Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Annalynn’s Birth Story

by Meghann on October 7, 2015

Thank you for all of the congratulations and sweet words welcoming Annalynn into the world. Derek and I could not be more in love with our little girl and are so thankful to finally be home as a family of three.

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I wanted to make sure I shared Annalynn’s birth story while it’s still so fresh in my mind, but I have to admit it has been a challenge to piece together enough time to write anything. Life with a newborn is no joke!  I’m not sure how other bloggers get anything up so quickly. Major kudos to them! Even though we had a scheduled c-section and everything was “by the book” I still feel like I have so much I want to remember and share.

My last day of work was on Tuesday and I officially started maternity leave on Wednesday. Since we knew the exact date I would be delivering, it was nice to have a whole day to myself to relax and just enjoy. I was able to sleep in, take Maddie for our last long walk as a duo, spend two hours in Starbucks reading a book, and getting my toes done. Derek and I went out for a final semi-fancy dinner as just a duo and my parents drove over from the east coast to stay with us that night. All of our bags were packed and the car was loaded – we were ready to go.

I barely slept a wink that night. My mind was going a million miles a minute and I was chock full of nerves. I was wide awake starting at 3:00am and played solitaire on my iPad until my alarm went off at 5:15am. At that point it wasn’t an issue to jump right out of bed, take my pre-instructed anti bacterial shower, and get a final bump photo before heading to the hospital.

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Bye-bye, bump! Hello, baby!

My c-section was scheduled for 8:30am and we were told to arrive at 6:30am for pre-op. Since we were able to do a lot of the questionnaires and paperwork ahead of time, we were able to breeze through the admitting process. I just had to sign a few standard forms, then wait for the nurse to call me back for pre-op.

When it was my turn, I was brought back, weighed (my final pregnancy weight!), then changed into a hospital gown and slippers. My nurse started an IV and told me they needed to get three bags of fluid in me before I could be taken back. Wowza. Once the IV was in, we listened to the baby’s heartbeat, and went over the rest of the process for the day. Eventually the nurse brought Derek and my mom back to wait with me before I was wheeled to the OR.

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Our original surgery time ended up being bumped due to two emergency c-sections (it was apparently a busy day for babies!) and the extra time felt like it went on forever. It was the slowest extra hour of my life! Derek and my mom spent the extra time setting up a group text for the birth announcement. I was thankful to still have my phone with me so I could distract myself with Facebook and Instagram.

My surgical nurse introduced herself around 9:15 and it was finally go time. They sent Derek to another room to change and my mom went back to the waiting room with my dad. They rolled my bed to OR 9 and everything began to move very quickly. First, I had to have my spinal, which would essentially allow me to stay awake for the surgery while the lower half of my body was numbed and pulled apart. I did NOT like the process of getting the spinal. All of the nurses were AMAZING, but for some reason I had the hardest time keeping my back round and not flinching when they put the needle in. It took THREE TRIES to get the spinal right. It was the worst part of the whole c-section and honestly the only thing that scares me from ever having another one. Getting the spinal in was no joke. By the end, I had 4 or 5 nurses around me offering hands to grip and bending my body in the right way and I was in tears. That thing hurt.

Once the spinal was in, I could immediately feel it take effect. It was very odd to feel a cooling sensation slowly spread down your body. At that point I was strapped down and the drape was put up. Even though there was a drape I could still see a good deal thanks to the reflection in the surgical light right above me. I started shivering pretty intensely and was told it was hormones. They could give me something to control the shivers after the baby was born, but in the mean time they could only cover my arms with warm blankets to try and help.

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They brought Derek in once everything was set. He was decked out in a blue surgical jumper, face mask, and a hairnet. He also had both of our phones and our big camera for photos. He took a seat next to me and was told he could look over the drape once they started pulling her out.

I never shared it on the blog, but during my pre-op appointment the week prior my doctor gave me some pretty grim news. She usually prefers to perform c-sections with a low horizontal cut. The horizontal cut is below the contracting portion of the uterus and allows her to easily pull the baby out either via head or by foot/butt. This cut is best for anyone with a goal of a future VBAC. However, because of baby girl’s transverse position, she would not have been able to grab a hold of anything to pull her out via the low horizontal cut. In that case, she would need to perform a classical c-section with a vertical cut. The vertical cut would allow her to easily retrieve baby girl, but because of the higher cut on the contracting portion of the uterus, all dreams of a future VBAC would be out the window. In fact, all future pregnancies would need to end with a repeat c-section at 37 weeks, as they wouldn’t want the uterus to contract at all with the vertical scar.

Of course, getting baby girl out safely was my number one priority so if it had to be done by a vertical cut, I was all for it. I was scared out of my mind, true, but baby girl was number one. My doctor told me we would do an ultrasound before the surgery to get a clearer view of where she was on baby day, but just wanted to warn me of the possible outcomes ahead of time.

However, due to the emergency c-sections, my doctor wasn’t able to do the ultrasound before hand. In fact, it wasn’t until my doctor entered the OR that I was finally able to ask,”so… how’s baby girl’s position?” The night before my mom felt my belly and swore she turned, but I wasn’t 100% convinced. My doctor apologized for not being able to do her usual pre-surgery prep. She wouldn’t know anything until she found my uterus, at that point she would let me know baby girl’s before she made any cuts.

Baby girl was crazy active the whole night before and remained active through the surgery. Before my doctor even cut me open, she told me that baby girl was kicking her fiercely. I guess she was ready to come out and helping to doctor find her way.

They started the procedure and I was able to feel some tugging, but that was it. It was really strange to know they were digging around my insides (and to feel them tugging!), but not have any pain. It was definitely one of the oddest sensations I’ve ever had.

Once they started cutting, the rest of the surgery moved pretty quickly. It wasn’t very long before I heard my doctor say very loudly, “complete breech!” Looks like baby girl did turn after all. She was completely butt down and my doctor had no problem pulling her out butt first via a horizontal cut. As soon as Derek got the all clear, he sprang up and watched as they pulled our daughter out of me. He had his phone in one hand, the big camera in the other, and was snapping a million photos a minute. He looked down at me and said, “this is so cool!” At first, I yelled at him to stop, but I’m glad he kept taking them. It was actually really cool to look at the photos afterwards. I’ll save you from looking at them all (I think they’re cool, but I’m sure not everyone wants too look at my insides), but here’s a cropped version of Annalynn’s grand entrance.

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My doctor pulled her out and I heard her gushing about how adorable my baby girl was and how lucky she was to hold her. She came out with her hands above her head covered in what everyone in the OR referred to as “cheese.” I couldn’t see anything, but just knowing she was here was enough to bring tears to my eyes. I started crying and saying “I want to see her! I want to see her!”  Because she was so “cheesy” the doctor immediately handed her to the baby nurse to be cleaned up. I watched her being carried over and immediately saw her feet. She has my husband’s feet! Big feet with long toes and a big toe that’s very separated from the toes next to it. The doctor said she was giving everyone a “toes up.”

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I continued to stare and cry as baby girl was wiped down, had her apgar test (8, 9), and was weighed (6 lbs 12 oz). Derek took photo after photo and immediately sent a group text to our family announcing her arrival.

I kept asking, “Is she healthy?” “Is she screaming enough?” “Is she screaming too much?” “Is she okay?”

“She’s perfect,” they told me.

It wasn’t until she was put on my chest that I finally told all of the nurses, ” This is Annalynn Olivia. Her name is Annalynn.” I hadn’t said her name to anyone out loud (except for Derek) at this point, it was a very emotional experience to be able to say it to someone for the first time.

Annalynn immediately calmed down on my chest and started trying to suck. I just stared at her in disbelief. This was our daughter. She was just in my belly. She’s here. I can’t believe she’s here.

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I was able to keep her on my chest for about 10 minutes while the doctor closed me up. After that, Derek headed to the recovery room with Annalynn for the rest of her measurements and tests. I remember the kind nurse who was pushing on my stomach asking, “Where did your belly go? You must have been all baby.” God bless her. Clearly she was my favorite nurse after that.

Once I was stitched up, they wheeled me to recovery where I met Derek and Annalynn. We spent an hour in there snuggling with our baby girl, still in disbelief she was ours. I also tried breastfeeding for the first time in recovery. I had zero clue what I was doing, but the nurse helped position me with the “football” hold and how to guide the nipple in Annalynn’s mouth. She immediately latched and ran with it. The nurse gave me a thumbs up and left us alone.

We had to stay in recovery until I could move my legs on my own. Once I was able to prove I could move my legs, we had to wait for a room to open up. The whole process took about an hour.

After being stuck in recovery for what felt like an eternity, we were thankful to receive a room assignment and finally brought upstairs. Annalynn was having some grunting issues, so they put her on me for an hour of skin-to-skin to calm her down and help get the fluid out of her airway. It was the best hour of my life.

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After the skin-to-skin, my parents finally had a chance to meet Annalynn and fell instantly in love with their first granddaughter.

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Since I was still tied to my bed for the evening, Derek took charge and was amazing that first day and night. He helped change all of the first diapers, became an expert swaddler (seriously, he is still better than me at this!), and helped give her her first bath.

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Recovering from the c-section was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I was stuck in my bed for the first day and had a nurse push down on my uterus (omg – so painful!) every 4 or so hours. I was warned not to refuse the pain medications, which sounded like common sense going in, but I really did feel great and was tempted to say no (even though I was only feeling great because of the pain medication).

I was able to get out of bed for the first time 7 hours after surgery and was taken off of the catheter and allowed to move for good at 3:00am. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery, was STARVING waiting to go into surgery, and still hungry after surgery. Unfortunately I was on a strict liquid diet until I was able to (TMI) pass gas for the first time on my own. I slurped down chicken broth and gatorade that evening and had never been more excited to tell someone I was able to pass gas the next morning. I told my nurse with beaming pride, then immediately ordered eggs and bacon from the cafeteria. It was my first meal in 30+ hours, hospital food never tasted so good!

We were originally supposed to stay in the hospital until Sunday, but since Annalynn and I were both doing so well (and Derek and I had major cabin fever) we were able to go home  on Saturday. Woo hoo!

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I almost refused the prescription for pain medication from my doctor as we were leaving. I honestly felt great and hadn’t been taking the pain medication I was being offered by the nurses as regularly as I should. However, at her gentle encouragement I eventually accepted and I’m so glad I did. There’s a BIG difference in moving around post-csection at the hospital, versus at home. The pain the first couple of days was intense, probably due to the fact I was walking around more than I should have. I still took the pain medication sparingly, but I’m so glad I had it.

I’m now 6 days post-surgery and while I’m still not 100% back to normal, I’d say I’m 85% there. I’m able to move around a lot more, getting on and off our tall bed isn’t as scary as it used to be (that first night was rough), and I’m able to comfortable pick Annalynn up without squinting in pain.

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I’ll be honest, having a newborn isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for a second. Annalynn is the love of our lives and we’re so thankful to have our rainbow baby with us. Being a mom is amazing and seeing my husband as a dad is even sweeter. I can’t wait to share the new adventures of our little family. Well, just as soon as I find time to sleep, take a shower, and put some clean clothes on. 😉

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