Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Story of Ephraim Alexander Beckman

To witness the birth of a child is our best opportunity to experience the meaning of the word miracle. ~Paul Carvel 
Walking on the evening of June 28th.  Right before it all started.
So, Stephen has already written up his side of Ephraim's birth story here, and I wanted to type my side of the story up before I forgot it. 

 3:00 am-ish Friday June 29th
I was laying in bed asleep when somehow as a part of my dream I think I felt my water break.  At first I lay in bed half asleep, but then my mind registered what was happening and I rushed to the bathroom, and just in time!  A huge gush of water.  I felt a little light-headed, not because of anything physical, but more from the mental taking in of what was happening.  I hadn't had any real contractions to speak of leading up to that point, and as I sat there nothing seemed to change.  I couldn't wrap my mind around it, but there was no question that my water had just broken.  I waited until the leaking slowed down and wrapped myself in a towel to go tell Stephen.  He asked if I was sure I hadn't just wet myself, because I had told him stories of people I knew who thought their water had broken, only to find out that their baby had kicked their bladder in the night.  I assured him that I was sure. :-P

I really wasn't sure what this all meant.  Stephen and I had planned on a natural childbirth, and I knew that plan; the plan where we waited out contractions as long as possible at home before going to the hospital and use various pain management techniques....but that plan did not include my water breaking without contractions.  So I called the on call midwife, and she asked me a few questions and told me to go into the midwives' office when it opened at 9, and we would make a plan then.  Stephen helped me finish packing the hospital bags, and we tried to sleep.  I started having a few mild contractions about 5-10 minutes apart.  We ended up laying on the couch watching netflix, and I took a shower, and we slept a little bit.

At around 10 am we went into the midwives' office.  We met with Lauren there and talked about our plan.  We determined that we didn't want to check to see how I was progressing, because that would introduce unnecessary bacteria and increase the chance of infection, and make it necessary for immediate induction.  We were still hoping for a natural labor, so we decided to wait.  The longest we would go without induction would be 24 hours.  So we planned to stay at home until labor progressed or 9 that night, whichever came first.  At 9pm we would go to the hospital to be prepped, and if I wasn't progressing I would be given pitocin at 3 am.  We stayed and baby was monitored to see how he responded to contractions.  He was doing great, so she sent us on our way.
At the midwives' office.
We went out to lunch, and ran a couple errands so that I could walk and try and speed up my contractions.  We went home and tried some other techniques to naturally augment labor.  We took a nap.  My contractions increased to very 3-7 minutes, but they were still irregular. 
Lunch at Sonic
Out walking, trying to speed up those contractions.
Jamba Juice- my last meal on the way to the hospital
Getting out of the car at the hospital.  Starting to feel nervous.
The time came to go to the hospital.  I started to feel very nervous.  Laboring at home had felt much safer, and the idea of going to the hospital was scary.  We arrived and got checked in.  They monitored the baby and he was doing well.  The contractions grew stronger, and we tried to get some rest.  I slept on and off between contractions, and walked around and tried to encourage more contractions, but they continued to be inconsistent.  I was conflicted between the need to get more sleep and the desire to try and do what I could to avoid having pitocin.  Stephen was super supportive and stood with me, and encouraged me to be strong.  Despite all our efforts I wasn't progressing.  3 am rolled around and it was time to start pitocin.

Lauren came in and we discussed pitocin.  She had to nurse put me on a very low dose and said not to up it until 7 in the morning, and told me to sleep all that I could.  I slept in between contractions.  When the morning came, Pam took over Lauren's shift and came to talk to me.  The pitocin had been increased several times by then, and the contractions were coming stronger and stronger, and I could feel the downward pressure.  However, the contractions were still irregular.  I would have 3 or so contractions right on top of each other and then a lull of up to 10 minutes.  Pam wasn't sure why I wasn't progressing, and let me tell you, that having 3 contractions right on top of each other is not fun.  Stephen was a wonderful support, and stood with me and helped me breath, and try different positions and helped me on the birthing ball.  All of these things helped me get through the contractions.  

Pam finally decided to check and see where I was.  I was five centimeters dilated, and Pam noticed that as she felt the baby's head that she couldn't feel his soft spot.  She said that if he was facing the right direction, or if he was even posterior she would be able to feel the soft spot.  She voiced concern that he may be trying to enter the birth canal with his head sideways, so that the side of his head instead of the top of his head was going first.  She decided to continue to up the pitocin to see if I would progress beyond 5 cm.  

Stephen helped me as the contractions became stronger, and stayed irregular.  I slept in the longer breaks between contractions.  After several more hours of contractions, Pam came to check again.  I was still at 5 cm, and baby was still in the same position. I was tired, and discouraged by the lack of progress.  I asked Pam about pain medication, and she told me that the anesthesiologist would not be available to do an epidural for another 3 hours, but that an IV medication was available that would help me sleep in the meantime and take the edge off of the contractions.  I told her I wanted to discuss these options with Stephen, and she told me that she would tell the nurse to give me the IV medications if I requested it.

I sat with Stephen and we discussed the options.  It was sad to see that things hadn't gone as planned, but we opted to go for the IV medication to help me rest because we didn't know what was to come, and then to take the epidural when it was available.  The next few contractions seemed the longest as I waited for the medication to come.  Once the medication came, I was able to sleep.

 Monitoring showed that baby was handling the contractions well, but the concern of infection was increasing.  Dr. Haun came in with Pam and discussed with me the risks of infection and continuing to labor the way I was.  We determined that we would wait a couple more hours, and then make our final decision.

C-section was a scary thought, even scarier for Stephen at this point, because the IV medication continued to sedate me, and I mostly just wanted to sleep.  I am so grateful for Stephen and his strength and support of me at this point.  He had given me several blessings over the course of this ordeal, and as the situation looked more and more perilous, he realized that he wanted someone else to come.  He called some people and then the missionaries came to give me another blessing.  I remember them coming, even though I was completely out of it.  I could hardly finish a sentence I was so sleepy, but their presence and the blessing were comforting, and I am so grateful for the missionaries support of Stephen and I at this time.  It's only now that I realize how scary this must have been for Stephen, and how alone he must have felt, especially since even I was so sleepy.  I love this man so much, and there is no way I would have been able to handle all of this without him by my side.  He definitely was my greatest strength and encouragement through everything.
My amazing and supportive husband.
Hours passed with no change, and at around 3 or 4 in the afternoon I was given an epidural and prepped for c-section.  I continued to want to sleep and had  difficulty staying awake for even a few minutes at a time.  Stephen got dressed for the surgery and sat to hold my hand.  I was shaking from the medications.  I heard the doctors talking quickly, and felt them working.  Soon I heard, "you can look now," Stephen looked and I heard a cry.  It was the most surreal experience.  They showed me the baby and rushed him to be cleaned.  Stephen says that he peed all over everyone immediately.  Stephen followed the baby and took pictures while I looked on, shaking, partially due to nerves, partially to medication, and partially due to loss of blood.

Baby Ephraim Alexander Beckman (although we were not sure of this name at the time) was born at 4:51pm June 30, 2012.  He weighed 8lbs 12oz and was 20.5 inches long.
My perfect little baby.
The aftermath of the c-section involved worries about loss of blood, and a mild infection for me.  My recovery was a little slow, and we stayed in the hospital until late afternoon of Tuesday July 3rd to monitor my infection and blood levels.  Despite the setbacks, Ephraim was perfectly healthy, and passed all his tests with flying colors.

There's more to share, but that's enough for this entry.  Ephraim was absolutely perfect, and Stephen and I are so blessed to have him as a part of our family.


  1. He is just precious! What a blessing. And I'm so glad you are healthy now too. Will part 2 of his birth story tell about his name? Congratulations, Mommy!

    ~Kate 'Gietl' Holt

  2. Stepheni, you are wonder woman! I am so happy for you and Stephen. What a wonderful story, and handsome baby. Congrats, you will be an outstanding mother :)

  3. He is so cute! Stepheni, that must have been hard for you and Stepehn but look at the precious little gift God gave you! I wish I could hug him through the computer screen