So it’s been a minute, huh? A new baby will do that to ya.
On June 12, our family was surprised and blessed with a baby boy! And a big one…9 pounds, 4 ounces!
We knew that baby was gonna be bigger than brother, who was 8 pounds, but I was not expecting a baby over 9. And his size made my scheduled c-section even difficult. Buckle in, because I’m going to share the bumpy ride that was his delivery.
Since my first pregnancy was induced and resulted in a c-section after 25 hours of labor, a repeat c-section was pretty much planned from the start. I was open to a VBAC if I were to spontaneously go into labor on my own, which I knew would be unlikely before 40 weeks, so surgery was set.
It was a totally different experience walking into the hospital and getting prepped for a surgery that would deliver me a baby in the matter of a couple hours. I even walked into the OR and hopped up onto the table myself.
For whatever reason, I thought the spinal block was more painful/uncomfortable than my epidural last time, but it’s possible I just don’t remember and was too exhausted at that point to care.
But the strangest thing happened when I was hunched over curled up into my L&D nurse while the spinal was being administered. I shut my eyes real tight and had a brief “vision” if you will. The entire time I was pregnant, everyone wanted to know what I thought the baby was going to be, you know, a mother’s intuition. But honestly, I had no feeling one way or the other. Most of the people I knew thought (or wished) it was a girl.
It’s true that this pregnancy was much different than my first, so I thought, well maybe there’s some truth to that. But all along my husband thought boy. Truth be told, I just had no idea.
Then there I was, on the operating table just minutes from delivering the mystery baby when I shut my eyes and imagined they pulled out a baby boy. I really thought nothing of it at the time, and once my legs went numb, down I went to get things moving.
I was excited as soon as it was go time and my doctor was ready to start flaying me open, because I knew it would be only a matter of minutes until I saw my baby….or so I thought.
Minutes kept going by and the pressure and pushing and tugging on me was getting more intense. It’s true you don’t feel pain, but you feel like a couple grown adults are jumping around on your midsection. It was uncomfortable to say the least and with every pull and push I felt like the wind was getting knocked out of me. Bless my husband who had to sit there and witness my obvious discomfort and asking me if I was okay.
My doctor kept apologizing. That was when I realized things weren’t going as breezy as everyone had thought. She said they were having a hard time getting the baby’s head popped through the incision. I heard someone ask for a vaccuum, which I had no idea was used outside of vaginal deliveries.
I was anxious and frustrated with feeling like a human dog toy. I then remember hearing the doctor say the baby was breech. In my head, I thought, What the hell? My baby was head down when I went in! I looked at my husband and said “The baby is breech?!” He said yes but that everything is fine.
Then all of a sudden I felt some relief and I knew the baby was out. There was some chatter amongst the doctors but I don’t remember anyone announcing boy or girl and there was definitely no crying. The mood in the room shifted to quiet and serious.
Blame the cocktail of whatever is in a spinal, but for some reason I wasn’t really worried. I saw a tiny body be rushed over to the infant bed just to my left several feet away from my head, and a cluster of nurses huddle around it. They were working swiftly.
“What is it?” I remember asking my husband. He told me it was a boy with tears in his eyes.
“What’s going on? Is he okay?” I still hadn’t heard him cry at this point.
Before I knew it, a rush of about half a dozen more people came rushing to my baby boy’s bedside from the door behind my head. It wasn’t until later that my husband told me one of the nurses had pulled the “Code” alarm on the side of the wall.
It seemed like an eternity, but eventually I heard that infant wail and both my husband and I burst into tears of relief.
After a few minutes of the nurses doing what they needed to do, my husband was able to join our son next to his bed. It wasn’t long until a nurse brought him over to me with a little oxygen tube in his nose and told me they were taking him to the NICU for observation. He was breathing on his own and was doing great, but they had to watch him. I remember thinking how squished and puffy his face was. And just like that, they whisked him away with my husband in tow.
So there I was, getting stitched up on the operating table not really processing the weight of what had just happened with my new son. I was groggy but happy to be done with the delivery.
The nurses and doctors stopped to tell me congratulations once things were wrapped up and they were on their way out. I didn’t have my full-functioning brain so it never occurred to me to asked what happened, but thankfully my doctor tried to explain that my baby was big (still didn’t know his weight at this point) and I was not a large person, so his head just wouldn’t pop out of the incision. The baby obviously didn’t want to come out, because he then started to turn and that’s when she reached in a grabbed his legs and pulled him out breech. She said (and this is the term she used) that he was “stunned” from the birth which is why he came out basically lifeless.
She said he was obviously moving in the womb during delivery so she knew he was fine, but when he turned and all the trauma from the delivery just got to him. He sucked up a lot of fluid, which accounted for his delayed first breath. But she said he was doing fine and breathing on his own when they took him to the NICU.
That first day post-delivery was pretty much a blur. Once I was wheeled back to recovery I really started to feel the side effects of the spinal – meaning I wanted to spew my guts everywhere. And I did. Three times throughout the day.
They wheeled me (bed and all) to his room in the NICU on the way to my post-partum room. I got to see and touch him briefly. A nurse was in there and he had some monitors and tubes attached to him. It’s a disheartening feeling wanting to hold your child for the first time yet also wanting to be wheeled away to recover from the traumatic experience you just went through.
The rest of the first day was a groggy blur. I fought intense nausea well into the afternoon and was unable to get any real sleep. It wasn’t until the evening that I stood up and stepped a few feet to a wheel chair to be wheeled down to hold my son for the first time. Even then the visit wasn’t long as I was utterly wiped.
It wasn’t until about 11:00 that night that I felt well enough to get my ass out of bed and start walking. I knew I had to do it and wanted to do it. It would make me feel better. And it did. After that first lap around the unit, I was ready to keep going.
One benefit of having our son in the NICU overnight and knowing he was fine, was it helped me get a good night’s rest (probably about 4 hours) and be ready to keep progressing in my recovery. Having had a c-section previously, I knew what to expect in terms of pain. I’ve also had two other abdominal surgeries in my life so it’s really nothing new at this point. I’ve always been able to manage the pain with ibuprofen and ice packs. And walking as much as possible helps.
About 4:00 the next morning I decided I needed to pump and was so excited to walk down to see my son! So a little before 5:00 with fresh colostrum in hand, my husband and I made the trek downstairs to see our boy. And everything felt right.
I won’t bore you with every detail of my hospital experience, but I will say the one bonus of that delivery was being discharged after two days instead of three! My doctor didn’t see a reason for keeping me another day, which was the best present she could give me.
So here we are, five weeks later and the dust has settled and our little family has adjusted nicely. Big brother is really wonderful with him, and calls him “his baby.” Any worry that I had with bringing home a new baby and what my oldest’s reaction would be was completely unfounded.
And for me, the transition from one to two kids has been easier than zero to one. Mostly because I kind of know what to expect from a newborn. I was prepared for the complete lack of sleep resulting in exhaustion like no one but a new parent understands. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of challenges in trying to balance the needs of a newborn and a toddler, but I’m trying to just take everything in stride and not put so much pressure on myself and be consumed by anxiety like I did with my first.
In fact, my husband and I had our first date away from the kids the other day, which is something I would never have even flirted with doing the first time around.
Anyway, I know the first year is one of the hardest, but also so rewarding as they grow and develop so much in such a short span of time. While I love the small, chubby sweetness of a newborn, I can’t wait to watch my new son grow and watch the interaction between brothers.
And I’m sure I will have a lot of stories to share along the way. Like how far newborn shit can spew at 2:00 in the morning while everyone else is asleep but me. And how a mom can and will sleep on newborn poo-splattered sheets because her oldest child is soundly sawing logs next to her and only an idiot would wake that beast.