God apparently works in mysterious ways. In the months before little Alexander was conceived, I was struggling through my sophomore year in college and failing miserably. In order to try to get my life together I was going to transfer to another school and change my major. I found out two months before the semester was up that I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I obviously didn't plan such a major life change, but we knew we loved each other and we could make it.
For me, becoming pregnant turned into a way for me to prioritize my life goals and get my act together. Nothing was more important than becoming a good mom and finishing my education so that I could be a good role model for my child. With my due date set for November 21, I decided to move back home and take a year off from school. That way my boyfriend could finish school and I would have the help of both sets of parents when the baby finally came.
I was so terrified of being pregnant. I didn't know anyone my age who had been through a pregnancy and was not really sure what to expect. Fortunately, I had an almost perfect pregnancy, aside from fatigue. Everything was normal, and I was excited to bring a healthy baby boy or girl into the world. As the end came near, I began to feel like I was going to be pregnant forever. My boyfriend and all of our friends were home for Thanksgiving and were looking forward to seeing the new baby. We waited... and waited... and my due date came and went. When I went for my next doctor’s appointment, we scheduled a stress test to make sure the baby was okay and that my body was still providing a healthy environment for him. We also discussed an induction.
My boyfriend went back to school the Sunday after Thanksgiving around one in the afternoon and I was feeling the usual emotions of him leaving. I was sad, lonely, and frustrated. Around three that afternoon, I started feeling cramps that felt like menstrual cramping and although I tried to write it off, I thought it might be finally happening. The pain kept going for several hours, but wasn’t getting any stronger. I finally called the hospital and the nurse told me to take a shower and try to relax a bit, and if the contractions got as close as 3-5 minutes apart to call back. I followed her advice and as I was getting out of the shower, I felt an urge to go to the bathroom.
As it turns out, my water was breaking, but it wasn't a strong gush of fluid like I expected. When I stood up, I noticed that the fluid was stained a greenish-brown color and knew it was meconium staining, which alarmed me. Even though my contractions were only a little over five minutes apart, I called the hospital back, and they told me to come in. By this time I had already called my boyfriend and he was so excited that he wanted to come home right away. I convinced him to wait until we got to the hospital and we would call him back if this was the real thing.
Around 10:30 PM, my mother and I arrived at the hospital. They hooked me up to a monitor and checked to see if I had dilated any, but I was only one centimeter! I was so frustrated because I thought they were going to send me home, but I just knew this was it. As soon as the nurse left the room, my water finally broke completely (the huge gush that I had expected). The fluid was still stained, so they decided to admit me so they could keep an eye on the baby. Around 1 AM, we called my boyfriend back and told him to come because they were keeping me at the hospital.
Initially I thought I would have an epidural only if I absolutely needed it. I decided after only seven hours of mild labor that I was going to need it and was told I would have to wait until 7 AM when the doctors came in. When I finally got the epidural, I remember thinking that I was floating through the clouds and I was finally able to take a nap.
When the doctor came back to check me, I had only dilated to four centimeters, and this was after 16 hours! They decided to start Pitocin to progress the labor, which worked, but was happening slowly. The medicine was wearing off, so I could feel a more intense pain. I found that rocking in a chair felt good and helped me focus through the contractions. While I was rocking, the heart rate on the fetal monitor dropped really low, so they put me back in bed and inserted a saline tube to flush out what was left of the meconium.
Finally, around 4 PM, the nurse told me I had dilated to nine centimeters. I remember thinking, 'I am almost there!' A half-hour later, I was dilated to nine-and-a-half centimeters. Shortly after that I felt increased pressure in my bottom, and when my doctor checked again, he discovered my cervix had begun to swell. My baby wasn't coming.
I remember feeling such a mix of emotions when the doctor told me he would have to perform a C-section. While I felt like I had failed, I also remember thinking how great it was going to be to not have to push and that it was going to be over soon. Overall, I was terrified about having major surgery. Finally, at 6 PM, after 27 hours of labor and a C-section, little Alexander was born, weighing eight pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 20½ inches. Because of the meconium, he had to be put under an oxygen vent and I wasn't able to hold him until 4 AM, but I will never forget the first time I held my beautiful baby boy.
Alexander and I are moving back to school this summer to be with Daddy and I will be returning to school full time this coming fall. It is not going to be easy, but I know that I will work harder in my classes and do the best that I can do… all because God gave me little Alexander.