Over the last 9 months, my favorite blogs/posts to read have been pregnancy and birth stories--Brandon and I never took any classes (we kept thinking "oh we have plenty of time to take one" only to realize that it was December and that Baby Sand would be here any day) so reading these raw and candid stories from real women was a way of mentally preparing myself for the birth of our son. My hope in sharing our story is to help someone who was in the same boat as me, and to offer any advice or guidance that I can.
I should also warn you that this post might be a little TMI for some so proceed with caution..
|3 days old and propping his own head up when I burp him--does it get any cuter (I think not!)?|
Now, if you've ever been pregnant (or have ever known somebody who is pregnant), you know that the restroom is your second home and that you need to potty every 4 minutes. I was completely aware of this fact and had fallen victim to the occasional leaks (word to the wise, if you need to sneeze, cross your legs) but began to notice more leaking than usual..
Did my water break without me realizing it?
I really didn't want to be the boy who cried wolf and make a bigger deal out of it than it was but after talking to Brandon, I decided to call my doctor and head over to the hospital to get checked out (I have heard so many horror stories about a mother's water breaking without her knowing it and the complications it caused the baby). After being swabbed (which is exactly what it sounds like) and monitored for a couple of hours, the verdict came back that my amniotic sac was still in tact and that the leaking I had was most likely urine.
I left the hospital, picked up a couple things at Walmart, and headed home to use the restroom and prop my feet up.
The rest of my day went on as normal--our landlord is selling the duplex we live in to his daughter and was coming over Friday morning with an appraiser so I spent the afternoon vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing down our place (remember the story about how we're not supposed to have Bitsy? Yeah, he still doesn't know that we have her..). After all of that cleaning and moving around, I was spent and lounged around for the rest of the day.
Fast forward to Friday morning at 2am.
I woke up to use the restroom (nothing new!) and noticed that my legs/pants/sheets were soaked. I was really warm and wondered if I had just been sweating (or worse.. wet the bed.. :/) or if maybe my water had broken for real this time. I woke Brandon up to tell him what had happened and we decided it was time to head to the hospital.
Biggest. Ordeal. Ever.
I had planned on dropping Bitsy off at my brothers apartment before my doctors appointment Friday morning but that obviously wouldn't happen if I was really in labor, so I called Joey (who was thankfully still awake) and we quickly threw all of Bits' toys/things into one of Brandon's old army foot lockers, packed up Bitsy & her essentials (food, litter box) and sped over to Joe's place. Bitsy was really scared and cried from her carrier the entire time we were in the car which in turn made me cry.. Poor, poor Brandon.. We got Bitsy all dropped off and taken care of and were on the road to the hospital by 2:45. I was once again swabbed and monitored for about an hour or so before they sent us home.
It had just been sweat.. or pee..
We made the decision to just leave Bits over at Joey's the rest of the night, came home, washed the sheets, and headed back to bed at around 6am. I went to my doctors appointment at 10 that morning, discovered I was dilated to a 3 (this time 90% effaced), was told by my doctor that I'd most likely deliver sometime that next week, picked up the cat from Joey's, and headed home to rest.
Saturday rolled around and Brandon and I designated it as "baby day"--we were going to do lots of walking around the grocery store, mall, eat really spicy food for supper, and do other "things" that are said to induce labor. Not even 5 minutes after arriving at the grocery store (we were trying to buy all of our groceries for Christmas dinner), I had to throw up. "Well, maybe something is actually happening.." I thought to myself as I ran to the restroom. This wound up triggering a few hard contractions but they eventually subsided into nothing.
We went home, took naps, walked around the mall, ate really spicy Mexican food for supper, and went about our normal evening before I realized I was losing my mucus plug. I was so excited!! This had to really be it, right?! After some quick research, Brandon and I discovered that this really means nothing and that it could still be weeks before I went into labor.
So I laid in bed, watched "48 Hours," fell asleep before the beginning of SNL, woke up at the end of Justin Timberlake's 2nd song, couldn't get comfortable again, and just stared at the ceiling.
And that's when it finally happened.
My first ever real contraction (I had been getting period like cramps here and there and assumed those were contractions--nope, not even close). I hurt so, so badly, couldn't breathe or move and decided it was time to get the stopwatch out. After about an hour of monitoring, I woke Brandon up--there were only 4 minutes between each contraction at this point and I needed to get to the hospital.
I called the hospital (they kept transferring me to the wrong department which is extremely frustrating when you can barely talk), they gave us the okay to come in, and we headed out. Our nurse checked to see if I had dilated anymore (still at a 3, just like the day before) and told us she'd check again in the next hour.. that, my friends, was the longest hour of my entire life.
My contractions were anywhere from 1-3 minutes apart at this point, I couldn't breathe, talk or drink water, and I kept throwing up; I told Brandon that if they sent us home, I wouldn't know when to come back if these weren't what real contractions felt like.
An hour finally passed and Kaitlyn (the nurse) checked me again and announced that I was now at a 4--I was in active labor! She put me on an IV drop (bless her heart) and gave me a shot to somewhat ease the pain which made my life so much better. I continued to dilate, progress, and rest as the hours rolled on--Brandon started making phone calls to our families to let them know it was indeed time as I drifted in and out of sleep. The doctor arrived a little before 9 that morning to check in on me and give us the go ahead to start labor--he said we were definitely good to go, broke my water, and then we began to wait.
The rest of the time leading up to pushing is kind of a blur but I know the following happened at one point of another:
- An anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural (yes, you read that correctly--they let me have an epidural!).
- The epidural didn't help at all with my abdomen contractions so a second anesthesiologist came in and gave me a stronger one (which worked!).
- We watched the movie "Big" (with Tom Hanks).
- Several random people came in and out of the room and commented on what a great movie "Big" (with Tom Hanks) is.
- We surfed channels for the Broncos game.
- We couldn't find the Broncos game and settled on watching the Chiefs lose.
After pushing for nearly 30 minutes, Jackson Lee was here!
|Baby Jax--5 lbs. 13 oz.|
|The happiest moment of my life.|
|My sweet and alert little boy.|
Those first moments we had with Jax are memories that I will always hold in my heart--I had never seen anything so perfect before as this little boy I was holding in my arms. Brandon and I laughed, cried, and stared in awe at this beautiful little life we helped create. I loved holding, cuddling, and feeding (he latched on immediately and has been an awesome eater ever since) my son--I couldn't get enough!
However, our cuddling time was short lived; Jax couldn't cry and needed to be observed closely.
Since he was born a week and a half prematurely, the doctor worried that something was wrong with his lungs (he would groan when he breathed) and had him placed in the NICU. I was scared and devastated; I have never felt so helpless in my life as I did when I walked into the ICU and saw Jackson's little head in an oxygen machine.
Brandon and I stood next to our son as we talked to nurses, cried, and prayed--I felt like a failure because there was nothing I could do to help him. I'm so grateful to the nurses in the NICU who took such good care of our little guy and helped talk us through everything; the nurses called our room every time Jax was awake so I'd be able to go in and feed and cuddle my little boy. Jackson was released from the NICU on the morning of December 24th and was able to come home Christmas morning--the doctor was amazed at how well Jax was progressing and told us that he wasn't even the same baby she'd met a few days earlier!
|December 23rd--no more oxygen machine!|
|Christmas morning--Time to go home!|
Thank you all so much for your prayers, kind words, cards, and gifts you've sent for Jax--he is such a sweet, content, and curious little boy and I constantly thank God for allowing us to be his parents. Like I said earlier, I really couldn't have asked for a better delivery and have been recovering very well at home (the only discomfort I really have is from tearing/stitches). I can't wait to continue sharing Jax's story with all of you--we're so blessed to have you all along for this new adventure!