Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Introducing Alexander John

Alexander John was born on Friday, July 8th, 2011 at 12:31 PM. He weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 15.4oz and was 21.5 inches long. And he has LOTS of hair. A lot. Dark hair, just like his dad. He's beautiful, and we're completely head over heals in love with him.

We went in at 10:00 AM for our 12:00 PM c-section. I was extremely emotional because a c-section is not what I wanted. I was torn between the joy of the impending birth of my son, and the feeling of loss for the birth I had hoped for. It didn't help that I started to have regular contractions while we were in the hospital room waiting. They were coming every 3-5 minutes. The nurse said they wouldn't even bother checking me for dilation since we were going to have baby soon anyway. I was thankful when the contractions stopped, simply because I didn't want to wonder if I would have soon gone into labor on my own. It would make the whole c-section thing even harder to take.

Shortly after we arrived, they put in an IV, which was problematic and painful since I apparently have small veins. My nurse wasn't able to do it, so she had to call the anesthesiologist to do it. Luckily, she got it in on the first try. It still hurt, though. :( Then my parents came to the room to help us pass the time until the surgery. My doctor came in and said everyone was ready to start a little early because they knew my dad had to work around 1:00 PM and I really wanted him to meet the baby before he had to go. I thought that was really nice that she remembered that and was trying to help make it happen. J changed into his scrubs, and soon I was being wheeled into the OR while J was ushered into the Daddy-to-be waiting area.

Once I was in the OR, they had me get into position for my spinal. A spinal is like an epidural, only it's put into a different part of the spinal column so it's a little more reliable than an epidural and it's a little stronger. They told me to let them know if I felt any pain in my legs and if so, to let them know which side. Almost immediately, I had to tell them that I had pain on the right side. They tried to readjust it for about 5 minutes, but I kept feeling pain on my right side, so they decided to start completely over. After they tried again, the same thing happened. Then I think they started to aim farther to the left, because I started to feel pain only on the left side. Eventually, they got it right. There must be something weird about my spine, because when I had my epidural with Isaac, it only worked on one side of my body. I feel like these two experiences must be related.

Anyway, after the spinal, they got me into position, and started to prep me for surgery. Then J came in, held my hand, and things got underway. It was SO much different from my last c-section. Last time, I couldn't feel anything. No tugging, no pressure, no nothing. This time, I felt pressure and tugging. It didn't hurt, I could just feel that something was being done to me. Also, this time I only felt slightly nauseous. After I told them that, they gave me Zofran and I felt better. Last time, I was dry heaving during the entire surgery. It was awful. I was thankful to avoid that this time.  The nurse who was standing by my head was super nice. I really liked him. He was very attentive, and made sure I let him know if I needed anything and was constantly checking to see if I was okay. He helped make this experience much better than I had hoped.

When it came time for baby to come out, I felt like someone was sitting on my chest, pushing baby out from the top. I honestly think that's what was going on. I don't remember any of that from last time. It was weird. Then the doctor said she could see him. She said he was huge! Here exact words were "Oh, look at that chubbers!" All of the sudden, there was my Alex, being held up over the curtain. He had so much hair! I couldn't believe it! They had James go cut the umbilical cord, which is largely ceremonial because the cord was already cut, he just cut it shorter. I remember laying there, watching them clean him off and thinking "He's not that big. What are they talking about?" Clearly, I am not versed in what a newborn should look like, because I was shocked when they announced his weight. 9lbs 15.4oz! Although, I still didn't think he looked that big. He carries his weight well. LOL.

Everyone was in good spirits. Jokes were being made about his chunkiness and his hair. My favorite nurse said when they announced his weight, "Probably about a pound less without all that hair!" Then they gave Alex to J for him to bring to me. My nurse took pictures of the three of us. Everything was wonderful. So much different than last time. This was not just a routine surgery, this was an experience. Soon it was time for J and Alex to head to the nursery, although I feel like they stayed with me much longer than last time. I was feeling very positive about the whole experience. Not at all what I had expected.

Not long after my boys took off for the nursery, I started to feel something on the right side of my abdomen where they were working at stitching me up. This was not just pressure and tugging. This was pain. I told my nurse that I could feel something. He asked what it felt like, and I told him a dull pain. It was hard to describe. He said to let him know right away if it got sharper or unbearable. After about 30 seconds, the pain got sharp. It hurt like someone was slicing me. I told him immediately. He was shocked, but it seemed that my spinal was wearing off. He ran off to get me some pain meds to put in my IV. I started to cry and breathe Lamaze style to deal with the pain. I heard the doctor say, "Can we get her something, please?" Then the pain started to ease up and I started to feel loopy. I can't remember what they gave me, but it was some sort of narcotic. Fine with me, I just wanted the pain to stop.

Then, my nurse chatted with me. I guess he has a son named Alex James. And the doctor chatted with me. My c-section was her last task before going on maternity leave (she ended up having her baby on Sunday, we were in the hospital at the same time). I didn't feel nearly as alone as during my last c-section. Last time I had excess bleeding, so there wasn't much chatting going on and the mood was not nearly as light. The doctor told me that it couldn't have gone better, although I disagree - I could have done without feeling them sewing me up. She also said she thinks I made the right decision about the c-section because he was so big. It made me feel better about it, too.

We spent the next three days gushing over our new addition. We had lots of visitors, and lots of help with Isaac. Both of which were much appreciated. I had a pump full of morphine where I could just push the button whenever I needed it. I felt amazing! I even was able to get out of bed and move to a chair ALL BY MYSELF the evening of my surgery. It wasn't even that painful. Last time, I remember crying when I stood up the next day because it hurt so bad. We got discharged on Monday morning.

So far, Alex is a little more high maintenance than Isaac was when he was a baby. He is awake a lot more, eats a lot more, and cries more than Isaac did. I had a hard time keeping up with his appetite, so breastfeeding didn't last long. He would latch on, and get frustrated because he couldn't get as much milk as he wanted, then unlatch and cry and cry and cry. Right now, I'm just pumping and giving him bottles of breast milk a few times a day. It makes me feel better to give him what I can. It's better than nothing. I had a low supply with Isaac, too, so I'm not surprised that it didn't work out. Thank goodness for my breast pump.

Anyway, things are going well and we're doing our best to adjust to being a family of four. Isaac seems to really like his baby brother, and likes to go over to him and talk. I'm not sure if he's talking to him or talking about him, but it's really cute. And he's obsessed with his toes. he always goes over to Alex and says, "Where toes go?" LOL. And Mommy gets a lot more snuggle time with Isaac because he is just a tad bit jealous.

Thanks to everyone for all the messages and texts. We appreciate all of your well wishes and congratulations. We're so very happy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

C-Section Scheduled for Friday

This post is bittersweet.

On Tuesday, we had our 39 week doctor appointment. First, we went in for the NST, which went well. Baby did need some stimulating, though. They have this little instrument, like a little horn on a speaker, that they hold up to your belly and try to startle baby with in order to get him moving. But he responded to it, so all was good. The only thing that wasn't good was my blood pressure. I was not surprised by this, because I had a lot riding on this appointment. The information we got from it could make or break my VBAC, so naturally, I was a bit anxious. They took my BP again after about 20 minutes and it was better, but still a bit high.

So after the NST, we went in to the exam room to wait for the doctor. She came in and checked my cervix, which, to my dismay, was still very high and closed up. She said she didn't even think she could call it 1 cm. I was confused because last week she said I was at 1 cm, but she said that last time she was being generous. She then sat down and told me that she doesn't think that a VBAC is going to happen. She's concerned that if we wait, my high BP is going to give way to pre-eclampsia, and that her medical opinion is that we should have a c-section toward the end of the week. I instantly started crying. I don't want a c-section. She then proceeded to tell me how she never really thought I would have a successful VBAC, but was willing to let me try. She said it was our choice, but at 39 weeks, baby is "better out than in".

She gave J and I some time alone in the exam room to discuss our options and what we'd like to do. J was ready to take the doctor's word as gospel, and do the c-section. Of course, he's not the one who has to deal with the physical and emotional repercussions of that decision. And he hasn't done nearly the amount of research that I've done on the topic. I know he's worried about me and the baby, but he clearly doesn't understand or feel that my concerns are valid. We discussed (argued) for a while, and I finally conceded. When the doctor came back in, she said she was going to admit me to L&D to be monitored for a few hours and get some blood work done to look for signs of pre-eclampsia. Plus, that would give us more time to discuss things.

Well, I decided to stay strong. I didn't want to feel as though I was being pushed into a c-section, when I feel so very strongly about NOT having one. So I said no. I'm not having a c-section. So when the doctor came to our hospital room to check on me, I told her that I was not ready to commit to a c-section yet, and we scheduled an ultrasound for Friday, followed by another appointment with the doctor. Then on Monday, we would do another NST and have an appointment with our new doctor (since my doctor is going on maternity leave next week). I made sure to ask her, just in case, what to do if we changed our minds and decided to schedule a c-section, and she said to just call.

After I was discharged from the hospital, J and I talked more about waiting vs scheduling a repeat c-section. At this point, I was just getting so worn down by the whole thing, that for some reason (which I'm having trouble remembering now) I decided it would be okay to just schedule it. So today, we called. And our baby's birthday will officially be this Friday, July 8th.

And it's scheduled at noon. This was another disappointment for me because my dad has to work at 1pm that day. His job is not one that really allows day off. That sounds weird, but I'm not kidding. It would mean a lot to me if he would be able to meet his new grandson before he had to leave. But apparently that was the only time she was available on Friday, so that may not happen. However, sometimes they get called for work late, like 2 or 3pm, so I'm really crossing my fingers that that's what will happen.

When I spoke to the doctor, I asked her a few specific questions about the process. My first request was that after J and the baby leave for the nursery, that my mom be able to come in and stay with me for the remainder of the surgery. Last time I felt so alone in there, without my husband and without my baby, making small talk with the nurses while I was being stitched up. That was hard for me. But to my dismay, the doctor said no, that wasn't possible. Apparently not even J would be allowed to stay for that part. Again, I cried. Here I am, trying to make this c-section experience, which I don't even want to being with, easier to take, and I can't even do that. The one request she did consent to was pulling the curtain down when it's time for baby to come out so I can see him enter the world. Moms who give birth vaginally get to experience that, so why shouldn't I?

I am so very excited to meet my sweet baby boy, but I also feel a deep loss for the birth experience that I'll never have. This is not how I wanted to do it, but it's going to happen anyway. And even though I've heard that recovering from a second c-section is 10 times easier, I have a hard time seeing how I'm going to do it with a toddler and a newborn at home.

Anyway, I can't really go into my feelings very much right now because I just feel so emotionally drained. Now I just need to focus on getting ready for baby to come home. Tomorrow will be a busy day full of packing, making plans, and making sure everything is in order and ready to go.

Jumping on another train of thought - I wonder what he'll look like? Will he have light hair and blue eyes like me and Isaac, or will he have dark hair and eyes like his dad? It might be hard to tell at first, because Isaac had very dark hair when he was born and most babies are born with blue eyes.

I can't wait to meet my little boy and show him off to the world!