Thursday, May 31, 2018

Remington's Birth Story

Remington Scarlett Lindsey was born on May 25, 2018, at 7:47pm, 5 lbs, 11.6 oz, 18 inches long.

When I got the scheduled date for my c-section at my first OB appointment back in November, I just knew it didn’t feel right. I’ve been saying since the beginning I just didn’t think that date was my baby’s birthday. And as much as I would roll my eyes at how smug and woo woo that sounds, I was right!

Friday, May 25, I was 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I had ten days left until my scheduled c-section, and I was trying hard to convince myself ten more days of being pregnant was nothing. I took the boys to daycare around 8, planning to spend the day finishing making my freezer meals. I had made 3 the day before, a serious accomplishment at that point in my life.

When I got back, I wasn’t feeling too well so I decided to lie down for a bit before getting started in the kitchen. The previous evening, I had been getting nervous because I hadn’t felt the baby move as much as usual. I couldn’t remember feeling it at all that morning, either. I tried some juice and laying on my side and that got the baby hiccupping and kicking a bit, so I relaxed and took a nap.

When I woke up, I started on the first recipe, but I just couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that although I had felt movement, it just wasn’t as intense and was definitely less frequent. I’ve had this experience with each pregnancy at some point, and I always hesitate calling the doctor, even though she always encourages me to. I kept telling myself it was just because the baby was running out of room this close to the end. Finally, some friends told me to just call, especially since it was the Friday before a 3 day weekend.

The office was at lunch, so I took a shower and, oddly, vacuumed. While I’m normally quite a slob, I’d been on edge once I hit full term at 37 weeks thinking of someone having to come stay in a filthy house with the boys if I went into labor, and I had a tiny feeling I might not be returning that afternoon. I even considered using the special soap the doctor gave me to use before my c-section, but told myself I was being ridiculous. After all, I’d had a similar experience just 4 days before Dalton was born, where I went in, did a non stress test (checking the baby’s heart rate and contractions) that showed he was fine, and went home.

Still, just in case, I put a few last minute items in my hospital bag and brought it with me. And downloaded a new book to my kindle, clearly top priority. My doctor’s office had told me to go to the perinatal center in the hospital, where, after a long wait, they did an ultrasound. Right away even I could see movement and the heart beating, which was a huge relief. The tech did some measurements and everything seemed routine. Then she was working for a while doing measurements on the baby’s head. As they measure, the measurements will pop up in gestational time, and I kept seeing things around 33 or 34 weeks for the head. There’s always a huge variation in these measurements since they are a work in progress, at least in my experience with ultrasounds. But consistently seeing measurements that far off was starting to worry me. I asked if the head was measuring ok and while she’d previously been quick to tell me everything looked fine, she said the doctor would talk to me and went to put the measurements in. I waited for a few minutes, then she came back and said she needed a closer look at blood in the cord because the baby was measuring a bit small.

I wouldn’t say I was completely panicked by that but I wouldn’t say I was totally calm either. Of course, she wasn’t able to get the measurements for a while because the baby began practicing breathing, which apparently prevents it. We awkwardly sat there in silence and I asked her about her weekend plans to try to slow down my mind from racing. She got the measurements and just kept reiterating the doctor would talk to me when I asked further questions.

The doctor on call came in and introduced herself. She explained that the baby was measuring small and since I was nearly 38 weeks, they recommend delivery. Later on, at the pediatrician's office, I was told that's called IUGR (intrauterine growth retardation), and my non medical background newborn haze Dr. Google understanding is that it means baby isn't growing well inside and it's better to let it grow outside.

Even though I had been saying for six months that the baby would arrive early, and had even brought my hospital bag in preparation for this very possibility, hearing it totally overwhelmed me and I immediately started ugly crying. It wasn’t even necessarily upset crying, just all the feels crying from hearing there might be a risk to the baby and the idea that I would be meeting him or her that day. Unlike when you go into labor and are trying to process meeting your baby on top of dealing with the intense physical symptoms (generally PAIN), it was so different just being able to completely focus on the shift that this ordinary day had suddenly just become my baby’s birthday.

The doctor told me to go up to Labor and Delivery for a non stress test and to prepare to have a baby! In retrospect I wish I had asked more questions but my mind was on overdrive just thinking about the boys and who I needed to call to get them taken care of. I had called Eric while waiting for the doctor but he hadn’t answered (even though after him not answering when mywater broke with Royce I had told him about 500 times he needed to have his phone on him every second and answer every call from me). I went out into the lobby and called my friend Carrie. She answered jokily asking “is it time?” and then when I was just crying into the phone she realized it really was go time! She is amazing and jumped into action, told me everything would be under control while she picked up the boys from daycare and they would have a sleepover at her house.  

Once I had gone back and forth giving both her and our daycare provider all the necessary information, I tried calling Eric again and got voicemail again. It wasn’t long after dismissal, so I called our school and had the secretary page him. This got his attention, but then in the confusion of having the secretary relay the message and trying to check into labor and delivery, somehow the part of the message that this wasn’t an emergency or a time sensitive situation at all got lost.

I had last eaten around 11am, so they told me they would do the c-section sometime after 7pm, to give me 8 hours between food and surgery. I checked in to labor and delivery around 3:30pm, got dressed in the hospital gown, and started hanging out on the fetal monitor. Luckily right away it showed that the baby was doing great, and the nurse was wonderful about continuing to update me that baby was doing well. After being checked this way in triage several times in the past (the first time in the hospital withDalton, the second time in the hospital with Dalton, maybe with Royce but I can’t remember), I can safely say it’s a lot more pleasant without contractions! I was just relaxing, chatting with the nurse, texting friends, and trying to get my head around meeting my baby in just a few hours.

Crying + super pregnant = super attractive.
Somewhere in there I did manage to talk to Eric and explain the situation, so he ended up going home first to get his hospital bag and put away the food I had left out in my aborted freezer meal preparation. I also called my mom to update her on the fact that the baby would be arriving that night! Our original plan had been for her and my stepfather to come the day before our scheduled c-section and stay with the boys. I told her there was no rush to come down since Carrie was watching the kids and Eric could always go home and stay with them the following night. Plus, she was supposed to watch my niece and nephew that weekend. She told me she would call me back, and called back about 5 minutes later to say they were coming that night. I felt bad they would have to drive so late but I was definitely excited to see them!

After a lot of waiting around, the anesthesiologist came in to go over the procedure with me. I was starting to get really nervous. Everyone there was like you’ve been there done that! It’s different in labor though! I’m sure someone explained the procedure and risks of the epidural to me before but while dealing with contractions I probably didn’t listen and definitely didn’t care. When I was actually able to focus my full attention on it, it was pretty scary to hear about all the stuff they would be inserting into my spine. He was great about reassuring me that everything would be fine though. I also trust my doctor completely, and the assisting doctor was the man who had delivered Dalton, even though neither of us remembered each other! That seemed like a good omen.

The anesthesiologist left a little after 7, saying they would take me to the OR pretty soon. At that point, we decided to take out our list of names and settle on a boy’s middle name, and a girl’s name period. We got the boy’s middle name pretty easily (because, really, it’s just a middle name). We had come across the name Remington on the Baby Name app, which is like tinder. You both swipe right and left to show whether or not you like a name, and you get notified when you have a match. We actually first found the name right after our 20 week ultrasound, and it had been on our short list, but I just couldn’t commit to that or any other girl’s name. Scarlett was one of our other top girl choices. It had been our agreed upon girl name for both previous pregnancies. As we waited to head to the OR, Eric suggested Remington Scarlett, and used an app to write it (like, in his handwriting, not typing) on his phone. I suddenly really liked it, but still said we had to wait and see the sex.

They came and got me around 7:15. It was so weird to walk into the OR! I entered through the employee door, too, so I got a behind the scenes view.  It was very surreal being in the OR. Of course, I’d been there twice before, but it’s still a bit frightening seeing all the instruments and medical equipment they are about to use on me. They warned Eric that it would take about 20 minutes to prep me, so he would be waiting outside the door for a bit but that didn’t mean anything was wrong. I found a series of these pictures on his phone later, so I guess he passed the time just fine.

They had me walk to the operating table, sit, and curl up in a c shape. A nurse held my hands while I leaned over a table and the anesthesiologist did both a spinal block (to numb me during surgery) and an epidural (for pain management after surgery). Other than the initial shot to numb the area, it didn’t really hurt but definitely felt weird and I could feel the thread going in for the epidural. I got some odd funny bone type shocks down my leg and immediately started feeling numb below the ribs. Once I was good to go, they laid me down on the table and wiped something on my belly. After that dried, they started testing me by asking if I could feel different pinches and hot and cold in various areas on my belly. I felt a little bit of it which ramped up my anxiety that they were going to start cutting and I was going to feel everything. Of course, I trust that they know what they are doing, but I’m not sure anyone, definitely not me, will ever feel totally relaxed and comfortable lying on an operating table waiting for your abdomen to get sliced open.

A nice thing about a non-emergency c section is that everyone was relaxed and chatting with me. That really helped me relax as much as anyone can in that situation. They did some further belly tests and this time I couldn’t feel any of them, which was the cue to bring Eric in and get started!
The anesthesiologist had already given me something after I’d complained of nausea when I first laid down. Apparently the spinal can cause low blood pressure and nausea is a normal side effect. Once they began the surgery, I got extremely nauseous again and began dry heaving into a bin they set next to me. I had kind of hoped to be having a nicer experience waiting for them to pull our baby out, not being about to throw up all over the table. Just before I actually puked, I guess he got my blood pressure back up and the nausea and dry heaving went away immediately. Then I got the experience I had been hoping for, just laying there holding Eric’s hand with both of us full of anticipation.

Plus taking selfies.

We had decided with Royce’s birth that Eric would go behind the curtain and announce the sex. This time, we had asked to both see the baby together. Once the baby was out, they removed the blue drape and put up a clear one. My doctor brought the baby over and held it up excitedly saying “look!”. I was pretty sure I was seeing a girl, stared for a moment trying to make sure there was no penis, and then announced “it’s a girl!”. 

Remington being born!

Right after announcing "it's a girl!". 
I was in such disbelief I didn’t even trust myself, but none of the many people in the room were correcting me. While they checked her out and cut the cord and all, Eric just kept staring at each other and repeating “it’s a girl! We had a girl!”. We could hear her crying nice and loud and found out right away that she passed her APGARs (8 and 9!) and was completely healthy. Her weight was just 5lbs, 11.6 oz – such a teeny little peanut! They brought her to me and I got to see her little face and kiss her warm soft skin. Then I had to impatiently wait to hold her while I was stitched up.

My first sight of Remington!
Meeting my daughter. Still can't believe it.
Once she was all ready, Eric got to take her ahead to the recovery room. When they wheeled me in, I couldn’t believe how impossibly tiny she looked in his arms. My mom said she knew it was a girl because in the picture Eric sent confirming the baby was here and healthy, he had a real smile instead of his using cheesing. 

Proud dad.
Back in recovery, I "finally" got to hold her. I'm sure it was a short amount of time in reality but it felt so long to me!

I had planned to ask the nurse to help me latch her on for her first feeding, but once she was on my chest she was latched on before I could even open my mouth. She nursed for a long time, I was really impressed she didn't need any help, especially being small and born early. I ignored my phone during her first feeding and just focused on staring at her and touching her tiny little self. It's already a blur in my mind, not even a week out, but I'm still glad I had that quiet skin to skin time with her right away.

And that's the story of our little Remi entering the world and becoming a family of 5! As my friend said, "your kids always have to make an entrance!". I'm glad Remington's was still pretty uneventful though, even being a bit earlier than expected. Next blog post up (eventually, when I write it): meeting her big brothers!

Is there actually anything better than tiny baby feet? No, there is not.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It's gonna be MAY

Huge stuff going on around here. I'm not even sure where to begin. That one time Royce climbed out of his crib (during playtime, not night, so far!)?

He cray.
Speaking of Royce, allow me to be the world's oldest mom cliche for a moment and say my baby is two!

We had a party at our house last weekend, and as usual I said it was going to be casual and low key and then drove myself crazy trying to make all the food from scratch. It was a "Taco Twosday" party so Eric smoked chicken and pork and I made guacamole, beans and rice, and got the toppings ready. It doesn't even sound like that much now but on top of cleaning (with two kids running around, an exercise in futility) it felt stressful I guess. And, of course, we made an amazing cake!

With my little helpers!
The party included 11 kids ages 4 and under and all their adults and was just the right mix of fun and chaotic. All the kids had a great time and most of the sangria was consumed so it seemed to be a success!

I don't know if it's a youngest kid thing but Royce just still seems like such a little baby to me. It's kind of a shock to see him next to an actual baby and realize he is, in fact, a kid at this point. I've been getting a little emotional when I snuggle him before he goes to bed lately about the fact that he won't be the baby anymore. Of course, I know kids will all always be their mothers' babies, but he won't be the baby of the family and I know as soon as I see him next to a newborn he will seem so big. Which isn't a bad thing, kids are supposed to grow, obviously, it's just bitter sweet. And of course I have guilt about relegating him to middle child status. But he is so much fun at this age! He can do so much more now and is so much more independent and less frustrated then just a few months ago. Basically just all the feels. 

Moving on, other May "holidays" - our version of Disney world comes right after Royce's birthday. Big Truck Day. The Department of Public Works brings basically every kind of truck you could imagine to a huge parking lot and the kids can climb in them, turn on the sirens and lights, beep the horns, etc. While some kids get excited to meet Mickey or Elmo, my kids live to touch a real live garbage truck. It's pretty convenient for us since this is 1. Free and 2. Like 10 miles from our house. Last year we really lucked out with cold and rainy weather so we pretty much had run of the place. This year was high 80s and sunny so it was packed and there were lines, but we still had fun. Royce did surprisingly well waiting on the lines! Dalton too, but he's more used to the idea. Waiting on lines at age 2 can be the worst thing that ever happened to a person, based on our experiences with slides at the playground.

In the police boat.

The following day was Mother's Day. After the previous weekend being on the crazy side with Royce's party, we had no plans and stayed in pjs all day, which is my heaven. Eric smoked meat and made homemade cinnamon bread. I did change to workout clothes briefly for a walk with my (normally running) buddy Jackie. It was a perfect day. I had brought the giant exercise ball up from the basement the night before because sitting was starting to get uncomfortable. The boys thought this was the best thing ever and brought their own balls up to join me bouncing. No pictures so instead here's a picture of them jumping through a mud puddle.

Pure glee
"The boys" got me a prenatal massage gift card for Mother's Day! My friends got me a gift card for one when I was pregnant with Dalton, and it felt great but I haven't had one since. I'm pretty excited for this. Mother's Day doesn't get much better than a full day of hanging out with my favorite people. Well, unless our own mothers could have joined us, but they will be here to meet the baby soon enough!

Again, super cliche, but I can't believe next year I'll be a mom of 3!

Driving to work yesterday, it suddenly really hit me that the baby will be here in less than 3 weeks, in an intimidating way. Which is weird, because I've literally spent every moment since I saw the second line being impatient to meet the baby. When we did our first ultrasound at 6 weeks, I told Eric I wished we were coming to the hospital to have the baby. And meant it 100%. Then when I told him I was suddenly freaked out, he was like "why? We've done it twice before!". I'm nowhere near as freaked out as those times, but it's still a big deal to add a baby to your family! Plus that's easy for him to say, not being the one who has to actually birth this child. I think I just had a moment of loving our family dynamic so much right now, and being scared to change it. While I know it's essentially nothing in the long run, I anticipate my c-section recovery being a bit difficult emotionally because I'm going to miss the boys and not really be able to play with them at all at first. Which sounds silly, because it will be like 2 weeks, but I hate even having to go one day without it! I know obviously I'll feel differently because I'll be spending time with the baby, not just hanging out alone, but the baby isn't here yet and they are and I'm going to miss them.

Brothers and workout buddies
Of course, I'm still thinking of how awesome it would be if the baby arrived at 37 weeks (which I hit Saturday, but my doctor is going to pick up her son from college, so don't send me any labor vibes till Monday!) and I would get to meet him or her two weeks earlier than planned, so, clearly not that concerned. I haven't been that scared of how the boys will transition because I'm telling myself they aren't going from only child to a sibling. As far as they know, they have been brothers their whole lives (I mean, obviously Royce actually has and Dalton remembers no different, he asked me yesterday "when I was a baby was Royce a big boy?" and I tried to explain Royce wasn't born yet but I failed and he was lost) so they are used to not being the only ones around. And they will still have each other and nothing about that will be changing, even if Eric and I will have a big new responsibility. It's probably wishful thinking but it helps me to focus on the fact that they have each other!

Hanging out, eating pickles

TL:DR I'm super pregnant and having all the feels and decided to brain dump them in a way that may or may not make sense.

Last but not least, I'm now on maternity leave! I got choked up when I drove away from work the final time the other day just thinking that I get the next two years with these guys and don't have to leave them at any point. I'm just so ridiculously excited and grateful to have this time to spend with them (and the baby of course!). I was telling my friend who is a SAHM how much I had been looking forward to taking them to Chick Fil A for breakfast yesterday morning and it seemed so silly, but having a lazy Wednesday morning getting to hang out and play with them is new to me! I'm sure I'm romanticizing it and it won't be rainbows and unicorns 24/7 but I can't go wrong with going into it positively, right? We still have daycare until next month so I'm not experiencing the real deal just yet!

Last but not least, everyone needs to go to my friend Emily's blog. She's only 33 and has a hilarious and adorable 2.5 year old son. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer this past fall. Being the amazing person she is, she's turning a devastating diagnosis into a way to help others. You'll be amazed at how beautifully she writes about something so difficult. She's writing to help others who have been recently diagnosed navigate the process, and has started a movement called Survivor Letters as well. I've always considered her to be far more eloquent than me (seriously, even in texts she can always explain what I mean better than I can) so I'll leave her words to explain this movement.

"Survivor Letters aims to be a virtual hug for all of those touched by breast cancer, from family members, friends, to the newly diagnosed themselves. They are stories of camaraderie, and courage, struggle and inspiration, and a battle cry for all of those bogged down by the new world of life with cancer."