~ Meet Jellybean
Well... Nic, Josh and I welcomed our Jellybean to the world on September 9! We all awoke on Friday morning with anticipation and excitement, and a lot of anxiety on my part. Nic and I had decided to tell our doctor that regardless of our amniotic fluid level we were ready to do the c-section today. Back on Wednesday when we going to try the version she had asked us to return to her office Friday at 9 am for a fluid check and if the level was lower we would have our c-section at 12:30 but if it was the same then we could wait until Monday or Tuesday. Nic and I decided we didn't want to wait any longer... waiting would only make me worry longer about Jellybean's well-being and allow my fears about major surgery to swell. So... we packed all our bags and drove to the office.
Once there, we were hooked up for a non-stress test and then an ultrasound. Sure enough, there was even less fluid once again. We told the doc, 'We're ready, let's get on with it'. She said the hospital already had our delivery scheduled so we were good to go.
That was such a weird feeling... leaving her office with my two boys and Jellybean tucked safely inside me, knowing we were about to make the short drive over to the hospital to bring her into the world. It was so surreal, to say the least. Very different from going into labor unexpectedly, I imagine. But Josh and Nic were so excited, and that really helped me out. We began making all the appropriate calls to let folks know she would be here soon.
We arrived at the hospital and they settled us into our labor/delivery/recovery room and of course hooked me up to the external fetal monitor and got my IV started. Thankfully, my favorite nurse, Mary, from my previous kidney stone visit was on shift and had known I was coming in (I had spoken with her on Wednesday when we were there to try the version), so she had arranged to be my nurse! Phew! That was a relief. She is amazing. By this time it is about 10:00 and we are just waiting. We pass out our birth plan (our totally revised and retuned birth plan, geared toward c-section delivery) and believe it or not it actually gets read by all... the oncall pediatrician, the anesthesiologist, Mary, etc. And we fine tuned each detail to suit our needs and still meet hospital protocol. Basically, we got everything we asked for (lowering of the drape when she is born, delay of washing, eyedrops, etc until after breastfeeding, baby right to Nic, etc).
As the time approached, the anesthesiologist came in and explained exactly what was going to happen in the surgery. He was so soothing and wonderful. He answered all my questions, and made me feel as safe and secure as could be given the fact I was about to undergo major surgery. The only bad news or hospital protocol that we didn't like and couldn't get them to change their mind on was that when it was time, Nic would have to stay behind until they called him from the operating room, right when they are ready to begin. They said that the room is too small and there are too many people moving around getting everything into just the right position that they didn't want him in there until everyone was in position, ready to go. That was probably part of the reason, but I also suspect that another part was that they didn't want dads in the room watching the all the prep and the watching their wives get the spinal injections. So, when it was time to leave Nic, I cried. But Mary just walked me down the hall to the operating room (probably less than 50 steps away) and told me it was going to be ok. I hated walking into the operating room, it was soooo bright and sterile and cold. But I was really too nervous to notice much. The anesthesiologist took over and hooked me up to more saline (I had like 3 bags already pumped into me at this point) and some oxygen. Getting the spinal was no fun, but not too bad. I had to sit up and lean into Mary, and hold still. He first injects a local anesthetic, like a dentist does, in multiple places in the lower back. That stung a little, ok a lot. Getting the local anesthetic for the IV was nothing but a sting but this was a bit more prolonged. Then came the multiple spinal injections and those hurt despite the local. It was weird too, because it triggers a reflex and a pain sensation down each of the legs separately. I did cry out a couple of times, but the pain passed relatively quickly... maybe it was more shocking than painful. I don't remember. But then when he was done, he and Mary laid me down really quickly because the spinal takes such an immediate effect. I then started feeling really nauseous and puked (fortunately into a bedpan that he had waiting when I voiced my concern over the nausea). I guess it is a normal side effect of the spinal. Once I puked a couple of times, I felt so much better. The sensation of not being able to move your legs is one that I will be more than happy to never feel again. I hated the feeling.
Once the spinal was done, things really picked up in the surgical room. The drape was raised and it was right in front of my face; I had expected it to be further down my torso. People were coming and going, there was some relaxing music playing and the staff was chatting away. It felt like forever; I asked if Nic could come in and they said almost. Finally, he was brought in and I felt so relieved. Surgery began, and the smell of the cauterizer was so strong. They seemed to be working on me for quite a while but finally I heard someone say 'well, she's still breech', and then someone else said 'not too much fluid in there', so I knew it was almost time. True to his word, the anesthesiologist lowered the drape at the big moment (although I heard her first, a split second before I saw her) and there she was... all blue and totally covered in vernix and man could she cry! I just started bawling my eyes out! I couldn't believe she was alive. I was so relieved to hear her strong cries. Finally I asked 'she's a girl, right?' and after a few seconds (in which I had time to panic about her being a boy!) delay someone confirmed it! Brielle Ayla was here!!!
They whisked her right over to the warmer where she could be evaluated, weighed and measured and smartly, this area is set up right over to my left so I could watch the entire process. Her APGAR was 9 and 9! Totally perfect! She was a tiny little thing at 6 lbs. 13 oz., and 19 in long. The most amazing thing is that Nic had set up a video camera in a corner of the room (not to see the surgery but to get the sounds of the event) and when they were working on her he turned the camera that direction so upon watching it we can see how she was so used to being breech, all the time the docs are working on her, her legs keep flipping up toward her head... it is so adorable.
After they were done with her, they bundled her and gave her to Nic and the three of us sat together while the docs finished sewing me up. Then I was moved to another bed and taken back to my room where I waited for Nic and the baby for just a minute or two. It was literally only 31 minutes from the time she was born to the time she was put on me to breastfeed (and only an hour altogether). I couldn't have asked for anything better from a c-section. She was still all coated in the vernix and the nurse had to help but, oh my word, did Brielle know what she was doing! She latched right on and had her first meal with absolutely no problems! It was amazing!
So, that is her birth story. I can offer some insight into c-section recovery... it's not too bad. Walk when the staff encourages you to, about 24 hours after surgery, and walk as often as you feel up to it after that. It will help with your first bowel movement, which is not a pleasant experience (I had to finally take a suppository to move the process along, and even then it hurt bad!). Also, don't be too modest with either the nurses or your husband. I had to have help the first day or so changing pads, going to the bathroom, etc and none of it is pretty looking or smelling, but you can't do it alone! Stay as long as you can in the hospital to get the most rest and the best recovery time. Take advantage of the nurses at night and let them watch your baby between feedings so you and your husband can get some sleep. We didn't want to at first, but every little coo and noise she made kept us up so finally we succumbed and let the nurse take her out. It's only for 2 or 3 hours until she will be back in your arms feeding again, and once you get home there is no call button. Take the pain meds and keep up with them... don't let them wear off at least not while in the hospital, it will help.
I also want to add a little more beyond the birth experience. It has been 11 days since she was born and on the third day the infamous 'Baby Blues' hit and only just went away yesterday. Talk about scary! It was something I was TOTALLY unprepared for! I had read and heard about Postpartum Depression, but not Baby Blues. Baby Blues affects 50-80% of all new moms and usually lasts 48 hours to two weeks, beginning around day 3. I was wracked with sadness, crying, anxiety, hopelessness, feelings of being completely overwhelmed. And it is one of those things were you can totally tell yourself, logically, that you have no reason to feel this way, but it doesn't help. There is nothing you can do to make it better. I was so lucky to have my loving husband be so totally understanding and devoted to me. He never once made me feel like I was experiencing anything other than something totally normal and he kept reassuring me that I would get better. He stayed home with me extra days, beyond what he intended, to make sure I was better and able to take care of Brielle by myself. My mom was also here for several of the worst days to help make sure Nic was ok and to do a lot of the household stuff. That was a big help. If you don't have that option, hire someone for a week, seriously. Also, check with your hospital and doctor for good help resources. Don't be afraid to seek help. Call friends who have had babies and you will find they are a wealth of information (thanks to Aimee and Aubri).
Thanks for reading my journal and good luck to all of you. Your emails were truly inspirational and a source of great happiness for me through the last nine months!!