I feel as if I have started this post a half dozen times over the last few weeks. I had every intention of writing it right after Keely was born, but if you’re a mom then you know that even plans with the best intentions don’t always happen. So now here I am on the first night of Keely officially in her room and I’m really writing her birth story. It feels like a weird turn of fate.
I initially liked the idea of both Ryann’s and my blogs taking place over 72 hours, but as I started to write this it just didn’t make sense. So I am going to write about the time from my last pre-natal visit to Keely’s first pediatric appointment. Special shout out to Tessa Armstrong who gave me the courage to be as honest as possible.
The Last Appointment
Thursdays were my day to visit my OB/GYN and every Thursday meant I was getting that much closer to meeting my little chalupa (one of her many nicknames). I had been about 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced for about two weeks by April 2 (38 weeks) but something had always told me she would be born over Easter weekend. Part of me had really hoped that at this appointment the doctor had sent me to be induced. I just wanted to put a plan in place. I almost got my wish: she wanted to see me “Monday or Tuesday…if you make it to then” and at that point we would likely schedule an induction.
I was off work on Good Friday so I had plans to got lunch with two of my best friends. That morning I had started frantically looking around to see if anyone could install the car seat that day (no such luck) and was diligently checking my blood pressure. It had been a little high though out my pregnancy and that morning it was a bit higher than normal.
Derek had told me that he didn’t want me driving too far by myself (for good reason), so Michelle came over to drive me around. I wanted to go grab some last minute things that I felt I really needed for the baby. As we walked around I thought I had felt contractions, but wasn’t sure.
We met Chelsea for lunch at Sweet Melissa’s and the second I sat down I knew I was having a real contractions.
Throughout lunch I kept feeling them. They weren’t consistent but they seemed to get more frequent and some were quite intense. After lunch we got ice cream and drove by the new house. Then, Michelle dropped me off at home. I took my blood pressure. It was high. Contractions were getting stronger.
I waited an hour. Higher and stronger, so I called the doctor. And off to labor and delivery I went.
I called Derek and he headed home from work. We packed last minute stuff and installed the car seat. Then we were off to the hospital.
We blundered the intake process, but we made it. There, my blood pressure was fine. The best it had been all pregnancy. However, they were able to confirm I was having contractions, they just weren’t “moving the process along.” I was sent home. We grabbed dinner with my in-laws (who had been at the hospital aka their work with us). I took a bath and headed to bed.
I woke up around 5 am with an awful headache and nausea. I took some Tylenol and ondansetron and tried to go back to sleep. About 15 minutes later I felt a pop in my stomach, almost like a balloon popping. About 15 minutes after that I couldn’t get comfortable and had planned on moving the couch downstairs so Derek could sleep. When I got up I felt liquid trickle down. That pop had been my water breaking.
I decided to take a shower. Then, I told Derek and called my doctor. And we were back on our way to the hospital.
Triage took a while because there was a lot of activity. Several emergency C-sections came in before and after I was admitted. After about an hourish in triage a doctor came in and confirmed that my water had broken. I was then off to a delivery room. My delivery room nurse was great and her sister was even in labor in the room next door. She even stayed a bit after her shift so that I wouldn’t have a new nurse while I was pushing…but that’s getting ahead of myself. My doctor was also great, even if she wasn’t the one I had been seeing for months…she wasn’t even part of the practice I had been seeing. Because it was Easter weekend my office had shared on-call with another office. It was okay because she was everything I had wanted in a doctor: female, young, and supportive.
Derek’s parents and sister were there, along with my Mark and KK. Mark and KK had started driving up from Nashville when I went to hospital on Friday…and didn’t turn around when I left. It was so good they didn’t. I was so glad to have all the people who were there.
Waiting for the epidural felt like it took forever, but that was because of all the emergency C-sections. I think I got my epidural around noon or one and I started pushing at 2:30 pm. Before the epidural I was so uncomfortable, but part of me wonders if I could have done it without….but I absolutely do not regret having it. It allowed me to be mentally prepared for pushing.
I was the last of four patients the doctor was seeing to be admitted, the only one who was having their first kid, and I was the first to start pushing. I pushed for about 45 minutes. I hadn’t taken any childbirth classes, but that was probably a good thing. I just listened to my body and did what came naturally and what the doctor said. I pushed hard and fast. The first 30 minutes were very effective. I got tired around 35 minutes and had a couple contractions/pushes that I wasn’t as effective, so I took a break for a contraction. Then I went right back to pushing as hard as possible. I pushed and pushed, but in the end i had to have an episiotomy. The episiotomy felt incredibly weird. Almost like cutting through leather, but attached to me. The next push and Keely Kangaroo was born.
We immediately went to kangaroo care, but they had some trouble getting her vitals so they had to put her in the monitoring system. Meanwhile, the stitches were going in. The epidural must have won down some because it felt incredibly uncomfortable. In some ways it was worse than pushing. Keely went back and forth between kangaroo care and the monitoring system a couple times, we even had the neo-natal doctors come by and check her out. It was a scary moment, but ultimately she was okay.
It didn’t take us long to go to the recovery room, where I ate the most delicious turkey sandwich of my life.
It was definitely not the Easter Sunday we had planned, but it was still nice. We had a few visitors, including my mom and Poppy (my grandad) from Buffalo. There are a few things that were very memorable: breastfeeding was impossible and I hated the student-nurse. She was rude, cocky, and borderline incompetent. I wish I had said something while there; there were times that it made the stay very uncomfortable.
Breastfeeding was also uncomfortable. My milk hadn’t really come in and Keely had trouble latching. Unfortunately the hospital didn’t really give a lot of direction on what to do with formula and when to actually give it to her.
We were finally released on Monday. It seemed to take forever to get the whole process going, but ultimately it was time to be just the three of us. I hated putting on my clothes. I really didn’t mind the hospital gown…as long as I was lying down. She seemed so interested in looking outside the entire car ride home…once we got her in the car seat. The straps were way too tight, but we were able to get her in.
All I really remember is her crying a lot and trying to get her to sleep. I hate to say that it really was a total blur. I remember getting home and practically collapsing in my bed.
The First Appointment
We had Keely’s first doctor’s appointment on Tuesday with the lactation pediatrician. Keely had lost slightly more weight than normal, so we were giving instructions on finger feeding (using a tube) and formula. She also gave me pointers on holding her. We found Keely had a hard time latching, most likely because her neck and mouth were stiff and had trouble opening. The doctor did some massages to try and help her. We ultimately saw the doctor two more times in that week, when I decided that I was going to really focus on pumping (more on that in a future blog).
And there you go, a recap of the craziest five days of my life thus far. They were a roller coaster of physical and emotional moments, but really just prepared us for the next few months. Looking back the only thing I think I would have changed is I would have said something about the nurse that I didn’t care for. I would have also probed more about when to give her formula.