Monday, December 18, 2017

HI (and birth story)

Genevieve is 7 days old today and this is the first moment I've had to sit down to write anything - as expected, of course.


current state of affairs

We are adjusting slowly but surely.  I am very very smitten with our new addition and she is a very sweet and good baby overall so far after a difficult first night or two.  The harder part has been managing the other two -- giving them enough attention, etc -- though most of this has fallen to Josh.  Cameron (previously our easier-going kid!) especially appears to be quite emotionally impacted by his new role.  While I am not necessarily going to share specific details, we are trying to give him lots of love and attention.  Hopefully things will even out as days turn to weeks and then months.

One thing I've learned in this journey towards seasoned motherhood (ha!  well, of babies/toddlers anyway) is that nothing is constant or predictable when it comes to kids.  Sometimes that works in one's favor, other times . . . not.  And often the pendulum swings back around anyway.

With all that said, I want to share G's birth story before I forget!  She's asleep right now, kids are at school, so this is my SHOT . . . here goes!

December 10th (40 1/7)
Day after my due date.  BLAH.  As many of you may have read, we had an induction scheduled for that day, but I ended up cancelling it.  I am not anti-induction, but I just felt like it was a little premature -- I didn't have Annabel until 40 2/7 after all!  We went to a birthday party that lasted almost the entire day in the park, and nothing much was happening contraction-wise until the evening.

Then however, things seemed like mayyyyybe the tides were going to turn.  We watched 3 episodes of This Is Us waiting for things to ramp up (thinking maybe we'd need to go to the hospital).  But at around midnight, we gave up and went upstairs.  I contracted frequently that night -- but not frequently enough for it to mean anything.  Just frequently enough to lose essentially the entire night of sleep.  The contractions were crampy and every 10-15 minutes but then they subsided by morning.

December 11th (40 2/7)
I had an OB appointment scheduled at 2 pm, and decided that it was probably best that Josh come too juuuuust in case anything came of it, or if they wanted me to do any testing.

Turns out . . . they did.  Due to poor sleep and feeling off, I had eaten/drank almost nothing since mid-day the day before, and probably arrived at the appointment fairly dehydrated.  Maybe due to this (?), G's heart rate was faster than I had ever heard it, reminding me of the panicked beat of Annabel during delivery (they said she was 'stressed', probably due to evolving chorioamnionitis).

Soooo . . . I was sent to L&D for a non stress test, which is basically just sitting on the monitor while they see what the baby's heart rate does for 30 minutes.  She did eventually come down, but while this was happening (maybe my body just knew it was in a convenient baby-delivering environment!?), I started to have contractions more frequently.  They were also starting to get more intense.

My OB felt safer with me staying, and I was told the plan would be for me to hang out, get some fluids (which I really do think I needed), and see what happened during the afternoon; he'd come by and check me early evening.  He implied I was going to be admitted (for what, I wasn't sure) but it was a little nebulous.  Apparently my uterus liked these instructions because the contractions started ramping up - in frequency and pain.  I thought about asking for the epidural then, but figured hey - why not wait for the OB, since he was coming soon?

(Note to others/mild spoiler alert:  If you know you WANT an epidural, and are in pain and are dilated enough to qualify for one, DO NOT WAIT).

By 7 pm or thereabouts, the OB came to check me -- I was 5-6 cm and contracting every 3ish minutes (painfully), and he felt it was time to break my water.  This was a new experience for me, having "broken" on my own with A&C.  I will admit I was slightly terrified when he came at me with what looked like a sharp hook, but (as he promised) it was painless.

The contractions however WERE NOT.  I immediately asked my nurse to see how quickly I could get an epidural.  She was very nice but looked mildly panicked, telling me that multiple women had asked at the same time and I was not first in line.  AGHGHGH.  The contractions had ramped up to every other minute, lasting more than a minute, so it was like 30 seconds of mild relief between them, all filled with dread of the next one.  I remember watching the clock and begging Josh to check with the nurse at 7:35pm.  I was starting to swear and bite down on things for pain (!) and I think this was perhaps farther along in labor than I had ever been without pain control before.  (Despite having answered with an enthusiastic YES! every time someone had previously asked me if I wanted the epidural!).

ANYWAY.  FINALLY (it was probably 8:20pm?  timing gets a little fuzzy here) a CRNA came in to administer the epidural.  I think she was taken aback by how in-distress I was, and asked Josh to leave.  (We both thought this was a little unusual, since he didn't leave for A or C, and with A I had a PGY-2 anesthesia resident place it, with attending supervision -- and it went well!).

This time . . . not so smooth.  She stuck me at least 3 times, twice in one space and then moved up a level.  It took . . . a long time.  A long, distressing time.  At least it felt that way from my end!  She said it was spinal rather than epidural b/c I was in so much pain (?) but it didn't feel different than the epidurals I had in the past.  I could still move a bit, feel pressure, but NO pain.

I think she may have then gone a little generous with the meds to compensate for taking so long because I then had some low BP requiring phenylephrine twice and I think epinephrine once.  I honestly didn't care and was soooo happy not to be in pain at that point.

As soon as the epi/spinal/whatever was in, the nurse checked me -- 9 cm!  OMG SO THAT WAS WHAT DILATING TO 9 CM WITHOUT PAIN CONTROL FEELS LIKE.  Having done it, I would not recommend it if you are not great with pain (and I will say outright that I am NOT great with pain, which probably comes across in this report).  It was maybe 9 pm (?) by this point.

She told me to let me know when I felt an urge to push, but I warned her that I did not usually feel much of an urge, so she came back in about 10 minutes to recheck me.  I had a small cervical lip but was 10 cm -- so she had me lie on my side, which quickly resolved the lip.  And then, for the first time of the 3 babies I did feel the urge to push!  It wasn't terribly uncomfortable, but it was there.  She called the OB, who came pretty quickly (we joked that '5 min' in doctor time meant 15, and that was probably about right).

He arrived, said "YEP, you're ready", booted/gowned up, and with just a few pushes (maybe 3?  4?  not very many) SHE WAS OUT!!!!!  9:33 pm.  7.5 hours after my regular ol' OB check-in appointment.

OMG you all.  There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING like seeing a human come out of your body.  I don't mean the actual exit (I've never wanted a mirror, no thank you) but just seeing the little tiny moving human that is attached to you, crying, ALIVE.  It's unbelievable and never gets old.  She actually had the cord wrapped around her neck x 2, but not tightly, so it was only mildly dramatic, and her heart rate stayed in good ranges the whole time.

She weighed in at 7 lb 2 oz, 19 3/4", and had some facial swelling but otherwise was (is) 100% perfect.  I sustained a 2nd degree tear (I think I had this with all 3) and it seems to be healing pretty quickly.

And that is Genevieve's birth story.  I would rank it as more traumatic than C and less than A, who had scary decels and took FOREVER to make her way out.


this one makes me cry at the thought of not reliving it again 
(though . . . making me cry right now is not hard)


upon emerging from her 9 month home


Newborn A / Newborn C / Newborn G
(lighting may vary . . genetics are constant!)