"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aaron's birth story

I suppose it all started on Tuesday, June 21. I had an appointment that morning where Dr. H was unsuccessful when it came to removing my cerclage. I was a little crampy after that, which is normal, but it went away. I spent the rest of the day laying down, but then the crampiness started back up again after dinner.

It continued through the night so I didn't sleep well at all....and it continued all of Wednesday. I was having occasional contractions too, but there wasn't a pattern so I didn't call my doctor or anything. I just felt pretty yucky and felt like it was early labor stuff going on. But I couldn't do anything until it was more consistent! (Dr. H had said to go to L&D as soon as there seemed to be a pattern, since I still had the cerclage in and I would be a repeat C-section.)

So this is where I should mention that I had plans with friends for Wednesday night. A couple of my besties were treating me to a pedicure, and then we were meeting a few others for dinner to celebrate baby Aaron (we celebrate every single baby! Even the 3rd, 4th, and 5th+ ones). So when I mentioned to a few of them in a group text that I was feeling crampy that day, they may have gotten a little excited about the idea of Aaron arriving that night.

This is where I should also mention that Wednesday was St. Aaron's feast day. We were actually not aware that there was even a St. Aaron, but there is, and his feast day was on Wednesday. Thanks to Laudate app for that bit of info. Crazy, right?

Anyway! I was crampy all day Wednesday but really didn't think anything would come of it to ruin our dinner plans. But while I was getting my toes done, I realized I was having some contractions and decided to start timing. 8-9 minutes apart. Hmmm. I've certainly had them that close together before, so it didn't necessarily mean anything. So off to dinner we went.

I guess it was after our appetizers that I started to think that maybe I should start timing my contractions again. A couple friends noticed that I was having them more often too (and they actually witnessed this same thing 2 years ago with Chase, how crazy), so my lovely nurse friend Ashley downloaded the contraction app on her phone for me. Which is actually pretty neat because you just click start and stop and it keeps track of everything – duration, how far apart they are, you know. No thinking about it.

But then there was no denying that my contractions were 4-6 minutes apart, some lasting a minute. Which I suppose is not anything to freak out about normally – except that I had the darn cerclage in and was getting a C-section. Sigh. I'm not going to lie, I did slightly panic at one point when I called Logan just to give him a heads up and had a pretty strong contraction while talking to him...I kinda started crying. Was I seriously going to have a baby?? I know my friends had joked about it happening that night, but suddenly it seemed all too possible and I just didn't know how to handle it. Hormones, y'all. They be crazy.

Unfortunately, I had like 4 bites of my delicious food before deciding that maaaaybe I shouldn't eat anymore in case I did end up having a C-section afterall. (Something I would regret later, but...hindsight is 20/20.)

I suppose it was around 7:30 by this point. I'm very much someone who does not rush into things, so although I figured we'd probably end up at the hospital that night, I wanted to take our time. Showing up at the hospital and then having contractions stop would have been terrible...so I opened my baby gifts instead! And in true baby #3 fashion, I got diapers, wipes, and food gift cards. My peeps are the BEST. 

At one point, I went to the bathroom for the second time (kind of hoping it was just a full bladder that was causing contractions, ha), and I swore Aaron dropped as soon as I sat on the toilet. Seriously, it was such a crazy feeling. And one friend even told me later that once I walked back to the table she immediately noticed that my belly was lower. Crazy.

Around 8pm , we decided that it would probably be okay to stop and get coffee or dessert somewhere on our way to the hospital (I wouldn't get anything, but I felt bad ruining the fun night for everyone else!). I was still having contractions about every 5 minutes or so. But, oh, before we go...how about a group picture, says my friends? You know, make sure we document every moment! So here you go.

I have to admit and say that I wasn't completely in the mood for pictures, but I knew it would make for a great story later. (I may or may not have envisioned an epic blog post. This will probably disappoint greatly.) Also, I feel the need to point out that I decided to buy another maternity shirt that actually fit after my disappointing appointment the day before...so this is the one and only time that I wore this lovely maroon shirt from Target. At least it's documented.

The 7 of us separated into our different vehicles, and I joined my sister-in-law, Lindsey, and my friend, Sara. We were all planning on meeting at some dessert place (which escapes my memory because I wasn't really thinking about dessert at the time), and then would probably go to the hospital after that. But on the way, I suddenly felt like we should go the hospital sooner rather than later. Contractions were still coming, I was feeling pressure down there, and, well, I figured I had better be safe than sorry.

I called Logan to inform him of our plans, and he was actually already on his way to my brother's house to drop off the boys for bedtime. I had yet another contraction, and he had the nerve to say in a very frustrated voice, “Why do I feel like every time I talk to you you're not actually talking??” To which I exclaimed as soon as I could, “BECAUSE I'M FREAKING HAVING CONTRACTIONS.” Men. (Love you babe! But seriously, don't do that again.)

Thankfully the hospital was less than 5 minutes away at this point, so Lindsey pulled up to the ER, and Sara got out with me. It didn't take long for them to get me a wheelchair, register me, and wheel me up to Labor and Delivery...quickly followed by my posse. I'd also like to mention that I got about a dozen stares and smiles from various strangers. Big belly and all. 

I was ushered into a large room in L&D, which was nice considering there was a group with me. I had to pee in a cup and a couple of my friends helped me get changed into a hospital gown and settled into bed. The rest took silly pictures. Someone asked if I wanted privacy or if I felt uncomfortable in front of everybody (or something...I can't remember exactly), and my response was: “I have a blog. On the Internet.” So, no, it did not bother me in the least that my peeps were there.

Logan walked in at some point and stopped suddenly when he saw how many people were in the room – he knew we came straight from dinner but apparently did not realize it was more than 2-3 women. Ha. 

The nurse hooked me up to the monitor and said they'd watch me for 30 minutes or an hour or so before calling the on-call doctor (which was NOT Dr. H, unfortunately). The nurse seemed to think I was just dehydrated and that I wasn't actually in labor. This was probably around 9pm.

Womp womp womp. That is not what I wanted to hear at all.

After about an hour on the monitor (she always came back way later than she said she would), the nurse called the on-call doctor, who wanted to start me on some fluids to see if that would slow down the contractions. So after a couple sticks (it ALWAYS takes 2 tries), I had an IV with fluids. They also took some blood beforehand just in case I ended up having a C-section – but it was not looking very likely at this point. Even though I contracting every 2-6 minutes.

This is where I need to tell you that with Chase, I was having contractions 4-7 minutes apart, and since Dr. H was actually on call, he decided to just go ahead with the C-section before labor progressed any further (since I still had the cerclage in). So I had arrived at the hospital around 10:30pm, and Chase ended up being born just a couple hours later.

So that's why with Aaron, it was super disappointing to realize that it would not happen that quickly...especially because I felt like I was more in labor this time around. The nurse had already said that they couldn't do a C-section any earlier than 2am, just based on when I last ate, and that I might end up going home if they were able to slow down the contractions enough.

Around 11pm, after about an hour of fluids, the nurse came back in after calling the on-call doctor a second time. They wanted to give me MORE fluids and then reevaluate in another hour. I was pretty frustrated at that point, because clearly I was having a lot of contractions, but they were in no rush to do anything drastic and I DID NOT want to be stuck in the hospital overnight just to be sent home afterwards. 

My friends decided to leave at this point, and after I apologized for ruining dinner and dessert, they insisted that it had still been a fun night. Sara lives right by the hospital, so she said she would check-in in about an hour and possibly come back. Oh, and before everybody left, they all circled around me and we prayed a decade of the rosary together for baby Aaron. Like I said, my friends are the best. (And it was a little of a bummer that Aaron wasn't going to be born on St. Aaron's feast day, but it was close!)

I think it was around 12:30am that the nurse finally came back in and said the contractions had slowed to about every 10 minutes. She wanted to watch me for yet another hour before calling the on-call doctor again. She and I both did not want me to be sent home only to end up back in the hospital shortly thereafter. My friend Sara came back around this time too.

It was almost 2:30am (so much for just an hour, eh??) when the nurse informed me that the doctor wanted to keep me overnight. I was annoyed because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep with the contractions...but I also had a glimmer of hope because the nurse was planning on calling Dr. H at 7am, and I thought that he might just want to go ahead and do the C-section then. I texted my mom the update and she decided to stay put (she lives 3 hours away) until we talked to Dr. H.

So for the next couple of hours I did a whole lot of nothing. I was super tired but couldn't sleep, and I was soooo thirsty and hungry – but they wouldn't let me eat or drink because I would possibly be having surgery later. (The nurse had snuck me a few ice chips earlier on but that was it.) It wasn't until 5am or so that I finally fell asleep for about an hour. When I woke up, I was kind of bummed because I could tell that the contractions had slowed down significantly. I was worried that we just spent the whooooole night at the hospital for nothing.

The nurse called Dr. H around 6:45am, and he ended up coming to see me before deciding anything. I felt like that was a good sign. I mean, he knows my history, and I had already informed him of a frequent contraction episode that I had just a few days before. The nurse seemed to think he wouldn't do anything...but also said that sometimes doctors surprise them.

Dr. H arrived sometime before 7:30am and said he didn't want me to keep having contractions – not only for the sake of my stitched-up cervix, but for my previous C-section incision as well. He did say he was a little worried about doing the C-section a little early because boys sometimes have breathing issues (even at 38 weeks), but I reminded him that Landon and Chase were both born then and were totally fine. Plus, I have a theory that all my contractions give my boys plenty of squeezing to strengthen up those muscles. So! Dr. H said we'd do the surgery but he couldn't until 11:30am. I was relieved he was going to go ahead and do it – especially because I started to have more frequent contractions again not long after he left – but I was a little depressed at the thought that I wasn't going to be eating until much later in the day. Food, y'all. It's important.

My mom was a little worried that she wouldn't make it in time for the C-section, since she still had to get stuff ready and board her dog at the vet. But she left her house shortly after 8am, so we thought maybe she would get there in time!

For the next 4 hours, they gradually got me ready for surgery. Wiping me down (literally...so awkward), shaving (also awkward), etc. At some point, we were informed that the surgery would be at 11am instead of 11:30...which meant my mom would not be making it in time afterall. So sad.

They rolled me back first alone so they could place the spinal, which is similar to an epidural. I totally know the drill by now, since I also get a spinal for my cerclage. The anesthesiologist had quite the personality so I told him this was my 6th spinal – so he felt the pressure to make it not hurt! I gave him an A+. (Seriously, sometimes those things hurt like hell and other times I barely feel it.) They laid me down as I started feeling numb down there and hooked up everything else – heart monitor, pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, and hung yet another bag of fluids. It's totally weird, especially if you're used to going all natural....but I guess I'm used to it. All of the staff were really nice and made sure I was comfortable.

Dr. H kind of got held up so we were all just waiting on him. Once he arrived, the nurse brought in Logan and my friend Sara, who took my mom's place since she stayed overnight with us. She took these pictures!

Surgery began. I wasn't really paying attention to the time but it probably only took 10 minutes or so for them to get ready to pull Aaron out. They had a really hard time, too, probably because he was low in my pelvis, so I felt some crazy pressure on my chest. Like, for a second I had trouble breathing. But then they finally got him out - Thursday, June 23, 11:31am. He screamed really loudly and  Dr. H joked, “You're in for it!” Thankfully, though, Aaron only screamed for a few seconds and then was just a perfect little baby.

Logan got to cut his cord, and as soon as they made sure he was okay, they placed him on my chest. It was kind of awkward because I was flat on my back, but it was still oh so very lovely because sweet baby boy was so chill and peaceful. 

He also started sucking my chest – not that I can blame him, because I had gone about 16 hours without eating/drinking by this point so he was probably starving just like me. So I asked the nurse if I could try to nurse and she replied, “Hmm...I don't think we've done that before.” But because she is the best nurse ever, she asked Dr. H if we could try, he said yes, so she helped Aaron latch and he was such a champ (and still is!). So yeah, I was the first to breastfeed in the OR (or so they say). *fist bump*

I got to hold Aaron the whole time they stitched me up and could have even held him while they removed my cerclage too, but I let Logan have a chance to hold him. They had to put me in Trendelenburg position (head down, feet up) to get the cerclage out so it was kind of hard anyway to keep Aaron from falling onto my face.

Once everything was finished in the OR, they slid me into a bed to wheel me back to the recovery room with Aaron in my arms. Aaron didn't leave my sight at all that entire first day, which was not the case with Landon and Chase, so I was loving it. My mom was waiting for us, and then my sister-in-law came not too long after with Landon and Chase. Landon was so excited that he jumped up and down...and Chase did not care. So there's that.

I was going to write a little about recovery that day, but this is already a million words long so I will spare you. So I'll just say that for some reason I would not stop bleeding (and I was not aware of this because I WAS SO HUNGRY), so they refused to let me eat, which made me feel like crap and throw up, and it was like this vicious cycle. Tears were shed, and Dr. H actually told me later that he was worried he would have to do a D&C. Thankfully, though, the many drugs they gave me finally worked, and I was fine...I just didn't get to eat an actual meal until the next day, Friday. 36 hours without real food (and I hadn't even eaten most of my dinner Wednesday!). Not. Fun. But it was so very worth it because Aaron is such a sweet baby and I'll be totally cliché and say I can't imagine life without him.

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