Friday, August 1, 2008

Happy Birthday #2

Three years ago today, my husband and I drove the the hospital. We left my parents' house a little after 7am to be sure we got there before 8. It felt a bit surreal, as I wasn't in labor. Babies come when they're ready, and they let you know when that is. I believe that now more than I did that day.

But August 1 was Little Miss's due date, and my doctor hadn't given me a choice. Because I'd had to have a Cesarean with Mister Man, my doctor wasn't comfortable trying for a vaginal birth.

We'd sold our house two weeks prior and had yet to find our new house, so we moved in with my parents. With such a short time before the due date, I didn't try to find an OB closer to my parents (and our eventual new house). The hospital was almost 45 minutes away. And the new OB I found after we moved into our new house... yeah, she specializes in VBAC. I kick myself every time I think it. She's at the hospital that is literally three minutes from our house now (and twenty from my parents). And I could have waited until Little Miss was ready, as I'm convinced that the due date was wrong. I could have at least tried for a VBAC and experienced birth "normally."

On the drive to the hospital, my husband and I discussed names, as we still hadn't decided yet. Since we didn't know if it was going to be a boy or a girl, we had to figure out both. After ten minutes or so, we decided on the girl's name. For the boy, we decided temporarily on James Alexander. Until we realized that the monogram wouldn't be a good one. I didn't want to Alexander James, so we finally settled on James Spencer, planning to call the boy Jamie (totally antithetical to Mister Man not being called by his shortened name at all).

As we arrived, we were whisked into the labor and delivery area fairly quickly. The nurses ran through my history, asking me how the previous birth had gone and how I'd reacted to various interventions. The anesthesiologist asked the same questions when he came in.

The spinal block went well. I'm pretty good about not moving when there's permanent damage possible. When they moved me into the OR, however, the situation changed.

All of a sudden, I felt like I was floating out of my body and that something was wrong. I tried to tell them that I didn't feel quite right, and I swear I told them -- yelled at them even. But apparently my voice wasn't working so well at that point. Fortunately, the wildly beeping machines alerted everyone that there was a problem.

My blood pressure went down to 50/35. Granted, I always have fairly low blood pressure, but that's a bit severe. I'm not sure exactly what they did, but they finally were able to raise my blood pressure enough to continue. From that point on, they were sure to check in with me regularly.

They quickly made the incision and brought out Little Miss. I was still somewhat out of it, but I noticed that they whisked her away quickly. I called out asking whether it was a girl or a boy. I got no answer, and I asked another couple times. The fact that no one was answering me and that they hadn't even shown her to me (or to my husband)... well, you could say that I started to panic.

Fortunately, apparently my husband noticed my distress and apparently my voice wasn't as loud as I'd thought it was yet. He asked, and we were told that we had a little girl. And that she was alive.

However, she was fairly blue, and her temperature was too low. While I was taken to recovery, she was taken away to the NICU for a few hours to recover from the birth. At 7'2", she was over a pound lighter than Mister Man, unusual for second births I've been told.

Once I was able to hold her in my arms, she never wanted to be put down. She would cry and cry unless she were nestled with me. I'm not one to send the baby to the nursery while I sleep, although I understand the arguments for that. She, however, was inconsolable much of the time.

The rest of my family came to visit later that day, and Mister Man met his new sister for the first time. The second he walked in, he walked straight over to her, grabbed her knit hat and pulled it off her head. Fortunately, the wobbling of her head caused no permanent damage. The rule follower knew that you don't wear hats inside! After that, all he wanted to do was hold her, as sweet as that was.

The rest of the time in the hospital passed in a blur, as exhausted as I was. Little Miss had a really hard time latching on, unlike Mister Man who figured it out from the get go, and even sessions with the lactation consultant didn't help. She couldn't suck the way most babies could. All she wanted was the comfort of nursing, however. Eventually, I gave in and gave her a pacifier, as nursing every 10 minutes for 5 was just not good for either of us.

Even with the pacifier, she wasn't happy laying on her back in the bassinet. Unless she were on my chest, she couldn't sleep. We figured out a few weeks later (during a tear-filled session at the pediatrician) that she had GERD badly. Every time she laid on her back, she'd vomit -- and I do mean vomit, not spit up. She's scream miserably unless she were being held or was on her stomach. My pediatrician finally told me to have her sleep on her stomach in a Pack 'n Play until she outgrew it. That and the Xantac helped, but I still say she was a week or two away from being ready to be born, and I regret to this day allowing them to take her via a planned C-section.

Fortunately, she grew into a happy and independent, strong little girl. At one, she still had no hair, but she'd been walking for over two months.

At 2, she knew how to get everyone's attention.

(Sorry, pictures from the old computer I've just discovered didn't transfer. I found the pics from 2006 and got them over finally but 2007 is still in process.)

And at 3? She's just proud to be three, walking around in her birthday girl sash and tiara with her princess wand, telling everyone that she's turned three.

Happy Birthday, Little Miss!

(And no comments on the cake decorating skills. As I mentioned yesterday, I have none and go straight for taste)


anymommy August 2, 2008 at 12:04 AM  

She's beautiful. You had quite a roller coaster with her birth. A friend's baby had the same problem and it was so hard to watch her and not be able to help that much. She was so tired (as baby was so hard to soothe). I'm glad you are looking back on it now - well rested and happy!

Angie August 2, 2008 at 7:18 AM  

Wow, I love to hear birth stories. Even the really harrowing ones. Glad you guys came through it with flying colors. Happy Birthday Little Miss!! (and the cake looks yummy!)

Mabunny August 2, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

I like reading birth dtories, thanks for sharing little Miss'.
She sure is a cutie!
Nicole had GERD too, and had to ben on liquicd zantac, mylanta and something else.
Try getting a newborn to drink mylanta thru a pacifier dispenser, oh what fun that was!
Glad you are well on your way into your birthday celebrations:)) Have a great weekend!

Shelly Overlook August 2, 2008 at 12:12 PM  

Happy Birthday, Little Miss!

Melisa August 2, 2008 at 10:15 PM  

And I loved seeing what you look like! :) It's always good to be able to put a face with a name...

Cookie August 2, 2008 at 11:28 PM  

How precious! What a great story. And trust me, you are lucky to have missed vaginal childbirth. But I guess if you really wanna give it a try, you could go for #3 with that new OBGYN ;)

Angela August 3, 2008 at 9:05 AM  

What a beautiful Little Miss! Happy Birthday!

And I have a very good friend who suffered with low blood pressure during the birth of her son. She said it was very scary and reported a lot of the same things you mentioned. I'm sorry you had to go through that!

Michelle August 3, 2008 at 9:10 PM  

Anymommy - Thanks! It was definitely a roller coaster, but definitely on the upswing right now!

Angie - The cake was pretty good (or so I heard, I don't actually like chocolate cake). And I'm still just grateful she was ok and still irritated that no one told me that it was a girl or showed her to me right away!

MaBunny - Dispensing the medicine to an infant was definitely a trial, especially as ours was mint flavored! (Granted, she likes mint today but Mister Man doesn't.)

Shelly - Thanks!

Melisa - I hate to tell you, but I only sort of look like that now. I cut off all my hair when Little Miss was an infant as she would grab on and NOT let go. It's growing back now, but still only slightly below my shoulders, plus it's usually wayyyy more curly. But I'll let you pretend ;)

Cookie - There is NO number three. This is reinforced whenever we have anyone from the babysitting co-op at our house and realize the different between having two and having three. For whatever reason, playdates aren't as chaotic, but still... if I have #3, you'll know it's an accident!

Angela - It is definitely very freaky. Apparently I am not one who was made for home births. I probably wouldn't have survived either one had I been alive 100 years ago!

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