Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Then Comes LO in the Baby Carriage (PART II)!

So when we last left off, I was 8 months pregnant (read: HUGE!) and hubs and I were anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl! My due date was Tuesday, July 24, 2007. I saw the doctor for a scheduled appointment that day and we talked about an induction. I was on board with that (read: I wanted that baby out of me--stat!) so he made a call over to the hospital to make sure there would be a free bed in Labor & Delivery that evening. It was a GO! We were to arrive at the hospital at 6PM to get started with our induction.

We decided to have dinner at Cracker Barrel (another one of my favorites) as our "last hurrah" as a married couple without children. Can I just say that we had the WORST service ever!? The waitress was maybe 12, couldn't tell when drinks needed to be refilled, had to be asked to bring out biscuits, and took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to bring our bill. As you can imagine, we were QUITE disappointed with what would most likely be our last hot meal for 18+ years. Oh, and on the way to the hospital we hit some serious and unexpected traffic on the freeway and were so worried we wouldn't get there on time!

We made it through the traffic and to the hospital on time. We got "checked in" (ya, like it's a hotel or something) and I got to put on my pretty gown. At least it wasn't made of paper (I'm always looking at the bright side!). The nurse got an IV started and hooked me up with the first phase of the induction-: Cervidil. It was a long and relatively uncomfortable night. Labor definitely wasn't starting, so at least that wasn't a problem. It was the bed, being stuck sleeping on my back all night, and just kinda ugh. That was actually the first night hubs and I spent in separate beds since our wedding day (over a year and a half). At least we were in the same room--but he was stuck on some really uncomfy-looking couch. Guess that kinda made us even?

Early the next morning, the doctor broke my water (painful!) and I started phase two of my induction: Pitocin. At 7AM the nursing staff switched and (as planned) I got the BEST LDRP nurse EVER--my sister! I know what you might be thinking--hmmmm, would I want my sister scoping me out to see how far I'm dilated? I had already debated all of that way in advance and settled on the idea of my sister being my labor nurse. Best. Decision. Ever! She basically was able to come in to work with me as her only patient all day (okay, she had other things to do and patients to attend to, but she basically was with me in my room the whole time!). Now I highly recommend having someone you know as your nurse if at all possible. My sister was able to give me all kinds of info about what was happening, what was going to happen next, what I could do to make the process easier, which doctor/anesthesiologist/etc. were the best (and worst!), etc. SUCH a huge help!

My contractions had finally started and labor was progressing. Around 11AM I was ready for that epidural I was promised (NOTE: That was probably the one thing I was most afraid of with the whole labor process. I had some crazy fear that they'd puncture my spinal cord and I'd be paralyzed. I'm weird.). Luckily the epidural went fine and I was in heaven!

I kept watching the monitor to see if/when I was having a contraction (now that's what I call labor!). But the afternoon went by so slowly it was ridiculous! They kept checking me and I just wasn't dilating very quickly.

Around 9PM or so, my sister and the doctor were getting concerned about LO since it had been about 15 hours since my water broke, and my labor wasn't progressing quickly enough. My sister informed me that if I wasn't at 10 the next time the doctor came back that we'd have to move forward with a C-section. That was SO not what I wanted! Ultimately I was willing to do whatever my sister and the doctor thought would be best for LO. My sister talked me through the entire process of the C-section from start to finish (since this wasn't something I had prepared for at ALL), and that really helped ease my fears. Really the worst part was that there'd be a MUCH longer recovery period. But I didn't care. I was ready and willing to do whatever I needed to.

The doctor came back for one last check. Turns out I was at 10 and LO was in the right position to start pushing! It was time!!

Now, I just have to insert a comment here. All those deliveries you see on TV or in the movies must absolutely be entirely fake. All of them. The woman always looks excited, she pushes twice, screams once and "poof!" there's the baby! It takes all of 12 seconds. That could not BE more wrong.

So my job is to do the pushing. My sister (i.e. labor/delivery nurse) is responsible for counting to 10 during each push. Hubs is responsible to stand there and watch it all go down. Now, I did learn a sneaky little trick of the LDRP nurse during this experience. This is how my sister would count to 10:
"1... 2... 3... You're doing great! Keep in up! Oooh, the stock market's looking good today! Is it raining outside? 3... 4... 5... I wonder if I remembered to put the windows up in the car? 5... 6... 7... Come on! Keep it up! LO's on her way! You're doing great! 7... 8... 9... and... 10!
In other words, it took her two and a half minutes to count to 10. Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be pushing the whole time. Now, in case you didn't already realize this, you can't breathe while pushing a baby out of your body. My entire head was bright red the whole time I was pushing--probably even close to purple.

I felt like I wasn't making any progress. I felt like I'd been pushing forever. I was tired. I was uncomfortable. The doctor was trying to encourage me by saying things like, "I can see her head. She's almost here! Just one more push!" Quite literally, my response to him was one single word: "Whatever." Said with the least amount of emotion humanly possible. I just didn't believe him. He'd said "just one more push!" like 12 times. I was telling him and my sister that they should just get a vacuum or some tongs or some other apparatus to just get her out already. I was done.

Somehow or another, it really did come down to one last push. As irritated as I was at my sister for taking a light year to count to 10, I pushed again and FINALLY! our baby girl had arrived at 11:48 PM! I saw a quick glimpse of her before they rushed her to the warming area and my baby nurse (who happened to be MY MOM!) started cleaning her up and running through that whole process.

I was looking over at my daughter, quite literally trying to count her fingers and toes to make sure they were all there, when the doctor started jabbing his fist into my abdomen. "STOP! It hurts!" I cried. He continued trying to knead a hole into me, completely ignoring my cries of pain. This was so completely much worse than pushing. No one told me to expect this. I was supposed to be smiling and crying as they bring my newborn daughter to me, all wrapped in a blankie and topped with a standard-issue cap, so I could look at her in awe and amazement.

But--NO! The doctor said he was trying to get the placenta to separate (sorry if that's TMI and/or grosses you out--I'm trying to make this story as "PG" as possible!) and he'd need to continue. I heard him offer pain meds and I jumped at the chance to alleviate the torture. My sister (remember, she's the LDRP nurse) put some kind of somethin' in my IV and as I stared across the room at my daughter, everything went black.

Approximately two hours pass.

My daughter was weighed (8 lbs. 13 oz.!), measured (22 in.) and got to meet her Daddy for the first time. She got her first bath (thanks, MOM!) and Daddy even got his first lesson on diapering his baby. My other sisters and nieces and nephews got to see and hold my daughter.

And I missed all of it.

Unfortunately I had been given some serious drugs to knock me out while the doc finished working on me. Turns out I had a condition called "uterine atony" that caused hemorrhaging to the point where the doctor feared I would need an emergency hysterectomy. He was able to get the bleeding under control and I was going to be fine, but unfortunately I missed the first two hours of my daughter's life.

When I finally "came to" around 2AM, my husband introduced me to our daughter, LO. I was still quite groggy, but I knew instantly that she was and would always be the love of my life (well, one of them, I guess, since I love my husband, too!). I was absolutely smitten with her, and continue to be so each and every day. I look forward with anxious anticipation of all we have to look forward to as she grows into the beautiful young lady she was created to be.

Here I am with my precious little girl...

I still just feel so lucky that she is ours, and we are her parents. For always!

Meet our Little One...

Then Comes LO in the Baby Carriage (PART I)!

Now that you all know about how hubs and I met, got engaged and married, it's time to share the latest addition to our story. We call her "Little One," or LO for short.

Hubs and I always knew that we wanted a family. And we wanted it to happen sooner than later because we got married a little later than some (I was 27 and he was 36). So it was November 2005 were married. In the Spring of 2006, we were ready to embrace the idea of starting our family.

Now, I debated a bit whether or not to share this next piece of information since it's quite personal and was a very difficult experience for us. After thinking it over, I decided that sharing it would help to paint a clear picture of our experience and how grateful we are for our LO. So... I got pregnant in May 2006, but suffered a miscarriage in July at 8 weeks. We had to wait 3 months before trying again, but I did get pregnant a second time, only to suffer another loss at only 5 weeks. As you can imagine, hubs and I were quite devastated and had to rely on our faith to see us through that dark and difficult time.

So let's fast-forward a bit to the good stuff! Monday, November 20, 2006. I took yet another pregnancy test and received a positive result. As you might imagine, my response was not as enthusiastic as one may expect. Hubs and I discussed it and decided we would be "cautiously optimistic" this time around. We definitely embraced the idea but didn't want to be disappointed if we suffered another loss.

We had several ultrasounds throughout the first few months to make sure everything was looking good. We rented a fetal doppler so we could listen to the baby's heartbeat anytime--day or night. We passed the 5 week mark. We passed the 8 week mark. Our hope was growing. We passed the 10 week mark and things were still going good! Of course we planned to wait until 12 weeks (at least) before telling anyone.

On Christmas Eve, I couldn't handle keeping the news to ourselves any longer. We were at hubs' parents' condo with all of his family there. I pulled him aside and told him I wanted to share the news. He was apprehensive (wanting to protect me, I think, from the possibility of making the announcement and having to share the bad news if something were to happen), but agreed. After all the gifts were opened, he stood up and told the family we had one more gift for everyone, but it wouldn't arrive for another 7 months. His parents knew immediately what he meant and were SO excited! Once everyone else realized what was going on, they all shared our joy. On Christmas Day, we were gathered together with my family and made the same announcement. It made it all so real now that our families knew we were expecting! I couldn't BE more excited!

Finally the day came for the ultrasound that would (hopefully) tell us if we were to expect a boy or girl. To be honest, I had my heart set on a boy--only because I wanted two kids, a boy and a girl, and I wanted the girl to have an older brother. Man, did I put a lot of thought into that! So we're at the doctor's office and the ultrasound tech is telling us what's what on the screen, and she points to the "two white lines" that indicate a baby girl. I really can't explain the feeling that came over me at that moment! It was as if all of a sudden I realized that I had a daughter! I wasn't disappointed that we weren't having a boy--I was just SO happy to realize that I was a mommy!

I had an amazing pregnancy. I had heard such horror stories from sisters, friends and random women who had awful experiences with their pregnancies: bed rest, heartburn, swelling, back pain... the list went on and on! The only issue I had was the heartburn, and even that wasn't all that bad.

The time was quickly approaching for the arrival of our baby girl. When I think back on it now, I can remember how it seemed each day was like a month, and that the pregnancy went by so incredibly slowly! And I still feel like it did. Really that isn't a bad thing--I enjoyed being pregnant, but at the same time I was SO anxious to finally meet our girl and hold her for the first time!

Well, the arrival of our little one is a story in itself, so I'll have to make this a two-parter and share her birth story next. But I will share a pic of my lovely big 'ol self at a whopping 8 months pregnant for your viewing enjoyment (okay, not really "enjoyment" so much as "laughter- and/or pity-invoking")...