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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First Father’s Day (Ryan Takes Over the Blog)

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My (Not So) Perfect Father’s Day Post:

I have to admit that when Katie asked me to write a short blog post about my first Father’s Day, I googled things such as: “First Father’s Day Quotes” and “Father’s Day Poems,” in hopes of finding something heartwarming, touching, and inspiring for that “Perfect Father’s Day Post.”

As I scanned the results page, looking for that perfect arrangement of words and/or phrases, I quickly realized that my desire for that perfect post was truly just devoid of emotion, relying on other people’s thoughts and experiences to convey my own. So as it is now Father’s Day eve and Katie is sitting on the couch, waiting for me to be finished so we can binge watch more of Season 4 of Orange is the New Black, I am going to keep it simple.

These past 9 months since Wyatt’s birth have been a roller coaster of emotions and I have a new appreciation for the phrase “they grow up so fast.” I swear every day that goes by Wyatt’s eyes get a little bluer, his hair gets a little longer, and he introduces you to a new skill that he has learned, such as locking you out of the bathroom. Even though he is growing up so fast – I swear tomorrow morning he will wake up and start having actual conversations with me – I still cherish every single moment.

These past 9 months have also brought our family many changes and challenges. Some days are good and some are not so good. Still, nothing beats that feeling I get when I walk through the front door after work, make eye contact with Wyatt, and hear the resulting shriek of laughter and see the look of joy on Wyatt’s face. That takes away any challenges that day might have brought. That helps you get up in the morning. That makes it all worthwhile. So this Father’s Day, I pledge to continue to cherish those little moments with Wyatt.

Lastly, I would like to end this post with somewhat of a quote. Don’t worry, this isn’t anything that I discovered through my google search. It is actually a quote that I saw in my Judge’s chambers the other day that partially came back to me while I was writing. Although I do not fully remember the quote, I do know that it contained the idea that in the end, you won’t be measured by your wealth or the amount, size, and value of your possessions. What you will be measured by is a time that your actions helped a child. I hope that my actions and choices continue to help and guide Wyatt through this great big world. I will always be there for you Mr. Man.

What’s Going On?

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I think it’s easy to say that I’ve made a fast transition into a full mommy blogger. Sorry for all you childless readers – but this is my life now. As it’s been awhile since I posted on anything not completely about Wyatt I thought I’d drop in and give a little life update.

The Big Stuff:

  • I quit my job! It was time for a change and I was missing Wyatt terribly during the day. If you follow me on Instagram you saw my announcement last week. I have started a new part-time work from home job. Happiness and family time is much more important to me than money. So, after much thought, I decided it best to leave my job and pursue this new opportunity. I started working last week for the PA Philharmonic, a regional orchestra whose main mission is education. Music education is very close to my heart and I feel energized working for a company I believe in. No job is perfect, and I know there will be some challenges, but I’m so excited about this new chapter of my life and how much more time it will allow me to spend with Wyatt. 
  • Ryan’s current position as a Law Clerk ends at the end of the summer so he has been job searching as well. We are in the state of limbo again – waiting to see where he will get a job. We truly hope it will be here in Lancaster and that it will be a long time position. It’s time to build some roots. 
  • Today, my dad is having major surgery. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. I’m on standby with my mom and Pop-Pop in the hospital and are all rooting for him. 

The Little Stuff:

  • I finally started running again. I’m up to one mile at a time with out wanting to pass out….that’s far away from the 4-5 miles I used to be able to do, but it’s a start!
  • I got a Fit Bit Zip for my birthday and I”m obsessed with counting my steps! You can often find me walking in place or dancing like a fool in front of Wyatt to get my extra steps. 
  • I’m also started reading again. Other mamas – how do you read with a newborn? I was lucky to squeeze in a page or two. I think I’ve read three books since Wyatt was born. “Bringing up Bebe” “The Nightingale” and “The Martian”. I’m currently reading “Secrets of a Charmed Life”. Once again, it’s a far cry from the one book every week or two, but it’s a start!
  • We’ve been catching up on the Oscar movies (something else I’m very far behind on) Lately we’ve watched The Martian, Spotlight, Brooklyn, and The Big Short. 
  • Those are just two examples how I feel like we are settling into a routine. It feel like we’ve finally got a few things figured out. Wyatt is sleeping a little bit more allowing us to stay up together at night more and do things like watch movies and read books. 
  • As much as we are in a routine, things are always changing! We feel like we are on the edge of our seats waiting to see where Ryan will find a job and where we may be living in the near future. I have major house fever (kind of like baby fever, but with wanting to buy a house!)

That’s basically what’s going on! It’s been a busy/stressful early Spring of transitions. We are ready for whatever comes next! What is new with you?

Birthday and Easter Celebrations

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We had a fabulous holiday weekend! On Saturday, my Birthday, we attended an Easter party at my Pop-Pop’s retirement community. There we met the Easter bunny and got free portraits taken with real live bunnies borrowed from an Amish farm. I had no idea we were going to get such professional photos taken and was blown away by the results. I love my little Wyatt with the bunny, I’m going to be a proud mama here, isn’t he the cutest???

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Later that day we celebrated my birthday at my parent’s house. Wyatt was very interested in the candles! It was a perfect low key celebration. 

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Sunday morning, the Easter bunny was a little late getting things going. (I hear he was also celebrating a birthday with cosmos like me the night before). But I was very happy to present Wyatt’s first Easter basket. We filled it with books, a Jellycat piggy, a fun ball, a rattle chick, and tons of plastic Easter eggs.

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Wyatt was extremely intrigued and couldn’t wait to dig in!

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Timbbbbber!!!

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He liked the Easter eggs the best. We spent the rest of the morning dumping out the eggs over and over again. 

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Next we headed over to my parent’s house where Wyatt was presented with another basket of Easter goodies! Our little guy isn’t spoiled one little bit!

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We then drove down to Philly for Easter with Ryan’s family. Wyatt made quite the entrance as he had an accident all over his fancy Easter outfit. So after a quick and very messy change, we enjoyed more Easter goodies, including this Mickey Doll that sings The Hot Dog song. Wyatt is in love. Mommy will soon lose her mind! 

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It was great to get all the MacDonald kiddos in one place to celebrate! 

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How did you celebrate Easter?

 

 

Thankful

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The most magical time of the year has started. It’s a season full of promise, hope, and miracles. 

Last night, as I stood in the chilly air waiting for Maggie to do her thing, I gazed up at the bright full moon filling up the sky.

I paused and remembered how last year at this time I would end my nights exactly like this. Right before going to be each evening I’d step outside with Maggie and stare up at the moon and make a hopeful wish  to the universe that we would soon get pregnant. I wished with all my heart and said a soft sad prayer month after month, closing the gap between the stars and I.

And now here we are one year later with a beautiful and healthy baby boy. I am so thankful.

I’m so thankful for my family, my friends, and the gift of getting to enjoy each day. If nothing else, I love how this time of years makes me pause and step back and realize how this world is full of miracles. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall Catch Up

How is it already November? I loved seeing everyone’s Halloween costumes this weekend. We had fun with our little pumpkin. 

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As I’ve been mostly MIA I thought I’d give a little update on to how life currently is. 

We’ve had a busy and eventful Fall. Here are the big things we’ve been up to:

  • Loving life with Wyatt. It should be no surprise that my life now revolves around my little man. I’m trying to soak up as much time as I can before I go back to work. (more on that below) 

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  • Life with a newborn is everything I imagined and nothing like I imagined. Some days time goes by so fast and other days seem to last an eternity. I feel like I have so much time and but then really have no time to do anything. I’m now driving again, not driving for 7 weeks was very hard. It’s a huge mood lifter to be able to get out of the house on my own or take walks with Wyatt. He’s such a good baby though, save for a general “witching hour” between 5-7 pm. I love all the cuddles.   image2 (1)
  • Celebrating the fact that Ryan passed the bar! We got the great news on October 9 and have been celebrating ever since. I was not surprised that he passed, but relieved that the stress of waiting to find out is over. He’s now busy applying for jobs after his clerkship, we hope to stay in the Lancaster area, so fingers crossed! ryanbar
  • Celebrating my Pop-Pop’s 90th Birthday! We had a huge party (89 guests! Can you believe a 90-year-old has that many friends?) for him on October 11. Fun was had by all and it was an honor to celebrate him and his love filled life with so many family and friends. P1000899
  • Spending a lot of time with  family. I love that Wyatt (and I) has such a strong supportive family. It really does take a village.  eandv

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  • Going out on our first date since the baby. In typical new mom fashion, I got tipsy after one cocktail and we talked about the baby the whole night. image5 (1)
  • Learning to survive on little sleep. It’s still the hardest part of life with a newborn for me. The other day I almost went to the grocery store with my yoga pants inside out. Oops. 
  • Accepting bad news and transitioning roles: Last week I learned that roles at my work have been reorganized and my current workload and hours have been cut in half. I am still going back to work in two weeks, but only part-time. This was very hard news to accept. Sadly we need my income so this hits us pretty hard. It will be a struggle but we can handle it together. On the positive side I will have more time with Wyatt, which is huge. This news amongst Ryan passing the bar and loving his job feels almost like two steps forward one step back. As one friend told me, Wyatt will benefit from extra time with me and will never know that we have less money. I do believe things happen for a reason. We have Wyatt and everyone is healthy. This baby smile keeps me going!

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First Days Of Life

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Wyatt turns one month next week, I can’t believe it! I’ve been so busy soaking in his newborn days and also learning how to adjust to motherhood that I haven’t been able to document via this blog as much as I like. He has been changing so much so quickly that I wanted to capture it all. So here is a glimpse at Wyatt’s first few days in our world and our stay at the hospital. 

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He was born on Monday September 7 (you can read is birth story here) and we left the hospital on Friday September 11.

Those first few days are a blur of emotions! We felt an overwhelming sense of love, to the point where it was almost hard to comprehend that this sweet baby boy was inside of me just the day before and now was part of our world for the rest of our lives.

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We had plenty of visitors every day. This is the first grandchild for both my family and Ryan’s family, so the excitement is a little over the top! 

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Recovery for me was a little rough, but honestly much better than I was anticipating. Holding Wyatt made it all worth it. 

What I want to remember: (and yes these are melodramatic, but I believe this will be the most emotional moment of my life, so here we go)

  • Ryan being an awesome husband and father. I fell in love with him in a brand new way. I couldn’t get out of bed to attend to Wyatt’s cries or to change him and Ryan was on top of it and loved doing it. I could stare at him holding Wyatt all day.   wyattweek1.15
  • Every night Ryan and I would play music and sing to Wyatt. It was the sweetest thing. And then I’d cry. Remembering Ryan sing “Sweet Baby James” to Wyatt will always tug on my heart strings.
  • The faces of our parents when they entered our room and met Wyatt for the first time right after his birth.
  • How complete the world felt with Wyatt sleeping on my chest. image1 (2)
  • The feeling of extreme exhaustion and extreme love but how looking at his face changed everything. 
  • How soft his skin is.
  • How he calms down instantly when we do skin to skin. wyattweek1.17

I cannot say enough amazing things about our experience at Women’s and Babies Hospital in Lancaster. The nurses were all fantastic and provided us with such good care and attention. Being new parents we were anxious and clueless regarding newborn care but each day the nurses took time to teach us something new. 

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While I was slowly recovering from surgery (and could barely get out of bed on my own) they assisted with skin to skin contact, breastfeeding, diaper changes, and middle of the night feedings and fears. A lactation consultant visited every day and nurses assisted with almost every feeding. It was immensely helpful and encouraged me to keep trying when breastfeeding got tough. Now, Wyatt is a pro!

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We felt right at home in our large private suite and dined on excellent food (did not taste anything like typical hospital food) The crab cakes and peanut butter pie were my favorite dining options. 

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It was so great to have 5 whole days to just recover and be with the baby with no outside distractions. We took that time to really take in the whole experience and study all the bits and pieces of our new son. 

Our stay was so wonderful that it made me anxious to leave and go home where we’d be left to survive with Wyatt on our own. It almost felt like we were returning home after a vacation, which is NOT a feeling I was expecting postpartum. 

Nothing can replace those very first days with Wyatt. Each day brought new feelings of love. Yet, we were very excited to bring Wyatt home on that Friday and really begin our life together as a family.

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