall to the OR. Is that normal? Because I basically flashed several other nurses and doctors while I hobbled down the hall with a catheter in, because that totally freaked me out. Then I had to climb up on the table while the anesthesiologist basically looked at me like I was the most annoying person he had ever met. He put in my epidural and I laid down to be prepped. Rodney finally reappeared, he was off getting dressed up in those fun paper suits and hats and shoes! I was scared out of my mind. Even though you know this is what is going to happen to you, you are never fully prepared to be awake on a table while they nearly cut you in half to retrieve a child from your uterus. Never.
Rodney was super supportive and even though I know he was super scared too, he was encouraging and right there…that is until Wyatt came out. But hold on a second, we are not there yet. When my doctor came in he was accompanied by another doctor from the practice, he was older and was there for a long time, so I kind of knew him by sight. He was going to be assisting my doctor. I was asked if I had brought my music… which of course we did not. I told them I wanted to hear Don Williams but no one had any Don Williams. Of course. The second doctor said cheerily that he had Willie Nelson on his phone. Rodney and I looked at each other and said that would be perfect. We love Willie. We listen to Willie all the time. This won’t be so bad after all. He puts it on and that familiar voice begins to sing. My doctor is asking me all kinds of questions and then they start. Did you know your entire body shakes back and forth while they are digging around in there? It’s like a weird horror movie. You know they are in there moving things around, I still swear I could feel it. The assisting doctor, who was playing Willie for us, said to me, “Wow you have beautiful organs and intestines.” Ummm…thanks… I grew them myself…?? What the…. Then our doctor said, “Ok, here he comes mom and dad” And do you know what else I hear??? Oh just those famous 5 chords, ban, ban, ban, ban, ban… Whiskey River take my mind…..Then out comes Wyatt, the doctor is holding him up like Simba in the Lion King but instead it’s this skinny, crying purple baby and the song is about a totally different circle of life involving love and whiskey. Unfortunately my first words out of my mouth were, “Did you just pull him out to Whiskey River?!! Why?!!” Everyone was laughing…except me. They went right to work on Wyatt making sure he was ok. Rodney was right there with Wyatt the entire time. I got a quick glimpse of him before he was taken out of the room. Then, Georgia came on. Why, oh why could they not have waited for that lovely song to pull him from the protection of my womb and into this crazy world? Rodney stayed with me for a bit while they started to sew me up. I went into full on panic mode. I was sure I was actually dying on the table. I also made sure everyone in the room knew that was how I was feeling. The anesthesiologist insisted I was fine and what I was feeling was normal and that I WAS breathing contrary to how I said I felt. He said if you can talk you can breathe. I continued to express my absolute fear quietly only to Rodney, who I was totally freaking out. We also got to hear our doctor explain to the other why his special way of closing up a patient (in odd detail) was superior to any other method and would leave minimal scarring, after assistant doctor tried picking up the staple gun for the final close. At least he was right on that one. After they were done, Rodney went off to find Wyatt and I was wheeled to recovery where I was abandoned for the rest of eternity.
OK, so it wasn’t eternity, but I did have to yell from my bed for a nurse to come (yeah there was probably a button to push, but I was in no state to act like a normal human) when the nurse came in I immediately asked for Wyatt, they told me he was having tests done and that Rodney was with him, so I asked her to please find my mother. Why was I alone? I just gave birth to Simba during a Willie Nelson musical, someone better get in here and bring me my baby!!
They finally did bring Wyatt (FOUR FLIPPING HOURS LATER) and he was of course the most beautiful baby in all the world. It was amazing. Astonishing. Unbelievable. Life changing. And oh my gosh, they were going to just send us home with this child?!! Like, here you go, now you get a baby. You didn’t have one earlier but now you do! I guess they think you will magically know what to do with that baby. We savored every moment of help from the nurses those three nights. I have a fairly high pain tolerance but I was in horrible pain and could not lie down flat, therefore I slept little. In fact we all slept very little at the hospital. Things didn’t fall into routine till about the second week at home.
I wouldn’t expect much different for Wyatt’s birth now that we are nearly 4 years into being parents. That story fits his wild personality. I blame it all on Willie Nelson.