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. 


33 comments:

  1. Congratulations! What a beautiful baby!

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  2. He is just so squishy and adorable! Do you

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  3. Think that B and Deeds are more chill because they are second children or because they are boys? Interesting. I'm sorry you didn't get your vbac, but so happy for a healthy baby. And a spa vacay, as I referred to my hospital stay post second c-section.

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    1. Spa vacay...now that I'm home, I could totally go back to the hospital for that extra night we declined...mmmmm, I can just taste all that good ice (and the breakfast tacos from the lobby cafe!) now!

      I feel like you do hear about boy babes being more chill than little girl diva babies! But then again, it behooves second kiddos to just adapt to the older sibling's schedule, so who knows if it's more of a sex vs. birth order thing?

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  4. Congratulations Kate! He's so cute!!!

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  5. Congratulations! Please have some iced white wine on this terrified DINK.

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  6. I am unreasonably excited to have read B's birth story! For partially selfish reasons I was really absorbed in your VBAC journey (we had very similar first time birth experiences). So I am truly sorry that it didn't work out the way you had planned but so happy that B is here, happy and healthy. And good for you for researching your pain management needs...we shall possibly need to have a discussion to that end should I ever manage to get pregnant again. Apologies for the longest comment ever and huge congratulations to all of you! So happy for everyone and glad to hear how seamlessly B fits into your family. All the best!

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  7. Congrats! What a beautiful baby boy.

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  8. The paragraph about L visiting you in the hospital had me in tears! What a sweet moment! I love reading birth stories!

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  9. I am so happy for you Kate. The journey to parenthood is rarely what we plan, but as long as there is a healthy baby at the end, I'm happy. Congratulations!

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  10. Congrats! I laughed out loud to your voodoo line, maybe encapsulation will become the new hot thing to do post-pregnancy. Great story loved reading all of it - I'm wordy too so I appreciate it all :)

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  11. I love you oodles and can't wait to meet Mr. B! I know how much you wanted something different, and endless hugs from me on that one. Also... I think this means it's high time I write my own birth story! (Why didn't this happen five months ago?!)

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  12. Congratulations!! So happy for you all!

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  13. Congratulations! I would love to hear more about c-section recovery the section time around. I'm most likely not a candidate for a VBAC -- although it still hasn't been completely ruled out. And I'm terrified of recovery with toddlers!

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  14. So sweet and total perfection! My two year old has the same monkey lovie. Congratulations!!

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  15. I love a good, long, well-documented, slightly hysterical birth story. Some of my favorite reading! Ina May and Rickie would have been proud of your efforts and preparedness, but it sounds like B just needed to come out. Imagine his size if you had gone another week or 2? I went 41 weeks and my daughter was 9 pounds on the dot.

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  16. I'm really glad the ice got a nod! And as someone who was at both hospital stays, I have to say you were pretty chill with L despite all the goings on too! But such is Kate.

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  17. I loved this birth story more than an Internet friend/stranger should. Birthing a baby in any way is so freaking awesome. Congrats again, mama. Enjoy your little man.

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  18. Thank you for sharing! I may have cried :)

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  19. He is so adorable. I cried. Congratulations to all of you!

    I think you'll like this article: http://muthamagazine.com/2013/09/s-lynn-aldermans-ugliest-beautiful-moment-or-fuck-ina-may/ I

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  20. Hey friend, thanks for sharing your birth story with us, and congrats on sweet baby B. On a related note, I read this article today and thought you'd enjoy it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dina-l-relles/after-3-c-sections-i-want-to-be-a-doula_b_5080747.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

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  21. Go you for documenting this! What a story. Congrats to you guys - he's simply gorgeous.

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  22. Great story, wonderful happy ending! Congratulations, Kate and Evan!!! Can't wait to meet little Brady.

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  23. That's some good story-telling. Glad for the happy ending. I was induced due to preeclampsia while my husband was out of the country. Doctors are apparently unwilling to mess with that. :-) It's an emotional time, and I hope you aren't beating yourself up over being upset that the VBAC didn't happen. Good luck!

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  24. Good job, mama, even if it didn't happen the way you wanted.

    Also, how much like your dad does he look in the carseat photo? Wowza.

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  25. You say wordy, I say excellent story teller. I'm so sorry it didn't go the way you wanted - I know that was something you were so hoping for. I'm glad the process, unwanted though it was, went well and that he's here, healthy and so stinking cute! Congratulations on your handsome little man!

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  26. COngratulations! I miiiiiight have shed a tear or two at this.

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  27. Not too many words, not too many feelings either. Congratulations mama. I sure like you a lot for someone I've never met:). And your kids are very lucky. <3

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  28. Love the birth story! I'm so sorry the VBAC didn't work out, but with a baby that size, I'm sure your lady bits are extremely thankful for the C-section :).

    P.S. DId you deliver at Baylor? If so, I need to hear more about these breakfast tacos you speak of.

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    1. Presby! Their cafeteria food is HORRID but there is a little order-at-counter cafe in the Perot lobby and it has great food! These breakfast tacos could almost convince me to have a third baby!

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  29. Brady is a beautiful baby! There is a bond between mother and son that can never be understood until experienced. Then, it can never adequately be described. Congratulations to all, on the safe arrival of son, brother and grandson!

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  30. Upon arriving at the end of your post I didn't need a drink, only a tissue. I'm so happy for your little family, so impressed at your honesty and bravery, and so thrilled to be able to "share" this moment with you.Welcome to the world you lucky little man - you have an amazing family! Love to all of you!

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  31. I love reading birth stories, and this one is no exception. Sorry it didn't go as planned, but he is here, and he is perfect! Congratulations again!

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happy little comments!