This birth story comes to us from Jenny Nickless. Enjoy…
Hi. I am Jenny. When I first met my husband Ron, let’s just say, I never thought he would be my “perfect for me” match. He had a bad haircut and the fact that he was in a ministry school wasn’t my exact idea of a picture perfect boyfriend. Over the next 11 months, while he was in Florida, and I was in grad school, we fell in love and 3 weeks after graduation for us both, in the middle of me trying to take nursing boards,while looking for jobs, we took a complete leap of faith and got married and moved to Florida. We both fell into jobs we loved, and after 1.5 years, we embarked on a journey launching a student ministry at a brand new campus for our church, the same exact week we found out we were having a baby, and we couldn’t have been happier.
My husband Ron and I knew we wanted a baby. We didn’t really think too much about it. We just figured it would happen all in God’s time. In some ways, that was true. When we finally realized how the getting pregnant game works and that there’s certain times, etc, we got pregnant immediately and we couldn’t have been happier. So many of our friends have been through really hard times with infertility and I can never begin to pretend to understand. I remember seeing what I thought was a positive pregnancy test and freaking out, texting my Mom and best friend a picture, asking, “Is this positive enough?!?”
I can’t help but smile thinking about it now and how silly they must have thought I was. We had just bought a house, Ron was starting a brand new full-time ministry, and it seemed like everything was falling into place. The Lord knew what he was doing because I was due in October, which meant I would have all the holidays off and truly get to spend some amazing time together during the holidays.
So pregnancy started and at 6 weeks I felt amazing!!! About the middle of my sixth week, it HIT, like a tornado. Never have I experienced the nausea and horrible icky feeling that pregnancy brought. And it wasn’t just in the morning; it was all day long, all night long, every second of the day. I was working at Lakewood Ranch Hospital and would literally wake up, have to eat honey nut Cheerios before my feet even touched the ground, work till 4:30, miserable and barely able to stand up, come home, fall asleep, Ron would wake me up at 8:00 to eat dinner, and then I would go back to sleep. And that is how I lived life. It lasted for what seemed like forever. I lost weight and pretty much forgot about running. I felt like there was an alien in my body and I had no control over it – which I would soon learn would be so true, even though I thought I would never feel human again. And after almost 18 weeks of misery, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Or so I thought…..
By 18 weeks my nausea was gone and I learned I would be the Mommy to an amazing, beautiful DAUGHTER! Which completely scared me. I didn’t have sisters or really that many friends that were girls, and I thought for sure I was going to have a boy.
Things were good for about 10 weeks. I was able to start running again and I almost felt normal. Almost…
At 28 weeks I started having incredibly painful back pain. I tried prenatal yoga, I tried exercise, I tried stretching, but nothing seemed to make it better. And then it happened…..
The Saturday before I was almost 32 weeks preggo I was at a birthday party for one of my besties when all of a sudden I couldn’t breathe. I had never felt so much pain before in my entire life. I knew I had to lay down. As I laid down on her sofa, I felt pain on my right side and I knew something was wrong. I could barely walk, I could barely breathe, I could barely move.
This sent me through a long series of numerous tests, ultrasounds, and two different hospital stays. I visited a chiropractor and his response was, “Well, it is an incredibly rare thing, but darling, I think your daughter broke your rib.” And after all the tests to rule out gallbladder, kidneys, preterm labor, basically everything in the world it could be, all that was left to blame it on was a broken floating rib. In fact, on the numerous ultrasounds I was having to have, I could literally see her little foot propped up by my rib – her own personal ottoman, crazy girl!!! This was followed by 8+ weeks of more misery.
I am not sure if any of you have experienced a broken rib, but I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Every time you breathe it hurts, every time you move you find sharp pain. Ironically the same exact time I found out I had a broken rib, I also found out my work was downsizing and I would no longer have a job, unless I returned to being a floor nurse, which was my absolute worst nightmare.
The Lord really made a way for me to survive in so many ways. Like the fact that our neighbors had a pool that I could relax in every night, and believe me, floating made it so much better. Weightless. And through it all, I grew and I grew and I grew. Although Addyson was measuring small, those 8 weeks passed, and we started anxiously waiting her arrival.
I knew I wanted to try to go natural. I figured that I was an athlete, a runner, and birthing a baby would be an easy thing. My doctor highly suggested against it, since I did have a broken rib and all, but my mind was set, and I was going to at least try. So many of my friends had gone natural, so of course, I could too!
40 weeks came, and 40 weeks went. I really didn’t want to be induced. The thought of Pitocin was definitely not in my plan. I tried everything to get her to come out.
So the day came and my doc basically said, “Jenny, it’s time. It’s time for that rib to heal and for you not to be in pain anymore.” And so the date was set…..I would go into work half a day on Monday October 17th, almost a week after my DD, leave around 12 to get ready, and return at 6 that night to start Cervadil, in hopes to kick-start my labor. And as much as I DIDN’T want to be induced, I was finally done with the idea of pain so big, and just ready to see my sweet girl!
And so the labor would begin, or at least try to begin……
After months of nausea, months of pain, and months of waiting, it was finally time.
The Monday night before I was going to be induced I was ready. My parents had arrived that weekend and our bags had been packed for a couple of weeks. Which was interesting in itself. What does a first-time Mom actually bring to the hospital for the first time? I asked my friends, looked online for lists, and of course, ended up packing too much. But we live and we learn.
So this was the plan: Arrive Monday night about 6:00PM and start Cervadil, start Pitocin in the morning, and have a baby without pain meds. As we drove to the hospital there was just this surreal feeling like, “Things are never going to be same again, Babe!” We definitely cherished that ride in and knew our lives were about to be drastically different.
So 6:00PM: We arrive to Labor and Delivery at Lakewood Ranch, and because I worked there I was truly blessed. Not only did I get the room I wanted, I later learned that they moved another Mom out of that room, to a different room, just so I could be in “the big room”, which was such a blessing later, as you will learn later, and the numerous guests we had.
We started paperwork, got a lovely IV (yes, I might have told them where I wanted it – definitely not a control freak…) and one of the other doctors in our practice came by to put the Cervadil in. I had heard lots of stories of people getting Cervadil and going into labor immediately, but since I was only half a centimeter, after having my membranes stripped, I wasn’t hopeful.
8:00PM: Being in full-time ministry, of course we had lots of our students visit, my parents, and our best friends. I was definitely having contractions but they were not painful and were not crazy. So we just hung out, played games and ate a good meal, enjoying our company and anxiously waiting.
11:00PM: I was basically stir crazy. My rib was REALLY hurting, I couldn’t sleep, and the contractions started getting stronger. My nurse suggested some pain medicine and something to help me relax. The plan was to break my water around 6:00AM and start Pitocin so I figured, what the heck, I really don’t want any medicine, but it’s just to help me sleep right? COMPLETELY WRONG!!
Worst night of sleep ever. I don’t think I actually ever really slept, although my husband was definitely fast asleep on the comfy recliner.
3:00AM: I was in a goofy nervous state, still in pain, and had basically given up all hope of any kind of real sleep, so mad I let her give me ANYTHING and feeling like I was in a weird delirious cloud.
5:45AM: My nurse and I had worked out a deal and she was literally giving me 10 mins to shower before she started the Pitocin. Fastest shower of my life. Not only did I shower and SHAVE, but I also fixed my hair (you could tell my priorities, right??).
6:00AM: The Pitocin gets started. By this point I am tired and nervous, but nothing crazy happens when they start the Pitocin. Plus, I couldn’t eat, so I just kind of laid around waiting for something to happen.
7:00AM: My incredible doctor, Dr. Sudburry, comes in. With a smile on his face he says, “So you ready to break your water?” Of course I am! Lets get this show on the road. Still planning to try to go natural. He also checks me, and after breaking my water (which was kind of a disgusting mess) he lets me know I am finally at 1CM! Wahoo! At least there is a little progress.
9:00AM: I start to get visitors from work, my parents show up, my best friends, etc. I am kind of just chilling out. Yes, there were lots of guest (I don’t recommend that) and the contractions are definitely painful, but not incredibly close together. I use the yoga ball. I try to move around. I suck on suckers, anything to keep my mind of the fact that I am really starting to hurt. By this time, I am on over 15-20 of Pitocin and I start to feel things a lot.
11:00AM: I start to REALLY hurt. Pitocin contractions, I’ve heard, are a lot worse than the real thing. I try to not focus on the fact that the contractions take my breath away, and try to joke around with my husband and one of my best friends, but I am really hurting. They finally check me again and I am at 2CMs. 2CMS!!!!!! You have got to be joking, right? Haven’t I been on Pitocin for 4 hours now? Are you serious? Every 15 mins the nurse comes in and bumps up the Pitocin. And every time she does, I give her evil looks. Really, is this stupid drug even doing anything??? And that is the moment I realized I truly was NOT a fan of Pitocin. Not only were the contractions painful, but my rib REALLY hurt. The Pitocin was also making swell like a balloon, (and would eventually cause Addy to be swollen too!) and the yoga ball wasn’t doing really anything. I hate Pitocin…
1:00PM: I am literally in tears. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me. I had turned into that evil woman you see on movies. At that point, my Mom and anyone in the room, were really driving me crazy. They checked me again and I figured I had to be at least to 5CMS. Contractions were coming so fast and I literally felt like there were needles jabbing into my uterus. I was trying relaxation, those stupid suckers, ice, ANYTHING to take my mind of the pain. But by this point, I had been awake for hours on end and I was at my wits’ end. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to go natural, but after almost 7 hours of being on Pitocin, and now I was at the absolute highest dose of Pitocin that is allowed in the state of Florida, my mind was starting to doubt. When they checked me I was only at 3CMS. I literally broke down. I couldn’t breathe, I was crying so hard. How could this be? My husband tried to comfort me and say, “It’s okay baby, you’ve done so well.” My nurse had already been trying to get me to get the shot. How could I only be 3cms? This wasn’t the plan. I wanted to go natural. I was strong enough. I was a runner. I could do this. But it wasn’t until Cherie looked at me, literally grabbing me, and said, “Jenny, it’s time! You are miserable, you cannot relax, and you are going crazy. It’s time and it’s completely okay, Jenny. You aren’t a failure. You did so well. You were on Pitocin on the highest amount possible for 7 hours, but now it’s time.”
And then that something within me switched. It was like she gave me the permission to not be strong and I knew it would be okay. I had fought the good fight, and I hadn’t lost, I just had unfair odds against me. I wasn’t in real labor. I was in this labor they created for me with crazy drugs and crazy unfair pain and it was okay for me to give up. It didn’t make me less of a woman. I wasn’t a whimp. It was simply just time….
1:15: Within 15 mins the doctor was in the room. I found out later that the nurse had already called the head anesthesiologist, and since he was my buddy, he came right away. She said, all I had to say was, “Jenny’s finally ready!” and it was like boom, he was there. Now I am not going to lie, that needle in my back thing, possibly the most painful moment of my life. That is truly no joke. But, after a loud shrill scream, I was in bliss…pure bliss. I was like a different person. My husband, to this day, still wishes he could record it. I started reapplying my makeup, laughing, and loving my friends and Mom again. Although I had fought it so hard, and I hate admitting it, it truly was the right decision.
3:00PM: I was already at 8cms. The epidural truly helped me relax. I was even able to sleep just a little bit.
5:00PM: 10CMS!!! Crazy how easy it was for labor to happen when you can actually relax. At this point, once again I was so thankful for Cherie. She could tell I was over all the visitors. We had people coming and going all day and she took it upon herself, and my incredible nurse Patty, to kick everyone out. And she entertained everyone in the waiting room. To this day my mom talks about how much fun they had!
That last hour was truly the most amazing time of my marriage. After we kicked everyone out, the nurses let me “labor down”, which is just when they give baby time to get into place and for your body to relax. Ron and I listened to praise and worship music, we prayed, we laughed, we talked about how life would be, and I remembered why the Lord had blessed me with him. It was truly the most special time of our marriage to this date. I knew everything was going to be alright. Addy was doing great, I was feeling great, and we were ready for a baby.
5:30-5:45ish: Doctor Sudburry came and in said, “Well are you ready?” and I was. The best part about him was that he delivers like a midwife…which the Lord knew I needed since I didn’t get to be “crunchy” and go natural. No stirrups, No nothing.
Ron and Dr. Sudburry talked and Ron said, “Hey I want to deliver her.” Umm, where was this coming from? This was definitely something we hadn’t talked about AT ALL!!! I was ready for Dr. Sudburry to laugh him off, but instead He was like, “Ok, lets get him some gown and gloves.” And yes, I was shocked. My two favorite nurses, and amazing nurses Patty and Kelly, held my legs and I started to push. After two pushes they told me I was doing good, but I had worked in labor and delivery, and I knew they were lying just from the sound of their voices. So I once again gave up on beauty and said, “Alright get me the mirror.” So I could see what I was actually doing.
6:00PM: With less than 10 pushes complete, She was out, and in Ron’s hands, with him cutting the cord. After all that pain from the ribs, all the nervousness, all of the nausea, it was all a faded memory. Within 15 mins I had a beautiful little girl on my chest, and the happy tears began. As Dr. Sudburry lifted her up he said, “Well this is why she broke your rib.” Literally, her legs were pure muscle. They placed her on my chest and she immediately tried to push up with her arms. The Lord had created her to be strong and little, all in one, only weighing 7lbs 5 ounces. And it all made sense. None of the pain mattered anymore or if I had an epidural or not. After 10+ months of craziness, I saw the Lord’s beautiful love and mercy displayed all in Addyson Faith, and everything else seemed to fade away.
Addyson is still as strong and stubborn as ever, but her sweet countenance, amazing ability to sleep, (things we prayed nightly over her while in my belly) and her kind spirit has changed who I am and I can’t imagine our life without her. I truly thank the Lord, amidst the journey, for our “Noble and Kind” sweet beautiful little girl.
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