The other Baby J.

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In all my writings, somehow, I neglected to ever share about my Other Baby J. I am nowhere near his birthday or any sort of milestone; it’s just on my heart tonight to write about my youngest… so I shall. And yes, it’s long.

Baby J #2 was highly anticipated. Brother J was getting older and all of a sudden, I had this sudden urge for a newborn! While my dear husband was a little more reluctant, he finally agreed. We found out #3 was on the way Labor Day weekend, 2014.

I kept the news hidden from my family for awhile. Literally the week before I took the test, my mother had told me I had my plate full with two and should maybe consider not having a third. Little did she know… So, I was a little apprehensive of sharing the good news with them! Thankfully, they took it really well and were super excited for us.

As per usual, I was horrendously sick. The nausea was uncontrollable and I would hit the sack every evening feeling like I was floating on a ship – my world tipping and turning and unable to get the sea of my bed to calm down and just hold still for a moment! Brian spent countless nights on the couch since his every movement simply increased the nausea.

Within the first six weeks, I began to bleed. I immediately called my OB and they scheduled me for an appointment that afternoon. I called my mom and she dropped everything to come over for the day. I put my feet up and drank gallons of water while she chased the children and did my laundry. Finally, the time for our ultrasound came. My mom let me cry on her shoulder before Brian and I left; I was just certain we would return with the news of ‘no heartbeat.’

I remember lying on that hard bed, staring at the ultrasound monitor while the sweet tech talked our ears off. She explained every ounce of what we were looking at and what it all meant – something brand new for us. In Peru, we had lots of great ultrasounds, but for most of them, the techs were dead silent or gave us minimal information, whether because of the language barrier or cultural differences, I really do not know. But, this time – it was such exquisite bliss to understand what was on the screen. Then – finally – the blessed “blip-blip” of his little heart. I cried. She handed me tissues and rejoiced with us. I will forever remember this sweet ultrasound tech who was so loving in how she handled us! Baby was just fine, but I was to keep my feet up for a few more weeks.

During my “keep my feet up” stage, I got the usual massive blood work-up done and found out that my thyroid, which has forever plagued me, had gone way out of whack. I was informed by a specialist that my level was supposed to be between a 2-5 and I was at a 12. The higher the number, the less the thyroid is functioning. My friends with thyroid issues told me the highest they had ever gotten was a 7 and they were immobile. My 12 quickly helped me understand why I had zero desire to get off the couch and watched my two children run laps around the house while I dozed all. day. long. I was horribly sick. A year after I gave birth, I was still getting it under control. Not cool.

Shortly before Christmas, I took my mother with me to the BIG ultrasound – the one where we found out what we were having! I took my mom because she had never gotten to go to an ultrasound for any of the grandkids yet and I thought she might enjoy it. Brian wasn’t offended and was totally on board with it. It was a special moment and I’m so glad my mom was there. Afterwards, we ran to Target and I picked out a cute little onesie to surprise the rest of the family with the gender when I got home. So fun!

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We called him Peanut. I was shocked it was another boy – for some reason I had convinced myself it was a girl. But, God knows what each family needs and He knew we needed another crazy boy.

December also meant sickness for me. I was so sick with a nasty cough and congestion that seemed to go on forever! I couldn’t get over how sick I was! Once that finally ended, I had such horrid ligament pain I could barely walk. I kid you not, this entire pregnancy was one issue after another.

But, my little peanut was just fine. Healthy. And HUGE!

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I still had a month to go in this picture. I felt like a TANK by the time I was done. I hibernated the last few weeks and barely left the house, I was so embarrassed. That probably sounds dumb, but I was criticized so badly about my size during my previous two pregnancies, I just couldn’t do it again. This time, I was hearing it from people that mattered the most – family – and, emotionally, I was not stable enough to listen to criticism. There was nothing I could do about it; he just kept growing! But WOA. I was big.

My doctor was amazing. She never got any medical history from me. I was never able to get my records from Peru. So, she was going off of only what I could remember from my past pregnancies and trying to piece together what probably happened medically. Even with the info I gave her, she was still willing to let me try a VBAC! I was floored and SO excited! And horribly nervous. It felt like I was giving birth for the first time, which, in essence, I was. I had never had a real contraction, my water had never broken, I had never done any pre-labor anything! I had no CLUE what would happen.

She warned me I’d probably go past my due date and she was right. I did. Longest five days of my LIFE! Older Brother arrived the day I turned 37 weeks. E came during my 38th week. To go PAST 40 seemed inconceivable! I have been lied to! Pregnancy is SO NOT “9 months” like we have always been told. If you know, like I do, from Week #3 that you’re pregnant, pregnancy is ALL of 10 months. Trust me.

My neighbor had given birth to 4 children, all naturally, and so she had lots of ideas and tips. The day before baby arrived, she yanked me out of my house and made me walk. We began early in the morning and walked almost 2 miles while she wrangled my older children. After nap time, we did it again. The kids went home with Brian and she invited me over and fed me a huge, nutritional shake and gave me a pedicure. Then, around 7:30pm, she made me walk again. I was so sore I could barely move! But, before I left for that last walk, contractions had finally begun. By the time I got home, I knew this was the real deal.

We put a movie on and I puttered around, trying to relax and get some stuff ready. We texted my dad and put him on alert since the plan was for him to come watch the kids if something happened overnight. Around 11, Brian told me to go ahead and call the doctor. Of course, they asked me to come in. Arg. I had no desire to go in at midnight! But, we did what we were told – we knew no better or different. My dad showed up in record time and fairly pushed us out the door. We laughed in the car, talking about how my dad acted like the baby would just drop out with no warning at any second!

They did a full examine at the hospital, but I just had a gut feeling I was going to be sent home. When the on-call doctor found out I had two previous c-sections, but my OB was letting me try for a VBAC, he about flipped his lid. There was no way, on his watch, that I was going to do a VBAC if he could prevent it. He was obviously adamantly opposed. They did an ultrasound since baby was so late and decided he was doing fine, but needed to come soon. I was to have my final appointment at 7am in the regular office and that was to be when my OB would decide what happened next. We had just always assumed I wouldn’t need that appointment! I also knew, in the back of my mind, that she was on vacation, but assumed she had found a replacement for that particular appointment since it was kind of important. They discharged us at 5am (so. tired.) and told us to be sure to get to that appointment at 7.The doctor insinuated that I may need to wait until Wednesday to have a c-section when my regular doctor got home from my vacation. I lost it mentally, thinking about having those contractions all the way until Wednesday!! NO WAY!

We went home and crashed. My dad had no idea we ever came in and he left the house at 6:30 when my mom showed up since had had to be somewhere by 7. My mom was shocked when we came out of the bedroom, showered and ready for my appointment! We explained what had happened and she noticed my contractions were much harder and longer and told me she hoped the next time she saw me would be with a baby! I agreed! No way did I want to come home again – I wanted it over! At this point I knew I had never had a ‘real’ contraction with E. These were miles upon miles different than anything I had ever experienced before!

We went back to the office. It was closed. What?! I used the bathroom like twice. Paced. Held onto a chair in the lobby and tried not to cry while the contractions intensified. Waited. Finally, around 7:20, doors were unlocked and we went in. The receptionist informed us that my appointment had been canceled and none of the doctors in that day had any room for another patient. I was in tears. I held onto the counter and asked them to wait a second while I had another contraction, then demanded they help me figure out what to do since we had just spent all night in the hospital, I had a standing appointment that no one had told me was canceled, and I was in active labor! A nurse standing there said, “Go back to the hospital. They’ll keep you this time, I promise. Good luck.”

By the time we got back, it was shift-change time. A sweet night nurse we had seen the previous night encouraged me in the hallway to be an advocate for myself. She gave me tips on what to ask for and how in order to ensure a natural delivery and no c-section. Unfortunately, she was then done for the day and I never saw her again!

They did keep me. And strapped me to the bed, covered in monitors. I begged to be allowed to walk around and was met with a resounding ‘no.’ I was too high-risk with him being late and my previous sections. I was frustrated, but honestly, I was so sore from walking the day before and SO TIRED from being up all night that when a contraction hit while I was standing, the pain was so intense down my legs that they buckled and couldn’t hold me. Brian was amazing and helped me breathe through every contraction, letting me hold his arm and staring me in the face. He kept me going as they got more and more intense.

The day doctor was nicer, but still not a big fan of the idea of a VBAC. I was barely dilated and not effaced. However, my contractions were three minutes apart and strong enough that I should have been nearing delivery. But I wasn’t. It was as if my body began labor and then went, “What the?! You want me to do WHAT?! NO WAY! You’re on your own!”

My body never did prepare itself for delivery. Thanks to previous sections, there was nothing they could do without risk of rupture and we were not okay with that. By 1pm, it was obvious that even though my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and super intense, nothing else was going to happen. When he told me, “We’re going to go ahead and prep you for a c-section,” and then left, I lost it. I sobbed and sobbed. I could not control it. One sweet nurse came over and comforted me, letting me cry and listening to my reasonings behind why I was so scared.

The last thing in the world I wanted was another c-section. No epidural had gone well. Surgery scared the heck out of me. Recovery sucks. I couldn’t hold my baby. And I would be apart from Brian. No thank you.

This time was blessedly different. God is such a good Father, isn’t He?

He gave me an amazing anesthesiologist and a wonderful assistant who was SO comforting the whole time.

In this hospital, I didn’t get an epidural; I was given a spinal, which makes you completely numb from mid-chest down. I turned into a Pentecostal while they did the procedure, muttering out loud, “Oh Lord Jesus, help me. Oh Father God, please hold me. I do not have a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind” over and over and over until a nurse finally leaned in and whispered, “Are you okay?”

As soon as my back began to grow cold, they slammed my giant, pregnant body down as fast as they could move onto the tiny, cold, metal bed. I didn’t know I could be moved that fast! The spinal was great, except I had worked myself up into almost a panic-attack and couldn’t breathe. They continued to ‘up’ my meds until I was super loopy the whole time and I still complained I couldn’t breathe, even though they assured us that I was just fine.

Brian was brought in and sat by my head. Two minutes later, James Lee entered this world kicking and screaming!

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With the other two, I was allowed to “look, but don’t touch” as my hands were strapped down and they whisked the babies away moments after birth. This time, they opened up my robe and plopped him right on my chest moments after he was born. They let me hold him, but I was shaking so bad I thought I’d drop him, so someone supported him and someone else held the paper over my head since the lights were too bright for us. I got to kiss him and snuggle him and get skin-to-skin time right there in the operating room. I could’ve held him a lot longer if I hadn’t felt so horrid and miserable. Brian held him while they finished me up and then we all were taken to recovery.

My two days of recovery in the hospital were glorious. I felt awesome. I had wonderful visitors, my pain was manageable, I got rest, and I got to hold my boy as often as I wanted, whenever I wanted.

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Best of all, my parents got to see and hold one of my newborns. It was a moment I will never, ever forget seeing my dad cry tears of joy as he held his namesake (“Lee” is my dad’s middle name).

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And that, my friends, is how we became a family of 5. 

I can’t imagine life without our little stinker. He is LOUD, busy (began walking at 9 months!), and full of crazy energy. Sweet, smart, and musical. I love my 2nd little Baby J.

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7 months

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1 year

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1 1/2

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Christmas Day, 2016

Here It Is, Almost 1 Year Later.

It is 11:30pm on Saturday night. As usual, I’m up way later than my family. Tonight, I was reading my new favorite blog site – all birth stories from real people, many believers, and a lot are VBACs, something I’m hoping to try for next time. In light of all that I’ve been reading lately and the fact that Elena’s first birthday is coming up soon, I thought I would finally share with you all my birth story. You don’t need to read it if this isn’t your thing; I won’t be offended. It’s just something I think I need to finally write down, now that I’m more distanced, over post-partum, over-joyed with my baby, and not as traumatized. A year ago, I couldn’t get past a certain point. We’ll see how I do tonight. 

So here we go. The birth story of Elena Ruth Biegert.

I found out I was pregnant while in the jungle city of Iquitos, Peru. Brian and I had convinced ourselves I was unable to conceive, so this pregnancy was a miracle in our eyes. Of course, the doctor in the clinic in Iquitos told me I was “not quite pregnant yet” but would be “in a few more weeks.” Touching. I wrote a letter to “Baby B” and pinched myself every morning in unbelief.

The pregnancy really wasn’t awful, as far as pregnancies go. I was nauseous at the beginning, for the first solid 3 months, but at night, most of the time. I only threw up once, at that was like the culmination of the nausea because after that, it finally began to subside. I enjoyed being pregnant until August. Of course, by then, I was big and uncomfortable anyway, but I slipped in mud and pulled muscles, then was jumped at by a giant dog and pulled more muscles, and then I got the infamous shingles. And here’s where the birth story kicks in.

Two weeks before Elena was born, I got the shingles. Of course, we didn’t know what they were, but we were scared. I was in mind-numbing pain and couldn’t barely talk in English, let alone Spanish, so a good friend called our doctor to see if she could see me Monday afternoon. Our “wonderful” doctor (who had told me my entire pregnancy that I was gaining too much weight and would have to have a C-section if I gained anymore. You know, 15lbs during 8mos is just absurd.) told her, “I don’t work Mondays.” Pissed off, Brian had our friend call her doctor (she had just given birth to #2 a month before) and her doctor said without hesitation, “I must see her today.”

We went to my new doctor, Dr. M., and she was wonderful. She took one look at me and… whipped out her cellphone to take pictures of the shingles! Flattering. She knew what they were and immediately put me on bedrest. She showed me where Elena was and I got to see my healthy, giant baby and took home a daunting picture of JUST her head. If that doesn’t freak out a first time mom, nothing will.

I laid in bed with shingles for two weeks. I was told to not do much – at all – or I would get Elena to come and she did not, under any circumstances, want Elena born until the shingles were gone. So, no stairs, no walking around campus, no on my feet teaching – nothing. Not that I wanted to; shingles are bad enough as they are. Two weeks went by, and she put me on another five days of bedrest, but assured me, “The baby will be here by the weekend. I will be very surprised if you make it to the Monday appointment.”

Friday morning, I woke up with contractions. They were so different – I knew immediately what they were. It was 6am and Brian was sound asleep. I got up quietly, used the bathroom, laid a towel under me, and laid back down. They lasted for quite a few hours. When Brian got up at 7, I informed him labor had begun, but it would be awhile. I called my mom and we all agreed it was too early to get excited. Contractions ended by noon, but I felt… odd. Slightly sick? Very uncomfortable. Very crampy.

The weekend came and went and Monday night, I had my check-up. Dr. M. and I were disappointed to be meeting in her office! She checked me out and said I was right there, but not close enough. She stripped my membranes (the most painful thing ever – she had kicked Brian out of the room, but he stood in the doorway anyway and said he was impressed with how I handled the pain since he’d read that was more painful than birth itself! I tend to believe him.) and then the bloody show started and contractions kicked in and about took my breath away. She said that would help and she expected a call from me during the night. She told me to call when contractions got down to 15min apart for 2hrs straight.

We live 45min from the clinic, on horrendously bumpy roads. So the question was, do we go home? Do we stay a few more hours? What do we do?! My friend (who shared the doctor) called and she suggested we go to her mother’s house, who lived 10min from the clinic. Her mom said that was fine and they made up a room for us, downstairs, with a private bathroom. The maid made me tea and her mom brought Brian supper – it was really homey and relaxing that night.

I took a nice, long, hot – HOT – shower to relax my nerves and see if the contractions would stop. They did. Grr. I laid on some towels and tried to relax. I remember we watched “Psych” and tried to just relax. Around 11 (?) the contractions kicked in full force. Brian pulled out the phone and we started timing. We didn’t have paper so we used a scrap of something we found to keep track. We got down to a solid 15min apart and Brian started getting excited. An hour went by of 15min and he thought we should call. I said no, we should wait awhile longer. I was nervous – terrified  – of checking into the clinic. I didn’t know where to go, who to talk to, what my room would look like, what they would do to me, how long I’d have to wait – I was scared stiff. I cried and told Brian no, I would wait it out as long as possible!

The contractions, during the night, got down to 5min apart for more than half an hour, and I was in a lot of pain. Brian would tell me when another one would be coming and he was always right. I’d grab his hand and breathe slowly through it with his help (I tend to forget to breathe when I’m concentrating and get light-headed very easily so we had practiced this beforehand!). And then… around 3am, everything…. stopped.

I fell asleep, Brian had been asleep for an hour, and we slept until 6:30. I took another hot shower hoping that this time, it would make something start UP again! Nothing. I still felt…sick, though. No other way to describe it. We went out to breakfast and my friend called to see what was up. I told her what happened and she suggested I go ahead and call Dr. M. and describe it to her and see what she said. So I did. Reluctantly. Really the only reason I did was – and this is key – Dr. M. was going on vacation on Friday and I’d have to use my awful doctor (or some random person) if I didn’t deliver by Thursday! This was now Tuesday morning. We had to figure this out NOW.

I called Dr. M. and she said to come to her office ASAP. We went in and contractions kicked in, but not near as strong. She checked me out and I was a 1. woo-pi-dee-doo. She worked again on stripping my membranes and told me that normally, once it starts, it’s an hour a cm, so I should expect another 9hrs of labor before pushing, but should have Elena by midnight. This was 10am. That didn’t sound good. She wanted us to check into the clinic and she’d check on me tonight if nothing happened before then. She called ahead and told them I was coming and what to do when I got there.

We went to Emergency and… waited two full hours. One paper had not been signed by Brian (not our fault) so we weren’t in the system saying we had a room waiting for us, therefore we had to wait like everyone else. Contractions had started back up, I had to pee like every 10min, and I was getting hungry by now. Finally, I was brought back to an “examining room” – a curtained off “room” big enough to hold a bed, a sink (pushed up against the bed), and a trashcan. We waited there for another hour. A nurse came and asked what was wrong. I said, “I’m in labor. I need a room.” Nothing. They finally – FINALLY – pulled Brian out to sign a paper and wheeled me upstairs to my room.

Finally – good news. The room was lovely. Private. My own bathroom, TV, DVD player, refrigerator, safebox – really nice room. I got hooked up to an IV, they did other cosmetic stuff (ugh), and then I got hooked up to machines to monitor my contractions. And I waited. When I wasn’t being monitored (which seemed like constantly), I got up to walk around. Little did I know, being taller than every other woman in the clinic, the nurses hadn’t thought to make my I.V. taller than me so it would continue to drip when I stood up! So all the inducing medication my doctor had prescribed, I wasn’t getting 3/4 of the time while I was walking around! Nothing was fixed until around 8pm when my doctor finally got after them about it.

Dr. M. came to check on me, like I said, around 8pm. I was still at a glorious…. 1. She said they would continue the I.V. drip and then, if nothing happened overnight, at 6am, I would have part of a pill inserted to get the dialation going. All I was allowed to eat was broth and by this time, I was really hungry, but there was nothing I was allowed to do about it. I was also excited – I wanted to get this over with! They offered me an epidural and I said, “Why? Nothing’s happened yet!” When I told them I didn’t want any pain meds, they all looked at me like I was crazy. Oh well.

Wednesday morning, I was woken up by sharp, horrible contractions, around 4am. Brian was sound asleep on the couch and didn’t notice me pacing for over an hour. A nurse came in around 5 and said, “Yup, sounds like you’re right on schedule!” They called my doctor and told her I would be giving, by the looks of it, around 9am. Sweet! The contractions got intense enough that I could barely talk, although I never lost the capacity to talk through them. Walking around helped a lot, so I figured I’d be fine.

Around 6, the nurse came in and insisted she insert 1/4 of the pill and hook me up to the monitors. It didn’t hurt when the pill went in, even though she said it would feel like it does when they checked me for dialating. I found that odd, but wasn’t too worried about it. They hooked me up to the monitors and it all looked really good. They brought me breakfast around 7 and told me to eat all of it for energy, doctor’s orders. So I did. Of course – I was ravished!

Around 8am everything… stopped. OH. MY. WORD. It stopped so much, I thought I’d dreamed everything up to that point. I was so frustrated. Dr. M. came at 9 and said, “What happened?! I thought I’d be delivering Elena right now!” (Yes, she called Elena by name.) She inserted 1/2 of the pill and this time… it KILLED. She said she’d be in touch with my nurses and scooted out of my room. They hooked me up to the monitors and within 10 minutes, I looked at Brian and said, “Something’s wrong.” From here on out, my memory gets a little sketchy.

I felt the contraction building and by this time, I knew what they were supposed to feel like. This one did not come on right. It was too strong, too intense, and there was no level to it – it just. kept. building. And then, I looked at my tummy, and right where my ribs started on the right, it was beginning to bulge. I was having a hard time breathing, I could feel something pushing into my ribs on the right and I was in a lot of pain. We got the nurse immediately and she came in, sat down on my bed, put her hand on my tummy, and pushed the monitor away. Then another nurse came in. Then one left to go call my doctor. And then more people came in. Everyone was very (oddly) quiet. The one nurse just sat there for over a half hour with her hand on my tummy, breathing with me, and watching the monitor. I asked to sit up, to move around, and they said no. So I was on an incline, not able to breathe, in the worst pain of my life, getting more and more scared. And then they told me the bulge I was seeing was my uterus bulging out of my side. Pleasant.

Brian was in and out, calling our parents, talking with nurses, and then standing in front of me, breathing with me. I don’t know what all happened during this time. I know I saw a cardiologist. I know at one point, the entire room, which had seemed large when we checked in, was filled with people and I didn’t know why. All I wanted was to see Dr. M. but she never came. I wasn’t even allowed to unstrap the monitors for two minutes so I could go pee so I got introduced to Ms. Bedpan (so gross) RIGHT when the doctor came in who was sent by Dr. M. to check me! Embarrassing. Got all that out of the way and this doctor confirmed to me what I was afraid of: This 2hr contraction (which I found out later was so intense it hadn’t even registered on the monitor this entire time) had not succeeded in dialating me any further. Elena’s heartrate had shot to 190bpm and she was getting frantic. I was having an allergic reaction to the inducing medication and needed an emergency c-section. I informed them I couldn’t – I’d eaten breakfast! So, they gave me a shot to prevent vomiting and began prepping me anyway.

In Peru, you must pay for procedures before they happen, so Brian was shipped out immediately to pay for the c-section and I found out later he wasn’t even really sure what he was doing or why! He told me at this point, he was shaking, could barely think straight, cried every time he left the room, and could barely hold a conversation with anyone. He didn’t want to scare my mom so he composed himself to talk to her. He didn’t want to call anyone else because he knew he couldn’t hold himself together well enough to do so. So, he felt really alone and really scared. He paid for the C and made it up to my room in time for me to say, “Grab the camera! We’re going!”

I’m still in the throws of this major contraction and now, they make me LIE DOWN on my BACK as we travel down 3 floors and 2 endless hallways. Sheer agony. We got to the door of the operating room and they grabbed Brian from behind and told him no further. I will never in my life forget watching him stand at the door as they wheeled me away, the doors closing in his face. And this is where I used to never be able to continue the story. Even now, that particular memory makes me sick to my stomach.

I was wheeled into the surgery room and I remember it being very sterile, large, and cold. Two (three?) women prepped me while I answered a myriad of questions for my epidural. And all of a sudden – there was Dr. M.! It was like seeing a short, heavily-made-up angel at that moment! She helped hold my shoulders while they did the epidural. The epidural HURT SO BAD. It crunched as it went in and it took 3 women to keep me from jerking or moving. Horrible, excruciating pain on top of the never-ending contraction. And then… relief. Finally, I started going numb and the awful pain of the contraction went away.

I remember when they began the surgery, I could still wiggle my toes and all the horror stories of operations while the people are still awake came to me and I FREAKED. I told Dr. M. and she said that was perfectly normal (did NOT know that) and made sure other areas were totally numb before officially starting. I had been told that getting the baby out would be fairly quick, but getting sewn up would take awhile. I was not prepared for the C…. at…. all.

Elena was out by 12:16pm, Wedneday, September 29, 2010. I remember actually feeling her being pulled out of my body and hearing Dr. M. saying, “Hola Elena! Elena – hola! Ven, Elena! Ven!” She told me later that Elena just blinked up at her and didn’t act like she wanted out at all! 🙂 That’s my girl! I felt her come out and my heart stopped because I didn’t hear her scream for what seemed like an eternity. And then she wailed. Oh, how I wish Brian could’ve heard her cry for the first time! It was the most beautiful noise ever. I can still hear it. Every single person in the operating room said, “Wow, she’s healthy!” They brought her over to me so I could see her, but of course I was strapped down and shaking like a leaf so I couldn’t do any more than look at her and cry (the tears started just as soon as she screamed and I couldn’t make them stop!). Dr. M. gave the nurses her phone to take pictures. I have them printed; I don’t have them on the computer anymore. I don’t post them; they’re too private anyway. Only family has ever seen them.

And then… the sewing up. It felt like they were repositioning my insides. It was horrible. I did not vomit (my worst nightmare), but I was horribly uncomfortable, scared, and counting down to when it would be over. The meds made me loopy enough I couldn’t think straight, but not loopy enough to actually sleep, so it was awful. I remember right at the end, they pulled or did something and it really, honestly HURT and only then did the little man sitting behind me monitoring my vitals (while talking on his cell phone – I kid you not) reach up and brush my hair back and tell me, “Shhh, it’s okay. It’s normal.” I could’ve used that a lot more often and a lot earlier!

Finally, the nightmare ended. Dr. M. came to me and said Elena’s apgars were wonderful, the surgery went good, she’d go talk to Brian, and I would go to recovery for 90min and then be brought up to my room and she’d see me later. Off to recovery I went after the wonderful cleaning up where your whole body gets plopped around like a chunk of meat. That’s fun and wonderfully private. I was brought to a room completely by myself – just one nurse in there “monitoring” me. I tried to doze off and on, all the while thinking, “Did all this really just happen? Where’s my baby? I hope Brian’s okay. I hope Brian knows where I am!”

Unbenounced to me, Brian had been told to wait outside the operating room, but then a nurse told him, “Why don’t you come with me and I’ll show you where they’ll bring out the baby and you can wait there?” So, off he went. He said it was over an hour before they finally wheeled out Elena. He said he just paced here:

Finally, after more than hour, Elena was wheeled by. Brian was told that his daughter and that they needed a whole package of diapers, a whole package of wipes, and all of her clothes immediately. He was not allowed to touch her, hold her, or even spend a minute alone with her. This is all he saw for the next 4 hours:

He then went to our room and waited for me – or any word of me. He waited there another hour and a half. By that time, he had convinced himself I was dead and was trying to figure out how he’d be a single dad. Oh, my heart just breaks for all he went through. When I was finally brought in the room, he wasn’t even there! The TV was on some horror show (he had it on for background and didn’t even know what was on it!). He was out buying more diapers. When we finally saw each other, we cried and cried.

I had been told not to talk because it would increase the gas in my stomach. But, I HAD to talk to my husband. And then I slept. Around 5pm, Elena was brought into our room with strict instructions that we were NOT to pick her up yet. I still don’t get that. So, I still couldn’t even nurse her, much less hold her! I remember seeing her and just thinking, “She’s beautiful. So, so beautiful.”

Finally, I was allowed to nurse. OH the misery. It went so bad. And all the “help” I got contradicted itself so I ended up more confused than helped. She would not latch, it hurt like crazy, my milk took 4 days to come in, they convinced me she wasn’t getting enough food so they gave her 2oz of formula at EVERY feeding even though she was almost 8lbs! Everyone insisted on “helping the ducts open” which included a lot of pinching, pulling, and squeezing until I bled and cried and still had a baby who wouldn’t wake up and wouldn’t nurse and wouldn’t latch… it was awful.

They left the catheter for the epidural in so they could continue to give me strong pain meds on Thursday. But, they wanted me to get up and move around as much as possible. So, I walked and paced around our room until all of a sudden, I had such horrible back pain, I couldn’t move – it was worse than the incision. I called my nurse and she said she could take it out, but it would keep me from having any strong medication so she suggested I wait. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and early afternoon, I had her take it out. Ah – relief! Finally. When she pulled it out, we realized the problem was that it had gone crooked in my back. It was a perfect “L” shape when she pulled it out of my back.

I had a horrible time getting up and moving around. We have finally decided it MUST be because they did the surgery in the middle of the strong contraction, so all my muscles were tight when they slit through them. I just could not recover from this stupid thing! Saturday, I started developing a sore throat, but I did not care – I just wanted to get home! We’d be in the stupid clinic since Tuesday; I was DONE. I wanted to be home. I wanted to take care of my baby the way I wanted to – I wanted my husband to be able to change her diaper without a nurse saying, “You’re going too slow! Move!” I wanted to be able to sleep in between feedings without a nurse coming in to put in a new I.V. and not warning me beforehand, just beginning the process while I’m still asleep!

Saturday, I did get a free manicure (that was nice!), and then we were GONE. Brian stopped at the grocery store to get groceries while I waited in the car with Elena. He bought me my celebratory millkshake from Burger King (the prize I’d told myself I’d get when it was all over!) and then we went home. Some friends were SO NICE in bringing me dinner that first night. By evening, I had a cold and was coughing which KILLED my incision. I coughed for the first two weeks. We think it was the drastic change in temperature. It was about 80 in the clinic and no more than 60 at home those first few nights. Ugh. Anyway – I could barely get around the house, couldn’t get out of bed by myself, couldn’t even shower by myself. Brian had to cook (only one trip up and down stairs a day so I had to choose wisely!), help the baby latch every two hours, change the baby’s diaper during the night, bathe the baby, and do his own job here on campus.

I had a hard time bonding. I have never admitted that publicly before, but it’s true. I had a hard time bonding and I was scared to death of being home alone with her. The first time Brian left me to take someone somewhere, I cried all morning, begging him not to go. He had to show me how to change the baby, assure me I could do it, and he called me every 20 min to make sure I was okay. I was terrified I’d do something wrong. Brian did all the major stuff at the beginning; I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t know how and I was afraid I’d do something wrong.

Nursing was horrible for the first 2 months. Once I figured out how to get Elena to latch without Brian’s help, the pain about drove me insane. I’d have a meltdown before every nursing session, especially as the days wore on. By nighttime, I would just sit in the rocking chair and cry while Elena screamd in the other room for food. I just couldn’t do it. The pain would shoot down my right arm and make my fingers numb. We think, though we’re not for sure, that it partly had to do with the shingles that were still healing (they were basically gone when Elena was born, but I was still scarred and sensitive. In the clinic, when they helped me shower the next day, the two nurses literally stood there and touched my side really gently and said, “Wow – we’ve never seen someone so scarred before!” Between the incision, the stretch marks the dog gave me, and the shingles – all on my right side – I looked like I’d been through a battle! And lost. Badly.).

And then….. the smoke cleared. And all of a sudden, the nightmare turned into…

… which has grown into this:

Am I healed? Physically, I believe so. Emotionally? Honestly – no. Not yet. Yes, I want another baby. I love being a mommy. But, getting there was rough. I want to try for a VBAC. That’s what I’m praying for. But, Brian’s right (as usual) when he tells me that if a C is God’s will for me, then that is what He deems best. So, we’ll wait. And we’ll see.

It’s now 1am and a giant spider just landed on my leg out of nowhere which means I need to shut off the light before I get freaked out by all the night creatures that I like to pretend don’t actually exist in my house. Thanks for reading this saga. I think I needed to just let it out. 

March 2017
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