Friday, August 29, 2014

Nolan's birth story - Part 1

It still surprises me that our sweet Nolan is already 6 weeks old, and technically I should still be pregnant! I thought for sure that I would have him close to his due date in September, but God had other plans!  Even though his arrival surprised us, my birth experience was so much better than I could have imagined.

On Tuesday, July 15, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning with some serious cramps. The day before had been a relatively normal day, with the exception that I had been to the vet with Maddie, and had to schedule her for surgery the next day. (She had pyrometra, an infection in her uterus.)  So, when I awoke at 3:30 am with cramps, I assumed that the culprit was stress, and that I needed to drink some water and relax. I took a long bath, and after an hour the bath turned into a shower, and yet the cramping continued. Around 5:30 am, I finally decided to call the OB ward at St Joseph-London. When I explained my symptoms, they told me I should come in and get checked. But the stubborn side of me still wasn't
convinced that the cramping was anything more than stress and dehydration. I didn't want to be one of those women who run to the hospital for every little pain.  So, I drank some more water and continued watching the 'Biggest Loser' on Hulu for another 30 or so minutes. Eventually, I went to the bathroom only to notice a tiny amount of blood, a undeniable ticket to the hospital. So, I woke Jake up and off we went. We still had not called our parents, because we "assumed" it was nothing.  After all, I was only 32 weeks, and all of the normal labor signs hadn't occurred. 

When we arrived at the hospital, we were quickly met by a sweet nurse named Emily. She started an IV, and got me somewhat settled into a bed. At the end of what seemed 200 questions, she checked me to see if I happened to be dilated. We were all shocked to discover that I was dilated to a 2, and 100% effaced! My doctor was out of town, so I saw one of the doctors on call who arrived within a few minutes of the nurses assessment.  She quickly confirmed what Emily had told us, and without hesitation said that they would be sending me to UKMC for preterm labor. To say that Jake and I were shocked is an understatement. I didn't have a bag packed, I didn't have all my freezer meals made, and all I could think was, "I have 20 pounds of peaches sitting on my counter to be canned today?!" I had never been in the hospital before, and now I was hooked up to an IV, had a catheter placed, and was being transported via an ambulance.  WHAT?

While they were prepping me to be transferred, Jake's Dad Moe, and I had to figure out how we were going to get Maddie to the vet, and back. It was imperative that she had the surgery that day, because we didn't want the infection to spread, or get worse. I was heartbroken that I couldn't be there for my little princess. I knew she would be scared, but my brother n law Caleb took excellent care of her. He made sure to give her lots of love, and she sailed through the procedure without complication.

Of course, the one day in my 31 years on this planet that I would need EMS transport, is also the day that I-75 was closed due to a hazardous chemical spill. So a drive that would normally take an hour, took over 2 hours traveling back roads at an alarmingly fast speed with lights, and sirens roaring the entire time. When we left the hospital, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, and varied in intensity. They had started me on a medication called Magnesium Sulfate to help stop the contractions, and the bolus of medicine instantly made me feel flush and hot. That combined with the pain from the contractions made for a miserable ride.  Emily, the nurse accompanied the all female EMS crew. They were so kind as we drove along, telling me stories about their own childbirth experiences, and trying to take my mind off what was actually happening. After a while, I inquired as to whether they always drive with lights, and sirens, and was told that they didn't want me to have a baby in the back of an about putting things in perspective. Thankfully, the medicine started doing it's job, and by the time we arrived at UK my contractions has slowed down to one every 10 minutes or so.

A very tired, and somewhat medicated selfie
When we finally arrived at UK, it was so awkward being pushing through the hospital. I'm used to being on the employee side of healthcare, and this was a totally new experience. We finally arrived at the OB ward, and as soon as we turned the corner to the triage area, there stood my Mom asking if I had arrived. It was a relief to see her, and I had to laugh at the impeccable timing. Not long after we arrived, Jake and his Dad, my Dad, and Kally all arrived. Jake's Mom was on vacation in the Dominican Republic, and was beside herself to get home. I definitely felt loved having so many people there! At first they didn't have a labor and delivery room available. So, while we were waiting, they had us in the triage area that was the equivalent size of a broom closet. I was only allowed 1 visitor at a time, so it was a constant stream of family going in and out. What stands out the most, was Kally and I laughing uncontrollably about lots of random things. We kept joking that they were going to kick me out, because I was laughing to much to "be in labor."

Where all the medicine action happened
Finally, our amazing nurse Mollee came and took us back to our labor and delivery room. It felt like a palace compared to the broom closet we had been in. Then we settled in for the long haul. They told me early on, that I would be in the hospital until I had him, because my "bag of water" was bulging, and could be felt when they checked me. Our goal was for me to hold off going into labor for 48 hours, mostly so I could have two rounds of steroids to help Nolan's lungs develop. So, I spent the day in bed hooked up to an IV of constant medicine that made me feel increasingly "loopy," as the day progressed. That evening we were blessed with so many awesome visitors...Dave and Kayla, Jon and Joe, Dustin and Rebecca, and of course our family camped out for the long haul. 
The view from my L &D room.
The next day, was basically a repeat of the first, except they took me off the Magnesium sulfate. I was finally able to eat, but was still mostly confined to my bed. Throughout the day, I would have a random contraction here and there, but the medicine had done it's job, and my labor had stopped. I was hopeful that I might be able to make it a few days before my water broke, but oh man was I wrong.

At 2:00 am on July 17, I was asleep, and woke up just enough to roll over in bed and think, "Oh man, that was a strong contraction," then BAM my water broke. It was undeniable, and in abundance. Jake was asleep in the recliner next to my bed, and the room was dark and quiet. I laid there for a few minutes taking in the fact that I would have a baby that day. And said a huge prayer of protection for Nolan and I. Overall, I wasn't nervous at all, just preparing myself for what was to come. I woke Jake up, who immediately set to pacing the floor, and calling our parents. It was go time!

More tomorrow!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The first month learning curve....

In honor of Nolan being a month old, I thought I'd write a list of all the new things I've learned, and a few I'm still learning...

1. How to do almost anything 1 handed....including, but not limited to, eating, changing out laundry, cooking, opening mail, you name it. I'm excited to start using our new Boba wrap to be more hands free! 

2. How to walk across our bedroom floor without causing the hardwood to creak. It's true that Nolan isn't bothered by most noise, but I think trying to tip-toe around a sleeping baby is innate. 

3. Pumping while...feeding the baby, rocking the baby, sleeping sitting up, blow drying my hair, putting makeup on, and surfing the internet (Ha!) 

4. How to quickly eat breakfast, brush my teeth, and pump before the baby wakes up. I call this a trifecta, and it makes me super happy. 

5. How to enjoy even an hour of quality, no interruption sleep. So rare, but so glorious. Thanks to my hubby Jake this usually happens for a few hours every night. He takes the first part of the night shift while I sleep. So appreciative!

Now, for fun...some things I have yet to master.....

1. How to keep my house somewhat organized. I swear the living room can go from clean, to having baby crap everywhere in no time. Dirty baby clothes (I swear he only spits up when I put clean clothes on him), blankets, bottles, binkies, and general clutter all over the place! Aahh! (So thankful for my Mama visiting and helping me get back on track!)

2. How to protect myself from being umm..."showered" during diaper changes. Just when I think it's safe....BAM, he gets me. Hilarious, and accurate everytime.

3. How to get back into a cooking routine. Pre-baby I always enjoyed cooking meals from scratch. Post baby, I'll happily settle for grilled chicken from Bojangles. We've eaten there an alarming number of times in the last two weeks. (Including tonight.)

4. How to keep myself hydrated. I swear I drink a gallon of water a day. Breastfeeding makes you thirsty! More thirsty than you've ever been every. single. day!  Thank goodness for my hydro flask! 

5. How to keep myself from pulling my hair back into a "crack Mom" pony tail every single day. I'm sure my hubby loves coming home to that! Hahaha. :P

This last month has been one of the best months of my life. Adjusting to our new normal has definitely been challanging at times, but it's also been the most rewarding experience of my life. Just seeing my little peanut look up at me, smile with that gummy grin, or grab my finger instantly makes everything worth while. I've said so many prayers of gratitude in the last month. Being a parent rocks my socks off! 

PS...I promise Nolan's birth story is coming next. Stay tuned!