Tuesday, April 22, 2014

C-Section Recovery Numero Dos

Alternate Title: Eatin' Mah Ute Meat

Or, If That's Too Graphic for You: We'll Be Better The Second Time Around

{Virtual Nerd High-Fives for all my fellow 90s-kid TGIFers!}

I didn't write much about my recovery after L was born {sensing a theme?}, although I touched briefly on some of my post-partum emotions here.

Pain-wise, I remember still being pretty damn uncomfortable after we left the hospital {6 nights total stay}.  Changing position while laying down was difficult for a while, and a walk around our block definitely left me feeling spent.  I know I refilled my Percocet Rx {I alternated Percocet with Motrin}, although I didn't finish the entire second bottle. I don't recall exactly what the "down-under" situation was like, but I think bleeding persisted somewhat consistently for three weeks or so.  It took an entire two weeks for my milk to come in completely {which I attribute to my body not being ready to give birth + L being a really lazy latcher and not fully stimulating milk production}.  At the time, I think I probably would have said my physical recovery overall was pretty easy {other than the milk issues} or at least typical, considering a cesarean is major surgery. 

As I've mentioned before, emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck.  I cried a lot.  I felt truly overwhelmed a lot.  There was definitely some baby blues going on, and our feeding schedule for the first three weeks {to get L's weight back up} was stressful and exhausting.  Plus just straight up being a parent for the first time, especially with a "sassy" baby, makes you a touch crazy.  But weeks and months after L was born, way after we had more of a loose "routine," way after we had established good nursing habits, I had mega anxiety... and, in many instances, over really irrational things.  Carrying L downstairs {even the three from our entryway / master bedroom into the kitchen / dining room area} was terrifying.  I didn't like to bring her into the kitchen for fear that the oven would magically (a) turn itself on, (b) open, and (c) suck my baby inside to be burned.  I lay awake at night for hours after feedings coming up with actual game plans to implement in case L were to be kidnapped by drug lords on our upcoming trip to Mexico {and this coming from someone who is the Anti-Oh-Mexico-is-So-Scary Traveler... I was happily signed up to attend a conference in Juarez whilst 7 months pregnant before my boss said "are you insane, absolutely not."}.  I was sure every Law & Order SVU and Criminal Minds episode I'd ever watched {without a second thought before} would happen to us.  I started thinking of everything in "worst case scenarios," because I reasoned "terrible things always happen when you least expect them... if I anticipate catastrophe, surely I will ward off the Bad." 

With a {brief} past history of depression and a family history of PPD, I'd been on the look out for signs of something deeper than just the "baby blues."  My feelings of anxiety didn't seem normal, but they also didn't fit the criteria for PPD, so I basically just muddled through for a while without mentioning anything to anyone. Right around 4 months post-partum, I received a Lucie's List e-newsletter outlining the symptoms for PPD and Post-Partum Anxiety {here's a great checklist for both}.  I'd never even heard of PPA before, which is somewhat shocking to me now considering I've suffered bouts of anxiety for 15 years or so. I debated getting back on anxiety meds but, in the end, wasn't super comfortable with taking my prescription while breastfeeding.  But just knowing PPA was A Thing was incredibly helpful, and I was able to employ techniques I learned in counseling in my late teens and early 20s to break on through to the other side. {Cue The Doors!}


My experience this go 'round really couldn't be more different... in the best possible way! 

I will say my first 36 hours post-surgery were really, really rough. Several nurses told me subsequent sections make for more difficult recoveries, and, based on the pain I was experiencing, I believed them.  I was up and walking ASAP just as I was with my first {I think I took my first steps only 3 hours post-op with L... it was more like 5 hours this time}, but the pain was excruciating.  I really think this was mostly due to poor pain management -- after the Morphine Incident in the recovery room, the peeps in charge of my drugs continued to play Goof Troupe, and things really didn't start to turn around until my second full day in the hospital when I pretty much told my nurse to REMOVE THIS BLASTED IV AND I'LL ROTATE ORAL PERCOCET AND MOTRIN FROM NOW ON I DON'T CARE WHO YOU HAVE TO CALL TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN PLEASE AND THANK YOU. 

It was all uphill from there... By Discharge Day {only 3 nights and 2 full days this time}, I was feeling really good.  A little bit of incision pain {mostly pulling}, but my range of motion was great. I took hydrocodone 3x a day for a couple of days, and then 2x daily for a couple more.  One week post-op I was completely off meds.  With an active toddler, we were out of the house right from the beginning; our first full week home included trips to the Arboretum, Toddler Open Gym, and park {E was with me... Super Solo Parent I am not}.  We even did 3 miles around White Rock 9 days post-op {admittedly, this was pushing it}.  Bleeding stopped after a week, but will rear it's ugly head if I get lax about my lifting restrictions {as expected, not being able to pick L up is the absolute worst result of the RCS -- both practically and emotionally speaking}. 

My overall energy level is high, all things {like sleep} considered.  My milk came in like a boss on Day 3. 

Emotionally, there have been loads less tears. The crying jags I have experienced are mostly due to feelings of guilt regarding L during some of our more difficult "transitional moments" {aka: "No, I don't want anything to do with you, Mommy" moments}.  Interestingly, I also tear up at "powerful" music... which makes L's requests for "Let It Go" a little dicey sometimes {Idina's high notes get me every damn time} {this phenomenon isn't new to me... when I was weaning off a large dose of evil, evil Paxil in college, I bawled throughout the entire three hours of Simon & Garfunkel's reunion tour like a total fruitcake}.  I've yet to feel totally overwhelmed or completely inadequate {although I've yet to wrangle both kids by myself for longer than an hour, so... time will tell!}.  There have definitely been moments of frustration, but things are relatively even keel over here. 

Anxiety-wise, I've only had one real "episode," and it's so incredibly ridiculous that I have to just laugh now.  One of our first nights home, I had a dream wherein a very fat {?} and very naked {???} Scott Foley attempted to break into our house via sky light {of which we have none} and murder me. I lay awake for hours sure some sort of burglary or attack was imminent.  It has been suggested that perhaps I should cut back on the Scandal watching, but, um, that's crazy talk.  Visions of Nude, Rotund Mr. Foley haven't bothered me since, nor have any other irrational thoughts. 

There are several explanations for what I'm so thankful has been an amazing second recovery...

... I knew what to expect this time.  Sure, every newborn is different and B has definitely thrown us for a few loops already, but Teeny-Tiny Baby #2 isn't nearly as terrifying as Teeny-Tiny Baby #1. 

... I'm well educated on PPA.  Again, just being able to identify my specific brand of crazy is therapeutic for me.

...We've had little to no issues nursing.  B was a great latcher and nurser from the get-go, and my milk came in early. I was prepared for the first weeks / months of breastfeeding to suck big hairy ones again, but things just really fell into place for us this time.  

...We lucked out with one of those mystical "easy second children" people talk about.  This kid is so super mellow; it's really incredible. I refuse to Internet Jinx this one. 

...I embraced self-cannibalism {DRAMA!} and encapsulated my placenta. 


I've had a lot questions on this one. I know it's not for everyone -- I wasn't even sure it was for me when I first reserved the services of our "encapsulator."  But while I thought my first physical recovery was pretty standard, I was willing to embrace all the crunchiness of dehydrated uterus meat {I mean that figuratively... unless you're making placenta jerky or something} if it meant less PPA and a better milk supply {read about all the supposed benefits here}.  Hell, I was even down for a good ol' placebo effect!  

And maybe that's what I'm experiencing.  I can't say definitively that placenta pills are magic... The ease of this recovery could be a combination of the first four statements above or simply plain good luck. But! {And maybe I'm ingesting Hippie Koolaid along with placenta} I'm inclined to think there's something to encapsulation.  Enough so that I'd recommend them to anyone who is looking to have a better post-partum recovery.  

For us, the process was super simple... I researched service providers in our area and contacted the one that was the most highly spoken of in reviews {that's her link above for any interested locals}.  She had me sign a contract for services and sent me an instruction sheet for packaging the placenta.  We had to coordinate the placenta's release from the hospital {MEDICAL WASTE JAILBREAK!} ourselves, which ended up being ridiculously easy {I have heard other hospitals can make this step quite difficult so definitely research the procedure before delivery if you plan on encapsulating}... I told my OB of our plans at one of my appointments and also informed the nursing staff once I checked into L&D.  Our hospital holds all placentas for a number of days before discarding them, and we just had to wait 24 hours before requesting it. We signed one piddly little form, packed that sucker up on ice in a brand new Styrofoam ice chest, and our encapsulator picked it up from our room at the hospital.  Less than 48 hours later, she delivered the pills to our doorstep... along with, um, the dried umbilical cord in the shape of a heart as a "keepsake." {WTF}  This went immediately in the trash.  Sorry B. No umbilical cord Christmas tree ornaments for us. 

The pills stay in the fridge or freezer.  They are smaller than your average multivitamin and look like they are filled with tiny red flakes.  An average placenta yields 160 to 200 pills; mine was right smack in the middle with 181.  I took 2 pills twice daily for the first two weeks and am  now down to 2 once daily for the next two weeks.  After that, I can take them "as needed" based on my energy level or emotional state.  Some women also like to save a week's worth for their first PP period.  And, no, they don't have any funky aftertaste. 

Does that adequately cover my Weird Overshare Quota for the year?  Probably so, yes?  I'll shelve all Placenta Talk for now on unless y'all have questions in the comments!

Aaaaaaaaaaaand I promise to be back soon with the link to my new favorite Yay These Don't Make Me Look Too Fat shorts and maybe a recipe or two...ones that don't involve human organs, PINKY-SWEAR.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

Yep, I'm totally going to be That Gal and clog your feed with yet another series of photos of pastel-clad rug rats and Easter basket tableaus.  Being that yesterday was our first holiday as a family foursome, I ain't even sorry 'bout it.


We started the morning off right with a little commercialism... Pretty standard Easter basket fare, I think -- bunny ears, books {Peek-A Who? for B and a new Ladybug Girl adventure for L... Mamas of girls, are y'all reading these books? We love them, and they are such a refreshing break from most glitter-encrusted titles aimed at 2-3 year old lasses!}, an O ball toy and lots-o-links for B, and summer bunny PJs and a bubble toy for L. And - the heavy hitters - an insanely soft bunny for B and a cheesy sparkly Minnie beany baby for L. 


The Jellycat bunny is a First Easter Tradition... 

And L fell in love with this little Minnie {"Mickey"} at Old Navy the other day. I'm usually not such a sucker, and lord knows we need another tiny stuffed animal like a hole in the head, but I figured B's bunny needed a counterpart 'lest Easter morning become World War MINE MINE MINE. Plus who can resist a little voice exclaiming "Mommy! Mickey has gold Toms like me!"


Mousy Brunch Selfies. 


Minnie {Mickey} {and Annie's fruit snack bunnies} proved enough of a distraction for a swift morning church departure. For the first time, we attended services at the church where L goes to preschool. The minister managed to work Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Braxton, and Biblical timeline skepticism into his sermon, leading us to consider quite seriously potential future membership. Oooo, and there were trumpets.  Can't resist some Handel with a brass accompaniment!  B was an all star throughout the service and the apple of many-an octogenarian church lady's eye. L screamed her sweet little ever-lovin' head off when we dropped her off in the same damn classrooms she's played in twice weekly for the past 9 months... why so crazy, child?  We picked her up somewhat appeased by a very patient nursery teacher and her cache of saltine crackers. Her spirits were lifted further by a quick park trip before our brunch reservation. 


We thoroughly enjoyed a feast of beignets, Croque Madames, and mimosas at Toulouse with E's parents and sister -- L was particularly thrilled with the "doughnuts" and tried to dip stolen pommes frites into the cappuccino sauce. Since I'm an Evil Mother who left all traces of candy out of L's basket and eggs this year, we let our girl indulge her sweet tooth, NOLA-style.


After a nap for the kidlets and a movie for the adults {About Time...which looked terrible in previews and was actually quite adorable...definitely not the cheesy romcom I expected}, we hunted "EATER EGGS"...a language foible that, as IG pointed out, isn't horribly off base! 


After 2 practice rounds at preschool, L was an old pro -- stopping to assess her spoils with each new find. Pretty sure "let's hunt for your afternoon snack" is going to be a new favorite time-suck for the post-nap crankies. Cheapo plastic eggs and raisins FTW! 

All-in-all, a truly Top Notch Easter celebration -- one that ended unceremoniously in the very best of ways: trapped under a fuzzy biscuit baby with Parks & Rec on the DVR and a tuckered out toddler slumbering easily upstairs.  We did fail to dye eggs this year {my absolute favorite}, but, with the forecast in the low 80s this week, we may just get 'er done the way Texas Jesus intended -- clothed in just a diaper atop old beach towels on the front lawn.  It's never too late for naked crafting! 


Concerned Citizen hopes your Easter was a very happy one!  


*Amazon links are affiliate; all products purchased by me without sponsorship. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

B's Birth Story

Just now getting around to posting a Baby B update, although considering I'm writing his birth story on  his 2 week birthday while his sister is two years old and still doesn't have a birth story "on paper," I figure I'm doing okay. 

Failing to jot down the details of L's birth is definitely a regret -- I'm not entirely sure why I didn't make that somewhat of a priority, but I'm sure the baby blues and PPA played a big part in my omission, as well as my general feelings of extreme disappointment and failure for requiring a c-section in the first place {feelings that were further complicated by the fact that I knew surgery was 100% necessary for L's safe delivery; therefore, I felt quite guilty about that disappointment}.  

Essentially, I was a hot-damn mess of emotions, and, in an attempt to be less so this time around, I'm just going to get this sucker down!

{Fair Warning: This is like The Goldfinch of birth stories except with less Pulitzer prizes and more Ricki-Lake-&-Ina-May-induced guilt.  I hope you're sitting somewhere comfy. Or that you have the good sense to skip this one and come back later when I'm back to my usual drivel... I promise I won't hold it against you.}

I had my 40 week appointment scheduled with my OB right smack on my Tuesday, April 1st due date at noon. Back in January or February, we'd selected Friday, April 4th as an "end game" for my desired VBAC; ie: If I failed to go into labor naturally or failed to progress enough naturally for a Foley ball induction, we would be doing the repeat c-section {"RCS"} on that date.  But as I passed 37, 38, and 39 weeks with absolutely no natural progression, I really started to want at least the full 41 weeks, if not 42, to hopefully allow my body to do it's thing. At my 39 week appointment, my OB agreed to discuss pushing back the RCS if I still hadn't progressed at 40 weeks. In preparation for a potential "battle," I reread all the ACOG recommendations for VBACs and bookmarked compelling literature on my phone for backup. I was ready! 

Backing up just a tad, I'd been sick for nearly a full 2 weeks as I neared my due date and was 2 days off a round of antibiotics when it arrived. While I was much better, I was definitely still feeling rather "off"... I'd noticed a very strange tingling in my legs the previous weekend -- almost like hot spots in certain places, as well as both legs feeling bruised to the touch.  They weren't swollen at all, so I just chalked it up to being Super Effing Pregnant.  Then on Monday, while L was at school, I ran around town like a mad woman completing errands.  After pickup, we also braved the grocery store, and by the time we got home and I got everything unloaded, I was feeling lightheaded and my heart was starting to race a bit.  I took my blood pressure, and it was high. I don't remember the exact number, but it was definitely up there -- and not just for me {my BP is usually low -- around 110/60}, but legitimately high.  Since my OB's office was already closed at this point, and I wasn't keen on dragging a toddler to L&D by myself, I turned on Daniel Tiger for L, rested for a while, then retested.  The reading was still high for me, but not too incredibly terrible in general.  I continued to monitor it that night and got similar readings.  When E came home, I told him I felt "really weird," but really couldn't describe any real "symptoms" other than that. 

When I woke up on Tuesday, I still felt "really weird" {so eloquent, I know}.  I took my BP first thing and it was still high for me / borderline on the hypertension scale.  I started to get really nervous about the day's appointment and was afraid a crummy BP reading would equal RCS on Friday with no option to push it back.  I got L up, we woke Daddy up to play, and I made breakfast.  Feeling too exhausted to mess with my hair, I took a "rinser" shower and got dressed. E got ready and went to work as usual, and L and I played while we waited for my mother-in-law to come over so I could head to my appointment.  I noticed I was having some eye floaters which made me a little uneasy paired with the higher BP.  At some point, I realized I'd only had coffee for breakfast and, while I wasn't hungry, cracked open two hardboiled eggs.  L then proceeded to scarf one of my eggs... The rinser shower and the stolen egg would become a sore subjects many hours later. 

My mother-in-law arrived about an hour and a half before my appointment.  I left early so they could play before L's nap and so I could have a phone date with Maggie.  L was not super happy about me leaving, but I promised her I'd be home when she woke up from her nap. While she was distracted, I slipped out without a good-bye kiss {Sore Subject #3}.  Maggie and I caught up for a good 45 minutes, and our conversation left me feeling rejuvenated  and ready to tackle the "we're not agreeing to that RCS on the 4th" conversation with my OB.  

In the waiting room, I passed a few minutes texting my friend Erin.  The nurse {who I've come to appreciate over the years but does not have the best bedside manner} called me back quickly.  I gave my urine sample, hopped on the scale, and sat down for my BP reading.  I immediately knew something was off when she did the initial reading.  Without saying a word, she repeated the process twice more on the same arm and then three more times on my other arm.  My heart pretty much sank right then and there.  The lowest reading she recorded was 160/96... 

"Oh yay, you get to have a baby today!"

Um, no. No, lady. No "yay."  

As she led me back to an exam room, the ugly crying commenced.  She made some lame attempt at an April Fool's Day joke which did not go over well, and she quickly left me alone.  I called Evan to tell him he might want to wrap up what he was doing at work.  Having been my biggest advocate in my quest for VBAC, he was calm and encouraging while I lost it.  We agreed he'd stay at work until I spoke with my OB but would head out immediately if need be.  I also called my mom who returned home to pack the car for a probable road trip to Dallas. I texted Erin that I was probably having a baby today and that I was FAH-REAKING OUT, and she worked some of her calming magic.  I love great friends. 

My OB came in shortly thereafter.  She said my BP readings alone were enough to set off major warning bells, but coupled with the eye floaters and the funky leg pain, she was confidently diagnosing me with preeclampsia and insisting B be born ASAP to avoid complications.  We both crossed all our appendages as she did one last cervical check in case I'd progressed enough for her to insert a Foley ball and/or break my water and give labor a chance to start naturally... no dice.  Absolutely no softening and not even a fingertip dilated.  She hugged me while I ugly cried and told me how legitimately sorry she was.  For about the thousandth time in our professional relationship, I was thankful she was my care provider. 

After much mascara drippage, she asked me when I'd last eaten and said she hoped it'd been a great last meal... Um, yeah, single sad hardboiled egg around 10am, Womp-Womp.  Since anesthesia prefers a full 8 hours between eating and surgery, she tentatively set the RCS for 6pm and instructed me to head down to L&D to check in.  I asked if we could possibly bump surgery back to the next morning... Absolutely not.  Well can I at least go home for an hour and come right back? To do some important things like, yaknow, install that infant car seat {what idiot doesn't have their car seat installed by their due date?!}.  Sorry, nope. 

At this point, the tears ramped up again as I realized I promised L I'd be the one who woke her up from her nap. Yes, she's two and I doubt she'd hold it against me {or even really recall I'd made that promise}, but oh man, talk about a stab to the heart as I thought about the moment I'd wanted alone with her as my only child for the last time. I called E and confirmed today was the day and blubbered about how I hadn't gotten to say a proper good-bye to L.  We decided he'd go home, fill his mom in, grab our bag, and meet me at L&D.  We'd decide once he was at the hospital if we wanted his mom to bring L up to see me.  I called my mom and she assured me she'd be on the highway shortly and, with a little traffic luck, arrive before I went in for surgery.  I texted Erin, told her I was FAH-REAKING OUT again, and she had more soothing words.  I pulled it together enough to get dressed and leave the exam room.  I passed the nurse on the way out, and she said "cheer up! you get to meet your baby today!"  I shot her a look of death.  The moderately pregnant lady checking out at the front desk appeared very confused at this interaction and likely thought I was a total baby-hating nutbag.

I managed to make it down to L&D without anymore awkward encounters and quickly checked in.  The lady who showed me to the pre-op observation room must have thought I was crying because I was terrified of labor or surgery, because she asked me if this was my first baby and told me it wouldn't be as bad as I was making it out to be in my head. I didn't have the energy to correct her, so I made some lame murmuring sounds so she'd leave me alone.  I got dressed in my gown, contemplated taking a mirror selfie for Belly Posterity, and quickly abandoned the idea as I looked like hell.  Started to feel quite silly and guilty for blubbering so much when I was going to have a healthy baby in a few hours.  Feelings of silliness and guilt led to more tears... I was pretty much a faucet of saline and snot at this point. 

{ZOMG I AM SO WORDY}

My prep nurse Adrienne came in and introduced herself and seemed surprised to find such a pathetic patient.  I explained how much I'd wanted a VBAC and also that I was feeling like somewhat of an entitled asshole for my current state of being.  Adrienne the Saint said all the right things about how mourning your desired birth experience doesn't mean you don't love your baby, yada yada yada.  She was just the person I needed while I waited for E to arrive, and for that, I will be eternally grateful to her.  We chatted about our daughters as she completed the zillion intake questions, and I was able to relax a bit.  I also realized a big part of the reason I was so upset was the whole "not seeing L" aspect of the situation.  I knew I'd feel a lot better if I were able to see her pre-surgery, but I also didn't want to drag her up to the hospital for purely selfish purposes if the experience of seeing me stuck in bed with tubes in my arm was going to scare her.  E arrived and, after some discussion, we decided she'd probably do just fine, and we asked his mom if she'd mind bringing her up. 

While we waited, four different nurses attempted to insert my IV and collect 7 vials of blood for testing.  In the process, they collapsed 6 of my veins.  So that was super special.  Anesthesia also came to speak with me and seemed really surprised I wanted a spinal rather than an epidural.  They also seemed confused about post-op pain management even though E and I both tried to explain to them what meds I'd had during and after L's birth.  We were more than a little surprised to discover the hospital didn't have any record of my previous stay even though I'd delivered there a mere two years prior... Electronic Age Fail.  I started to feel anxious about surgery as I was not a fan of the anesthesiologist's and nurse anesthetist's vibes.  


My mother in law arrived with L soon after anesthesiology left, and my girl's presence immediately brightened the entire room.  She didn't seem concerned at all that I was wearing strange clothes and stuck in bed.   She sat in my lap for a few snuggles, but mostly charmed the nursing staff with her renditions of Twinkle, Twinkle and Itsty Bitsy Spider.  She was very intrigued by my red allergy bracelet, and Nurse Adrienne made one for her and for her Minnie Mouse.  She was also quite pleased to discover the hospital has delicious Sonic-style ice, and she happily munched on that for over an hour.  After a good, long visit, we told her goodnight and promised her she'd be able to come see her brother and give him his monkey lovey {that she'd become obsessed with} the next day {and eat a birthday cupcake... one guess as to what she was most excited about}. Being able to properly kiss my favorite girl goodbye brought me a good amount of peace; I'm so glad we made the decision to bring her up. 

My OB came in around 5pm and said we were a go for a 6pm surgery.  She'd spoken with the anesthesiologist and told him I definitely wanted a spinal.  Her phone rang to the tune of Mirrors, and we had a somewhat inappropriate conversation about Jay-Z, her kindergartener, and radio edits.  Recalled for the second time that day why I love her so much. 

My mom arrived a few minutes before 6pm, right around the time Adrienne told us we were pushing back surgery 30 minutes so my OB could finish delivering another patient.  I was extremely thankful for that extra time with my mom!  

The OR nurses came to wheel me away around 6:15, and I was super pleased to see there had been a shift change and a new anesthesiology team was in place.  These guys were way more personable and we joked about Big 12 sports {?} all the way down the hall.  Partners are not allowed in the OR for the administration of spinals or epidurals which I really, really hate.  With a spinal, things move really fast since the medication only lasts for an hour or so, and, after hours of waiting in that tiny observation room, it felt like warp speed as they prepped me for anesthesia. Earlier, I'd happily consented to having a resident present for surgery but started to regret that decision a bit as the anesthesiologist narrated the entire spinal procedure.  I did note that Footloose was playing on the OR radio which calmed my nerves, because who doesn't love Footloose and/or the irony of listening to Footloose as your legs literally become temporarily paralyzed? 

The spinal took a bit longer to work, and I was momentarily terrified I would be completely put under... a feeling which was almost immediately replaced by the panic one feels when losing total range of motion in the lower half of one's body.  Typical control freak, I am not a fan at all of this sensation {or lack thereof}, and remember thinking "how high are the chances really that I end up like poor Sybil Branson if I just take away informed consent now and we all go home and eat cheap oven pizza and wait this baby out?" But, up went the blue sheet, and my OB began making the first incisions while reminding everyone in the room not to toss the placenta as we were planning on encapsulating it.  Cue self-deprecating joke from me and a horrified look from that resident baby-doctor. Poor girl didn't realize she'd be in the presence of a real, live voodoo weirdo. 

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E arrived, resplendent in paper scrubs, just after surgery began and we watched the clock expectantly for those first screechy baby bird cries. 

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At 6:40 pm, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, Brady Terrence loudly made his entrance into the world -- 9lb 3oz and 21.5 inches of fat, cheesy baby perfection.  As my OB cut him out {ug}, the entire room made wagers as to his size; after measuring in the 50th percentile consistently on 5 Level II ultrasounds, we were a bit shocked he was so large! 

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E went over to the table as they weighed him and performed his Apgars, and then came back over to me sans baby.  At this point, B had stopped crying and was silent, and my mind immediately went to about 524 terrible places, but E assured me all was well.  The nurse soon brought him to us and we were able to do skin-to-skin as surgery continued.  B was silent and alert the entire time, like he knew this was exactly where he was supposed to be -- it was an incredible contrast to our first encounter with L who furiously screamed on my chest throughout the entire completion of surgery. 

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At least I fortuitously managed to accessorize appropriately.
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Surgery seemed to take a lot longer than I recall with L {E thought so, too}.  Interestingly enough, my OB performed and "inside" cervical check during the process - basically poking at my cervix from inside my abdominal cavity - and reported there was absolutely zero internal dilation or softening.  She said by 40 weeks, one would definitely expect at least something to be happening internally, and she highly doubts I would have gone into labor spontaneously by 41 or even 42 weeks.  I am not sure if this information makes me feel better or worse, but I suppose it's interesting nonetheless. 

We were wheeled back to the same pre-op observation room and introduced B to his J {GranJan had a name change a while back as L prefers the more hood worthy moniker "J"} and PawPaw {Evan's dad arrived while we were in surgery}.  Cue insane flurry of texting and emailing. Apparently our family doesn't do major life events unplugged. A shift change brought the Keystone Kops of nursing staff and an entire series of unfortunate events {more blood draw trauma, a horrid reaction to morphine after specifically stating I didn't want morphine, more general confusion about post-op pain management}, but I was too blissed out with B to care much.

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I won't elaborate on the rest of our hospital stay 'lest I send this post into an entirely new sphere of Lengthy Obnoxiousness, but I will say our time there was loads less stressful than when L was born. No NICU stay, no inconsolable baby, no frantic tears with the lactation consultants. B latched and nursed beautifully from the start and showed off his mellow personality right off the bat. Dare I say good chunks of our stay were actually enjoyable. And it's been much of the same since we've been home.  This little biscuit baby just fits right into our life and doesn't seem to mind one bit that we've drug him all over town in his first two weeks of life. This kid rarely cries -- only when he's starving or cold; most of the time, he just squeaks adorably.  The transition definitely hasn't been all sunshine and rainbow unicorn farts, but I really can't imagine it realistically going much smoother. 

Two Terrences
Second sibling meeting... the first was... not worthy of photography
headed home

And once again, all those stupid cliches are true... You cannot fathom loving another child as much as you love your first, but somehow you just do.  I also really had trouble envisioning myself with a son, but I have to say it's pretty damn cool having one of each. 


Life is truly good. 

If you've managed to make it this far, please have a drink on me.  And how's about you make it a double since I forced you to look at my child covered in vernix.