Aside from a blinking cursor, do you know what I see right now? I see two sleeping babies. Well…one isn’t so much of a baby anymore because he’ll be turning two a month from yesterday. Don’t even ask me how THAT is possible! In all seriousness though, we are a family of four now. Our second sweet, precious, miracle arrived on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Today he is eighteen days old and already he has us, even his Big Brother, wrapped around his finger. I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down and blog lately, but I am hoping I can get his birth story typed out while the kids (we’re plural now!) are napping. Also, the days are passing far too quickly, and I’d like to record the details of Luca’s birth before they begin to run together 🙂
If you have been following my pregnancy, then you most likely already know that I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes pretty early on. With Jonah it didn’t show up until 34 weeks, and I delivered him at 39 weeks 3 days because of numbers that just weren’t coming down. This time, I was diagnosed at 12 weeks. I followed a strict diet my entire pregnancy and ended up never surpassing my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m really proud of myself for my weight control in both of my pregnancies. It’s easy to let pregnancy become an excuse to overindulge, but I kept myself in check and ate extremely healthy in order to gain the least amount of weight possible, and to also keep my sugars under control. My sugars were pretty stellar this pregnancy. Aside from my fasting number creeping up every now and again, my after meal sugars were to be 140 or less two hours after eating. I think I only had a high reading maybe twice the entire pregnancy. I did get a shot of slow-release insulin every evening, to help with keeping my fasting numbers within range. Kevin stepped up and became my ‘nurse’, administering my shot every night. I took them in the arm, because that is where they were least painful. Kevin became so good at giving me my shot, that sometimes he could give it to me while I was sleeping and I wouldn’t even wake up. Due to having Gestational Diabetes, my pregnancy was considered High Risk, so we met with Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) a handful of times. My OB’s office is affiliated with Magee’s in Pittsburgh, so everything I had done was not only seen by my OB, it was seen by staff at Magee’s as well. It was really reassuring to know that so many people were taking care of me and our sweet baby! After a growth ultrasound at 36 weeks, Luca was measuring 8 pounds 12 ounces. This panicked me a little bit (okay, a lot) because with 4 weeks left until delivery, those last weeks are when baby packs on the pounds. Jonah was delivered with vacuum assistance at 7 pounds 13 ounces, and I became terrified of what might happen if I were to try delivering Luca naturally with how big he was already measuring. After that ultrasound, we met with my OB and MFM and began talking about delivery options. After a lot of talking with my favorite nurses, and many days of discussing all the options with Kevin, I decided that I wanted to have a c-section due to how big Luca was measuring. I knew that my body had a hard time birthing Jonah, and for Luca to already have a whole pound on him…it just was my gut feeling, and I couldn’t shake it. My OB suggested that I have one final ultrasound prior to our scheduled c-section to gauge his weight one more time. So, Friday morning, October 17th, I had another growth ultrasound, and this time Luca measured 9 pounds 5 ounces. This confirmed my decision to go ahead with the c-section, and we were all squared away for a delivery date of October 21st, at 39 weeks 2 days.
I was given instructions to call the hospital on Monday evening for our arrival time. Monday evening came around, and I called to confirm the c-section and found out that they wanted us at the hospital by 6:00 the following morning. Monday night, we took Jonah to my Dad’s house, because that’s where he stayed Monday and Tuesday night. I so struggled with leaving my first baby. In fact, I cried almost the entire hour drive to Brockway. I knew we were leaving him in the best hands, but the thought of leaving him just tore me apart. When we got home Monday night, we finished cleaning the house so it was nice and clean when we got home later that week. I don’t know how I managed to sleep that night, but once I hit the pillow, I was out cold. I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off the next morning at 4:00.
This time around I was much more calm getting ready in the morning. I can remember being so terrified the morning we left to have Jonah. I felt more of a peace about it this time, and although I was extremely nervous, I tried my best not to let those feelings consume me. Kevin and I got up and got ready, and while I was finishing up, Kevin packed the car. We left the house around 5:05 and arrived at the hospital at almost exactly 6:00. It was a rainy, dreary day…just like it was the day we had Jonah.
We walked into the hospital and headed straight into labor and delivery. We were buzzed in by one of the nurses, and taken to our room. The room we were taken to that moment was the room we would be in for the length of our stay. It was a nice, big, room with a couch and a great window view. As soon as we got in the room, it was time to get the show on the road! The nurse handed me my gown, and told me to go ahead and change and get into bed. Kevin snapped one last “bump” picture of Luca as an inside baby 🙂
At this point, I was shaking like a leaf…partly because I was freezing, but mostly because of my nerves. I got into my gown, and the nurse placed slippers on my feet since I couldn’t wear my own socks, but it was so cold! This nurse was such a sweetheart. I was sad that I only had her for an hour, due to the shift change at 7:00. After I got in bed, I got checked into the computer and we went over my medical history and confirmed all of my information. Kevin was sitting across from me on the couch, looking extremely nervous. Another nurse came in to start my IV. It was actually a painful experience. They started with a larger gauge IV due to the nature of my delivery, and after many failed attempts of trying to shove it into the side of my wrist, they decided to go ahead with the standard smaller IV on the top of my hand. (Thank goodness!) Once the IV was finally in place, it was time for the catheter. It was extremely painful and uncomfortable, which I wasn’t really expecting. The nurses assured me that once I got my spinal, I wouldn’t feel the catheter anymore…or much of anything for that matter. After the IV and catheter were in place, Kevin and I were just sort of in limbo waiting for everything to happen. I was scheduled as the first of 3 c-sections that day. I’m not sure why, but it was semi-comforting knowing that I was first. Around 7:30, the anesthesiologist came in to talk to us about how things would play out in the operating room. He was heaven sent. Not only was he soft-spoken, but he was very comforting and made me feel at ease the instant he started talking. The first thing he said to me (to lighten the mood) was, “So, which leg are we working on today?” I stared at him with wide eyes for a second, and then Kevin started laughing which made me realize that yes, he was in fact joking around. He talked me through the entire process of receiving the spinal and then proceeded to tell me that the needle he would be using was even smaller than the IV in my hand, and much smaller than the needle they used for my epidural with Jonah. He talked with us for a good 25 minutes or so, and when he left the room I felt so much better. A few more nurses came in and introduced themselves, and things started to feel much more real. One of the nurses stood out to us more than the rest, simply because of how sweet and helpful she was. I would later come to find out that not only would she be in the operating room with me, she would be my recovery nurse, and mine and Luca’s nurse for the remainder of the day!
Our sweet nurse brought Kevin his scrubs around 7:50, and she told him to change into them once I left the room. She would be back to get him when it was time. A few minutes after 8:00, the nurses came to get me, but not without my “party hat”. (The anesthesiologist kept making reference to the hats we had to wear saying that only special people had those hats.) Once I was wearing everything I needed to be wearing (including taking out my contacts and wearing glasses) they helped me to get off the bed and walk to the operating room. It’s actually hard to walk with a catheter in, and quite uncomfortable, but at that point – I was so nervous I didn’t even care. I had yet to shed a tear, I was so proud of myself for being so strong. I gave Kevin a kiss, and the nurses escorted me out of the room and down the hall to the operating room. When we rounded one of the corners, my OB was standing at one of the nurses stations and he looked up at me and said, “Are you ready? I’ll be joining you in just a few minutes to celebrate a Birthday!” I don’t even remember if I answered him…I think I just awkwardly smiled. My nerves were starting to get the best of me at this point.
Once we entered the operating room, I remember starting to shake. It was very cold, and obviously very sterile. There were people all over the place, which normally would make me nervous – but in this situation it was very comforting knowing that all of these people would have their eyes on me making sure everything went smoothly. The PA student that I had seen many times throughout my appointments was scrubbing in to help with my c-section, so it was comforting to see a familiar face. One of the nurses helped me to step up and sit on the table. Again, it was really uncomfortable sitting directly on top of the catheter, but I knew that the spinal was coming so I tried to push it out of my mind. I sat facing the nurse, and she handed me a pillow to hug. She had me hunch over as far as I could, and she placed her arms around me to keep me still. Kevin was still not in the room at this point. The anesthesiologist came over to me and reminded me of everything he would be doing. The nurse was really great with talking me through everything as he did it, as well. The first thing he did was give me a numbing shot. It hurt, a lot, but I was still doing okay. I thought it would be an initial pinch and then relief, but the burning sensation lasted a good 15 seconds as he pushed the medicine into my back. Once that shot was over, it was time for the actual spinal. The nurse talked me through this as well, as did the anesthesiologist. I obviously couldn’t see the needle, but it felt as though it were flexible and rubbery. (It very well may not have been, but that’s sure what it felt like.) The spinal didn’t “hurt” per se, but it was very uncomfortable and I felt a lot of pressure. It also felt like my nerves were being “plucked”, for lack of a better description. It took about three minutes (which seemed like longer) for the spinal to be in place, but once it was, the nurse had me sit up straight, and she looked right at me and asked how I felt. I remember saying, “I feel warm and tingly already!” The nurses laughed and said, “That’s great! That’s what you should feel!” They all helped me to lay down flat on my back on the table, and then the blue sheet went up so I couldn’t see what was going on. They also had me lay my arms on either side of me (like I was making the letter “T” with my arms and body) and gently strapped my arms down. I didn’t like this at all, and even tried negotiating with the nurses, promising them I wouldn’t interfere with the surgery.
At this point, I heard my OB’s voice. He had officially been scrubbed in for the surgery. The anesthesiologist took a long, flexible needle, and poked my shoulder, and then my stomach, and asked me which one I could feel more strongly. He was gauging how the medicine was working, and was waiting for me to go completely numb. Within about two minutes, I was completely numb from my chest down. The next thing I know, one of the nurses went to get Kevin. When Kevin rounded the corner and I saw him in his scrubs, I LOST IT. I started crying uncontrollably! I don’t know what it was about seeing him dressed in scrubs, but it made everything that much more real and I just cried and cried. Kevin sat right next to me, very close to my head, and held my hand and stroked my face the whole time. One of the nurses was positioned directly above my head, and she told me everything Dr. Matson and the nurses were doing. She looked at me maybe two minutes after Kevin came in the room and told me they were already cutting. I was shocked because I (obviously) couldn’t feel anything. This part of the surgery was going so smoothly – I couldn’t believe it. Once they started getting closer to the baby, I started to get very nauseous. I told my nurse, and she gave me some medicine through my IV and it helped immediately. After what seemed like forever, the nurse looked at Kevin and myself and said that the baby would be coming any second! Not ten seconds later, we heard his first cries, and again, I began sobbing uncontrollably. I looked up at Kevin and he had tears rolling down his cheeks, which made me cry that much more. Dr. Matson held Luca up over the sheet for us to see, and we both just smiled through our tears. They cleaned the baby off a bit and swaddled him up. One of the nurses brought him over for us to see, and another nurse snapped this photo for us:
After the photo was taken, Kevin and the baby were taken to the nursery. My OB needed to finish sewing me up. To be completely honest, the next 45 minutes were very awful and painful. The nurse was still talking me through everything that was going on. I remember looking up at her with terrified eyes saying that it felt like someone was sitting on my chest – I thought I was having a heart attack. She assured me that it was normal. She basically said that Luca was a big baby (weighing 9 pounds 2 ounces at birth) and all of my organs were pushed way up inside of me. The doctors were putting everything “back” to where it needed to be. I felt everything. Even though my body was numb, I could still feel my insides being shifted around. I could literally feel them working down my chest. It started very high up and the sensation traveled down to the very bottom of my stomach. I actually became very sick from all the movement and being jostled around. I threw up twice while lying on the table as they were sewing me up. The nurse was so sweet and let me have one of my hands undone while I was sick. She and the nurse that I would have the rest of the day came to my rescue and helped clean me up and stayed beside me as they finished everything. It honestly was the strangest most awful feeling as they sewed me up. I remember glancing at the clock, praying that it would soon be over so I could hold my baby! At one point the clock read 9:05 and the nurse said that they were almost finished. Around 9:15, they took the sheet down from my face, had me all sewn up, and the nurses moved me from the operating table to my bed which was then wheeled into recovery with our favorite nurse by my side the whole time.
Not even two minutes after I got into recovery, Kevin and Luca came in the room along with a nursery nurse, and I got to really see my sweet baby boy for the first time! Kevin still had his scrubs on, and he handed me Luca. The hour or so that I was in recovery was pretty rough, to say the least. I got extremely sick coming off of the anesthesia. I was trying to nurse Luca, and each time I looked down at his sweet face, I got very sick and threw up. I threw up five or six times while in recovery. Since looking down made me so nauseous, the nurse gave me another medicine to ease that feeling. However, it made me sleepy, so I handed Luca to Kevin and nodded off for about twenty-five minutes. When I woke up, the nausea was gone and I finally felt like I could nurse Luca without getting sick. He was such a natural with nursing, and took to breastfeeding like a champ. (I wish I could say the same right now. The struggle at home since my milk came in has been exhausting and frustrating for both of us.) I stayed in recovery for another thirty minutes or so, and then our sweet nurse said that we could be released to my private room.
Kevin walked beside my bed with Luca as it was wheeled into our private room. We got in and settled around 11:15. Another nurse came to clean Luca up a little bit better and change him into a hospital shirt. He was taken to the nursery for this, because he also got his Hepatitis B vaccine. Luca was brought back into the room around noon, and by 12:30 we had our first visitors – my sister, Beth, and my grandmother. From then on, we had people in and out of the room all day long. It was wonderful sharing our little man with everyone, but definitely exhausting. Luca was, of course, an angel. He slept the entire time and barely made a peep. Later that evening, Jonah met Luca for the first time when my Dad and Step-Mom brought him to the hospital. Jonah gave him a kiss, but then became kind of startled when he realized I was in bed and hooked up to some monitors. He definitely sensed something was up, and I could tell it made him uneasy. He loosened up a little bit after a few minutes, and we gave him his “Big Brother Present” from Luca
Around 8:00 that evening, all the visitors had gone home, and we were settling in for our first night with Luca. Before we called it a night, I made it a point to get myself up out of bed. It was my goal to walk around the room the same day of surgery, and I met that goal! It was extremely painful to get up and moving for the first time, but I knew it would help in making the next day much easier, so I pushed myself. I decided to leave my catheter in overnight so I didn’t have to worry about getting up and going to the bathroom every few hours. As for the baby? He slept extremely well. I set my alarm for every three hours, and Kevin would bring me the baby to nurse.
The next day we spent the morning and afternoon together, just the three of us. I got up, showered, and even put on makeup. It made me feel more human to be up and moving, and as weird as this may sound – the more that I moved, the better I felt. The pain was still intense, but I pushed through and tried my best to get up and walk and nurse sitting in a chair rather than lying on the bed. Honestly, my butt was so numb from lying in bed the previous day. It felt good to sit in a chair. In fact, I used the Boppy pillow not to nurse, but to sit on! It felt amazing. We had more guests that evening, including Big Brother again The next morning, Dr. Matson and the nurses were so pleased with my progress that they said I could go home. I was super excited to hear this news, because I wanted nothing more than to be in my own bed and in my own house. Needless to say, we also were missing Jonah like crazy and wanted to all be back under one roof as soon as possible. So, on Thursday morning, around 11:00, we were discharged from the hospital and brought our sweet little bundle of joy home to begin our life as a family of four.