Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ella's Arrival

Ella Susan Margaret Pike.
Photo taken January 20, 2012.

Before I forget the whole thing, I thought I would write a post about Ella's arrival.  It isn't too detailed or gruesome - but there are some parts that are honest, so I thought I would warn everyone in advance!  This post is also quite lengthy, which I also want to apologize for!

In the afternoon on Monday, January 16th (Dave's 25th birthday), I got a call from our family doctor that she had scheduled me to be induced the next morning at 7:15am at the hospital.  That pretty much killed the rest of the day for us.  I was too nervous to do anything really nice for Dave so he probably had a pretty awful birthday (I hadn't even gotten him a birthday gift at that point!).

The next day, we woke up at 6:00 to get ready to go to the hospital.  Most things were packed, but we just grabbed the last couple of essentials, had some breakfast, got ready, and left.  We left the house at 6:45 (the drive to the hospital takes about 15 minutes), because Dave wanted to stop at McDonald's to get a coffee.  Well, of course we get to McDonald's and something has happened and there is an ambulance there and they are even more slow than they usually are.  Needless to say, I walked into the ward of the hospital I was supposed to be in around 7:16 or 7:17 (oops!).

I thought that they would monitor me for a while before inducing me, but the Doctor was in, and I had been given a dose of the gel by about 7:40.  I started to have contractions at this point, but I wasn't quite sure what I was feeling.  The nurses would ask how bad 'the tightenings' hurt, but given that I had nothing to compare the pain to, they all seemed extremely painful (later in the day I looked back at those early ones and realized how not painful they were).

Dave and I spent most of the morning walking around.  We played cards for a while and just tried to keep ourselves busy!

The doctor came back shortly after 1 to check on me.  In the morning he had thought that he would break my water at this point, but given my lack of progress, he just gave me another dose of the gel.  My mother arrived to be with me around the same time.  My mother was the first person to justify my pain as contractions, which I appreciated.  When the nurses kept calling them 'tightenings', I wasn't sure what pain I was experiencing or if they even were contractions!  My contractions slowly got worse throughout the day.  We tried to make the time pass throughout the afternoon as well - talking, walking around, watching tv, and playing Dutch Blitz (which I whooped Dave and Mom at despite the contractions).

As a side note, I wasn't allowed any meals (only clear fluids) during the day.  But even those did not stay down.  I was sick to my stomach 3 times that day.  Everyone kept telling me I wouldn't want to eat while in labour, and I didn't believe that that would be the case - but it was, I was not hungry once!

At 4:00, the Doctor came back and broke my water, which increased the strength of my contractions even more, but they started me on a Pitocin drip shortly after 7:00.  My contractions got ridiculously bad at this point, and lying in bed was the worst.  By this point in time, I had only dilated to about 3 cm.  The nurses let me sit up in a glider chair where they set up the monitors so I wouldn't have to be monitored in bed.

Here in Miramichi, the nurses can't call in the anesthesiologist after midnight, so at about 11:30 the nurse came in and asked if I wanted an epidural.  By this point in time, I was pretty convinced that I did, and so they called him in, and I received it at about midnight.  He was great, and all my fear about the epidural was in vain!  It did not hurt a bit, and I definitely did not feel like I got a big needle in my spine!  Having the epidural allowed me to finally sleep a bit which was very appreciated.

After the epidural!  I felt much better.

At 1:30, the nurse came back to check how dilated I was.  I had not progressed.  I found out at this point as well that the babies heartbeat had started to vary greatly.  It would speed up and then drop sharply - the baby was obviously in distress.  The nurse stopped the drip, and my contractions stopped altogether.  The nurse called my family doctor in who decided I needed an emergency c-section.  She called in the obstitrican, who agreed with her - and they called in the OR staff (it was a snowy night) to come in so that our little baby could be born.

They were all very efficient, and we were in the operating room by about 2:00.  My mom could not come with us, so she waited for us back in our room, but Dave came down with me.  In order to have the c-section, I had to lie my arms out straight to either side so that they could work close to my side.  This ended up giving me significant pain in my shoulders afterwards which subsided after a couple of days.

I couldn't see anything while having my section.  Dave could though.  At one point, as they were just starting, Dave mentioned to me about how there was a tube that ran near him, and there was nothing in it and then all of sudden there was a large gush of blood through it.  I told him he probably should not tell me anything more like that.

I could not feel anything except pressure during the c-section.  I had no idea what they were doing, or even when the baby was out of me.  At one point, the anesthesiologist said, very calmly, to me "you have a little girl!"  I didn't believe him though as I didn't feel any lighter, and no one else seemed to be saying anything (nor did I hear any crying).  All I wanted was for someone else to confirm this for me but no one did!

Soon enough though, I saw her for the first time.  It turns out that the umbilical chord had been wrapped very tightly around her neck.  As I understand it, this had prevented her from descending, which made me not able to dilate as I was supposed to, so it is a very good thing we had a c-section!

Dave held Ella as they stitched me back up.  She was very good from the very beginning - she didn't cry, but just kept looking back and forth between Dave and I.   I fed Ella a bit and then brought her upstairs.  She stayed in the nursery that night - and my recollection between after the c-section and when I woke up the next day is very limited.  I couldn't get out of bed until the next afternoon so I obviously stayed in bed Wednesday morning!

Dave and I couldn't pick a name for her at first.  We had had three top names already: Ella, Emma, and Lucy, but after she was born, I really wanted to name her Lucy, and Dave really wanted to name her Emma.  Seeing as Ella was the second pick for both of us we settled on that.  Deciding on middle names was no issue for us though.  I knew I wanted to name her Susan after my mother, and Dave wanted Margaret after his (their middle names).

The worst part about the whole ordeal for me was probably when they would check how effaced/dilated I was.  No one told me how bad that would hurt!

The most surprising thing for me was how much I didn't care who saw me half naked.  People told me I wouldn't care, but being the prude I am, I definitely didn't believe them - but they were so right!

I was so happy with the care we received at the hospital though, and I am grateful for all of the Doctors and nurses who helped little Ella arrive!  I am also very grateful for Dave and my mom.  They were both extremely helpful and encouraging to me throughout this ordeal, and through the days that follow.  I will never be able to thank them enough!

Name: Ella Susan Margaret Pike
Weight: 6 lb, 10 oz
Height: 19 inches
Birthdate: January 18th, 2012
Birth time: 2:14 am
Ella's first picture.  With her Daddy.
Taken January 18th - sometime in the early morning.
Ella always looks perplexed!
Photo taken January 18th, 2012.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A letter to my little one

Picture taken on January 12, 2012 - 39 weeks, 5 days.
Note: I have been wanting for a while to put my thoughts together in the form of a letter for my unborn child.  Not that the baby will have any idea that I did this.  But I wanted my child to someday be able to read of the great joy that (s)he brought to mine and Dave's life even before his/her birth.

Dear Little Baby,

Today is your due date.  It comes as no surprise to your daddy or I that you have not arrived yet - we imagined you would be late.  I can imagine it is warm, and comfortable (getting more uncomfortable by the day though, I am sure), and familiar in there for you - so I understand why you want to stay!

You have been part of our lives for 9 months today.  I remember when I first found out I was pregnant with you.  Your daddy was at work, and I was so sure that I wasn't pregnant that I took the risk of taking a test while he was gone.  When the first test (and the second) both came back indicating that I was pregnant, I was so excited and absolutely terrified at the same time.  I picked your daddy up from work that night bawling because I just didn't know how I was ever going to be a mother.

And even though at that point I knew in my head we were going to have a baby, I never imagined we actually would.  It wasn't real to me.  But you are so real to me now.

You formed inside of me, and grew, and we saw you through an ultrasound three times.  I started to feel you kick and move around and that was so exciting for me.  And your daddy was so jealous that he couldn't feel it - until he did.  He loved it.  It still brings such a large smile to your daddy's face when you kick his hand, or you move in such a way that he can see.

You are your father's child though.  You are a little trickster.  You will move for me a lot but as soon as I tell anyone you are moving and they watch or feel, you stop.  But the moment they look away or move their hand, you start kicking up a storm again.  Your daddy and I laugh about this often.

I know how much your daddy loves you.  He talks to you all the time and tells you that.  He is so excited to meet his little son/daughter.  And from the moment I told him I was pregnant, whenever I have been afraid of what the future may hold, or doubtful of our abilities to care for you, he has been reassuring and supportive, and I can tell how much he cannot wait for you to be a full part of our family.

I feel like I know you so well.  I know that you either love or hate when I shower because you always kick lots when the warm water touches my belly.  You either love or hate movies (and or popcorn).  We went to see TinTin last night and you kicked me the entire time - you do this whenever we go to the theatre.  And you either love or hate church - from early on you kicked me constantly whenever we were there for a service.

And yet at the same time I know so little about you.  I don't know if you will have dark hair like me, or blonde hair like your daddy.  I don't know if your eyes will be blue, or green, or hazel, or brown.  I don't know if you will be born with a full head of hair or barely any.  I don't know what your name will be.  I don't even know if you are a girl or a boy.  But I love you.  I love you so much.  You are a part of me, and you have been for the last nine months.

And I know I will be far from a perfect mother.  But know that I loved you even before I knew you.  And I will continue to love you forever.

I promise you that.

Love always,

Your Mommy.
Our 2012 Canadian baby. Photo taken on January 11, 2012. 39 weeks, 6 days.
Photo taken on January 11, 2012. 39 weeks, 6 days.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Anxiously Excited

Pregnancy is a funny time for those of us who have never experienced it before.  It is so wildly different, worse, and better than I ever could have imagined (all at the same time).  And despite how sick I was at first, or how much pain I have been in, or how my body has morphed in ways that I cannot control, this end period may be the hardest time of all.  This waiting.

People told me how uncomfortable I would be at the end and how much I would want the baby out.  I am 2 days shy of 40 weeks and I don't yet adamantly feel that the baby should be out.  Sure the kicks in the ribs or the punches in the hips aren't the best feeling, and sometimes I can't get comfortable no matter where or how I sit, stand, or lay.  I would absolutely love a full 8-hour night of sleep, or to be able to eat whatever I want again without the fear of heartburn.  But I honestly still feel like the baby could stay in there for the rest of eternity and I would do fine with it.  But maybe that is because this is the reality I know now.

But as much as I don't mind the baby staying in forever, I know that the baby won't stay in forever, and any day now Dave and I will have a little baby in our care.

I am constantly being told how excited others are for the coming of our little one.  And then I am prodded as to whether I am as excited as they are, and I never really know how to answer.  The reality to come is too much of an unknown to be safe, or comfortable, or really exciting to me.

And maybe that is selfish of me.  Part of my fear comes from not knowing how much this baby will change things in our lives.  I know in my head that everything is going to change -things will never be the same, but my heart is resistant to it - it kind of liked the way things were.  I know that this baby will bring insurmountable joy to our little family, but it is hard to comprehend having more joy in our little family - especially when I think of less freedom for Dave and I to go out and do what we want when we want, or 2am feedings, or diaper blowouts.

Don't get me wrong, I am excited to have a baby.  But I am also scared.  Scared I won't be a good enough parent.  Scared that Dave and I aren't ready.  Scared that I will never have the life I dreamt of because of this little one.  Scared because having a baby means a huge physical challenge that I am not sure I am ready for, or can do.

But I wouldn't give the baby up for anything.  Not to go back to the way things were, not to experience every dream I have, not to never have to go through labour.  I wholeheartedly love this little one already, and despite my fears and doubts, I cannot wait to meet him/her.

Amy & Sammy Nugget at 39 weeks, 5 days.  Please excuse the awful photo quality!