Friday, February 18, 2011

Cole Emerson Lehmitz

I woke up around 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning, the 12th of February because I was having contractions. I didn't really recognize what they were at first. I just didn't feel right, so I decided to eat something to settle my stomach. After a sleepless two hours, I awoke Will and told him I was pretty certain I was in labor. The pains were welcome because Cole was nine days overdue and I really didn't want to be induced. I used various techniques to help me relax as the morning progressed.
Around 11:30, we headed to the hospital. They checked me out and decided to keep me. I was dilated to a four-and-a-half. We walked around and I breathed through my mounting contractions for the next three hours. It became more difficult for me to relax during the contractions. When the nurse checked me around 3:30, and I was dilated to a six-and-a-half, I decided I wanted an epidural. The contractions were about two-to-three minutes apart and mounting in intensity. The thought of several more hours of labor was daunting. As soon as I got the epidural, things looked much brighter. Grandma Sally and my friend, Linnea joined us in the delivery room. We talked a lot and even played Bananagrams. About 8:00 p.m. they started to have me push. I pushed for three and a half hours. It was exhausting and discouraging. The doctor could grab his hair for about two hours but Cole's head was jutting up instead of down and he just wasn't coming out. As he was in the birth canal, the doctor noticed he had some meconium staining, which is when the baby is pooping inside the womb. The doctor decided that we needed to use the vacuum suction because he was concerned about the meconium. With the help of the vacuum, I only had one push and Cole appeared. My tears of exhaustion and effort quickly transformed into tears of panic and fear as I realized my baby son was not all right.

They didn't want him to breathe right away because he had the meconium in his lungs and stomach. So, Will cut the cord and a team of about fifteen people whisked him away and began to work on him. They had tubes down his throat to suck all the fluid and meconium out. His heart rate dropped from around 150 to below 60 and he started to turn blue. They had to start doing chest compressions as well. Luckily, he began to respond. His heart rate when back up, but we was having what they called retraction, which means that he was struggling to breathe on his own. They had to put a respirator on him to help him breathe while still pulling more fluid out of him. By this time, they were calling for life flight to take him up to the University of Utah or Primary Children's Hospital where they had all the baby ICU equipment. Of course, lhis parents were hysterical at this point, hoping that our little boy was okay. They continued to treat him, and after about 45 minutes, they took him off the respirator to see how he would do on his own. He started to breathe by himself and his breaths became more regular. The life flight crew showed up, ready to take him. They were also running some blood tests and had to do an x-ray of his chest to see if any of the meconium was still deposited in his lungs. We continued to pray for our newborn son.
Every test that came back was normal. His breaths continued to regulate and all of his vital signs improved. The doctor's and life flight crew determined that he was improved enough to stay at the hospital we were at. After about an hour, I finally got to hold baby Cole in my arms. I've never felt more relieved. Tears rolled down my face as I thanked my Heavenly Father for sparing our son.  
He still had to stay in the level 2 nursery for the first 36 hours of his life where they had him on an IV and antibiotics to helps ensure he didn't have any infections. We've had to go to the doctor a couple more times since we've been home, but little Cole is a fighter and he is turning out to be a vivacious and healthy young boy. We are so grateful to have him in our lives and he has been an unspeakable blessing to his parents and those around him.
I enjoyed a low-risk pregnancy with no complications and the thought of a traumatic labor and delivery never crossed my mind. I was very determined to have him naturally and planned out several things I wanted to happen during labor, but all that was thrown out the window when things didn't go as planned. Nonetheless, I am grateful for modern medicine and all the doctors, nurses, and other professionals who worked so hard to keep our baby alive and well.