Finally.

I still can’t believe it, but I am finally a mom.

My daughter was born on February 16th at 39 weeks exactly. I worried right up until I walked into the hospital whether or not she’d make it here safe and sound. But she did, and the dream of being a parent which has driven me through the past 4 years of infertiltiy hell, has finally come true.

At 6:00 AM on February 16th I walked into the hospital with my husband and doula for my scheduled cesarean section. I sat calmly in the waiting room as I was admitted and enjoyed the last of my baby’s kicks inside my stomach.

The nerves set in as we were walked upstairs to triage for pre-op. I changed into a gown and sat on the bed. I chatted with my husband and doula as the nurse took my vitals, listened to baby’s heartbeat, and administered my IV. We kept the conversation light and they kept me calm and lighthearted which helped my nerves tremendously. I felt calm and ready. The big red digital clock on the wall was constantly in my line of vision as I watched it edge closer to 7:30, my scheduled surgery time.

Finally, it was time. I felt like I was in a dream as I was handed a cap and walked back into the OR. The doors swung open and the lights of the OR were blindingly bright, just like in the movies. I was taken aback by how many doctors and hospital staff were in there, busy preparing for the surgery. I was instructed to hop up on the table so they could administer my spinal and it was at precisely this moment that my nerves went into overdrive.

I sat on the table, wordlessly, shaking from both anticipation and fear. I barely noticed the sting of the needle as I leaned forward and the medication was inserted into my back to numb me for the surgery. I wondered briefly how it would make me feel, and within seconds the entire lower half of my body felt like it had fallen asleep. I was laid down on the table and began to panic internally. What if the medication wasn’t strong enough and I could feel them cut into me? I wanted to ask for a few minutes to collect myself, but didn’t want them to think I was weak or scared.

The anesthesiologist was all business and explained that he was going to poke me with what felt like a thumbtack to assess how numb I was.  He sounded like he had done this a million times, which was comforting. When you have your abdomen cut open you want an anesthesiologist who comes with lots of experience and confidence! As he poked me he asked to what degree I could feel it. I prayed I wouldn’t get the answer wrong as I feared it might lead him to not give me enough medications to sufficiently numb me.

Suddenly, it was go time. The drape went up and I had an overwhelming feeling of This is really happening. Like, right now. There is no turning back. 

My memory from that moment is spotty but I recall finally seeing my husband come into the OR and sit behind the drape right by my head. I asked him if they were almost ready to start the surgery, as I had felt pressure on my stomach for a while now and assumed it was the doctor cleaning and prepping me. My husband told me that they had already began and were well into the procedure, which surprised me more than it should have. From that moment on I became acutely aware that all of the pressure and tugging I felt was, well, my abdomen and uterus being cut into. It was a sickening feeling and left me very unsettled.

The tugging and pressure increased and I heard my husband say they were getting close to pulling the baby out. All of a sudden, the anesthesiologist grabbed my husbands shoulders and told him to stand up so he could see the baby being born and announce the sex.

“It’s a girl!”

I couldn’t believe it. My baby was here, finally she had joined us, safe and sound. And she was a girl! There had been no doubt in my mind for 9 months that it was going to be a boy. I began to cry. I heard her first cry, and the tears rolled down my face faster. My husband kissed me and I felt like I was in a dream. I was listening to my own child cry. Of the thousands of babies I’d heard cry throughout my life, nothing sounds like the first cry from your own child.

They cleaned her up, weighed her, (9 lb 10 oz!) and brought her behind the drape. I kissed her head. I’m a mom. Finally. This is my daughter.

She is two weeks old today and it feels both like I’ve never known life without her, and at the same time, I still can’t believe she’s here and she’s ours. If given the choice I would never want to suffer through those years of infertility, but with her birth it all made more sense. She is who we were waiting for and working towards all that time. And I can say that she was absolutely worth the wait.

10 days

Between the last several weeks flying by, and my c-section getting moved up a week thanks to another patient delivering early, I am now only 10 days away from (hopefully) meeting my baby.

I was conflicted about whether to insert the “(hopefully)” there, but in these last few weeks, my confidence has waned as the fear mounts about everything that could go wrong. I never would have guessed I would be 38 weeks pregnant with still so much uncertainty over whether I will bring my baby home.

I don’t know why I feel so much anxiety – I have no reason to believe anything will go seriously wrong, other than the few hiccups I’ve had (kidney stones and now GBS positive). I guess I’ve just done too much Googling and reading about all the tragic things that can happen.

I am trying to live minute to minute, then day to day.  This is similar to how I felt when I was dealing with the subchorionic bleed in the second trimester and was desperately hoping to make it to viability. Every so often I think, “Ok great, I’m another hour closer.” I wake up in the morning and mentally tick another day off my countdown. The nights are the worst.  I wake up at least 5-7 times a night to use the restroom, and when I get back into bed, I can’t go back to sleep until I feel the baby move and kick a few times. Needless to say, between that anxiety, my kidney pain, and frequent bathroom trips, sleep is not something I am getting much of these days.

At this point I am actually seeing the upside of delivering via cesarean. Being GBS positive plus all the other things I worry about may have made a natural delivery too anxiety provoking for me to enjoy. (By the way, I know bieng GBS positive isn’t the end of the world – Just one of those additional wrenches in the plan that throws me all off balance, mentally).  If I can get to next Thursday without going into labor or having my water break, and can walk into the OR healthy and ready, I may finally be able to relax a little bit as they bring my baby into the world.

 

Ending the last few weeks on an eventful note

Just when I was getting ready to spend the last few weeks of my pregnancy doing the “normal” things like nesting and getting everything in order, my body reminds me it has other plans.

Last Thursday night my husband was out to dinner with colleagues, so I settled in for an evening relaxing on the couch.  Out of nowhere, I felt the strangest pain in my back.  It wasn’t excruciating, but certainly noticeable. I wrote it off as muscle pain, considering I’d been having a lot of muscle pain in my back lately. I changed positions a few times, hoping it would go away, but it didn’t.

It got a little worse, so I decided to go to bed for the night in an attempt to sleep it off. But it kept escalating, so I couldn’t fall asleep. By the time my husband got home, I was crying from the pain. He too thought it was muscle pain and suggested a hot shower. The pain was localized in just the spot that made me start to think it might be kidney pain. In tears, I called the on-call number for my OB.  The midwife asked me to describe the location, then suggested I go down to labor & delivery to get it checked out.

Five hours and a whole lot of pain later, an ultrasound of my kidneys revealed kidney stones. I was admitted for the night and hooked up to IV fluids in an attempt to flush the stones out.

Thirty six hours later it had become clear my body was not going to pass the stone on its own.  It was Saturday morning by this point, and I had been in the hospital since Thursday night.  It was strongly suggested I allow a ureteral stent to be placed.  I begrudgingly agreed. I was not happy about being sedated while pregnant, but by this point I had spent almost two days in excruciating pain that even the painkillers barely touched.

The procedure was quick and my baby was monitored the whole time until s/he perked back up after the sedation wore off. I woke up to instant relief from the kidney pain. I was finally discharged the following morning from the hospital after regular monitoring of the baby through the remainder of the night to ensure its well being.

All the nurses assured me that labor would be a walk in the park after my kidney stone experience, but I’ll never know how true that is, considering baby will arrive via scheduled c-section.

I’m home and trying to recoup now, though this stent comes with its own set of pain and discomfort – Not exactly a welcome addition on top of the aches, pains and edema I’ve been dealing with. But, I can’t complain. For three years I said I would undergo absolutely anything to bring my baby into this world, and its clear the universe is holding my feet to the fire on that one. I would gladly do it a million times over if it means this baby will arrive healthy and safe in a few weeks.

Spiraling

After feeling really optimistic and positive for a few weeks, I am finding myself back on a downward spiral of anxiety and fear. I think it is something about entering a new trimester that brings all the fear back as I experienced this around 14-15 weeks as well.  It’s like I suddenly realize all the new potential things that could go wrong in the weeks to come and start panicking.

Since hitting 28 weeks, frequency of movement has been a major source of anxiety for me. Most days I have an extremely active baby that pretty much never stops moving, but once or twice a week he/she will have a pretty quiet day that gets me worried. If I am being honest, even on the active days when baby stops moving for an hour or two to sleep I start to panic a bit.

The frequency of movement didn’t concern me so much in the second trimester when I knew it wouldn’t be unusual to not feel movement all day, every day. However now I feel like I should be feeling it constantly and whenever I don’t, I really start to worry.  This morning I didn’t feel any kicks when I was lying in bed after waking up like I usually do. I got up and drank some juice and laid back down, and got some kicks but still not the normal activity level. I already had an OB visit scheduled for this morning so I mentioned the change in movement to my midwife. She had me do an NST and squeezed in an ultrasound. Fortunately all looked well in terms of baby’s health, but due to the level of my anxiety, that really only comforted me for a few hours.

I don’t know how I am going to make it through 9-10 more weeks with this level of anxiety. Compounding my overall feelings of stress is the fact that I was told today that baby is still breech and if he/she didn’t turn by my next growth scan in 2 weeks at 32 weeks, I would need to schedule a c-section.  I burst into tears instantly as the thought of missing out on labor and a vaginal birth makes me feel like in addition to everything infertility has taken from me, now I’ve been robbed of yet another part of the pregnancy experience. It is not the biggest deal in the world as what matters most is baby’s safe arrival, and I was told that they will continue to check baby up until the day of the section in case he/she does turn, but its still upsetting.