Monday, June 15, 2015

Welcome, Little Sister: a birth story

Back when our sweet Will was born, I wrote out his birth story so that I could remember it.  I must do the same with Little Sister since the stories are so different. This is a long one with far too much detail.

I really struggled with Will's c-section delivery. For a lot of reasons. I was completely blindsided by it. It took me (what felt like) forever to heal. My milk didn't come in for at least 5 days which meant Will was our first days home were rough.  Looking back, I think I had some of the "baby blues" after bringing Will home...I just didn't feel like myself for many weeks.  And, being completely selfish, I didn't get the "birth experience" I had been looking forward to.  I don't mean to diminish the birth of my favorite little boy in the whole world, but if given another option, I did not want to go through that again.

SO, I started looking into those other options...namely a vbac (vaginal birth after caesarean). As I asked around, I found a local doctor and her midwives who were very supportive of vbac's and had the lowest c-section rate in the state.  I had many, many, many conversations with them about it, and they assured me that I was the perfect vbac candidate.  I was still unbelievably nervous about it though.

This pregnancy was much harder than the first. I threw up almost every day at least once for the first 20ish weeks. I had a TODDLER to take care of...during basketball season. And I was giving three consecutive lectures as I grew bigger and bigger. So on a Thursday at 39 weeks when there was no sign of this girl wanting to make an appearance, I had a bit of a meltdown. That weekend, I had contractions in the middle of the night that were about 10 minutes apart but stopped in the morning. When Monday rolled around, the contractions were irregular, but sometimes 5 minutes apart and painful! I didn't know what to do. My mom told me to go to work to keep my mind occupied. So I gave a test at 9 and lectured at 10 and 11. I'm pretty sure I completely freaked my students out because I had to stop and breathe through contractions (college kids think babies just fall out with minimal effort). After class, I had my coworkers time the contractions-still irregular but sometimes three minutes apart. We decided maybe I should go get checked just in I ran home and ate some banana pudding and too much meatloaf! :-) 

Brian got home at about 12:30, loaded our bags, and we headed to the hospital. When my midwife checked me, I was shocked to already be 3-4 cm dilated. Wahoo...we were going to have a baby!  Luckily, a basketball mom was my nurse, so she got us all situated and comfortable in a delivery room. It felt terrible to just lay, so I spent lots of time on the birthing ball and pacing the halls. During contractions, I would wrap my arms around Brian's neck to hold all my weight and quietly breathe through them. By 6-7 cm, I decided it was time for the edidural. I had considered a natural birth, but my doctor recommended the epidural so that in case anything went wrong, they could get me into surgery quicker...and let's be honest, by 7 cm I WANTED one! The anesthesiologist was awesome. The epidural was quick and just enough, and I could still move my legs. He also hunted down a heater to blow under my blankets because our room was FREEZING (he did this because he said he was thankful to have a patient who had showered and wasn't obese...yikes!). My doctor broke my water to get things moving. Then I was able to relax and sleep a bit, until the nurses turned me on my left side. All of a sudden, baby girl's heart rate dropped to nearly nothing. The nurses tried putting me in different positions and adjusting the monitors, but nothing was working.  All of a sudden I was surrounded by four nurses and my doctor.  Brian, my mom, and his mom were in the room but had no idea what was going on. They quickly put me on oxygen and yelled to breathe deep. When that didn't help, my doctor hooked up an internal monitor to baby girl, which sounded different than the external monitor but confirmed baby girl's heart rate was still far too low.  This seemed to go on forever, and all I can remember is saying over and over, "Is she ok?!"  Finally, and for no apparent reason, her heart rate picked up again, and everyone relaxed.  My doctor said it could have been a lot of things but was most likely her pinching her cord somehow.  I'm going to have to yell at her for scaring me when she is older.

After sleeping and relaxing until about 2 am, my doctor checked and said it was time to push. Even though I could still feel a lot with the epidural, I could not tell what or where I was supposed to be pushing.  Brian and a nurse held my legs.  Thank goodness that nurse coached me through every contraction to tell me if I was doing it right.  In desperation I told her at one point, "You have to tell me when I'm doing it right, and I'll just keep doing that-because I can't feel anything!"  Brian kept telling me that he could tell I was making progress, and that helped me stay focused. My mom and Brian's mom said they were pushing with me! Ha! When baby girl started to crown, my doctor pulled the mirror over so I could see.  She had a full head of hair, and seeing this was all the motivation I needed to get serious.  After a few good pushes, I could feel her head come out.  They wiped her head and shoulders, and my doctor said, "Ok, mom. You want to pull her out?"  So as I pushed, I reached down and pulled her right out and onto my chest. Miss Margaret Imogene was born at 4:43 am. C.R.A.Z.Y. It was awesome.  She started crying immediately, and my doctor scolded the nurses for fussing over her too much.  She told them she wanted the baby on my chest for an hour without anyone poking or prodding. After about 45 minutes, she was wiggling her way to the good stuff and started nursing like a champ.  Then daddy and the Nanas got to hold her.  She weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 3/4 inches long.  After this point, I couldn't tell you what happened, because I was SO EXHAUSTED!

Later that day, it was time for big brother Will to meet his new sister.  Maggie got her brother a lawn mower.  He still pretty much ignored her but loved the mower.

There are some (most?) women who are worried about hair and makeup after birth for picture purposes. I am not one of those women.  That first shower always feels amazing, but the thought of having to wash, dry, and fix my hair is exhausting.  I will likely regret this when I look back at these pictures some day.  First family photo. Will is eating some cheese puffs.

Finally after two days, we were on our way home.  Let the fun begin!

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