Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Birth Story

Jack Raymond Brawner is HERE!!!

Born on March 9, 2009 at 1:21am
Weight: 6lbs 13oz
Length: 20 inches

Let us first start by praising the AMAZING hand and wisdom of God. His will was written all over this pregnancy ESPECIALLY in areas that we didn’t see. Right now, Shanna and I are comfortably relaxing at Williamson Medical with our beautiful baby boy, Jack Raymond Brawner. He was born into this world at 1:21 am, March 9th, 2009; weighing 6 lbs 13 oz, and measuring at 20 inches in length. His personality is about 3 times that size.

Writing this “story” was something that I think played in the back of our minds as we were making some very tough decisions. I can tell you the word “failure” was probably the unspoken word of the day, and yet I can BOLDY proclaim quite the opposite was true. Shanna and I had decided to pursue a natural birth almost immediately and subsequently invested a lot of time in learning and researching why, and how, to do so. It was important to us that in our delivery we showed our faith in God and His process of creating life, and so our hearts were filled with the desire to make modern healthcare available, yet rely and focus upon woman’s God given gift of birthing.

And thus it begins when Shanna’s water broke at 8:30 on Saturday night (March 7th) and excitement hit us in the mouth. We were so ready for Jack to be here, and NOW was the time. We quickly began calling family, packing the remaining gear, and headed for some sleep (as much as the contractions would allow.) To our surprise, the contractions allowed a full night’s sleep (6 hrs). We awoke with nothing really consistent or intense, so we immediately hit the neighborhood streets and walked the entire morning. We were stomping like crazy people, and just hoped that everyone in our neighborhood were either good Christian’s and already at Church, or complete heathens and hung-over in their beds. Unfortunately, this walking didn’t bring anything to speak of, at least anything we could really feel.

At that point, having been 14 hours into “labor” with the water breaking (not to mention having tested positive for Group B Strep) we began to worry about “time.” So we made the call to the hospital to get an idea of time frame. Their time frame was NOW (of course) but we kept ourselves committed to our birth plan, and waited out a few more hours. We thought if we could only get the contractions going we could invoke our game plan, but that wasn’t happening – so we made the decision to go to the hospital. (Tough Decision #1).

We arrived at Williamson at about 12 pm, and sadly our doctor (Dr Heather Rupe) wasn’t available, so we had the on-call doctor (Dr Ellington). She was definitely opinionated at what we should be doing, and while I wasn’t a fan of her bedside manner (perhaps an unfair “first impression”) she demonstrated much patience with us. Well, somewhat. She first checked Shanna and we were only 1 cm and 60% effaced., and because we were already at 18 hours into the water breaking, they compellingly suggested a “kick start” of pitocin at 3 mL (Tough Decision #2). Over the next few hours Shanna would see that “kick start” turn into an “OD,” as they increased her dosage to 28 mL (30 is max). Through all of this, we DEFINITELY had an increase in contraction consistency and intensity, but it never helped dilate her past 1 cm. We were so frustrated and defeated.

Let me say during ALL OF THIS, we were so dedicated to what we learned and practiced in our Bradley classes. After getting to the hospital, our mobility was quite limited, but we walked in circles, stomped in place, squatted, and spent a great deal of time on the birthing ball. As with all of us who were fortunate to have Jeannie Casey as an instructor, we knew what to do (well, I should admit we did call and take advantage of her knowledge and advice during all of this – and we can only say THANK YOU JEANNIE! You helped to give us re-assurance and confidence in what we were faced with, and we are so thankful for you.) However, I was prepping for working THROUGH the contractions, not getting them to register! How in the heck do we do that?!

So long story longer, with a deadline soon arriving we were faced with (Tough Decision #3)… the epidural. Shanna wasn’t feeling the pain of the contractions and labor as much as one would imagine, so pain didn’t enter the equation. Rather we were faced with the two things: 1) How do we get this baby out with a vaginal delivery in the time frame we’re dealing with; and 2) if a Caesarian is necessary, an epidural is going to be required anyway. So – with being told the epidural MIGHT relax the tension in her cervix (thus improving dilation) we thought this is our last fighting chance to do this vaginally. In addition to the epidural, they were inserting an internal monitor, so that we could see what these contractions were REALLY doing. The results were interesting. They were FULL ON contractions. Dr Ellington commented at how surprised she was that Shanna was even able to handle this, particularly with the high levels of pitocin being administered. So here we are, she’s been contracting for several hours, and yet again - she’s STILL 1 cm.

Shortly after they inserted the epidural, Dr Ellington made the call for a C-Section. She noticed that Jack’s oxygen levels were depleting during each contraction, and at this point we were all pretty much on the same page that we were delaying the inevitable. So with prayers and tears, we committed ourselves to bringing Jack into this world in the way that was evidently God’s will. The Caesarian is where God’s plan was revealed, and the day’s events fit together like a puzzle. It turns out Jack’s cord was wrapped around his neck twice. This was preventing him to descend any further than he already had, hence no dilation. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened had “our plan” been accepted over God’s. Only He could have known about Jack’s condition, and only through Caesarian could this baby be born with Mommy and Jack being completely healthy. What a beautifully, exhausting day.

Thank you, God, that our will and our plan didn’t supersede Yours!

We will be at WMC until tomorrow (Thursday March 12) if anyone would like to come meet Jack.

With love,
Keith and Shanna