He likes cooking. She likes eating. She's a Mac. He's a PC. She watches Bachelor. He watches The Walking Dead. He does the dishes. She does the laundry. She was homeschooled. He was not. She's a product of the 80's. So is he. Their style is mid-century modern mixed with IKEA and handcrafted Amish. They love God. They love each other. They love Simon and Betsy. They are blessed.

Simon Joseph Herschberger: 12/22/13

I love reading birth stories, and definitely wanted to write down ours, so here goes. :)

On Thursday at my midwife appointment I was measuring 39.5 weeks (but was actually at almost 38 weeks) and the midwife could only poke the tip of her finger into my cervix. She did say the baby was getting into position better, which he had been every week, but that he was lying on his side and I should try to keep my body in “forward-leaning” positions to try to get him to shift so that his spine was facing out. The midwife determined I had a slight yeast infection, not surprising since I was pregnant and coming off a cold, but I’d never had one before so I had to ask for help at CVS in order to get the things she told me to use. I weighed in the same that I had been for a couple weeks, at 30lb gained, I felt good about that, it was just a touch over what the midwifes recommended. :)

Kyle had been traveling since Sunday and beat me home that Thursday afternoon from my midwife appointment, he was exhausted from a whirlwind trip (South Bend, IN –> Dallas, TX –> San Antonio, TX –> Buffalo, NY –> South Bend, IN) and lots of early morning flights. The next day he went into work and I stayed home, worked around the house, and mid-afternoon started getting ready for our anniversary date night! Our three-year anniversary was Monday, so we had made plans to go out for dinner on Friday night and then go to the annual Smagala Cousins Night. I was struggling to figure out what to wear and wrestled myself in and out of several pairs of tights and leggings before settling on an outfit. That wore me out and I had to take a break in between getting dressed and doing my hair and makeup! When Kyle got home from work and changed his clothes he was itching to get out of the house so we headed out early to run some errands before our dinner reservation (in retrospect thank goodness we did, a few more things checked off the to-do list!).

Our anniversary dinner was lovely, we went to an Italian restaurant that mom and dad Herschberger recommended, Per Bacco. The food was awesome and we both had leftovers to take home! After that we headed to Jones, MI for Smagala Cousins Night, an annual gathering of the cousins the night before Smagala Christmas. Cousin Erin said that Simon would hear the fun and decide to come out and join us! The girls chatted about babies, the boys talked about boy stuff, it was lots of fun!

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We got home pretty late from that and got to bed around midnight. I woke up a little after 1am to use the bathroom and that’s when my water broke. As I stood up from the toilet, I felt a trickle all the way down my legs. Having done the Monistat treatment a little over an hour earlier, that really threw me and had me second guessing whether my water had broken. I put fresh undies on and a pad and went back to bed, but few minutes later the pad was soaked. Back to the bathroom again, and the same thing happened, with a trickle all the way down to my feet. More fresh undies, fresh pad, back to bed! During the next potty break there was blood on the pad and that’s when I started getting excited. I had googled things like “Monistat water breaking” and saw posts from people experiencing the same thing as me, wondering if their water had broken, but once I saw the blood I was pretty darn sure. I lay in bed and sort of rested, but didn’t really sleep.

As soon as Kyle started stirring in the morning I told him what had happened and we called the hospital to have them page the midwife. We ate breakfast, snuggled on the couch, and almost 2 hours later we hadn’t heard from the midwife so I called the hospital again and they said they would page her again and that we should hear back within 15 minutes or so. We didn’t, and at that point I really just needed to talk to someone who knew something about pregnancy. Earlier I had texted my pseudo-doula/dear friend Amber describing what happened and she called me right away and was like “dude, your water broke!” so I was pretty sure it had but I had been so sure that this baby would come late, not early, so I was really second-guessing myself. I called the hospital back again and they finally figured out they had been paging the wrong midwife. Ugh. Within 30 minutes I heard from both midwives (the one not on call as well as the one on call). Rachel, who was on call, said she needed to check me out at the office and we set up an appointment for 12:30 pm. She also said we should be packed as if we were going to be staying. After hanging up I felt a rush of emotions and utter panic and told Kyle I just needed to cry for a second. So I did, and then we sprang into action — me packing our bags (something I’d planned to do over the weekend) and Kyle installing the car seat (also something we’d planned to do over the weekend). Within 25 minutes we were on our way to the midwives’ office.

At Fairhaven Rachel explained the different ways she was going to check to see if it was my water that had broken and then got to it. One of the tests involved a strip of nitrazine paper turning purple from the Ph of the amniotic fluid, and it did. Another test was putting the fluid on a slide and looking at it under the microscope to see if it looks like a fern, and it did. Things were getting real. Very real, very fast. As Rachel explained the timetable and our options I started getting teary and overwhelmed. When she checked my blood pressure it was high and it hadn’t been high a single time during the pregnancy. Since I wasn’t in labor it seemed like going to the hospital later in the day was the best option. I would have needed to be in active labor by around 7pm that night to give birth at the birth center, and that was pretty unlikely. We decided the plan was to go home, eat lunch, try milk of magnesia/castor oil to see if that would kick labor into action, and rest. Then we’d check back in with the midwife around 6 pm and make a plan. Before I left the office we did a non-stress test to make sure the baby was doing A-OK before she sent us home. Baby passed that with flying colors so went on our merry way.

On the way home I shot my mom an email (my parents live in Argentina and have a Skype phone # when they have internet access but they were somewhere without internet and just had 3G to check email). Then I called my mother-in-law and started out by joking that we were ditching Smagala Christmas, but then told her it was to have a baby and explained what was happening. When we got home I ate both of our leftovers from Per Bacco (yum!), re-packed a little, took the milk of magnesia/castor oil and laid down to wait for it to kick in (i.e. diarrhea and hopefully contractions). It took a long time for the diarrhea to hit and I started feeling a very light tightening across my belly, but nothing significant. Around 5:30 pm we called the midwife and made a plan to meet at the hospital around 7:30pm. Before we went to the hospital we went to Panera Bread for dinner and to get some food/treats to have at the hospital.

At the hospital we lugged in our many bags of stuff (I am not a light packer, but I was thankful for almost everything we brought!). Up in the “Circle of Caring Birthplace” they quickly got us settled into a room and logged into the system, we met our nurse and she started getting me hooked up to an IV for fluids and pitocin, and to the fetal monitor. At that point they could see that I was having mild contractions (pre-pitocin) but since it was now 17 hours since my water had broken it was time to kick things into high gear. They started the pitocin out low and slowly bumped it up over the next few hours. It didn’t take too long long for the contractions to intensify and it was much more back labor pain than abdominal labor pain. From 8 pm-1am I labored moving around the room, changing positions every 15 minutes and going to the bathroom about every 30 minutes. Kyle stuck right with me, rubbing my lower back through each contraction and encouraging me. Those 5 hours were pretty manageable and even somewhat enjoyable, Kyle was an amazing support to me. We had requested the blow up tub and they started filling it around midnight, and by 1 am I could get in the tub. It felt good for a little while, but then I started feeling more intense back labor combined with intense pelvic pressure and I started melting down. Rachel checked me and I was only 3cm and I started to lose it and tense up. I stayed in awhile longer and was getting really emotional which just made me more stressed as I worried that my anxiety would slow down my progress. After they got me out of the tub and I started moving around the room again I felt much better and calmed down, but that calm didn’t last very long and by 3am I was getting emotional and anxious again. Rachel checked and I was still at 3 cm.

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Around 3:30 am Rachel came in and talked to us about possibly getting an epidural; she felt at this point it wasn’t a bad idea and since the anesthesiologist was already there, treating another patient, he could come to me next. I cried from the emotion of the moment, but not because I felt bad about getting an epidural. At that point – my lack of progression, my anxiety, my pain level, and the fact that it had been more than 24 hours since my water had broken – I was ready to get an epidural. Getting the epidural was one of the worst parts of the whole experience, as the anesthesiologist had difficulty placing it and I kept having shooting pains in my right leg. It took what seemed like forever but Rachel was right there with me, coaching me through it, right up in my face, eye to eye. Kyle, exhausted from the hours of standing, sat down next to me and the nurses got worried about him so they gave him OJ and a cool washcloth for his neck. I was hollering pretty loudly and Rachel helped me take it down a notch and keep it under control so that the anesthesiologist could finish. Then they started cranking up the pitocin more rapidly, with me resting on my side, and switching me from my left side to right side every 20-30 minutes. It was a really odd feeling, not being able to move my legs at all and watching other people lift my legs and move my body. I was supposed to try to sleep, but that’s a little hard to do when people are moving you every 20-30 minutes.

In the morning Kyle got breakfast from the cafeteria, and I got a few items off the clear liquids list — jello, apple juice and a fruit ice. I think we Skyped with my parents at some point. Rachel checked and I was around 9 cm so they cranked the pitocin one last time and started getting ready for pushing. My epidural was starting to wear off and the anesthesiologist was going to come back and administer more drugs, but then Rachel said she’d prefer for me feel the contractions for pushing, and that we could start pushing. We were all for that and got started around 9 am! It was really good being able to feel the contractions some, but not full force. I knew when to start pushing, and pushing felt better than just laying there through it. Kyle was holding my right leg and the nurse was holding my left leg and Rachel was coaching me through it. A few times they held up a mirror for me and it was so cool to see Simon’s head, and that he had a lot of dark hair! Kyle was so encouraging, telling me when a push was especially good, telling me we were almost there, etc… By now it’s mid Sunday morning and I had basically been awake since Friday morning. I also didn’t have much food in my system since everything I ate on Saturday got cleaned out of me and all I’d had that morning were the clear liquids. I was exhausted, but the fear of needing a C-section should things take too long, and the anticipation of meeting our baby boy kept me going.

After almost 2 hours of pushing Rachel said we were going to start pushing early on this contraction and then just keep pushing, so we did, and Simon Joseph Herschberger was born at 11:52 am on Sunday, December 22nd! They rubbed off some of the vernix (he was definitely 2 weeks early, he was covered in it!) and then immediately placed him on my chest and it was the biggest rush of warm, fuzzy feelings and excitement to meet my baby boy. Kyle snapped some pictures that we will treasure forever, thank you sweetie! They waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then Kyle cut the cord. Simon was up on my chest while Rachel delivered the placenta and got to work stitching me up, since I had torn pretty badly. I was so thankful for the epidural at this point; I had been super scared of tearing, but thanks to the epidural I didn’t feel a thing.

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Baby boy got to stay on my chest for the next couple hours and it was so fun getting to know him. He was so alert and bright eyed and took to breast feeding pretty quickly! We Skyped again with my parents and I’m so glad they got to see their grandson within hours of being born, even if it was on a computer screen.We also had made plans to have Kyle’s parents and brother’s family visit that evening so mid-afternoon we had the nurse come and give Si his first bath and they moved us to a different room. I was still numb and had an IV and catheter at that point, but once we were in the other room and I felt more confident about walking to the bathroom (assisted), they took those out. Mom and dad Herschberger came bearing dinner (I had the big baby combo from King Gyro, haha) and cupcakes to celebrate Si’s 0 birthday! Lee, Stacy and the girls arrived awhile later and Dani (our 5-year old niece) who had been excited about Simon for weeks, always wanting to touch and be near my belly, calling him “my baby Simon” was a little shy at first, but once she held him she warmed right up and just wanted to keep holding him!

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We were extremely impressed with Goshen Hospital (other than the snafu where we didn’t get to talk to a midwife for 3 hours). The nurses were awesome and the midwife was able to be our main caregiver with very little interference from the doctor on duty. There were times when I was worried that if my labor didn’t progress that I would be forced into a C-section because my water had broken so many hours prior, but that was never mentioned and even though we had a medicated birth, it was just perfect.

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Baby Si is 12 days old now and it’s still super weird to me that Kyle and I have a tiny human that we’re responsible for! He is so cute, and I think an easy baby (although I don’t have any newborn experience to compare him to). I love snuggling him, talking to him when he’s awake, and watching Kyle with him… it’s all pretty great!

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posted December 31, 2013

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