Mason's Birth Story

The last week of bed rest at home was humming along. Just one more weekend, a long Monday, and then it would be Tuesday --- when we would finally get to meet our Mason.

God had a different plan.

It was 2am on Friday morning and the contractions were pretty close together. Not uncommon for me.  My doctor had said to head into Labor & Delivery if the contractions were close and painful. I kept tracking them. They were close but zero pain. The more I tracked the more I stressed. I didn't want to wake up my boys if it was false labor. After a few more minutes of stressing I remembered to pray: Lord please be really loud if it is time to meet Mason. 

I laid there and next thing I know Travis' alarm is going off. I fell asleep! Thank you Lord. 

I tell Travis what happened and he was loving and didn't say a word but I could tell he thought I should have woke him. 

Ethan and Travis go through their morning routine and I get ready for my last prenatal appointment. The doctor had given me the okay to drive and be on my feet a little bit more since we were so close to our scheduled delivery date. Ironically it was harder than ever to walk. In the last week my belly had dropped making it hard to do just about anything. 

I took the scenic route into the office that morning and stayed off the highway just in case. As I'm driving the contractions return. Like clockwork they are 10 minutes apart. This time there is some discomfort. I'm still trying to find other reasons than the beginning of labor. I think maybe it's because I'm sitting instead of laying down. Silly me. 
I walk into the office and the receptionist asks how I'm doing. I say I'm not sure and proceed to tell her about all of the fun. She asked me to have a seat but that Dr E might send me to Labor & Delivery to get monitored. I hadn't even sat down comfortably when she peaked out the door and told me to go ahead and head across the street. 

Could today be the day?!

Dr E rushed out and met me in the hallway and said "If the contractions continue or get closer we'll go ahead and deliver today. We're close enough at 37 weeks and 6 days; Mason will be fine. Then again you may get there and your body may relax. Let's just check."

I walked to my car stunned. Shell-shocked really. And a little nervous. I had a scheduled C-Section. This was not the plan. Then my friend reminded me that this was exciting. I soon could be meeting this little boy I had been working so hard to protect she said. I finally exhaled and remembered that it could be the most exciting day. I find it loving how God sends you a hug and a wink when you need it most.

I give Travis a heads up and drive myself across the street to the hospital. I get buzzed in and have to walk down a long hallway to the check-in desk. It's sweet though that I wasn't really alone. A new dad walked through the door with me and we chatted a bit until we got to his wife's room. I was walking really slowly. Then a nurse carrying someones food tray walked and talked with me the rest of the way. 

When I got to Labor & Delivery to get monitored I was assigned a nurse I knew well.  Again, a comforting reminder that I wasn't alone. I laid there and read for the next hour thankful I could let the machine do the contraction tracking. At the end of the hour she came in and said "Today is the day! The contractions have stayed 7 to 10 minutes apart and the last one was closer at 2 minutes. Go ahead and call your husband." 

And so our waiting game began. 

It was closer to noon now. We were told we would be slotted for the OR at 1:30pm. In reality it was closer to 4:00pm when they wheeled us to the OR. 

Mason was born at 4:31pm.

6 lbs 9 oz
19 inches long

Mason Allen Irish

Sweet boy had a hard birth. It turned out he was breached and it took the doctor 4 minutes to pull him out. Thankfully he was never out of oxygen. The little guy was bruised from all of the pulling. I guess my body was not ready to let go.

I heard his brief cry and got to briefly kiss him before they rushed him to NICU. I wasn't surprised since he was two weeks early. I expected him to spend at least a few hours in the NICU. Later I learned that he was having a hard time keeping his lungs open on his own. The NICU team quickly went to work and got him on a water bubble to help relieve the stress. His little body needed a little time to get used to his new world. 

The long delivery time led to a longer than expected surgery time. The long surgery time led to a lot of blood loss. Thankfully I had gone into surgery with a high blood count. I believe the rest and water drinking had primed my body for this twist in our adventure. I spent a couple of hours in recovery. Again I was not alone.

I was assigned a nurse that had helped me monitor late night contractions many times during my hospital stay. At one point I remember telling her "I love that I know you guys". She said "I love that you know us too". She was full of good advice for my recovery and shared how Mason was doing.

Once I was ready they wheeled my bed into the NICU so I could see my boy. It was hard seeing him with all of his medical gear but I was glad I could at least lay my hand on him. He was now stable and doing very well considering. My sweet nurse stayed there with me for a whole hour. 

The next time I saw my boy was the next night. Saturday was rough. The blood loss caught up with my body. The doctor on call finally gave the green light for a blood transfusion late that afternoon. At the same time that they were prepping me, three loving friends came to love on us and pray with us. It was perfect timing. The visit soothed and calmed my soul. 

By Sunday Mason was off of the water bubble and breathing on his own. His IV was gone too. All that was left of his medical gear where the vital sign monitors. Travis and I took turns visiting him during feedings. It was great to finally hold him and love on him. My sweet strong boy.

On Monday Mason developed a bit of jaundice. They placed him under the blue lights. This made him very sleepy and he hardly ate that day. That's hard to believe now because the boy cannot go one minute past his feeding time without screaming at the top of his lungs.

Later that day I was medically released from the hospital but Mason had to stay. The team quickly found an empty room for us to be together and room-in overnight. The goal was to send us home together. We had one more night under the blue lights. The team wanted to see an improvement in his jaundice levels and his feeding to be consistent before they allowed him to go home. It felt like I had one shot. I was nervous. Travis had to be home with Ethan so I called on My Laura and she gladly and quickly rushed to be with us. [Small side note: My Laura is my dad's wife but step mom is just such a yucky term to me -- thanks Cinderella -- so I call her My Laura] I was so thankful that she dropped everything to be with me. It gave me the Mom Confidence I needed to take care of Mason and get us home.

The night was spent waking to alarms set to every 3 hours and keeping Mason awake long enough to feed. By morning the "Smurf Test" showed his jaundice levels had improved and his feedings were consistently good. All that was left was for the doctor to review everything and hopefully grant his release.

By late morning Travis, Mason and I were headed home. We were finally on our way to beginning our family of four journey at home. Praise the Lord.

Being removed from his birth by several weeks I can see God's hand in every step. He prepared us for our bed rest adventure. I thought that was our whole story. It wasn't. The bed rest prepared us for Mason's birth. Bed rest grew our family's faith. It gave my body the best fighting chance for such a crazy delivery. It helped Travis and I appreciate and grow in our roles of Mommy, Daddy, Husband, and Wife. Our friends and family showered us with constant love and prayers. All of this helped us to endure the rough birth hospital days and the weeks that followed.  Not to mention the many lessons I learned and that I'm still discovering. In the storm I can see many, many blessings.

Mason's story is a great testimony to God's constant faithfulness. His love. His protection.

We have all heard the saying "God doesn't give you more than what you can handle." I have always believed that to be true. Now I know why it is so true --- because He prepares you and leads you through it all  --- if you let Him. All you need is to do is to keep your eyes on Jesus.

Ethan (3 years)   Mason (4 days)

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