Monday, June 9, 2014

Graham David

Well, it's been a really long time since I wrote on the blog. But I think this is the best place to post Graham's birth story, so here it is!

I had two main concerns with this little guy’s pregnancy. First, I really wanted to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). This was a problem because the small hospitals in our area no longer allowed VBACs due to understaffing and insurance problems. I consulted with my doctors extensively on if I would even have a chance of a VBAC. I reviewed the file for Preslee’s c-section to find out the real cause for it.
After reviewing that, one of my doctors gave me a 50/50 percent chance of having a successful VBAC. That was good enough for me to drive 45 minutes away to a hospital and doctors that do allow VBACs for a consult. After we attended that appointment, Dave and I left even more confused and didn’t feel comfortable with continuing treatment with that doctor. So that left us to stay with the doctors we trusted and a hospital close to home, which also meant that I would have a repeat c-section. I really wanted the experience of having a vaginal birth but it just didn’t seem to be in the cards for me. I was disappointed because, with Preslee’s c-section, I had to be alone in the operating room while they stitched me up and alone in the recovery room until my spinal had worn off a little. I missed Preslee’s first bath, and the first couple hours of her life while I was in recovery. I was also scared of recovering from a c-section with a toddler and a newborn at home to take care of.

My other concern with having a planned c-section was that I really wanted to go into labor so I would know that this baby was ready to be born. I was nervous that my due date would be off and we would end up taking out a baby who wasn’t ready to be born and would need NICU treatment. The small hospitals up here do not have NICUs so the baby would have to go to Spokane for treatment if that were to happen. Which would have been so sad to have to be away from home and from Dave and Preslee while healing from a c-section and a struggling newborn. We weren’t planning this pregnancy, so I didn’t know the dates of my last period or anything. We were trusting the early ultrasound dates which could be wrong by a few weeks. I just wanted to make sure this baby was ready to be in the world and I didn’t want to take him out too early.

One thing that did settle my nerves about having a planned c-section was that the hospital was trying to keep baby with mom as long as possible. They allowed the baby to rest on mom’s chest while she was getting stitched up in the operating room and they let mom recover on the OB floor with the baby instead of making her recover in the Recovery room without the baby. They also waited to weigh the baby, give him a bath or any shots until mom was ready. I loved the thought that I would we with my little guy and he didn’t need to be taken away from me at all. Also Dave could stay with me instead of going with the baby. Best idea ever!

We finally settled on a planned c-section on May 8th, five days before my due date. This date also worked best for Dave and his finals, as well as my parents coming up to take care of Preslee while I was in the hospital.
My parents showed up on the night of the 7th and went to dinner with us. We came home, put Preslee to bed, chatted with my parents, and then they went to their hotel to get some sleep. Dave had a last minute final to do before we went to the hospital in the morning (we were supposed to be there at 6:00 am) so he stayed up trying to finish. With a planned c-section, they don’t want you to eat or drink anything after midnight, and I knew I would be very thirsty, so I stayed up waiting for Dave and sipping water until 11:30. Dave finally finished his final at around 1:00 am and he came to bed.
At 2:00, I rolled over in bed. It was especially difficult for me to turn over that time, so I stopped and rested on my back for a few minutes. As I laid there, I felt like I was peeing my pants. So I hopped up and ran (ok, I struggled up and waddled) to the bathroom. As I sat there, the water just kept coming and coming and I knew my water had broke because this was exactly how it felt when my water broke with Preslee. I stood up, just to make sure, and felt another gush as I stepped into the tub. I called for Dave, who had barely had an hour of sleep, and told him my water had broke. He called the hospital to see if we needed to come in or if it would be ok if we tried to get some rest and come in when we were scheduled to come at 6:00. The nurse said that if I could feel the baby moving, I could stay home and try to rest. If I hadn’t felt the baby move in an hour, I needed to come in. So I laid down on a pile of towels to see if I could get him to move. But I couldn’t eat or drink anything to get him going, so after about an hour and a half, I hadn’t felt him so we decided we needed to go to the hospital at least to get monitored.
I called my parents to come stay with Preslee and apologized that they had paid for a hotel that they couldn’t sleep in. Then Dave and I went to the hospital at about 3:30 am.

They got me on the monitors and the baby was doing just fine. I was contracting small, painless contractions every 10 to 15 minutes. I thought that since my water had broke, I could maybe be the first c-section of the day instead of the second, but they told me as long as I wasn’t contracting too bad, I would just wait until my scheduled time at 8:00 am. So Dave and I tried to get some rest in the hospital. 
It took two tries to get my IV in and then they gave me a bunch of antibiotics and fluids. It was a positional IV, so I had to keep my hand twisted kinda funny in order to get the meds into me, so when I finally dosed off and relaxed a little, a nurse would come in and say I had to keep my hand twisted so my IV would go in. It was a pain.

At about 6:30 or 7:00, the doctor came in to check on me and let me know he was ready to go, the anesthesiologist came in and explained the spinal to me and asked if a student could give me the spinal. I was hesitant about that because my body does not cooperate during medical procedures, and I was especially nervous about getting a spinal because my epidural with Preslee was terrible, but I said it was ok as long as the anesthesiologist was right there by him. He assured me that he would be there. He also said that my doctor had requested that I receive a tap block, which is a shot on either side of my incision that will be a pain relief for 18-24 hours after my surgery. He said that they would do this while I was still numb with my spinal and would only take a few minutes after my surgery.

Finally they wheeled me up to the OR. Dave had to wait outside while they did my spinal and I didn’t like that at all. When they were prepping me, my nerves got the better of me and I started crying. There were three nurses around me, one for me to lean on (who called herself “Mama Jo”. “You just lean on Mama Jo.” “Mama Jo won’t let anything happen to you.”) one for me to squeeze her fingers off (Her name was Kayla and she was also my recovery nurse. She was simply amazing) and one to wipe my nose and tears off my face.

Well, the student anesthesiologist missed getting the spinal in the first time. It sent shocks down my right leg and made me jump and squeak. Then the anesthesiologist had to try two more times before, finally, I felt warm tingles in my left foot instead of sharp shocks and zings down my leg and in my back. They laid me back and waited for the medicine to work it’s way up my body. They finally let Dave in and I felt much better having him there with me. It took a long time for them to get my spinal in, so Dave looked relieved when they finally let him in too. The first thing I said to Dave when he came in was “I am not having any more kids. This sucks.”

Because I had scar tissue from my previous c-section, the first part of the surgery took a lot longer than I remember with Preslee’s. I kept asking the student anesthesiologist what was going on. He had resumed care over me after the spinal was done. He was actually super nice and very personable. When I felt nauseous, he fixed it right away and I felt almost instant relief. He finally told me that the baby was almost ready to come out!

At 9:07 am, my baby boy was born! He cried instantly and so did I. The doctor told me that he had actually come out mooning everyone! He was Frank Breech inside of me.  

I started shaking pretty badly while I was holding him and they draped blankets and warm towels on me and the baby.
They took him over to wipe some stuff off of him and do his APGAR scoring. Dave got to cut his cord while he was over there too. They kept him for 7 minutes to do that scoring (he got a 9 and a 10, which is perfect) and then he was placed on my chest for the rest of the surgery. I loved looking at him and he loved being snuggled in close. I could tell that he was a lot bigger than Preslee because the little newborn hat they put on him wouldn’t stay on his big head. His cheeks were so chubby that, while he was laying on me, he couldn’t open his eyes! I was so smitten and loved looking at him and stroking his cheeks while they finished the surgery.

When they were done, the baby had gotten a little cold while being on me and they said they could take him down and weigh him and then I would be done with my tap block and could meet them back down on the OB floor. I told Dave to go with them and then they started my tap block. I thought it would be two quick shots, but they actually had to get an ultrasound machine out and put this mega needle in between the right muscle layers so it took a little longer than I expected. But we finally got out of the OR and went to the OB floor. I was shaking and shivering really badly by then and the anesthesiologist said that almost every mom gets that way after a c-section. His theory was that the spinal made it so the adrenaline of birth couldn’t happen until the spinal started wearing off, so when it did start to wear off, all the adrenaline built up had to expel somehow (I didn’t need it to labor or push out a baby), so we shake and shiver. I was worried that they wouldn’t let me hold the baby, but they said it was fine. I also started itching, especially my face.

When we got back to the OB floor, Dave and the baby were just heading out of the nursery. Dave said proudly that our baby boy was 8 pounds, 7 ounces! Two pounds bigger than little Preslee!
Recovery was a little bit of a blur. I held our baby and nursed. He was a champ at nursing right from the beginning. Kayla, my awesome recovery nurse, gave me meds, got a pump on my IV so I wouldn’t have to hold my hand funny, pushed on my uterus to make me contract (OUCH!). I itched my face, tried to wiggle my toes, and slowly stopped shivering and shaking. We took a few pictures of him and tossed around names for him. Dave didn’t like Enoch for him and said that he liked Graham. I still liked Seth and Breckan for him, but liked Graham too. I told him I was too tired to make any decisions. I asked the nurses if we could wait to bathe him until Preslee could come and help. The nurses were totally fine with waiting. We just got to cuddle and recover for a few hours, which was so awesome.

Preslee came to meet her baby brother at about 11:00. She loved loved loved him right from the beginning. Grandma and Grandpa took very good care of her and spoiled her rotten. My dad thought it was crazy that we didn’t have a name for him yet and kept tossing out possibilities. Preslee got to help them bathe the baby and got her very own big sister backpack. The nurses loved seeing how cute she was with her little brother. When grandma and grandpa and Preslee left to have lunch and take a nap, Dave and I napped too.  The nurses took little baby boy and gave him some newborn shots, got his footprints and measured him (20 inches! Two inches longer than Preslee!) while Dave and I rested.

When we woke up and nursed again, we tossed around names again. We actually kinda settled on Seth and then Dave called him Seth. It felt so wrong to call him that. So we went to Breckan, which didn’t quite feel right either. Dave finally said that he felt his name should be Graham right when he saw him. We both tried the name on him and it felt right. But none of the middle names we had went with Graham. I finally asked Dave if we could use David as a middle name and he said that I could! So Graham David it is! We both love love his name and it fits him so well.

Preslee and Grandma and Grandpa came back after a few hours and we told them that his name was Graham David. I don’t think Grandpa liked the name, but we still love it. ;)

Nursing continued to go well and my recovery was pretty normal. I was able to get out of bed that night and take a shower the next morning. By Saturday the 10th, I was ready to get out of the hospital! The doctor cleared me, but because I was considered an “early check out” I had to go back on Monday to get checked out.
When we left the hospital, Graham was 7 pounds 14 ounces and hated his car seat! He screamed most of the way home and he still doesn’t like it very much at 4 weeks old!

We are so blessed with this baby boy. My whole experience was so great with awesome nurses and wonderful, caring staff. I am so very blessed and so glad that my two main concerns were addressed. I knew the baby was supposed to be born that day because my water broke at home! I knew that he was ready to be born! Also, there was also absolutely no way that I could have had a VBAC because they would have found out that the baby was Frank Breech and I would have had a c-section anyway! I am so thankful for the way things turned out and I know we made the best choices for the baby, our family, and me. I don’t have any guilt over taking the baby too early or any regrets about having another c-section. It all worked out exactly how it’s supposed to and I am so thankful for that!

We love our little family so much and Preslee is a fantastic big sister. We have some jealousy and attention issues with her, but they are getting better.