Barhett Wilder Tyson
Told by Christopher Tyson and Photographed by Cara Peterson Photography and Christopher Tyson
Today our little Barhett is one month old. It has been a whirlwind month for all of us, in addition to having Christmas and New Year’s, we photographed 3 weddings and tried to keep our heads above water with running our businesses. It has been a month of laughs, some very sleepless nights and memories we will forever cherish. Part of the reason I am writing this blog is so that Elizabeth and I will both be able to remember and cherish all the details of the birth of our little nugget.
Barhett was supposed to grace us with his presence on December 20th, which would have been perfect for us. It was in between weddings I had booked on the 15th and 30th. It did not interfere with my destination wedding in Mexico I had on the 7th and as Elizabeth told Barhett many times, he was not allowed to interfere with her Jason Mraz concert on the 8th. In case there was any doubt that Barhett is the fruit from my loins, that little bean decided to mess with all these plans and it culminated with, after 10 years of photographing weddings, for the first time I was not at a wedding I had booked.
We had a doctor’s appointment on December 3rd and after he checked out Elizabeth, he said her cervix was fully closed and baby was nice and high. We both breathed a sigh of relief that it looks like Barhett is going to play nice and not be a jerk with his timing.
December 4th 4:30am
Elizabeth is woken up by what she described as some cramps that were different than normal. She also has some fluid leaking, not a lot but enough that it had her attention. This goes on until I wake up, probably about 7am. When I wake up, she “tells” me that she is having some cramps most likely due to gas and somehow forgets to mention the fluid. She is worried that her water could have broke but she is not about to have that. You see, she has her hair appointment that morning, so that when Barhett does come in two weeks, her hair will be all pretty and beautiful. Later in the afternoon, she even has her last prenatal massage scheduled as well! As she put it, Barhett was simply not allowed to come yet.
Elizabeth does the right thing and calls her doctor and explains what is going on, thankful she tells them the truth unlike what she told me. They tell her they are going to call her back but to keep her phone nearby. She leaves the house to go to her hair appointment and I am on the couch, not showered or anything just doing some editing. On the way the to her hair appointment the doctor calls her back and tells her to go to the hospital. They were pretty confident something was going on based on what she said. So she makes the u-turn, comes home and says we need to go to hospital. Keep in mind she still has not told me anything more that she may “have some gas” cramps.
So I just brush my teeth and get dressed, I DON’T shower because I am thinking we are going to go do a quick check up and then head back home. Sidenote, to all you upcoming fathers out there. No matter the reason you are going to hospital, unless you are in an ambulance, you have time for a quick 3 minute shower. Just trust me. Also you will see I have not taken any real photographs yet, but why would I? ITS JUST GAS RIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT?
December 4th 10:30am
We get to the hospital. Elizabeth is giving the gown that when fully tied up in the back, it almost could be used as a kitchen apron and we see our first doctor. I wish you could have seen my face when she tells the doctor that she was leaking fluid and the cramps were in her back. That was the first time I had heard the word fluid out of her mouth. It came out like in slow motion. Like in Christmas Story when Ralpie says “Ohhhhhhh, ffffffuuuuuuuuuudddddddddggggggggeeeeeee”, for me it was Elizabeth saying “I am leaking ffffffffffllllllllluuuuuuuiiiiiiiddddddddd”. In fact I probably looked at her much like Ralphie’s Dad look at him in the aftermath of the dreaded F-word.
While the doctor is checking Elizabeth, she laughed and the doctor was a little surprised. When she laughed a whole bunch of fluid came out of her. The doctors face definitely changed and she said that there is a really good chance that Elizabeth’s fluid was amniotic fluid and her “gas cramps” were contractions. They go run a quick test and when the doctor comes back, she drops this on us. “That is amniotic fluid and you will not be leaving the hospital without a baby!”. I immediately start to think of all the crap ton of things I need to get straightened out but my runaway train of thoughts is brought to screeching halt by the doctor’s next sentence. “Right now though, your cervix is fully closed so get settled in because it is going to be a long haul.”. My brain coming out of the fog… Ummmmm, wait wha … define long haul for me.
December 4th 11:30 ish (my brain is still foggy)
Those couple of sentences from our doctor set off a scramble of phone calls, plans being scrambled, the changed and then changed again, Elizabeth even had a few tears in there as well. In the end though, this is a perfect representation of how life just is sometimes. You make plans, God giggles at your plans and then does things His way and you know what, His way always seems to work out better. Right when Elizabeth is starting to enjoy the moment, the doctor drops this word in her lap. Pitocin. As I have shared our birth story with family and friends, the moment that word is used, EVERY single woman snarls. It is not a grrrr or an ugh, it is a flat out snarl. Like a lion keeping a hyena away snarl. Because Elizabeth’s cervix is fully closed but her water has broken already, they start her on a 3ml dose of the snarl juice to move things along.
Meanwhile, I look at Elizabeth and give her these kind, reassuring words during this difficult moment, “I need to go make some phone calls”. This screen shot is my phone for the next 4 hours as it was spent on the phone trying to get everything from my December 7th wedding, to Jayden being at home, to trying to get Jason Mraz to move her concert date.
My first phone call is to my December 7th groom, Doug. Dear Barhett, one day when you are a teenager, I am going to punch you in the arm. It will seem like it was for no reason but alas, it will be because I had to call my couple and for the first time ever, tell them that I will not be photographing a wedding that I said I was going to be at. So when that happens Barhett, suck it up.
Another sidenote, to all my photographer friends out there, let this be a lesson to you. In 2009, at the very first wedding I ever photographed, I had a contract in place. In that contract is a section that clearly spells out what my responsibility is and how we would handle a wedding where I could not be present for. I have known Doug for almost 18 years. We are both cut from the same cloth of business acumen, we both can navigate around weird situations in the business side of things AND we still both wanted to have a clear cut contract. Because we had this in place, we both knew what I was responsible for and what to expect. It took me almost 4 hours but in the end I got everything worked out, including sending a 2nd photographer/videographer who had all of 14 hours notice he was going to Mexico.
I want to personally take moment and thank my couple Stephanie and Doug for being so gracious in letting me bow out of their wedding on such a short notice. I also want to thank Neil and Paul for stepping up and taking care of my couple….. and it was my pleasure to supply you two with a king size bed in your room at the resort.
December 4th 5pm
After I get my couple and their wedding sorted out, after I make sure our friend Taylor is going to hang with Jayden for the night, I come back to the delivery room to Elizabeth pretty much ready to punch kittens. After the past five hours while being on the snarl drugs, Elizabeth is having contractions about every four minutes. Which at first sounds like it is a good thing as things are moving along. That is until they check her cervix and after over five hours of Pitocin, she has dilated to a whopping ½ centimeter. If she was giving birth to a grape, we would have been in great spot.
The next 11 hours, yes that is eleven, were the nurses coming in every hour or so and dialing up the Pitocin to higher and higher doses, while Elizabeth gets closer and closer to deciding which nurse is going to have their fingers broken first for touching that dosage button.
December 4th 9:20pm
Elizabeth is now dilated to 1 full monsterous centimeter. She has also asked for iced tea, pop tarts and Chipotle. Oh and she told me the hospital jello tastes like shit.
December 5th 1:30am
Elizabeth and her now long time friend Mr. Pitocin have opened her cervix up to 1 ½ centimeters. Boom. We added one full centimeter of dilation in 7 hours of contractions while on Pitocin.
Also, to the nurse who told me my chair unfolded into a nice bed…. I disagree with the word nice and I strongly believe the word “bed” in that sentence was a joke.
December 5th 4am
At this point Elizabeth is past the point of childbirth is a beautiful and organic thing and now has progressed to the stage of that she is giving me the death look for contributing to her being pregnant. Almost 24 hours after her water broke, with about 17 of those being on Pitocin, she taps out and ask for the epidural. One catch to this. When she was 21 she had a spinal fusion due to herniated disk. She has the metal rods in her back and scars to prove it. We were warned that many anesthesiologists would not even attempt an epidural due the risk of infection, especially with Elizabeth as her spinal fusion is very close to where the epidural would be administered.
We were lucky enough to have an anesthesiologist on call who pretty amazing and was confident she could complete the epidural process. Now I am not a queasy person at all, I can handle blood and guts just fine but watching the anesthesiologist smack that foot long flexible needle into Elizabeth’s spine, all the while she is wincing and jumping in pain with each smack was a little much for me. I started to sweat, then I REALLY started to sweat, to the point my 2 day unshowered legs were sticking to my jeans. Right when they completed it, I had to lay down. I really did not enjoy that.
Once the epidural was complete, Elizabeth immediately went into a drug induced happy place that probably involved cotton candy and kittens. That left me, the guy who was just a decent amount of the way to passing out to hear the next thing the anesthesiologist had to say. She said that as the baby was high in Elizabeth, we would be good to go. But as the baby moved down closer to birth, there was a chance that the epidural may have spots where it would not block the pain due to her surgery. For those keeping score at home, this is called foreshadowing.
December 5th 5:10am
Elizabeth’s Dad comes to visit us, I am exhausted and just recovered from my nervous sweats and I am pretty sure Elizabeth thought the Easter Bunny was visiting her. We caught him up on what was happening, which was not much. One really positive thing was that EVERY single nurse and doctor said Barhett was doing great through everything. He never had his heart rate or blood pressure spike or anything. He is taking everything like a champ.
December 5th 6:25am
Epidural is in full affect. I know this because Elizabeth is sleeping and snoring right through every contraction.
December 5th 8:50am
Baby has started to move down and Elizabeth has dilated to 4cm, things are happening! Buuuutttttttttt we know the baby is moving down because the epidural is not covering everything anymore, especially on Elizabeth left side. She is really in a lot of pain of again, probably much more than before.
December 5th 8:51am
I see the Pitocin has been dialed up 18mg dose. Gee, I can’t quite figure out why Elizabeth would be hurting so much.
December 5th 10am
Elizabeth is really REALLY in a lot of pain as the epidural has little affect now that the baby has moved down. We have our delivery doctor in the room, our deliver nurse Carley and a medical student. Her cervix has not dilated anymore and is holding at 4cm. In between the contractions that are now at about every 2 minutes, she asks for and the doctors discuss a C-Section. The quirks are this though. Since the epidural has little effect, Elizabeth would have to have a general anesthesia, which no one wants. Barhett is still doing perfectly and neither of them are showing any signs of a fever so infection risk is very low. Elizabeth is over ruled and in as gentle terms they can say, they tell her to suck it up.
The Doctor does use a probe to measure the actual compression strength of Elizabeth contractions to see what is going on. They can tell the length and the location of the contractions but by adding this probe, the can measure the actual force of them.
December 5th 10:30am
They get the measurements from the probe and compression strength of Elizabeth’s contraction is not enough for what they would like, especially with it being almost 30 hours since her water broke. They solve this by dialing the Pitocin up to 21mg. Without an epidural that is working, Elizabeth threatens the lives of every person in the room. They give her a dose of Fentanyl. This restore order to universe, well at least delivery room 527.
December 5th 12pm
6cm!!! Yeah, we are getting somewhere!! Fentanyl starts to wear off, Elizabeth threatens lives again.
December 5th 1:15pm
They come in to check Elizabeth and she is dilated to….. 6cm. No movement in a hour. They reach for the Pitocin button. I held my breath and hoped Elizabeth did not see them do that. We all got lucky.
December 5th 2:20pm
They have upped the Pitocin to 27mg.
December 5th 2:43pm
29mg. I am honestly scared for my own life.
I am not scared one bit for Barhett though, he is doing absolutely perfect. To the point the nurses almost seem surprised.
December 5th 3:20pm
Elizabeth says she feels a weird pressure really low, Carley checks her and she is dilated to 9 1/2cm!!! They call our delivery doctor back to hospital so we can have this baby!!! Elizabeth perks up and starts to get a little excited.
December 5th 3:35pm
Delivery doctor gets caught in traffic coming back to hospital. Elizabeth is told to breathe, relax and wait just a bit longer to push. That conversation went as well as you would think it would go.
December 5th 4pm (ish)
Elizabeth gets to start pushing on the little Barhett!
December 5th 4:43pm
He is here! After everything, we get to see our little Bear, the little man who ruined all our plans, the little stinker who made things really tough over the past 36 hours. After all of that, it took Elizabeth 8 contractions worth of pushes to bring all 19” and 6lbs 12.2oz of him into this world. I cut the umbilical cord but almost as soon as I do, he taken away by one of the nurses.
December 5th 4:44pm
Before we can really hold him, he is taken to the nurse’s station next to us. He is having trouble breathing and they are worried about his oxygen level. Over the next 10 minutes or so, they worked on him, called in some extra help, including fake Holly. If you are reading this fake Holly, thank you for letting me tease you a little this day and laughing along with me. It really helped in the tense moments…. Like this one.
December 5th 4:53pm
The nurses give Barhett to Elizabeth as they feel he doing good enough. His oxygen percentage is only at 85% and they would like closer to 95%. As soon as he touches her chest, I can watch Barhett’s oxygen percentage rise on the meter. It went from 85% to 98% in a matter of maybe two minutes.
This is our delivery nurse, Carley. Carley was everything we could have ever asked for through Barhett’s birth. Carley, I am so thankful our path’s crossed. You were a rock when we needed it and you were a gentle reassurance when we needed it. You are easily one of the greatest memories we both have with the birth of Barhett. P.S. You may think you were being sneaky, but I saw you roll your eyes a few times at the situations we found ourselves in. I know this because I was rolling my eyes too.
The next hour plus was just a whirlwind for me. I really do not remember to much and I am so thankful for these photographs from Cara.
December 5th 6:45pm
I will forever remember this moment though, the first time Jayden got to see and hold his little brother. I am not crying, you are crying.
December 5th 8pm
This is Taylor. She jumped when needed some help with Jayden, she stayed the night with him last night and she was the one who brought him to the hospital. Taylor, thank you for being there for us on such a short notice and so willing to give everything you did. This is a shameless plug for Taylor. You see her hat, she own Vibrant Hope Boutique and if want some pretty amazing handcrafted goods and support people from the forgotten corners of this world, check out her store right here – https://vibranthopeboutique.com/
December 5th 9pm
We are settled into our new room on the floor for people who have HAD their baby. It is such a relief to be here. After 36 hours Elizabeth and Barhett did it, they survived everything and are now laying together dosing off.
As for me? I am going to go shower.