My daughter was my hoped for baby that I didn’t have to fight for. My husband surprised me by being ready to try again and we got pregnant on the 2nd month of trying! I saw that happy positive 4-5 days before my missed period… happy and stinky, because now you’ve known you were pregnant since 3 weeks and have to wait even longer to tell people.
On fast forward, the pregnancy was not awful, but it did start with lots of morning sickness, sinus infection, ear infection, urinary track infection, yeast infection… followed by a couple easy weeks, then never-ending heartburn in the chest and throat, moving on to terrible groin and stomach pains from the splitting stomach muscles, and finally severe anemia, lightheadedness, generally feeling unwell and huge. I do have a prolapsed uterus since child #2 as well, but it doesn’t play a huge roll after the 1st trimester, but it does lend itself to constipation from being out of place and pressing on my intestines.
Reading the paragraph above over again tells me that the pregnancy was AWFUL but other women have it worse, I only carried 1 baby, and I’m desperately trying to convince myself that I want to be pregnant again. And truly, I love all the kicks and movements and looking like an impressive breeding factory. Here’s a picture of what I looked like the day before delivery.
So at only 40 weeks (it is ONLY for me, I’ve never gone before 40 and the last 2 babies were both 9 days post-date) we made the decision to just ‘show up’ at the hospital and ask to be induced. This sounds a bit strange, but I was seeing a midwife and she has no jurisdiction at the hospital we were delivering at… so we were instructed to just check ourselves in when we were ready. Honestly, the midwife told us, she wouldn’t be surprised if the baby was in the 8 lb range because of the amount of fluid I was carrying.
I wish I had a camera to take pictures of the staff’s faces as we walked in. It was like they’d never seen a full term pregnant woman before and I know they see them all day long! We sat in triage and amazingly, there were NO laboring women the entire time we were waiting. I would have expected 2 or 3, but no, everyone was coming in to be induced. Any one else see the problem with this? The triage doctor had us go in for an ultrasound and monitoring. My blood pressure was terribly high, but that didn’t worry me, it hadn’t been high that much before and I was nervous about having our baby. The ultrasound tech explained that most of the measurements were coming back in x’s and that was because the baby was measuring outside of any known range for an average and that the measurements that she was getting placed our baby at 11lbs8oz give or take a pound and a half. So our baby could be 13 POUNDS! Or only 10, ha! A very serious doctor came in to talk about our results and to tell us that their only recommendation was to perform a C-section.
My husband and I said we needed to talk first, so he left and we looked at each other. It was such a catch-22. I knew this baby was big, we thought we were being pro-active by coming in a week EARLY to be induced. I also knew that I would need to be unmedicated to push a baby that size out, but that I would need the epidural in case she was too big and they had to do an emergency C-section. We knew that our last son became stuck and he might have been smaller! In the end, we made a decision that worked for us and decided to go ahead with the section. I had no idea that this is what we’d be deciding when we walked in.
We’ve never delivered in a hospital before and I guess we were going for the full experience. 4th baby, 1st time with no labor, 1st epidural! The epidural was whack. It felt so strange and made me feel so weird, but maybe that was because I was lying on my back. I hadn’t lain on my back in months and suddenly I’m expected to lie like that for a long freaking time. Creepy epidural guy was a toucher, but in the scheam of things, he was mostly ignored.
We roll into the operating room and it’s so bright and white! It was a whole group of ladies plus creepy epidural guy and my hubby. The staff start making bets on the size of the baby, but these experienced women prodded my belly and decided to bet smaller because of all the fluid. They all bet between 9 and 10 pounds, then asked for our estimations. My hubby said 11lbs2oz and I said 11 even. If I had to go through all this discomfort, please Lord, give me at least an 11 pounder to make up for it. I would really enjoy bragging rights for the rest of my life.
They start, and then tell me to expect pressure, then… instant relief. I cannot begin to describe to you the instantaneous relief of the baby being outside of my body. The fluid, the baby, nothing was pressing down on my spine anymore, I felt worlds lighter. I was lost in my relief, but they show us the baby and go to clean her up and weigh her. Oh yes, they didn’t forget to weigh her. Guess who knows her body? This girl. (And my husband gets to be right too, amazing!) Baby girl weighed in at 11lbs1oz and only 20 inches long.
Back to the delivery room, my husband left with the baby and they keep going with the rest of the surgery, my meds wear off and I start grunting from pain, I get another dose of anesthetic (it unfortunately slows down recovery time, but I needed it) and then a wonderful doctor takes a VERY long time to stitch things up. The incision ended up having to be a big larger than normal, ahahahaha. That lady was so nice, she took her time and made things look great actually! Things finish up and I’m wheeled to recovery, expecting to meet up with my husband and baby. We get to my spot, but they’re not there, the nurse tells me not to worry and she’ll call and find out where they went. I’m out of it. But, I do remember to text my family and close friends that we were out of surgery and we’d birthed a giant. Bragging rights full on and into effect.
The nurse came back and brought me some blessed ice chips (my 1st hospital ice chips too!) and told me that my husband had gone with the baby to a step-down nursery because she was experiencing low blood-sugar. I wanted to nurse her, but I felt so awful still that this would have been rather terrible. I wait out the recovery and then they take me down to the step-down nursery before wheeling me to a room. The doctor in the nursery told us that her blood sugar was more than a little low and she’d been given a sugar drip through an IV to raise the levels. It was after 11 pm, so my husband joins me as we head to my room. May I say that Winnie Palmer Hospital here in Orlando, FL is really wonderful. So far so good.
We make it to the room, meet the nurses and get a pump. I’m able to pump some colostrum, which makes me feel better about providing some care for my baby, and then we crash. The next day is blurry and rough.
I feel truly BAD the next day; I get OKed for semisolids and have some cream-of-wheat, which I happen to really like. That only stays down a few minutes, and between pumping and sleeping, I’m expected to get up and walk around to help with post-surgery recovery. Did you know how thirsty surgery makes you? I must have drunk gallons of water over the next few days. So it’s time to get up, I manage that and we head down the hall. I start getting the yucky feeling and try to walk a bit faster to make a trash can, the nurse and hubby tell me to slow down, but I can’t talk; I need that trash can. I make it mostly in the can, sorry cleaning crew.
I get back to the bed and I had wanted to go see the baby all day, but I’m too sick. By evening, I get wheeled down to the step-down nursery, since I can’t make it there on my own power and finally FINALLY get to hold my baby. This is the first time I’ve gotten to even hold her ever. We try and figure out nursing, but it’s hard, she’s been on a bottle all day, but at least we get a lot of bonding time, then it’s back up to the room to sleep. We get woken up by a doctor telling us that our baby’s blood sugar levels are still dropping and the step-down nursery can’t handle her care anymore and that she’s being transferred to the NICU. What? I can’t remember if we asked any coherent questions, probably we were too shocked. I don’t think I was worried about her having the possibility of dying and that’s a relief to not be thinking morbidly.
Day 2 following surgery was much, much better for me. I had an appetite and was able to get up without vomiting. Even with the drama, and illness, this felt like the first vacation my husband and I have been on ever! I almost get why some people develop an addiction for going to the hospital. I loved my hospital stay! I’m also really thankful for all the people praying for us and for our lovely visitors.
Our nurse tells us that we were some of the most absent patients she’s ever had, we were never there for her to nurse! We kept going to the NICU to see our baby, we tried to make all the feedings, then I had a lactation consultant meet us down there so we could figure out the nursing issues. Baby absolutely REFUSED to nurse; we tried for about an hour, the kind lady tells me that I have a huge amount of patience. Thanks! I did kind of figure that out when I started having kids and still want more. *smile.
The NICU could be a very sad place and it is for some, but they try to make things so cute and positive and for us it was. We stay a 3rd night, but then it’s time for me to be discharged… but still not our baby. By the time we get discharged, things are getting a bit better. She had been getting increasingly larger concentrations of sugar ever since being admitted (if the blood sugar levels drop too low, then her brain doesn’t get the sugar it needs and we could end up with a special needs baby) and at one point she had a feeding tube and they were talking about putting an IV through her belly button because she needed higher concentrations… then on day 3, things started getting better. We tried to stay at Ronald McDonald for that 4th night, but it was over a holiday and there were no shuttles and it ended up being easier to just go home for the night. We drove back once for the last evening feeding and then collapsed at home.
My mother, stepfather, and youngest brother had been watching our other 3 children all this time… bet they weren’t expecting to be there so long!
It was good to sleep in our own bed and we got the news that if our baby kept improving, that she could go home the next day! We make an appointment for the carseat training class, and we had left her carseat for the carseat test the night before (all NICU patients have to spend 90 minutes safely in their carseat, to be cleared for home going). The class was very hard on a post-partum mommy! We sat there and heard stats on kids in accidents, why rear facing is the safest, etc. etc. After every real-life tragedy example, you could probably hear some hiccupy sniffs coming from the front of the class, suspiciously close to where I was sitting… ok where I was sitting.
I was wondering at all those other hard-hearted mommies, but soon found out why I was the only one having such a hard time. We started taking carseats and we all had our own ones present with us. They start going around the room making sure these carseats were ok for preemies. OH… those other women had all given birth a long time ago and were just now getting to take their still tiny babies home. We are so blessed to have only been in the NICU a few short blurry days. The instructor gets to us and asks how big our baby is, “11 pounds”… “Oh… he’s been here a while?”… “Um… she’s been here a few days, she was really big, blood sugar issues.”… “Wow, oh your carseat’s fine for a baby that size.”
And… a few short hours later… we escaped!
It’s my thought now that we must have had some undiagnosed blood-sugar issues before birth. Yes I passed my blood-sugar test midway through the pregnancy, but a problem might have developed later on. Ah well, I’ll stay on top of it for the next go-around.
My daughter just turned 1 and can you imagine that she’s now, skinny! She kept dropping percentage points ever since birth, but getting longer and longer at the same time. She’s now in the 16th percentile for weight (after floating some good distance above the 99th at birth) and is in the 90th percentile for height. There is a joke to be made about being a model, but apparently if I make it too much, the chubby kids could develop a complex, so no more model jokes. *Tongue out smile.
Final picture! Cutie pie 1 year