As I go back in time to share thoughts and feelings, I sort of feeling like I’m writing a novel like Girl on the Train. Bare with me as I jump back and forth in time. I do want to capture some moments and share thoughts, so back and forth we go.
Sometime in October of 2015 I scheduled the C-Section for Olivia’s birth. Putting “have a baby” on your calendar is a very weird thing to do, as it’s not what most people experience. Being type A, it worked out for me. I didn’t choose to have a C-Section, so I’ve never engaged myself in the C-Section vs medicated birth vs natural birth debate. I was medically required to have a C-Section at 37.5 weeks because of the myomectomy that I had back in 2012. I couldn’t go into labor for reasons no one cares to hear. Had I never had the surgery there’s a chance I wouldn’t have been able to get pregnant because of the placement of the fibroids that I had.
So with that said, I always just accepted that this was how I would have my baby (babies if we’re blessed and able to get pregnant again in the future). I scheduled it for December 2nd at 12:30. At the time, the date seemed so far away. I was fairly miserable and was so very ready for Olivia to arrive.
When December 1st came and I was sitting at the hospital doing my pre-op and wearing my arm band, I still wasn’t accepting of the fact that my entire life would be changing tomorrow.
Yet, my parents arrived the night of December 1st, Tim’s mom got to town, and we went to bed for the last night as just us. The bassinet was setup, but there was no one in it.
|Last time just the two of us…|
On the morning of December 2nd, I did everything that I was supposed to do (wash with anti-bacterial soap, not eat, take my thyroid pill with very little water, etc.). We were supposed to arrive at the hospital at 10:30, but what were we really supposed to do the morning we were going to have a baby? Do the dishes? Watch TV? No. We got everything together and left early, because we couldn’t just sit around the house anymore.
When we arrived in the waiting area to be called back, I ended up crying a little bit when I saw grandparents waiting to hear word about their grandbabies. I cried because it was the last time it would just be the two of us, and I of course cried a little because I was nervous. The surgery was very similar to a myomectomy as far as what happens before. This time they’d just me taking a baby out instead of fibroids. I knew what to expect, but more than anything I was nervous for the spinal. I have no idea why. It ended up being nothing at all.
I was called back to clean up and get my IV hooked up, and then they brought Tim back. It turned out we had to wait a lot longer than planned because of emergency C-Sections that kept getting pulled in front of us. It was surreal to sit in the hospital bed feeling Olivia move and knowing that I’d get to meet her so soon. But, we were getting really impatient. The waiting time was killing us. Then, the OB who was scheduled to assist my OB in the surgery came back and said that my OB’s kids had gotten sick and she wasn’t going to be able to do the surgery. There’s a lot more back story about why this made sense and why it wasn’t weird to me that this happened, but suffice it to say that I’ve been with my OB for 7 years and she made a special exception to do my surgery when she wasn’t on call and it backfired. I had seen the OB that ended up doing my C-Section several times in their practice, so it worked out okay. I was surprisingly unfazed; I think it was because at that point I just wanted the baby out and didn’t care if a doctor I’d never met did the surgery.
Finally the anesthesiologist came back and said it was time and began wheeling me to the OR. It was funny because they hadn’t put the hairnet on me and they gave it to me and I put it on myself. He said something about how proficient I was at it, and I mentioned I was a swimmer. We ended up having a discussion about triathlons and endurance running, and it literally kept my mind off the spinal and how nervous I was. It was so well timed.
When we got to the OR I moved to the table I’d be on for the surgery, bent over, and had the spinal placed. Then I was rushed to lay down. They started prepping for surgery and Tim wasn’t there still. He had been taken to a different room while I was prepped to prep himself and get into scrubs. I asked if they were waiting on Tim and they assured me they wouldn’t start until he was there. Then he walked right in. You really do have a lot of time without your husband in the OR before they start the surgery.
I was fully numbed, and they told me they were starting. Tim and I held hands and waited. The anesthesiologist told me if I started feeling nauseous to let him know. He asked what song we wanted playing when Olivia was born, but we hadn’t thought about it and said he could pick. Ha! After about 10 minutes of strange and uncomfortable noises, they said it was about time. Tim stood up and saw Olivia come out, and the anesthesiologist took pictures with Tim’s phone. They showed me the photo before I saw Olivia, and in the photo she looked HUGE! Because of the gestational diabetes I thought she’d be big, but she looked really huge.
|Our first photo together|
It was funny because as soon as they took her over to the table to clean her up and I saw her, I realized that she wasn’t huge at all and it was just a strangely framed photo. They told me she was 7 pounds 2 ounces. Her cries were the best thing in the world. All I kept doing was asking, “is she okay? is she okay?” I had spent so much of the later part of my pregnancy just worried about the health of my baby. I had high fluids in my uterus, gestational diabetes, and ended up having to take a medicine to regulate my morning sugar levels that made me nervous. I just needed to know my baby was okay.
And she was. They kept assuring me she was fine. I didn’t get to breastfeed there, but I got to hold her and look at her. I cried one tear, but more than anything I just felt this earth-shattering sense of relief that my baby was finally here in my arms. But then they took her away. Tim got to go with her, but they had to run all the tests and make sure her blood sugar was okay. While she was away I had to lay on the table and be sewn up, which was unquestionably the hardest part of the surgery (not in the sense of pain, but in the sense that my husband and my baby girl were in another room and I had to wait to go be with them). I was away from my girl while they were sewing me up, and when I finally got rolled over to recovery I still had to wait. They wouldn’t let me breastfeed her there either because her sugars were low and they wanted to immediately supplement with formula.
|Our new family|
The whole supplementing with formula was a very hard battle for me, because I really didn’t want that to happen. I swallowed my pride though and just accepted that I would do whatever was best for Olivia. They would let me breastfeed here and there, but for the most part she got her nutrients from formula when they’d check her sugars and the levels would be off. It was a tough first day in the hospital, because I was still out of it from the surgery and on pain medicines, and yet I didn’t really feel like anyone from the hospital was helping me understand that she needed to be breastfeeding regularly to help my milk come in, or I needed to pump to help if she wasn’t feeding.
|In our room|
The thing was, she was eating. She latched well and would stay on, but they kept wanting to supplement because her levels got so low it scared them. Eventually this would lead us to the NICU, which I’ll talk about in another post, but I will say that I had a wonderful delivery and a mediocre hospital stay. I did have a phenomenal experience with one nurse in the NICU who helped me understand the importance of regular pumping and feeding so my milk would come in, but other than that I just was frustrated.
|The wonderful NICU nurse as we were heading back to our room once she was discharged from NICU. Terri was only Olivia’s nurse for one day, but the amount that we learned from her in terms of parenting, feeding, etc. was more than any book I had read or any other nurse told us.|
We both got discharged from the hospital 3 days after arriving, because Olivia’s levels had regulated by the time I was ready to leave. They told me they would once she was no longer attached to the placenta that was causing all of the high sugars, but to finally have her with regular blood sugar I was so excited to know my girl was back to feeling good. From the moment we got home she has been breastfeeding like a pro. She was up the first night home screaming for an hour and wouldn’t latch, so we finally broke down and gave her 10mL of formula because we knew she was hungry and my milk still hadn’t come in. Besides that one time, she has had nothing but breastmilk, which is something that I wanted to do for her. That was important to me, even though I know there’s absolutely nothing wrong with formula.
Looking back, I don’t remember a lot about my hospital stay, and I hate that. Between being on drugs from the C-Section and pain pills for the after part, having Olivia taken to the NICU the second day, and trying to figure out how to feed her and get up from my bed, into a wheel chair, and rolled down to the NICU, it was quite a blurry experience. It was hard for me, and it is still hard for me to look back and only remember a few experiences from the hospital stay, but it is what it is.
One of my favorite memories of the entire time was when my parents came in. I remember it very well because my mom brought me a balloon. The balloon still has a little bit of air in it and is getting closer to the ground each day, and every time I look at it I flashback to seeing my mom and dad come in to see me and get to hold Olivia for the first time. It was such a happy moment for all of us, and I’m so glad that a silly balloon brings me back to it. I just am truly thankful for that balloon and it helping me to carve that special memory out in my mind.
|It’s that balloon, and I remember this moment over all the other ones once I got to my room.|
The other distinct and happy memory that I have is one of Tim popping his head up from the couch he was sleeping on to check on Olivia the first night. Every single teeny sound or peep she would make would cause Tim to pop up and check on her. I couldn’t see Tim over on the couch because the bassinet that Olivia was sleeping in was between us, so I’d just see his head pop up. I loved it so much, because it was so clear that he wanted to make sure she was okay and make sure there was nothing he could do. It showed to me what kind of a dad he would be, and it truly is the dad he has become and continues to be.
I wrote 7 pages a few days after we got home from the hospital so I’d remember more, but I didn’t go back and read them before writing this because I already knew I’d end up with a novel.
December 2nd, 2015 will forever be one of the happiest days of my life. I’m so incredibly thankful for an uneventful and uncomplicated C-Section, and I’m so thankful for the NICU staff and how they helped get my baby girl back to full health.
We love Olivia more than I could have expected. It’s a love so intense sometimes it brings me to tears. Being a mommy is truly the best job in the world while also being the hardest thing I’ve ever done.