In April of 2012, we went to Alabama to visit Dusty's grandmother. Her health was rapidly declining and we really wanted the opportunity to have her meet Samantha and for Samantha to meet her. We wanted a chance to say our "I Love Yous" and our good-byes.
Shortly after we returned from Alabama, things felt a bit off.
Just to rule things out, I took a pregnancy test, fully expecting to see one line come across it and put the notion out of my mind. We certainly hadn't been trying and weren't entirely sure we would try again. Imagine my surprise when within seconds a second line appeared.
I was in disbelief. I took several more tests of several brands. Before I allowed myself to find truth in it, I needed to be sure. Every single one was positive.
With a due date of December 25, 2012, we were expecting a snow baby!
While I expected my pregnancy to be high risk, as with Samantha, I also hoped for it to be relatively easy. It just wasn't meant to be that way.
By 6 weeks, I was bleeding. Massive clots that made me sure that I was miscarrying. I was in that day for lab work that didn't really tell much other than I was in fact still pregnant. The next day I had an ultrasound which showed that there was a baby, measuring exactly on time, with a healthy heart beat and a subchorionic hematoma (SCH). This was causing the bleeding.
I would continue to bleed until 14 weeks pregnant. I had horrific morning sickness and just wanted to cry every day because of it. During this time we also took a trip driving across the country to Washington D.C. I was so miserable and felt bad for feeling so miserable. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and at times, that was all I could do. I had no energy. I was so beyond sick all the time. I'm sure the constant bleeding and what that did to my nerves didn't help either.
We got back home by the time I hit 14 weeks (we were gone for about a month), and found out a week after my 30th birthday that we were having another girl. Part of me was slightly disappointed and an equal part of me was relieved.
By 16 weeks, we were home, the sickness was slightly better, the bleeding was mostly gone and we were enjoying the summer the best that we could. At 16 weeks, I had a massive bleed. I went straight to the ER. An ultrasound confirmed that I was suffering from placenta previa. My placenta was completely covering my cervix and the lower front part of my uterus. My "modified bed rest" plan was made a little stricter and I began my p17 injections.
We had a really hard time picking a name during this pregnancy. It was between Charlotte and Penelope for a long time. And up until the week of delivery, I still wasn't 100% sold on Charlotte. But, I think she looks like a Charlotte... By the middle of my second trimester, I was feeling pretty good. My main complaints were heartburn. It would wake me up all through the night and keep me from wanting to eat through the day.
By 30 weeks, my placenta had moved and the fears of a hysterectomy were eliminated. I stopped the p17 injections at 34 weeks, stopped the baby aspirin at 38 weeks and was scheduled for a cesarean and tubal ligation at 39w1d on December 19. We had one false alarm nearly a week before, but were able to hold out!
On Wednesday, December 19th at 12:49 PM, Miss Charlotte cried her way into the world weighing in at 8 pounds and 10 ounces and 20 inches long.
We were scheduled to arrive at 10:00 am for a cesarean at noon. We arrived at about 10:05. They were beyond ready for us. The triage bed was all set up and we were good to get all of the pre-op stuff in. I wasn't even there for 5 minutes before the anesthesiologist came in to talk about pain relief, complications and all that good stuff.
At noon, I was ready to go. I had my 2 bags of fluid in, my hair net on, camera set up for Dusty, antibiotics in and was just waiting for the doctor. He arrived at about 12:10. We said our good-byes to the girls and the rest of the family and I walked back while Dusty started getting himself prepped for surgery.
Last time, the spinal was fairly easy. This time, it wasn't. It took a few times to get numbed enough to do the spinal. The spinal took 3 tries. I was so upset. I was almost ready to back out of a cesarean and beg for a VBAC. An amazing nurse, deep breaths and relaxation later, it was in. I was laid on the table, the rest of the prep was done and I started to have a panic attack. The heartburn was awful. I couldn't breath. I wanted to sit up and felt like I had to sit up right that second. I needed up, I needed to be free, I wanted Dusty and I thought I was going to pass out. I felt like I was falling. My blood pressure dropped and I was having a panic attack. I was given some meds as well as oxygen and within a minute I felt a lot better. I am sure that it helped that Dusty was able to come in about that time as well. When he walked in, they had already made the first incision.
My delivery nurse was beyond awesome. She was great at being encouraging, talking to me, checking on me and doing whatever she could to make me feel more comfortable.
It felt as though it was taking forever to feel the familiar pushing and pulling to get her out. Turns out, there was a lot of scar tissue. It was taking forever to get her out. Once it was time to get her out, moments after my doctor had said he wasn't expecting her to be that large (my last ultrasound estimated her birth arrival at about 8 lbs 2 oz, bigger than our biggest by 5 oz), he then said "whoa, this may be a world birth record for you. This is a big baby." I heard her little gurgles. I saw her go to the baby nurse. They started cleaning her up and kept saying how big she was. They asked if I had a guess. I could barely talk and wasn't comprehending a lot at this point and said I had no idea. Then I heard them say "8 10" and couldn't understand what they meant. That could not possibly be her weight.
So, I asked Dusty how big she was. He repeated to me she was 8 lbs and 10 oz. I was amazed. I still am. I remember thinking "Holy Crap, I hope those Christmas outfits fit her ok!" Then, they told us she was 20 inches. And her head circumference. Which, I don't remember. I felt as though my ears were completely full of fluid. I was thankful Dusty was there. He held her really close to me so I could smell her, kiss her face and rub her arm with my free finger.
My doctor continued to joke and while the assisting physician asked for my consent (for like the 8th time in 2 hours) to continue with the tubal, he had already removed a lot from one. He said when he does them, he does them right. There will be no accidental pregnancies or stories of tubes growing back together.
I was finally out of surgery around 1:30 or so. Once I was in recovery, Dusty was there with Charlotte and the girls were able to come back. Charlotte was starving so we had started nursing. Kaitlyn was so excited that she had blue eyes and Samantha was not at all interested in what we were doing. Slowly our family came through, one at a time, and we were able to get some rest. I felt so tired and I couldn't figure out why. I held her to my chest for a few more moments before Dusty followed her to get her first bath and got a mini nap in. We ended up in recovery until about 4:30.
We then got into our room. I had already asked about a dozen times if we could please have a private room this time. We ended up not getting a private room, it was a shared room, without a roommate. But, they said they would do their best not to give me a roommate. And they kept their word. We went our entire hospital stay without having a roommate. Although, I'm not sure one would have fit!
We met our nurse, got our things set up (including a couple things- like her garland for her bassinet I never took pictures of) and welcomed more visitors. The pain this time was so much worse than with Samantha. I wasn't expecting it to be pain free, or easy at all, but I don't think I realized it would be so much more painful.
Charlotte was born grunting. She was noisy. As, not only all of our babies have been, but also as many cesarean born babies are. This nurse began to give me a bit of a lecture about having repeat cesareans (which I ignored since she obviously had not seen my chart and had no idea what she was talking about as it pertained to me) and I began to grow frustrated for the first of many times. After a couple hours, she decided that she really did not like the grunting and wanted to take her to the nursery to be observed by a pediatrician and get a pulse ox exam. While I did not think it was necessary, I am a better safe than sorry person and allowed it. She returned about 30 minutes later with a perfect reading.
We continued to share her with family and nurse her. This baby caught on quick and hasn't stopped. She nurses for quite a while through each hour.
By 9, the last of our visitors left and they wanted her to have another round of testing in the nursery. Just to confirm her pulse ox, be weighed and all that good stuff.
Our first night went well. She nursed and slept, slept and nursed. I was personally physically miserable. I was just in a lot of pain. Our night nurse seemed sweet enough, but I really wish we would have had another nurse. She was really hesitant on giving pain medication until I could eat. Wouldn't give me food until I could pass gas and did not understand that I already had passed gas, hours previously, regardless of how many times or different ways I explained it.
At midnight, she wanted me to get up and walk, clean myself up and all that good stuff. I obliged. I was, however, frustrated that 12 hours post op I had yet to have pain meds, and she did not empty my catheter prior to us walking to the bathroom. So, I had to carry my IV lines, a heavy bag of urine and waddle to the restroom. Once there, she realized she had forgotten the things I needed, and had waited too long to check my bleeding so there was a mess everywhere, I was tired and just about to cry. Eventually, everything and everyone was clean and I got 5 mg of Norco to hold me off until morning.
At this point, I was so upset with my nurse. There was a strong communication issue. She did not want to give me pain meds until I could eat. I couldn't eat until I could pass gas and she didn't understand me when I repeatedly told her I had passed gas plenty of times (classy, I know.) She didn't seem to understand me when I answered questions, and in pain and out of breath, I didn't want to answer everything 2-3 times. Or, she would ask questions that either didn't make sense or were not necessary. An example was when she asked if this was my third cesarean. I said yes. She asked if it was my first baby. I said no. She asked how many of what we had. I explained that we had 3 girls now and a son that passed away to SIDS. She responded that she knew that from my chart while she chuckled. I didn't want to chit chat anymore.
Charlotte nursed a lot through the night. She would nurse at least 1/2 hour every hour. When she wasn't nursing, she loved skin to skin and she would tolerate being in her bassinet for 10-15 minutes. By 3, I was pretty darn tired and asked for a pacifier. The nurse insisted it would harm our breastfeeding attempts, I assured her I wasn't concerned. Charlotte loved the pacifier. She slept for nearly 3 hours. I slept in between vitals being checked, labs being drawn and housekeeping cleaning the room.
Thursday morning, my doctor came in and thought everything was healing nicely. Charlotte's doctor came in and thought she was looking good, but noticed a heart murmur. He wanted an echo cardiogram to be on the safe side. A couple of hours later, the nursery nurse came in to take Charlotte to do a couple of tests on her blood pressure and oxygen levels. She was returned in about 1/2 hour and doing well.
Most of the day was spent trying to walk, battling pain, taking a shower, visiting and nursing the baby. By about 2:30, she was taken in for her echo. Instead of taking the normal hour, it took two because the machine stopped working halfway through.
Thursday night went pretty good. I napped in between feedings. I slept for about a half hour while she was in the nursery for her well baby check. We had the same night nurse. She came in and said Charlotte had lost 8.4% of her body weight and if she lost more than 10%, there would be problems so we should supplement with formula. I did not object and requested some. I knew that otherwise it could mean we stay longer, we go home without her or other complications could arise.
A few hours later, we still hadn't received formula. So, I asked for it again by calling the nurse. She asked why and if I wanted to sabotage breastfeeding. She came into the room. I explained my reasoning, explained I was not concerned with nipple confusion and cared more about her gaining enough weight to go home. We received the formula. She ate some and spit nearly all of it up. We slept on and off most of the night. She had a few more really good poops and did give me a good 2 hour stretch around 4 which was really appreciated.
At around 7:30, my nurse came in. She asked if we would be ready to go home tomorrow. I told her, I was and would even be happy to go home today. She said ok, she'd talk to my doctor. But, I beat her to the punch. When my doctor came in, I told him I'd really like to go home. He did an exam and felt confident I would have the same level of care at home. He wrote orders that if the baby was discharged today, I could be too, or I could be discharged tomorrow if the baby would be ready then. I just had to return to his office on Monday to have my staples removed.
When the baby's doctor came in an hour later, we went over the cardio results. They found 3 "tiny" holes in different chambers of her heart. But, both himself and the cardiologist feel they are benign. He said if we agreed to return for a weight check tomorrow (Saturday) and Monday, we could go home today. We would be following up throughout the year with the cardiologist and repeating the echo when she's a little older.
By 11:05, we were in the car on the way home. I was discharged a little over 48 hours from when we first arrived to deliver and about 46 hours after delivery.
Being at home has been way more comfortable and I am absolutely looking forward to catching up on my sleep. Starting now. :)