I think the look on Eric’s face says it all. I was just as happy either way! (And just noticing now how terrified Molly was with all the yelling, haha).
It must be your lucky week, because you’ll be hearing from me TWICE! Oh yeahhhh! (yes, the gender reveal is tomorrow, and clearly I’ll be writing a post about it).
But today I’m thinking less about pink vs. blue and more about logistics. Namely… VBAC.
For those of you not familiar, VBAC is the fun acronym used to describe a “vaginal birth after c-section.” Assuming everything continues to go well, I fully intend to attempt this. There are several reasons why:
-I really, really want to experience childbirth. The entirety of my birth plan for Molly was “not a c-section.” Obviously, that didn’t go to plan. But for good reason.
-I am the eldest of 5 children, and I was actually a c-section. All 4 of the others were not. So my mom really set the precedent for VBAC success for me.
-My doctor said I was a good candidate for it. Everything about Molly’s labor was going fantastically (until it wasn’t). Good transitions, nice wide pelvis, etc, etc.
-The risk of uterine rupture (the first thing I picture when I think of complications) is less than 1% with a low-transverse uterine incision.
-Shorter recovery time.
-I’ll immediately get to bond with my baby, not get a quick peek at him/her and then have to wait an hour to actually hold him/her.
-If all goes to plan, this will not be my last pregnancy. And the more c-sections you have, the less likely you are to have a successful VBAC.
-My chance of having another placental abruption is only minimally increased since I’ve already had one.
-If anything goes wrong, I know a c-section is still an option. I trust my OB/GYN and was impressed with how well everything was handled with my first delivery.
I’ve been researching this extensively every since I found out I was pregnant. I feel like the Dr. Internet has been overwhelmingly supportive of VBACs, and like most sites I’ve been on have been trying to talk me into it, not out of it. Obviously that’s not why I’m doing it – the biggest reason is because my doctor herself was so supportive – but it did feel good to see that most people were pro-VBAC, dispelling myths and whatnot.
I think the thing giving me pause is that the births will only be 17 months apart, and all of the literature I’ve seen recommends waiting 18 months before attempting a VBAC. Now, is 1 month realllly going to make a huge difference? I doubt it. But I wish I wasn’t on the borderline like that. My sister and I are 5 years apart (plus, my mom had me at 21. So I’m pretty sure her body bounced back a lot quicker than mine did).
And I’ll be even more disappointed if this does end up a c-section because everyone says scheduled sections are much easier than unscheduled. But still, it’s worth the gamble to me.
Any insight? Even if you have a horror story, please share. Like I said, the internet is full of encouragement, and I know there must be another side to it…
Ugh, it’s so hard to blog when there’s nothing dramatic going on. A Facebook follower just “poked” me and asked how it was going, and only then did I realize it’s been far too long since I sent an update. I’m sorry.
The little crouton is doing well, or so I would imagine. I have another ultrasound on Thursday afternoon to check progress. But something pretty cool happened yesterday – I was sitting through a particularly long meeting, and while sitting still for a prolonged period of time, I felt my first twinges of fetal movement. I remember with Molly I didn’t feel it until late – 18 weeks. But they say second time moms feel it sooner, probably because they know what it feels like. It was pretty cool. I felt it a little today, too, and I have to say that part is still pretty amazing.
In other news… it’s June… and my (other) baby is turning one in just a few weeks. Can you freaking believe it? I’m not saying it flew by, because it really didn’t – I’m just amazed at what a big girl she’s getting to be. She’s a pro at feeding herself and eats basically anything we eat – steak, potatoes, veggies, you name it. Scrambled eggs are still her favorite thing, along with yogurt, hot dogs, watermelon, pizza, and bananas. She’s still not walking, and not even pulling up to standing, but she can get halfway up. If you help her out, she’s very good at holding onto something and standing, and you can tell she’s very proud of herself when she’s doing it.
We’re at a point now where I don’t think she will ever crawl – but she is proficient at getting around by tucking her leg under herself and scooting around on her butt. She’s gotten pretty quick about it – turn your back for one second and she’ll be 2 rooms away in the kitchen, alternately dropping pieces dog food into their water bowl and eating it (true story).
Speaking of which – she’s finally getting teeth! Her front two cut through and are slowly making their descent. Which is good, because I was seriously starting to worry she’d need baby dentures. Which sounds funny in theory but is probably quite expensive.
Eric’s sister had a baby boy over the weekend and we went to visit him in the hospital. 1) Holy shit, you forget how tiny newborns are. Molly looked like a monster next to him. 2) Molly was NOT PLEASED that mommy was holding a new baby. I was just thinking… uh oh. She whined at me and tried to push him away, and you could tell she was very jealous. She is in a clingier phase right now in general, but all in all it didn’t bode well for November. Ah, well.
The only other semi-interesting thing going on is that we finally bit the bullet and cancelled our cable. I’m the type of person who HATES when televisions are on but no one is watching. Drives me insane. So I think my favorite thing so far has been that when we aren’t actively watching something, there is no perpetual television sound droning in the background. We have Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling, and HBO Go. I mean… I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner. I don’t even like TV that much and I actually grew up without it – we just had a television and VCR and watched awesome movies, like anything Disney, all the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, and pretty much any other early 90s kid appropriate movie you can think of. I can still recite Homeward Bound, Mrs. Doubtfire, and plenty of others. I may not have a clue when people start reminiscing about 90s sitcoms (no, I’ve never seen an episode of Blossom. Ever.) but I still don’t feel like I missed out. You know what I did? I read books. And played outside. It wasn’t so bad.
So that’s what’s up. June is getting pretty busy – already we have birthday parties, a wedding, and then Molly’s big party on the 27th. Gah, I’m so excited. I promise you’ll get an obnoxiously extensive picture post for that one. Oh and we scheduled the level 2 ultrasound (GENDER SCAN!) for July 7th. Can’t wait!
I’m feeling very guilty about this pregnancy in general.
It’s inevitable, isn’t it? There’s so much fuss and fanfare with the first, especially when that first is preceded by so much loss, hope, and heartbreak. Every single moment of my pregnancy with Molly felt like a miracle. I walked around in a constant state of awe and gratitude. And to some extent, this pregnancy is even more miraculous – I mean, against all odds, against any expectation or inkling or dream I dared to dream, it happened. So I’m trying to figure out why it’s just not the same.
Someone recently requested new bump photos be added to the “bump” on this blog… how awful is it that I didn’t even think to do that? I will eventually. My belly popped out at like 7 weeks and not much has changed since then. I look like I’m 13 weeks, but I have for many weeks leading up to actual 13 weeks. As of today I am 13 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
I just remember being so freaked out over setting up Molly’s nursery – thinking about it even before I hit the midway mark. For this one my sister-in-law has been eagerly texting me with nursery sets listed for sale, as I think, “Crib? Yeah, I guess we’ll get a crib…”
I’m trying to figure out if this calmness is because I (sort of… kind of…maybe) know what I’m doing this time around and know what to expect, or if it’s just because it was such a shock that I’m not believing it’s really going to happen. For example, the crib – Molly slept in her bassinet for the first few months, as I’m sure this one will too. So realistically I don’t have to buckle down and worry about a crib until next year. Plus, my sister has an old one she’s willing to give me. As for the rest of the furniture… the nursery is already set up, and if it’s a girl, we are really set to go because I have a bajillion clothes in my attic (though they’re all the wrong season – grr).
We have a 3 bedroom house but one is set up as Eric’s office/man cave and I just don’t see where else to put all that stuff. So for now, the babies will be sharing the room. I’m anxious to see if he goes apeshit crazy if it is a boy and decides to throw all his office paraphernalia in the basement to build his son the ultimate boy room… time will tell. My gut is still saying girl. Girl or boy, the walls of the nursery are green, and I guess we can swap out the pink lace curtains if the revelation of a son does not properly motivate my husband.
I went for a sequential screen at the Perinatal Center today even though I didn’t opt to have one with Molly. It’s something that they push at my OB/GYN office and let’s be honest – I’m a sucker for extra ultrasounds. Everything for baby measured right on track and no issues to report. I don’t know if they all just look alike at this stage but my goodness, one look at the photo and it felt like deja vu. Like, hang on a sec… I’ve had this baby before.
Molly on top, new baby on bottom:
I hung the photo up at my desk and I’ve been catching a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye and smiling all day. The further along I get, the more “real” it’s becoming. It may not be the same as my last pregnancy, but it’s incredibly special… in a different way.
Apologies in advance to Facebook and Insta friends who will probably find these photos redundant.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind week. Last Saturday, Molly, my MIL, and I accompanied Eric to a conference in Washington DC as a bit of a summer kick-off mini vacay. We could not have asked for better weather, and the hotel/convention center we stayed in was positively gorgeous. It was nice to take a little break and recharge the batteries.
On Sunday we all got to hang out since the conference didn’t kick off until the evening. We took a ferry ride over to Downtown Alexandria and walked around. Molly loved the boat.
Monday Eric was stuck conferencing all day, so my MIL and I (along with Eric’s colleague’s wife and their daughter) headed to the National Zoo in DC. Molly was such a trooper, even with being stuck in her stroller all day – thank the Lord she doesn’t mind napping in there. Her favorite part of the day BY FAR was riding the carousel.
Tuesday we went downtown to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (did you know they have the Hope Diamond?) and then walked and walked for many hours and miles to see a few of the monuments/historical points of interest. The highlight of the day was finding amaaaaazing gluten-free pizza that’s worth a return trip all by itself.
Our last day was Wednesday – my birthday – and truly it was underwhelming. Welcome to 31, right? We had a huge and delicious breakfast, checked out of the hotel, drove the 4 hours home, and then just kind of sat around. I’m not sure what I was expecting… I guess I’ve reached a point where a birthday is just another day. But at least I wasn’t at work.
Today I had another ultrasound – all looks good, heart rate 176. Since everything went well at my morning appointment, we did make it Facebook official with this photo –
One thing really annoying that happened this weekend? KATE MIDDLETON STOLE MY GIRL’S NAME. I seriously had my heart set on Charlotte and when I heard it was a contender for her, my stomach sank, because I knew that’s the one they would choose. This is a name I fell in love with way back in 2013 when I was pregnant the first time! In other words… long before it became a princess name. Blah. And before you say, “Just use it anyway,” know that I’m dead set on not choosing any top 50 names (and come on, the popularity of Charlotte is about to explode), but I also don’t want anything too out of left field. That’s a task that’s a lot harder than it sounds! Oh, and I’d prefer to stay away from names that end in a “y” sound, because I don’t want it to be too matchy-matchy with Molly. So it’s a tough decision all around.
First world problems, right?
Any name suggestions, send them along! I know Eric wants a boy (and we have a boy name), but my gut is telling me that it’s a girl.
Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!
Sorry for the silence lately. I’ve been suffering from this common blogging affliction known as, “Nothing to talk about-itis.” My life is firmly entrenched in that routine known as get up – go to work – come home – eat dinner – crash into bed by 9.
The good news is that this boring monotony is interspersed by moments of amazingness with Molly. The other night I was watching her scoot around her room with unbridled glee and all I could think was, “Wow. I love her more than any mother has ever loved a child. Or at least I have to be in the top ten.”
Surely many mothers feel this way. But seriously. I love her SO MUCH, it’s ridiculous. To the point that I feel bad for the next one, because how could I possibly love another human being with that much intensity? Or actually… I feel bad for myself, because if my love grows by double when he or she comes along, surely I will explode.
Speaking of the next one…
Nothing much to report, other than the fact that I look legit pregnant. I’ve only told a few people at work but it’s at the point now where it’s pretty obvious, not that anyone would say anything because presumably I’m still working on losing the baby weight and I wasn’t all that thin to begin with. But really. I hope that they all secretly think I’m pregnant, because otherwise I just look like I’m reaaaaally letting myself go.
My next ultrasound on May 8th felt like eons away, so earlier today I called the nurse at my OB/GYN to request another one in between. Honestly, how they expect someone with a history of RPL to go 4 weeks between ultrasounds in the first trimester is beyond me. I can’t handle it. So next Friday they’re squeezing me in for a quick afternoon appointment, just so I can see that little heartbeat flicker and breathe a little easier.
In general this pregnancy feels drastically different than the last. First of all, there are no injections – just a daily OTC prenatal vitamin that – let’s be honest – I forget to take half the time. Mild nausea in the mornings. Food aversion to vegetables, which is so not me at all. I’ve been doing the gluten-free thing, and of course it’s pretty easy because I’m so used to it, but other than that none of this feels really real. If it weren’t for my ridiculously swollen abdomen, I wouldn’t think it was happening at all.
I broke out the doppler a few times to try to find the heartbeat, but so far no dice. I’m not really worried about it – it’s still so early and it’s not even like I have the top of the line model. I didn’t find Molly’s HB (or even try to) until after 12 weeks. But still. A little reassurance that this was still happening would be nice. (Hence the added ultrasound.)
The first week of May, Molly and I are tagging along on a business trip with Eric, just for the fun of it. Swanky $400/night hotel that we don’t have to pay for? Yes, please! I’m a little irritated because last year this same conference was in New Orleans (and he missed my 30th birthday, remember??!!) and this year it’s in Washington D.C. Lame, right? I mean, I live on the east coast and I’ve been to DC many, many times… it’s not as fun or intriguing as N’awlins would have been. But oh well. If the conference was in some far-flung city, we probably wouldn’t be able to justify my airfare anyway.
It will be nice to take a few days off, at least. Once again this trip coincides with my birthday, making this the 31st consecutive year that I HAVE NOT worked on my birthday. My goal is to keep the streak going for as long as possible.
Other than that, not much to report. Just feeling like I should at least check in every once in a while.
Nothing but good news today – we saw the heartbeat! Woo hoo!
I did feel slightly reassured last week, so I’m actually glad I had the beta draws. Otherwise I would have been a nervous wreck this morning (not to mention all weekend).
Eric came with me to the appointment this time. I seriously envy his calm. He told me several times that I should stop worrying because everything would be fine. And of course he bragged about being right when everything WAS fine.
As soon as the image popped up on the screen I saw the flicker. Little blobby is measuring 6w6d, so well within range (I’m 7w2d according to LMP). Heart rate was 138.
Now I don’t have another appointment until May 8th! So weird to just be a normal person.
I told myself that if today went well, then I did not need to worry anymore and everything would be OK. So I’m going with that. Did you hear me? I’m not afraid anymore!
Here is little one’s first photo op:
And in case you wanted to absolutely die from cuteness overload… here is a pic my sister snapped a couple weeks ago of Molly taking care of her baby doll.
I have a feeling she’s going to nail this whole big sister thing.
After a very tense 48 hours, the numbers are in: my beta number is still rising, and went from 44,000 on Tuesday to 58,000 on Thursday (also, I was told that after 10,000 they do not expect doubling betas, just significantly increasing. So I’m ok).
Last night was torture. I had three nightmares in a row about receiving bad news. I would have a nightmare, wake up, then fall asleep and plunge headfirst into a new nightmare. In one, I went in for an ultrasound and they sadly informed me that the baby was growing perfectly, but had no heart at all (and on the screen, I was more like 20 weeks along than 7). This is the twisted shit that comes out of my subconscious.
As I was lying there in bed last night, recovering from one of these nightmares, the perfect analogy for this pregnancy popped into my head. Please indulge me as I try to explain.
This pregnancy is like winning a free trip to Hawaii. Exciting, awesome, unexpected, and almost too good to be true. Like, I’m not sure I’ll actually believe it’s happening until the plane is touching down on the island. In fact, I barely remember filling out the entry form. How the hell did I end up winning?
The thing is, I’ve been to (hypothetical) Hawaii before – only for that trip I planned, and saved up, and tried multiple times to get there…I was overprepared, if anything. I tried so hard for so long to get there that a part of me realized I would get there eventually – somehow – even if it meant putting my ass in a leaky old boat and rowing thousands of miles.
So there it is. Hawaii. Somehow this whole analogy sounded a lot more brilliant last night at 3am. And I find myself really, really wanting to go back to Hawaii, especially now that I know how awesome it is, but at the same time I feel a little selfish because I have been there before. So if I never get to go again in my life… that would suck… but at least I got to do it that one time.
My follow-up ultrasound was scheduled for Tuesday but the nurse at my OB/GYN office (who knows me, my situation, and my propensity for panicking) offered to move it up to Monday. So now I just have two days to wait instead of three. Which is pretty great.
In other news, I have been feeling hella nauseated, mostly in the mornings, and the thought of coffee makes me so queasy. Coming from a 2-cup-a-day coffee junkie, this is reallllly weeeeeird. It’s like having an identity crisis. I cut back to one cup per day while pregnant with Molly, but only because I needed to limit my caffeine intake, not because I didn’t want to drink it. Not wanting coffee at all? No, this is not me. I’m hoping all of these things are good signs.
Obviously your prayers and good vibes are working, so keep them coming! Hopefully I will have some good, strong heartbeat news on Monday.
Fewer than 24 hours until April Fool’s Day, but I promise this is no joke.
As of today, I am 6 weeks, 4 days pregnant.
No trying. No counting. No needles, no doctors, no betas, no PIO shots in the ass. Just a good old-fashioned roll in the hay and BAM! – it actually happened.
Believe me… never in a million years did I think this would be my life. I thought the whole “unexpectedly pregnant after infertility/adoption” thing was a complete urban legend. Ever notice how it’s always someone’s sister’s neighbor’s cousin once removed, and never anyone you know directly? I thought this was a story they told infertiles with the intention of providing hope, when really they were only pissing us off.
But then it happened to me.
And it is exciting, don’t get me wrong. I mean, at first there was an “Oh, shit!” moment because it was just so unexpected. Two babies in diapers, 17 months apart… 3 frozen embryos waiting patiently in NYC… it was just a lot to take in. I had this all planned out. Go for a transfer later this year, have a summer baby in 2016. Getting pregnant naturally? No, that definitely never crossed my mind.
So at first I was freaked out/surprised, then I was mildly irritated (not over being pregnant, more over the fact that everyone who ever said “you need to just relax” had some sort of validity to their statement), then I was complacent, then I started getting nervous/excited.
I found out when I took an HPT on March 16th (yes, it’s been very hard keeping this secret from you!). I took the test because 1) My period was three days late and 2) All my milk mysteriously dried up, totally out of nowhere. I called the OB/GYN the next day and they graciously decided to see me early, as in today, just based on my history of miscarriage.
Today kind of sucked, though it did go basically how I expected it to go. They detected a very blurry fetal pole that measured exactly 6 weeks 4 days, as it should. But they did not see a heartbeat. Now, my office has super old ultrasound equipment – nowhere near as advanced as the stuff they have at the RE or even at the hospital labs where I went for early ultrasounds with Molly. But still. Not seeing a heartbeat has plunged me back into Anxietyville. I did not miss feeling like this all the time.
It didn’t help that after the “maybe/maybe not” ultrasound, they decided to send me for blood testing today and again in 48 hours to confirm my levels are where they should be and rising. So apparently… they have concerns too. Though the (largely pregnant) ultrasound tech did assure me that not seeing a heartbeat right now was not necessarily bad news.
I have a repeat ultrasound in 1 week. At that appointment, they will know without a doubt whether or not this is a viable pregnancy. So until then, I will be over here quietly hyperventilating in the corner, thankyouverymuch.
Oh, and now for the creepy part. At the risk of totally oversharing (you read my blog, you should be used to this by now) – I can say with confidence that this baby was conceived exactly 2 years after the twins were implanted – TO THE DAY. What’s more, this follow-up ultrasound is scheduled for April 7th, 2015, and I had my “bad ultrasound” with the twins on April 8th, 2013. I swear if they had tried to make it for that day I would have said no. This whole thing is just eerie.
So… yay… I think? I don’t know. I have this hard knot of anxiety in my stomach. I feel guilty for not feeling elated from day one, though not to the point that I think it contributed in any way. It just sucks.
My mantra for the next week: “Worrying about something will never change the outcome.” Now if I could only believe it…
Prayers/thoughts/good vibes sent into the atmosphere are definitely appreciated. I will keep you all posted on new developments. Also – if I know you in real life, you can certainly talk about this with me, but please keep it quiet with others and on public forums. I am not sharing with the general public yet for obvious reasons.
Lots of drama for this birth story! Would you have expected it any other way? The only item on my birth plan (besides the generic “deliver a healthy baby!”) was that I really, really, really didn’t want a C-section.
I’m sure you can see where this is going.
It now makes sense to me why most people choose to divide birth stories into two or even three parts, because this post is going to be obnoxiously long. Of course, I don’t really have time to write any of this. But I also need to write it all while it’s fresh in my mind, because I do want an accurate record that I can go back and re-visit in the future. Plus, I love reading other people’s birth stories, so I knew I wanted to share mine.
I’m going to break this up as much as possible. I started writing it long before I was induced, so the first few parts are boring. (Sorry). The action picks up on Sunday night.
Friday, June 20th (40 weeks + 2 days)
I woke up and took a shower at 6:30 with every intention of going to work. While I was blow-drying my hair, Eric complained of indigestion from the red sauce with onions that I had poisoned him with the night before. He said he was taking a sick day. At this point I was having a few contractions here and there, plus I knew I wouldn’t really have a lot going on at work. I decided to start my leave one day early. Immediately after making the decision, it felt like a weight had been lifted and my mood improved by 1,000%.
Eric and I went to a gigantic warehouse frame sale at 9, and I was happy that we didn’t have to wait for Saturday like we had originally planned, since all the good stuff might have been gone. We stocked up on frames for future baby photos and spent less than $100 for piles and piles of merchandise. I was feeling great! I was still having contractions at this point, but very sporadically, nothing sustained. We met up with my mom at the frame sale and she kidnapped me to take me to the chiropractor (remember him?). Apparently he had been bugging her to make me come in for an adjustment pre-baby, but I had just never gotten around to it.
I got adjusted and he did some pressure point stuff in my feet, and then my mom and I went to Starbucks. Weirdly, I had been wanting daily Frappucinos, and I knew my days of consuming that many calories in one sitting were drawing to a close. Then we stopped at my sister’s house to drop off some frames I had bought for her. My contractions at this point were definitely intense, but still sporadic. After watching me wince a few times, my mom scolded me and said I should be writing them down. She said to be sure to note the date and year because she still has some scribbled down contraction logs and can’t remember which kid each one is for. I recorded one contraction and time and then forget to do it for the rest of the day.
Back at home I quickly became bored just waiting for my OB/GYN appointment at 2:30. (Boredom is a big theme here!) I vacuumed the house (obviously). Finally, it was appointment time. I thought that maybe there would have been some progress since I was having so many contractions. But no…I was still only 1/2 cm, although the doctor said my cervix was “definitely thinner.” My blood pressure was high-ish again, and she said that if I hadn’t already scheduled the induction, she would have made me do it that weekend. This made me feel better, knowing that I wasn’t just being induced due to my own impatience, but also out of medical necessity.
I knew I didn’t want to go home and sit around. I went to the grocery store and picked up random items that I probably didn’t need. I went to the library and got one book, not knowing how many (if any!) I’d have time for in the upcoming days. Finally I went back home, and Eric and I decided to start watching LOST since neither of us had ever seen it. By this point my contractions had stopped completely, and she was moving around a lot. We went to bed around midnight.
Saturday, June 21st (40 weeks + 3 days)
The first day of summer dawned sunny, gorgeous, and not at all humid! The weather could not have been more perfect. I was immediately envious of everyone camping (my family and part of Eric’s family).
I wasn’t having ANY contractions in the morning. I’ll admit that it was kind of exciting to know that my potential Gemini baby was now officially a Cancer – many of my best friends, including my sister, are Cancers. That is a sign that I know I get along well with (not to discount Geminis, of course). I decided to embark on some unnecessary shopping trips to waste some time. Oh, and vacuum. And get a Frappucino. It was starting to feel like Groundhog Day.
I really didn’t do anything productive for the rest of the day…watched some more LOST. Stopped by my sister’s house to visit. Had my first real gluten-filled meal since September (pizza…and yes, it gave me an instant headache). I managed to convince Eric to have relations, thinking this could help bring something on since that’s what everyone kept saying. It had been A WHILE. But no…even several hours and many episodes of LOST later, no contractions, no nothing. We went to bed about 1 am.
Sunday, June 22nd (40 weeks + 4 days)
I cannot fully express the boredom leading up to this event! Eric and I were seriously just pacing around the house, trying to come up with things to do. He installed the carseat in my car. We sat at the kitchen table and stared at each other. We contemplated how the HELL we were going to survive yet another 12 hours with nothing to do. It was such a weird place to be – we didn’t want to start any major projects (trim painting, backyard clean-up, etc.), but at the same time, the gorgeous weather made it hard to justify a day spend vegging out in front of the television. This was so not how I expected it to be. I expected to be running around, throwing things in bags, bickering and panicking and trying not to forget anything as we hurried over to the hospital. In reality, all I kept repeating was Phoebe’s gem of a line from Friends: “The miracle of birth sure is a snooze-fest.”
At my appointment on Friday, my doctor said to be sure to eat a good meal before coming to the hospital, so Eric and I made plans to go out to dinner at Bonefish Grill for one last hurrah. The waitress gave us a free appetizer when we mentioned what we were on our way to do. I treated myself to bread and gluten galore, and it was glorious.
At the hospital there was a lot more waiting around, and we didn’t get sent back into our room to get started until several hours after our 8 p.m. arrival. Usually inductions start out in triage, but they were overbooked so we lucked out and got to settle into our birthing room right away. My birthing room team included Eric, my mom, my sister Ashley, and my sister Allie. Eric’s mom and sisters had plans of coming to join us once I was further along. A lot of people wanted to watch her come into the world.
I was very, very swollen and hadn’t been keeping up on my fluid intake as well as I should have been. The week prior when I went in for blood work with the whole high blood pressure incident, the nurse had such a hard time finding a vein to stick that I ended up with a giant, ugly black bruise on my forearm. Well, this time I was even more swollen, and the nurse trying to put in the IV was NOT FUN AT ALL. She kept looking and thinking she found one and pushing and pushing her gigantic needle into my hand – apologizing, of course, but meanwhile I was crying and trying not to scream out in pain. In the end it took three different nurses about 30 minutes and multiple stab attempts to get the IV in. I could have kissed the one who finally succeeded.
Monday, June 23, 2014
I was still only ½ centimeter at this point and it was determined that I had a “strong cervix,” so they administered Cytotec (vaginal suppository) to soften it and hopefully bring on contractions. I was to have another dose in four hours and see if I needed another. Everyone on my crew dozed off or kept me company watching TV.
Another dose of Cytotec. I had been experiencing mild contractions, totally manageable, and breathing through them. They sucked, but I was handling it. At my next check, I was pleased to hear that I’d at least progressed to 1.5 cm, but also frustrated at how slowly it was all going.
So much for stoic grace through the pain. HOLY FREAKING SHIT. It was around this time that the pain reached a point of unbearable, and I thought I had a high threshold. The worst part of contractions was the knowledge that right when you finished one, another was just around the corner, so even the short relief of the in between held a sense of dread. At that point I was still only 2 cm dilated, and the thought of the pain getting worse made me want to jump out the window. In tears, I
asked begged for the epidural.
The anesthesiologist arrived and I’m pretty sure I told him I was in love with him (he gets that a lot, apparently). Not going to lie – getting an epidural put in is no picnic. It HURT going in, and the nurse in charge of holding me still and soothing my hysterics definitely deserves a raise. But then, within minutes, the sweet numbness took over and everything felt wonderful. Contraction? What contraction?
They started Pitocin to move things along. After a small dose, I started progressing rapidly and my contractions were 1 to 2 minutes apart. Within a short amount of time (which of course I didn’t record), I was at 6 cm. Everyone started getting excited.
I should mention that L&D was very busy and throughout the whole night, we kept getting told that we were the least complicated and therefore least priority case on the whole floor. Minimal check-ins, minimal supervision. But then suddenly at 11:45, 7 or 8 doctors came bursting into the room like there was a fire. They raced over to the monitors and started yelling things at one another and creating a commotion and told me that the baby’s heart rate had dropped rapidly and dangerously and they needed to get it up quickly or we’d need to get her out NOW. I was totally panicked and the change in the room was instant. They turned me onto my side and put an oxygen mask on me. I started crying pretty hard because all I wanted was a vaginal delivery and most of all for everyone to witness it who wanted to see it, especially Eric. I just remember the magic of watching my nieces and nephew, not to mention my brother and sister being born. I really wanted that for Eric. Also, the fact that she was in distress was really scary.
Again, I stopped taking notes at this point, but it wasn’t a long time before my doctor came in and broke the news – we were going to have to do a C-section due to fetal distress. There are two doctors at my practice, and the one in charge of my delivery happened to be the one who is very against doing unnecessary C-sections. In other words, if she said it had to be done…well, it had to be done. I made peace with it in my heart and tried to prepare myself mentally for surgery.
They wheeled me back into the operating room and put up the huge curtain. In no time at all I was number than numb, basically everywhere from the neck down. Eric got to come in and sit by my head and keep my company. All I felt was a lot of tugging and pulling. I’m really glad that it wasn’t until afterwards that I found out exactly HOW they perform a C-section. I was picturing a nice little slit and then pulling the baby out gently. Only later was I told that all of my insides were removed and placed on a table. Uhhh… yeah. Gross.
Molly Marie entered the world with a small wail. At that point I was nauseated and numb and just felt weird all over, but I could kind of see her over on the little table with the NICU people and I could definitely hear her, which was reassuring. It occurred to me that I was torn open and could have potentially bled out and died. I asked God to spare me at least long enough to meet her, because it really wouldn’t be fair to make it so far and not even get to see her up close.
Eric and Molly left (they did come over and show her to me first, but I still didn’t get a chance to touch her). It took an hour to sew me up, an hour I spent alone, wondering about my baby, and listening to the doctor’s chat about this and that. It was torturous.
After they finished, I was wheeled back to recovery. Along the way I saw my entourage – a crowd of excited people including Eric’s mom and sisters, a friend, and everyone from the delivery crew cheering me on. I felt a sense of exhaustion at this point that is completely indescribable, though I tried to put on a brave face as they gushed over how cute she was. Back in recovery, I finally got to meet her, but I couldn’t even hold her in my arms yet because they were still numb and I could only move my head from side to side. Everyone took turns visiting me two by two and meeting the baby. It really was too much to comprehend at that point and honestly all I wanted to do was close my eyes and sleep forever.
Then finally, hours after her birth, I got to hold my little girl.
The recovery has been pretty painful. The first day I felt great – and couldn’t believe how great – but then my morphine ran out and I was stuck with nothing but Percocet and Motrin. My abdomen is very, very sore and my ankles, calves, and feet swelled up so bad at one point that it was hard to walk. Every day gets a little better.
And here is the absolutely terrifying part. Apparently the cause of fetal distress during delivery was a placental abruption, an uncommon and serious pregnancy complication where the placenta peels away from the wall of the uterus prior to delivery. This is one of those things that just happens, in my case not until actual labor, but it can cause significant risk for mother and baby during delivery. Pathology reported that my placenta was 20% detached. As my doctor said bluntly during a post-op visit in the hospital, “If we hadn’t done the C-section when we did it, your baby would have died.”
Sooo with that in mind, I’m not mad about it. No, the whole birth experience was not ideal, but my baby is safe and healthy and here, my pain will fade, my scars will heal, and this will just be that crazy story we tell about how Molly came into the world in her own way. Also, my doctor said that this was an isolated incident and my pelvis looked good, plus I was making good progression before things went south. She said I was an excellent candidate for VBAC, which makes me happy, because that’s something I would really like to try when we have another child. It’s funny, I was actually a C-section and all of my mom’s four other deliveries were VBAC. So it would seem Molly is following in her mommy’s footsteps.
And motherhood so far? It’s just what I would have expected and it’s better than I would have expected. I’m so overwhelmed by love that I can’t express it with words. Most nights I kiss her all over, and stare at her, and let tears fall all over her blanket and her tiny face because I can’t believe I get to be her mommy. She was worth every minute of the wait, and I would gladly do it all again a thousand times if it meant I got to have her in my life. I feel so, so blessed and so, so thankful. It’s like living in a dream world.
Stay tuned, because our post-delivery story (a.k.a. our 6-day stint in the hospital) has even more drama than her birth story! But alas, this post is creeping up on 3,000 words and I am barely able to keep my eyes open.
Here are a few more snapshots: