Friday, September 9, 2011

Birth Story + First Few Weeks

Danny was born August 23 at 12:35pm. But the story wouldn't be complete if I started there. Sit back and relax, the novel starts now.

When I first got pregnant with Danny, I started thinking about what kind of birth I wanted for him/me. After quite a bit of consideration and research, I decided that I'd like to go for a VBAC. To make a long story short, even though I occasionally wondered if I really wanted a VBAC, I never changed my plans until I was two weeks past my due date and my doctor told me she couldn't support me in waiting any longer to go into labor, because the risks go up at that point and my water level was getting too low. (I couldn't be induced because I'd already had a C-Section and they were worried about uterine rupture). And trust me - I had done EVERYTHING that anyone has ever recommended to try going in to labor.

Anywho, we scheduled the C/S for the next day, or 15 days after the due date. I ate my last full meal the night before (pizza and ice cream). Surprisingly, I slept pretty well that night, woke up in plenty of time to get all packed up, and checked into the hospital at 10am for a 12pm surgery. Evan and I had thought that we'd be waiting around a while before anything started happening, but things actually started happening pretty quickly.

First we checked in at the front office. Then they took us to a prep room, where I put on a hospital gown and chit-chatted with various nurses while I got an IV. I also answered a few questions about 9 times. What are my allergies? (Fun Fact: Codeine and Sulfa). Am I allergic to latex? (No). How tall am I? (5'6"). etc. They put on the 3 or 4 hospital bracelets that I'd wear for the next few days. Then I saw the my doctor for a few minutes and asked a few last-minute questions (I'm full of questions). And then the anesthesiologist came in, asked all the same questions and left. At that point, I do think we had about 15 or so minutes of waiting.

Then it was time to get the show on the road. I walked into the operating room (clutching my gown closed, and wearing those little booties on my feet). Evan had on scrubs and a shower-cap style hair covering, but he had to wait outside the OR. They helped me jump up on the table. It was really chilly in the room, so they brought me a few heated blankets. Then, we had to wait a few more minutes because there were a couple of unexpected emergency births and the delivery team was busy. Finally, the other nurses and pediatrician showed up, and the anesthesiologist got started.

Last time, I had had an epidural. This time, I had spinal anesthesia - which was a little different. I still had to curve my back out to make more room for the needle, but for some reason, when he inserted the needle, it felt like hot, stinging fluid was dripping down the outside of my skin onto my tailbone area. I asked about it. Apparently, that's normal. Awesome. :) Soon, I started to numb up, so they laid me down on the table. This is where it started to feel very surreal. Like I was living the experience of being a character on a show like ER. Strange.

Anyway, they put the blue fabric screen up just below my neck. Evan and my doctor came in. Evan sat by my head and held my hand. Then the team started working. I had thought the spinal would make me completely numb, but I could still feel a little bit of tugging, and my body moving and they worked on pulling the baby out and moving my organs around, etc.

If I had been in Evan's position, I would have peeked over the screen. But apparently he is a believer in keeping the mystery alive in our relationship. Like he wants it to be a mystery what my uterus looks like. Whatever works, I guess.

After a few minutes, Danny was out. They clamped and cut his cord before I saw him, but he started crying a little bit right away. It was a low throaty cry, like Jack's was in the beginning. I started crying too, even before I saw him. I also heard them mention that there was meconium in the water, so I was a little worried about that. (It turned out to not be a big deal in this case).

After a few moments, they brought Danny around the barrier and I got to see him and snuggle him a little bit. They had already rubbed him down and wrapped him up in a blanket. Just like with Jack, as soon as they put his warm little face next to mine, he got quiet and peaceful. I just kept telling him I loved him, and I cried some more.

Then, surprisingly to me, they kept him in the OR and weighed him and put him in the warming area while they kept working on me. After they finished working on me (it didn't seem to take very long), I was feeling chatty and happy. I asked to see the placenta (I had never seen one) and they showed it to me.

The best and most unexpected part was that they let me keep Danny with me the whole time after that. Last time, Evan and the baby went to the nursery, while I was solo in recovery with one nurse who sat far away filling out paper work while I shivered and felt lonely and delirious. This time, there were two friendly nurses, plus Evan, Danny, and my Mom, who I had arranged to be there in recovery because I was expecting Evan to be gone.

We got Danny to latch and breastfeed right away! That was very cool, because I had had quite a bit more trouble with Jack. After a while (an hour? Two?) They moved me to my regular room where I would be for the next couple of days. The worst part was moving from my rolling bed to the regular hospital bed. There were 4 nurses who moved me, but they were all tiny women, and it was a rough move. I think there should be a burly male or Eastern European woman there just for the purpose of moving post-surgical patients in a more gentle manner.

My parents hung around with us for a few hours. I was kind of drugged up, but still in pain, especially because they pumped a whole bag of Pitocin through me to help my uterus clamp down. OUCH! Other than the pain, I was doing ok and chatting (I think).
I had my parents stay while Evan went home to put Jack to bed. Then Evan came back and my parents left, and we settled down for the night.

The next day involved the first time getting up from the bed (more OUCH!), waiting to pee and pass gas so I could get the all clear to drink and eat (I hate not eating and drinking!), and generally hanging out - with a new baby. Very strange. Actually, even a couple of weeks later, it's still taking some getting used to that Danny is really mine and is here to stay.

I had thought I might stay in the hospital as long as I could (5 days) but arranging child care was a pain (my mom can't really take care of Jack because she's recently had major surgery, too), and having hospital employees pop into my room every 20 minutes started to really annoy me. So 2.5 days after checking in, we left.

Being at home has been really pretty good, for the most part. My recovery started out really well (though I've had a couple of setbacks) and I was up and feeling much more active than I remember feeling last time. Having Evan home for almost 3 weeks has been an absolute blessing and, for me, a necessity. Danny has been pretty good at feeding, but that doesn't mean I haven't been frustrated that he'll be too sleepy to eat well, or pop on and off a hundred times, etc. He's also been a fantastic sleeper, as babies go, usually only waking up 2, or at the most, 3 times per night. We had to wake him for the first couple of weeks to make sure he was eating enough. But still, even with him being great, the lack of sleep on top of recovery has been rough. I'm still TIRED!

Another great thing has been Jack's reaction to the whole thing. He's been so sweet (so far) and hasn't tried to hurt Danny or tried to get us to send him away or anything like that (yet). That's probably partly because Evan has been home to help out so much. We'll see what happens Monday when I'm on my own.

The first couple of weeks, I felt like my emotions were really smooth. I hadn't gotten any Baby Blues feelings at all. Unfortunately, those feelings do seem to have hit this week, off and on. Part of it is that I'm not even close to 100% physically. I'm achy and I feel like my insides are tugging in the wrong places. Sometimes I'll unexpectedly start bleeding a lot. (Sorry for the TMI). Anyway, mostly I still feel fine, normal and happy. But sometimes I'll get triggered by Danny crying or not feeding well or something and I'll feel overwhelmed, sad or mad, exhausted and weepy. So far it hasn't taken me too long each time to feel better. Again, here's hoping I do ok once Evan goes back to work. At least my mom is nearby!

The other good news is that Danny just keeps getting cuter and cuter as he packs on a little weight and becomes a little less newbornish. I'm looking forward to a few weeks/months from now when we settle more in to patterns and our sleep normalizes and he starts getting even cuter and chubbier. And then, there's going to be that first real smile! I'll keep you posted.


  1. Two weeks over due? I was going nuts the last week until my due date and was still a week late. For some women each experience is predictable and only gets faster—wish I were them. For me each birth is totally up-in-the-air different.
    My recovery and emotions were more like yours. They didn't start to normalize until 2-3 months. I've started to use the treadmill (3 months post delivery) for speed walking to help with my emotional roller coaster. My OB says that an hour of exercise is equivalent to 1 antidepressant. It's just hard to balance the needs of mom, infant, exuberant 2-yr-old, and loving husband.

    It gets better, I promise!

  2. Wow, this is quite a story. I also probably would have peeked at the action, ha! Also I had no idea they used a different anesthesia for a non-emergency c-section. Very interesting.

  3. Mary, that is quiet the story! I am sorry, you had to go so over due and still have the c-sections. I didn't make it for a VBAC either despite all my best efforts. I hope you are doing well! I'm 5 months post-partum, and things are pretty good now, although with two kids my house isn't as clean as I want...but I try. :) Hang in there.

  4. Oh Mary I am sorry you have to have c-sections! Hope you get feeling better soon. He is adorable! I can't wait to see more pictures.

  5. I love ya, Mares. Thanks for the birth story--call me one of these days when you need some good old fashioned chit-chat.

  6. Thanks for posting this. I was wondering how it all went. That is nice that Evan and Danny got to stay with you in the OR. That first cry is amazing! I am so happy for your family.

  7. I loved reading this! You are such a sweeet mom! I remember feeling awkward when the nurses tried to lift me off the table onto the bed, too! I loved your commentary about that! Ha! I hope things are going well for you now that Evan is back at work. Bringing children into the world is such an amazing sacrifice that takes so much courage. You are awesome! I love you!