For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you already know that we welcomed Colton Robert to our family two months ago! Obviously it has been a while since I last posted here on “Le Blog.” Becoming a new mom has definitely been an adjustment, and it has taken me a while to establish a schedule with my new little guy. Prior to Colton’s arrival, I did a lot of planning and preparation, and I expected all of the “usual” challenges such as sleep deprivation, schedule changes, not being able to just go somewhere on a whim, etc. However, there have been several things I did not see coming…
First, recovery from an unplanned c-section was very challenging, and I found that with a newborn and a normally active lifestyle it was easy to overdo it… ouch! We have also been trying to get a handle on some bad acid reflux issues in our poor little guy, which presents itself much like colic. It just breaks my heart to see him in pain, and obviously comforting him and finding the right treatment for our sweet boy is my first priority. Finally, because I have elected to nurse him, I have been very surprised by the lack of time I have between feedings! Eek! While I knew a newborn should be fed at least every 2-3 hours, I optimistically thought “Okay, it will take a about 30 minutes to feed him; and another 30 minutes or so to change him, have a little “play” time, and put him down for a nap. So I will have around a couple of hours in between!” Well that is a pipe dream (as all of you experienced mamas are chuckling right now, I am sure!). I end up having about 30-45 minutes on most days… and what is this “timing the feeding from the start of one to the start of the next ‘thing’?!” NOT what I anticipated, lol (joking)! I must digress now because in all honesty I LOVE my new role. Sincerely. However, what I said before is true; thus, the lack of posts. Would you believe me if I said this post took me over two weeks to write?! I mean, if I am able to shower each day and get the spit-up out of my hair I feel as though I just won the Nobel Peace Prize. Just kidding. No, but really. 🙂
Because I finally feel as though I am beginning to gain my new-mama footing, I thought I would kick-off my first “after-baby blog post” with Colton’s birth story. I hope you enjoy…
The Final Weeks and Days of My Pregnancy
As many of you know, my husband and I struggled with infertility for the better part of a decade (you can read more about our story HERE). So after more than 12 years of marriage, we were ecstatic to learn that we were unexpectedly expecting! Because we had gone through many losses and unsuccessful fertility treatments, we decided we wanted something to feel impulsive… so we elected NOT to find out the sex of our baby. For us, we felt that this was one of life’s true surprises, and the idea of that climactic moment after delivery where the sex is announced was something I had always dreamed about experiencing. In terms of my pregnancy, I loved being pregnant and I had a relatively smooth experience for the first 30 weeks – I truly felt great the entire time. However, if you have followed along here on the blog, you may know that because of some scary pre-term labor issues, I was placed on modified bed rest for the subsequent 8 weeks. The reason I am bringing this up is because it turned out to be very ironic considering I ended up having to be induced. Go figure, ha ha.
The Big Day
My doctor had monitored me very closely throughout my pregnancy – in part because of the pre-term labor issues, and in part because I am apparently as old as dirt in the childbearing world, ha. We elected to schedule the induction four days prior to my actual due date, as with advanced maternal age there are risks associated with going completely to the due date. When the day arrived, I was a bundle of nerves, which is probably not surprising, and I am sure you can imagine that I barely slept the night before. This was extremely emotional for both Brandon and I, given how long we had waited to welcome our little bundle.
We checked into the hospital at 4 a.m. on February 21st, and after getting settled, I was induced with Pitocin around 5 a.m. The Pitocin was ramped up gradually until my contractions were between 2-3 minutes apart. I was already contracting on my own, so getting to this point did not take very long. A short while later, my doctor stopped in to check on me and broke my water (at which point I thought to myself, “well there is no turning back now,” ha ha – as if). Then it was game-on. I progressed very quickly, and labor was going well enough that my nurse – who was amazing, by the way – thought I would end up having the baby by noon. YES!
As things were progressing very fast, I was told that the anesthesiologist was there, and if I wanted to have an epidural that I had better allow him to administer the drug. I had been on the fence about this, but decided to go ahead with it in an attempt to have a more “peaceful” birthing experience. I actually hated the epidural and how it made me feel, and at the time wished I had not taken it; however, in hind-sight I am glad I did accept it (read on to learn why). Shortly after this time, the baby’s heart rate began to decelerate with each of my contractions. It became more and more concerning, so the Pitocin was backed-off in order to reduce the strength of my contractions and thus the stress on the baby. I did not progress further on my own, and after about 10 hours of labor, my doctor decided we needed to do a c-section before it became an emergency situation. This was not what I had hoped for to say the least, but my main concern was the health and safety of our little one. Brandon and I both said a lot of prayers at this point, and we tried to put our trust in God that everything was going to be okay. We knew that He hadn’t brought us this far to have something unthinkable happen.
Once the decision was made to move forward with a c-section, things moved very fast. The nurses and anesthesiologist swarmed in, prepping me very quickly for surgery. I sensed that things were on their way to becoming an emergency, particularly when the anesthesiologist quickly told me my options, followed by “but this is what we are doing…sign here.” When I overheard one of the nurses say “the doctor is in the hallway saying that we need to go NOW,” I knew things were going downhill rapidly. I was prepped for surgery very quickly, and transported to operating room. This transition was probably the most physically and emotionally difficult part of the entire process. I was extremely fatigued and felt dehydrated as I had not been allowed to drink anything for several hours, and the circumstances were clearly stressful. The epidural also had several undesirable side effects including uncontrollable shaking; and having to move my body onto the small operating table without the use of my legs felt nearly impossible. I was then administered a spinal block and positioned for surgery. Because I had the epidural, I already had little feeling from the waist down; so alongside the spinal block, I was completely numb very quickly… which in this case was a good thing. Because of the situation, the doctor made the decision to start the procedure before Brandon could get into the room.
When Brandon arrived in the operating room, the surgery was already well under way. He and my labor and delivery nurse were positioned on my side of the surgical drape and stayed by my side the entire time, encouraging me. As a side note, my nurse was actually off of her shift, but despite having a 45 minute drive home and a family of her own, she stayed late because she wanted to be with me during the surgery. This meant so much to me and was so amazing of her. In terms of the procedure, my doctor wasted no time, and before I knew it I heard her say “I have the head!” This was followed by the loudest, most shrill, wonderful baby cry I have ever heard in my life. They held our little one up on the opposite side of the surgical drape and said “Dad, tell us what it is.” Brandon then tearfully said “It’s a boy!” and kissed my forehead, whispering “You did it… he’s perfect” over and over. Our 6 lb., 7 oz. little guy had arrived at 4:07 that afternoon. We were told later that he had his umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck, which was the reason for the heart rate decelerations, so we feel incredibly thankful and blessed that he entered the world safe and sound. God truly had us in His capable hands.
The Hours and Days Following
Following the delivery, I was able to do skin to skin with my little guy for two hours and just take in the fact that our miracle baby was here. I kept thanking the Lord for this gift – for entrusting us with this little soul. The following three days in the hospital were an exhausting whirlwind, and recovery from a c-section is no joke; but that time together as a family was incredible… the start of some of the most special moments of my life. Okay, so now I have to get a bit cheesy… I have worn a lot of hats and taken on a lot of different roles throughout my life; but what I said in the introduction of this post was sincere – while there have been some challenges and adjustments with this new journey, being a mom is honestly the best role I have ever had.