November 29, 2012
I’ve read so many beautifully written and touching birth stories over the past year …unfortunately I am not that talented in the writing department and this is more of a brain dump of how Jack’s birthday played out. I wrote it more for myself than anything so I apologize if it seems long and drawn out.
I never intended to have 5 weeks pass before telling the story of Jack’s birth…but I guess that’s what happens when you have a newborn baby.
We were all set for a cesarean birth on Monday October 22nd at 1:30pm…assuming the amniocentesis that morning came back saying the lungs were mature. We spent the weekend finishing last minute things (like finally packing that hospital bag) and tried to relax and enjoy “us” as much as possible. At some point late Sunday afternoon I decided I should call the hospital and see if there were any instructions I needed to know as my doctor didn’t tell me anything except to show up 2 hours early…which would mean right after the amniocentesis which was scheduled at 9:30am at a different clinic across town from the hospital.
Turns out I needed to have blood work done and so they advised I come in early that morning before the amnio appointment so that it would for sure be done by operation time. So our schedule for Monday looked like this: head to the hospital around 7:30am to register/get blood work done, after that go to the clinic for my amnio appointment with my doctor at 9:30am, and then after that head back to the hospital to check-in for the c-section by 11:30am. Considering the drive from the clinic to the hospital is a good 30mins each way, we were looking at a pretty hectic morning.
I slept about as well as I could have Sunday night considering I was about to go through major abdominal surgery and meet our child the next day. I had Lance snap one final bump pic in the nursery (it was dark outside when we left the house)…officially 37 weeks and 3 days along. Then we were off!
The drive up to the hospital was uneventful as we both tried to take in what was about to happen in mere hours and how much our lives were about to change. We parked and commented how the next time we’re in the car we’ll have a little baby in tow. We made our way up to the labor and delivery section of the hospital, registered, and I got the blood work done. We ended up not having to go to the clinic for the amnio because my doctor was on his way to the hospital anyways to deliver a baby (how’s that for timing).
Now for some reason I wasn’t nervous for the amniocentesis at all. One of our birthing class teachers had one done in her 3rd trimester also and assured me that it was just a quick poke followed by a small cramp and then it was done…maybe 2mins tops. Well it did not go so easily for me. It ended up being a 30min process with 3 separate attempts of trying to get fluid from the 2 very small pockets available….all of which were unsuccessful and very painful. Had they lasted 2-3mins I would have been fine…but the digging around for several minutes all the while laying completely still was borderline unbearable. Maybe I’m just a pansy.
After trying for 30mins and not being able to draw out any fluid (still no clue why) my doctor gave us the choice to either go ahead with the c-section as planned or wait until I go into labor naturally and hope for the best. He still believed the c-section was the safest route and assured me that more than likely the baby would be just fine as I had already passed the 37 week mark. Now if you told me I would be given this choice weeks before I would have without hesitation opted for the natural route…but obviously we decided to go forth with the c-section. I had spent the last couple weeks mentally, physically and emotionally preparing for a c-section and meeting our baby…our family and friends were all waiting to hear the good news later that day…I was ready to be done with pregnancy and start life as a mom.
We still had a good hour or so before we needed to officially check-in so we decided to just hang in the hospital lobby for a bit and process what just happened. I instantly started to second guess our decision…and so I did what any girl would do…I called my mom. She reassured me that I wasn’t doing a horrible thing and that everything would be fine…and we would get to meet our baby in a few short hours. Almost like a light switch I went from being nervous and worried about everything to excited and anxious to meet our little one. Feeling a lot more confident and excited Lance and I made our way upstairs to check in and get the process started.
From the moment we checked in things went from calm to hectic…we were told our doctor had just delivered another baby (!?) and everyone that needed to be at the c-section was available and ready to go. I didn’t even get a chance to text my mom and let her know what was happening…I figured I would have a couple hours of waiting around before the actual operation! Before I knew it there were multiple people in my room…nurses hooking up monitors and inserting an IV all the while I’m trying to answer questions the resident OBGYN was asking me (I delivered at a University hospital so in addition to my doctor there was a resident and a 3rd year medical student also taking part)…followed by the anesthesiologists explaining the whole spinal epidural procedure. Lance was busy changing into scrubs during all this and before I knew it we were saying goodbye and I was being wheeled down to the operating room. Cue nerves.
This was not my first time in an operating room so the freezing temps, stark whiteness and scary tools all over was nothing new…but still intimidating. I started to shake. Thankfully I had two amazing nurses who knew exactly what to say to calm me down. They brought me a nice warm blanket to cover my top half while the anesthesiologist administered the spinal. I don’t actually recall any pain associated with the spinal…what I do remember quite vividly is the instant warming sensation that shot down my body…it felt amazing and instantly calmed me…weird I know. They laid me down on the operating table and Lance was let in and sat beside me. My arms were still shaking at this point and my head was stuck in this foam pillow thing that prevented me from really turning my head much but I was still able to see Lance and we quietly talked as the procedure began.
When you research c-sections you find that they can very quite a bit based on your doctor, hospital, and urgency in which it is being preformed. I honestly could not have been happier with how things played out. Like I said we had two amazing nurses who constantly made sure I was comfortable and knew what was going on. The anesthesiologist gave me the play-by-play of the procedure and kept telling me I was doing awesome and everything was going perfectly. The only thing I felt was a little bit of pressure when they started to pull/push the baby out. My doctor let us know it was time and as he worked he said what was happening…first the head was out and remarked that our baby had a cute face…then the shoulders…then he was out completely! It was at this point everyone was quite and they told “Dad” to take a look and see what it was…to which Lance excitedly proclaimed “It’s a Boy!” Jack was born at 12:36pm weighing in at 6lb 6oz.
I can’t possibly put into words the emotions that flooded me at that moment…to say it was amazing is an understatement. I still hadn’t even seen Jack at this point but I was already in love just hearing his cries…what a relief to know his lungs were healthy and strong! The pediatrician took Jack to one side of the room and checked everything over while Lance looked on. Finally after what seemed like an eternity (probably only a minute in reality) Lance brought Jack over and I got to see and touch him for the first time. It was incredible. Even though we were surrounded by people we didn’t know with my body cut open on a table it felt like we were the only ones in the room…our new family of 3. I don’t even remember the rest of the procedure…I remember asking at one point about my placenta (the reason for all this!) and they said it was out and they already had me almost stitched completely up.
Once the bulk of the procedure was done I was allowed to do skin-to-skin with Jack right there in the operating room. We didn’t have a lot of space to work with but it was still amazing. I know in a lot of cases with c-sections this isn’t even an option…and they will often take the baby away to a nursery until the mom is in recovery. One of the things I loved about our hospital is that it is “baby friendly” and they really push skin-to-skin, breastfeeding, and rooming-in with the baby. This was HUGE in making the whole c-section experience less crappy…dare I say enjoyable?! I’ve heard cases where the baby is taken to the nursery and the Dad goes along leaving the mother in the operating room alone…our experience was so different and I’m so thankful for that. Jack never left either of our hands once he was handed to Lance.
Once I was completely stapled back together (literally) I was moved onto my “real” bed and we made our way back to our labor/delivery room. The next two hours are a blur to me now…which I will attribute to the pain killers. I know I breastfed Jack for the first time, Lance called my mom for me, and the nurses came in every 15mins to check my vitals and asked if I could move my legs yet. I held Jack to my chest the entire time…skin-to-skin. After the required 2-hour stay we were moved to our postpartum room where we would spend the next 3 days getting to know our little Jack.
I hope to be back soon with another marathon post about the first few days/weeks with Jack. We also recently got Jack’s newborn photos back so I’m excited to share some of those as well!