Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Birth Story of Harris Luke

Harris Luke
August 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm
8 pounds 13 ounces
21 inches

My surgery was scheduled for 1:15 pm on the 18th. I was glad about that because it meant one less night that Ella would have to spend away from us, but it also made it hard not to eat or drink anything - especially since Ella was offering me part of her breakfast because I wasn't eating. It also just felt like we spent a lot of time waiting to go to the hospital, and we still got there a little early.

I felt like I was just more with it this time. I don't know if it's because it was my second time, or if I was just that out of it when I had Ella, but I felt more like a participant rather than a spectator. Dave was with me the whole time except when they put in the epidural and the first few minutes in the OR. The nurses were better; I was just more relaxed all the way around.

I told Dave on the way to the hospital that I wished I could have the same anesthesiologist because he did a good job last time and I liked him. Would you believe my wish came true? That was an answered prayer. I knew Dave wouldn't be able to stay with me while he administered the epidural, but that is the part where I really wanted him the most. It just scares the crap out of me. The nurse was great, but my heart was racing and I was trying to control my breathing so I wouldn't panic. It went in fine, and I didn't have any ringing in my ears or headache to indicate a problem. I did start to worry when my right hip really started cramping as the medicine went in, but the doctor assured me that it's normal for one side to start going numb before the other and that's what was happening. The leaned me to left so that the medicine would start numbing that side of my body.

While he was putting the thing in my back, the OB started asking if we could move the surgery up half an hour. Everyone was in agreement and all I could think was, "Will I be numb that fast?" Once I was lying down on in bed, I got really nauseated. I told the nurse and she shot some Zofran in my IV that stopped it almost instantly. Then my vision started turning black and fuzzy around the edges. Before I could say anything, I heard an alarm go off and she was shooting something else into my IV. She said my blood pressure had dropped too low, and that medicine would stabilize it. I asked if that's why I was going blurry and she confirmed. That happened three times before it was stable and they allowed Dave back in the cubicle with me.

Very soon, I was wheeled into the OR, still feeling tingly and able to wiggle my toes. The doctor tested my numbness with a pin and topped off the epidural. It didn't take long before my body was a log from my breasts down. My surgeon came in and joked around with me, and I reminded him that I wanted stitches to close the incision - no staples. He wasn't my regular OB, but I had met him a couple of times when my OB wasn't in the office. Initially, I was worried about not having my doctor, but the other one was really great.

They brought Dave into the room, and the surgery started. It wasn't as quick this time. It felt like they had to wrestle Luke out of me, and the nurse told me to just breathe through it because there was so much pressure in my abdomen and ribs. When he was out, I was instantly able to take the deep breath I'd been missing for weeks. It was wonderful.

His APGARs were 8 and 9, but he had a lot of fluid in his lungs so instead of the screaming we heard with Ella, his cry was more like a puppy barking. They deep suctioned him and cleaned him up while I watched on the Baby Cam and Dave took pictures. They took him back to the recovery room, while I was closed up. I nearly fell asleep on the operating table because it felt so good to be numb in my hips instead of the aching I'd had for weeks. The nurse told me I didn't have to try to stay awake, but I wanted to - I didn't want to miss anything when I got back to the recovery room.

Because of the extra fluid in Luke's lungs, they had to suction him out again in recovery so they had not bathed him yet. I actually got to see his first bath! They checked his sugar and it was great! They gave him to me to hold skin-to-skin and try to nurse. I could not get him to latch on. I was starting to worry and he was kind of fussy. The nurse called it "grunting" and called a NICU nurse to evaluate him. They had me hold him skin-to-skin for the remainder of the hour I was there, and then decided he needed to go to the transition nursery in the NICU for observation because he still had some fluid in his lungs and belly. So, I went to my room on the maternity floor and they took him to the NICU. I told Dave to go with him and hold him if they'd let him.

It was two hours later before I finally saw him again. I was really worrying about nursing him because I know that the sooner you start, the easier it will be. The lactation consultant came to see me while he was in the NICU and I expressed my concerns to her - that it had been so long and I couldn't get him to latch on. She went to check on him, and when she came back she told me he was on the way up and that I needed to take off his t-shirt and tuck him into my gown and hold him for the rest of the day. She said I should not pass him around, just let him rest and try to nurse when he acted like he was ready. I was happy to do just that.

She happened to be there when he started crying, so I tried to latch him on. He finally did, but he would not suck. It took several more times before he got the hang of it, and it was the middle of the night before he really had a good nursing session and fell asleep for a while. I was so relieved. Once he got it, he really got it, and I didn't even have to pump while I was in the hospital.

The next day, we passed him around. He is such a laid back baby so far - content to be held and snuggling in the neck of whoever has him. He's been nursing like a champ and when I took him to the doctor on Monday, he had regained 3 of the 12 ounces he lost in the hospital. He's doing great!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Welcome to the World, Luke!

Today, one week old.
Big sister examining all of his parts.

Right after birth, in the recovery room.

Pod child number 2.
Immediately after birth.

Birth story to follow...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of School

Last night, in a fit of nerves, EGR told me she didn't want to go to "shfool" but this morning she was ready to put on her new clothes and she wanted to eat her lunch for breakfast. We compromised on drinking from the juice cup I had already packed for her. She even LET me fix her hair! I didn't have to wrestle her at all.
When we got there, we had to wait outside for a few minutes for them to unlock the door. She held my hand and studied the other kids running around until we got in the building, then she yanked it away and stood in line to sign in beside me. She walked to her classroom by herself. I squatted beside her and pulled her onto my leg and reminded her that I would be back to pick her up when her class was over, then she just walked into the room to see what some other kids were doing. I told her bye, blew her a kiss, and left. That was it. Easy peasy. I was so proud of her. Grandmother wanted to hang around but I dragged her out because I wasn't planning to wait for her to cry. She did not.
She had just woken up from nap and was reading a book when I got there to pick her up. Her teacher said she had a great day. Twice she started to cry a little, but stopped when she reassured her that I would be there later to pick her up.
She didn't drink much, but I expected that since I sent water and juice instead of milk or Coke. She'll just have to adjust to that. I think she probably ate most of her lunch because she ate breakfast early and did not have a snack before we left. When we passed by the building on the way out of the parking lot she said, "That's my shfool?" I said that it was, and she said, "I want to go in there." I hope this means the Thursday drop off without me will go well.
I can't believe how grown up she looks in these pictures!
One big event down, one more to go this week.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Repeat C

I don't know if it's self-fulfilling prophecy (I hope not) or my strange intuition, but I called it spot on when I said everything would happen the week Ella starts school. Baby Boy will be born next week, Wednesday, the 18th, via repeat c-section.

The next few days will be a blur and I'm desperately trying to process this new information. He will be born 11 days early because they think he's going to be giganto-baby. As I predicted, they estimated his weight yesterday at 9 lbs. - give or take a pound and 5 oz. Magically, he went from measuring 37 weeks on Monday to 40 weeks yesterday, after my doctor heard the estimate. I'm a bit skeptical. My gut still says he's not going to be overly large, but I'm starting to wonder if that's just wishful thinking. We'll know soon enough.

So, am I ready? Am I ready to see this baby? Yes! Yes! Yes! Am I ready for another major abdominal surgery? I'm still working on that part. Regardless of the fact that I've done this before, it still makes me very nervous to be cut wide open, have two people digging around inside me, and then sewn up again. That doesn't even account for the scary epidural needle wielded by a perfect stranger a millimeter from my spinal cord. I need to breathe - deeply and hypnotically.

I was really hoping for a VBAC this time, and I'm finding it brutally ironic and unfair that the child actually has his head low in my pelvis, but I'm not going to be allowed to push him out. I'd be remiss if I didn't say that just sucks. I know, I know, the repeat c-section probably is the safest option for both mother and baby given that he may be huge and I already have an existing uterine scar. I know that our safety is the most important thing. But, I also know this pretty much seals the deal on me ever having the birth I wanted so badly. I will never have the experience of birthing my own baby. And that's something I have to allow myself to mourn.

Eleven days isn't really very early, but with babies of gestational diabetic mothers, every day counts for lung development. It's a bit of a trap between giving him a few extra days in the womb and making sure he's delivered before I go into labor spontaneously, thus we aren't going to make it to 39 weeks. He's still doing great on his non-stress tests, so I think he's going to be fine but a little extra prayer never hurt anyone. Please pray for a smooth, uneventful surgery and recovery and a healthy baby.

While you're at it, can you also say a prayer for EGR? Her next week will be just as much a whirlwind as mine. Tonight we will go to preschool orientation to meet her teacher and see her classroom. Tuesday is her first day of school - in a completely new place with strangers. Ultimately, I think she'll love it, but I'm hoping for a smooth transition into this new environment. Wednesday, we will drop her off at Grandmother's house, where she will be spending three nights and then she'll come to the hospital to meet Baby Boy. Thankfully, she is well aware of and excited about all of these things, but I'm really hoping it's not too much for her in the moment.

Go ahead and include Dave in those prayers, too. While he's extremely relieved to have a scheduled c-section with my doctor and he's much more comfortable with the idea of it than I am at the moment, I know that he will be scared and nervous when they wheel me away into the OR. Plus, he's just going to have a lot to juggle with my recovery, a newborn, and a 2 year old.

The EGR Update
We are alternating between talking about Baby Boy's birth next week and school. She keeps asking me her teacher's name, and I keep telling her we are going to meet her tonight to find out her name and see her class.

I told her last night that Baby Boy will be born next Wednesday. When she woke up this morning, she asked me, "You go to the hospital next week for Baby Boy?" Yes. "You will have a band-aid?" Yes. "Daddy be there with you?" "Yes, and you will come to visit us and meet Baby Boy." While we were getting into the car this morning, she told me that the babies in her tummy have already been born.

She is also reminding us to say the blessing at every meal, and she is finally bowing her head and being quiet while we say it. Last night she served me a refreshing cup of bath water and informed me that we had to say the blessing before I could "drink" it. So we did. In the tub.

I've been telling her the "bear song" at bedtime every night; the one about "Goldi'ocks not picnic." (There is a Teddy Bear Picnic song she sometimes requests.) The second night, when I got to the part where Goldi'ocks eats all of Baby Bear's porridge, she leaned in really close to my face and asked in her concerned voice, "They make some more pordidge?" Yes, of course they do; Mama Bear will not let Baby Bear go hungry. She really likes Daddy Bear's voice, but for some reason he reminds me a little bit of Karl Childers from Sling Blade, umm hmm.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Stick a fork in me...

I'm done. D-O-N-E. Done.

I'm done with: "Oh my God, Amanda's belly is huge!"
And: "There's no way you will make it three more weeks."
And: "Wow, someone's going to have a baby soon!"
And: "Your belly is just going to split open."
And: "Someone is about to burst!"
And: "Shouldn't you be in the hospital?!"
And: "Amanda, I brought donuts and I want to make sure you are the first to get some."
And: "When are you due again?"
And: "Do they know how big the baby is going to be?"
And: "You don't have much longer."
And, my personal favorite from early on: "You do know what causes this, right?"

These are the things I wanted to say in response.

"Yes, I'm growing a human being."
"You do know that the size of my belly does not determine when this baby will be born, right?"
"Really? Who?"
"Hmm, I did watch a made-for-TV movie about a woman who delivered her baby through her belly button."
"Oh no! Should we call an ambulance?"
"Just because I'm pregnant does not mean I can just shovel donuts in my face twice a week."
"Please write it on your calendar: August 29."
"Yes, my doctor uses a combination of x-ray vision and a crystal ball to determine the exact weight of the baby BEFORE he comes out."
"What do you know about how long three weeks is? I'd like to see you walk around in this body for just one."
"Yup, hot monkey sex."

It has been pointed out to me that these people (with the exception of the random strangers) are just excited and anticipating the birth of this baby. I get that. I do. I also get that I'm not fit for the public right now. I've reached that point. The point of exiling myself to my house in a giant t-shirt, under the ceiling fan. I remember reaching the same point when I was pregnant with Ella. I've been carrying this child for 37 weeks; for at least 30 of those weeks, I've been hearing running commentary on my appearance. It's so old. It's even older than my achy right hip and my near constant bathroom trips.

All I need to hear right now is: "Wow, you are a fine/gorgeous/beautiful looking pregnant woman!" Else, the world can just shut up for the next three weeks.

Friday, August 06, 2010

They 'IGHT up! They 'IGHT Up!

Translated: They LIGHT up!

That's what Ella just told me over the telephone about her new flip-flops. She was so excited she didn't take a breath to hear me respond and she just kept saying it over and over again.

Apparently, she had a secret mission for Grandmother today, and that was to find her some flip-flops. She's been wearing mine whenever she can get them, and she's been wearing some too-small ones that will be Baby Boy's one day, but she didn't have any of her own. She set out to rectify that situation today in a mission that scoured four stores in two cities. Lucky she is to have grandparents that indulge her.

I obviously haven't seen them yet, but I hear that in addition to lighting up, they are clear with lady bugs on them, and that she walked in circles trying to watch them once she realized the were lighting up. I can't wait to watch her prance proudly around in them this afternoon. I expect she'll need to wear them with the new skinny jeans she picked out two weeks ago.

Bye-bye princess crocs, hello blingin' flip-flops.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Are my insides burning?

WHAT is this taste in my mouth when I burp? For weeks, when I wake up in the middle of the night and burp it tastes like I've been eating burnt popcorn that has given me indigestion. I have not been eating popcorn, burnt or otherwise, but this taste has been driving me nuts.

I think I just figured out what is causing it. I decided yesterday, as I sat at my desk in the air conditioning and still struggled to breath, that I should start taking my iron supplement in the mornings. I usually take it at bed time, but I also usually drink a glass of milk at bedtime and eat a handful of Tums during the night. Since calcium blocks the absorption of iron, I'm probably not getting much benefit from the iron supplement when taking it this way. So, in an effort catch my breath and feel like I have a little energy (the real kind, not the kind I fake so everyone will leave me alone), I decided to take it in the mornings. Guess what? Fifteen minutes after taking it this morning, the burnt popcorn taste is back and I realized I didn't taste it in the hours I was awake last night. Hmm. Since I've been taking iron for months and I only started the Glyburide last week, it has to be the iron that's causing this nastiness. Unfortunately, knowing the cause doesn't make it any more pleasant.

The EGR Update
The topic of the week has been umbilical cords. We've been studying her newborn pictures and she's asked about the cord, so I explained that the baby gets his food through the cord while he's in my tummy and when he is born he will still have a little bit of cord that will dry up and fall off, and then he'll have a belly button just like hers. She is very enthusiastic about his belly button. I've explained that we won't be able to put him in the baby bathtub until his cord falls off, and that we'll have to clean it, etc. She has really been doing some thinking about this new baby business. Yesterday morning, she got out of bed and came to find me in my bathroom. She proudly announced, "I'm a big sister!"
Me: "Yes, you are."
EGR: "Baby boy will be born! We will hold him! Bathe him! He will have a cord?"
Me: "Yes, and his cord will fall off and then he'll have a belly button like yours."
EGR: "Yeah!"
Similar exchanges have taken place over the last few days and always lead to a few minutes of comparing belly buttons.

She has a lovely cold right now, so we were up and down a few times last night while she tried to breathe. At 3:30, she came to our bed and after I finally got us settled with everything we needed (milk cup, nose sucker, smelly vapor plug-in thingy, dry diaper, etc), and I got comfortable again with all my pillows, Baby Boy stretched his little self out and started doing flips. As she was cuddled right up to my belly, she quickly informed me, "Baby Boy is movin'." To which I replied, "Yes, I know, Sweet Pea, he always wakes up when you do." I foresee lots of sibling bonding time in the wee morning hours in our future. The question is, who will wake up who?