Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Caboose's Birth Story

Warning: this post comes with some pictures of blood and guts. Specifically, pictures of MY blood and guts. They're not super graphic but I'm still giving fair warning.

Stinky's Birth Story | Baby 2's Birth Story

After Baby 2 was born my OB moved away. I transferred to a new doctor who I ended up LOVING. She was open, supportive and unhurried and her office was full of people who remembered me by name.

From the get-go my new OB was totally open to having me attempt a VBA2C but I never felt very good about the idea. My previous attempted VBAC was terrifying and, ultimately, I made the decision to schedule a repeat c-section. My doc was, as always, supportive of my choice and scheduled my October 14th c-section back in April. The baby ended up settling into a frank breech position around 20 weeks and would NOT be moved so it was probably a good thing that I never set my heart on a vaginal delivery.

36 weeks

I never felt a single contraction with Stinky and only had a handful with Baby 2 before my water broke. This time around I had them constantly. I felt like I was in early labor for a full month before she was born. This had the unfortunate consequence of making feel like a total crazy person. I woke up many nights at around 1am with timeable, uncomfortable contractions that would last for an hour or two and then peter out. I kept thinking maybe I'd go early but then my appointments showed no progress.

On Monday, October 6 I felt sort of icky and off all day. I was a bit relieved when the nightly contractions got started earlier than usual. They kicked in around 6:30pm and I thought to myself, "Oh good, let's get this over with so I can get some decent sleep tonight!" Except instead of dying out like usual, they kept going. By 9:30 they had become quite uncomfortable and seemed to be closer together. Also, the baby wasn't her normal wiggly self. I texted my mom, "Hey, it's probably nothing but I'm having a lot of contractions and the baby isn't moving much. If they don't stop I may want to go in and have her monitored." At 10pm I called my doctor. She sounded half asleep and told me to go in. "I can't check you over the phone. They'll call me if you need me!" I decided to give it another half hour and see what happened. I put an ice pack on my belly to try and get the baby moving.

At 10:30 I admitted defeat and texted my mom to come over to stay with the boys. I was worried about the placenta giving up like Baby 2's had and I really wanted to get a monitor on the baby. Also, I was getting pretty uncomfortable and figured they might give me something to help ease the pain until the contractions stopped. I wasn't timing them but they seemed rather close together.

Aaron and I put our bags in the car just in case the baby didn't look good on the monitors but as we pulled out of the driveway I said, "Ugh this sucks. They're going to send us home at 2am and we are going to be total zombies tomorrow." Aaron nodded, "Yup."

They got me on the monitors in triage and asked me questions for 10 minutes, during which I had 4 contractions that were painful enough that I couldn't really talk. The nurse left to call my doctor and returned bearing an IV kit and an entourage. "Well," she held out a hand for my arm as another nurse gave Aaron a packet of scrubs, "looks like you'll be having a c-section in 30 minutes. It's baby time!"

Aaron asked why, worried that the baby was in distress. The nurse shrugged, "Well, she's in labor and in obvious pain."

Somehow, it hadn't actually occurred to me that the contractions might be the real thing. I was mostly just worried about how the baby was handling the squeezing (fine, apparently).

BRING IT.

I approve.

As Monday rolled over into Tuesday, October 7 I officially (according to my most conservative due date, anyway) hit 38 weeks as I signed consent forms.

Then I waddled my butt to the OR accompanied by nurses, the anesthesiologist and Aaron.


My boys were both emergency situations so it was a totally different experience this time around. No one was in a hurry. People cracked jokes. It was fairly relaxed, which helped me not to panic about the fact that I was minutes away from major surgery. They got me numbed, scrubbed and draped and then brought Aaron in.

So glad to see Aaron!

Both boys were out pretty quickly but with this baby they took their time. At one point I remember thinking, "Is she STILL not out yet? What are you people doing down there??" Aaron distracted me from all the pushing and pulling on the other side of the drape by talking about the numbers on the monitor by my head like he knew what they were. "Ah yes, I see you're at 110. That is exactly what I like to see, you're a model patient! Oh, and that 72 is fantastic..." The nurses giggled.

Then the anesthesiologist (who, small world, is my friend's brother) told Aaron to stand up and start taking pictures over the drape because our baby was coming.




I finally heard my baby cry!

They took her over to get cleaned off and I told Aaron to go be with her. I was suddenly exhausted. The anesthesiologist patted my arm and told me to take a little nap if I wanted.


Check out those wonky breech legs! They've since relaxed into a more normal position.

She was our gooiest baby yet so it took them a while to get her cleaned off. I really wanted to see her but I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I finally just relaxed and closed my eyes for a bit while they cleaned her up and looked her over. They called out to me that she weighed 7lbs 12oz.

After 10 minutes or so they brought her over.



I held her for a few minutes but then had to ask Aaron to take her. I was so tired I was worried my arms would give out and I'd drop her. He took her to the recovery room and I settled in for the patching-up process. I drifted in and out but never really fell asleep since the spinal makes it feel like you can't breathe very well (even though you can...it has something to do with numbed nerves not realizing that your chest is moving just fine). The anesthesiologist was fantastic...he stayed by my side and reassured me that the numbers on the screen really WERE perfect and I was doing great.

After what felt like FOREVER they wheeled me into recovery with Aaron and the baby. I snuggled her briefly but, again, was worried that my arms would give out and handed her back to Aaron.

Hanging out in recovery with me while daddy went to ask a question

We finally made it to a post-partum room just before 2am, which is when I had originally predicted they'd be sending us home. Ha.


Big brothers came the next day (Stinky had a bit of a cold so he wore Aaron's surgical mask from my c-section). They both wanted to see her umbilical cord stump.

My mom

Aaron's mom


Framing this one



This has been my easiest recovery yet. I stayed in the hospital for 4 days with both boys but I was dying to bust out of there after only 2 days this time. I was up and around no problem just a few hours after surgery and one of the nurses told me I was one of the easiest recovering c-section patients she'd ever seen. I think it's because my surgery was so much gentler this time and I also think the abdominal binder they strapped on me after they finished dressing my incision helped a TON. I remember walking hunched over, holding my mushy belly in place after my boys were born. This time the belly binder did that for me and gave me some core stability so I could get around more easily.

Nursing has been harder than with Baby 2 (she sometimes prefers screaming to latching and my supply is total crap) but we're figuring it out.

Mostly, this week has felt like a gift. I was scheduled for a c-section this morning at 6am so the past 7 days have been bonus snuggle time with my sweet girl!


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Baby 2's Birth Story

In preparation for the advent of our caboose I'm sharing my previous two birth stories. 

Stinky's Birth Story | Caboose's Birth Story
 


After Stinky's c-section I decided I really wanted to attempt a VBAC. I'm SO grateful that c-sections are an option since that likely saved Stinky but you do kind of miss out on that fresh-baby-on-the-chest experience. The OR is super cold to slow bacterial growth so they take babies over to a warmer immediately so they can clean them off, wrap them up and slap a hat on them.

My doctor was game for a VBAC attempt and we moved forward with that as our plan.

I hit 39 weeks more or less without incident. My fluid levels were good and the baby was head down. I was feeling optimistic, if a bit large. I had been pregnant SO MUCH LONGER and, hoo boy, I was feeling it.

I had an appointment that Monday and my blood pressure was starting to enter sketchy territory. I ended up at the hospital that afternoon to check fetal movement (he was fine. Just sleepy, apparently) and my doctor offered to let me stay and be induced. Neither Aaron nor I felt good about that so we declined and ended up scheduling an induction for Wednesday morning.

Over the next few hours I agonized over that decision. I had really wanted to go into labor on my own and I kept returning to this mental image of an unripe peach getting plucked from the tree. I felt raw and unready. I was really worried that induction would hurt my chances for a successful VBAC. I discussed it with Aaron and finally decided to cancel the induction and give myself one more week to go into labor on my own.



I called to cancel the induction on Tuesday morning- 2 days before my due date- but then my doctor called me back herself (which never happens. It's always a nurse) and we had a really good chat. She addressed all my concerns and told me hers and I hung up having decided to stick with the induction after all. It helped that I'd had some serious contractions for several hours that day plus a few other icky labor signs that don't need to be mentioned here and was feeling a lot more like maybe my body was ready after all.

On Tuesday afternoon I put Stinky down for a nap and laid down myself. Around 3 I woke up with a couple painful contractions. I sort of dozed for another half hour when I realized things were kind of...wet. I rolled out of bed and, sure enough- my water had broken!

I jumped in the shower real fast since I knew Aaron should be home from a meeting at any minute. I blow-dried my hair. I put on makeup. I called my dad to come stay with Stinky. I double checked my hospital bag. No Aaron. I finally called and asked, "Are you going to be home soon?" He replied, "No, I've got some stuff I need to do." So I replied, "Um, can you come home? My water broke." He headed home.

My dad came over to grab Stinky while Aaron and I headed off to the hospital. It had been just under an hour since my water broke and things were getting painful fast. They took one look at my face in triage and set me up in a bed immediately. They confirmed that my water had broken and hooked me up to a monitor. They also gave me the rather disappointing news that I wasn't even quite dilated to a one.

Last picture before I donned the beautiful gown


After over an hour of excruciating pain (seriously, no one told me that contractions feel like you're getting STABBED) I asked if I could have anything for pain relief. I still wasn't even at a 2 so they offered me Stadol. I took it.

As it turns out, Stadol is kind of a nightmare. It takes you to weeeird places without really making a huge difference in how much pain you're feeling. However, it DID allow me to relax over the next couple hours, which got me dilated to a 3. They mercifully gave me an epidural while I jabbered about how much I looooved the anesthesiologist and the nurse and the lamp and the gown and the linoleum and.... (Stadol. Not even once, kids).




I dozed for a couple hours and made it to a 5.

An alarm started beeping and my doctor came in. Since I was attempting a VBAC they had the baby on continuous monitoring and she stared hard at the screen for a minute before turning to me. "Kayla, you did really well and you gave it a great try, but now we need to get that baby OUT, ok?" I nodded.

They rushed me down the hall to the OR. Within minutes, we heard our baby cry.




Of all things, I wanted to know how much he weighed. With Stinky being premature and under 5 pounds I was SO curious what an almost 40-weeker would clock in at. I asked like 3 times before they finally weighed him- 8 pounds 4 oz!

With Stinky's c-section I felt NOTHING but, for some reason, with Baby 2 I could feel...stuff. Not pain, exactly, but after Baby 2 was out I could tell there were hands rooting around my insides. They called Aaron over to cut Baby 2's cord but he looked at my face and said, "Um, I think I better stay with her." After a few minutes of escalating panic over the hands in my guts, the anesthesiologist knocked me out.

I woke up in recovery to see Aaron snuggling our new baby. It was kind of novel to have the baby WITH us since Stinky had gone straight to the NICU. We toasted. We snuggled. We marveled at his red hair and full cheeks. We waited for feeling to return to my toes.


A few hours later Stinky showed up to meet his baby brother.


We found out later that the placenta hemorrhaged during labor, which meant Baby 2 was no longer getting anything from me and I had some internal bleeding. Again, I'm SO thankful for c-sections. It's possible that neither of my babies would be here and there's a chance I might not be here either. Emergency c-sections aren't exactly fun but I'll certainly take the operating room over the alternative.

Baby 2 was born 6 days before my birthday. We called him my little birthday present.


Baby 2 has always been a big-time mama's boy. The other day Aaron called his brother in Hawaii and Baby 2 asked to talk. "Hey Jeremy...did you know I like mom the best?" We joke that he's our Buster.

He still a little bit red-headed. He's also our loud, funny, rambunctious kid. He started talking early and pretty much never stopped. He's super affectionate and has been talking to and kissing my belly almost since the day we told the boys that we were having a baby. We're a little worried about how he'll handle not being the baby anymore but he's been promising his sister that he'll take the BEST care of her so hopefully her entry into our lives won't be too traumatic for him!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stinky's Birth Story

With the impending arrival of our caboose I thought I'd share my previous two birth stories (I'm a sucker for birth stories...if you're not then I'm totally not offended if you move on to the next post in your reader). We'll start with Stinky. Apologies for the length!

Baby 2's Birth Story | Caboose's Birth Story

At my 30 week appointment my doctor got out her tape measure and cocked her head. "It's probably nothing," she probed my belly, "but you're feeling a bit small. I'm going to send you in for an NST and another ultrasound."

30 weeks with Stinky


The first-time-mom in me heard "another ultrasound" and went WOOHOO! The "feeling small" part didn't really register. I went to the hospital straight from my appointment for the non-stress test, which went swimmingly. Because the baby performed so well on the NST they didn't do an ultrasound that day and encouraged me to schedule one that week with my doctor's preferred provider.

Christmas wasn't too far off and I knew if I dragged my feet long enough then my sister would be in town and could come to the ultrasound. I put it off for a week and managed to have both my sister and my mom there. The tech didn't say much but did ask if they measured my fluid levels at the hospital the week before. "Nope! He did great on his NST. They weren't worried." I went back to admiring my baby.

Given the tech's question I shouldn't have been too surprised to get a panicked phone call the next day from my doctor's office ordering me to get to the hospital immediately.

As it turns out, the situation wasn't quite as dire as they originally thought, but my fluid levels were uncomfortably low. They would expect someone around 31 weeks to have fluid measuring in the mid teens but I was below an 8. They put me on modified bed rest and told me to drink water like it was my job.



The next couple weeks saw me going to the hospital twice a week for NSTs and ultrasounds plus regular visits with my doctor. I laid on the couch a lot, read a bunch of books, took naps, and drank a TON of water.

On January 3rd I had an NST, BPP (biophysical profile aka a high level ultrasound), and an appointment with my doctor. My fluid levels had dropped a bit more and I was put on strict bed rest (I was only allowed to get up to pee and take the world's shortest showers). Also, the baby was still breech and, with the drop in fluid, very likely had no room to turn head down. Cord compression began to be a very real fear. We had discussed it before but it finally sunk in that I would be having a c-section. Also, they gave me a steroid shot to speed baby's lung development. I turned to my mom and said, "Any time I've heard of someone getting a steroid shot their baby was born within 24 hours."

They wanted me to come in again the next day for the second steroid shot and another round of testing.

On January 4th my mom drove me to my NST and BPP at the hospital.  He did well on his NST, they gave me the second steroid shot, then wheeled me up for the BPP. Afterward, we waited in triage for over 2 hours for the results. There was some sort of computer issue and my results were stuck in tech limbo. We were hungry, grumpy, and ready to go home. I talked a nurse into bringing me some graham crackers and peanut butter. Finally, 6 hours after we had arrived, a nurse came in. She explained that she needed to start an IV and that my doctor was on her way to talk to me.

My mom called my dad and I called Aaron. He had just gotten home from work so I asked him to grab my hospital bag, just in case. My doctor arrived and told me that my fluids were down into the 2s and the baby was no longer better off inside. I would be having a c-section in 45 minutes.



The next 45 minutes were a blur of consent forms, information about anesthesia, what would happen to my baby, the surgery, etc. By 7:30 I was laying on the table in the freezing OR, numb from the armpits down, with Aaron in full scrubs sitting by my head. He told me I looked beautiful.

I could see them scrubbing my belly in the reflection of the overhead light. I panicked and asked them to move the drape up a bit to block my view. I had no interest in seeing my own insides.

The anesthesiologist told me that my doctor had started and I replied that I didn't want to know, to please tell me when it was over.

Within just a few minutes we heard a tiny cry.



Baby Stinky was born one day shy of 34 weeks and weighed 4 pounds 15 ounces. He had a little head of fuzzy blonde hair and a dent in the back of his skull from where he had been pressed up against my ribs with no fluid to act as a cushion.


He spent 13 days in the NICU learning to breathe and eat on his own and gaining a little bit of weight. My recovery was a piece of cake- I skipped the last 6 weeks of pregnancy and I didn't have a baby to take care of for almost 2 weeks! Still, we were thrilled when he came home.

With my dad in the hospital

He was on an apnea monitor for a few months but by his first birthday he was all caught up!

Since I generally keep my kids off this blog I don't get to brag on them much so I'm going to get a little bit in now! Stinky is tall, handsome, and has his dad's engineering brain. He's the quieter and more contemplative of our kids, which jibes with his laid-back fetal behavior (I didn't feel so much as a wiggle from him until almost 24 weeks and they frequently had to use the buzzer on him at ultrasounds). He's a good soul. Regardless of how he got here, we're happy to have him!



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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Arizona Blogger Meetup

A year and a half ago I attended a blogger meetup organized by Camille and Katie. It was right as I was coming out of my thyroid haze and starting to feel better and was thinking about maaaybe getting excited about blogging and leaving my house again. On my way out the door I turned to Camille and said, "Hey, I'd like to help out if you do more of these in the future."


And thus I landed myself on the Arizona Blogger Meetup committee. I even hosted the last meetup at my house (because it was free and has a large backyard. I feel like I still owe some apologies for the ants and patchy grass though. We've conquered those things! Come back, people!)


Anyway, our most recent event was last Saturday at the Shine Space in Phoenix and it was lovely.

I went WAY outside my comfort zone and reached out to some sponsors to provide stuff for swag bags and a raffle table. Much to my relief, people said yes. DownEast Basics (a LONGTIME fav of mine) was amazing and provided gift cards AND a gorgeous display. My mom won a gift basket of Fairytale Brownies years ago and I've never forgotten it...they threw a brownie in each swag bag AND offered a couple gift boxes for the raffle.

Tiny Prints let us do these awesome notebooks. I NEVER have paper around and it's a huge pain because I am a listmaker extraordinaire so this hasn't left my purse! Watercolor background art by Beth Allen and fancy wording by Erin of Strawberry Mommycakes.



Proof Bread provided some super yummy pain au chocolat.

There was lots of iPhone photography. Unfortunately, I was using my phone as a GPS for 2 hours beforehand and by the time I finally arrived in Phoenix my battery was shot. So I obviously planned that well.

The Shine Space was SO cute but it got veeeery hot with all those bodies in there. When 4pm rolled around everyone was like, "Welp, that was fun. SEE YA." When we took the below picture Lydia told me to stop looking so hot. And she didn't mean it in the "attractive" sense.

The committee! And yes, Camille always remembers lipstick and I never do and that's why I am The Undead.



Camille welcoming everyone


Summer and Emily spoke on working with brands. Summer is a model and blogger with LOTS of experience working with companies and Emily is a small business owner. They gave a great presentation that gave helpful info from both sides!

Stephanie taught a roundtable on photo styling. I missed this one but heard it was fantastic!

Reachel talked about figuring out YOUR brand and being your own sweet self rather than trying to be EVERYTHING to EVERYONE. It was a shootoff of her fantastic Alt presentation and I loved it.
Ashley taught a roundtable on collaborating with others. I missed it due to running around but heard it was fantastic.


The whole crew!

Team Camayla!

Are you a local blogger interested in coming to our next meetup (or a brand interested in being a sponsor)? The website is under construction but ask to join the FB page to stay up to date with announcements and upcoming events! The next meetup will be in November or December and hopefully will not have an attendance cap (we had to stop this one at 50 due to space constraints) so it will be a great networking opportunity!
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