Thursday, February 19, 2015

Felicity Kate's Arrival

Even though I prefer the word 'arrival,' this is really a birth story. I always enjoy reading others' birth stories as long as they don't get too heavy into the icky details. This is to say, don't worry, no disgusting details to follow here. And now it is my turn to add to the conversation:

I don't mean to sound like a smug jerk or anything, but I couldn't have asked for a better birth experience. Which is really awesome, right? If you want a dramatic birth story, hop on over to my account of my firstborn's birth.

 Maybe that is where this birth story really starts, in the aftermath of my firstborn's. I carried a lot of fear and bitterness around afterwards. Not only was birth difficult, so we're the first 3 months, but that is for another post entirely. The point is, I thought I'd never do it again. But I'm here to say that I'm so glad I didn't let fear take this incredible experience from me.

From the first positive pregnancy test, I knew I was going to do things differently. First off, get a new OB because I no longer trusted my old one. This was the best decision, by far. I only regret not switching sooner!

Secondly, worry less. Easier said than done. I was kind of counting on the old adage, "Every pregnancy is different," because I didn't want a repeat of my first go around. So my wonderful OB's threw in some extra testing to set my mind at ease. Namely, a fetal echocardiogram with a specialist because Mr. Q was born with not 1 but 3 holes in his heart (ASD, VSD, and a PDA for all you heart experts reading! Don't worry after a minor--psshhh, of course he made it dramatic!--procedure at 22 months his ticker is perfectly fine). No worries, right? I worried until the day of the test, then we were blessed with amazing news: everything was normal this time. Huge sigh of relief! Not that we didn't know how to handle these hiccups now anyways!!

Then came the dreaded glucose test, which I was unable to pass--again! But this time it was because I couldn't keep the drink down!! Seriously, it feels like drinking poison to me. Anyway, it was a huge bummer because, like I mentioned before, I wanted this pregnancy to be different.  I blamed Q's respiratory issues at birth on diabetic problems and insulin dependence. I didn't want to go down that road again. And my wonderful OBs agreed. No insulin, just moderate diet control (but still daily pricking of the finger mainly because I refused to take the glucose test again...I'm not a difficult patient or anything!) They weren't worried about it though, so neither was I.  That was how it was different from the last time. No one was trying to scare me by telling me that I might have a stillborn baby if I didn't take my insulin. Because, seriously? That practice was horrible! Anyone can have a stillborn baby, not just diabetics, so unless those 'doctors' think it's cool to go around saying that to ALL pregnant women--c'mon we are hard enough on ourselves--they'd better zip their lips or all their patients are going to be crying in their cars on their way home from their appointments. Whew, glad I got that out!! Again new OB practice = best decision for a healthy pregnancy.

Then came the (false alarm) day 11.11.14. which is funny because even though I was due on 11.20, I told everyone I just had a feeling it would be wasn't a feeling, I just liked the numbers and wanted to be done being pregnant by then!

After calling in and being recommended to L&D (which they now call OB ED, totally different situation over there from last time), I was hooked up, checked out and sent home. This was actually ok with me, though, because I obviously had some issues to deal with about giving birth and it dawned on me suddenly that I was not ready. It's ok, I told myself, I'll probably be pregnant until December.  Plenty of time to swallow my fear and bitterness and keep on not dealing with it. Easy peasy.

Went home, ordered pizza for dinner, instagrammed my toddler eating it. Normal Tuesday stuff, ya know? Cuddled up on the couch and watched some movies without any hint of contractions that night. Slept like a baby!

I woke up exhausted and crampy on Wednesday morning, 11.12. But I thought, what's new? I'll tell you what's the time I finished making my toddler breakfast I was in tears from my tummy pain! I made myself eat some toast and then begrudgingly called in again thinking, I'm going to be that crazy woman who is in there everyday until I give birth (which will be a long ways away!). I didn't know the signs of labor because I was induced the first time.

So again I drive myself to L&D around 10:30 AM. In hindsight, not smart, but we live really close to the hospital so if my contractions were 6 min apart I about made it (note: they should have reserved parking spaces "for mothers who are in labor and were stupid enough to drive themselves").

They hooked me up and this time I was 2cm dialated and my contractions were anywhere from 2 to 6 minutes apart.  So they decided to keep me an hour and check again before deciding whether or not to send me home. So a little after noon and hour of pure agony, I had made progress!! The OB on call said we were having a baby today! Of course I cried a little!  Because I was all alone and having a baby is scary and also my tummy hurt, that was probably a small part of it too. Then I got it in my mind I better text my husband and tell him to haul-butt up to the hospital! Sometimes? You just need a good cry while your in active labor to clear your mind. It was all business from there on out.

Eddie finally made it--he had to grab all my bags because I was obviously not prepared for it to be the day.  Close to 1pm, they moved me to this labor and delivery room with a beautiful view!

We had a great nurse. I'm kind of ageist when it comes to this. By that I mean, the older the better. I'm not calling this nurse old or anything like that, haha! It's hard to put it nicely!! But this is absolutely a bias I have; I recognize that. I want a mature,experienced nurse (same goes for doctors) who knows what to say when you are freaking out, not just "why are you crying?!"--that happened. All I'm saying is... at least be older than me, OK? So we really got lucky because she was the absolute best.

By 2pm I had all my IVs hooked up. One with penicillin because I was positive for group b strep. They like to give 2 doses of it over several hours before the baby is born, otherwise your baby has to stay the full 48 in the hospital for observation (basically temperature checks every 4 hours just like any other baby).  And I had a little pain reliever through IV too. That was a nice little cocktail.

Next, I wanted an epidural. So that happened around 3 pm. They were on the ball. In the hospital, usually there's a lot of waiting around, but it didn't feel like it this time.

The doctor and nurse promised a drama-free experience this time around and, boy, did they deliver!! (Couldn't resist that pun).

Around 4:30 pm, I told the nurse I felt like it was time to push. She checked me and I was good to go but she couldn't feel the head (me: panicking!!). She ran--actually ran--to grab the ultrasound machine from the OR, because the doc was prepping for a c-section. He was so busy that day, I think he delivered 4 other babies!

Turned out, Felicity was still head down. But my water had not broken yet, so the doc was called in to do that. Eddie said that when the doctor reported the waters were nice and clear, I actually fist-pumped the air and yelled 'Yesss!' like I was at a sporting event or something. I was so excited because that was not the case last time and I knew how serious things could get.

Then the doc ran out to catch some babies down the hall and told the nurse to let me 'labor down.' But I had to push so she called him back after only 5 minutes.

It was probably 4:45 pm at this point. And dear little Felicity was born at 5:11 pm!! It went so quickly, I only remember the last push hurt pretty bad, regardless of the epidural and I said "I just can't!" Typical me, trying to abandon the task at hand because it's too hard. Turns out you don't get to be like that when you're having a baby!!

But it was so sweet when they placed that screaming, sweet bundle on my chest (a first for me!).  I was so nervous that when she calmed down and stopped crying, I kept asking "is she ok? How come she's so quiet!" And the doctor laughed and said, she's just happy! Which was perfect.

She was only about a 37.5 week baby, which is now considered 'early term' so the doctor was very surprised at how chunky she was! 7 lbs 14 oz. She was just ready to take on the world, I guess.

 Our nurse said she was super cute and didn't look like a's the hair! Maybe she was just humoring us, but when it's was time to move to a Mother-Baby room, she sweetly hugged Felicity goodbye and said, "I'll remember you for a long time Felicity!" God bless our nurse!

Around 8 pm, when I was ready to eat and move, Eddie brought me a bagel and orange juice from Panera for my first meal...oh how I missed those carbs and sugary juices, but I really haven't had any since. I guess you only miss it when you can't have it.

 We were so over the moon happy, that I barely realized she came too fast for my penicillin drip to finish! But 48 hours was nothing compared to the 7 day NICU stay last time. Felicity's sugars were perfect, though.

I am so grateful Felicity was a good nurser, like she could have taught a newborn class on it. Girl can eat!

Eddie stayed at home with Q overnight, but the night nurses were wonderful and took Felicity to the nursery in between feedings so I could sleep and they could re wash and comb and play with Felicity's hair...seriously, so much of it! Felicity also has this really loud squawk/cry. So I could hear her being wheeled down the hall every time she was ready to eat. Sorry, hospital room neighbors!

The next day she had her newborn tests. But she failed her hearing (she eventually passed after a re-test). Apparently, she was born so quickly she still had a lot of fluid in her. She was also quite the sneezer for this reason too!

Finally it was discharge night, 11.14.12. It was cold and dark, completely different from sunny and 60s when I went in.  Well, everything was completely different than when I went in.

I can't tell you how happy I was to be leaving the hospital carrying a new baby in my arms instead of some congratulatory plant like the last time. 

And that is the story (and then some) of the wonderful, miraculous night you were born, Felicity!!

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