8 days ago, I became a mother. Personally I’ve felt like a mother for longer than 8 days, because once that little baby starts wiggling and kicking, sitting on your bladder like it’s a waterbed, pushing on your lungs like it’s a punching bag… and how excited they get when certain music is played (for my son it was Pentatonix, The Piano Guys, and the Organ at church that really got him going), waking up and wiggling around when Daddy would get home from work, and feeling him push his little bum out against my belly button, and leaning into it even more when I’d rub that spot! And when he’d stick his little elbows or knees out and I’d have to rub them back into the womb, so my skin wouldn’t accidentally burst open hahaha… *sigh* I loved it! I did indeed become a mother long before 7 days ago, but it doesn’t really become “official” until the little ball of joy and beauty pops into the world.
I am grateful to say, I had a very uneventful pregnancy. I didn’t have gestational diabetes, no morning sickness, my baby was always very active… honestly besides heart burn, I just totally rocked this whole pregnancy thing. I know how annoying that may sound to some of you moms out there, because I know pregnancy is not always easy or pleasant. Again, I am grateful for the ease of my gestation… because my labor and birth were another story.
Last Monday, Oct. 30th, I had my weekly check up with my doctor in Idaho Falls. We live in Driggs Idaho which is about an hour and a half or so away, so after our appointment where my doctor found I hadn’t started dilating, nor was my cervix becoming effaced at all, we proceeded to join my mother for lunch at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant (for real if you’re ever in IF and want some good Mexican food, go there!). Garcia’s happens to be in the adjoining parking lot of the local mall, so we decided to go to Barnes and Noble.
Now to back up a bit, over the weekend prior to the 30th, we had traveled down to Cache Valley Utah to attend a joint baby shower for myself and my sister-in-law who was due 2 weeks after me (but due to health problems was scheduled to be induced Nov. 4th, and her baby is the cutest thing!…. besides mine of course hahaha). Over the weekend (TMI ALERT AHEAD) my mucus plug dislodged itself, which is a sign that labor is imminent, but it also means it could still be 2 weeks away so… I was excited to see that sign, but didn’t think much of it because A) losing your plug may happen more than once, B) again, it could be 2 weeks away, and C) as a first-time mom I wasn’t 100% sure I’d lost it, but… I did!!
The night we got home, I decided I needed to get some stuff done to prepare for the baby (like packing an overnight bag, organizing all the clothes we’d received and been handed down, etc.). I had accumulated much for my little guy, but had been procrastinating big time… So I essentially started nesting like a crazy mother hen! And again, I just felt like I was being productive but my mother and grandmother were sure I was nesting. That’s why mom met us in IF the next day. It’s like she knew something…!
Monday morning comes, and I feel really good, but also like something has changed in a way. But there were no contractions, or anything suggesting labor was coming that day, or even that week. And as stated earlier, the appointment showed zero indication that I was anywhere close. Oh, fun fact… My doctor was also leaving the state for some vacation the next morning… ha! To get to the part where that’s actually a fun/funny fact, read on………
After walking around Barnes & Noble for about 2 hours (which walking helps induce labor for those of you who don’t know) my mother and I decided to get pedicures because they are much less expensive in IF than in Jackson Hole, WY which is usually where I get mine done (which again, pedicures can also induce labor…). The pedicure was spectacularly relaxing, and they even painted stars on my toes! It was glorious, until about 6:15-20 ish. After letting my toes dry adequately, as I reached down to put my shoes on I felt a little gush of water in my nether regions… I looked at my mom and said “Mom… I think my water just broke!”
“No… I bet you just peed yourself *giggle giggle*.”
“Mom… I know what peeing feels like. Trust me… I’m 9 freaking months pregnant…I know pee when there’s pee!”
“Ok then,” she snarkily challenges, “Stand up and see what happens.”
“MOM! We are at the mall…. how embarrassing!”
“Well we gotta go to the hospital and get checked, so either way you have to get up!”
“Ugh… Ok. Let me get these damn shoes on!”
So I pull my shoes on…. as quickly as a rupturing her amniotic fluic, 9 mth preggo lady can (because they were my running shoes and had to be tied…) and finally stood up… and wouldn’t you know it! I was right. Ha! Score 1 for the first time pregnant actually knowing what was happening!!!….
Luckily my sweet husband had decided to sit down in the lounge area outside the salon rather than driving home to Driggs as I had suggested, so I waddled over to him, and said “Hi um…. My water just broke.” To which he reisponded:
“….*blank stare, processing what just said* So do I need to go move the car??”
” That would be nice, thanks. I will meet you out front of JC Penny’s! Go now please, this crap is dripping down my legs…”
“OK!!” And off he went faster than I have ever seen him move!
So here my mother and I go, traipsing through JC P’s, her giggling in excitement the whole time, me dying of embarrassment, but trying to act casual, waddling as fast as I could to the doors, calling my doctor’s office to let him know what had happened.
Luckily for us away, the hospital was only 2 minutes away from the mall, and my doctor hadn’t left for the day yet so! by 6:35 I was admitted, and hooked up to Pitocin to get my contractions going because in the 3.5 hours since my check up, my cervix had become like 30% effaced and 1 cm dilated!!! So yeah! S#!+ had just gotten real!
I was so excited, and I’m proud to say I lasted on Pitocin for like 10 or so hours with no pain relief, and my contractions were pretty intense. I know this because I asked the nurse for validation that I was in fact being a bad @$$ by not needing any meds yet, and she said by the point I was at, she usually had patients writhing in pain, begging for relief so… Go me!! I had planned to do natural, but was ok with getting pain relief as needed, so in the 11th-ish hour (because watching the clock does no good when in labor!), I did my first round of Fentanyl, and that helped for a while but by 2:30 or so in the morning, I got an epidural… which was so scary to me, plus I had like 4 contractions pretty close together and my poor husband almost blacked out! Haha That part was funny… but luckily the epidural went well, minus my right side not going as numb as the left. More on that later.
Anyway, fast forward to about… 10:00 AM and I am so tired. Now my doctor has officially been on vacation for 4 hours at that point, so sometime around 11:30 I think, his fill-in Dr. Gundersen came in and checked me out, and noticed my cervix wasn’t as soft as it should be for as far dilated as I was. He said we will watch it for an hour, and then see what is happening. He said as long as the baby wasn’t yet showing signs or distress we could continue to let things progress on their own, but that if baby boy did become distressed, we would have to do a C-Section to avoid unnecessary stress, or death of the baby. My doctor had done an ultrasound when I first arrived, to see where the baby was sitting, and he was in the right spot, ready to get out so at this point my son had sat, patiently waiting to get out for……*doing math in my head*…18 hours later he’s still in there, and we are both getting tired.
I was afraid I wasn’t going to have the strength to push when the time came, but when he said I would need a C-Section, he might as well have said, “We will have to saw off your left leg and beat you with it till you die!” I flipped out…. I DID NOT WANT a C-Section, and I was mad as hell that after all those hours of laboring…. that was the next step??? OH, I was infuriated, and terrified, and so exhausted. It was literally hell (or so I thought)… 45 minutes go by and the nurse notices baby is beginning to show signs of distress. 5 minutes later, we were on our way to surgery. I’m glad my “birth plan” (aka the biggest joke in the world) was flexible, but it certainly did not include in any way shape or form an emergency C-Section… Yippee, lucky freakin’ me! #sarcasm #worstthingeverpartone
Oh… My….. Goodness!!! Remember earlier when I said my right side wasn’t as numb as the left? Yeah well, that was still an issue so they had to keep injecting the epidural drug. They had to pump me full, and I mean FULL of that crap. Like I could not even lift my head….and even after all that, I could feel the doctor poking me with what I’m guessing was the scalpel (yeah I almost died right there on the table haha) but luckily they shot my belly up with some local anesthetic and into my belly they sliced. Feeling that pressure and then feeling them tear into my muscle, and Uterus, and then pull my baby out was indescribable. Not necessarily in a good way either, until they pulled the baby out. (*Side bar: I’m so peeved! They didn’t even show him to me and my husband when he came out!!! The hell, people! #rude However, Hubby would have passed out… but whatever! Idiots I tell you….)
I sent hubby out to see baby boy, because they suspected he’d swallowed some of his own poop after examining my leaking amniotic fluid some 19 hours prior to this moment #awesome…so they had a NICU and Respiratory team on standby to take care of him ASAP after his birth and ya know what, THANK GOD THEY WERE THERE! Again, more on that later.
After about what felt like an hour (to be honest it could have only been 10 minutes but it felt like an hour), the next thing I knew (after having the most miserable “shakes and shivers”, a lovely f-ing side effect from the numbing drugs, plus I think it was my body going into shock or something from 19 hrs or so of labor and then a major surgery…. but that’s just my thinking) I finally…FINALLY… F.I.N.A.L.L.Y got to meet my son. He was so gorgeous, and small (6 lb 9 oz, 20 inches) and had the most hair I’d ever seen (remember that heart burn I mentioned? They say that means the baby will have lots of hair and it’s legit as far as I’m concerned) on a baby. He was perfect to me in every way, better than I had ever hoped or expected, and he latched on well to get his first taste of mothers milk, and it was a beautiful moment…
Both grandma’s got to hold him for a few minutes and my husband (who looks dang sexy in scrubs btw) was with me holding my hand, and stroking my hair to help me relax because I was crying again about having a C-Section like a freaking booby-cry baby but also about our gorgeous boy, when all of a sudden a nurse noticed the baby seemed a bit lethargic, so they checked his sugars and they were in the 20s when they are supposed to be 55 or higher *insert panicked face here*.
They gave him some sugar water, and the numbers came up so they decided all was good in the hood! Off to our recovery/women’s health room (don’t really know what they’re called but it’s dang comfy and nice over at EIRMC) and right after I got wheeled in on my bed, they brought my son in, and I got to hold him again for the second time. I was in bliss, holding my boy, talking to him, kissing his face, and listening to what I thought were cute baby sounds but it turns out they were signs of respiratory distress according to this super jack ass nurse named Amber who then took my baby to check him, which I was fine with, but then she checked his sugars again and they had plummeted back to the 20s. She then tells me (keep in mind I’ve only held baby boy for like… maybe 10 minutes at this point) that they need to get him to the NICU to monitor him for *this is what I remember her saying* 48 hours and everything would be fine.
Yeah… 10 minutes with him, and my baby gets taken away from me!!!! Did you know, mom’s don’t get to stay with their babies when they’re in the NICU? You are still in your room alone, away from this tiny human you just went through hell and back to bring into the world… and then you find out he’s struggling, and therefore has to be taken away to get better. It’s literally the worst feeling I have ever experienced. I am supposed to be able to fix and help any and all things that go wrong for him, right? Ugh… I know now that’s not realistic, and I know we have NICU’s and doctors and I am indeed grateful for them, because another fun fact: Babies with low blood sugar can have seizures, which are more damaging than other causes of seizures like from epilepsy or something (I was still pretty out of it the next morning at rounds when the doctor was explaining this part so sorry if I’m inaccurate) so it was vital to keep him in the NICU until the blood sugar leveled out, which I also learned would be a lot longer than the 48 hours the jack ass nurse had led me to believe.
I was again, beside myself with this crazy mix of anger, grief, and just flat out despair. I was so scared for my son…. I have never felt fear like that. Turns out I didn’t need to be so scared because his sugars leveled out the next day, but then his temp was giving us fits, but holy hell… Trying to recover from major surgery which is best accomplished by sleep, and trying to get down to the NICU to see my baby, so we can do some skin to skin care to help his body figure out how to work properly, get him going on breast feeding, making sure I’m pumping enough to get my milk to come in…. Oh my heavens…. Never have I felt so exhausted in my life…. Ever!!
I am happy to say, after 4 days of what I now know to be the literal equivalent of living hell #worstexperienceverparttwo, we got to come home. The night before, we got to stay with our son for the first time together as a family in what’s called a “Transition Room”. It’s incredibly uncomfortable compared to the room and bed I was in before, but I was so excited to get to be with my son and have him be out of the NICU I went in there at like… 6 PM when I should have made myself rest more in my comfy bed because sleeping on the “bed” (it was like a futon and a stretcher made a baby, and that’s what they put in this room for us to sleep and “rest on”… #notimpressed) and getting up off the bed, with my incision sore as hell because OH YEAH fun fact #3… My doctor decided to change my med frequency from 4 hrs to 6 hrs… and I was absolutely not prepared for it, especially since earlier that day I had my first ever, legit for real, holy $#!+ anxiety attack about leaving, putting my baby in a car and driving home, around stupid idiot drivers who might hurt us, or any number of flat out terrible things could happen (gosh dang Satan was messing with me hard core in this moment; another reason I couldn’t rest besides the fact that hospitals are the nosiest freaking places ever….I kept having nightmares about my baby dying, or getting kidnapped, killed by a burglar, etc.) and so I was crying like a hysterical lunatic, and that makes your non existent post partum abdomen feel like death, plus your incision doesn’t appreciate the hysteria much either so… combine all that with a change in my medication dosage and frequency and I was a majorly, miserable, uncomfortable wreck of a hot mess momma!
This was also the day I had to be discharge from the hospital, so they started handing me paper work and bugging me about it every 2 hrs or so until it was all done which interrupted the few times I could drag myself away from the NICU to “sleep” #whatadamnjoke. Anyway, I was sick of being bugged by nurses and once you’re officially discharged you don’t get a nurse anymore, so I was like, why stay in here? Let’s get to our baby!
*Big huge sigh of exasperated relief* Finally around… 8 or 9PM that day, my husband (who I’d again banished to be with our son because I hated it when he was alone… wore my poor husband out but he was so sweet and willing to do anything I asked to reduce my stress. I love that man…) walked in and said, “Look who I brought!” and there was my boy, officially graduated from the NICU, able to be with just us, IV free, finally able to be a family!!!! HALLELUJIAH!!!!!!!
That night was long, but the most peaceful I had experience up to that point. Baby boy did good on his temp, and the next day we got to learn how to bathe him, and then… the most blessed moment ever… He was discharged, and we were on our way home by 6:45 PM.
Since being home, I have experienced so much relaxation, peace, love, and happiness with this child. He is an easy keeper. He eats well, has gained 2 ounces since leaving the hospital, has been showing off his adorable yet peaceful personality, and just making the nightmare that was the first 4 days of his life fade away into a hurtful, painful, and still very raw memory. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of those first few days, but then I see my sweet baby resting with his daddy in daddy’s recliner, all cozy and swaddled up and I keep crying, but out of pure happiness and so… much… gratitude! that we are home. Home is truly where the heart is, and it becomes a much bigger and happier heart when there is a baby to share it with.
I know we had it pretty easy compared to some NICU situations, because my baby’s roommate in the CCN (Continued Care Nursery in the NICU; it’s the 3rd phase of the NICU. Once babies move there, it means they’re pretty close to going home) has been in the NICU since July…. JULY!!! Talk about a living hell… His sweet mother… *ugh here come more water works* is such a sweet heart. We got to know them a bit for the 2 days baby boy was in the CCN. Her optimism and sweetness touched my heart and helped me appreciate what my son went through, and that it was for such a brief time compared to her experience. The day we left, like 30 mins before, my Hubby stepped into ask our nurse a question, and this sweet mom asked, “You guys going home? That’s so great!” But you could see the sadness in her eyes he said and it still hurts my mothers heart to know she still has to go home each night without her boy…. But soon! she’ll get to experience what we now have and I cannot wait for that day to come for her.
I wouldn’t wish my experience (besides giving birth to the most gorgeous little boy I have ever seen, and not dying from anxiety and stress haha but really it was so rough a few times I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt like dying I was so sad… dramatic I know but you try being a hormonal mommy away from her baby and then talk to me… anyways, moving on!) on my worst enemy, which I luckily don’t have many of, but still. However, if I could share the love I feel for this baby, and the joy of motherhood with all of you, I would in a hear beat. It is truly the greatest experience of my life. I have done and experienced many amazing things… but this one takes the cake. As rough as my birthing experience was, I already look forward to having another baby because I just can’t get enough of this “mom thing!”
Anyway, thanks for reading my novel haha I had a few people ask to hear my story, so… Here it is. It’s just the rocky beginning of a beautiful adventure. I’m so grateful for the prayers that were said on our behalf, and the continued prayers, and I’d like to thank my Savior for His comfort and grace in giving me perspective when I needed it, and helping me learn to appreciate and love this trial, and I’m so grateful to God for sending this son to me, and not someone else.
Ok for reals, I’m going now!!!!
Peace, and love, and all that jazz!