So yeah...I've obviously been a little busy since I last posted in 2010. I hope I remember how to do this blogging thing! :) Ever since I discovered Instagram, that has replaced my blogging habit. I'm going to try and start blogging again, but if you want a glimpse of my life through pictures, follow me on Instagram! My username is...you guessed it...hizzeather.
So, to catch everybody up, Cody and I have been married for 3 1/2 years, and back in January we found out we were expecting a baby! Pregnancy was really rough for me..."morning" sickness the first trimester, and then really bad acid reflux after that. So I was throwing up the whole 9 months. I actually lost weight while pregnant!
Meanwhile, Cody was plugging away at school, and he graduated with a degree in Aviation Sciences. He has applied to the FAA to be an Air Traffic Controller and we are waiting for when they start hiring again and hoping that they pick us! :) My parents have been REALLY nice and have put up with us living with them all this time that we've been married...I know they're hoping the FAA calls soon too! The catch in all this though is that the position he is offered won't likely be very close to Palmdale (we could go ANYWHERE), so although it will be nice to get started with a career and "real life", we will have to move away from family.
All right, back to the part I'm sure everyone really cares about...we had a baby! He is the most delicious baby :), and we love him so very much! It always fascinates me to hear other women's birth stories, so here is mine. WARNING! If you don't want to know what REALLY happens when a woman gives birth, leave now. This is long & graphic! :)
It was a dark and stormy night...Ok, not really, but one night at about 11pm I did notice that I was spotting, bright red blood. I had already lost my mucus plug a few days before. Everything I'd read said that red blood was a cause for concern, so, even though I didn't want to be that girl that went into labor & delivery for every little thing, we headed in, just to get checked out. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for awhile, but they were irregular and not painful. I got checked into triage, strapped to some monitors (to monitor baby's heartbeat & my contractions), and the nurse did a cervix check. I was only dilated about a 2, she didn't find any more red blood, and after an hour I was still at a 2, contractions were still irregular, and still no more blood, so I was sent home. The likely culprit for the red spotting was bouncing on the exercise ball. The nurse said I would very likely have a lot of darker spotting after the cervix check & not to worry. We got home and I went straight to bed, about 2am. The next morning when I stood up, I felt a whoosh...sure enough, all the spotting she told me I would get, but a lot of clear fluid too. Did my water break? I called my Dr, he said to go to L&D, just in case. Oh brother, not even 12 hours later, I'm back again. After 4 hours and 3 separate tests to see if it was indeed my water that broke (strip test, lab test, & ultrasound), all 3 were negative. Sent back home. The interesting thing was that although I was hooked up to the monitors this time too, I was having zero contractions. They had been 2 - 6 minutes apart 10 hours earlier. Weird. We were really perplexed what that clear, odorless fluid had been...Cody came to the conclusion that it was probably the lubricant the nurse had used. I had laid down immediately upon coming home, and it had probably liquefied and pooled until I stood up.
2 days go by with no action besides some more painless Braxton Hicks. Monday rolls around, Labor Day actually, and I keep busy running errands and baby-sitting my brother's kids. I was supposed to go to the movies with my parents, but I decided I didn't feel like sitting through a movie and I offered to watch the kids so my brother & sister could go. At about 2pm, I go to the restroom, again (I had to pee like every hour during that last month or so of pregnancy!). When I stand up, I feel a gush of fluid. Hmm, weird, must be some more discharge. I check it out, and its a brownish-green fluid. Super weird. A few minutes go by, and I feel a gush again, smaller this time, but greenish fluid. After another gush a few minutes later, it finally clicks that my water has broken...I was thrown off by the green tint. I had read that if your amniotic fluid is green, that the baby has had a bowel movement in utero and that precautions need to be taken immediately after birth to make sure the baby doesn't inhale the meconium (infant stool). So I'm freaking out a little, of course, but after 2 false alarms already, I'm still trying to be cautious and be sure before I go back to l&d. I called my brother...the movie wasn't over yet, so I told him to call me when it was done, and I played with the kids a bit more waiting for the call. He called back just 10 minutes later and I told them to hurry back because I think my water broke. I called Cody at work and told him he'd probably better come home. My parents swung by and picked up Cody from work on the way back from the movies (I had our car). I gathered our hospital bags, snacks & pillows, and when Cody got home & changed, we went on our merry way. I didn't really believe that I was in labor, because although I was having Braxton Hicks, they were irregular and painless, so how could I be in labor? We got to the hospital about 4pm. We were admitted to Triage again...while changing into my hospital gown more fluid escaped and puddled on the floor. We started to refer to the fluid as "Hulk Juice" because of it's color and because it was not making me happy with how often it was appearing and getting everywhere. The nurse did a strip test, and right away it was positive...my water had broken. For the first time I would be leaving triage, but going to a labor room! So weird...I was going to have a baby!
I have a great doctor, Dr. Ngo. He has a partner, Dr. Berman, and whichever one is on call when you go into labor is the one that will deliver your baby. I had discussed my "birth plan" with Dr. Ngo and was pleasantly surprised to find out that what I wanted perfectly aligned with his style...No C-section unless medically necessary, no pitocin, and skin-to-skin contact directly after birth. Awesome! Too bad when I went into labor neither Ngo nor Berman were on call. It was a Dr. Baker, and after she got off at 8am, it was Dr. Berman. Rats! He's a fine doctor and all, but I wanted MY doctor!
While waiting for my nurse to come get me and take me to my room, I discussed with the Triage nurse about Pitocin. She said they would probably put me on it to start contractions (I was at a 2 still, with irregular contractions). I told her that I understood time was an issue due to my water breaking and the meconium, but that I didn't want pitocin, as it makes labor more painful. She asked if I was getting an epidural. I told her probably, yes. She countered wondering why I would care because I wouldn't feel pain anyways. Touche. Both nurses advise pitocin to start real contractions and get me dilated. I got into our labor room at about 5:30pm. It was a very nice, very large room, with a couch for Cody to sleep on and 2 chairs for other visitors. My cousin Jason stopped by and he and Cody gave me a blessing, which helped me feel peace. Getting the IV put in (my first time!) was painful, and the antibiotics I had to be on (I was Strep B positive) burned going in! I settled in, still having to make frequent trips to the restroom, dripping Hulk Juice. I was a hot mess. Cody got to lay down, stretch out, enjoy his snacks...I had a couple of crackers. Although they tell you not to eat while in labor, I'm pretty sure the main reason is in case you need a C-Section, and since I was definitely NOT having a C-section, I didn't worry about those 2 crackers...or the half a cookie I had later. :)
About 8pm with no pain and no progression, we decided to do the pitocin. I also decided then to definitely get an epidural, because I now knew for sure labor would be painful, and I had wanted to pass out just getting the IV! :) I decided to wait until I was further along to get the epidural. Things started to progress a bit with the pitocin, but it was still hours of just laying in a bed, switching positions every once in a while (which was a pain because the nurse had to adjust the monitors each time). I don't remember what time it was, but sometime before midnight the pain got really bad, really fast. I was trying to be tough, but darn it those contractions hurt like a mother! My mom and my sister-in-law were there supporting me, and they said that maybe I was going through transition already, maybe I was at a 9, maybe I could give birth without an epi. I told them they were crazy, had the nurse check me, I was at a 4. Yep, I asked for the epidural right then. It took about 30 minutes until I could get it because they wanted to pour fluids in me through my IV. When the anesthesiologist came, they kicked my mom & mother-in-law out of the room, but let Cody stay. He had to stand in front of me and hold my hands while the anesthesiologist stuck a tube in my spine. The nurse was nice, calmly letting me know what he was doing and warning me when there would be "a pinch", or when it would "burn like a bee sting". The fear of it was probably worse than the actual procedure, but I don't really remember it much because I only remember the sweet relief once it kicked in...I love epidurals! :) I admire the women who give birth without them, I appreciate the fact that it is ideal to not drug your baby and that you are denying yourself and your baby the natural endorphins when you use drugs, but gosh darn it, there is NO WAY I could have endured that pain. After that everything calmed down, and although I still felt the contractions, they weren't painful anymore. The rounds of antibiotics I had to take didn't burn much anymore either. I tried to sleep a little, but between the snores of my husband (he had NO PROBLEM sleeping!) and my own snores waking me up, I only caught a few winks.
At about 1:30am the mothers noticed the baby's heart rate drop drastically and were commenting to each other about it. Sure enough the nurse rushes in and is concerned. She lowers the pitocin and has me switch positions...his heart rate goes back to normal, but now the monitors aren't picking things up as well. They also put me on oxygen for the baby. I hated having that mask over my nose & mouth! There were about 2 more episodes of his heart rate dropping, the nurse rushing in, moving me again, and lowering the pitocin until at 4am they shut it off completely. I was texting my friend Sjauna a bit, and she warned me they might insist on a C-section. I assured her that they wouldn't, that my nurse had never mentioned it. By this time I was at a 6, 90% effaced, and his head was at a -1. At one point the contractions were crazy, I felt lots of pressure, and they were 2 minutes apart. But when they slowed the pitocin, the contractions slowed too. At about 5:45am I was at a 7, his head in 0 position. He was taking his sweet time! Up to this point I had the sweetest nurses, both in triage and in my labor room. They were super friendly, very informative, always explaining exactly what they were doing & why. My labor nurse Ruth was awesome, and I was counting on having her until shift change at 7:30am. Well, they got very busy in l&d that night and had to call in nurses to come in early. For some reason Ruth had to go to another area and Delia replaced her. The difference was night and day. Delia would come in to check the monitor, then walk right out without even saying a word to us. Cody & I were able to bring her a little out of her shell and joke with her a bit, but she was kinda no-nonsense. We nicknamed her Nurse Nazi. :) We asked her if we would still be getting a new nurse at 7:30. When she told us that she would probably be our nurse still at shift change, we hid our disappointment. I remember thinking that at least by us having her that some other young mom was spared her. We could handle her because of our happy disposition and ability to laugh at anything.
Right after the change, my dad & Jill came to visit. It was pretty boring, Cody was asleep and I was so exhausted, trying to sleep, but I couldn't because of the stupid oxygen mask on my face, the contractions, and the fact that I was starting to feel pain. All of a sudden something changed. I started twitching, slowly at first, but uncontrollably. I knew something was different, so Cody got the nurse, she checked my cervix, and I was between a 9 & a 10 (She called it "Rim"...I guess the cervix was just a little rim at that point). It was about 6:45 at this time, and I thought we were about to see some action! I did get some action, but not what I expected. All of a sudden a few nurses and the doctor on call rushed in. The baby's heart rate had dropped again. The doctor reached inside me and was going to turn the baby, but then he turned on his own...I'm not clear what happened here, it's a little blurry, but I think it had something to do with him being on his umbilical cord. I thought maybe I would start giving birth or something at this point, but as fast as they all came, they left again. Like I said, it had gotten really busy in l&d, so I don't really know what happened there and I didn't ask because I was really feeling the pain now, even with the epi. I know it wasn't as bad as it would have been without drugs, so I can't even imagine!
At about 7:30 the nurse told me that she would have me start to push when my doctor came on (he was due in at 8). The contractions got steadier and steadier. At 9:30am I was getting pissed and talking trash about my doctor to the nurse, who I could tell was just as annoyed. At about 10:00, when my doctor was finally seen at the hospital, (although not seen by me!) the nurse had me start pushing. Pushing was awful for me. Nurse Nazi was not sympathetic, and she kept commanding me to push. Hands under your knees! Grab your legs! Chin to your chest! Bear down! Push! It was awful. I asked Cody to stand near my legs so I could use his body as leverage like the nurse had showed us. He didn't get what I was saying, and we had a funny moment where I grabbed him so hard to put him in position that I left a hand mark on his waist! My mother-in law had my other leg, and my mom helped me lift up my back and press my chin down. The nurse would tell me to breathe in, then as I pushed, she would count to 10, then I would breath in and do it again 2 more times. Each time she got to 9 she pushed down hard on my perinium or something...it hurt! And that stupid mask! I was so hot, and it was smothering me, it felt like. But she had no sympathy, of course. :) I have no idea how many times I pushed. All I know is that maybe half way through I told her that I couldn't do it anymore, that I knew nothing was changing, pushing was getting me no where. She assured me that the baby was moving. I doubted her, but pressed on as best I could. I kept getting weaker & weaker, and twitching more & more. It was the worst experience of my life. I hated every second.
After over an hour and a half, the nurse left to go "consult with the doctor". At this point I knew she was going to suggest a C-section, but I was so exhausted I couldn't care. I kept pushing with the help of my team while she was gone, and sure enough, when she came back, she gave me the news...the baby was not moving at all, he was likely stuck in my pelvis. As she so eloquently said, "You're a big girl, but I think you have a small pelvis." :) My MIL was nice and said, "She's not that big.", but Nurse Nazi came back with, "No, she's a big girl." LOL...even in my exhausted state, I thought this was funny, although I could not laugh or anything. In fact, there was a lot I couldn't do. I couldn't call her a liar for telling me that he was moving, I couldn't say, "I told you so!" When she said that my doctor advised a C-Section, all I could do was feebly nod. My mom was a little mad...she asked the nurse how the doctor could make that call without even looking at me. But as we all know, the nurses know what they're doing. In fact, she said that other nurses call her in when they're having trouble, because she "can get a semi-truck out of a keyhole", but my baby wasn't budging. Everything had gone so wrong up to this point...water broke early, meconium in the waters, no natural progression, had to use pitocin, positive for strep B, baby's heart rate kept dropping, etc, etc, etc...I just wanted him to come out so that we could know that he was ok.
It's all a little blurry to me at this point, because I was spent, twitching all weird, still having to push, but only half-heartedly because I knew it was pointless. Quite a few people rushed in...my doctor actually made an appearance for the first time, someone took my blood, an anesthesiologist was checking me to see where I was numb, someone was shaving where they would cut me, I had to sign some forms (I basically just scribbled on them). I was too tired to really freak out, but I could tell my mom was freaking out enough for the both of us. :) She had my dad come in, I was able to ask him & Cody to give me a blessing. My mom took a couple of quick videos (You know...in case I died!), and she asked me if I wanted to say anything to Ronin. I shook my head because I couldn't speak, but then I realized it looked like I didn't want to say anything, so I stuck up my hand in the sign for "I love you", just in case those were my "last words". At this point I lost it...I was physically and emotionally spent. The tears started coming as it hit me what was about to happen. I'm glad my mom was videotaping, because when I watched it later, I had forgotten that Nurse Nazi had given me some final words before I was wheeled into the operating room. She said something like, "You did a good job, you tried really hard." Later I realized what a blessing it was to have Nurse Nazi, because if it had been one of the sweet nurses who said everything nice, the words wouldn't have meant as much. I might have felt like I failed, like I didn't do enough to have my baby naturally. But her no-nonsense approach, her refusal to take pity on me and give up, and her not saying any words unless she meant it helped me realize that this was meant to be.
So, Cody puts the paper jumpsuit on over his clothes, with the booties and the hat, they slap a hat on me, and they wheel me to the OR. I'm crying still because everything is just so emotional. I'm finally able to talk a little because the pitocim has kind of worn off, the contractions have calmed, and the OR was freezing which helped jolt me awake. They made Cody wait in the hall while they strapped my arms down and started prepping me for the surgery. There were about 6 people in there, not sure who they were or what they did, but all of them kept telling me to stop crying. I responded with, "I'm just so emotional...I'm a cryer!" One nice guy started talking to me about my baby's name and other stuff, and that helped me calm a little. I had to confess about the 2 crackers & the half a cookie. :) I was being prepped while they waited for my doctor (late again!) for maybe 15 minutes, and I know I asked for Cody about 4 times. Meanwhile the anesthesiologist was making sure I was numb from the waist down. He told me that I would feel pressure, but not pain. Well, they put a needle or something on both sides of my stomach...both were painful. So he gave me more drugs. They put that big sheet up so I couldn't see anything...I asked for Cody, they said he would come soon. Meanwhile the doctor had arrived, so I wondered why they weren't letting Cody in. They poked me again with the needles...I only felt pain on the left side, not the right. They gave me more drugs...I could feel them going into my spine. I could tell they were starting the surgery, I'm still crying, asking for Cody, when the anesthesiologist says, all exasperated, "Just let her husband come in so she'll stop crying!" Cody comes in, holds my hand, I immediately calm down, but as they're cutting, I can still feel it on my left side! I tell them I still feel pain, I feel something cold go in my spine, I'm holding onto Cody really tight, and I say, "The lights are spinning..."
BAM...I'm in another sphere. I can't remember all the details, it's very vague, but I can remember impressions of colorful, stacked boxes, I knew that I was stuck somewhere that wasn't Earth, I thought I might be dead, but I wasn't sure, and I knew Cody wasn't with me. It was kind of scary, knowing that I was "somewhere else" and that I couldn't do anything about it. Luckily I don't remember it vividly, but I do remember that I still felt time passing, and I felt very stuck in a very weird place.
All of a sudden, I'm awake again, and I'm being wheeled down a hall. All I can see are the lights on the ceiling. Tears are still pouring down my face, and every time we go through a doorway with bumps I feel pain. I'm wheeled into Recovery, but I'm so out of it I don't really know what's going on. They put me in a curtained off area, and all of a sudden, to my right, Cody walks in holding our son! I lost it at this point, just sobbing with emotion and relief. We had a baby! He was alive and okay! I had survived! I kept saying weird things like, "We have a baby!", "I love you so much!", & "I was somewhere else and you weren't with me!" I was still in a lot of pain, so they gave me morphine, and I was able to kind of clear my head. Cody called my mom and put me on speakerphone because she was so worried about me...I have no idea what I said to her. The nurse had Cody bring the baby across the room to do something, and my dear husband told the nurse how much I wanted to have skin to skin contact and breastfeed right away, so she brought little Ronin over to me, laid him on my chest, and for the first time I got to hold my son! Up until that point, this had literally been the worst day of my life. But at that moment, it turned into the BEST day of my life! Ronin latched right on and I was feeding my son! It was magical, to me.
I had to be filled in on all the details, as I had not exactly been in the room when Ronin arrived. He was born at 1:22 pm, 7 pounds exactly, and 20.25 inches long. Cody didn't get to cut the cord as they had to quickly check his lungs and other stuff, to make sure he didn't inhale meconium (luckily he didn't).
Soon after I was wheeled into our room that we would inhabit the next few days. We were lucky to get a double room that we never had to share, so Cody had his own hospital bed to sleep in. I laid in bed, exhausted, happy, sore, euphoric, holding our son, and we could start having visitors. The mothers came in and were able to watch the nurse give Ronin his first bath. A lot of other family came by that day, but I was so tired and out of it that I just lay there, closing my eyes here and there, and enjoyed them all cooing over and holding the baby. The most memorable visitor I had was the anesthesiologist, checking on me. I was able to "confront" him...in an amiable way, of course. I asked him, "You really don't like women crying, do you?" He sheepishly admitted no, and I asked him why he wasn't letting my husband in the room when that was what I was told would happen and what I kept asking for. He told us that his policy is to not let the fathers in until the women are calm, so that the fathers don't get upset. Well, that was dumb, because I couldn't calm down until he came in! Good thing I kept asking! I also got to ask him what he had used to knock me out and what had happened to me. He had given me Ketamine, which is also known as "Special K" on the street and causes hallucinations. I now have something in common with all the ravers who take Special K at the clubs! :)
The rest of my stay is not as exciting and pretty generic. We got used to our baby, figured out the whole breast feeding thing, changed a lot of diapers, took little walks to help me heal faster, and had a wonderful time just bonding together as our new little family. The food was great, the nurses were awesome, we had lots of lovely visitors. I didn't get much sleep, of course, but I actually enjoyed my time in the hospital and appreciated all the help they provide during my recovery. Yay nurses!
The worst part of the hospital was that our poor baby had jaundice and had to be under the bilirubin lights for about a day and a half...he didn't like that much and neither did we. Luckily they had a moveable bili light pad that we could actually hold him in, so that was better than just leaving him under a lamp the whole time, but the poor guy really hated wearing the "sun glasses" mask that whole time. We would give him little breaks, much to the nurses disdain. :) But the jaundice cleared up and he was just fine. One of my favorite moments in the hospital was sleeping with Ronin next to me, him being snuggled in the bili light blanket. He slept great for almost 2 hours! He did so well that Cody offered to sleep with him the next round. Well, we couldn't figure out what changed, but he was not having it this time. Poor Cody and Ronin didn't get much sleep. I felt pity for Cody and had him bring him back to me after a while...Ronin settled right down and went to sleep. Then it hit me...the baby just wanted to be near me, his mama! I felt very privileged and honored at that point, that he wanted me. I felt bad for Cody, but he understood that, seeing as I had carried Ronin for 9 months, we had a bit more of a bond going on. :)
Cody did a lot of bonding with Ronin at the hospital. It was really cool to see him grow as a father, to see him gain confidence. Ronin sure does love his daddy! At one point I was walking back to our room after visiting my friend who had also had her baby. It took me longer to get back to the room because I was so slow, so by the time I got there the baby was having his heel pricked for a blood test. It takes a long time because they have to get enough blood to fill in all these circle on this piece of paper...it was awful. Ronin was screaming, so I of course was crying, and Cody cupped the baby's head in his big hands and started to talk to him, and Ronin calmed down and just looked at daddy, even though the tech was still drawing blood from his heel. It was the sweetest moment, seeing my husband calm our son! We both learned what our son likes and how to calm him, like singing to him, or letting him grab onto your finger, and snuggling him and kissing his cheeks. These have come in handy more than once!
We came home after 4 days, and it was so weird to be home with our baby! Cody had to go to work that night, but luckily I was healing really well and I have been able to take care of the baby by myself...but I sure do prefer it when Cody is home! He was asleep when we got home, so we put him in his bassinet. I laid in bed, getting a little rest, but not really sleeping. Cody had left for work, and so I would glance over at the baby occasionally to check on him. At one point, he hadn't made a peep or anything, but I looked over at him and his eyes were wide open and he was looking at me. Good thing no one was home, because I burst into tears of joy and scooped him up and snuggled him. He is just the cutest baby and we love him so much! He is 17 days old today, and overall a pretty good baby! He is in a pretty good routine where he sleeps for 3 - 4 hour chunks at night (mostly!). I breastfeed him on demand, and he is slowly chunking up, although he is surprisingly small considering he came from Cody & I! After all, Daddy is 6'6", and as Nurse Nazi says, I'm a "big girl". :) We had him weighed today and he is 7 lbs 6 oz. I'm healing from the surgery very well, thanks to getting up and walking while in the hospital I think. Also, the doctor did a very good job on my incision (I have internal sutures and derma-bond, which is a glue on the outside).
Adjusting to having a baby hasn't been that hard, but adjusting to the hormones has been rough! I've had quite a few "breakdowns" where I couldn't control the tears, and I'm so grateful for my friends who are nurses and for them always taking my calls and calming me down! :) I've cried over my ankle swelling (I googled it and thought I might die of a pulmonary embolism), over Ronin's cord bleeding a little (he snagged it), over the fact that Cody couldn't be in the room when Ronin was circumcised, etc, etc. Cody thinks it's funny because I have never cried so much in my life! It's funny to me too, because as I'm sobbing I know I'm being ridiculous, yet I still can't help it! :) The hormones might have just about leveled off by now because I'm not crying that much anymore. Or else I am just so experienced a mom now nothing fazes me...ha ha yeah right! :)
So...if you actually made it through this epic, long, dramatic birth story, then you deserve to look at some cute pictures! Or, if you just skipped to the bottom, that's ok too. :)