Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ezra's birth story

It's so bittersweet to me to be typing my last birth story. So very emotional for many different reasons but to think that this season of life, the season of carrying and nurturing little ones inside of me and birthing them into this world is's hard to take in. That amazing feeling of a tiny human created inside you, feeling them kick and move around is pretty incredible. I haven't always enjoyed being pregnant but I will surely miss that  It's hard to make a reality when these are certainly the best days of our lives. As messy and hard as it can be, these are the days. I have come to truly believe this even in the midst of thick tears and feeling like I can't last another second of the day caring for them. Even after diaper change after diaper change, meals prepared that nobody will eat, embarrassing toddler tantrums, waking up in the middle of the night to make sure nobody is crying...These are such precious years and I look back at all our babies and their birth days, and the days leading up to and the months of carrying them inside and the anticipation of meeting them for the very first time and family members meeting them for the very first time; seeing how proud each and every one of them are of the newest member of the family....I would do it all over again. Every last bit of it...the pain, the tears, the tiredness, the unknown, the scary, the hard...I'd do it all over again a million times over just to experience the deep joy and the thought into what God must be giving us as a tiny glimpse into heaven...holding each of our babies for the first time. There is nothing in this world like it and while its been quite the journey leading to the meeting of each of our children, the memories and moments Russ and I have shared compares to nothing of this world, and we together have come to know Him more and more through each of these experiences. So bittersweet thinking this season is over for us. But God's ways are always higher than ours so we trust in Him and move on, with more gratitude and thankfulness in our hearts because of what He has done for us. Truly more than we could ever have asked or imagined.
Anywho, I went off on that because there are so many emotions but back to the birth story..

It was Monday morning, June 13th when it all happened. The day our little man decided he was going to come and no one was going to stop him ;)
We had just enjoyed a weekend of staying home with not a lot of plans other than just being with the kids and keeping things low key since I was 35 and some days pregnant....we had tons of fun playing outside in the baby pool (where I stayed a lot of the time since it was also very hot) and letting the kids play on the blow-up water slide. Then, Sunday was more of a restful day.
Monday rolled around and Russ was downstairs getting breakfast for the kids and starting lunch for Ella's first day of dance camp.  I woke up, got up and went to the bathroom feeling normal and fine. I did kind of feel something as I walked to the bathroom but didn't think a thing of it. As I was in the bathroom, I noticed I was bleeding a good bit- this had never happened before so I freaked out. We had also found out that at my 34 week appointment and ultrasound, the baby was measuring small so I had started going in weekly for monitoring. I had just been that past Wednesday (for my first monitoring) and baby looked great, scoring a 10 out of 10 on his "test"...meaning he was kicking and moving really well. We also knew, just like at the 34 week U/S, he was head down.
So, back to that Monday....I freaked out about the blood and walked really fast downstairs to tell Russ that I was bleeding. Because of my previous birth with Levi being so fast, he was quick to come up and check me. He determined I was not dilated and my cervix was still closed (though thinning) but he knew better than to just wait and with the concerns of the baby's growth, he quickly called friends and made plans to drop the boys off at a friends house and get to the hospital since it was only around 7:30ish and the office wasn't open. We got the kids things packed, Ella quickly ready for dance camp and headed to drop them off. I called my friend, Lenka, to see if she could help get Ella to camp. After the boys, we dropped her off at the clinic where Lenka would meet her and take her and off Russ and I went to triage. I called my mom and told her I was bleeding and she should come on over so she could at least help out with the kids.
 I knew in the car I was getting a little more uncomfortable but I think I was in denial because I didn't want to believe this was all really happening. Strange thing is, I was 35 weeks and 4 days which was the exact time I went into preterm labor with Isaac when Russ was in Trinidad. It was too surreal.
We made it to triage and the nurse checked us in and soon began to monitor me. That morning when I woke, I had felt feelings of contractions or feeling dilated so the bleeding was much of a surprise to me. But, shortly after being on the monitor, I began contracting some. They weren't intense but they kept coming (also, I had been contracting about every 10 minutes at my last appt where they did the BPP monitoring on the baby but my doctor just believed that was my baseline and since he was going out of town that weekend after my appt, he checked me to make sure and I was not dilated- I had also been up once in the night (early morning) to go to the bathroom and everything seemed completely normal) the contractions kept coming and they told me to keep drinking water and we continued to monitor. At some point, they decided to start me on fluids and then at sometime after I believe, the nurse gave me a shot to try to slow down the contractions which worked for maybe an hour but picked back up. I remember at one point having a really strong, intense contraction (just like I had as I was birthing Levi) that I could hardly talk to answer the nurse's question. That's when I knew something was really going on and it was getting real. I didn't tell Russ at first because I wanted to keep him hopeful and not disappointed. I didn't want to think we were having a baby this day and I know Russ felt the same...I didn't want to disappoint him. This whole time we were believing we were just going to be monitored for some time (just like with Isaac) and then get to go home and maybe put on bedrest. We continued to update friends and family telling them we would be home within a few hours. Russ still hadn't even cancelled his afternoon clinic due to us thinking we were going home. My mom had come to the triage room we were in and stayed a bit but we told her to go on to the house and we would probably be there within a few hours and that we would keep her updated. So, she left and went on.
But, the excitement continues as the nurse came in to check me at some point (can't remember the order of everything now as it all seems to run together and it was so crazy) but when she checked me, it hurt, like real bad, and she couldn't seem to tell if and how much I was dilated. Russ was a bit frustrated as her checking me was very painful and probably only increased my labor process.  So, after a bit, another nurse came in to check me and Russ told her he only wanted the doctor to check me since the other nurse had such trouble. However, the nurse proceeded to tell Russ that she had worked there for 30 something years and she knew very much what she was doing. So, we just let it go and let her do her thing. She checked me (for what seemed like 30 minutes, just like the other nurse) and it was so painful I could hardly stand it. I thought surely I was about to have the baby now after that torture. She then looked at us and said she thought I was about 5 cm dilated and she couldn't feel the head at all so she thought he was head up (he had flipped). Russ and I just didn't believe her. We thought there was no way I was that dilated and certainly no way he had flipped. We had just had those U/S and he was always head down.
This is when things began to move fast. And there was some panic in the air. I was still in denial, as was Russ when within what seemed like minutes the doctor had come in. My doctor had just left out of town so the same doctor (Dr. Bartley) who delivered Levi came into our room. I was disappointed some that my doc wasn't there but at least glad it was her, who I had seen before and was somewhat familiar with.  She was very friendly and was moving pretty fast...she asked us some questions as she was quickly getting the ultrasound machine ready. She then placed it on me and sure enough, he had flipped and was no longer head down. We just couldn't believe it. The nurses were right. Russ and I just looked at each other in complete unbelief and it was like for a minute, time stood still and everything froze. We were for a minute, speechless. Just couldn't believe it. She then checked me and proceeded to tell us that I was 5 cm dilated, maybe a good 6. More disbelief. Russ and I say to each other, looking back, that we will never forget the way we looked at each other when the doctor gave us this news. Because, we knew exactly what all this meant. Only one thing. A C-section was about to happen.
For me, all the emotions began all while being in shock. I was only 35 weeks and 4 days pregnant. He wasn't due until July 14th. He is already measuring small. What does this mean. He's white. And a boy. A C-section?? Never had one before. And it was happening now?? We were going to have a little preemie baby today??!!!
Dr. Bartley did talk with us for a good bit about everything and was very sincere and understanding as the tears flowed from my face. I knew there were no other options but I was scared. We quickly called my mom to tell her to come back and told our friends and sent out a few prayer requests. Things seemed to be going even faster now as the nurses were running in and out of the room, they began to do some prepping for my surgery, we signed some papers, and the anesthesiologist came in to ask me questions. I remember one nurse asking Dr. Bartley if this was an urgent C-section and she told her yes it was. So thankful Russ was by my side the whole time.
The doctor left the room for a bit and then the next thing I knew, I was getting wheeled out to the OR.
They told Russ he had to stay behind and wait until I was about to have the section. I remember as I was getting wheeled down the hall, looking back at Russ standing there watching me. There was nothing he could do but tell me that he loved me and watch as I disappeared down the hall.  I couldn't say a word as the tears rolled down my cheeks. I was scared about all the unknowns. I was praying for God to be near and show me His peace that surpassed all.
It was busy and fast in the OR. Nurses and staff going back and forth and doing all sorts of things to get me ready. The nurse anesthetist was asking me questions but I'm not sure what. I could hear one nurse giving the NICU nurse my detailed report and history. They gave me my spinal epidural and I remember kind of clinging to the "nurse" who I later found out was a resident. The epidural was not as bad as I thought or remembered. Then, I just laid there and looked around at all that was going on and the bright lights. Still in shock. Soon, the doctor came in and the curtain was placed before me and I began to wait for that "burning" smell of the skin that I remembered smelling while doing some OR rotations in nursing school. I also began to plead to God for my baby, which was ultimately His...I pleaded before Him that he would be ok and I would hear him cry. I've begged and pleaded with God times before. Nonstop with desperation. This was one of those times- desperate before the Throne of Grace. Never have I wanted to hear something so bad...nothing mattered more to me in this moment than to hear his cry right away. I was undeserving of this gift but nothing mattered more to me than to hear my baby. I really didn't know what to expect but I cried out to my God to be near. And He was. All I could do while I stared at that curtain in front of me was pray and believe. My God was a good God, a giver of all good things. And this baby, no matter the outcome, was a good gift from my loving Father. I began to plead with my heart to believe this and stand firm in this truth.

Soon, Russ, all gowned up, was by my side and took my hand. I held on tightly. I knew it wouldn't be long now at all before my baby would be here and I would see his little face.
The nurse anesthetist sitting behind me continued to check on me and make sure I couldn't feel much. He mentioned I would feel some tugging and pulling and little pressure- which I did but I felt no pain. I was so occupied with just listening out for any kind of crying that I wasn't worried about much else. I continued to feel the tugging and I could soon hear the resident comment on how cute he was as they continued to cut and pull and tug. She would continue to say "awe" over and over so that was reassuring to me. Dr. Bartley asked if Russ wanted to peak over the curtain and see but he mainly just stayed right by me and held my hand the whole time. I think he did peak over near the end as they were pulling him out.
I kept waiting and waiting to hear. Something. Anything. And then...I heard him. I heard him cry and people's excitement around me and someone asked for the time and I lost it. I've been emotional with each of my baby's coming into the world; with tears streaming down my cheeks. But this time I lost it. Sobs and tears came out of me. Every emotion just came flooding out of me and I didn't care.  I heard my baby crying and I began asking if he was ok. I couldn't stop crying and rejoicing and praising God. They brought him over to Russ and I and it was the sweetest moment seeing my little boy and hearing him cry. I kept looking to Russ for assurance. He was ok! Thank you Jesus! And he was beautiful! More than anything I could have asked for.
They took him to the warmer and Russ went to be with him while they finished up with me. At this point, I don't remember much else because I was so drugged up and then fell asleep on the table while they sewed me up. The last thing I actually remember is telling Russ to get a picture of the three of us as the nurse brought him over again before taking him.
Next thing I knew, I was in recovery and saying who knows what to the nurse. Russ texted me a picture of my boy and said he was doing good. He sent me one picture with the nurse taking his vitals and I thought her pen was some big needle going into my baby's head and I was so confused texting back asking what she was doing to him. Ha. Clearly, I was still feeling the effects of all my meds. It wasn't too long after I was wheeled into my hospital room that I was able to hold my sweet little boy! Goodness was he precious! Russ at some point told me he scored a 9 out of 9 on the Apgar when he was born so he was doing really well. Didn't have to go to the NICU at all. We were so thankful.
By now, most of the family was waiting in the hospital...nana, Staci, Curtis, Grandma and Grandpa. We sent out a few texts to friends we knew were praying that he was here and we were doing well.
We waited until all the family, including our other babes were in the room to announce his name. We got it on video and it makes me laugh because I guess Russ wanted me to announce it and when I did, I was stuttering due to the drugs still in my system and still half asleep. So, we introduced our little man....Ezra Ruban Ayers. Ruban a family name after my grandmothers maiden name (my mom's mom). It was very special to my mom to name him that and she was clapping on the video with much excitement. That, I remember ;)
Ella and Isaac were beyond excited to meet him whereas Levi could have pretty much cared less. He didn't know what was going on and didn't want anything to do with me in the hospital bed.
So...just like that, literally, we were a family of 6. In a very unexpected way. But in a way where we witnessed the birth of such a little miracle like never before and where the praises to our Father and thankfulness couldn't leave our lips. So much to be thankful for. God was ever so present and showed us He was and is in control even when we feel the most unknowns and uncertainty. He doesn't leave us. He loves us and works out all things for our good. I pray I can believe this at all times. I continue to look back on this day, at all the uncertainty that took place and I can't help but see His loving hand throughout it all; in each step of the way in the journey before us. Praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him for His loving kindness to us. Praise Him for His faithfulness in all things. I pray I can see this at all times. For He was so good to show it to us on this day. May I never take for granted His great love for us.

And....I just need to post this picture because it was the night before we met our little guy and all the kids were coming into my room while I was doing the usual bedtime with Levi (milk and rock him) to kiss baby brother and tell me goodnight. They loved to come almost every night and kiss my belly and snuggle it for a minute. Little did we know, the next day, he would be in my arms and we would be kissing his sweet, tiny little face. I don't want to forget moments like these in times where its so fleeting. 

Now to his birth day.....

Ezra Ruban Ayers
June 13th, 2016 at 1:34 pm
4 lbs 9 ozs
17 in

baby boy!! tiny, but here and healthy! all i wanted was to hear his cry and there it was. so thankful!

first picture of daddy holding his new little boy and my first glimpse at him...drugged up and tired but with a full and happy heart as we meet our little peanut. he looks great!

tiny but thankful be scored perfectly on his apgar test

just hanging out in the nursery as family looks on and daddy sends me pictures to keep me updated while in recovery

this picture makes me laugh...russ sent it to me while in the recovery room and i was so out of it and things were still blurry that i thought that pen the nurse is holding was some sort of needle/iv going into his head. i quickly texted russ back asking what they were doing to my baby and he reassured me that it was the nurse holding a pen trying to calm him down from his fussing...glad i can look back at this and laugh ;)

sweet thing


nana holding her newest grandson

grandma's turn

aunt staci (and that's uncle curtis behind her) came to meet the newest member of the fam

these pictures are so precious to me.  big sis holding her newest baby brother for the first time. she started dance camp the monday he was born but she handled all the change and surprises like a champ. she could hardly wait to meet and see her brother...wanted to hold him right away. he is one loved little boy with one awesome big sister!

so proud and so much joy...i can see it in her eyes!

she couldn't get enough of him!

still checking him out

my oldest with my youngest

isaac, being almost three this go around, was much more excited about coming to the hospital and meeting ezra. he ran into the room so excited and immediately wanted to hold him. he held him for a good few minutes too

biggest bro with littlest bro ;))

then he got over all the attention and picture taking

russ and i couldn't believe how much ezra looked just like isaac...he changes more and more each day but definitely favors isaac the most

awe i love this! just checking him out, so eager to know who this little guy is

one of our first picture attempts as a family of SIX!!

no easy feat

and levi could have really cared less about his little brother. and he wanted nothing to do with me in the hospital bed (as was the same with my other babes so i was expecting the same with him). it was late and he was tired and i think he just wanted to go home and get in his bed

what a sweet miracle he is

daddy and son. gets me every time.

aunt staci checking him out

flowers sent from nana, aunt staci and uncle curtis

next to his door ribbon

first picture of the three of us...i'm a little more alert here and little less drugged ;) this was the next day holding our boy

big sis would ask every evening to come to the hospital with nana to hold her baby brother. although tired, we looked forward to seeing her and hearing how her dance camp was going since grandma was taking and picking her up every day. it was always so sweet to see her come in and have so much joy- eager to see and hold her brother. what precious gifts these little ones are and i'm so thankful the Lord has entrusted us to them. i love seeing them together

so proud. these moments just never get old.

getting ready to take our boy home!!

so in love with this boy. God knows just what he's doing...wish i could believe that with my whole heart at ALL times. to think i wasn't so sure i wanted another baby, much less another boy. well. he has made our family complete in the absolute best way. my heart is full thinking of His love poured out for us in the gifts of these precious ones we call "ours" and nurture and train and love and care for. He knows just the reasons for blessing us with another little baby boy and i'm trusting in His ways and knowing full well His ways are always higher than ours and always better. i don't believe i could love this little miracle baby anymore than i do. i just stare at his little face in awe and wonder at our Creator and know it was by no mistake, this baby was always meant to be ours and a part of our family. ezra has already taught me to cling to the Lord and know He is good...even through the unknowns and dark times. the Lord knew we needed this little boy in our lives and he is so precious and special to us. thank you Jesus, for this precious life.

this was the scene when we pulled into the garage...our boys so excited and ready to see the three of us. and we were ready to be with them...we had ezra on a monday and it was that thursday that we came home. we missed them bad. we knew it was going to be crazy but its our crazy and we were ready to be together again as a family! also, ella was at dance camp when we came home from the hospital so it was just the boys, nana and grandma and grandpa

back with my boys...and they sure missed their mama too (so different than when we brought levi home and isaac wanted nothing to do with me for a few weeks) :)

checking out their new brother. they were so excited he was home!


my THREE boys!!!

isaac wasted no time holding his brother and being a proud big one! that smile!!! all he wanted to do was hold him!!

taking his big brother role seriously this time around! he loved holding and kissing and staring at ezra!

 the day we came home with ezra, levi didn't really want to hold him much so this was (i think) the next day and levi was smitten with his little bro...suddenly levi seemed so huge ;))