>Induced, third and final found… (Warning: Birth Story)

>13 March

As I write the title to this blog I remember the feelings of the night before, wondering if Parker would ever be born! I can say, thankfully, that he was born!

This is the fairly-graphic story of his birth, so if you don’t want to read details, suffice it to say that he’s here now and you can close this window. (You can scroll down to the bottom for quick stats!)

The night’s sleep in the hospital was just fine. I had a roommate who was also an Army wife. Her husband was deployed and she was at 28-29 weeks gestation and hospitalized to stop labor. We chatted for a while and then I had to go back downstairs for 30 minutes of fetal monitoring. When I got back we were both ready for bed and fell asleep quite easily. When I woke up I wanted to get a shower immediately, but I was afraid that she’d wake up and need to use the bathroom, only to find it occupied. There is NO privacy in the bathroom so I had to lock the door. The shower had no shower curtain, just a glass wall. I waited for about 30 minutes and finally the “transport team” got her up and rolled her downstairs for her fetal monitoring. That gave me the perfect chance to shower. I had only one problem at this point. My IV was still in my hand, though I was not attached to any meds. I asked a nurse what to do and she brought me a “hand-shoe” and a roll of tape. This was a latex glove which I put on and taped as tightly as possible, allowing myself the opportunity to shower.

At 8:15 am I headed down to the on-floor cafeteria reserved for the new mommies and their babies. It was hard to see other mommies sitting and eating with their new babies resting contently in their rolling bassinets. I was pretty sure I’d be here for weeks hoping Parker would one day choose to come. I was still having to test my blood sugar so I needed to be good. I ate a roll with butter and a little jelly, diabetic yogurt, and my splurge was a small glass of OJ. (I avoided the “bad” foods like Nutella and Bananas…) I can’t tell you just how odd it is to see bread and deli meats for breakfast… it’s the European thing to do, I guess. Later I would be given a “look” by a nurse for having enjoyed that OJ as my blood glucose levels were elevated… but it was so good!

I was due downstairs at 9:00 but at 8:45 I was back in my room and had cleaned my side as well as I could, locking my suitcase and computer in the closet. I was told I’d most likely be returning to this room tonight so I didn’t have to move everything. I headed downstairs early with a bag of snacks (again, thanks to Heather for the tip to bring my own snacks) and my the closest thing I had to a “best friend,” my iPhone. I was told to sit at the little waiting area in the hallway and was only left there about 5 minutes before they had me in my room. It was a 2-bed room rather than the 3-bed room, and I was fortunate that I never had a roommate on this day. I was able to labor in privacy. I got into a room and by 9:00 am I was hooked up to the fetal monitor which revealed one by-myself-contraction. Matt and mom were at home getting ready to come to visit with me.

I was aware that we were starting the day with Cervidil and that means a 2 hour confinement to the bed so I had avoided coffee like the plague. I really consumed as little liquid as possible, thus preparing myself for a much more comfortable bed-rest. At 9:30 Bettina came in and checked me. She found that I had gone from 2 cm to 1 cm (how frustrating to go backwards) but that I was still soft. She gave me the cervidil and my wait began. Mom and Matt arrived and we really enjoyed some quiet conversation, something I don’t get very often. In fact, I live a life of interrupted conversation. I think it’s funny to watch a group of ladies with children in tow trying to hold a conversation. We tend to get partially done with one story, deal with kids, start back up on a new conversation to return to the original one eventually… or not. Sometimes we email each other “the rest of the story” because we never got around to finishing it in person. But Saturday was a day that provided me great conversation with both my mom and husband. Good day!

At 11:30 I was released to walk the hospital. The three of us went down to the cafeteria for lunch, which was immeasurably better than what they serve in the labor rooms. I had a small sandwich and a great cup of coffee. If you’re ever at HSK and want to enjoy the best coffee available in a hospital, order a “Latte Macchiato mit vanilla” and add a single packet of sugar. YUM! As good as any Starbucks I’ve had here in Germany! (The strangest thing was that they serve it in a glass cup, like one you’d expect to get a coke in.) I was having regular contractions but they were not too painful. In fact, yesterday’s contractions at this point were a lot more promising, not allowing me to even eat lunch. We shopped around in the lobby shop and then I headed back upstairs for 30 minutes of monitoring. They had placed the wireless monitor on another laboring mom so I was confined to my bed for the half-hour, which was fine.

(This is where it starts to get a bit more graphic. You have been warned.)

I really had to pee but for some reason I couldn’t pee while sitting on the toilet. I had to get Matt to give me a bedpan and then I could stand and empty my bladder. The only problem was that I couldn’t fully empty. I’d get a little out and then another contraction would come, making it uncomfortable to try. I did this at least 4-5 times throughout the day. {Looking back I believe Parker’s head was coming down and blocking my urethra. Later on during delivery when I was given my epidural my midwife gave me a catheter. I was so happy, expecting the sweet relief of an empty bladder, but she told me that my bladder was already empty. The pressure to pee was the need to push. (This was the case when I was in labor with Carson as well. I had called in a nurse to tell her that I felt like my catheter had come out, that I really needed to pee. That nurse checked my catheter, assured me it was intact and all was well, but that she wanted to get my midwife to check me. After Sage came in she confirmed that it was “time” and within 12 minutes of pushing Carson arrived. Evidently I don’t get the typical urge to “poop” that most women feel.)}

At 1:30 I was allowed to get up out of the bed and walk the hospital again. At this time my contractions were very strong and long lasting. The three of us walked laps around the hospital, though there were old ladies with canes passing me. We went to the lobby to purchase today’s Wiesbaden newspaper so we could save it for Parker. Matt and I honestly debated buying it because we were still not convinced Parker was going to make his debut. We didn’t want to waste the money buying one too early but I wanted to err on the side of caution and get it just in case. I would rather have one from a day too early and have to buy the new one the next day (or the next or the next or the next) than not get it and end up forgetting it in the excitement of our son’s arrival.

Additional memories from my hours of walking:
  • I remember thinking about the other visits to hospitals I’ve made and seen ladies in labor walking. I have never been “one of those ladies” as my water tends to break and I end up laboring in the bed. Now I have joined the ranks of the “hospital walkers.”
  • Only in Germany will you see a man in the cafe pushing his IV with one hand and carrying his beer to his table with the other hand.
  • The sandwiches were made with really hard bread but were very tasty. The pretzels were really yummy but my favorite was the coffee! Oh that reminds me, the macchiato ice cream is fantastic!
  • In the lobby, right beside the regular paper and at knee level (therefore kid level), was a newspaper with a totally nude couple on the front. By nude, I mean, NUDE, with nothing blurred or covered. And the photo was only of the couple from waist to knees. Got the image? Gross.
  • I passed by a particular window several times and I can remember trying to spot my room from the hallway. It took until after I had Parker to figure out which one was mine!!
  • There was a smell of something burning near our set of elevators, which made me quite happy to walk the stairs as often as possible. We never did figure out what the smell was but it was very strong!
  • At one point Matt went out to car to get drinks out of the cooler. We didn’t bring that in but had a stash of “wasser-still,” Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Diet Coke in the car.
  • I was wearing my green maternity shirt and jeans.
  • One time we were heading to the room going past the OB clinic and a man came walking in holding his nose which looked to be bleeding profusely. I decided very quickly that I did NOT want to go that direction so we made a 180 and went a different direction! Grossed me out, and blood doesn’t normally do that to me.
  • As I was walking I had to stop and hold onto rails in hallway, breathe through contractions, and pause conversation. It took about 30 min to get from our room to the cafe due to stopping for contractions, while walking at a normal pace one could get there in five minutes. Looking back at the time I spent walking I know I had done much of my laboring in public. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually “getting somewhere” with all that walking in circles.
  • I had to keep telling Matt I had reached my “top speed.” He had a hard time walking slow enough for me to keep up.

At 2:30 we headed back to my room because I was just getting too uncomfortable. That, and there were only so many laps of the hospital one can make. I had looked at all I could (or was willing to) look at in the lobby store. I was not interested in getting into the bed as standing was how I was most comfortable. I remember soon after getting into my room feeling uncomfortably hot. I looked at the heater and found it was already off. I needed to find a way to get air but couldn’t figure out the windows. It looked like the needed some type of tool to get them to work. I stepped into the hallway and found my midwife who was able to open a window immediately. I remember the look on her face when she saw the look on mine. I think she saw a change in my laboring at that point, but I still wasn’t grasping what was going on. (In all 3 of my other labors I had been resting in the bed, napping, or chatting with family and friends during this stage.) During contractions I would open the window wide and breathe through the pain, closing it once it passed. I would get cold between contractions if I left the window open. At this point mom and Matt were holding conversations between the two of them keeping me from having to participate, but I would talk every now and then when I could.

At three o’clock Bettina came back to see if I was ready for Pitocin or another dose of Cervidil. I was fairly certain it was going to be the disappointing cervidil and I was going to be sent back upstairs to sleep it off only to try again tomorrow. However, while she was checking me she said she wanted to feel a contraction. It felt like forever before the next one came but as soon as it did, my water broke naturally! She had gotten the “knitting needle” out in preparation for breaking my water (mom told me this later, as I never saw it) but nature worked its course! I had been in such a pattern of strong contractions that the relief of this was not nearly as strong as I expected it to be. I remember thinking, “Man, I really should be excited beyond belief but for some reason I’m sort of numb.” Well, numb is a bad description as I was anything but numb physically… mentally, maybe, but I was feeling EVERYTHING physically, let me tell ya! The contractions that started after my water broke were back-to-back and very strong. I had progressed to 3 cm, which didn’t encourage me. I wanted to hear I was at a 7!!

The above image shows me in labor after my water broke. Notice the “hand-shoe” I’m clutching. I describe it somewhere in a following paragraph.

At 3:35 I was moved to the delivery room (though I don’t know how dilated I was). I don’t remember this, but I’m 99% sure I had to walk there. It wasn’t a long walk, just across the hall. At this point I’m pretty sure I was asking for my epidural. The anesthesiologists were both in surgery so I had to to wait on one to arrive. Oh, I remember one embarrassing moment. You hear of women screaming all sorts of interesting things during labor. I didn’t do that, but I had lost my “filter.” At one point while my midwife was helping me get situated in the delivery bed I said, “I smell cigarettes.” Either she smokes or had recently been outside with friends who were smoking. The pregnant nose is SUPER sensitive, though normally I would have smelled it and kept my mouth shut about it. I was embarrassed that I had spoken without thinking first. (Epidurals do wonders at helping me keep my filter in place… no epi, no filter.) Regarding that missing filter, I remember telling Bettina a rumor I had heard: that the L&D staff in Germany doesn’t think epi’s are necessary and often don’t let American women get them thinking that if German women can do it al naturale, American women can, too. Bettina assured me that that is not so and true to her word, the anesthesiologist arrived at 4:15.

By 4:30 my epidural had been put in. I had Matt “brush” my back with the brush we use on Bailey, to help me be less ticklish. I don’t think it really worked, and I still jumped a few times. When the epidural was being inserted I felt a strange sensation in my left leg, felt like a prick or something. I didn’t say anything about it as I was trying to be still. The doctor said he would stay until I was comfortable. I was so relieved that relief was on its way but the contractions in the meantime were pretty strong. I have long nails and I didn’t have good control of my hands during contractions so mom made me a “squeeze-ball” out of a glove stuffed with paper towels. I used this in my left hand to squeeze and I squeezed Matt’s hand with my right. During contractions my arms would tense up and shake uncontrollably. They were pretty rough, and I remember being close to tears (and I’m sure I shed some) after every contraction, saying “I want my epidural to work!” The doc would walk over to me and administer more drugs. I was not hooked up to an IV drip bag of meds like I had been during my other three deliveries. He would just give a shot of medicine into a thingy near my left shoulder. I guess because they knew I wasn’t going to be hooked up to it for a very long period of time, though I STILL thought I was in for a long wait.

The next 30 minutes are quite a blur, and I’m sure when watch the video I’ll remember more. (I wanted to journal from memory first, THEN add to it after I’ve watched the video.) Later mom told me there came a point when the midwife and anesthesiologist spoke in fast German and the doc left, after telling me that he was sorry it hadn’t worked. (At least I think he did… if that’s a figment of my imagination, I’ll correct this later… I need to ask Mom and Matt…) I remember telling them I needed to pee. Someone (Bettina, I think) inserted a catheter and assured me that my bladder was empty, confirming that the pressure I was feeling was Parker, not urine. Next thing I know Bettina was telling me that if I wanted to push I could. I can’t wait to go and watch the video because time was standing still and I was really focused on getting through each contraction. They were horrible, but nothing like what I expected “real labor” to be. Looking back I am sure I could have delivered all 4 of my boys without epidurals as had I not had Pitocin (with Hayden & Bailey). On one hand, the pain sucked, was the worst, strongest pain I’d ever felt, but it was not nearly as bad as I had always imagined. On the other hand, if I were to go back and have all these babies again, I’d have 4 working epidurals. No need to feel that pain if not necessary, but on the other hand (what’s that make, three hands now?!?!) I am glad to know I can deliver naturally.

At some point, not sure the exact time but I’m guessing around 5 (I can correct that after watching the video) Bettina told me that very soon I could push if I felt the need. I remember I was getting to the point where it hurt SO badly and I could hardly bear it any more. I think this might be called, “transition.” (In fact, I just googled it and it was, in fact, transition.) I remember mom telling me that I was going feel much better as soon as I could push and relieve some of the pressure. I was not convinced, but listened to Bettina as she told me to get turned on my right side. I was confused by this as I had delivered my first three babies in the traditional, “made for t.v.” position. She explained something I had never heard before… My spine ran from my neck to my tail bone and when seated in the traditional position baby had to come down the canal then back up over the tailbone that was being pressed upward by the pressure of me sitting on it. If I were to lie on my right side and rest my left leg on her right shoulder, that bone would bend out of the way making it much easier for baby to come out. I was down with that. I felt bad that my leg might weigh 100 lbs and break her clavicle but she assured me that it was fine. I pushed and, just like mom said, felt much relief. When I was in the pushing stage with Hayden they brought me a mirror. I would push and see his head make ever so slight movements, then when the contraction ended, he’d go back in a bit. Well, that was discouraging so I had them remove that mirror. I wanted to “think” that every push brought him closer to deliver and that he did NOT go backwards at all. So, during my pushing stage with Parker I naturally assumed that he was making very slow progress and quite possibly going back in with each break. After one of the contraction they said, “freeze.” I had never heard that in labor before and wanted to know if that was what I really heard, meaning to STOP PUSHING or if they were yelling to “PUSH” in German. I asked and I remember mom telling me to stop pushing. Not sure why they told me to stop but before long I was able to push again. After the 4th contraction he was here. As soon as he was born they placed him on my chest and he didn’t cry for a long time. I though he was choking but everyone assured me he was just fine. He eventually did cry and I remember saying at one point, “I’m GLAD you’re a boy!” Guess it’s a good thing! He was warm and gooey, but absolutely beautiful. He was quite swollen, which made him look much bigger than he really was. (Pics taken at delivery and then a mere 12 hours later show just how swollen he was!) Matt got to cut Parker’s cord and eventually Bettina gave him a quick bath. He weighed 3430 grams. Bettina had a cheat-sheet that had rough estimates for quick conversions revealed he weighed 7 lbs 10 oz. He was 50 cm in length and his head circumference was 35 cm. These were posted to FB while in the delivery room. Julie, from FCBC, had made Parker a sweet handmade cross-stitch. It was ready except for the weight. As soon as she saw the stats added the weight and shipped it, to later find out that the weight was slightly different. When I was put into my room I did an online conversion to find out that he was actually 7 lbs 8 oz. His length was 19.7 inches and head circumference was 13.8 inches. What a neat story he has to tell!

Mommy and her newest prince.
Daddy holding Parker!
Sweet moments before Daddy goes to get Papa and the brubs.
Bettina, my awesome midwife!

Nana holding my little papoose. Interesting way to swaddle a baby!

I remember asking Bettina about how long before the placenta was going to be delivered and literally, 30 seconds later it came. It was in tact and I was fascinated to see it. Matt took pictures of it, though I will not be posting those! I can not believe there are people, doctors especially, who do not believe in God as creator. There is no way that pregnancy, labor, child birth, and life could happen without God. How that beef-steak-looking thing housed and fed my baby for 9 months amazes me.

Instead of being moved into a recovery room (the same room I was in to labor for the first 2 induction attempts) Parker and I were allowed to just stay where we were and rest. I nursed him right there and he knew exactly what to do. The nurses were very different here. They encouraged me to feed him for only 10-15 minutes per side every three hours. In the states, they wanted my babies to nurse for 30 minutes on each side every 2-3 hours meaning I was CONSTANTLY feeding them (it was only an hour from the end of one feeding to the start of another). After a while I figured out that they weren’t going to starve and I set my own schedule for them…

Matt held Parker for a while and the he left to get Papa, the big brubs, and some real dinner. (Dinners at the hospital are sliced bread, deli meat, a slice of bread… I wanted something more substantial. As it turns out the PX only had pizza available by the time Matt got there.) While he was gone I called Grammy (Matt’s mom) and Anna. It was sad that they were not able to be in the delivery room with me this time.

After about an hour hospital staff came in and told me that soon I would be taken upstairs. They rolled me up on the same bed I’d had since yesterday morning to the new-mommy ward. AND THIS TIME I WAS A NEW MOMMY!! I was not going back upstairs still pregnant! I was helped from the delivery bed to my bed, which had been moved from the labor room into the hallway. (At this point I was dressed in my clothes, but I do not recall putting them back on. I need to ask Mom when I got dressed.) I needed to pee and they let me go into the bathroom alone, in the room I had labored in, just asking me to not lock the door. (Not invoking a lot of confidence in my post labor, post epi legs.) It was at this time I realized just where the epidural had “worked.” My left quadricep was as numb as could be, a lot like having a novocain shot in my leg. That did NOT help relieve pain during delivery, though I probably don’t need to tell anyone that! Fortunately it did not affect my ability to walk and I was able to pee unassisted. It was surreal to look into the trash can and see my used bedpans. It was like time was split. Before Parker. After Parker. I still could not believe that he was here and had come so quickly. (Though “quickly” is a strange word to use considering it took 3 attempts at induction for him to arrive. I think my impression of “quickly” was simply because I had fully expected to be there in for many more days trying to get him to come.)

The “transport team” wheeled me to my room and I can honestly say I don’t remember if I was holding Parker or not. I’ll have to ask my mom… I think I was… When the family arrived I went to the cafeteria (on the floor for new mommies) and tried to feed Parker and eat pizza at the same time. We were not quite ready for that and I soon realized we would need to practice a bit before attempting that! ๐Ÿ™‚ I headed back to my room and really enjoyed introducing my newest son to my first three. We got some great pictures of them and enjoyed our time.

At around 10:00 I kissed my husband and boys and sent them all home. Parker and I were left to get to know each other. It was a truly beautiful time and, instead of being lonely, I enjoyed this time. (Had Matt left me alone after having any of the other boys I would have been miserable. The blues hit me with each of the other babies during the first night, but they never really came this time. Praising God for that!)

The bleeding was much less severe this time, they say due to having a smaller baby. Recovery was much easier and I enjoyed being able to bend over. The first time I dropped something on the floor I, out of habit, said, “Oh crap.” Then I remembered that I wasn’t pregnant anymore, bent down, and picked it up! It was really cool! As was the first time I put socks on and could continue breathing the entire time! The only remnants of pregnancy that followed me out of the L&D room was swelling. That stayed with me for a week.

They came to prick Parker’s foot to check his blood glucose levels and while he was gone they told me that his temperature was too low. They needed him to sleep in a warming bed for a few hours. I thought for a minute about being disappointed but realized that with Matt not here it would be a good time to get some sleep. I took the opportunity to do so and they brought him back to me around three a.m., I guess. Their English was okay, but I love the translations. The nurse who brought him said, “He is looking after the breast.” Hehe… They start early, huh??!?

I hope to add more memories after watching the video. For now, these are my most vivid memories from the day Parker was born.

Quick Stats:
Parker Madison Hamrick
(First name chosen simply because we like it. Second name, we wanted an “M” name to match daddy’s and brubs’ “M” middle names, and “Madison” means, “son of Matthew.” It was a boy name until the 80’s when Daryl Hannah’s character in “Splash” saw the sign for Madison Avenue and adopted that name as her own. Many girls have used that name since then and most people consider it a girl’s name. We’re reviving it as a boy’s name. It’s interesting…we know girls with each of our sons’ names but to us, they all sound masculine.)

Born: March 13, 2010
Time: 5:10 pm Central European Time
Weight: 7 lbs 8 oz
Length: 19.7 inches
Head: 13.8 inches

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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9 Responses to >Induced, third and final found… (Warning: Birth Story)

  1. Mindy Toler says:

    What a story about beautiful little Parker! I cannot believe he will be two. Hopefully I can meet him soon ๐Ÿ™‚ On a side note I have a friend here at WCU who is a German exchange student and her name is Bettina too!!

  2. Bug's Mama says:

    Beautiful story! I just love the name Parker Madison- It feels good on the tounge, and is a fantastic grown man name. A dapper gentleman!

  3. Pingback: Look Who’s TWO! | thehamricks

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