Here we go...
At my 37 week check up, I was 4 cm dilated, 90% effaced, and 0 station. I was so extremely uncomfortable and just KNEW he would be coming soon, even as my OB assured me that I could still walk around for 2 more weeks holding this baby in.
On Valentine's Day I took a much needed "Mom's Day Off" and got a massage, pedicure, and haircut. That night Bryant and I went out with some friends and I just felt... different. And uncomfortable.
On Sunday morning I told my parents, who live 4 hours away and planned to come for the birth if possible and to take care of Paisley, that they needed to be ready because I just had the feeling that it would be soon. I was scared of being "The Woman Who Cried BABY" but wanted them to be able to start their drive ASAP when I went into labor. They did laundry and packed their suitcases on Sunday, but the day came and went. At church a few ladies came up to me and asked if I was ok, commenting on how uncomfortable I looked sitting through Sunday School. Lol. Sunday night I went on a walk/jog because I just wanted the baby OUT. I probably looked ridiculous, not to mention it was crazy cold, but a pregnant lady's gotta do what the pregnant lady's gotta do!
Monday morning, Feb 16, I went to the gym and walked on the treadmill and lifted some weights. I really wasn't feeling the whole gym thing, and honestly only went because they had childcare! haha. Then I took Paisley to an indoor playground called Kids Up with some friends, because I needed a place where she could run around and I could just sit. She kept coming up to me and tugging on my hand, begging me to play. I was getting annoyed that she wouldn't just play happily with her friends, and kept telling her no (My biggest regret looking back is that I didn't just push aside my discomfort and take full advantage of my LAST opportunity to play with my only child, my little mini-me BFF! It's so hard to cherish those moments when you feel like you are gonna burst. Still breaks my heart when I think about it).
|This is the last pic I have of P as an Only Child, taken Feb 13 when we made homemade waffles and syrup :)|
Bryant and I put P to bed that night at 7, and talked to my parents as they headed to their belated V-Day dinner. I told them I still felt the same and had no news for them. Immediately after, the power went out as an ice storm headed in. Bryant and I commented that tonight would be a great time to have a baby haha since it's always fun to go into labor during a storm ;) we laid in bed and I grabbed my ipad to watch a movie, but stupid me... the power was out so we had no wifi. In true First World Probs fashion, I had no idea what to do with myself! Then labor hit me FAST. My stomach really hurt, so I went to the bathroom figuring it was something I ate. But it only took me 10 minutes to realize that the cramps were coming consistently and about 3-5 min apart. I also knew that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP since I had Group B Strep and needed to receive 2 rounds of antibiotics, starting at 4 hours before delivery. I told Bryant it was time to go! We tried to call a friend to come stay with P and tried to call my parents, but the storm was blocking the cell service. We managed to get text messages through to them, and then Bryant ran to our neighbor's house in the freezing rain to ask her to stay with P until the other sitter got there. We lit all the candles in the house (since we still didn't have power), loaded our bags in the car, and I tearfully snuck into Paisley's room to give my last kiss to my Only Child. It broke my heart to leave her and have her wake up to a semi-stranger with Mommy and Daddy gone, and knowing that she had NO IDEA her life as she knew it was about to change forever!
We got to the hospital around 9pm, traveling in the freezing rain.
Since we had just done the hospital tour the week before, I hadn't yet received the packet in the mail to pre-fill out all the paperwork, so we had a bunch of papers to sign. They wheeled me to Triage where I was anxious to hurry up because I knew I wasn't going to have enough time for the 2 rounds of antibiotics! I wanted to tell the Triage people that they didn't need to check me to make sure I was in active labor, because I was already 4 cm dilated 5 days ago!
We got back to the delivery room to start the antibiotics at 10pm, and then I was free to walk around and labor however I wanted since I didn't plan to use any drugs/epidural/pain meds. We Facetimed with my parents on their drive over and chatted in between painful contractions.
Bryant helped when I needed him, but otherwise studied for the 4 final exams he had that week and the following week! I used all my notes and prep ideas on how to labor naturally, but the contractions kept coming more painfully and were beginning to overlap as I entered the transition phase. I told Bryant to get the nurse and get me an epidural. Naturally, he argued with me that I had TOLD him not to let me ask for one, but I finally convinced him that I meant BUSINESS and he needed to get me one NOW before it was too late! I got the epidural at 9cm (just like with Paisley), and finally relaxed and tried to get some sleep. It was midnight at this point. I dozed on and off as we listened to Spa Music on Pandora and Bryant (of course) slept like a rock.
Then at 1am I woke Bryant up and told him I think I needed to start pushing, and that my contractions were coming back painfully. He went into the hallway to get the nurse, and came back with the nurse, doctor, AND my parents! They made it just in time!
I started pushing at 1:15am and it was by far the most excruciating pain I have ever felt! Because I had gotten the epidural, and even though it didn't take in time, I had to deliver laying on my back which is the most painful way to deliver naturally (I had planned to use the squat bar or hands and knees position which would have been better).
Anyway, I was SO HOT and hyperventilating. They gave me the oxygen mask, but that made me feel even worse! It just felt suffocating and claustrophobic so I ripped it off. I told my dad I was so hot and needed ice, grabbed the cup from him, and dumped it all on my chest. My mom immediately took all the ice off ("you're gonna get cold honey!") and I was so mad. I asked for ice again a few minutes later and did the same thing haha and they didn't argue with me that time ;)
Bryant was dressed in scrubs and standing at the foot of the bed with the Ob who was gonna let him deliver the baby. AT one point, he got really hot too and felt like he was gonna faint, so he had to sit down with some juice ;)
I honestly did not think I was gonna make it. I was delirious with pain. Makes me shudder just thinking about it! There may have been some screaming involved... yikes. Anyways, I begged the OB to do an episiotomy and she agreed that was the best decision, despite us having agreed before hand that we wouldn't do one.
With one last searing pain of a push, Eli Joel Giles was born into the world at 1:35am on Tuesday February 17, 2015. I was 37 weeks and 3 days.
They placed him on my chest and I hugged him and kissed his little head repeatedly, but despite my best efforts could not focus on him through the pain. I was still in So. Much. Pain. And the OB looked concerned and was talking to her nurse about there being too much blood. Bryant offered me his arm and told me to squeeze it instead of the baby and I started to cry from the pain.
Bryant then took Eli from me and the OB explained that I would need to be taken to the OR so that she could stitch me back up, since there was so much blood she couldn't see anything and I was in too much pain so she needed to knock me out. I kissed my sweet baby one last time and welcomed the peaceful slumber of the anesthesia. I honestly don't remember being wheeled any further than the hallway. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room with a super sore throat, from the tube they stuck down my throat, and really sore legs from being in stir-ups for so long.
They told me that while the OB did a small episiotomy in the perineal tissue (down), I also tore upward, severing a vein and my urethra. Hence all the blood and pain. They were able to stitch me back up and then ran fluids through my urinary system to make sure everything was functioning properly. Bryant came to see me and broke the news that Eli was in the NICU and I wouldn't be able to see him until the morning. Eli had some breathing problems (was making a grunting/squeaking noise common in premies where their lung capillaries are still sticking together) so he needed to be monitored, as well as receiving precautionary antibiotics since I never got my 2nd round for Group B Strep meds. What a lonely first night without my baby.
I slept that night in my delivery room so I could be more closely monitored. In the morning I was told that I could go visit Eli in the NICU after I ate a good breakfast. My parents went home to be there when Paisley woke up. I ate, brushed my hair and changed my gown while sitting in bed, and then the nurse and Bryant helped me walk to the sink to brush my teeth. They had offered to wheel me over there but I thought I felt just fine.
While brushing my teeth, I started to lose A LOT of blood again, so they quickly brought me to the toilet to sit and wash off and recover. When I stood up again I lost more blood and then passed out. The nurse called for more help and they got me into the wheelchair. They wanted to help me into my bed but I told them I needed to rest in the chair for a minute before trying to move again. But then I passed out in the chair, so they lifted me into the bed to lay down. When I came back around, I had absolutely zero energy or ability to move a single muscle. I was spent. I heard the nurse explaining to Bryant that I needed to get a blood count to see if I needed transfusions and that obviously I wouldn't be able to visit Eli. Silent tears began to fall and my heart broke into a million pieces, but I still couldn't move. It seemed like an eternity later that they took my blood and informed me that I would need 2 units of blood. Another eternity later they brought the blood and started the transfusions. My parents arrived, after having taken care of P and dropped her off at a good friend's house for the day. Immediately as I started receiving the blood, I felt better. With every drop I felt my strength returning. I kept asking when I would be able to see Eli, but they wouldn't let me go until I was healthy first. My parents and Bryant took turns sitting with him that day, and showed me tons of pictures and shared stories of his cuteness. They wouldn't let them touch him much as they had him wrapped up simulating the womb to try and help him heal his lungs faster by not adding any more stress.
At 3pm I got to go officially meet my little man :) He was beautiful and I loved him so, so much. I was only allowed to gently touch him for a few minutes but stayed and watched him for a while and got all the info I could from his nurses. Afterward I started pumping every 2 hours to make sure my milk supply wouldn't be compromised, as I hadn't be able to breastfeed him at all yet. He was just receiving IV fluids.
We were moved to the High Risk Pregnancy unit for the remainder of our stay and Paisley visited for about an hour and sat on my lap in bed as I ate dinner.
It felt SO good to be with her again and to feel that sort of stability in my life. I showed her all the pictures of her new baby brother. She was very intrigued and concerned with my IVs and "boo boos" but I was so proud of how well she was handling everything. My parents did say that she never ate much of anything the 3 days we were gone, probably just as she dealt with the stress. My mom had brought her a Kitty stuffed animal that, along with her beloved Blankie, was a comfort object that did not leave her side while we were gone.
After dinner, I pumped and went to bed early while Bryant went home to tuck P into bed. When he came back, he went straight to the NICU and tried to call me several times to tell me to come down since they were letting us hold Eli! But I was asleep. I woke up a few hours later to pump and saw that he had gotten back, and he told me that he had been able to bathe, dress, hold, and feed Eli a little of my milk in a syringe.
I was SO JEALOUS and immediately told him to go get me a wheelchair because I was going to go hold my baby! So at 11:30pm I finally got to hold my Baby Boy :) He was perfect.
At 9am Feb 18 the NICU called me down to breastfeed Eli for the first time! He latched on really easily and it felt wonderful to hold and nurse him. I got to feed him every 3 hours that day. Paisley came to visit and we rested in between going down to feed him.
By 10:30pm he was completely weaned off the IV fluids, his breathing was cleared, and he was discharged from the NICU and brought to our room!!
Thurs Feb 19 at 11:30am Paisley finally got to meet her Baby Brother for the first time. I got choked up and teary introducing him to her and was SO nervous that she wouldn't react well. She was shy and timid at first, and snuggled in closer to me. Then I asked her if she wanted to help get the baby dressed, as we had practiced dressing her baby dolls many times before. This got her to come around quickly! She loved helping mommy change him, and couldn't get enough of her real live baby doll after that :)
The next 2 hours were a blur of all the tests, clearances, paperwork, etc that needed to be done before discharge that hadn't been done yet since he and I were both experiencing complications for much of our stay. We got to bring our Big Sister and Baby Brother home at 1:15pm.
The next few days... weeks... months passed by in a blur of adjustment and craziness! My healing was a lot better that I expected, and hurt less actually than my recovery with P. I did lose blood 2 more times, but just rested and felt better the next day. Paisley was and is an amazing big sister. She is helpful and never really went through any jealousy. She showers her brother with kisses, hugs, and tickles non-stop and he BEAMS with adoration when she comes into the room. They are the best playmates. We couldn't be more blessed :) HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY ELI! WE LOVE YOU.