Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lily's Birth Story

I can't believe she's already been here almost a month!

I also can't believe that she's already been here almost a month and I've slept approximately 17 minutes...

But, I digress.

Here's how our little Lilypad came into the world :-)

During my 39th week of pregnancy my birth team flew in. My birth team consisted of one of my oldest friends-- and Jake's Godmother--, Gabby, and my mom. Gabby would stay with Jake while I went to the hospital and my mom would go to the hospital with me. It was unbelievably comforting to know Jake would be taken care of when it was time for Lily to arrive. Despite this whole three year old thing being so temperamental, as in the good days are good but the bad make me want to light myself on fire, I suppose I still had a draw to make sure he'd be ok ;-)

At my 39 week check up, everything looked great; my blood pressure was amazing, I had, inexplicably, lost 2 lbs (making for 10 total lbs gained), and was dilated to 1cm and my cervix was beginning to thin. Physically, I felt uber amazing and mentally I was ready to do battle. Bring it.

For quite a few weeks, the option had been put on the table to strip my membranes at my 39 week check up since my birth team was scheduled to only be here simultaneously for one week and we wanted to make sure all I'd have to concern myself with is pushing a baby out. but, I opted against it when the opportunity arose.

Gabby got here a couple days after my mom, but when she did it was game on to keep my contractions going in the right direction. The ones I had been having were mild ('mild' being subjective because I have a pain tolerance like a mofo), but we wanted to make sure, as best we could, that I'd go into labor naturally. The hospital would allow me to go to 41, maybe even 41 1/2, weeks before they'd step in, but that's not a risk I wanted to take!

So, we hit up those Old Wives' Tales like you wouldn't believe. I took castor oil for the first time :: barf ::, I ate spicy foods--even hot Cheetos kill me so eating anything spicy made me wish I'd been poked in the eye with a stick instead, and walked anywhere and everywhere.

Friday, the 9th, I had started having regular contractions. My mom, Gabby, and I were laying around watching TV one late afternoon and for an hour and a half my contractions were right on top of each other. Until they weren't. They just slowly started to slack off until they weren't regular at all. Sadface emoticon.


Until around 9:30 that night when I lost my mucous plug! YAY! I had Jake at 38 weeks so I never got to experience that end of things. Naturally, I called everyone into the bathroom, still seated with pants on the ground because obviously, to verify that that's what a plug looks like... and to share in the excitement that I swear on Luke Bryan was coming out my ears! Let's just say if we're friends we're really friends. Seeing-me-on-a-toilet close. No biggie.

And then? My phone started BLOWING. UP. It's like my friends just knew. There was such a sense of urgency from all my friends' messages. So, when I woke up the next morning still pregnant I asked, "Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot, universe?!" Kidding, of course. Kind of...

The next day, Saturday, Gabby and I walked the mall about 7,000 times. Contractions, but nothing notable. Sunday my mom and I went to the PX and then to Target. I was having contractions as we walked around, but I still felt great otherwise. So, I let go of castor oil and spicy foods and vowed to just let things happen.

The one thing that we all agreed on was that whenever I laughed I had some good contractions so that night (Sunday) we ordered pizza and watched Bridesmaids. I had been having contractions, good ones, but since the ones on Friday night had just faded I didn't say anything to anyone. I went to bed still having contractions. The contractions were so good that I couldn't fall asleep and anyone who "followed" my pregnancy knew that falling asleep was never an issue for me. I still said nothing.

I got up around midnight to pee, resumed feeling contractions, and heard Jake crying. He had slid off his bed so I put him back in bed and when I closed his door, all of a sudden, I had this flash that something was about to happen. Little did I know my mom was thinking the same because she wasn't able to sleep and was hanging on every step she heard me take. At 12:30am my water broke! I sat on the edge of my bed, for what seemed like forever!, letting the water finish up, and waddled my wet jammies over to the bathroom. I wrapped myself in a towel and came downstairs to my mom, who sat up from the couch like she'd seen a ghost, asking, "What?! What's happening?!" Gabby just got up and stared, and then flew into action when I exclaimed, "It happened! My water broke!" Next thing I knew, my mom was up getting dressed, Gabby was upstairs stripping my bed and packing the rest of my hygiene items, and I was getting dressed and getting Gary on the phone.

By the way, it was thee cutest thing when I called Gary. The first thing he said when he answered was,  "BABE. WHAT'S UP?!" The excitement was almost palpable :-) Then, all I heard was, "My wife's water broke! My wife's water broke!"

We got to the hospital, checked in, and went over my birth plan with the nurses and midwives. Everyone was beyond accommodating. They were all supportive and completely on my side. I'd recommend this hospital to a friend.

My contractions were picking up speed and strength, but the staff was leaving me alone--per my request. I was handling things well. And, then back labor kicked in. Let me tell you, I'd dropkick a small child to never feel that again. But, I was still handling it. I'd go back and forth between using the calm hypnobirthing techniques to relying on one Mr. Rob Zombie, and some Trick Daddy!, when it was pissing me off that some of the contractions would come within seconds of one another so I didn't get any break. I'd be bouncing on my birthing ball going, "fuck this shit!" I felt there was a challenge and I was not about to let it beat me.

The point when everything turned was when Lily started to have trouble handling the contractions. Her heart rate dipped pretty severely a few times. So, my new shift of nurses and my favorite midwife came in to get me into a position that she'd find more tolerable. Problem was, my position of choice was putting the birthing ball on the edge of the bed, draping myself over it while standing next to the bed, and rocking back and forth, but what Lily needed was for me to be slightly reclined in bed and to, basically,  not move. I'm pretty tough with pain, but having contractions + back labor + not being able to move? That's probably the worst thing that's ever happened to anyone. Ever.

One of the best aspects of this whole birthing extravaganza, aside from the amazing attending staff, was that Gary was able to be right there with me through such a large portion of it! I had the laptop on the bed next to me and he'd talk me through the contractions. It was soo amazing to have him "there".

To add insult to injury, not only was, pretty much, my entire torso contracting I was dilating so slowly I was sure my body was building the mucous plug back. I decided my superhero name would've been 'Samantha, the Anti-Dilator'. A repeat c-section was brought up. Of course you guys know it was my life's mission to get my natural VBAC. Let me tell you how quickly I kicked that idea to the curb when I realized the severity of having your daughter's heart rate dropping. I wasn't ready to just go for the c-section, but there's no way anything would be prioritized above her health.

During the shift Lily was born in, the attending nurse, Jon, was rocking the house. Ya know that feeling where a person was put in your path for a reason? That's how natural it felt to have him there. So much so that when the c-section was brought up, my mom turned to Jon and asked, "If this was your daughter, or your wife, what would you suggest?" He responded, "I'd for the c-section. I just don't like how her heart rate is dipping" 

After more than a few tears, and my mom verifying I was ok with everything--she didn't want me to have any regrets, a team of people were in my room getting me prepped.

Did I want the VBAC? H-E double hockey sticks to the YES. But, I did not feel comfortable trying to get me to dilate further, especially since it was going so slowly, with Lily not being excited about labor. I couldn't regret any method that brought our daughter here in the safest way possible if I tried.

The anesthesiologist came in to give me the rundown for the spinal. You guys? I swear he was the real life version of Mr. Magoo. He was the older guy who'd be behind you in line at Target, telling you so many random stories that you'd be sure he was going home to his litter of cats. As he was giving me the rundown, I kept looking at him thinking, "If I start to feel any part of this c-section I'm going to donkey kick you in the jugular. Promise" He ended up being unbelievably comforting in the operating room.

My mom was allowed into the OR, after forever!, and Lily was here in a matter of minutes. I cried when I heard her first cries :-) My mom kissed my forehead than ran over to see our precious girl.

She looked EXACTLY like Jake when he was born! It was unreal. They could've been twins for sure.

Lily was brought over to me and everything felt so right. I'm not sure why it's in my plan to only have babies via c-section, but I knew in my heart the right decision had been made. Not one member of that staff forced me into anything, and they allowed me the time to make that decision. She was laid next to me and I just knew everything happened exactly as it was meant. She was here and we were both healthy. Nothing else mattered.

She took to breastfeeding like she'd been starving for 9 months. She cluster-fed so much at first that before she was 24 hours old she had pooped three times! Homegirl can get it done!

As far as my recovery, I've even surprised myself! The next day following the surgery, I was walking upright. Anyone who's had a c-section knows that's not an easy feat! All the nurses were saying how impressed they were. It's me, did you expect anything less?! ;-) Not only was I walking upright, the baby weight was lost by the time I left the hospital. HOLLABACK. By the time she was one week old, my belly was almost completely gone! (I'd post pictures, but there's this soldier coming home in not too long that I want to knock back on his hiney when he sees me for the first time!) I worked out all the way until the day I went into labor so it was a relief to know it wasn't all for nothing! Since I'll have to have another c-section if we decide to have more babies, I'd do everything exactly the same. It's nice to see and feel that your efforts matter, ya know?

As far as little miss Lily, she's amazing! She had lost 7oz following birth and by her 4-day check up she had already gained 3 back. By her two-week check up, not only had she gained back her birth weight, but she tacked on another pound and 3 oz! She weighed 8lbs 12oz! I knew she was eating well, but holy crap! She only cries if she needs help with getting to sleep or has to spit up, and has thee most amazing blue eyes :-) Love her!

Aside from three-year-old douchiness, Jake has handled things well. He's so gentle with her and kisses her every chance he gets. The first night she was home, Jake was eating a yogurt so when she started crying and I told him it was ok-she was just hungry, he tried to give her a bite...but ended up stabbing her in the eye with this spoon! It's the thought that counts right?!

A big thank you to my mom and Gabby for coming out here and being so amazing and comforting to me. Love you guys! And, to all my friends who've been so involved and caring throughout the pregnancy and birth...THANK YOU! I appreciate it so much :-) You guys are family! xo

Now, we just need to get my hunk o' man home to meet his little girl and this journey will be complete :-)