Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sweet Baby Joshua

Our sweet baby BOY Joshua Falcon, Jr. was born on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm! He weighed 7 pounds 14 oz and was 21 inches long.
I went into labor on Saturday night around 7 pm. Contractions started strong and about 20 minutes apart. By 10 pm, I was already telling Josh that the contractions were very painful and that I didn't think I'd be able to do it without an epidural. Ha! This was really something seeing as I took the Bradley Method classes and wanted a drug free birth ever since I was pregnant with Audrey. I went to bed around midnight and the contractions were coming about every 10-12 minutes and were very intense and strong. During each contraction, I couldn't talk, move, breathe, or do anything except concentrate on trying to relax. This went on all night until 6 am when the contractions were so painful that I started vomiting and getting shaky. I'd heard of this during labor, but not during "early" labor when contractions were still far apart. At this point, my closest contractions were still 8-12 minutes apart and lasting a full 2 minutes. I was perfectly fine between contractions since they were so far apart. Around 9 am, I called the doctor because I felt that contractions were strong enough and long enough to consider myself in active labor, but I knew that they weren't close enough together to warrant a visit to the hospital just yet. My doctor agreed that I was not in active labor and that I shouldn't go in, but he did ask about where the pain was coming. I told him that the pain was centered around my lower uterus, right on my incision from my first C-Section. He asked if the contractions made my whole uterus tighten and I told him "no"; the only pain I was having was around my incision. Up until that point, I knew something didn't feel right, but I hadn't really recognized that the pain was only at my incision. He told me to come in immediately. After I hung up with him, I told Josh and Lauren (she'd come over to watch Audrey since we knew at this point labor had at least started) that I was probably overreacting and didn't feel like driving all the way to the hospital just for them to tell me to go home and come back when contractions were closer together. They both said we should go anyways, so Josh loaded up our bags and we headed out.
I had a few more contractions on the way to the hospital and as we were walking in. Luckily they were so far apart that the ride wasn't unbearable. When we arrived, they hooked me up to the monitors and left me and Josh in the room. We were laughing and fully expecting to be sent home in a few minutes, and that I'd just need to figure out how to manage the pain until the contractions were closer together and I could get an epidural! After 30 minutes of monitoring, my doctor came in and said things were not looking good. He showed us the baby's chart from the fetal monitor and said it was showing "non variability" (non variance? something like that). This basically means (as he explained it) that the baby is not doing anything. He wasn't moving at all, he wasn't responding to me moving, he wasn't responding to me eating, his heart rate wasn't changing at all even during contractions. He showed us some other fetal monitors of the women in triage at that time and showed how their baby's charts showed a lot of ups and downs, while ours was a very straight line. He said he wanted to do a C-Section right away. This took me by surprise but I looked at Josh and he nodded and said OK. The doctor gave us a couple of minutes to talk about it and then everyone started prepping me for surgery and having us fill out all of our consent forms. I was continuing to have contractions this whole time and at this point I just wanted it to be over since I knew real labor wasn't going to happen.

A little over an hour later, Joshua was standing up watching our baby boy be born. He kind of giggled and said, "Dyn-o-mite!" and I was like, "WTF does that mean??" and he giggled again and said, "Its a boy!". Apparently the "dyn-o-mite" was a reference to the show Good Times and the fact that we planned to call our son JJ for Joshua Jr. Anyways, they showed him to me but didn't let me hold him at that time. Josh went over to the table with him and took pictures and watched him get weighed and checked out. After what felt like forever, they finally did bring him to me. My arms were not tied down this time so I was able to touch and feel him, but I couldn't really hold him because of how I was positioned and the surgery curtain etc. But I was glad to be able to at least feel him. They stayed by my side for a while, but eventually they had to go to the nursery.

My doctor told us as soon as he opened me up that my interior incision (the one directly on my uterus) was very thin - paper thin - and that it was being stretched more and more with each contraction. He said that was why the pain was so bad, and that the baby's head was probably pushing on it during contractions as well, making the pain that much worse. He said that if we'd gone through with a VBAC that my incision likely would have ruptured because it was so thin to start with. I was so thankful at that moment to be where I was. He also said that Joshua was in the posterior position (face up, not the best) and that the cord was wrapped around his neck. Three things that were working against us for a vaginal birth.
When Dr. Ayoub told me I needed a C-Section, I did get choked up and cried a little when Josh and I were discussing it. The thing is, I didn't cry because I was sad or disappointed about not getting the birth I wanted. At that point I was crying because I was just so surprised and worried and shocked at the turn of events. It was really the farthest thing from what I'd imagined would be happening. Prior to contractions Saturday night, I was fully expecting and preparing to go in on Thursday for a scheduled c-section. But for things to go down the way they did...I certainly did not expect that. It all happened so fast!

We discharged from the hospital on Tuesday afternoon and have been taking it easy. We've had doctor's appointments for Joshua and for me and we are both doing well. I'm recovering much faster than I did last time and haven't had to take any drugs other than Motrin (and one percocet in the hospital). I feel great! Joshua gained back his birth weight before we left the hospital and at his first check up on Wednesday he was 8 pounds. I'm hoping he gains weight quickly because I have so many 0-3 months clothes and very few newborn sized clothes. Breastfeeding is going well so far and I hope it keeps up. I nursed Audrey for 14 months and hope to go about as long with Joshua.
I realize I am risking "jinxing it" by saying this, but Joshua is a really easy, mellow baby. He fusses when he's hungry and he cries during diaper changes. When he's tired, he goes to sleep. I can just wrap him up and lay him in his bed and HE GOES TO SLEEP. This is amazing. I did not believe babies like this existed. Audrey was not like that. She required a lot of bouncing, rocking, shushing, singing, patting, nursing, etc to fall asleep, and then would wake up 45 minutes later and we'd have to do it all over again. I expected to be doing the same with this one, but apparently he doesn't need it. At night, he's been sleeping 3-4 hours and then waking to eat and right back to sleep. Last night he slept for 6 hours straight. Could this bliss keep up? I doubt it. I'm sure this will all change next week (its been 3 days since I initially wrote that...yes, things have changed. He's now waking to eat every 2-3 hours. Dang!).
Audrey is adjusting well. At first, she talked about "Baby JJ" literally from the minute she woke up until she went to sleep at night. She kisses him and pats him gently and asks to hold him. She likes to give him his tiger that Lexi knitted for him and she tries to give him other toys as well. We have to keep an eye on her though, because she wants to play with him and has tried to put toy food in his mouth and throw stuffed animals in his pack and play. I know we'll just have to keep reminding her to be gentle and don't give him toys, but she's smart and I think she'll figure it out quickly. We have been able to each have individual time with her every day since Joshua still sleeps so much, so it hasn't been a huge adjustment in that regard. The biggest thing is probably that she hasn't gotten as much time outside since we've hardly left the house. Josh has taken her out to play in the yard every day, but we haven't made any trips to the park or errands or anything like that. She does seem to be a bit tired of being in the house so we'll have to start getting out here pretty soon.

This post has become ridiculously long. I hope you like the pictures and I'll be back with more soon!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Due Date

Well, here we are...the due date has come and gone. This means nothing other than everyone I know including me is getting anxious and wondering when. I'm feeling really good and not at all like I am about to go into labor.
Actually, I do feel like it *might* be coming soon. I have been having irregular contractions for about a week now. Nothing painful, not even really uncomfortable, they just feel like kind of bad menstrual cramps. Sometimes they do get a little uncomfortable and annoying, but it isn't painful. The nurse said that those are indeed contractions, so if I could just get them to get steady and closer together, we'd be good. :) At my appointment this morning everything looked good. Weight, blood pressure, and everything else was all on target. The doctor did a Biophysical Profile (an ultrasound, why the fancy name? Who knows.) and the baby's lungs are pumping strong and the heartbeat looks really good. Baby is still head down. We didn't peek between the legs. The only thing that was slightly concerning was that my amniotic fluid was slightly low. This is usually fixed by hydrating, so I am upping my water intake and also going to start drinking coconut water to make sure baby has enough floaty juice in there. Unfortunately, my cervix is still not showing signs of being ready for labor. That could change at any time, though. I hope.
We talked about the plan for the next week. I am going back to the doctor on Tuesday to do another Biophysical Profile and to recheck for any signs of labor. If I do have a favorable cervix, we will induce Wednesday. If not, we'll move forward with the section on Thursday. Josh and I asked about possibly doing things a little different during the C Section than how they were done last time. We weren't sure if it was even a possibility, but we asked, and the doctor was so supportive. He said yes to all of our requests, except to let Josh cut the baby's cord (sterilization and infection issues with my abdomen and guts laying out and what not). The big things that he agreed to are that he'll let me have my arms free instead of strapped down. This is huge - it means I'll be able to actually be able to touch and even hold the baby after she's born. Last time I didn't get to touch Audrey until she was almost two hours old. We also asked if she could be handed to us immediately after she comes out, rather than them showing her to us over the curtain and then whisking her away. Josh will also be allowed to watch (if he wants) her being born - they might lower the curtain for him or have him stand up and watch. Last time they wouldn't even let him do that! I was hoping that they'd let Josh and the baby stay in the surgery room with me the whole time, but the doctor said they will have to go to the nursery for about a half hour because the hospital does not allow baths and all that in the surgery room. Finally, he agreed to discharge me a day early if I'm feeling good. These are all great things that we are very happy about. Of course, none of this affected my ability to bond with Audrey - I bonded with her immediately anyways. But it will be nice to be able to have these things in order to make it feel a little more like childbirth and not surgery. Most people don't understand why these things matter or make a difference, but I don't care. They matter to me and that's enough.

I've been doing all the suggested things to get labor going. I'm bouncing on my yoga ball all day long, stretching, squatting, pumping, drinking the tea, walking...and none of these things bring on contractions. We spent an hour at the park on Monday, walked two miles Tuesday and Wednesday....and nothing. Not even a cramp! Whew. Baby is snug as a bug in there, I guess! I am actually really ok with how things are going. Of course I would like to go into labor spontaneously on my own and have the natural delivery I want. That would be ideal. But ideal is not always real, and I'm ok with that. Last time (with Audrey), I spent the entire last week of my pregnancy crying every day, all day. Trying, praying, willing her to flip and not be breech so I wouldn't need a C-Section. I think the difference this time is that at least I know I've been given a fair chance. Going to 41 weeks for a VBAC is really something - many doctors don't even allow a woman to go past 39 weeks or even attempt to have a vaginal birth at all. Many other doctors won't even consider inductions for VBACs. Last time I felt betrayed by my doctors and this time I feel fully supported and like he really is giving me a chance and setting me up for success. So if I end up with another C-Section because baby or my body isn't ready to do it on its own, at least I know that I tried to let it happen naturally and for whatever reason, baby needed help getting out. I'm OK with that!
We are spending the next few days the same as we've spent that last few. Relaxing, trying our natural inductions methods, enjoying being a family of three and having a baby that goes to bed at 730 and doesn't make a peep until 730 the next morning. Man, I'm going to miss these nice quiet nights!