Jude's Birth Story

Jude Christopher Swift joined our family bright and early on Saturday April 13th at 2:12 am after just about an hour of labor. (Yes. An hour! Talk about a Swift baby)! He is now three weeks old and we are absolutely in love with the little man that he is. He is our easiest baby thus far. He eats well, sleeps well and doesn't stir when the sister's cry or the dog barks. He is amazing.

Jude came fast and furious in the middle of the night. In some ways I feel like I was in labor with him for weeks, having had contractions much earlier than I had with either of the girls and yet his labor was still quite a surprise, happening so quickly! 

His due date was April 16th. On the last night of March I lost my mucous plug (something that happened on the evenings I went into labor with both of the girls). I went to bed that night fully expecting to wake up in labor a few hours later. Instead, I woke up to April Fool's day and feeling like my son had April Fool'sed me. 

Later that week he fooled us again when I awoke to what I thought was active labor-- contractions every four or five minutes for about two hours-- only to have them stop after we had called the grandparents and our doula.

Instead, Jude the Dude took his time picking the day but came out in a hot second once he was ready.

I woke up at 12:50 am on April 13th with painful contractions two minutes apart. Not wanting to cause another false alarm, I hopped in the tub before we called our family and doula. After just a few minutes in the tub my contractions jumped to a minute apart. Not only that, but I felt my first urge to push, which is a scary feeling when you're at home in the tub and not planning to have a home birth. Right away we called my sister, who just so happened to be in Tulsa for the Snoop Dog concert (thank you, Snoop!), and she headed over.

Both of the girls' labors were really similar. With Eliza I awoke in the middle of the night with painful contractions and labored at home for all but an hour of her 7.5 hour labor. With Lindie, I again awoke in the middle of the night to not quite as painful contractions that eventually became painful contractions and labored at home for all but an hour of her 6.5 hour labor. With both girls I felt like we had enough time to get to the hospital and be ready.

But with Jude I knew things were progressing more quickly and it scared me. After everything with Lindie, I did not want to have a home birth or have a baby in the car. I wanted to deliver my baby safely at the hospital, and I started to worry we might not make it.

My sister arrived around 1:40 am and Chris and I headed to the hospital immediately. Just as with the girls, I labored in the passenger seat on hands and knees while Chris drove like a mad-man to the hospital. The only difference this time was I was legitimately scared I was going to birth him in the car, so I was a bit more hostile toward my husband. (I only remember dropping the F-bomb once, but Chris says it happened three times and in a pretty aggressive manner. He's forgiven me for that and, to be fair, he did make a wrong turn).

We arrived to an empty hospital entrance. Chris helped me out of the car and into the hospital doors. All the while, I stopped during each contraction to get on my hands and knees and labor through them. Once we realized there was nobody in sight, he ran ahead to find a wheelchair while I made my way toward Labor and Delivery. I labored on the sidewalk outside the entrance of the hospital. I labored a few times in the middle of the white linoleum hospital hallway floor, and I even labored on hands and knees in the elevator riding up to the second floor. Once we reached the second floor, however, there were a few nurses running our way. (Later one of the nurses told me that they had gotten a call from security saying that "there was a lady about to have a baby in the hallway" and "to send someone down").

Once we got to a room they checked me to see how dilated I was and sure enough I was dilated 10 cm and fully effaced! Ready to go! While they prepped everything for delivery, I labored through what felt like the most intense contractions of all my children. I remember the nurses being so kind and encouraging and telling me how great I was doing. I also remember thinking I never wanted to birth a child again. (It's amazing how quickly that changes)!

After a few minutes the urge to push became unbearable. I told the nurses that he was coming and I needed to push. Although my doctor hadn't yet arrived (I had only been in the hospital for a few minutes at this time), the doctor on-call was in the room. Just after telling the nurses I was ready, my water broke. Again I said, "I'm going to push!" Following my lead, the nurses helped me to get into position and I started pushing. I pushed once and Chris remembers seeing hair. I pushed a second time and Chris said he saw the back of Jude's head. Finally, I pushed a third time and out he came, all 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 20.5 inches of him! And only 14 minutes after arriving at the hospital! Phew!

The first thing I remember about Jude was that he was crying. Eliza cried right away, but Lindie did not. Jude was like his biggest sis and cried right out of the womb. To me that was a good sign.

But before I even got a good look at him (literally before I even got to double check that he was in fact a boy and had a penis) they told me he was covered in meconium and likely had swallowed some. Instead of delaying the cord clamping like I had wanted, they urgently cut the cord and whisked him away to the NICU with Chris. 

This is where I am so grateful for all the experience I've had as a Mama leading up to this point. Had Jude been my first kid or had Jude come before Lindie, hearing them tell me that he was covered in meconium and needed to go to the NICU would have terrified me. I would have worried about the skin to skin bonding time we would be missing. I would have thought about all the worst case scenarios and would have imagined them all happening to Jude. But instead, I felt a weird sense of calm.

Months before Jude was born, in my first trimester and before we even knew Jude was a boy, the Lord gave me the name "Noah" when praying over him. At first when I heard "Noah" I thought that meant it was going to be his name. But after re-reading the story of Noah in Genesis, I noticed that Noah's Dad named him Noah because he would be a "relief" to their family. From that point on I was convinced that the Lord was using the name Noah to encourage me that Jude would be a "relief" to our family. So when the high-risk doctor asked us to come back a second time in the second trimester because of some "concern" and months later when he was born covered in meconium and needed to be whisked away to the NICU, I wasn't broken because I believed he would be okay. I had a weird sense of calm because I was convinced the Lord had assured me all would be well.

The hardest part of it all was not being able to hold him right away. Even though he was born around 2am I didn't get to hold him until after 7:30am. But once I did, it was bliss!

Jude had a short NICU stay. Pretty quickly they were able to remove the meconium from his lungs and by Sunday he was off CPAP and beginning to breastfeed. Before we knew it, the staff was preparing his discharge papers and we were discharged after just two days in the hospital. Praise. The. Lord!

I feel so blessed for it all. For the sweet boy the Lord has gifted our family, for his health and the peace the Lord gave me through it all, even for the NICU experience-- I am grateful-- because both his and Lindie's NICU experiences help me to better understand other Mamas and families whose birth experiences are not always ideal.

Thank you Lord for our sweet little man! We love him dearly!

1 comment:

Mary Lou said...

What made you change your mind from naming him 'Noah', to naming him 'Jude'? ;)
By the way? Although I do understand your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, I was a messed up baby, {born with craniosynostosis/congenital diaphragmatic hernia/Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome}, and I was a home birth!! :-O
Peace out, Mary Lou
P.S. I also have an adult brother who has Down syndrome named Michael!! He is my best friend, I share everything with him, and he is one-hundred percent times a better person than I'll ever be!! ;-D

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