Saturday, November 9, 2013

Reese's Birth Story: July 29, 2013

(Warning...this is a looooong one.)
Although it’s been three months since Reese was born, I want to have the events of the afternoon and evening documented for myself.  On July 29th, at 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I was working from home and not really feeling “right” most of the day. By that point, I was tired all the time, but as the day progressed I began feeling off. We had somewhat cooler weather that day so I took the dogs on a long walk, but the longer we walked, the more aching and cramping I experienced.

Once home, I texted Tom and asked him to do the grocery shopping for me that night…I just didn’t feel up to it. Even though I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks prior, this felt different. I found myself wincing and groaning through the contractions, which I knew was definitely a sign something was going on. At his insistence I called the doctor, just to make sure what I was experiencing was normal. Apparently it wasn’t!  Due to my surgical history the doctor told me to pack a bag and head to Labor and Delivery. I remember saying “seriously?!” and he laughed and said “seriously, and don’t take more than an hour.” Talk about putting a little fear in a gal.  I called Tom and relayed the doctor’s instructions…and I could hear him practically running out of his office to come get me. I knew I had at least 20 minutes until he made it home, so I threw some pj’s, random toiletries, and comfy clothes in a bag (in retrospect it was the most random grouping of completely useless items). I texted family, let the dogs out and gave them both big kisses. I thought, at most, I might stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring and I remember feeling sad I wouldn’t see the dogs until the next morning…HA.  Tom screeched into the driveway, I waddled out to the car, and we were off. I don’t remember a lot about our drive there, only that we were joking and Tom was trying to keep the mood light and fun.

After we got checked in we were sent to triage where I was hooked up to monitors. I started wondering “what if these contractions are all in my head…I’m going to feel so dumb.” The fetal monitor showed Reese’s heart rate was perfect so we knew she was not in any distress. My monitor started showing my contractions and the nurse confirmed that yes, I was definitely having some decent contractions. The OB on call came in and instructed them to give me fluids to see if that would slow down the contractions. Of course throughout all my prenatal care, he was the ONE doctor I had not seen. He decided to give me two bags of fluid and if they didn’t stop, they were moving to plan B.  The concern was that the longer I contracted, the higher the risk for a uterine rupture...which is potentially fatal news for me and baby.  Fast forward an hour and not only had the contractions not stopped, they became more intense and frequent. They were beginning to feel quite painful and averaging 2-3 minutes apart. The doctor came back in to read the monitor and said very calmly, “well with your history this makes me very uncomfortable so we’re going to deliver your baby right now.”  Tom let out a “woo hoo!” in excitement…and I burst into tears. Huge, fat, snot inducing tears. Tears from being terrified for my baby and the potential health issues she may face being premature; from the shock of how quickly this all went down; and from the sheer excitement and joy that I was going to meet my girl so soon. And of course, the fact that I was about to get cut open was on my mind too.

I sent some texts out to my boss, girlfriends, and family updating them that our baby would be born within the hour and asking for prayers for both her and me. Immediately the room became a flurry of nurses rushing around, hooking me up to machines, wiping me down…and God knows what else. Before I knew it they took Tom away to get him suited up and I was wheeled into the OR. Now I am no stranger to surgery...been there, done that.  But being the OR completely conscious, while everyone preps around you, is just surreal.  The anesthesiologist began working on my spinal and after a few tries, and a lot of crying, it was finally complete.  Tom was ushered into the OR and the big smile on his face put me at ease. We were about to meet our daughter!  By that point our families had arrived and were waiting outside. Before I knew it the surgery was underway and after a few minutes I asked Tom “have they started yet?” His eyes grew very big as he glanced over the drape and with a chuckle he said. “uh, yeah.” I have to say, not being able to feel your body at all is beyond bizarre and slightly panic inducing. I was not a fan of it, but I just kept telling myself that I had no choice in the matter and this was the safest way, for both of us, for her to be delivered. It was my job to relax and have faith.  So I did.

Before long I heard someone say "she's got a lot of hair!" and then my memory of the next few events were a blur.  At 7:36 pm our sweet baby girl was born weighing in at 6 lbs, 9 oz and 19 1/2 inches long.  I vaguely remember hearing her cry, the doctor holding her up for a quick peek, and the nurses taking her to table directly behind me.  Tom immediately went to her and he stood with her while she was cleaned and checked.  I kept asking if she was okay and once a nurse said "she looks perfect", I was consumed with relief and joy.  I soon began feeling a bit woozy, probably because I kept turning my head all the way around to see her.  Tom brought her to me once she was all wrapped up and I just began laughing out of uncontrollable joy.  Best moment of my life.

 Once I was put back together I was able to hold Reese as they wheeled me to recovery.  I had imagined this moment a million times before and it was every bit as lovely as I could have hoped for.  I couldn't get over how strikingly beautiful she was for just having been born. I had been waiting to meet this little girl my entire life.  I hear some women say it takes them awhile to feel all those gushy feelings toward their baby, which is completely normal.  For me it wasn't like that. It was an immediate and all consuming, euphoric love from her first moment.

We spent some time in recovery...maybe a few hours...where our family came in and met the baby.  This is where things get really fuzzy for me.  My blood pressure kept dropping and I continually felt like I was going to pass out.  A nurse helped me try to get Reese to latch by forcing her on my breast, despite her wails.  Tom was trying to help but as soon as the "lights" started going out for me, I begged him and the nurse to take the baby for fear I was going to drop her.   They certainly don't warn you about that in the breast feeding classes and it was not exactly how I envisioned our first breastfeeding experience ;)  Reese and Tom made a quick jaunt to the NICU to stabilize her breathing and once she got the all clear they joined me and we made our way to our room.  Our first night together as a family was exhausting, painful (for me), and exhilarating.  Certainly the best, most surprising, night of our lives and I wish I could live it over again a thousand times.  Happy birthday Reesie girl!

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