Monday, May 28, 2012

Welcome Sweet Enzo Kai - A birth story

Once we knew that our little guy was best to come via c-section, I got a message on facebook from a friend that basically summed it up :  The best day of your life is coming on Monday. And how often do we KNOW that will be our best day?

It was the best day -- and it was as intimate and beautiful of a birth we could've possibly had. 

The night before (Sunday) I ate well and tried to rest as much as possible, as I know that I tend to be bad with anxiety and important dates and not sleeping. I couldn't have any solids after 11PM and liquids after 3AM so I tried to bunker down to sleep early. I tossed and turned not only because I was so geared up about the procedure, but because the baby was kicking ALL night long....but it felt different, like he was angry in there wanting to come out. I got up covered in sweat a few different times to take my temperature. I was so paranoid something was wrong and that although we would be at the hospital in a few short hours I was extremely worried something was off. 

Last morning pregnant right before we left for the hospital!

We arrived at Labor & Delivery at 5:30AM and began all the pre-op procedures. (Check in, sign paperwork, pee, get blood drawn). Everything seemed to move very fast. I was nervous when we first arrived because the first person we met at L&D was miserable...but we were pretty sure it was because she was at the end of a long shift. A nice nurse named Norma (alliteration!) came to do the majority of the fun stuff like insert my IV and catheter. I didn't realize the catheter would be done sans medical numbing of any sort, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. 

Once we were all catheterized and "comfy" it was basically a waiting game. We signed a bunch of consent forms and Glenn put on his sweet baby hazmat suit. 

Both he and my mom were a great support system throughout...I appreciated them keeping me calm and collected before, during, and after the procedure. Of course some nervous tears were shed but I was able to breathe it out for the most part. The baby was still really active and they monitored him and showed I was contracting (I couldn't feel it). 

We were slated to begin at 7:45 -- and we hit the OR about 8:00, things progressed quick from there! 

Last photo before we were officially parents!

It seemed doctors and nurses were coming in from all over -- we had the nurse practitioner, 2 of the doctors from my OBGYN practice, the anesthesia doctor and his support person, and a melee of other nurses. Someone was always talking to me, reassuring me, patting my back or arm. I had to take alot of deep breaths before the spinal and surrender myself to not panic about everything going numb. 

I was glad everyone kept communicating with me...I mostly stared at the ceiling and tried to repeatedly count to 5 and breathe it out. The spinal felt like a pinch going in, but the drugs made me shake pretty badly. My arms and hands felt jittery -- then after they were sure I was good and numb they began to work on bringing this dude into the world! 

Glenn was at my head holding my hand and telling me I was doing great. The "big blue screen" wasn't as big as I thought and he pretty much got to watch ALL of the action. I never felt any pain, only pressure from the doctor to my left basically having to put all her weight on my chest to get him wedged out. Once they got "into" the thick of things they said he was big, had alot of hair, and that he had never descended (which I already knew). The doctor said his positioning had changed to transverse and that it was good we made the decision we had, because vaginal delivery would've been really unlikely.

It made me feel okay to know that sometimes babies don't descend, sometimes they do work themselves into crazy positions, and that sometimes we can all be thankful for knowledge, advocating for ourselves, our bodies and our babies, and that technology is a beautiful thing. 

At approximately 8:15 am the doctors announced our baby boy was here! 

Enzo Kai Lovelace - 05/21/12 @ 8:15 AM
8 lbs 11 healthy ounces, 20.5 inches long

He let out a good throaty yelp and the anesthesiologist had a mirror above my head angled so I could see his little butt above me. So thankful for that mirror! They suctioned out his nose/mouth (thankful also for no aspiration) and took him over the warmer where Daddy got to cut his cord and watch his Apgar tests. 

This seemed to take forever but everything happened really very fast. I was glad to watch from afar while they stitched me up, elated but still in shock he was finally here! 

He got 9/9 on his Apgars which is perfect, but especially perfect for a Csectioned baby. 

look at those chunky thighs!

In my hypnobirthing, they always had you go to your "safe place" with your baby...he is remarkably how I imagined him, especially with the head full of hair! 

After his tests were done, Glenn got to hold him and bring him over to me. All I wanted to do was see his little face! I was so happy he was here and healthy, alot of tears were shed. 

After we were stitched up we got over to recovery with Enzo and had immediate skin to skin contact. He was already rooting around looking for the boobs, and I was so very very thankful for getting skin to skin contact.

Glenn was able to go grab my mom to come back to recovery and from here on out I pretty much lost track of time loving on this little boy. 

Although this was a very planned birth, the excitement, enthusiasm and hormonal rush were all very present! I will always remember that first time seeing his face and feeling his wiggly body on my chest. 

While not the perfect circumstances, it was perfectly ours to cherish. 

We spent 2 hours in recovery before we got our own (HUGE AWESOME SUITE) of a room. Enzo went to the baby nursery for about an hour to get cleaned up and have the rest of his newborn checks done, while we got settled and relaxed.

The quality of care at GBMC was above and beyond! Our room was gorgeous and huge, and we had a team of nurses that checked in on us regularly, each with their own phone should we need to contact them at any time. We had a nurse tech (who got to do fun things like empty my catheter), an RN for mama, and an RN for baby, as well as lactation specialists who stopped by. 

I was super extra thirsty (because I drink so much water regularly, I think) and begged to have ice chips as soon as possible. They frown upon giving you anything to drink too quick as it causes alot of women with csections to vomit (which can of course effect that already tender lower abdominal region). I promised to go slow and the nurse tech brought me the GBMC giant mug (seriously my new best friend) with a huge bendy straw to sip on. 

I credit drinking water early to pushing out all the extra fluids and feeling good. The surgery had given me a long lasting pain medicine and I felt pretty great the entire 4 days we were in the hospital. I found the percocets made me sleepy, but other than that everything was really quite comfortable. 

The baby roomed in with us night one (we were excited and wanted to just stare at him for hours). Looking back this wasn't the brightest as we got little to no that time I hadn't slept in over 24 hours and was due, and Glenn was so exhausted he turned a funky shade of green. It was good for them to take him early the next morning so we could catch up on some zzzz's. 

From there on we let him go to the nursery at least once a day for some rest, and it was helpful to have visitors come and get their snuggles in as well!

We were really spoiled by lots of well wishers popping by and bringing us lovely flowers, snacks and gifts! Thank you for loving this little boy as much as we do!

Recovery day 2 went pretty well -- all the nurse techs were impressed with my 'output' of pee (thanks giant GBMC mug!) that we were able to get the catheter out early. It wasn't a fun time getting it out, but I felt much better immediately. There is a ton of care post csection that involves bedpans and squirt bottles and I'd much rather handle those things myself than have some poor tech my age doing it. 

By day 3 I think we were "ready to go", but the hospital keeps you until day 4. I did all I could to prove my healthiness, which includes but is not limited to - steady output of pee, baby gaining weight, mama being able to pass gas (seriously), and all of our vitals being stable. We made our goals known and the nurses did all the prep work to ensure we could leave Thursday!

Coming home has been the complete gamut of emotions : exciting, terrifying, rewarding, frustrating, and above all else, tiring! The first week together has taught us alot about love and patience, and finding our groove. And yes, there are hormones. OH the hormones. I sit and stare at him sometimes and cry. I cry because we are so lucky to have such a healthy guy. I cry looking at pictures from the day he was born. I cry when I am so exhausted my eyes are crossing and he won't go to sleep. And I cry when I think about how this is just the beginning and we have so. much. more to learn, and love, and experience! 

I feel really lucky to have nursing going as well as it has been, he still has a great latch and we are beginning to recognize his different cries. He's a pretty content kid unless he has a messy diaper, is hungry, is being changed, or is struggling with a poo! 

My favorite parts of the day are in his sleepy milk-drunk comas...sniffing his head and kissing his tootsies!

He is now a week old, and these past 7 days have been the longest/fastest of my life ever. Time flies when you are loving life -- and we can't wait to see what comes next!

Thanks again, and as always, for your support throughout!

Friday, May 18, 2012

39 weeks pregnant - Last of the weekly updates!

Welp, we've made it folks -- thanks for sticking around for the long haul, of what seemed to be the longest, biggest pregnancy ever! We have 3 days until we meet our little big guy and I.cannot.wait. 

Since making our decision, we've had a lot of great support -- we are so appreciative of the love, comments, emails and texts we have received. It shouldn't REALLY matter how a baby is born into the world, because we are his parents regardless, but it is comforting to know that those who care about us are in our corner!

The days have been dragging -- it takes alot to find something to wear and get out of the house these days, but I am sick of being cooped in too. I do find that if I go out and "do too much" I will pay for it later, namely in the form of insomnia, bad back aches, cramping, night sweats and hip/leg pain. 

A girl can only sit on the couch so long though, so I went out by myself yesterday to get a smoothie and run some grocery errands. It felt nice to be part of civilization and not sitting on the couch watching 90210 reruns. (Right now they are airing "Graduation Year: 1997" episodes and they are a riot). 

We took these pix at exactly 39 weeks (yesterday) and holy cats was I exhausted. I am getting sleep in 2 hour increments, and sporadic at best. I know this is baby "training" me to be ready for late night feedings and the like, but I'll be damned if shit isn't uncomfortable. I had tried unsuccessfully to take a 2 hour nap with the lights off and AC pumping before Glenn got home - to no avail. Hence the puffy face and tired expressions. 

All I seem to do anymore is read the babyboards, info about c-sections and breastfeeding, c-sections and exercise, c-sections and complications. It is becoming a bit nauseating even to me. It's been a relief to talk to friends about their lives and everyday things like NORMAL people not in a housebound baby bubble are experiencing. Thanks for checking in, ya'll. 

Poor Glenn has been working his buns off at the school...this is their "busy season" so it's alot of all hands on deck late nights. The week we deliver and will be in the hospital is a SUPER busy week for him, so I know it is stressful. He is taking that week off through Memorial Day and then Grandma Niter will be back in town helping out while we all recover and look to achieve some essence of a routine!

It'll all work out how it is supposed to work out, eh?

How far along? 39 weeks, 1 day! 3. more. days, dude. 

Baby Size: Supposedly the size of a "small watermelon" but let's be REAL. 

Total weight gain/loss: Holding steady at 36 right now, which I think is a pound over the "recommended" healthy weight. But you know what? You can bite my giant pregnant ass if you think I really care. I am DYING to be able to work out and would've loved to continue to take walks and lift...but after our last visit to the Doctor I didn't want to put myself into labor before our planned date as I've read that if your water breaks there is no real cushion left on your back = ouch and potentially a broken tailbone. I do hope I can have a speedy recovery and take the baby for walks soon after we are home and settled. I've read horror stories about people who do too much too soon and then end up ripping their incisions and throwing themselves into MONTHS of recovery so I don't want that either. I am just antsy in general...and know that c-sections tend to make you puffier and full of fluids for longer so I should give myself a solid 2-3 weeks before I step on scales and expect to see any real numbers drop. I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it though. I NEED TO STOP READING THINGS ON THE INTERNET. 

Maternity clothes? Shmaternity clothes. On days I leave the house it's a maxi dress or leggings...on days I am stuck housebound it's sports bras and shorts or underwear. SUPER ATTRACTIVE and lovely for Glenn to come home to

Stretch marks? Same old guys are still there, and I think getting redder. they are all under my belly button so that is a some sort of kindness, because if they got any higher where I had to not strain to see them I think I'd be a bit sadder about them. I have to be real with myself and say hey, you're carrying a ginormo baby/look ginormous...what did you think was going to happen? I still slather all the dumb creams on them....I think they would look nice accentuated with my csection scar's going to be a good look for 2012. 

Sleep: I think we've covered this. It blows. But I can handle 3 more days of bad sleep, and then expect to have worse sleep in the hospital for 4 more days! All that matters is that fattykins getting here. 

Best moment this week: Our doctor's appointment Monday and subsequent rationalizations therefrom. It felt good to finally just make a decision and jump headfirst into what we can expect from there. 

Miss Anything?  Being able to move around better without feeling so crampy/bach achey and worrying I am going to throw myself into labor if I exert myself too much. That and sleep. 

Movement: Yes - most days a good bit of it! I think he is getting annoyed with his squashed living quarters and just wants OUT these days. I don't blame him. Since he hasn't descended he feels like one big huge ball sitting on my lap. He has a routine usually from 1AM until 3AM where he tries to kick! and stretch! and wiggle! Sometimes he kicks so high/so hard that I gasp. Already taking mama's breath away...

Food cravings: Milk has been big as of late, which I have been eating with Oreos (healthy!). I think it's a I need calcium thing, doubled with a comfort food thing. I also have been crushing fruit like it's going out of style. 

Anything making you queasy or sick:  Glenn made some soup last night that smelled terrible to me....but other than that it is mostly just the queasiness from the cramping that has been annoying. 

Have you started to show yet: What is this I don't even....I think we all know the answer here. .

Trying very hard to fit both of us in the frame, here

Gender: He has a little winkin, blinkin and nod down there

Labor Signs: I've had back pain and cramps and nausea for a good week plus now with Braxton Hicks here and there but none that are really timeable or trackable. Hopefully things stay as is until Monday - because I really have a neurotic plan in my head and going into actual labor sorta throws that off a bit. 

Belly Button in or out? Officially flat. 

Wedding rings on or off? still on! My feet/hands haven't really "preggo swollen" I think my hands are getting a bit more swollen (they always do when it gets hot outside)

Jesus God am I huge. 

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! Elated to know when he will be coming, and excited to have him with us! 

Looking forward to: Calming down and just letting him arrive. Everything else will fall into place after that!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Anxiety, Acceptance and the "c-word"

We decided to get pregnant the summer of 2011. I wanted year 28 to be my last "selfish summer" and from there went off the pill and went at making a baby! He was very planned - I know the exact night we conceived. As I am neurotic to a fault I studied all the methods on how to best get pregnant and was really thankful it happened for us after 2 real months of trying. I have been writing this blog since I had an inkling of a fledgling of a whisper of an idea we were pregnant. Flying home after a work trip and feeling feverish and flustered and "is this really happening?". Documenting each change from 4 weeks 3 days pregnant (or as I counted back then, 15 days post ovulation) 

Every morning I continued to pee on sticks from the Dollar Store (just to make sure the line was getting darker and that this was REALLY happening).  I would send these pictures to Glenn dutifully each morning. (Nothing says love like "look at this stick I peed on" each morning)

Each week I would take a photo to see how progression was coming along, while spending the rest of my time on the babyboards, and doing a ton of reading about all things preggers. 

weeks 5-8
I feel I haven't gone into any of this blindly - I researched and changed doctors early on because I wasn't satisfied with their level of care. I determined which hospital I thought was best, what prenatals and other vitamins were healthiest, and sought guidance on some early fears regarding my cervix and baby's viability and ability to work out. Once given the okay, I pushed myself to limits I didn't know were possible, working out more often and with greater intensity than I have for previous vanity quests before vacations.

I looked at labor as a challenge... that my mom had both me and my brother unmedicated after not really ever exercising, being dutiful about eating well, and because it was the 80's, smoking. If she could do it and have this great euphoric rush, then surely I could train like I was going to run a marathon and push a baby out unmedicated like butter! I seriously had no fear about the pain, I read into alot of holistic birthing practices...wanted to labor at home as long as possible, take baths, position myself in ways to best bring this baby into the world, not strapped down on my back in bed. I've drank red raspberry leaf tea once I hit the safe-timeline to do so, I read Ina Mae and had started practicing Hyponobabies. I was DETERMINED, god dammit. I was excited. I was thankful my body had been so cooperative with me!

As things progressed and I got bigger (seriously, let's talk about how I was "showing" at 12 weeks and I got commentary from thereon out about how huge I was/must be carrying twins/due in a month) I kept waiting for a kick from this baby. Most first time moms can feel them anywhere from 16 weeks on. I kept reading the babyboards and being jealous that I didn't feel any little flutters....I asked all my mommy friends when they first remembered feeling movement, and read into it and diagnosed myself with having an anterior placenta long before any ultrasounds proved me right. 

Holidays - 16 weeks along
I didn't feel any movement until 19 weeks -- and from there on I felt like, YES! Validation! It truly is the greatest feelings any mom can have, but for a first time mom it feels like all your fears and worries can be assuaged. 

I did read early on that anterior placentas often caused posterior babies and bad back labor. I honestly didn't read toooooooo much into it, figuring there was lots of time for the baby to flip and that given how much I had tried to stay healthy and work out that I could make everything work. I also wanted to remain positive and hope for the best. 

18 & 20 weeks
As we continued to grow and grow and grow some more, we got good news at all of my appointments. Never any gestational diabetes issues, never any scares with my blood panels, no protein in my urine or high blood pressure issues. My doctors remarked on how "perfect" everything was going, and how I was a picture of health. I beat myself up a bit on my weight gain but figured everything was well with the baby so all was well in the grand scheme of things. 

It wasn't until the 3rd trimester that the "holy shit you're huge comments" began to have some merit. My fundal heights for months had been accurate in terms of weeks pregnant, but started to jump up a bit. From measuring 1 week large to 2 or close to 3 at times. The Dr's scheduled growth ultrasounds and we realized my oven makes 'em big!

When the ultrasound technician told me at 32 weeks that the baby was already 5 lbs + I didn't believe her at first. All the literature said babies that age should be 3.8 at the high end...

7 & 32 weeks

I still knew ultrasounds could be off, and if anything, was thankful that the baby was big and healthy. 

We just kept getting bigger and bigger, and the Doctor showed some concern about his size. Clearly we were eating well and growing strong and fast. At 36 and 38 weeks we hit the 89% and 95% percentile and kiddo gained about 25 ounces in 2 weeks. At that rate he's about 1.78 a the time of my Doctor visit today he could be at 9 lbs at 38 weeks 4 days. 

Upon discussion of his sunnysideupness and lack of flipping around, his large size, and my tailbone issues -- the idea of a cesarean had been broached a few times. Each week the doctor(s) would suggest that it was an option but not the ONLY option. That we could try to go into labor and let things progress, but that given his Occupant Posterior position that back labor was going to be intense, and that my tailbone was likely to break. I didn't feel pressured to jump at a csection...I wanted to know what contractions felt like. I wanted to warrior through like I had anticipated after months of working out. I wanted to PUSH this baby out of me like a champ. 

I consulted a midwife who writes a popular blog....called my chiropractor and the nurse practitioner all looking for "odds" of a successful vaginal delivery without breaking my tailbone. The doula/midwife couldn't give me too much information regarding my situation having not examined me, but noted that OP babies do often cause some distress to that area, and suggested all the spinningbabies and positioning methods I had already been practicing for weeks in order to get him to flip. At 38 weeks 4 days he still hasn't flipped. My chiropractor said he knew tailbone fractures can be debilitating  - and that he could adjust me to try to make my pelvis more comfortable but that it was likely to break. Short of having a doctor x-ray me (not an option for lady bits/being pregnant) or having someone adjust my tailbone by inserting their finger in parts that would make your mama blush, there was not much we could do. 

The nurse practitioner said given my factors, that a healthy uncomplicated vaginal delivery could certainly be attempted, but may not be likely. She said she would send my reports onto my Doctor who I would have my appointment with next. 

In that timeframe between Thursday to Monday (today) I felt a huge range of emotions....from curiosity, regret, fear, loss, to guilt. I had wanted so badly to be the best mom possible to him since the moment I knew I was pregnant. I wanted to be healthy for him to best bring him into the world the natural way. Having to give up that idealized view of childbirth was beyond defeating. 

Of course "the internet" can be a scary place full of judgey people who think anything less than a Natural Unmedicated Child Birth is a failure. An epidural is a failure. A hospital birth is a failure. Inductions are a failure. And above all else, cesareans are a failure. 

Because society often has a distorted view of the birthing industry and puts a ton of pressure on women in general (pregnant or not) I instinctively knew that if we elected to have a c-section that I would be judged. Nobody can tell me anything negatively that I haven't heard myself echoing in my head for weeks. That I didn't try hard enough. That my tailbone may not necessarily break. That ultrasounds are wrong and that women have large babies all the time. 

All of that is arbitrary. All of it may be true. I have really no way of knowing, other than doing a TON of research, talking to medical professionals, and seeking guidance from women who have gone before me. 

I have gleaned the following information after looking into all of our options:

                     - OP babies often go past their due dates and have longer promodoral labor (early labor) 

                     - OP babies (in general) have longer labors with less progression 

                     - OP babies can have longer contractions/more cycles causing the mom to think they are closer to transition/pushing stage than they are -- earlier pushing can equal swollen cervix = more interventions. 

                     - OP babies (in general) have more interventions (breaking of waters, early epidural for pain relief, and so on)

                     - OP babies (who have been OP since early on) are particularly less likely to spin in the proper head down direction

                     - OP babies are likely to break tailbones (even if your tailbone has never been broken)

                     - OP babies can get stuck and require extraction through means such as forceps, vacuum or an emergency c-section. Having consulted a nurse friend, she said she would NEVER let a doctor take her baby that way as she as seen too many issues with brain bleeds or permanent damage. That was enough to terrify me

                     - OP babies who are extracted through above means are often more likely to cause tears. Not just mini episiotomy tears, but 3rd and 4th degree tears not just to the back but the FRONT because the babies are sunnyside up. I read way too many stories about incontinent moms in their 20's with fistulas to make me really not want this to be an option.

                     - OP babies that are LARGE may never actually descend properly. Even with inductions they are squeezed with the addition of pitocin in a manner where their heads are "floating" essentially and never engage in the pelvis through the canal. Their poor little heads just end up ramming into your pelvic bones but not through the canal - and often end up distressed, with heart decels and end up being taken by c-section (emergency) anyway. 

- OP babies have a difficult transition if you can manage to get them into the canal, and once born often have misshapen heads, bruising, and sometimes nerve damage

                  - Large babies (OP or otherwise) are more inclined to manage to have their heads be birthed but have their shoulders get stuck (shoulder distocia).  This is not only terrifying, but can cause the baby's shoulders or collarbones get broken (at the least) or cause death (the worst case scenario).  My Doctor said that about 7% of "large babies" have this occur. The shoulder distocia can also cause permanent nerve damage as well, rendering the affected arm useless. 

 WHEW. It's alot of info. Still with me? And not all of it "has" to happen with an OP baby - or a large baby, but given where I am currently sitting (on a healed tailbone) we have alot of issues stacked against us.  

My mom came with me to my Doctor's appointment today at 38 weeks 4 days. Before he entered the room I heard him exclaiming to the nurse practitioner, "wow, 95th percentile!" and he walked into the room, shook my mom's hand and gave me a sympathetic look. 

He got right to the point and said that given our circumstances, he couldn't safely say that a vaginal delivery was our best or recommended option. He outlined all the risk factors with our current situation and said that he felt a planned cesarean would be the best and safest mode of delivery for Baby Boy Lovelace. He said he understood my goal of vaginal delivery but that if we wanted to move forward with it we would have to sign a consent form basically absolving him of liability if we ran into complications.

He then did an internal exam, and I was at 2 centimeters (I was at about 1.5 last week) and he noted the baby's head hadn't engaged and was essentially in the "floating" pattern I mentioned above. This attests again to his size. I had wondered if that was the case because by close to 39 weeks you should feel like a bowling ball is between your legs and the baby has dropped. I still feel him very active, and he is still kicking up high to the top of my ribs. 

This was enough of a sign for me believe that even IF the ultrasounds are wrong and he isn't close to 9 lbs right now, even IF he happened to flip tomorrow, even IF I had a perfect tailbone...he isn't currently descending as he should by this timeline. That was enough for me to believe that all of the medical professionals in the practice have our best interests at heart, and that a cesarean is the best possible option for the best possible care for both baby Lovelace and me to tend to his needs afterward. 

We are having our long awaited, very loved,  chubby chunk fattykins of a son on May 21st via a planned cesarean. 

I hope you will support us in making the toughest and strongest choice on bringing him into this world. Please continue to send us good vibes and prayers in hopes for a happy and healthy delivery!
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