“They Grow So Quickly!”

When you are expecting a baby (and even after the baby is born), you will receive endless amounts of advice–some useful, some that can be blatantly ignored. There will also be a few things you will hear over and over again. Just above “sleep when the baby sleeps” is the frequent exclamation: “Enjoy every minute because it goes by so quickly!” or “They’re only young once. They just grow so fast!”

I heard this time and time again, and it was just one of those things I kind of let in one ear and out the other. Yeah, yeah, I get it… I’m going to blink and she’ll be off to college. Yadda yadda yadda…

If only I had realized how incredibly accurate those claims actually are.

My baby just recently turned two months old, which may not seem like much to anyone else, but…. WHAT?! Literally, I still feel like I’ve only just healed from the delivery and she’s already TWO WHOLE MONTHS OLD???

Two months doesn’t seem too long in any other case, but in retrospect, I just keep thinking about my now smiley, sassy two-month old baby who is the light of my life and how different she is from that tiny, sleepy newborn I met in the hospital and first brought home with me.

It’s such a joy to watch her grow and to notice the subtle day-to-day differences as she learns new things. But it’s so true. It’s *SO* true! They do grow extremely quickly! I nearly cried when my baby first fell asleep on her own without needing me to rock her to sleep. Or when she could entertain herself with some of her toys for a while and not need me to keep her engaged. Before I know it, she’s going to be completely independent. I will be proud of her, but I will know I will also be kind of heartbroken.

I am excited to watch Briella grow up and see who she becomes as her personality and interests continue to develop. I know I can’t keep her little forever, but I plan to cherish every moment with her snuggled in my arms or giggling at my silly voices. The future seems so far away, but so did two months from when I gave birth. Now we’re here, and if I can’t slow time down, I promise to make every minute with my baby count.

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Briella’s Birth Story (part two)

If you haven’t read part one of my birth story, read it here.

When we last left off, I had already been in labor close to 12 hours, had just gotten my epidural, and was trying to get some rest. Yeah… that didn’t happen.

My doctor came back in a little before 7 pm and said I was almost fully dilated, but the baby’s head was turned slightly to the side. He tried turning her a couple times, but she kept moving back. He recommended trying out this weird peanut shaped ball that was supposed to help move her into the right position. It basically looked like a giant exercise ball that was shaped… like a peanut. So, I had to lie on one side with the ball between my legs for an hour and then move to my other side for another hour. It was pretty hilarious and entertaining for the nurses to try to lift my dead legs up onto that ball.

They also went ahead and turned down the Pitocin, so I got to just relax with my peanut ball and watch the Food Network. The nurses thought it was so funny that I was watching the Food Network while I was in labor.

Once the doctor came back in around 9 pm, he recommended that I try to start pushing. Several hospital staff members came rolling in a bunch of scary looking carts and things that made it all seem so much more real. This is happening. I’m going to have a baby.

My doctor put on all of his… layers of whatever they have to wear… the jacket and little booties over his shoes. I started freaking out and got the “mama shakes” again. When I got my next contraction, he told me to try to push. Well, I tried. Apparently I wasn’t doing it right, though. He had me try a couple more times. He said maybe we needed to give it another hour on the peanut ball and explained that I wasn’t really pushing in the right place? How was I supposed to tell???

Let me just take a minute to give a shout out to my doctor–I am so thankful to have him as my doctor because he stayed at the hospital waiting for me to give birth even though he didn’t have to. He was heading out of town the next day with his family, but he still stayed and was taking naps somewhere in the hospital between coming to check on me. He was the only doctor I’d ever seen for my prenatal appointments, so one thing I was worried about before I went into labor was the possibility of having to see another doctor I’d never met before. I will forever appreciate his patience and dedication!

Anyway, after lying with the peanut ball a little longer, my doctor sent in my nurse (by this time, there had been a shift change and I’d gotten a new nurse) and another nurse to help teach me how to push. They also started to turn down my epidural (Nooooo!) so I could feel where I was pushing. Even once the epidural was down, I still couldn’t feel anything in my nether regions… I could only feel the contractions worse. Also, I guess my contractions had slowed way down, so they began turning the Pitocin back up. So, essentially, I was just in pain from the contractions and still not pushing correctly. But, they tried about 3 different positions for pushing and decided the only one that was making any progress was when the other nurse took an extra sheet, tied a knot on each end and basically played tug-of-war with me. She would pull one end while I pulled myself up on the other end and pushed at the same time. What an arm workout!

Also, let me just say: pushing freaking sucks. I felt like I was going to throw up the entire time I was pushing. It was awful.

Sooo… TWO WHOLE HOURS go by of this horrible game of tug-of-war and the nurses finally think I’ve made enough progress to page the doctor. So, in comes my doctor all sleepy eyed and ready to finally deliver this baby, and once again, I started shaking uncontrollably–Nervous Nelly in room 4320! It’s close to midnight and I really want to get this baby out so she’s born on the 10th because she has a cousin who already has a birthday on the 11th. Baby had other plans, though.

I pushed a little bit longer, and the clock passed midnight. The doctor said the baby’s head was stuck behind my pelvic bone. I grew worried because I thought he was getting discouraged and was going to recommend a c-section, which I really, really did not want. Let me tell you, if I was scared of getting an epidural, I was super terrified of needing a c-section (I’ve never had any surgeries before and this was actually even my first time ever in a hospital!). However, he just recommended using the vacuum extractor to help get her out. “Okay, fine, whatever.” I agreed, just thankful that I didn’t need a cesarean. Once he got the vacuum in place, I pushed with all of my strength and before I knew it, the baby was out. I still remember that giant feeling of relief just wash over me. I’m pretty sure I even shouted, “Oh, Thank God!!” Briella had arrived.

She started crying. She was loud. She was adorable. She was mine.

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Briella Lucille
03.11.16 12:28 am
7 lb 15 oz / 22.5 in

I can remember when they put her on my chest, and I just kept staring at her saying, “She’s so cute!” She was even more perfect than I ever could have imagined. It was such an odd feeling… meeting this tiny human whom I’d gotten to know over the past 40 weeks but was still a stranger. It was so incredible to finally see the little face and little hands and little feet we’d been trying to picture for months.

They took her to weigh her and measure her, and my doctor was still going to work down below. Apparently I’d gotten third-degree tearing in like 3 different directions. Awesome. I was truly thankful for my epidural at that point. Even though I’d started feeling the contractions again once they turned it down, I still didn’t feel any of the tearing or stitches. What a relief. I do remember reaching down and touching my now vacant belly and saying, “Whoaaa, that feels *so* weird!”

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Our girl, only minutes old, meeting her family members for the first time.

Once all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put me back together again and everything was cleaned up, my nurse brought the baby over to me and said she was acting hungry, so I got to nurse her for the first time. Also, all of our family had stuck around until she was born. I guess they were having a little pow-wow in the hallway right outside my door, listening to everything that was going on inside. So, they came in to say good night and good-bye.

At like 4 am, the nurses came in and said they needed to move us to a different room. I guess there were a ton of other women in labor that night and they needed my delivery bed, so unfortunately we got moved to a much, much smaller room for the rest of our stay. Oh well.

When we were in our new room, Drew finally got to get some sleep. He was going on 30 hours of not sleeping and I was coming up on 24. I managed to get a little bit when they took Briella to get her bath.

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Fresh and clean after her first bath!

Once the epidural had worn off completely, I was pretty friggin’ sore. Every part of me hurt, I was exhausted, and now I was expected to care for this tiny newborn. What an experience. My doctor came in to check on me around noon (still looking pretty tired himself). He admitted that he had been worried that the only way we were going to get the baby out was to do a c-section, and again I am so thankful that he did not give up on me and it didn’t come to that! What a great doctor.

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Dr. Prouty with Briella.

When it’s all said and done, nothing really went as I had planned or imagined. When I was taking our childbirth class or reading birthing books, I would hear about perineal tearing or using the vacuum extractor and think “Oh, that’s not going to happen to me.” I’d had such an easy pregnancy, I was also under the impression that I would have a quick and easy labor and delivery as well… not 19 hours! But it just goes to show that you cannot plan or even predict how things are going to go with any childbirth. You can do all the preparations your heart desires, but the biggest preparation you can make is just to tell yourself to go with the flow. Even though I didn’t have the easiest labor or delivery, I wouldn’t have changed any of it. This story is unique to us, and it gave me my perfect daughter in the end. That’s the only thing that really matters after all.

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Me with my beautiful baby girl!

Briella’s Birth Story (part one)

Because there are so many parenting blogs in this world, I was hesitant to start my own. BUT–I remember when I was pregnant, I couldn’t read enough different birth stories from other mommies, trying to get an idea of what to expect in the delivery room, so I figured I would add my own to the mix. Everyone’s experience is unique, and it never hurts to hear about all of the various ways childbirth can go.

This is for the mommies-to-be who are just curious about what COULD happen during the births of their own children. This is for me, so I can always remember every little detail about that crazy whirlwind of a day. This is for my daughter, so she may understand how incredible and magical this experience was for us.

This is the story of how my baby girl arrived in this world.

We welcomed her on March 11th of this year, just past midnight. However, the entire process started at about 5 am the morning before. It was one of the longest, most difficult, most exciting, and most rewarding days of my life.

I woke up around 5:00 in the morning on the 10th–my actual due date that had been set from my very first Ob/Gyn appointment!–feeling a little strange. I soon discovered that my water had broken! (This is a story all in itself… read about it here!)

I started to panic a little bit and tried to remember what they had told us at the doctor’s office and in our birthing class. Was I supposed to go to the hospital right away? Or could I wait a little while? I called my husband Drew who works night shift and had left for work at 10 pm the night before. He only had about an hour left of his shift, but once I let him know what was going on, he was on his way home. He has about a 35-minute commute, so I spent that time taking a shower and getting myself ready for what was ahead. Once Drew got home, he took a brief shower himself, ate a quick breakfast, and we were off to the hospital.

Although I was about 99.9% sure my water had broken, there was still a part of me that remembered the nurse who taught our childbirth class talking about women who came in thinking their water had broken, but really they had just peed themselves. Still, Drew called his mom and told her we were headed to the hospital, and I texted my parents to let them know. I tried to tell them not to get too excited yet until we found out what was going on, but they were on their way soon after they got my message. Both of our families live about 2 – 2.5 hours away from us, so they didn’t want to waste any time.

Once we got registered and checked-in at the hospital, we headed to the labor and delivery floor where I got sent to triage to be evaluated. Here, I was able to change into my labor uniform complete with hospital gown and lovely mesh underwear. The nurse checked to make sure my “bag of waters had ruptured” (to put it in technical terms)–it had. Then, she asked a zillion and one questions about my medical history and my family’s medical history and even a question about if my baby came out male, would I want him circumcised? Which I didn’t even answer because I hadn’t even considered the fact that there was a chance my baby could still be a boy… we’d been told she was a girl since I was 14 weeks pregnant! I couldn’t imagine her being anything BUT a girl!

Side note: the nurse also had a male nursing student with her who kept staring at my socks (they had octopuses… octopi?… on them). He also nearly flipped when he found out that I was in labor on my actual due date. “That never happens! The whole time I’ve been here, they’ve either come early or late!”

Anyway, the nurse checked and said I was about 3 cm dilated, which is about what I was at my 40 week OB appointment the day before. She called my doctor to see what he wanted them to do, and he suggested starting me on Pitocin because I hadn’t progressed much since my water had broken that morning (it was about 8:30 am at this point). I wasn’t feeling any contractions until right before they admitted me to a room, and I started to feel small ones that really weren’t too bad.

I finally had my own labor/delivery/recovery room. It was huge and actually pretty nice. Before the nurse came in to get started on my IV, I spent the time walking around as much as possible because I didn’t know how much I could do once the IV was in. I was a little disappointed about having to get the Pitocin. I didn’t have a “birth plan” going in… my plan was just to get the baby out! However, in my heart, I had really wanted to try to do a “natural” birth. I wasn’t completely opposed to an epidural and the like; I just didn’t know what to expect, so I wanted to kind of see how things went first. Also, I had wanted to move around as much as possible during labor, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that with an IV and/or epidural.

 

Once my mom got to the hospital, she started playing paparazzi and taking tons of pictures of me. She was impressed that she couldn’t even tell when I was having a contraction… but they hadn’t gotten too bad, yet!

Also during this time, the same male nursing student and another nursing student came in with like twenty cups of ice and water for some reason, and the male student started freaking out again as he told his fellow classmate about how I was in labor on my due date.

Before the nurse started the Pitocin, I could feel my contractions more, but they still weren’t too bad. She kept asking me if I could feel them, and I’d say, “A little…” but I guess they thought I should be in misery, so she kept jacking up the dosage of Pitocin about every half an hour once it was started. She did tell me I could get out of bed and sit in the rocking chair in the room if I wanted to, which I did because I knew I’d be in that bed long enough later on.

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Sitting in the rocker, wishing I could walk around!

By this point, my parents had arrived and Drew’s mom, 2 of his sisters, and one of his nieces also came. Drew had tried to get some sleep before everyone got there, but only got maybe 10 minutes. It was probably around 1 or 2 pm, and my contractions were starting to get a little more painful. In the weeks prior, I had loaded my phone with “relaxing” music and tried to listen to some of it to help me through the pain, but I couldn’t really focus with so many people in the room staring at me. I didn’t like having an audience through all of this, so I had Drew send everyone out to the waiting room.

My nurse kept saying the doctor was coming to check on me soon, but I guess he was running late. I was trying to wait until he got there to see how far along I was before I made any decisions about an epidural. As I was waiting, the contractions got really, really┬ástrong, and I was feeling a lot of pressure and pain in my back, which is what made them worse. They made me feel hot and sick, so I asked Drew to get me a cold, wet washcloth to put on my forehead. Poor Drew, he’s really a trooper… he kept running back and forth to the bathroom between contractions to get my washcloth cold for me again. Also, my mom came sneaking back into the room to check on me and decided she needed to stay to help me out. Whenever I got a contraction, she was fanning me with a magazine, Drew was giving me my washcloth, and eventually he started running his hands under cold water to get them really cool for me and then he would rub my back during the contractions… It felt pretty nice… I guess as nice as it could feel…

When my doctor still hadn’t shown up yet, the nurse went ahead and checked my progress around 3 pm and said I was about 4-5 cm. “Yeah, I’m gonna need that epidural,” I told her, just thinking about how much longer I had to go. She told me it would take about an hour until I could get the epidural because I had to get another half a bag of IV fluids and give the anesthesiologist time to get to my room. Sooo… I suffered through the contractions for another hour. She did come back at one point and offer me some pain relief through the IV to hold me over until I got the epidural. I don’t even know what it was, but I was like, “Yes! Yes! Give it to me!” It was awesome. It didn’t last very long… maybe about 10 minutes… but those were 10 awesome minutes where I didn’t have a care in the world. I felt a little woozy and loopy… and Drew said I made a joke about something, which I don’t even remember, but I was feeling good.

Finally, my hero, the anesthesiologist, showed up. I’ll admit that I was verrry nervous about getting the epidural. First of all… a needle through my spine?! HELLO???! Also, I was nervous about my legs being numb. So, when he showed up, I was relieved but also scared, and I immediately began shaking violently (my nurse called it the “mama shakes”). Drew and my mom had to leave the room while I got the epidural, so my nurse stood in front of me and I hugged onto her like we’d been best friends for life. I don’t really remember the pain of the epidural… I remember there being a bunch of super strange sensations and feelings, but the sucky part for me was having like 2-3 contractions while the anesthesiologist was setting up and he kept having to wait until they were over to get started. Anyway, once the deed was done, I instantly started feeling some relief.

This is when my doctor finally showed up. He checked my progress and said I was at 8 cm. I went from 4-5 to 8 in an hour??? Anyway, even though I didn’t make it through labor without getting an epidural, I was pretty proud that I made it to 8 cm without one. They were estimating the baby to arrive in about 3-4 hours after that. Since I was finally feeling relaxed, everyone left the room so that Drew and I could try to get some sleep before the real party began…

 

Read part two here!