At our 38 week appointment on March 11, it became apparent that delivery via C-section would probably be our best option. The baby, though head down, was not anywhere near the cervix, which was very tiny and would not open for the baby to pass through, and complications from a succenturiate lobe on the placenta (common with IVF) meant that placental rupture and hemorrhaging were highly likely and incredibly dangerous for the baby and myself. We thought about it and prayed about it for a day, then called to make the appointment. We asked for Friday, March 20 (my grandpa's 81st birthday) or Saturday, March 21 (the first day of Spring and conveniently a weekend). Neither day was available, so Thursday, March 19 would be the day we would finally meet our Oliver. This was only 4 days before our official due date and after waiting so long for our baby we were ecstatic to get him a little bit early!
If I'm being completely honest, the thought of surgery freaked me out. A lot. But once we knew it was safest for Ollie I happily hopped on board. I was also very grateful I was lazy and never made an official birth plan because it turns out that nothing goes according to plan anyway :) So long to my "water birth" because after a C-section you can't even go in a pool for 8 weeks! No, actually the biggest change was that I had to turn my "push mix" into a "cut mix" on the iPod. It included classics like Rod Stewart "The first cut is the deepest", Leona Lewis "I keep bleeding love", and Bryan Adams "Cuts Like a Knife." I thought it was hilarious, but perhaps a little off color. Don't worry; it wasn't the soundtrack to Oliver's birth. It turns out they don't let you bring anything with you into the operating room, much less your obnoxious playlist.
No matter what happened, we were finally going to have our precious baby boy, so I focused all my nervous energy on celebrating Oliver's birth day and laughed off the scary thoughts of a long recovery at the hospital by comparing the experience to a day at the spa.
Wednesday night our parents arrived in San Diego so they could be present for the big day. A bonus of a scheduled c section was that everyone who wanted to be there for the birth could make it! We went for a walk on the beach and had a nice "last meal" dinner. Before I knew it, it was Thursday, March 19 and my 4 am alarm clock was going off. We were the first "case" of the day and had to be at the hospital by 5:30, two hours before our scheduled 7:30 surgery. Here is my 39 week and 3 day bump at 5 am checking in to the Women's Center at Grossmont Hospital.
Getting back to Ollie's birth story... I relentlessly researched all the FAQ's about cesareans the week before delivery. There is a lot of information out there and it is way more useful than my scattered account here, but this is how our day went down:
5:30-7:30 - prep for surgery
7:30-8:30 - operating room where Oliver is born
8:30-9:45 - recovery room and bonding with baby
9:45 Thursday morning through Sunday afternoon - post partum room where I could have as many visitors as I wanted from 9 am to 9 pm and nurses took excellent care of me and the baby.
So the whole operation from prep to post partum was under 5 hours. Not bad at all! Today, even though I am still recovering and have a few more weeks before I'll be back to normal, I am so grateful that we had a scheduled C-section because everything went smoothly and our Ollie Bear is here safe and sound.
For the two hours pre-surgery, I was prepped in the labor and delivery unit. Fetal heart monitors were strapped to my belly to make sure the baby was doing good. Nurses asked me a million questions about any allergies or medical conditions (none) and Andrew prayed over me and Oliver. My mom and dad came in to visit before they wheeled me off to the operating room. I kept telling everyone in the halls "We get to meet our baby today! Yay!" and happily danced over to the operating table. The doctors said I was the best patient and had a great attitude. They were right. I was probably the best flipping patient ever! I just didn't want them to think I was a frantic spaz and put me under for the procedure. I really wanted to be alert and awake the whole time and I'm really glad I was. I was so ready to meet my baby!
Meanwhile, Andrew got ready in his scrubs. He was the only person I was allowed to have in the O.R. with me. I really wanted my mom in there too, but they made no exceptions. My mom gave him a quick tutorial on how to record with her camera and
Our parents waited anxiously checking their cell phones for any pictures or messages.
Dr. Bavaria (like Bavarian cream donuts. Yum.) gave me a local anesthetic and administered the spinal to prep me for surgery. This was not bad at all. The hardest part was curling up over my huge belly and holding still for a minute so he could get it in the right spot. He did and it worked almost instantly. Before I knew it I couldn't feel anything from the chest down. This is a good thing! I also requested that he put Zofran (anti nausea medication) in with the injection and that made recovery much better. I can honestly say I am still "vomit free since '93" and that is no small accomplishment! Normally you're on a clear liquid only diet for the day following surgery. They had me chowing down on a delicious dinner by 6 that night because I was doing so well. Total champ right here! Andrew stayed on a stool next to my head and the anesthesiologist stayed right behind me making sure I was "comfortable." Andrew didn't look over the curtain. I told him I would have wanted to look, but he said he saw blood on the ground and chickened out. I don't blame him; even though I couldn't feel pain, I felt a ton of tugging and pulling. Apparently Oliver was so wedged over my right hip that they had to use a vacuum to get him out. And the extra lobe on the placenta was so high near my left rib that I had bruises in the shape of fingers on my lower abdomen where they had to hold me stable so they could reach all the way up to remove the whole placenta. Another reason C-section was the best option... I never could have safely delivered that mess of a placenta on my own. But none of that mattered now, because our Oliver was here!
After about 10 minutes, at 7:54 AM, Oliver was out and they quickly assessed his apgar scores (8 at one minute post birth and 9 at five minutes post birth. Yay!), took his measurements, cleared his lungs, bundled him up, and placed him on my chest. It took another 10 minutes to deliver the placenta and about 25 minutes to stitch up my uterus, all the layers of skin, and then apply dermabond (sort of like super glue) to my incision. There were no staples or visible stitches. My belly is somewhat glued together, but it's holding up so far so that's fabulous. I was going to post a picture of it, but I'll post this one instead...
I was so happy I got to hold my son for a few minutes before Andrew went with him and they wheeled me to recovery. Holding him, though, was somewhat awkward as I couldn't move anything but my arms and they were difficult to move with IV's, blood pressure bands, and that finger clip thing they make you wear. My legs were in vibrating compression bands so I had wires coming from everywhere. I also had a catheter for the first 24 hours I was at the hospital. Super uncomfortable! This is when they placed Oliver on my chest for skin-to-skin time and told me I could try to nurse him so he could get all that wonderful colostrum. I couldn't lift my head, yet alone my arms so you can imagine how graceful the effort of nursing a brand new baby with zero experience in that department went. I did eventually get the hang of nursing with the help of a lactation specialist the next day, but at this point all efforts were futile. I was just so happy to finally hold my boy!
After an hour in the PACU recovering, I was wheeled to my post partum room where I would stay the rest of Thursday and all the way through Sunday afternoon when I was released. Yes, almost 4 days in the hospital, and they were necessary! It was so nice to have so many wonderful nurses and doctors caring for us around the clock. As prepared as I felt for this whole motherhood thing, it was nice to have the experts on hand to help us out. They already even sent us a card in the mail!
By 10 am, our families were allowed to come stay with us in our hospital room. My dad immediately high fived me for finally bringing a boy into our family. He's still plenty outnumbered by girls, but little Oliver felt like a win for him!
We had lots of visitors everyday and there were lots of happy tears for our long awaited miracle baby.
The grandparents took turns holding Oliver all day every day and were so, so happy!
Oliver loved all the attention, was on his best behavior, and slept like a champ the first few days.
My OBGYN and Oliver's pediatrician checked on us every morning.
Oliver was circumcised and didn't even cry. He is seriously the most mellow little guy!
By the end of the day Thursday (delivery day), the nurses wanted me to be able to dangle my feet over the edge of the bed. I did them one better and was able to successfully stand up by myself. I couldn't walk though and was in a lot of pain. My pelvic bones felt like they were being singed and pinched by flaming hot tweezers. I was on Toradol and Percocet for the pain the first day and then Percocet and Motrin the following days. The second day, Friday, was probably the most painful because they removed my catheter and walking to the bathroom every couple hours was torture. Even though I had a C-section, I still had to wear these huge mesh underwear and giant maxi pads because you still bleed down there. Ick. I found myself practicing Lamaze breathing that I didn't get to use during delivery, but had to use during recovery. Just sitting up in bed took a great deal of effort. By Saturday I was walking the halls pushing Oliver in his bassinet. Very slowly.
Sunday afternoon we were released from the hospital and went home to introduce the dogs to their new sibling. They were so excited!
All our family returned home, except for my mom. She is staying with us for a couple weeks to help out as Andrew had to go right back to work. It has been so great having her here.
I am the oldest of three girls, so neither my mom nor I have had much experience caring for baby boys. You can imagine the pee pee shenanigans that have ensued this week...
Oliver is a fire hydrant and often sprays us during diaper changes. Even with pee pee tee pees and covering him with baby wipes, he still manages to get us!
This little photo shoot was a real doozie! Pee and poo EVERYWHERE!
The rest of the photo shoots have been more mellow and less "yellow" :)
Oliver is mostly quiet, happy, and alert. He has beautiful blue-gray eyes, a cute little nose, and the sweetest smile. He loves to nurse and be swaddled and lounge in his mamaroo rocker.
Everyday we thank God that our baby boy is in our arms and we cannot believe how truly blessed we are. Oliver is our little miracle and we are so grateful we get to be his parents.
I can't believe he is 1 week old already! We are loving every minute with our sweet boy!