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Shauna's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story
~ Welcome Baby Randall

Baby RandallBorn November 29, 2006, 11:45am
Weight: 7 lbs. 7 oz.
Length: 19.5 inches

I ended my last entry confessing that I was still unsettled about the baby's name. I spent a good portion of that same Tuesday afternoon pouring over baby name lists. And then I came across the name "Randall." I liked it a lot. It is very close to Russell in sound and feel, but it doesn't come with the reservations I had about Russell. I emailed Paul for his opinion. Yes, he liked the name too. And although Randy has that disagreeable "ee" sound at the end, I do not find it at all objectionable. Strange. I also really like the shortened "Rand." We knew we would still wait to see what our little baby looked like, and what name seemed to fit, but I felt better having a name that we were both happy about. Even Rose and Fred warmed up to the name quickly.

But what cinched the deal was when the baby also appeared to agree to the name as well. Why else would he wait until the day before my scheduled c-section, and the day after we picked his new name, to make his arrival?

I had been feeling pretty miserable the last few days, and Tuesday (November 28) was no different. I was tired and sore and achy and nauseous and everything yucky and uncomfortable. But I kept reminding myself that I didn't have much longer to wait, and that, at this point, I really did want to wait. When I went to bed that night, I noticed a mucous-y discharge. It was scant but noticeable. Could this be the mucous plug? After my next bathroom trip, the mucous was thicker, and it seemed evident that my plug had indeed come out. Still, there was no blood, and I wasn't having any contractions. I realized that I could very easily make it two more days. I slept fitfully off and on for short periods of time over the next couple hours.

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At around 3:00am I heard singing. It wasn't angels, and I wasn't delusional. I finally realized that it was my 6-year old son Fred. I got up and went into his room to check on him. He was curled up in a ball, singing to comfort himself. He said he didn't feel well, but I think he was having sympathy pains for me. He is very sensitive, and he has been quite concerned with how I have been feeling all along. We talked for a while until he seemed calmed, then I tucked him back in and kissed him goodnight. I went back to bed myself, readjusting my pillows to find some level of comfort. I hadn't been lying there long, when I felt the pop. I had been kidding for weeks that I was so swollen and tight that I was literally going to "pop." And indeed I did. I remembered reading that women often can't tell if their membranes had ruptured because it is usually just a trickle, or maybe a one-time gush. There was no question with me. It was as if the dam had broken, and several outlying towns were completely flooded. I gushed and gushed and gushed and gushed. I woke up Paul right away, and he ran and got me a stack of towels, and then I sent him back for another stack. I sat draining on the toilet for some time, but as soon as I stood up, I would gush all over again. I thought the baby was supposed to act like a cork, but obviously this wasn't happening for me, and although I'm sure the baby had descended the week before, the last few days I had looked higher again, so I think he got out of place.

I called the hospital, and after assuring them that there was no question but that my water had broken, they told me to come in right away. I wasn't having contractions yet, but they said that there was now a risk of infection, and I needed to come in as soon as I could. I called my mother (it was now 4:00am), and asked her to come out to stay with Fred and Rose. She lives about an hour away, so I also called a neighbor (who had volunteered for such an occurrence) to come until my mom could get there. I waddled around for the next little bit with a towel between my legs getting things together--last minute additions to my hospital bag, a list of phone numbers we would need right away (change carpool arrangements, cancel my ride to my doctor's appointment later that day, etc.), and even stripped the bed and put in a load of laundry (all the towels and sheets I had gushed on). I was actually feeling pretty good. Having my membranes rupture released so much of the pressure on my abdomen that I was feeling vastly more comfortable--I think I lost five or six pounds of fluid (and I'm not kidding). I no longer looked nine months pregnant. I started feeling mild contractions (no worse than what I had been feeling all month) and hadn't even realized that Paul was timing me--he finally announced that they had gone from 10 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart. Wow, I didn't even notice that they were coming that often and regular. I was focusing on the actuality that I was leaving for the hospital to have a baby and I wouldn't be home for a few days. I checked back in on Fred, who was still awake, and explained to him what was happening. My neighbor arrived, and Paul and I left for the hospital.

ShaunaSince my water had broken, the hospital informed me that I was being admitted--there was no chance that I'd be sent home. By the time they had me in triage, I had fluid trickling down my leg and pooling in my shoe, despite putting a fresh towel between my legs when I left the car. It was now 5:00am. I had assumed that because nature had started the process on its own, I was faced with going through with things as nature intended. However, the nurse informed that if I was planning on having a c-section, I could still have a c-section if I wanted. I didn't know how to make that choice again. So she gave me a cervical exam to see how things were progressing. When she told me that I had only dilated 1cm, and when I could hardly stand the experience of having the cervical exam, I knew I needed to go through with the c-section. Even the nurse told me she thought it was a wise decision in my case. After about two hours in triage, they sent me to a labor and delivery room to wait. They wouldn't have space in the schedule for my surgery until at least 9am, they told me, and probably it would be a little after that. That actually seemed really soon to me, so I had no worries about timing. They still had to do a lot of blood work on me (since I didn't make it to my pre-op appointment, which was scheduled for later the same day--ha!). The baby's heartbeat was strong, and my contractions continued moderate and regular. I was feeling pretty good that everything was finally in motion--things were happening, and it would all be over this morning.

Baby RandallBy 9:00am, they told me there were still two surgeries before mine, and that I could plan on going in around 11:00. I made a few phone calls to pass the time, and Paul was in the room with me by now. A nurse came to put in my IV, which wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The catheter, however, was awful to put in. The nurse informed me that she'd only have to do it once--a bulb inflated inside me, so it wasn't going to come out. Promptly at 11am, I was placed in a wheel chair and rolled into surgery. Paul got into scrubs. All of a sudden I became overwhelmed with nervousness. My body started shaking uncontrollably, and soon I was sitting in another pool of fluid. The anesthesiologist came out to talk to me, as well as my doctor. I was prepped and ready, if increasingly tense about the experience. I was very glad I was doing the c-section, but I was still terrified. The nurses tried to help me up on the operating table, but as one lifted my catheter up, it pulled right out. Everyone was baffled--that had never happened before, they said. It also meant that the fluid I was sitting in was not more amniotic fluid, as I thought, but my own urine from the catheter! They put me in a clean gown, got me up on the table and I had the spinal put in my back (also not as bad as I thought). After I started getting numb, they inserted another catheter--not bad at all when you can't feel anything. I also started getting very tingly in my legs, I was still shaking pretty badly, and then I became seriously nauseated. I started coughing and gagging, and they had to un-strap one of my arms so I could hold a basin up to my face in case I started vomiting. I don't remember too much after that. I was still conscious and aware of everything that was going on, but I was pretty traumatized. The anesthesiologist asked me if he could give me something to calm my nerves, and I readily assented. I remember hearing what was going on. I remember the anesthesiologist repeatedly asking me if I was all right. I remember hearing them say it was a boy, that his weight was 7 lbs. 7oz., that his apgar was 8.9. I remember them holding the baby up to my face, and someone taking a picture (it's not a flattering one of me, let me tell you). Then Paul was gone. I remember hearing the doctor and nurses chatting, but I must have been dozing in and out by this point. The next thing I remember I was being wheeled into recovery, where I continued to drift in and out. I must have been there almost two hours, but I don't remember much, except that I could do everything they asked of me, including wiggling my toes on command.

By the time I left recovery, I was back among the land of the living. They wheeled me past the nursery where they showed me my baby. I also heard my family coming up the hall--Paul had gone home to get the kids and my mother. They transferred me to my room, and I had no trouble shifting myself from the operating table to my hospital bed. The nurses were very impressed. Everyone came in, then, to see me, but I was so tired, and I only let them stay a half hour or so. It was all over. I had given birth to a healthy baby boy. I was no longer pregnant. What a relief.

The next 24 hours were somewhat difficult, recovery-wise. I was on a lot of pain medication through my IV, so I wasn't hurting very much, but I was quite uncomfortable, and I couldn't really move my body to find any relief. Still, I was in good spirits and delighted to have the baby out of me. A lot of medical people kept visiting me on a regular basis to make sure everything was going all right with my recovery. And they brought in the baby quite frequently too. I started trying to breastfeed, but he wasn't really interested. He kept falling asleep. So did I. I was very tired. I did have one incident around 10pm at night when I started feeling a bit of pain around my incision, but I knew I was getting another pain injection in the IV in about an hour, and I thought I could wait it out. However, suddenly I was overcome by intense pain so that my whole body started shaking, and I had to ring for the nurse. She chewed me out for waiting so long to report my pain, but the severity of it really hit me all of a sudden. She gave me a couple of supplemental pain pills, and that helped quite a bit. I also began to have a great desire to stand up and walk out the stiffness in my joints. In fact, the thought of standing up dominated my thoughts for the next twelve hours. When the nurse finally came in to help me get up for the first time, I was so excited. I had no idea how truly painful that objective was going to be. I really was unprepared for the level of pain I experienced in just sitting up on the edge of my bed. I truly thought that standing up would finally relieve the pressure, but it was only worse. It took about five minutes to sit up, stand up, and then get back in bed, and it was fairly excruciating. I was in shock. I didn't think it would be quite so bad. Over the next couple hours I had Paul work with me in sitting up for little bits of time, and then finally I felt ready to stand up again. For one thing, they had removed my catheter, and I really needed to go to the bathroom. Paul had gone home by then, and my nurse hadn't made an appearance for many hours. Finally I couldn't wait any longer, and I rang for whatever nurse could come. It was painful to stand and walk the few feet to the bathroom, but it wasn't as bad as before. And after I had used the toilet and stood up again, I felt much better. I got back into bed and realized that the worst was over. It was only a few hours later when I repeated the experience, and this time I did it all by myself. I was immensely proud of myself. From then on, it just got easier to move around. I was feeling so much better. My doctor was ready to release me after two days, but I decided to stay another night.

Big brother Fred holding baby RandallSaturday morning, baby Randall and I got to go home. My recovery has gone very well in the week since I have been home. I feel great!! It is like night and day. I was so miserable being pregnant. I am delighted to be feeling well again--to be feeling like my old self again. Every now and again I have some incision pain, but it all seems NOTHING, compared to what I experienced while pregnant. Rand is a delight. We all adore him. And, sure, I am not getting much sleep, but I really haven't had a good night's sleep for so many months. At least now I have a baby. And I'm not throwing up. I can eat food again. I have a happy attitude again. Every day I think to myself about how good I feel. I have had no trouble walking or moving since that first recovery day. I am careful not to overdo things, which is hard, because I really do feel great. But I am not driving or lifting or doing much of anything but the basics. Paul has taken a couple weeks off work, and it is so nice. I really can't stress enough how happy I am not to be pregnant anymore. I am confident that having the c-section was truly the right decision for me.

So it's been quite a journey. It has been a very interesting experience. My mother gave me a card in the hospital which sums up my feelings quite nicely: "Been there, Done that, Never doing it again." (Indeed, to make sure, I had a tubal while they were in there doing the c-section.) I love being a mother, and I am overjoyed to have my sweet new baby, but I feel like our family is complete. Having a third baby in our home was planned; it was just becoming pregnant that was incredibly unexpected. I know I was not a very happy pregnant person, and by the end I was a comparatively miserable pregnant person. But I appreciate what I have learned from this trial, and I know that time and distance will also add new insights and perspective. I have appreciated having this journal outlet for my feelings and emotions, and I have valued the comments and encouragement I have received from so many of you readers throughout the experience.

As far as comparing this experience to adoption, the experiences themselves were obviously wildly divergent. However, the feelings when I held my babies for the first time were the same. I honestly can report that I felt no different, emotion-wise, when I held baby Rand for the first time, compared to holding baby Fred or Rose. They are all my children. I am so thankful for my adoption experiences, and I'm more appreciative now of the health and well-being that begins parenthood that way. But I'm also thankful for the perspective that pregnancy has given me about life and motherhood and love.

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