Hadley’s Birth Story

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I was scheduled to give birth to my daughter via a repeat C-Section at 9:30 am on Monday September 25, 2017. It was such a weird feeling to have a birth scheduled for a specific day and time.

I was so sure that the baby was going to come early and I anxiously paid attention to every new pain, twinge, or odd feeling I had during my last weeks of pregnancy.

My first child, a son, Wyatt, was also a scheduled C-section, but he came early – on his own terms. My water broke in the middle of the night and I gave birth to him, still via cesarean, early the following morning. It was impossible to not compare this second pregnancy and impending labor to my first.

During the last three weeks of my pregnancy I slept on a waterproof crib mattress pad, covered our couch with a blanket, and sat on a towel while driving my car. I was 99% my water would break at some inopportune moment. The days were painfully long as I uncomfortably waited. My back hurt, my hips hurt, and I was so tired.  

But baby girl was content on staying inside.

The night before the big day I was full of equal parts excitement and anxiety. I had the normal fears of bringing a new life into the world: Would she be healthy? Would I be okay? But I also couldn’t wait to meet my baby girl. Ryan and I went to bed early and tired to a get a restful sleep.

My alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. and it felt like Christmas morning! I hopped in the shower and washed with the special Hippacleanse soap and got dressed in yoga pants and a t-shirt. I did my hair and applied light make-up (a perk of a scheduled birth!)

Ryan’s parents drove into town early to stay with Wyatt. As we gave them instructions on nap and lunch schedules, it felt like we were merely heading out of town for a long weekend or a date night, not going to the hospital to have a new baby!

I hugged Wyatt extra hard and said goodbye. “You’ll always be my baby” I whispered. He blew me kisses and smiled, totally oblivious to the fact that his entire world was about to be changed forever. Ryan snapped one final “bump photo” of me before we headed out the door.

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We were quiet as we made the twenty-minute drive to the hospital. I was most worried about whether or not the baby was healthy, getting the spinal tap, and the surgery recovery, but I kept trying to picture holding and looking into my daughter’s eyes. “Everything is going to be fine!” Ryan kept repeating.

We arrived at the hospital and checked in and were told to wait in the outpatient surgery waiting area. Sitting there, with Fox News playing on the TV, it felt like we were waiting to go in just to get a cyst removed or some other simple procedure, not to have a baby! I felt no urgency from the staff. We waited to be called back. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life! We finally got checked in and I got called back to a small pre-op room, Ryan wasn’t allowed to go with me yet.

Back in the pre op room the nurse went over my medications, took my vitals, and had me put my things in a locker after I changed into a hospital gown. Ryan was allowed to come back at this point. Another nurse came in and went over the surgery and the recovery. She was followed by the anesthesiologist who went over the spinal tap.

The spinal was what I was most worried about, and even having the doctor describe the procedure made me cringe. He went over all of the risks, like a 1% chance that the spinal wouldn’t work and they’d have to use general anesthesia, or that there would be permanent nerve damage. Everything had gone 100% fine with my cesarean with Wyatt, so I kept reminding myself today would go fine. These doctors perform cesareans thousands of times.  

He left and Ryan and I anxiously waited and watched the clock. Only about 20 minutes before the surgery! I decided to make a last trip to the bathroom and when I came back I was told that an emergency C-section just came in and my procedure had to be pushed back for another hour. Of course I completely understood, but what a disappointment!

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A nurse came in and put in my IV and then I went to another area and got scrubbed down and shaved. (I guess I didn’t do a good enough job at home!) I was given a disgusting “shot” of meds that were supposed to balance out the acid in my stomach. Ryan got scrubbed up. We were all prepped, now we just had to wait!

My parents came back and visited for a bit to pass the time. We all anxiously talked about what we thought the baby was going to look like, how big she was going to be, and how I was feeling. They left and then Ryan and I were left alone to impatiently twiddle our thumbs. Shortly after, a few nurses rushed in exclaiming it was go time! Everything started to move really fast after that.

We were quickly hustled out of the room and started walking down long halls to the OR. Outside the door to the operating room, Ryan and I had to temporarily say our goodbyes. He wasn’t allowed in the room while they prepped me and did the spinal block.

The blindingly bright OR was full of busy energy with nurses and doctors running all around. The scent of sanitizer filling the air. They checked my identity and immediately got me in position to do the spinal – the one thing I was least looking forward to!

The nurses instructed me to sit on the very edge of the cold table and hunch my back over my big belly as much as I could. It was so uncomfortable and I felt like I was going to fall down. The one kind nurse in the room held my hand, I felt the prick of the numbing needle go in and forced myself to take a few big breaths.

The anesthesiologist told me he was going to be inserting the needle now and I would feel some pressure. I felt the needle go in and held my breath. I reminded myself it would all be over in a few minutes and I would soon be holding my baby.

Then I felt the same pressure prick again.

 “What’s going on?” I nervously asked.

“Just trying to find the right spot in your spine to enter.” He calmly replied.

I felt four more distinct pricks in my spinal area. My whole body was so tense. “Did you find it yet?” I asked, not even sure what “it” was.

A few seconds lately he confidently responded, “Yes! All set not.” Phew!

I lied back down on the table feeling calm and ready to go. The nurses started putting the draping up around me and scrubbing my belly down some more. I started to feel my feet get tingling and numb. My OBGYN came over to check everything out and said I was looking good, “You’re going to be holding your baby in a matter of moments! We’re going to take good care of you.” She said warmly.

Meanwhile a nurse was aggressively wiping down my lower extremities, so much so that I called out, “Ouch!”

“You can feel that?” Her surprised reply.

“Yes…”

“What does it feel like?”

“Like you are wiping me with a lot of pressure.”

“Oh!”

They proceeded to pinch my thighs and stomach, asking me if I was feeling anything. Every pinch and prod felt like I wasn’t numb at all. The anesthesiologist recommended I be placed on a ninety-degree angle, with my head towards the floor, hoping that gravity would make the numbing medication surge through my body faster.

About 4 minutes later the doctor pinched my stomach again. I felt no change in numbness and started to panic. What was going on?

“You know; you will feel SOME pressure. Is that what you feel?”

“No, it feels like I have no numbness at all!”

 What if they didn’t believe me that I wasn’t numb – that they thought I was exaggerating. I started to cry.

“Don’t worry, we’re not barbarians, we won’t cut you open when you can still feel pain. We’ll wait a couple more minutes.”

I tried to breath and stop crying. A couple more minutes passed, although it felt like an eternity, and they tested my stomach numbness again. I felt no change.

The anesthesiologist sat next to me and calmly delivered the news, “I’m sorry, but the Spinal Block was not successful.”

Now I was panicking. Keep in mind, I was still basically upside down on the table.

“What does that mean?”

“We are going to have to put you under general anesthesia.”

I burst into tears. That would mean I would be completely unconscious for the birth of my daughter. I couldn’t let this happen.

“But my feet are mostly numb!” I urged. “Can’t we wait a little bit longer, or do the spinal block again?”

“No, I’m sorry, we have to move forward now.”

I was so taken by surprise. It was explained in my pre-surgery consult that the Spinal Block only fails one percent of the time! I never thought I would be that one percent!

They told me that Ryan would not be allowed in the room during the surgery.

I was heartbroken.

Neither Ryan or I would be present for the birth of our daughter.

I asked if Ryan could at least come in and talk to me before I was put under. He had been out in the hallway this whole time, completely oblivious to everything that was going on.

The nice nurse went out to get Ryan and meanwhile I couldn’t stop sobbing. The doctors were all being nice about the situation but I was so upset and angry. Ryan came in, very confused. He told me that everything was going to be okay, but he couldn’t hold my hand or kiss me, due to the sterile environment. Seconds later he was escorted out of the room. I later learned he wasn’t really briefed on the whole situation and thought that he would be brought back into the OR once I was put under so he could be there for the birth. There was such bad communication!

Everything felt so urgent all of a sudden. It was all bright lights, beeping machines, and the nurses and doctors talking in what sounded like a secret code to one another.

They put a mask over my face and counted one, two, three and then I was out.

The next thing I remember is waking up in another room, surrounded by nurses. The first words I uttered were, “Is she okay?”

I was still very upset and crying, I still couldn’t believe I fell under the one percent where the spinal failed.

I’ve had to piece together bits of information given to me to know what happened. Ryan was there in the room holding Hadley. I wasn’t awake enough to be trusted to hold her just yet, unfortunately. He told me that he had been patiently waiting out in the hall, expecting them to come get him, when he heard a baby crying and thought, “Well, I guess that’s my daughter!”  (below are photos a nice nurse took for us after the birth, while I was unconscious and Ryan was not in the room)

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It took five minutes for a doctor to come out to deliver the good news and tell Ryan everything was okay. Hadley scored an 8 and 9 on her Apgar screening. She was healthy, pink, and had a set of lungs on her. Five more minutes passed and then Hadley was brought out to Ryan and they were escorted to the recovery room. I’m so thankful that Ryan was able to hold and comfort Hadley during this time while I was still unconscious.

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I didn’t get to hold my daughter for another thirty minutes. After waking up in the recovery room it took a couple of minutes until I was alert enough to hold her. I had tears streaming down my face when Ryan handed Hadley to me. She was so tiny and so beautiful and screaming her head off. I pushed away my feelings of sadness and took in her tiny face, her sweet smell, and he little noises. She was perfect.

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We started breastfeeding right away and she had no problem latching. I felt fortunate that even if I didn’t get to hold her and do skin to skin immediately upon birth, she still knew what to do and we could bond right away.

I had to stay in recovery a bit longer because I had lost a lot of blood during the C-Section – so much that I was prepped and ready for a blood transfusion before my bleeding subsided enough to not warrant one. I was very dizzy and out of it. One of my contacts fell out during surgery too, so my vision was a little limited.

The whole birth experience felt out of focus and I still couldn’t believe this was how I met my daughter, having her simply handed to me, with no memory of her leaving my body. I’m still struggling with anger, guilt, and sadness. It breaks my heart that neither her father or mother were with her when she was born.

I know how fortunate I am. My love for Hadley was instant – for all my worry about how I would love another baby as much as I love Wyatt. It was like she was always part of our family. I love her so much, our family is complete.

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Hadley: One Month

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Hadley turned one month old on October 25. Time is going by so fast, even faster than it did with Wyatt. I feel like she’s growing and changing so much every day and these newborn days are flying out of my fingers. I’m trying to soak up every moment of her sweet newborn smell, the soft cuddles, and her innocent gazes. I cried so much this first week, but they were different tears than the anxious and fearful tears I cried with Wyatt. I cried more knowing just how fast time goes and how these moments are truly just moments – soon to be memories.

Hadley is such a little peanut – she has grown a bit and her hair is getting thicker and longer, but she’s still so tiny! It feels so funny to change her tiny diaper after wrestling with a 32 pound toddler to change his. 

Weight: 8 pounds 5 ounces (21%)

Length: 21 inches (41%) 

Hair: Dark brown

Eyes: Blue

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Nicknames: Haddie, Haddie Bear, Missy

Likes: Being swaddled up, eating, sleeping, being worn in Soothe Shirt, kicking on the floor, watching big brother play.   

Dislikes: Her carseat, getting dressed, being woken up to eat. 

Clothing and Diapers: She is still in newborn clothes and diapers. 

Sleep: At night, Hadley sleeps in the Dock-a-Tot in the Arms Reach Co Sleeper next to our bed. She’s an amazing sleeper and usually sleeps one 4-6 hour stretch at night followed by another 3 hour stretch. During the day she sleeps on and off, waking up to eat every 2-3 hours.

Feeding: Breastfeeding is going pretty well. She eats every 2-3 hours (longer at night). She’s apparently a very efficient eater – finishing nursing sessions in about 6 minutes total…which makes me worry she’s not getting enough milk. At times she eats so quickly that she has severe gas pains and spits up a lot. It’s a huge mess, especially in the middle of the night, but we are working through it. I pump before I feed her which seems to help. 

Play: She’s more alert each day. She likes to kick on the floor and look around at baby toys. She’s definitely not getting as much floor play as her brother did because Wyatt wants to be all over her when she’s on the floor.

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What I want to remember:

How calm and sweet she is. She’s so relaxed and easy going – I can’t help but wonder if it’s because I’M so much more relaxed this time around!

How she clasps her hands together while sleeping.

The feel of her heartbeat and breathing when she’s lying on my chest on the couch. I love cuddling up with her for a quick snooze or to read.

How cozy and close I feel to her when I wear her.

How she gazes up at me with wonder (or hunger) while I’m feeding her. 

 

How I’m loving getting to know her. 

 

 

No, Saltines Won’t Help: My Experience With Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Close up saline IV drip for patient in hospital.

Disclaimer: I am truly fortunate to be pregnant with my second baby. My heart goes out to all those wishing to be pregnant or to be parents. Please do not interpret this article as me complaining about being pregnant but as a way to educate and inform on the condition of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). 

I suffered debilitating nausea and vomiting for weeks during my second pregnancy.

It has taken me months to write this article as it was hard for me to look back at this season of life and I have the tendency to downplay my symptoms in order to not seem dramatic. It’s not like this is something I LIKE to talk about. 

I shied away from public life and didn’t even like discussing my condition because being flooded with people well-meaning comments of “Oh I was so sick when I was pregnant too! It made going to work so hard!”,  “Have you tried saltines and ginger ale?” “Make sure to keep crackers by your bedside” “Just tough it out, it will pass!” 

The fact is, the condition I had, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is NOT just your typical morning sickness.  

Some facts for those that know nothing more than “that thing Kate Middleton had”:

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a rare condition, with fewer than 200,000 cases a per year. It is a severe type of nausea during pregnancy combined with endless vomiting, weight loss, and malnutrition. I was lucky that my symptoms dispersed around 17 weeks. Some women experience HG their entire pregnancies and some are admitted for long stays in the hospital until the birth of their child.

Distinguishing between morning sickness and hyperemesis gravidarum:

Morning Sickness: Hyperemesis Gravidarum:
Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting
Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after Nausea that does not subside
Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration Vomiting that causes severe dehydration
Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down

My Story:

I found out I was pregnant mid-January. It came as a little bit of a shock, we had just started trying for baby number two and were expecting another year or so long journey. But there were no denying those two pink lines on the pregnancy test I took on January 16. 

With my first pregnancy I started feeling nauseous around week 5, so I braced myself to feel sick around that same time with this pregnancy.  5 weeks came and went and I crossed my fingers that maybe this pregnancy was going to be different and I would be one of those lucky women that never get sick. 

Boy was I wrong!

On February 10, at seven weeks, the nausea struck! And then a week later the vomiting stuck. And then it struck, and struck, and struck. I could not stop vomiting.

I tried crackers and pretzels – they instantly came back up. I’d take a sip of water and vomit it up a few minutes later. Any thought of food would have me dry heaving.

I called my doctor and got a prescription for Dicligis – a safe medication that I took while pregnant with my first-born. It was all I needed to help relieve my nausea and vomiting that first go around. 

I stayed optimistic but the vomiting did not stop. 

I tried to brave it out for another day or two, but after two days of non stop vomiting my body and my soul were worn down. 

I was extremely weak and dizzy and could barely stand on my own. Taking care of my 18 month old was out of the question and I leaned heavily on family for support. Those two days felt like eternity. 

I finally called my doctor. I had held off because I know that vomiting is a part of pregnancy. I didn’t want them to talk to me condescendingly or think I was exaggerating and being a crazy hypochondriac. But as I explained my symptoms to the nurse she told me to get into the ER triage as soon as possible. 

I was admitted to the hospital for the day and got hooked up to IV fluids and Zofran. I started to regain some color and feel a little more human after 4 hours. I was given a prescription for Promethazine suppositories (fun!) as the Zofran can be linked to birth defects.  

I went home hopeful that I had found the solution and I could live with just being nauseous and vomiting once or twice a day. On the first night the suppositories caused incredibly painful cramping and abdominal pressure. I was up all night in pain and still vomiting. I continued with this for another day or two before calling my doctor back. 

She was not happy that I was still unable to keep any nutrients down and was sent back into the hospital for more fluids and rest. At this point I was 9 weeks pregnant and unable to do my work from home job. It was impossible to explain my symptoms to my male boss. 

I had already lost 8 pounds. I never thought I would look forward to going to the hospital, but those IV drips were the only thing that made me feel like I wasn’t going to die. This time I was sent home with a prescription to Zofran – the chance of birth defects were lesser than the side effects of me vomiting non stop. 

The Zofran pills were not as strong as a Zofran IV drip and I ended back up in the hospital the following week.

At this point I felt like a shell of my former self. I was in a deep depression from being so sick for so long and not being able to function normally. I couldn’t parent my son or be a wife or friend. I felt completely isolated from the outside world and helpless. The pregnancy became a problem rather than something to celebrate. 

This time, the doctors discussed getting a PICC line put in so that I could have a constant supply of medicine flowing into my system. Sadly, I was a little excited for this type of relief, however inconvenient it may be for the next few weeks. There was no telling when my Hyperemesis would ease up, and I would give anything to be able to read to my son again and function at half my capacity. 

I got lucky.

Within the next few days my vomiting slightly ceased and I did not have to get the PICC line inserted. The Zofran medication was finally enough to get me to stop vomiting everything I digested. I was still getting sick 3 – 4 times a day, but I was able to hold in water and some food.

Online support groups were everything to me during these long weeks. There is no more lonely feeling than being sick non stop and having no one understand. 

The most helpful was HER, Hyperemesis Education and Research: 

I FINALLY started to feel mostly all better by 18 weeks. That’s when I stopped vomiting all together. However the depression, anxiety, and overall fatigue on my body stuck around. In some ways I still feel like I’m recovering. This sickness was a deciding factor in quitting my job this past May so I could focus on my health and spend time with Wyatt. 

I lost a total of 11 pounds, a lot of confidence, and time. My depression was in full swing. I’m sure this is my last pregnancy because there is no way I’d voluntarily go through that sickness again. 

I stopped taking Zofran around 20 weeks and have had a normal and healthy pregnancy since! I’m very fortunate as some women suffer until they give birth. Fellow sufferers, the end will be in sight! 

I share this story not to complain but to raise awareness of Hyperemsis Gradiverdum. I want to educate that it is not JUST morning sickness and that you can find support and help. I would have been lost without the support of my family. I have no idea who I would have found to watch my son while I was sick all those weeks and will forever be grateful for their support and love. 

If you come across this article while googling HG symptoms as you are lying on the bathroom floor, please feel free to reach out to me! You are not alone. 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Weeks with Baby Mac 2

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I’ve gone back and forth a lot on whether I should keep this space open.

Back when I was pregnant with Wyatt I posted weekly bump dates as well as several other blog posts a month.

Back then, blogging was a great resource for me to get in touch with other new moms and pregnant ladies as none of my close friends were at the same stage. It allowed me to connect with women from all over the country – we traded tips and fears and I’m so thankful for that.

Back then, Ryan worked long days and went to school at night. We barely saw each other. Blogging filled up my time and gave me a social outlet. 

Flash forward two years and I’m now a full time stay at home mom with our own house and a 20 month old boy to keep me busy. This blog was the last thing on my mind. 

But lately I’ve been missing having a place to document our life. I’ve been checking back on my weekly bumpdates throughout this pregnancy, comparing and remembering and I got a little sad that I haven’t given this pregnancy as much attention as my last. I want to be able to look back and remember it well and allow my baby girl to read about it to one day. 

So here I am! Trying to remember my WordPress log in and how to work this old blog again. Hello!

I can’t believe we are already halfway through this pregnancy. Wait…yes, I can. It’s been a long one already. I’ll get around to doing a first trimester recap one of these days but I don’t think I’m ready to relive those days yet.

So here we are:

How far along: 20.5 weeks! Halfway!

Due Date: September 25

Gender: Girl!!! We are both very excited to experience both a boy and a girl. And I can’t wait for all things girly and to relive part of my own childhood, however selfish that may sound!

Baby Size: About the size of a banana – 10 inches and 10.6 ounces. 

Weight gain: Well I lost a little over 11 pounds in the first trimester, so right now I’m the same weight I was when I first got pregnant – the weight it just positioned differently. I’m also carrying so much different than I did with Wyatt. This time the baby seems to be spread out all across my waist, not just in a little ball. My hips are much bigger this time too. 

Movement: Not feeling much movement yet. Like with Wyatt, I have an anterior placenta, so there is a little bit of extra padding between me and the baby. I feel some light fluttering every now and then. 

Best Moment Lately: Finding out we are having a girl! Truly, my first trimester was so complicated and hard. Knowing what sex the baby is allowed me to bond with it more. I now feel more connected to this pregnancy and can picture an actual human at the end. We also had a wonderful little getaway, just Ryan and I, last weekend. We visited Deep Creek Lake, MD and had fun sleeping in, reading, and simply relaxing. 

Looking forward to: Feeling the baby move. Hopefully soon! I worry so much when I can’t feel anything. Those mom fears never go away. 

Food Cravings: Ice water with a little bit of lemonade, chex mix, pimento cheese dip, anything salty and savory. 

Mood: Tired but excited and so grateful to have made it this far!

Symptoms: Tired. Sore hips, especially at night. When we moved last November, I threw out my pregnancy body pillow that I used while pregnant with Wyatt. It was all dirty and flattened and I didn’t expect to get pregnant so soon. I held off on purchasing one until this weekend. It should arrive today and I hope it allows me to sleep better. 

How were you second pregnancy’s different from your first? How did you maintain your energy with a second child to look after?

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Today

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I’ve been quiet around here, but today I had to speak my mind. I wanted to document my feelings on this important election. My heart is heavy. I never thought that this could happen, and that makes me feel even worse.

I’m not looking to debate or fight. This is my opinion.

I got very little sleep last night. I cried in bed as I listened to my innocent baby boy sigh in his sleep. I feared for our future. I felt unsafe.

Last night’s results have made our role as parents much harder…it is up to us to instill respect and love of all humans in a world where our leader does not do the same. We took many steps back in the rights of the LGBT community, minorities, women, those struggling with mental health issues, and special need citizens…not to mention the respect of all human kind in general.

It is heartbreaking and I will continue to push toward correcting it in my own way. You can do the same, spread love, volunteer, donate, build a community…

Today is a new day, together we can do this. We can teach love, kindness, hope, and acceptance: that choice has not been robbed from us.