Sunday, February 01, 2009

Elijah Luke's Entrance to the World (by JB)

I’ll try to go back and start at the beginning…

Friday morning Wendi had her OB appt with Dr. G. She had another night with little sleep due to ongoing contractions. Her fear was that, as had happened before, these contractions would be causing no change to her cervix. That they would not be bringing her closer to having Elijah. Her fears were not grounded though. Her cervix had indeed changed enough. After two weeks of intense contractions and exhaustion from poor sleep, she was one day from her due date, and she could be induced.

Wendi immediately made some phone calls. The moms were notified and were on their way within an hour. Isaac was with us, so Brittany decided to come to the hospital to pick him up. Bobbi and family were taking care of Scrubs.

We went up to the Labor and Delivery floor and was shown our room. We settled in. We were assigned Nurse P and Nurse W. Wendi got changed. She was so relieved to finally be there, that after all this waiting, she was finally ready to bring Elijah into the world. Within about an hour,
Dr. G. had started the pitocin (a medicine to strengthen the contractions). She had dilated from about 2 cm to 3 cm, and things were looking good. I ran home to get Wendi’s suitcase. By the time I made it back up to the hospital, she was really feeling the contractions.

For the next 4-5 hours, Wendi continued to have stronger contractions. She was doing a great job. Dr. G. came and checked on her again. Her cervix was still dilated at only 3 cm. We discussed the options. She decided to place a Foley catheter. This is basically a small balloon that is inserted into the uterus between the cervix and the baby’s head. This increases the pressure on the cervix and helps it to dilate. Wendi’s pain with contractions went through the roof. Elijah didn’t like it either as his heart rate dropped a bit with every contraction. The pitocin was reduced and his heart rate looked great again.

The pain was still really intense for Wendi. It was at this point that she decided to have the epidural placed. This was accomplished within the next hour. I think we were close to 10 pm.
Dr G. checked on Wendi again at around 11 pm and her cervix had dilated to 4 cm. Dr. G. broke her water. Nice clear fluid. In another hour, her cervix was at 5 cm. Elijah’s head was also dropping lower now.

Since Wendi had her epidural placed, she barely felt the contractions, and we were able to get some sleep. There was a chair that folded out to a really uncomfortable bed for me. The night progressed with checks every few hours and by early morning Wendi was completely dilated and ready to push.

She did great. It took a few attempts, but in no time she was pushing like she had done this before. After about an hour, Dr. G didn’t think she had made much progress. Her epidural was allowed to run out so Wendi could feel her pushes better. A bar was attached to the bed and Wendi changed positions to push, with gravity helping her now. She continued doing this for another hour when Dr. G gave us the unfortunate news that Wendi had still not made any progress. Dr. G was concerned that Elijah was not dropping down any more. She was also a little concerned since Elijah’s heart rate was not returning to normal after each push as fast as it was earlier. Dr. G called Dr. S in to evaluate. Dr. S is another of the Family Medicine staff physicians who has completed an OB Fellowship. He did 250+ C-sections last year. It took about 20 minutes for Dr. S to make it up to the floor (things would have moved much faster if there was an emergency).

During this wait, Wendi and I pushed on our own. We knew we were going to have a c-section at this point, but Wendi’s pain felt better if she pushed. Between contractions I told her that she did a great job. This c-section was not because she “failed” at labor. It looked like Elijah’s head was just too big for Wendi’s pelvis. It was tough. After a few minutes talking between contractions, Wendi realized that her and Elijah’s health were more important than a “regular” delivery, even if this may be the only chance we have at it. The destination will be the same. We are just traveling another route to get there.

Dr. S arrived and evaluated her. He said Elijah was stuck and wasn’t going to make it out the old-fashioned way. We were going to c-section. Elijah’s heart rate had increased to a little above normal by now. This could be a early warning that things were not quite right.

Dr. C, one of my fellow residents (and one of the other chief-elects along with me) was going to assist with the c-section. Dr. G. was going to take care of Elijah as soon as he came out. Wendi was rolled back to the OR. I changed into scrubs. I grabbed the camera and headed to the OR.
Wendi was already under the sheets. She was strapped down to the bed in a crucifix type position. Dr S was on her R side and Dr C on her left. Dr G was over by the baby warmer. Wendi had a large blue sheet at her neckline blocking her view of her belly. I had a stool at Wendi’s head right next to the anesthesiologist. I could stand up and look over the blue sheet and see Dr. S working.

Wendi was completely numb now. She was a little nervous, but doing well. Dr S and Dr C went to work. We were all talking and joking a little. Soon enough, they had dissected down to Wendi’s uterus. I was giving Wendi a play by play at this point. I was battling between husband, who should be appalled to see their wife being cut open, and physician, who has stood where Dr C was now standing so many times before. I was just thinking this and bending down to tell Wendi that they were to her opening her uterus when I saw the dark green water fill the surgical field.

Dr. S said we have thick meconium. (Meconium is another word to describe when the baby has a bowel movement in the womb). He reached down to try and get Elijah’s head out, but Elijah was really jammed in place. Nurse P had to climb under the bed and push Elijah’s head back up from through the cervix. In what was probably about 3 seconds, Elijah’s head was out quickly followed by the rest of his body. He wasn’t moving at all. He was pale gray and covered in the dark green-black meconium.

Dr. S cut the cord and handed Elijah’s limp body over to Dr. G. I told Wendi that he was born and moving over to the warmer. She didn’t ask yet why he wasn’t crying. I slipped into physician mode. It was safer there.

One of the nurses told me to go over and see my son. I don’t know if she realized yet that he wasn’t moving. Wendi told me to go see if he was okay. Wendi was noticing a lot of activity and tense talking on the other side of the blue sheet. I stood behind Dr G. I had seen her perform newborn resuscitation many times before. I was anticipating her actions. One minute APGAR score was one. (APGAR scoring is a way to evaluate a newborn by pulse, skin color, irritability, muscle tone, and breathing). Elijah had a score of one because his heart was beating, slowly. He wasn’t breathing or moving and he was still pale.

I went back to Wendi. She could tell from my eyes, the only part of me she could see behind my mask, that things were not good. She started to cry and ask if he was okay. I couldn’t lie to her, but I didn’t want to scare her. I said that Dr. G is taking care of him. We heard a little cry. Wendi heard it. I said see he’s starting to cry a little. I went back to watch.

Dr. G was intubating him and placing a breathing tube to breath for him. She was calling for the Pediatrician to come in for assistance. I went back to tell Wendi. She was crying hard now and fighting her arm restraints. The anesthesiologist had to give something to calm her. I went back to watch.

The Pediatrician, Dr. Se., had arrived. Elijah was coughing against the intubation tube. Dr G was already saying that it looks like Elijah was starting to come around and Dr. Se. agreed. They took the tube out and Elijah started to cry and move his arms. He skin started to get pink.
I rushed back to Wendi. She was scared and sleepy. I said that Elijah was breathing on his own and was crying now. Wendi started to cry again. I was husband and dad again. I started to sob behind the blue sheet.

In the next few minutes, we listened to Elijah’s cries become louder and louder. I went back to the baby warmer. I held his hand and introduced myself. He looked at me with wide open blue eyes.

I had to keep convincing Wendi that Elijah was doing well and that he was going to be just fine. Dr. S and Dr C had gotten Elijah out fast with a little help from Nurse P. Dr G and been on top of things from the start and Dr. Se. was there in a moment to help. In the end, Elijah’s one minute APGAR was one, his five minute was two, his ten minute was seven, and his fifteen minute was nine. He was able to go right back with me to the room. Wendi stayed in the OR for a little bit longer as they finished sewing her together again.

Within the hour, Wendi was able to hold Elijah for the first time. Isaac came by to meet his baby brother within a few hours after birth. I think he is still trying to decide if he is a toy or a teething ring or something else entirely.

I am sure Wendi will like to tell the story from her side in a little while. For now, I will sign off. Both Wendi and Elijah are doing great. I just have to wonder with a smile why we don’t ever have a simple story.

Now for some photos:

Wendi with Nurse P and Nurse W. They are awesome!

Elijah with a beautiful cry.

8 lbs 14 oz. 21 inches.
Mom and Dad with Elijah after Wendi was brought back to the room.

Holding Elijah for the first time.

Isaac meeting his baby brother.

Welcome Elijah Luke!


Jenny said...

Crying my eyes out! What an entrance into the world Elijah! I am so, so, so thankful that all turned out so well. Thanks for the very well told recount JB!

Gabbs said...

Ok, so I didn't read the post yet, I just looked at the pictures. But I have to say, that is one cute little guy. Made me all teary eyed...and I just love that pic if Isaac touching Elijah. Man, I need to find a way to get up there. Soon.

Gabbs said...

Ok, now I went back to read the post, even though I knew pretty much the whole story, and I couldn't was sobbing, too! How scary. I'm so grateful my little Elijah is ok, and of course, you, too Wen..

Anonymous said...

I think we're all crying our eyes out! THANK you John for sharing yourselves and Elijah with us who are so far away. How I thank God for the gifts and skills He gives doctors like you! We are just thanking God for you, and His evident hand on your lives...with great big hugs for all!
Tante Jan and Oom Ed

Anonymous said...

Just sobbing here and so thankful.

Julie Edgar

Blessed Blackman Bunch said...

John thanks so much for sharing! WOW. This brought me to tears. But ya know, I think simple stories don't cause us to praise God quite as much. We should praise God with an "easy" and uneventful delivery but WOW...God was all over you guys! He is SO good! Praising HIM for this delivery and the Kit. family!

Amy T. S. said...

Wow. Amazing.

I have to tell you, I was relaxing in my bed when Elijah was being born, and I kept starting to cry. I was praying and praying. For some reason I just felt like I needed to pray out loud, which I did. I was so thrilled to see the announcement that he was born.

This is your story, Wendi, yours and Elijah's and JB's. I'm sorry things did not go as you had hoped with the vaginal birth, but it sounds like this is the kind of birth c-sections were God-ordained for.

Isaac and Elijah are going to be best friends and things are going to get even crazier (in a different, more fun way) sooner than you know.

Welcome, Elijah!

Anonymous said...

There are tears streaming down my face. I'm so very sorry that both of you had to go through all of that. But PRAISE GOD! that Elijah is doing so well. God had me praying for Wendi and Elijah like crazy right around the time of the c-section and now I know why. I just had this feeling in my gut that I couldn't explain and a voice telling me to pray. Know that your family of 4 are still in our prayers.

Congratulations again. What a beautiful little boy you have. I love the picture if Isaac getting to meet his little brother.


Heather said...

Wow. What a story. Congratulations John & Wendi

Anonymous said...

Since I don't know how to "steal" Wendi's blog (Gabbi where are you?) I'm leaving a comment here for anyone who reads Wendi's blog and does not know her Jesus. First, picture the following: Hovering in excited anticipation outside the labor and delivery room, eaves-dropping as best we could and wishing there was a window in the door:) were myself, Wendi's mom and a very close friend. All of a sudden, things went from happy/normal sounding to dreadfully hushed and urgent sounding and then her nurse came running out one door, past us and grabbed something and then ran back in. That was when we practically ran to the waiting area and began to pray-first together and then each of us called others to beseech the Lord for little Elijah. (We also prayed for Wendi because truth be told we weren't sure what the situation was).If ever there was a surreal moment, this was it! We knew He was listening, we knew He was surrounding that baby and his mother and was going to see them through. We know Elijah was meant to be born and that he would be healthy and strong! And all of us are eternally grateful for His loving kindness and mercy in showing, once again, that He is the giver of life! So,I just want to encourage anyone who does not have this faith-this Jesus-to call out to in times of hurt and pain and also in times of joy, to ask Him to come into your heart-seek Him and find the peace that passes understanding and rejoice in your own miracles as they happen:)
As far as why JB and Wendi have these crazy adventures-all I can say is "Book Two"!
So very grateful to have such wonderful kids and grandkids:)
mom/grandma k

June said...

JB, thank you for sharing the birth story. I look forward to hearing Wendi's side, too. It's the worst thing in the world to wait for the baby's first cry... An eternity.

I especially loved the picture of Isaac meeting Elijah. Congratulations again.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Elijah will have a story to remember, just like Issac . . . Wishing you both the best! If you make it back to Rochester some time, please let us know . . .

Summer and Billy

Anonymous said...

JB, so glad to hear that baby and mom are doing well - the picture of you and the two boys is adorable. :) Welcome, Elijah Luke! :)

Mikey's mom said...

Thank you for sharing your life story that has been an inspiration to those experiencing infertility. What a miracle! Praise God. I pray for a speedy recovery. Congrats on the new addition to your family.

Anonymous said...

Wow, even after hearing this story... reading this post, from John's perspective as doctor/husband/dad is soo touching and heart wrenching! Praise God for a healthy baby boy!

yuan family said...

I am so glad to hear things turned out well...what an experience. Congratulations to both of you!

Marlene said...

A beautiful baby boy to round out your beautiful family. I am so happy for all of you! And I sure would have liked to have been inside Isaac's little head when he met his little brother! Next step...let's see how Scrubs (the big brother of them all)reacts!

Take good care and don't blink too much...they grow up way too quick.

Can't wait for more pictures!

Marlene and jake from Atlanta (and the Dal board)

AW said...

Oh my. John, thank you for sharing. I appreciate hearing your doctor/dad perspective. I'm so glad things are well...I was terrified reading it...but so glad things are well. God is good!

Aimee said...

sounds like you had a real scare for awhile there. I am so happy that Elijah fought and turned things around. God is.was definitely with you. Congratulations on a beautiful son and brother for Isaac. I am sure he'll figure him out soon enough. Hope your recovery is going fast and well.

Anonymous said...

Thank You John, for that heart rendering account of Elijah's birth!! It made my heart skip a beat as I tried to imagine what you all were going through!!Some terrifying moments but the Good Lord saw you thru it and you have the most beautiful little son!

Thanks for the pictures and especially the one of the meeting of those blessed little boys!! They will be great friends!And its so wonderful to see that big grin on Wen's face!! You did GREAT Wendi!!!! Enjoy your little Elijah and God Bless the Kitsteiner family as you embark on a NEW adventure!!!! Love Ya! N and T

Lisa Cronk said...

Having done many of those newborn resuscitations myself as well, I cannot imagine how terrifying it would be to be the parent in that situation! I am sooooooooo glad that everything turned out well and that Elijah and Wendi are both healthy and doing well. Our prayers continue to be with your beautiful family.
: ) Lisa

TAV said...

wow. what a story. glad you all are doing well! love the parent pics!!!

denise said...

even though Joia's link from her blog said it was a tear jerker, I still had to check it out. Reading through it made my heart cry out "what a Mighty God we serve!". I can relate to being strapped down praying for those first cries. I only heard one out of three for a long while. It is the craziest, drug induced reality. What a blessing for you both to have the peace to go against the thoughts of what a "normal birth" is supposed to be and do what is best for your baby. Our God and the wisdom of your medical staff made Elijah's birth such a grand entrance! He is beautiful. congrats again.
-Denise (Joia's cousin-in-law)

Nikki said...

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful son.

May God continue to enrich and bless your lives


Donna Gregory said...

What a way for God to show up and show off! I've been following your blog (friend from HP) from the IVF days and have been amazed to see how God has worked His plan in your lives. SO happy for you guys.

Jennifer said...

I had to fight back tears since I am reading this at work. He is beautiful!

Tara said...

Wow...what a long and scary ordeal! I am so glad all is o.k. and your beautiful family can get busy all getting to know each other! :)

kjames106 said...

What a beautiful family. I am so happy for you guys.

God is so good!

Anonymous said...

Praise God! So thankful! What a beautiful boy!

Mermaid said...

Wow. That is an amazing story and I'm so glad everyone is doing so well now. Congratulations! Both your boys are just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I emailed you, but had to leave a comment, too! Great pics...great family!! XOXO

Elana Kahn said...

Whew! That close call nearly sent me into tears. Congrats on your little miracle!

Anonymous said...

Sobbing! I cannot imagine knowing something wasn't right with your child and having arm restraints keeping you from getting to him! Well told JB and well done Wendi and REALLY well done doctors and nurses!!! Congratulations on another adorable baby boy!!! Jessica (Joia's SIL)

Anonymous said...

Since the moment we found out Elijah was conceived we began singing "How Great is our God...Sing with me! How great is our God!" We are continuing to sing that song. We truly believe these boys of yours have an awesome purpose and destiny! We love you all so much. Wendi worked so hard. JB was her rock...compassionate and strong.
Those boys are awesome and awesome parents! HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!! Grampa Coach and gramma Di!

Anonymous said...

So very thankful to the Lord that all is well. Elijah is adorable....loved the picture of Isaac reaching out to Elijah.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your perspective JB. Poor Wendi, I can't imagine how she felt but SOOOO glad that all is well with Elijah... God is SO good, whew... what a story... what a gift!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, John & Wendi!! What a beautiful baby boy! I hope you can take some time to rest & heal, Wendi, as you are headed for a busy few years ahead!
Welcome, Elijah Luke!
Cheryl in Ontario

Ryan & Katie Myhre said...

as a peds resident, i had a knot in my stomach the ENTIRE time i read that post. what a true miracle!!! we are so excited for you two and so grateful everything turned out...hope you get to go home tomorrow, wendi. we have our second one on the way in august so will have a taste of the busy-ness of your house in a little bit:) xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

What a blessing you have. It's amazing how God has worked in your life.

Loved Little Ones said...

"Book Two" I like that :)_
What a story, so glad her is here with you and crying

Jess said...

Oh my gosh, how scary! I'm glad it was a happy ending, though! Oh my goodness!

Your pic of Isaac reaching out for Isaiah is so adorable. Reminds me of how crazy it was to have Ethan as a newborn and Ava, who was only 6 months. But it's so worth it in the end!! They will be the best of friends!!


Anonymous said...

CONGRATS, Elijah is just adorable! Hope the family is all adjusting well! :)

cathy said...

Wendi, so glad Elijah is doing well and healthy and that you're feeling better too!! He is a beautiful baby!!