Thursday, January 19, 2012

Vivian Callaway Ross

We welcomed our precious Vivian Callaway Ross into the world at 3:30 am, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. She weighs 6 pounds, 6 ounces, and is 19.5 inches long. As you may well know, she had a rather, well, unique birth, and I just have to tell you about it in its entirety.
Our little beauty, cozy and content.
Just before week 30, we were told that she had IUGR, intrauterine growth restriction. Basically that means that she was extremely tiny, measuring below the 5th percentile size-wise. It was recommended that we induce labor early, at week 37, to avoid a higher risk of stillbirth. We went through weeks of agonizing decision-making, praying, and appointments, and decided NOT to induce. We felt it was the best and wisest choice for Viv in our specific situation, and decided to let her come on her own timing. But then, our "due date" came and went and we began rapidly approaching the 42 week mark. 42 weeks is like a glaring "do not cross" line in pregnancy because the risk of having a stillborn baby increases 12 times at this point. Sunday, January 22 was our do not cross line. If Viv wasn't going to come out on her own by then, we were going to have to induce. I have to admit I'm terrified of pitocin, so after talking with my midwife I decided to try taking castor oil. If we were going to have to interfere in the process, I wanted to try gentler and more natural means before resorting to pitocin.

So, Tuesday afternoon I mixed castor oil into a milkshake and gulped it down. Four hours later, I was paying the price (and if you know anything about castor oil you know what I mean!). Around 8:00 that evening it felt like a bowling ball was sitting in my pelvic girdle. Figuring it was either more castor oil effects or just the very very beginning stages of labor, I went to sleep. I woke up at 1 in the morning on Wednesday, with the strongest "practice contractions" I'd felt yet, and went to the couch to sleep so I wouldn't disturb Clint. But I couldn't sleep - the sensations were too strong and frequent. So then I thought, "Hey, these aren't practice contractions, this is early labor!" Knowing that stage can take a while and wanting to labor at home as long as possible, I didn't wake Clint up till around 2:30 am. I told him that we should probably finish packing our bags for the hospital. As he began gathering toiletries to add to our awaiting bags, I found myself unable to help or even stand. I was having contractions every three minutes at this point, lasting about a minute each.

We had planned to have an unmedicated birth, and at this point I was seriously doubting my ability to stick to that. I thought that if the easy early stage of labor was this difficult, there was no way I could make it through active labor and delivery. I didn't even know if I could make it to the car, and I was so disappointed with myself because I wanted a natural birth so badly but couldn't handle it when it actually came. Clint continued getting everything ready while I squirmed on the bed, trying to breathe through each contraction and stay as relaxed as possible. I thought I should try to use the bathroom before our hour long drive to the hospital, so I staggered into the master bath, which has a toilet separated from the rest of the bathroom. Basically a toilet in its own closet. These "early labor" contractions got even stronger and then the obvious hit me - I wasn't in early labor, I was in active labor!

Clint came to the door telling me we needed to go, and I told him I didn't think I could make it to the hospital. (Poor Clint - can you imagine hearing that!) He sweetly encouraged me that I could do it and to just come out when the next contraction ended. A few minutes later the labor completely took over my body, and who knows what kinds of noises Clint was hearing from outside that bathroom door. Our hospital had told him not to try to make it there, but to go to Athens Regional instead (which is like 15 minutes from where we live). Clint called them to see what we should do, but by the next time he came to the door, I knew we weren't going to make it anywhere, no matter how close, because I could feel the top of Vivian's head. "Clint, I can feel her head. She's coming!" I told him. "What?! You can feel her head? What do you mean?" Was the reply. He walked away from the tribal sounds coming through the door so that he could ask the hospital what to do, and then I just totally gave in to the birth - I had no choice! I looked down and saw her black hair. Two more contractions and she suddenly came right out, and plunk, INTO THE TOILET! She flew right past my hands and took a dive into the awaiting toilet bowl. I grabbed her, held her up in front of me, and waited to see if she was breathing. She started breathing and squirming, so I yelled, "Clint, she's here! Clint! She's here!" (Or something like that. Who knows what I really said.) He opened the bathroom door and saw me standing there holding her in the air. I don't know how he didn't pass out from shock, but he called an ambulance to come get us and got a towel to wrap her up. I just sat on the toilet holding her till they came, Clint doing everything he could to make sure we were all ok. The ambulance got there in about five minutes and whisked us off to the hospital, where Vivian became quite the celebrity. I really was expecting a news crew to burst into our room any second to capture the story of the Toilet Baby.
We're back home now, where it all began Tuesday afternoon with a dose of castor oil, enjoying and loving Vivian to pieces. We are beyond grateful to God for this gift. There is nothing in the world like being a parent and holding your newborn. She's the best and most beautiful thing ever, and I just love how she came into this world - this girl is hilarious already! More and better photos to come . . . stay tuned!


Maggard said...

Seriously, you gotta quit... I'm waking up my baby laughing!! Oh my gosh, not only is she perfect and beautiful, she's got a personality that won't quit! Only your baby would be that fast! I'll be reminding Fern never to race her anywhere... we know who will be the rotten egg. :) I am absolutely geeked out of my mind with happiness for you three. And LOVE your homebirth story!!

Kelly Hibbs said...

guess you had the "water birth" after all. bbahahhahahahahahah. I COULD NOT finish reading this ridiculous and incredible story. I love you so much, this just had to happen to you. It's so great. Wow. ...I don't have more words. :)

Emily H said...

I am STILL speechless even thought Maggy has been feeding me details as quickly as she can get her hands on them. I keep having these weird swings from laughing, to sitting with my jaw scraping the floor, to crying because Vivian and your love for her is so sweet. SO thankful for her safe arrival. God is so good.

Melissa said...

HOORAY!!! WOW Lizzie! That's excellent! Andy said the same thing as Kelly about the water birth. :) So happy for y'all!!! Congratulations! I'm so proud of you for trusting God with Vivian's life. It had to be so hard to wait after the advice to induce. AGH. I can't even imagine. Y'all are incredible!!!! Vivian is absolutely beautiful. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Lizzie, I want to thank you and Clint, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me this precious gift, a granddaughter. You and Clint make beautiful babies. Having little pooh pooh come into this world with the most theatrical entrance I have ever heard of, will bring laughter into our lifes for many years. I don't think you will ever be able to top this birth. I have a feeling that lil Viv will be bringing alot of laughter into you and Clint's lifes. I am so gratefull that you, Viv and Clint are healthy and survived this incredible ordeal! I love you. Enjoy your precious gift.Give Viv a hug and kiss from Grandma Susan

Cindi said...

Thank you, Lizzie, for sharing! What a beautiful and memorable story!! I love your site and will be following.

Love and best wishes to you, Clint and little Vivian from Cindi Umbaugh (Chelsey's mom) :)

Anonymous said...

I am Cindi Umbaugh's sister and an old friend of your mother (Cindi shared the link to your blog). I birthed our first baby with the dreaded pitocin. Our last baby needed encouragement too, and when i expressed my dislike of pitocin, my doctor suggested nipple stim...which produced the disired result. Maybe you will want to consider it next time...sounds a little gentler than castor oil!
Debbie Burkholder

becca said...

Yay for Vivian!

Kristy said...

Congratulations to all of you and thank you for sharing your story. Best wishes to you all. She is beautiful and what a wonderful birth story!