Monday, October 7, 2013

Caroline's Birth Story - July 2013

Emily was two.  It was just before Halloween.  Jerry and I had been trying to get pregnant a second time since May.  Why was it so hard this time?  With Emily, we basically said "hey, let's try to have a baby" and BAM I was knocked up.  But for some reason, it took longer this time.  I had been disappointed every time my period started that summer.  But finally, something worked and Emily and I were at Target one day and I bought a two-pack of pregnancy tests and took the first in the family bathroom.   Positive.  Huh.  Interesting.  We went to Kohl's and I took the other test in that bathroom.  Emily probably thought I had some kind of potty problem... Another positive.  EEEEEEK.  I had had a feeling, but I really didn't want to be disappointed again, so I waited another good week after I was a week late, and this time it had paid off.

After leaving the Kohl's bathroom, I scoured the racks and finally found a "big sister" tank top on the clearance shelf.  I brought it home and when I showed Jerry he had almost no reaction.  I was a little disappointed that I had to say "so... you know what that means?" and then he was like "oh! really??!  I thought you just bought it for when you did get pregnant"  What?  Ok, I'm not that bad people.  And I certainly wouldn't have wanted to jinx myself.  But once he realized it was for real, he was really excited (as excited as most guys get).

I wanted to wait until Christmas to tell my family, but I hate surprises and hate keeping surprises secret, so I only made it to Thanksgiving.  But that month and a half was TOUGH.  I wanted to tell my mom first, so when we drove down the day before Thanksgiving, I put Emily in the tank top with a zip-up hoodie over it.  When we got in the house I told Emily to ask Grammie to take off her jacket.  She did, but then she ran into the play room before my mom could see the writing on the shirt (disappointing reveal #2).  So I said, "Emily, go show Grammie your shirt."  She did, and THEN I got the reaction I wanted.  (When I had told her I was pregnant with Emily, she said "oh Sara's going to be mad at you"--because apparently she had been trying for about a year to get pregnant but I didn't know it...but she did end up getting pregnant and had her daughter, Abby, about a month and a half after Emily was born!)

I had another rather easy pregnancy the second time around.  The only thing that sucked was I failed my first glucose test and had to take the three-hour test.  I was sick as crap for the three-hour test and just knew I was going to fail that too and then have to go on some crazy gestational diabetes diet.  I may have had a mini breakdown and cried at work...  But somehow I passed the three-hour, and then passed the second one-hour test (they had made me take the first one early because I was starting out heavier than I should have been...didn't loose all of the 70 lbs I packed on with Emily).  Luckily, I only gained about 30lbs with Caroline (I'm back to my pre-second pregnancy weight, but still have about 30-40 more pounds to lose before I feel comfortable again).  ANNNNNYYYWAAAYYYY

I knew I was going to have to be induced with this one too.  For some reason, I just knew it.  It seems I make such good homes for my babies that they just don't want to leave.  So when it got close to my due date, we went ahead and set an induction date for two days before the 41 week mark.  I didn't think they'd let me do it that early - most of the time they make you wait until you're a week overdue to schedule induction, but since it was my second baby and everything else was good, they let me schedule for July 1.  I could have done it for the 3rd or the 5th, but we didn't want a 4th of July baby, and although it would have been cool to have her on my grandmother's birthday (the 6th), I opted for the earliest possible date of eviction.  Once, again, I was hot, miserable and although I kept the swelling at bay for longer this time, for about the last two weeks, my feet and ankles had stopped going back to normal overnight.  I was DONE.

So much of my second labor & delivery was deja vu.  We went into the hospital Sunday evening (albeit a different hospital this time), and although I didn't get Cervadil this time, they placed a ripening gel and sent me home.  My mom came up that night.  I started to have contractions at home, but they tapered off after I went to sleep.  We took Emily to daycare a little early and then headed over to the hospital for our 8am induction appointment.  They got me all settled in and we met my nurse (she looked really young and I was a little concerned about her ability, but she turned out to be amazing).

Again there were issues with getting the IV started.  Apparently I have elusive veins and also seem to always get inept IV starters.  She tried putting it in the side of my left wrist, and the woman hit a valve and actually bent the catheter.  She called in another nurse, who ended up just putting it in the back of my right hand.  It was in an awkward place and she had put it in at a bad angle so that if I held my hand down, my blood actually backed up into the IV.  Seriously people?  So I had to prop my arm up on a pillow and hold my hand at an unnatural angle for the entire time I had the IV.  Ridiculous.

This time I didn't wait as long for the epidural, but it was still tough.  I had three contractions during the time the anesthesiologist was trying to place it and it seemed to take forever.  But again, once it was in and working, life was good again.  The TV was on and it seemed like the only commercials playing were for food, and all the people on the shows were doing was eating.  I was so damn hungry.  I seriously think that's the worst part of labor & delivery.  At least for this fat girl.

So the Pitocin was started at 10am (why did I have to get there at 8:00??) and sometime around 2 (?) the doctor--whom I'd never met because the practice I went to has so many patients I mostly saw non-hospital privileged NPs--broke my water.  This was one thing that was different from Emily's L&D.  There was actually lots of water and it was warm and weird.  Then, everything changed.   The contractions came a lot faster and I could actually feel some discomfort through my epidural.  I was progressing rather fast, and then I felt a lot of pressure down below.  Mom got the nurse and she checked me.  I guessed I was maybe at an 8-9 and she laughed and said "no, you're fully dilated and there's the head." Oh.  Well shit, could someone please call my husband and tell him to get back over here--he had gone to lunch--and while you're at it, please call the doc!?  He was finishing up another delivery and ALMOST didn't make it.

Everything happened so fast.  I was all but crossing my legs waiting for Jerry and he walked in just after the doctor did.  The nurse broke the bed down in like half a second, and I was pushing.  About 15 minutes after I started pushing, Caroline Elizabeth burst into the world at 4:44pm.  She was 8lbs 10.6oz and 19 inches long.  Shorter but fatter (almost a full pound heavier) than Emily.  Another little chunk.  And she was perfect.  I had that same silent and irrational fear right before delivery that she would be ugly, but just like her sister, she was absolutely beautiful.  This one cried immediately.  She had a full head of dark hair that everyone liked to remark about (Emily was basically bald).  They put her on my chest ASAP and I just couldn't stop cry-laughing.  It had gone so fast and pretty easily.  The doc finished me up while I was still staring at this little person on top of me who had just been inside me.

We tried nursing as soon as she was cleaned up, but there were like 10 people in my room and I was still so shaky I could barely hold her.  They kept me on the L&D floor until I could walk myself to the bathroom (one leg was still asleep but I did a little dead-leg shuffle to the bathroom) and pee twice.  I had a bit more pain this time, but I remember that euphoric feeling that came right after delivery and lasted for a couple hours.  I was able to sit in wheelchair to be moved to recovery, and held Caroline in my arms with that same stupid grin on my face as I had with Emily (no Brahms lullaby at the door this time though).

The hospital stay experience was almost opposite of what I had with Emily.  This hospital had no nursery so she was in the room with me the whole time.  I was determined to nurse, but we were (again) having latching issues.  The lactation consultant wasn't much help.  The pediatrician on-call came in and checked her out.  She said she was perfect, but that she did notice a slight tongue tie.  We were told Emily was tongue tied too, but that it wasn't bad enough she couldn't nurse (well we all know how that worked out).  So we decided to go ahead and clip Caroline's because I really did want nursing to work out this time.  We were able to go home about 26 hours after Caroline was born.  That made me very happy because, unlike last time, I just wanted to leave and get home.

Nursing Caroline was really tough, but I was determined to hold on as long as I could.  My first goal was one year (bahahaha) then six months.  Well, we made it to about 5 1/2 weeks before I threw in the towel.   She still had trouble latching, even after the frenulectomy, and it was just draining me physically and emotionally.  I got mastitis twice, and Caroline was put on reflux medication (we saw the symptoms early from our experience with Emily's reflux and basically demanded Zantac).  I truly believe that some women are made to nurse and others aren't.  I guess in the olden days me and my kids wouldn't have survived--thankfully they make this cool thing called formula.  I still have guilt about not being able to nurse.  Mostly guilt about the cost of formula.  I will never allow someone to make me feel guilty about not giving my girls the best start.  They each got SOME breast milk, and I TRIED.

So after five weeks, I did a gradual weaning from nursing.  It was easier in some ways and harder in others than the cold turkey quitting I did with Emily.  Caroline seems to be an easier baby than Emily, but I'm not sure if it's because she's actually more laid back, or because I'm more calm and confident after doing it once.  I guess we'll never know.

Emily is enamored with Caroline and always wants to touch, hug, kiss and hold her.  She is--for the most part--gentle and quiet, but forgets from time to time...
We are pretty in love with her too.  Every night, when I put them to bed I just think how lucky we are to have these two perfect girls.  How in the world did we get chosen to be the parents of such beautiful, wonderful babies?

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