Monday, September 24, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened While I was in the Hospital...A Birth Story

This is what hugely pregnant looks like.
So here we are!  Here I am.  Slowly recouperating from being pregnant and having a baby.  It feels great to be on this side of a journey that started many months ago.  The baby is here, he is healthy and we are beginning our life as a family of four.  My heart is so full of joy.

But, to catch you up on our journey to this point from my last post at 32 weeks when I declared that I would be on the couch eating goldfish if you needed me, I felt a post was needed.

At 36 weeks, I found out that I was more than likely headed for a c-section with this pregnancy.  The baby was not head down.  He was so not head down, in fact, that the doctor poked at a lump around the top of my rib cage and said, "I'm not really sure what part of the body this is. Perhaps we should do an ultrasound."  Yes, doctor, perhaps we should.

The ultrasound confirmed my worst fears.  The very first thing that this child was supposed to do, he didn't.  Was this act of defiance a sign of things to come?  I can only wait and see.  I was offered a version, which sounded incredibly unappealing to me.  You want to turn my baby with your hands in a process that has a 50% success rate and is painful and might put me into labor?  Um no, I'll take c-section for $1000 please, Alex.

I was a little taken aback that I would need a c-section.  I did not need one with my first baby, so the idea that I would need one with my 2nd took me a second to digest.  In order to fully and intelligently prepare for the surgery, I did what most intelligent, well-researched people do...I polled people on Facebook.  And to be fair and have all of the information, I asked for only people with good c-section experiences to respond.  No need to scare me people.  If the c-section was going to suck...it was going to suck, but at least I didn't have to fear it.  People responded...it didn't sound so bad.  

Weeks passed by, the baby never turned, and before I knew it, we were scheduling Wesley's birth in my day planner...just like they did in pioneer days.  Before I move on to the actual birth, I think it's important to mention three interesting things about my pregnancy and what they all had in common:

1.  I was diagnosed with marginal cord placement - this is where the umbilical cord is attached to the placenta off-center and can hinder proper nutrition to growing babies in the womb.

2.  The cardiologist who was monitoring my heart palpitations put me on a low dose beta blocker for the duration of my pregnancy to combat my random heart flutters. (the flutters turned out to be benign, pregnancy related and have since stopped).

3.  I love coffee.  No, like I really love coffee.  I drink it regularly through my 2nd and 3rd trimesters. 

What do these things all have in common?  Well...I'll tell you. All three have been known to contribute to low birth weight babies.  Are you snickering yet?  If not, remember this bit of trivia.  

So on September 11th, shortly after lunch and a week before my due date, Andy and I headed to the hospital.  This was a different animal entirely.  I was extremely nervous.  This was surgery, after all, and so many things ran through my mind.  Also, I know how much Andy hates hospitals.  He hates everything about them.  The neutral colored walls.  The instrumentation. The sick people.  Now he was going to have to remain upright in an actual operating room, shielded only by the standard c-section blue sheet.  He kept all of his anxieties to himself, though.  That's just the kind of amazing guy he is...he didn't want me to worry about him.

So, as scheduled, Wesley made his debut via planned c-section.  The child that I thought might weigh somewhere around his brother's weight of 8lbs 8oz actually weighed 9lbs 14oz.  Um...huh?  How is that possible? As many ultrasounds as I had had, no one EVER said to me, "hey, so your baby is breech and oh by the way he's also gigantic. Like he might be born holding a juice box and speaking in full sentences so don't buy any newborn diapers."  I had zero warning.  He was even a week early.  Apparently, Wesley was breech but almost transverse (sideways) so the measuring was off which was why no one had any clue that I was having a humongous man child with facial hair.  Did you see my pregnancy pic above?  That's right, I could have been even bigger if he had been positioned correctly.

The funny thing is that at the hospital, Wesley was actually the runt of the c-section litter that day.  The woman to the right of us in recovery had delivered an 11 lb+ baby and the woman to the left had delivered twins that each weighed over 7 lbs.  Wesley was just tiny in comparison!  

Recovery from a c-section has been very different than recovering from a regular delivery, obviously.  The regular delivery has all of the things you expect to need to recover from.  If you just remember not to squat, you are usually good. A c-section, while way easier at the hospital because you avoid the entire labor process and are practically assembly-lined to your baby in record time, has been different.  It's like going in for major surgery and being handed a baby to simultaneously take care of during your recovery.  I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't jump up and care for him the way I had with Samuel in the beginning. I am thankful for good drugs.  I am also happy to say that after almost two weeks, I am starting to feel human once again.

So I am now a mom of two boys...and it feels amazing.

Samuel going home.
This kid is in newborn diapers.
Wesley going home.
This kid laughed at those wimpy newborn diapers.
The nurse had to find size ones.


At the end of the day...it's all worth it. 


Thank you so much for your prayers, well wishes and tolerance of pictures!!!

Samuel and Wesley's mom!