Friday, June 30, 2017

Dear Baby Pickle: How you got here

Dear Baby Pickle,

8 days before your arrival, we made the decision to pull you out of the womb early. There would be no Trial of Labor for mama, there would be no last minute ultrasound to check for your position, and there would be no more debating whether or not we'd go to 39 or 40 weeks. You were coming at 37 weeks exactly, and we honestly didn't know *precisely* why. All we knew was that the risks of you being stillborn and me fully developing preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome were rising quickly and everyone was getting uncomfortable. You started consistently failing NSTs (non stress tests) because your heart rate was inexplicably dropping and all the experts agreed that a decision needed to be made.

Our surgery was scheduled for 4:00 pm with a 2:00 pm check in. My prep started the night before with special soapy showers and a hard deadline for no more food after 8 am. The morning of, I ate breakfast, went to work, and actually worked all morning. I had meetings with the team, the vendor who would be covering me at work, and did a bunch of configuration items on the finance system before I left to head to the hospital. I walked out of work a little after noon and headed home with dad. I got home and my nesting urges forced me to finish the silk ring sling I was making for you prior to heading to the hospital. I spent an hour sewing and had the calmest, most relaxing pre-birth experience I could have imagined. At 1:25 we left for the hospital, knowing that we'd be coming home with you.

We walked into the waiting area, said who we were and then were whisked away to a room to prep for surgery. I was told that a repeat cesarean would be EASY compared to the labor and emergency surgery I experienced with your brother. However, the powers that be made sure that the experience wasn't actually easy. The very first task was placing my IV. The nurse completely ignored my request for a hand placement. A shot of lidocaine and 15 minutes later, and the placement on my right forearm was considered a failure. NO LIDOCAINE and less than 5 minutes later and the IV in my left wrist was a complete failure. I was also prepared to never let that nurse touch me again. Since third time's a charm, and all that jazz, the placement by a different nurse in my left hand was slow, but successful. (Spoiler alert, it's been 2 weeks and I still have pain in my hand and arm from that IV placement).

We went over my birth plan, asked for the doula to come with us, and took some photos in the room. The nurse shaved my belly to prep for surgery in the most haphazard manner and the anesthesiologist came in to chat about the plan for the Operating Room. Close to 4:00 pm, the team took me back to the operating room to get my spinal and prep the stage (aka, my belly) for surgery. Is it really a surprise that it took close to an hour and 3 attempts to place my spinal? No? I didn't think so. After the spinal was finally placed, things moved quickly. The catheter was placed, the drape and surgical area was prepped, and pretty soon everyone was introducing themselves. After a room full of introductions, the doctors got to work and all of the tugging and pressure began. Before long, my OB was basically on top of me trying to tug you out of my belly. Without even laboring, I managed to get a second baby stuck. You are the only baby I've ever heard of who needed a vacuum assisted c-section. But, before we knew it, the drape was dropped and I got to see you being born.

The brought you over to the baby warmer and let dad trim your cord and then brought you over and put you on my chest. I got to hold you there for a while, but you started to make weird grunting noises. The team took you back, stuck a tube down your throat and pulled a huge vial of sticky, clear, thick mucus from your throat. After that, you started to breathe much more easily. Daddy held you for a while and I hung out on the bed while the surgeons stitched me up. I kept having bouts of low blood pressure and lots of nausea. So, while I wanted to hold you, and never let go, I also just wanted to get the whole thing over and done.

Eventually, they finished putting me back together and we all headed to recovery where you were able to latch on (but couldn't transfer any milk) and I expressed milk for you. Your sugars stayed stable and your weight was perfect, both things I am awfully proud of because it meant that I controlled my glucose numbers very well while you were in utero. I hope that I can continue to provide you with awesome nutrition now that you're here.

So, that's it, the somewhat simple story of how you got here and why you came the way you did. The details about things that went wrong or turned sideways later aren't important to this story. More on that later. Just know, you're an incredible final addition to our family and I'm so glad you're here now.

Lots of love,


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dear Baby Pickle: The night before you were born

Your birthday is tomorrow, you will be here in the late afternoon or early evening and you will arrive via cesarean section. Your birth planning included the phrase "will tap out at the first sign of trouble" and I honestly thought that I would encounter that decision point during labor, not at 35 weeks.

Since 35 weeks the two of us have been falling apart. You started showing variable decelerations on your NSTs and I started showing symptoms of pre-eclampsia. I didn't realize it two weeks ago, but I am also showing signs of HELLP. Basically, my liver is failing and we don't know why your heart rate drops with your big gymnastics moves. What we do know is that we are balancing your safety and mine and trying to figure out if you are better off inside or out. We decided last week that out with a plan makes the most sense.

I am honestly terrified and anxious about this process. I have been riddled with fear at each NST, each ultrasound, and with every time we pull out the doppler to check on you. I have been mourning Ehren as an only child for the past two days and simultaneously crying and embracing each last in this chapter of our lives. Tonight, I celebrated by taking my final dose of insulin and FINALLY removing my obnoxious medical bracelet (gestational diabetes be gone!). I cried my way through bedtime where Ehren sang to you one last time in my belly and begged to hear your "heartbeep". I won't be able to lift Ehren for a few weeks and it will be a big challenge for the two of us.

I am both eager and scared to meet you. Currently, I fear that I haven't been a good enough incubator for you. I have honestly tried to do the best I could for you. There are no plans for more babies, so I am truly hoping that this will be a good experience and that all of my worry will be for naught. I will miss your kicks, but look forward to not vomiting any more.

We'll see you in just 14 hours and begin a whole new grand adventure. Ready or not, it's been planned.

Much love,