Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Long-Awaited Post

As an infertile Myrtle, I honestly never thought about writing my Someday Baby's birth story. But, since I am a closet sentimentalist, I feel compelled to document every detail I can remember from that someday... August 28th, 2012.

To back it up just a smidge, I should share that I consider myself blessed with a relatively easy and enjoyable pregnancy. And frankly, after everything else I had to put my body through just to get knocked up, I was due for a break. No morning sickness/heartburn/reflux, except for about three weeks of finding no food other than blueberry waffles appetizing (seriously, I ate them for dinner on the regular); only the slightest bit of swelling in my feet and ankles at the very end (I called them hams); a reasonable amount of stretch marks given that I was GINORMOUS by mid-second trimester; a manageable level of aches and pains for a small-framed person suddenly carrying around an extra 28 pounds. The only snag was a concern over preterm labor, sparked by the discovery that I was already fully effaced at week 36 and constant Braxton Hicks contractions since week 24. I was put on bed rest for all of 4 days to ensure I made it to the magic 37 week mark at which my doctor would be comfortable with the baby's lung development should I go into active labor. Little did we know that I could contract and be "thinned out" (why do all of these terms gross me out?) all I wanted, but dilation would be another story.

I stopped working on August 10th, and assumed I would have a few days, at best, to myself to relax and sleep in and "nest". Two weeks later, I was bored of trashy TV, insomnia prevented me from getting that sleep that everyone kept warning me to get NOW ("while you still can!", "you won't get to nap again for years!"), and I had cleaned and organized and laundered and readied our home as much as is humanly possible... but still no baby. A day after my due date, the situation was the same, so we scheduled an induction for 1 week past my due date, unless something miraculously changed before then. My body had failed to do what was expected of it yet again. *sigh*

So, on the evening of August 27th, I checked in to the hospital and was given meds to kick-start labor. In theory, I would then sleep while the drugs did their thing and my OB would check me in the morning and hopefully labor would have started and I'd be ready to deliver shortly thereafter. But, my body had other ideas and within a half hour of the drug being administered, I was having major contractions every 5 minutes or less. These were no joke! Of course, this meant I got zero sleep, and I worried that I wouldn't have the energy to push when the time came. By morning, I had made a little progress and was dilated 2cm. Dr. Massa arrived around noon, after I had been given my epidural, and I was about 3-4cm. Epi = heaven (except for the uncontrollable shivering). She asked me if we had talked about how big the baby is (the nurses all mentioned this too), but we never discussed it! Now I am thinking, "great, I have to birth a giant child." Because the head was so low and the feet were still up in my ribs, this was not a mind-blowing revelation.

Things were moving slowly and I wasn't trying to be a hero, so after 11 hours of labor, when she suggested breaking my water to move things into high gear, my response was, "Yes please!" In the process, she found that there was more blood in the amniotic fluid than she would expect to see. She feared placental abruption, which would mean a potential for the baby to go into distress due to lack of oxygen during labor and delivery. We monitored things for another hour, and the baby's stats were very good, but still too much blood. When she recommended a c-section, I was surprisingly calm. I trusted her completely and knew that it was the right thing to do for our baby's sake, so once the anesthesiologist was available, I was given more meds to make me fully numb from the chest down (I joked that the epi made me feel like I was wearing pants with fuzzy legs, lol!), Justin was given a sexy blue paper gown, cap, and shoe covers, and I was wheeled into the OR. I know he was scared, but he was trying very hard not to let me see it. Thing is, I really wasn't scared at all! Only once I was on the table, under the bright lights, and they were about to cut, did he ask me how I felt and I could only say, "terrified". 

They played music, talked casually, timed everything, chatted with me about how Justin and I met (she met her husband in a bar and made the first move too! Have I mentioned how much we ADORE Dr. Massa?) while they waited for me to be fully numb, and before I knew it, they were telling me I'd feel some tugging (did I ever!), and our daughter was born!

Serafina Marie Chadwick came into the world at 4:46pm on August 28th at a whopping 8 pounds, 15 ounces and 20.5 inches long. The first thing I said when they brought her around the sheet to me was, "Oh my god, she's beautiful!" There were a lot of tears, not surprisingly. She was perfectly healthy and pink and sweet.

So YOU'RE the one who's been kicking me!

Hi there!
Recovering from a c-section is not fun, but being cared for in the hospital for 4 days was a blessing in disguise. They warn you about the gas pains after this kind of surgery, but I was not prepared for that level of hurt. When I had to send Sera to the nursery because I was in too much pain to function, let alone care for her, I cried with the guilt only a mother can feel. But within a few days, I started to feel somewhat normal. Slow-moving, but more normal. 

Proud Papa
Now that we are home and adjusting to each other, I find myself often just staring at her. She looks so much like Justin, with blonde hair and big eyes like pools of dark blue water. But she also has a little of me in her face too, though I can't even pinpoint which feature it comes from. She's lovely. Even when it takes an hour to get her back to sleep at 3am and I still have to pump her next bottle (breast feeding has been a saga in itself), I can hardly contain my joy when I put her back into her bed next to mine and she makes her squirmy, stretchy movements and grunty, squeaky noises. We simply can't get enough of her, which we will try hard to remember when we inevitably hit those rough patches.

Justin is completely smitten with her. He marvels at each new facial expression and bounces her around the house in a seemingly endless pursuit of getting her to sleep so we can eat dinner or go to bed with enough time to truly rest before the next feeding. He is exactly the wonderful father I knew he would be, and our little family is complete (for now, anyway).