As many of you know, life changed for us in a big way on August 30th when we welcomed our son into the world. So many of you have been amazing to pray for us through the ups and downs since his arrival and offer words of encouragement. We are blessed to be part of such an amazing community both near and far. Thank you!
I decided it would be fun to share the story of Amos’s entry into the world, especially some of the unique aspects of giving birth overseas. So here is Amos’s story:
The afternoon of August 29th we headed to the doctor for my 36 week check up. Everything looked good! The doctor informed us that I was already dilated to 3 cm and did a non-stress test which showed I was having very strong Braxton Hicks contractions. A part of my pregnancy that we didn’t openly share was that since 28 weeks my placenta had started to calcify. My doctor was closely monitoring the situation and I felt a sense of peace that I don’t know I could’ve had if (very well meaning) people had constantly been asking about this unforeseen complication. There were no signs that it was affecting the baby, but the doctor told us that if I should go into labor early, they would not stop it. She felt like that would be my body saying he needed to go ahead and come out. As an additional precaution she decided it would be best to induce at 38 weeks instead of waiting for my placenta to cause a problem. So we set the date. September 9th. Fitting since it would be the national holiday Children’s Day here in Costa Rica. She warned that I may have contractions later that night from my exam earlier in the day and we joked about seeing each other soon when I went into labor. Little did we know.
On our way home from the doctor, James and I comically decided we should go out to eat “just in case” it was our last meal out before the baby. We drove over to Outback Steakhouse, a huge splurge for us, and went on our last pre-baby date. That night we decided we really should go ahead and get the car seat in the car, because you never know. Irony of ironies, the next day we were supposed to attend birthing class. We had been scheduled to do it several weeks earlier and it kept getting bumped back and bumped back. We laughed again about how funny it would be if I went into labor during the birthing class.
We went to sleep that night around 9:00. I slept pretty restlessly until 2:00 am when I started having contractions. Since my doctor had said that might happen, I decided not to wake James until I was sure I was in labor. So, I did laundry, I cleaned out the fridge, I did dishes, and paced our apartment through each contraction with confused little Moose following me around the whole time. I started timing my contractions and realized they were lasting for quite a while and coming pretty close together and I was pretty sure this was the real deal. I woke James at 5:00 and called the doctor who said we should go ahead and come in. James packed a bag and we left a note asking our landlady to take care of Moose and we headed to the hospital around 6:00.
We got to the hospital where I was hooked up to a monitor to check the baby’s heartbeat and time my contractions. They admitted me. Our little guy was coming. About an hour later, the lights went out in my hospital room. We didn’t tell our families until Amos was safely here, but I labored and delivered in a hospital that only had emergency power due to an outage. No lights other than those on the emergency generator and no A/C. One of those unique aspects I mentioned. Honestly my labor experience was pretty peaceful. The nurses only came in to check on his heartbeat and check my progress every few hours unless we asked for them and James and I slow danced (literally, that was how I was most comfortable) our way to 9 cm. Around 1:45 the doctor broke my water to speed things up and then had me practice pushing. They then took me in a wheel chair to the delivery room (which had A/C!). My whole labor experience had been in Spanish, but as James encouraged me in English for those last few minutes several of the nurses tried to start instructing me in English too. It was sweet of them to try to make things easier for me, but unfortunately my Spanish was much better than their English and it made for some confusing moments until we convinced everyone to stick to Spanish. 45 minutes later, Amos Phillip entered the world at 2:29 pm, 5 lbs. 6 oz. and 18 inches long. Our amazing little boy.
I was taken back to my room and we were given our son. My parents arrived in Costa Rica just a few hours later and we snuck them up after visiting hours to meet Amos. (My mom somehow knew that Amos would be coming that Saturday and they had already packed and everything.) Our first night was both good and exhausting. We had an earthquake, of course, but luckily didn’t have to evacuate 🙂 Everything was very relaxed through the whole experience and just 24 hours after he was born, we were sent home.
The next few days were extremely tough. Amos was really struggling to eat, to the point that he was not having any wet diapers and had so little energy that we couldn’t get him awake to eat. My parents were an amazing help to us as we worked to dropper feed him milk every hour and a half to get him hydrated. It was exhausting and terrifying. Then he started to turn yellow. We took him in for a blood test, which was absolutely excruciating as a brand new parent. I came home and cried for half an hour. The test results came back and after talking with the doctor and unsuccessfully trying our hardest to find a phototherapy light we could use at home, the pediatrician decided he needed to be re-admitted to the hospital. So he spent 48 hours under the lights with a mask over his eyes and it was the pits. Saturday night, on his one week birthday, we took off his mask and he was the most alert little guy. James and I kept grinning and saying we felt like we just got our son back. From that night on, he’s been nursing like a champ and been so much more alert. He’s even starting to fill out…just a little 🙂 Now we are just trying to enjoy every minute. Adjusting to less sleep and being pooped and peed on and loving our little miracle.
Thank you for praying for us and for Amos as we figure out being a family of three!