Sunday, August 20, 2017

4 weeks of George.



George has officially been alive outside of my body for exactly 4 weeks (I even published this post right at 9:15 when he was born).

We think he is just the best and cutest baby we have ever seen. So I figure you would want to see a long stream of pictures of him. 





He always starts out really mad in his car seat but he usually falls asleep pretty quickly.





4 weeks of being parents has been pretty crazy. Definitely a lot harder than I expected. I had babysat newborns before but when you are watching them around the clock it is a whole different story. Like on one Friday night after George was asleep I was getting excited because tomorrow was Saturday and that meant we got to sleep in and then I had the sad realization that I will basically never sleep in again. 

I also realized that I haven't slept through the night in at least 4 weeks and the fact that I am still alive despite my lack of sleep is really impressive. 

But things are definitely getting better. I think the first week of being home with a newborn is probably one of the most shocking weeks of anyone's life. Your whole world is thrown upside down, you don't sleep, and (at least for me) you have so many dang emotions. So the first two weeks were pretty rough but the last two have been much better. We are finally getting kind of a handle on this whole having a baby thing....although I doubt we will ever have a real grasp on it. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

George's Hospital Stay.

So I mentioned in my birth story that George aspirated some meconium before he was born so he was having a little trouble breathing and keeping his oxygen levels up. Which you may have noticed since in his first pictures he had an oxygen cannula on.  


Those cheeks just kill me!

Anyways, little buddy was doing really well since he was full term but he just wasn't able to keep his oxygen levels up. So he had to be in the nursery all the time and was only able to come to our room that first time for me to see him. After that we always had to go to the nursery to be with him. Which was kind of a problem since I was not really that great at moving since I had just had major surgery so it was kind of a hassle for me to get there to see him and also rest because I needed to heal. 


You can see his little oxygen monitor there. 

So for the first day or so we really had no idea when he would be able to get off the oxygen which meant we really had no idea when he would be able to come home. The only good thing about me having a c-section is that I had to stay in the hospital at least 3 days so we knew that we would have some time for all of us to be there together. 

On monday, the day after he was born, he started having a few more problems with the oxygen. Having the oxygen constantly flowing into his little nose was drying his nose out so his body was making fluid to keep his nose less dry which was making him congested. But the only way to help him not be congested was to stop the oxygen but they couldn't do that because he needed it to keep his lungs working right. So the poor boy was trapped in a bad cycle of needing oxygen but the oxygen was making him congested so then the oxygen wasn't getting to his lungs effectively. 


We had a really scary moment when I was feeding him one day and his saturation levels dropped to the 60's (they should be near 100). A bunch of people rushed to his little bassinet and started trying to get him to breathe better. He was so congested that even with the extra oxygen he couldn't breathe effectively. They had to do all this intense suction just to clear out his little nose and it was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. The poor boy was so miserable and I am sure that having 6 people suctioning out your nose is not great at all. I was a total mess because I just wanted to be helping my baby but I knew there was nothing I could do to help. We kind of got thrown into the deep end of parenting having to deal with an intense hospital stay right away and it was a lot to have to handle. 

After all that suctioning an ENT came to look at him and prescribed him some nasal steroid drops and those helped a ton with his congestion so we were hoping he would be able to get off the oxygen soon, but any time they would lower his levels to try and wean him off the oxygen he wouldn't handle it very well so they would have to raise it back up. 

On Wednesday afternoon we had asked the doctor when she thought he would be able to get off the oxygen and she said that it could take up to a week. That was pretty defeating because I was going to be discharged the next day and we really didn't want to have to leave him at the hospital. 


Then, a miracle happened. When his nurse was doing his evaluation at about 9 on Wednesday night she took his oxygen off for a minute to do his drops and noticed he was doing really well without it so she decided to leave it off for a few minutes while she did the rest of his evaluation and see how he did. He did great. So she asked the pediatric resident that was on call if he could do his room air test to see if he could handle being off the oxygen. The resident agreed and then the most stressful 6 hours of our life began. George needed to be able to keep his saturation levels high enough for 6 hours without having any desaturations below about 85. 

And of course the 6 hours started at like 9:30 so the test wouldn't be done until 3:30 in the morning so we were getting no sleep that night. But seeing his little face with the cannula on was worth not sleeping. 


Spencer and I sat there and started the vitals monitor for about 2 hours straight before we started to lose our minds. We decided that Spencer would go back to the room and get some sleep because we would hopefully be taking George back to the room with us and one of us needed to be somewhat less sleep deprived. So I just sat there and held my baby and prayed that he would keep his levels up. I don't think time has ever passed so slowly. 

But George did great and at around 4 in the morning the resident came back and said "looks great. You can take him to your room now."

Which was exactly what we had wanted but it was super overwhelming. Especially with no sleep. 

So we took our little guy back to our room and we were on our own. And he was screaming. The poor guy literally screamed until about 7:30. To say it was a long night is an understatement. He finally fell asleep and I got this cute picture. The only way it would have been better is if I had also been sleeping. 


Then it was morning and we had kind of a crazy day because we were getting ready to get discharged which meant basically every doctor in the hospital had to come talk to us. It was good to get everything checked up on one last time but it was pretty overwhelming because I had slept approximately 20 minutes the night before. But everything was looking good so they gave George a bath and then sent us on our way. 



It was kind of crazy that like 18 hours before he had been on oxygen and now they were just sending us away with him but we were so happy that he was doing well and that we could bring him home the same day I got discharged. We are still not quite sure why they trusted us to take him home but we have kept him alive this far so we can't be doing too horribly, right?

Pretty much everything about George's birth and the next couple days after that was completely not what I had planned but we are just so happy he is here and doing so well after a pretty crazy first few days. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

George's Birth Story.

I am not really sure how to start this so I guess we will just start at the beginning.  Fair warning, this is going to be a long one. 

I had a doctors appointment on Thursday (July 20th) and my midwife said I was dilated to a 1 and about 50% effaced and since that wasn't really a change since my last appointment I stuck with my assumption that I wouldn't be having the baby until at least a week later. I was pretty miserable but I was ok with the baby staying in my belly for another week since we had only spent one night in our house at that point and I would have preferred to be a little more settled. 

So I just went about my business and that night I woke up to a few contractions but nothing really too noteworthy. On Friday morning (my due date!) I was having a few more contractions and they were kind of regular but not very intense at all. I really only noticed them if I was sitting still but I decided to track them anyways. 

By late that afternoon I knew we were on our way to a baby being born. I was having decently intense contractions and they were between 6 and 10 minutes apart. At our birth class we learned that you wanted to be having contractions every 5 minutes that last a minute long for at least one hour. Mine weren't quite lasting a minute and I didn't feel like they were intense enough to even consider going to the hospital at this point. 

So I continued to labor throughout the evening and into the night. As it got closer to midnight my contractions got more intense and were about 5 minutes apart and lasting a minute. I really thought I was getting pretty far into labor and I had to be getting more dialated. The contractions felt like they were getting almost unbearable and so off to the hospital we went. 

I knew there was a chance we would get sent home but I was just keeping my fingers crossed that I was far enough dilated to be admitted. But I was so wrong. We got to the hospital and they said I was dilated to a 2. A flipping 2. To say I was disappointed would be a huge understatement.  So they told me they could give me some pain medication so I could sleep and to come back when I was having contractions intense enough that if I was in a burning building I would not be able to move. 

Sounds great (insert sarcastic tone).

So they gave me some morphine and we went home. The morphine really helped me sleep but I think in the long run it wasn't good for me. When I woke up the next morning my contractions were less intense and pretty far apart. Like every 15 minutes. It really really slowed my labor down. It felt nice to sleep but I think I regret taking it. 

I labored all day Saturday but I could tell that I wasn't progressing at all. Finally at around 11:30 things started picking up. I told Spencer to go to sleep and I just sat/laid/kneeled on the couch and did everything I could to get through my contractions. Finally at around 1:30 I was being loud enough that I woke Spencer up and I am glad I did because I definitely needed his help at this point. I felt like it was almost time to go to the hospital but I didn't want to get sent home again so we called them to see what they would want us to do. They told me to drink a liter of water and see if I still felt the same. So I drank a bunch of water and got in the shower. When I was in the shower I kept having these contractions that would last way longer than a minute. They were like 3 contractions in one. I would feel the intensity build and then die down but it would never completely stop so I would never get a break. That was kind of freaking me out so off to the hospital we went. 

We got there and when they checked me I was at a 4. They can't admit you until you are a 5 so they gave me the option to walk around for 2 hours to see if they would help things. We walked down a super long hallway at the hospital but I had to stop about every 3 minutes so it was probably the slowest walk of our lives.



We got back to the room and they came to check me and praise the heavens I was at a 5. It was go time! 

I had been in labor for long and was so tired that at this point when they mentioned they could give me some medicine in an IV I jumped at the chance. I had planned on having an unmedicated birth and had really wanted to avoid having an IV but my body was already so tired at this point I knew I needed something.


They got me to my labor and delivery room around 6 in the morning and I was feeling ok. But then the pain medication wore off and I knew I couldn't do it anymore. I kept having these crazy contractions that wouldn't end for about 5 minutes and my body just needed a break. My nurses and midwife were amazing and doing this counterpressure that was really helping but I knew that I would not be able to make it to the pushing stage without getting an epidural. 

I had planned my whole pregnancy on not getting an epidural and whenever I give birth again I think I could do it without one because I feel more prepared now but in the end it ended up being an amazing blessing that I got the epidural when I did. 

I got my epidural and had about 30 minutes of relaxing before things got really crazy. The whole time I was in the labor and delivery room my nurse had me moving around to try and keep the baby's heart rate up. They also gave me oxygen just to make sure that baby was doing well. Well after I got my epidural and could not feel my right leg at all my nurse rushes back into my room and says "baby's heart rate is really low, we need you to get on your hand and knees now!" About 20 more people rushed into my room as I tried to get on my hands and knees with two legs that were basically just dead weight. It was probably the most helpless I have ever felt. They quickly broke my water and connected a internal monitor to the baby. All of these people were doing so many things that I was lucky that I was facing the head of the bed and all I could see was the wall. I just focused on my breathing and let everyone do whatever they needed. Suddenly there was a doctor talking to me and telling me that my baby's heart rate was extremely low and they need to take me into the OR right now. I think she was asking my permission but really she was just telling me that this is what they were doing. I didn't really get a chance to say goodbye to Spencer before they were rushing me off. 

So I got into the OR and things really slowed down. It was like everyone was moving casually all the sudden. I wanted to scream at them to move faster if they really needed to get my baby out but I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't do anything. Then the same doctor (Dr. Watson) came back and said that baby's heart rate had stabilized and they were going to track it for 20 minutes to see if the c-section really was necessary. After about 15 minutes she said that baby's heart rate was doing well and if I wanted to go back and labor more then I could do that but they were going to monitor the heart rate in the OR for about 5 more minutes. Spencer had come into the OR at this point and we had to make a decision. I really didn't want to make the choice to get a c-section but I was really nervous about laboring more and something happening because I was only at a 7.  Fortunately for me, after that 5 minutes Dr. Watson came back and said baby's heart rate was  dropping again so we needed to do the c-section. I was disappointed because I had other plans for my birth but I knew this is what needed to happen so I agreed. 

They numbed me up and started the surgery. It is a crazy feeling because I couldn't feel any pain but I could definitely feel hands moving around inside of me. After a couple minutes I could feel them pulling the baby out and they told Spencer he could look at tell me if it was a boy or a girl. Hearing Spencer said "Its a boy!" was such a relief to me. Knowing that my little baby was out and was safe was such a great feeling. After about a minute I heard him crying and it really hit me that my baby was really over there. Since he was having the poor heart rate and they discovered there was a lot of meconium in the amniotic fluid and his cord was around his neck twice I couldn't see him right away. But hearing that cry was just enough reassurance to me that he was ok even though I couldn't see him.





After a little while the baby was stable enough to move him to be evaluated so I got to see him as they were leaving. They held his little face up to mine and seeing him was so amazing. But honestly my only thought was "he has a cone head, I thought if I had a c-section he wouldn't have a cone head". So much for a rush of motherly love. Spencer went with the baby and I just laid there staring at the ceiling waiting for them to stitch me up. 

I kept telling the anesthesiologist that I was having trouble breathing because I couldn't feel my lungs and she had to keep reassuring me that she was monitoring me and I was breathing just fine. I think she thought I was crazy because I really kept telling her that I couldn't breathe and she just had to keep reassuring me. After what felt like forever I was done and they were able to take me back to my room. I was covered in blankets and I am sure I looked a total and complete mess. I had to wait about 2 hours so I could be a little more recovered before I could see my baby. It was a long two hours but I knowing that Spencer was with him made me feel a tiny bit better.


Finally getting to meet my baby was heaven. The number one thing I wanted from my birth was immediate skin to skin time. Since that didn't happen it was like pure torture waiting to get to see him. Spencer kept sending me pictures and the nurses and doctors kept telling me he was so cute but not being able to see or hold your baby is definitely not something I would want anyone to have to go through. Luckily I was on a bunch of drugs so I think that helped but it was still horrible. 

But once I got to hold him and see his sweet little face I was beyond happy. He was perfect.





 Thank the heavens for the sweet nurse Mary that was able to bring him to my room because after that first time I saw him he had to go back to the nursery and stay there so I couldn't see him until I was able to stand up which wasn't until hours later. There were so many people that were so good to us this day and I am so grateful for them all. 

The two biggest blessings of this whole thing are that I got an epidural so I didn't have to be knocked out due to the somewhat emergent nature of the c-section and the midwife that was on call that day. I had an appointment with this particular midwife (Jocelyn Yale) sometime in March and I literally thought during that appointment that I hoped she would be the one to deliver my baby. Now technically she didn't deliver my baby but she was by my side the whole time during they surgery. she kept stroking my arms and wiping away my tears. She was such a calming presence and knowing that she was on my side was a huge comfort. I am just so grateful that she was there especially since Spencer had to leave to be with the baby. She made a very scary experience much less scary and I am beyond grateful that she was on call that day. 

So there you have the birth story of our little Georgie. It was the complete opposite of what I wanted but it was what George needed to get into the world safely. We spent a few more days in the hospital getting George strong enough to go home and I will write about that and I will share a little bit more about some of my emotions but for now we are just so happy that we have our little baby even if he is keeping us up all night.