Friday, August 24, 2012

Luke's Grand Entrance

I had basically decided before Luke was born that I was not going to post his big long detailed birth story online (not that I don't read them and enjoy hearing others experiences, but it just was not me). Since his birth, I have decided that it is a story that maybe others can benefit from since it was not your "ordinary everything like clockwork" delivery. There were some complications so I will share and if it is likely to offend you, don't read it. 
At 38 weeks, I was still working, exercising, traveling, and feelin good! Joel and I went to Niagara Falls a couple of weeks before the due date and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, although walking around all day in the heat and riding in the car for several hours made my feet swell for the first time during my pregnancy and I decided I did not like it and that our traveling was over for the summer. While we were there we went to the Canadian side, took a boat right under the falls, which was a blast and made me laugh so hard because we were getting so soaked I couldn't even open my eyes! We also took a day and drove to Toronto, went to Lake Ontario, walked around the city, stayed the night and did a session at the Toronto temple the next morning before driving back. It was a good time and we, as always, just enjoyed being together. 

Joel and I at Niagara Falls 38 weeks

 A few days after our trip to Niagara, we went to the doctor and they checked me for the first time. Results of my first every exam: 2-3 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and soft soft soft! I promptly left my appointment and jogged three miles at the gym with the intent on getting my baby to come that day, which I totally believed would happen (ha! silly me). He didn't come that day but I got some good contractions going! When another week went by and I made it to my 39 week appointment I was starting to get kind of discouraged. Results of second exam: 3 cm dilated, fully effaced, and what the heck is holding that baby in there?! That week at work, the girls put together a fabulous baby shower and did indeed shower Luke with gifts and a gorgeous homemade cake, professionally decorated with baby booties and all! It means so much to have such support being so far from home! (This was my second shower, as the girls in my ward threw a darling shower where everyone wound up decorating personalized onsies for Luke using iron on paper and fabric.) I wound up calling in sick the last few shifts cause I was, indeed, just sick. When my 40 week appointment rolled around, I was in shock and basically convinced that I would never meet this boy. Results of third exam: same as the second. The doctor said, "Well everything looks good and I'll see you in a week." I said, "Woah Woah Woah Dr W. Would you like to detail the plan here because I don't plan on coming to this office again." I couldn't believe he was going to just let me go with no plan? He said if you don't go this week, we'll induce you at your next appointment after we do an ultrasound and another NST. Deal.
The day of my appointment a week later, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and it was go time! There was no mistaking these contractions. It's so interesting- everyone told me that I would know and boy did I know for sure! I laid in bed for the next two hours trying to sleep but they were about six or seven minutes apart and I just couldn't make myself sleep. At 5:30 I got up, made some pancakes, at breakfast in bed with Joel (who I finally woke up cause I was so excited), showered, finished a craft project I had started for Luke's room, oh and labored. My appointment was at 8:30 and by the time we got to the office my contractions were about four to five minutes apart. I had a very very uncomfortable ultrasound (that woman was relentless on my belly- I really did not like her), an NST, and they checked me. No change from the previous exam. I elected at that point to go back home and come back to the hospital later cause I knew I would just be hooked up to all kinds of junk and I thought it would be easier to move around at home. When we got home, Joel and I cleaned the house. (I wound up cleaning out the fridge, which at the time seemed completely appropriate.) We cleaned all the bathrooms, vacuumed, etc. By about 1:30 my contractions were a steady four minutes apart and I was feeling some intensity so we headed in.
 41 weeks pregnant

When we got to the triage it was full so I sat at the desk for quite awhile while they tried to find me a bed. The cute girl at the desk was getting pretty nervous and started timing my contractions based on my grimaces. She was on and off the phone several times and finally told someone, "Can we just get a wheelchair in here now so I can take her upstairs?" And that's what they did- if you wait at home long enough, you bypass triage- excellent. Once upstairs it was about 2:20 and we learned that I was only 4 cm, which disappointed me. I got up and walked the halls until my doctor came in (not the doctor that had no plan at 40 weeks, but his partner, who I wound up loving). He looked at me and said, "Why weren't we doing this a week ago?" which was a pretty idiotic thing to say to me at that moment, but I think he was trying to say that he never would have let me go this long. He broke my water and that's when things got fast and furious. I was immediately 6 cm when Luke's head could finally push down on that cervix, which was like a rubber band at that point. 
I fully intended on getting an epidural. Well, I had decided it would be a game time decision, but I really had not prepared and I basically took that as sealing my fate for an epidural, catheter, and the whole nine yards, but my doctor asked me what my pain on a 1-10 scale was at this point and I said 6 or 7. He said most women were begging him for one at that point and that if I still could laugh and talk, which I was, that I should just go for it. So I did. (This was pure wisdom on his part because he knew how big Luke probably was and the chances of me being able to push this kid out without feeling anything without any assistance were iffy, and if there was one thing I DID NOT want, it was a forceps assisted delivery. I would have ten times rather had a c-section. I have had patients in the hospital with brain bleeds from forceps/vacuum deliveries.) 
The rest happened so so fast and within 45 minutes to an hour I was completely dilated and pushing. I pushed for 20 minutes and my baby was delivered beautifully by my doctor (well by me and my doctor) at 4:30 pm. He really did a great job! (He promised me he was careful with his bottoms!) I had a second degree tear and one stitch from my 9 lb 1 oz baby. I could have kissed Dr A. It was so neat to meet Luke for the first time- such a rush. Immediately after I remember thinking in my mind that I would do it over and over and over again for that rush. The amnesia is real! I really do not remember it being that bad (even sans epidural), but since I'm pretty sure I screamed at least once, it had to have been pretty bad. In many ways, I was SO GLAD I did it without (it was later that I wished I had had it). Luke looked perfect and about thirty minutes later I got up and they took me downstairs to the postpartum floor. 
We had been in our new room not even half an hour and the nurse asked me to get up and try and pee so I did and was washing my hands at the sink after and felt a massive gush of fluid. I looked down and I was standing in a puddle of blood. I just stared for a second and then another huge gush of blood came and was spreading over the bathroom floor. I called for Joel and told him to run and get the nurse immediately. This is when not knowing anything medically related would have been nice. I am very calm as a nurse in these situations but as a patient, I panicked. I was nearly hysterical. The nurse came in and I could tell she was panicking inside. Every step I took back to my bed resulted in huge gushes of blood and there were literally puddles all over the room connected by bloody footprints. Before I even laid down on the bed there were about 15 people in the room. The nurse jumped on my belly massaging it with all her strength trying to get my uterus to clamp down. (I remember learning to do this in school and now someone was doing it to me). Another nurse was starting another IV. Another one was hanging pitocin and opened up my fluids through the IV I already had. And while all this is happening I hear a page over head for a code (postpartum hemorrhage) on maternal child in my room. The doctor came in and promptly began massaging my uterus... from the inside. Yes, after I had just pushed out a 9 lb baby, tore, and had no pain medication on board- epidural would have been nice right about now. I just remember looking over at Joel buried in the corner of the room, eyes wide, holding our newborn baby while I screamed begging this doctor to stop. It was basically horrific and traumatizing and I have had nightmares about it since. 
When the bleeding was not stopping, the doctor looked at me and told me I needed to go to the OR for a D&C and within 20 minutes from me washing my hands I was on the table in the OR falling asleep. The procedure was done and everything was taken care of. My doctor later told me that there was a piece of membrane about the size of his pinky fingernail that they removed, which was the cause of all the bleeding. (The fact that I was so overdue and he was so big also could have been contributing factors, but with my health history being what it is now, no doctor is ever going to let me go past due again so I hope my babies come on their own early from now on!)
I get really frustrated with people who have what I like to call the "it won't happen to me" syndrome. Nobody ever thinks that anything bad is going to happen to them. The one code crimson (postpartum hemorrhage) I witnessed during my time as a nurse was horrific. It happened to a 24 year old first time mother. She wound up with a total hysterectomy and spent several weeks in the ICU intubated (meaning she was not breathing on her own, but a ventilator was doing it for her). We took care of her baby on pediatrics until she was nearly a month old so her husband could go between hospital rooms. That is why I was SO scared, but I was SO glad that I was not in my living room when all this happened. Joel and I count our blessings that there were so many capable people to take care of me and turn a life threatening situation into a simple procedure. 
My recovery has gone well and now we have this sweet little guy that we love to play with everyday! Luke nurses really well. He sleeps in four hour blocks at night so I only get up once in the night to feed him. He smiles now at one month and coos at us usually when he has first woken up. He already fights his naps, which is crazy, but this kid just likes to be awake! He is long and skinny, except for his chubby cheeks, which we love. He hates a wet diaper and likes to fall asleep to music. And he is already growing and changing too fast!
 Luke Alexander 1 month old
10 lbs. 14 oz. 75th percentile
23 inches long 95th percentile
 These are the only two pictures I have of him smiling. He did this for the first time the day he turned one month.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Luke Alexander Wagstaff
July 19, 2012
9 lbs 1 oz 
21.5 in

 Here are the long awaited photos of the first few weeks of Luke's journey on Earth. It took him awhile to decide it was okay, but he's really learned how to eat and sleep very well so far! When they handed him to me I couldn't believe that I had grown such a chunky kid! Joel says he's made of Milk Duds, which is probably not far off.
 Just minutes old

 He didn't sustain any visible birth traumas to speak of and came so fast that his head just looked big and round. We are so in love with this perfect little face.
 And still in love with this face... Joel is such a natural Daddy. Luke loves him. Sometimes I think he loves him more than me (even though I feed him). Joel can OFTEN calm him down when I can't.
 Loving my baby. . . finally, after all the complications were resolved (details in next post).
 Bringing home baby.
 First bath at home- hating it.
 Subsequent baths at home- deciding to love it and now it is his favorite part of the day (I know because he told me so).
 Nana and Papa- Mom came and stayed for about two weeks. When she got here Luke was three days old and Joel and I were three days short of sleep. We were so ready for her arrival. She cooked and cleaned and fed Luke a bottle in the middle of the night and took us on many much needed outings. We had so much fun just watching this little guy for hours and hours. Now she is gone and we are missing Nana.
My boy

Blessing Day

On August 5 Joel blessed our sweet boy with a beautiful blessing and Luke didn't make a peep! It was a great day and we were so blessed to have both grandpas and one of the brothers-in-law take part in it. One of the things that stood out to me in the blessing was that Joel seemed to bless him with alot of qualities and abilities that I don't see myself being particularly strong in. I was grateful for that. It really is true that you want your child to grow to be so much more than you yourself.

 He represented with his Y booties- Destined for great things we think!
Proud Daddy (and such a good one at that!)

First Photo Shoot

My lovely friend Elisa took these of Luke at two weeks. She is so very talented and we think he's so very cute!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lancaster County, Gettysburg, and Hershey

After Philadelphia, we headed to the land of the Amish, Lancaster County. We loved it! We enjoyed poking around all the shops, the lovely landscape, a little Amish schoolhouse, and lots of incredible food!

 Joel wanted his picture with this giant Amish man.
 We saw this guy plowing his field with these big draft horses and dog running alongside.
 We also spent an entire day at Gettysburg exploring the museum and historic battlefield and cemetery.
 One of the reasons the Union army was successful in this battle is because they maintained control of the high ground. This is what the Union army overlooked towards the end of the three day battle, down on all the Confederate soldiers.
 Joel standing at the monument where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.
 The Cemetery at Gettysburg.

 Our last stop was Chocolatetown, USA at Hershey. One of our favorites in Hershey was the free tour we took to learn how the chocolate is made. Joel loved it. . .
 My favorite were the singing cows, which reminded us of the importance of the milk in Hersheys milk chocolate.

After Hershey, we headed home. We had a great week together and it was SO fun to just be together after a year of very little quality time. We are considering going to Toronto and Niagra Falls this next week to help these last four weeks before baby comes go by faster!