Little Bitty (who did, in fact, get a name at the 11th hour in the hospital) turns 2 months old next week. WHAT?? I swear it was yesterday she was born. Wasn’t it?? I know from previous experience how fast time flies when you have little ones but I still can’t fathom that it’s been almost 2 months since I saw her pretty face the first time. I know you’re dying to hear her birth story. Who wouldn’t be? I’ll warn you though it’ll be pretty long and detailed (read: boring) like my last birth story so that I can read it later and remember all the little things that mean a lot to me. So feel free to skip it, skim it, or grab some popcorn and settle in!
So early in my pregnancy (read: the moment I found out I was pregnant) I decided I did NOT want a repeat C-Section (to be known as RCS in the future so I don’t have to type all that out) and that I would opt for a VBAC instead. For the uninformed, a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I basically yelled that at the Midwife I saw at my first OB appt. I was feeling a little militant I guess – as though she would fight me on it. She just wrote it at the top of my chart and went on with her questions. I had geared myself up for a fight because so many practices and hospitals are against VBACs. In fact, my SIL had to have a home birth in order to get her VBAC which she was very adamant about. And, by the way, it went fantastically. Fast forward to April during my 32 week ultrasound when the tech informed us that Bitty was breech. *facepalm* So I had 4 weeks to come to terms with the fact that I might end up with a RCS anyway. But, luckily, by 36 weeks she had sweetly listened to her mommy and flipped head down. So back to a VBAC. At my 37 week appointment the doctor casually asked “Are you still wanting to VBAC?” I (again, militantly) said “YES.” He just said, “Ok, just making sure you hadn’t changed your mind” and went on with his exam. Unfortunately, at my 38 week appt I was informed they wanted me to deliver the next week. Excuse me? Say what? Ayup. Apparently due to the previous abruption and the increased risk of abruption this time around AND the fact that they can happen all the way up through labor they wanted to be safer than sorry. I decided I didn’t like this idea and preferred to wait at least until my due date to see if I’d go into labor on my own. No such luck though. At 39 weeks we discussed the options of induction, a RCS, or going past due. All had risks and downsides. I researched as best I could but I could find no evidence or statistics of women with previous abruptions going past due. Apparently they all opt for RCS or early inductions. After several days of debating and another call in to the OB (who unhelpfully left it up to me after repeating all the risks of each option instead of telling me what to do) I decided on a RCS. Several factors went into this decision, and it took me another day or two to really feel comfortable with it, but I felt it was our best option. So Bitty girl’s birth date was set for May 28th at noon.
Of course nothing happened at noon, even though we were at the hospital at 8am that morning (NO clue why we had to be there so early), but at least they were only late by an hour. By that point I was starving and my mouth felt as dry as the Sahara. And the poison they gave me to help keep my stomach settled during surgery did NOT help the thirsty feeling. I’m pretty sure I was as excited about the prospect of getting to chew on ice as I was getting to meet my child. Just goes to show you what dehydration will do to you. The 2 full IV bags they gave me before the surgery only made me have to pee but did nothing for the blazing thirst. Or the sheer boredom of sitting in Triage for over 4 hours. Plus hospital nightgowns are neither fashionable or comfortable. Or modest. At 1 it was finally time and I padded down the hall clutching my gown closed behind me and feeling a little nervous as we got into the OR. [Sidenote: OR’s do NOT look like those on Grey’s Anatomy. Or probably any other medical show. They gave me a spinal block (which suprisingly didn’t hurt all that much) which was to wear off in “2-18” hours. Ok, it may have been more like 2-6 but when you can’t feel your legs it all seems like an eternity. It was so weird. Probably the weirdest thing I’ve ever been through. It starts as a warm tingly feeling and then ends up feeling like your foot does when it starts to “wake up” after it’s fallen asleep and you’ve gotten past the painful pins and needles feeling. You can feel people pushing on you and moving you but you can’t feel pain or touch and you can’t move. Creepy and weird. And panicky if you actually try to move. Because your brain remembers how but nothing happens. Do. Not. Like.
I handled the actual surgery pretty well I suppose. I did a lot better once Hubster was in the room and could distract me from the whole “no legs and can’t breathe so I must be getting paralyzed” thing. It didn’t take nearly as long as I expected and literally within minutes of them starting I heard my sweet baby’s cry. This was after they pushed her out but literally pushing on my stomach. Which felt like they were pushing on my chest. Again, creepy and weird. Now you have to understand, even though I didn’t get to birth her like I wanted, this situation was totally different from G’s birth. So as soon as I heard that sweet cry I teared up. It was so emotional to hear her little voice and know she was healthy and right there in the room with me. I didn’t get to see G until the next day. I didn’t get to hold him until the next night. Here my baby girl was right there – perfectly normal sized and I was going to get to see her and hold her and nurse her and then take her home. Cool thing was Hubby got to walk over and see her as they were weighing her and doing her Apgar. They called out her weight (7lbs 10oz) and the doctor, previously having asked me what I thought she’d weigh, laughed and said I was close (I had said “close to 8lbs). Then they wrapped her up and brought her over to us. Hubby held her and put her near my face to snuggle and kiss. I could have asked for her to be put on my chest but I was shaking too badly and didn’t think it was a good idea. So I’ll probably never get to know what it feels like to have a sticky naked newborn on my chest or to actually give birth (no one get offended please but for me I have a hard time saying I gave birth because I don’t feel like I did) but I’m blessed with 2 beautiful healthy children. If for some reason we decide to have a third (which I doubt) then maybe I’ll find a doctor that will let me try a VBAC again. If not, then next time I’ll know what to expect and I hope to get to hold that baby right there in the OR.
But I digress. Back to no legged me. They moved me to my bed (which, by the way, was quite possibly from the 1970’s) by way of an inflatable air mattress thing and wheeled me to recovery… where I finally got some ice!! Whooo!! And yes, to hold my sweet girl. But seriously, I was SO DANG THIRSTY. Right away I got to hold my sweet Bitty on my chest and nurse her. It didn’t go great the first time because even though she was pretty excited about the prospect she didn’t quite latch properly and left a blood blister that made me want to scream for about a week and a half. After she nursed for a bit they took her to do her Vitamin K and eye drops. This is when I started to itch. It started out as just my nose. Then became my face and then started to spread down my body. As the spinal wore off (starting near my waist) the itching took over where the numbness had been. It was horrible. Apparently they add a 24 hour pain medication into the spinal to help with pain management once it wears off. I would have rather had the pain. Except for the part where they do the “massaging,” which is totally misleading because it feels more like they are stabbing you in the gut, in order to check certain things which I will not mention because you don’t want to know. And I don’t need to write it down to remember it because the pain was so bad it’s seared into my brain for all eternity.
Once my time in recovery was up we were wheeled up to my room. I say “we” because I had no intention of letting Bitty go so someone wheeled her empty bassinet (read: plastic box on wheels) to our room while I held her. I already mentioned I had 2 bags of fluid in Triage, plus I had another in the OR/recovery, then they hung ANOTHER bag when I got to my room. All in all I would have 5 bags of fluid. I was so swollen and puffy I looked terrible. Bitty, from the fluid I got plus being a CS baby, was also puffy and swollen. She lost 7oz overnight and I truly thing that was mostly fluid loss.
It was weird, and kind of surreal. I told Hubby it didn’t feel real. It didn’t feel like she was my baby. That first day was sort of hazy. And itchy. Really really itchy. That first afternoon was the most rough. I was so itchy I couldn’t concentrate on much. I worked with Bitty to get her to latch and nurse and I ate a LOT of ice chips. I was finally allowed some broth (which I downed like it was something gourmet) which really did nothing for the fact that I hadn’t eaten in like 18 hours or something. Plus my nazi nurse didn’t seem to think it was necessary for me to eat. Hubs ended up leaving the hospital at midnight to go get me a sub. Come to find out the fancy sub shop in the hospital was still open, but oh well. At least I didn’t have that nurse again.
The rest of our stay was pretty uneventful if you don’t count being woken up every 2 hours by random nurses, doctors, pediatricians, food bringers, and trash taker-outers. Seriously, they came to take out the trash at 5am one morning. It was ridiculous. At one point they did steal Bitty for over an hour and a half for a 15 minute test. We’re pretty sure they just forgot about her in the back of the nursery. Several people went and asked about her (we even went ourselves) and got blank stares. But she came back unscathed from her adventure, albeit much later than originally explained.
Going home was a totally different adventure than with G. We had basically moved into the hospital room so we had the little cart jammed full on the way down. I rode in a wheelchair with Bitty in her carseat on my lap. She rode perfectly, with bright open eyes, and just looked around all the way down. And did we go straight home? Nope. We went to Target. Oh yeah, and Popeye’s for lunch. What? We were hungry. Bitty slept in her carseat all covered and snuggly and no one tried to come breathe on her at any point. And the stop at Target was to fill my Motrin prescription. See? Totally necessary.
You may be wondering how G reacted to all this change. It was the first time I was away from him all night plus he gained a baby sister. The first day he didn’t seem all that interested in her. The next day he realized she wasn’t going away and was drinking his milk. So he decided that to compensate, he required his pacifier at all times. Previously he was only taking the pacifier at night and naps and now, well, it was apparently his life line. I let him have his paci crutch for 5 or 6 weeks and then decided it was time to get back to the regularly scheduled program. It took a few days of hissy fits but now he asks for it less and less. And he’s still nice to his sissy. But that’s another post.