Catching Up – The Birth of Beau Maclayne

How – HOW – has it already been two months…

I’m not even sure where to begin exactly since my life has effectively become 100% different since I last posted. It’s like a real-life time warp happened. A fantastically crazy few months and it all resulted in the most beautiful, precious, sweet baby boy ever to have existed.

But before that, I must pick up where I left off.

The plagues apparently weren’t done with our house – we ALL ended up with the flu, down to and including dad (which could have been very dangerous, but thankfully he faired pretty well). So after almost two weeks of quarantine, no school for Elly, and coughs that seemed to never go away, we all finally seemed better and could re-emerge into the land of the living. Or, for me, the land of pregnant misery.

If I had had the energy to write anything during the last days of January, it would have basically been a chorus of “I’m so done being pregnant” and bellyaching over how I still had X-number of weeks/days left. I went to my prenatal appointment at 35 weeks and had an ultrasound that showed baby boy was already measuring the same weight as Elly when she was born. Granted, those estimates can be off, but that coupled with the fact that I was already dilating and having more contractions than I was comfortable with on a regular basis, my doctor said we could induce at 39 weeks (on February 25). I almost leapt off the table to hug her and couldn’t have been more thankful to finally have a determined date to look forward to and a specific number of days to count.

BUT, things change, and if anything has been the norm with this pregnancy, it’s been to expect the unexpected.

Everything seemed to be moving along fine at my 36 week appointment and I was actually doing fairly well having finally gotten over being sick, but still fairly miserable as it seemed like the baby gained at least 4 pounds daily. I was busy trying to tie up loose ends from just surviving the month of January. I had good lists made and since I knew my induction date of February 25, I had mentally spaced my tasks out evenly over the remaining time so I would have something to do basically until that date. I thought it was a genius approach, giving me something to check off my lists every day, but not overdo it. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t as good of an idea as I thought.

At my 37 week appointment on Wednesday, February 11th, I was still doing well and not much had changed.  I also was feeling good about everything being on track according to my lists. Michael was home from work early that day putting together the rest of the nursery furniture, odds and ends we needed had been ordered and were scheduled to be delivered, and I was pleased with what was accomplished and surmised that the amount of what was left to do was not overwhelming.

HA.

That same night after my appointment, I was in tremendous pain. Not labor-like pain or contractions, just a lot of pressure and almost unidentifiable pelvic pain that generally made me really uncomfortable. Since there weren’t regular contractions or anything, I didn’t even think of going to the hospital – it just seemed like more inevitable late-pregnancy pain that I was just going to have to put up with.

I slept what little I could that night, got Elly to school the next day, and even ran a few last-minute Valentine’s Day errands. When I picked up Elly from school, I was still in pain and had very little appetite, but was “making do.” I finished up Elly’s Valentine’s goodies for school and did a few other things around the house after I put her down for her nap. Then I had an…er…interesting trip to the bathroom that led me to text Michael and mom to see if they thought it warranted a call to the doctor. Michael immediately said yes, and mom was close behind. So, I reluctantly called and talked to a nurse who checked with my doctor and said it would be best for me to go to labor and delivery to get checked out.

Elly was having nothing to do with napping that afternoon, so mom picked her up and I headed off to the hospital (alone) for what I figured would just end up being a routine check while I sat half-naked in a closet of a room listening to the baby’s heartbeat, just to be sent home after finding essentially nothing to be concerned about.

Boy, I could not have been more wrong.

Everything did start off as I expected – the bleeding I had experienced at home seemed to have stopped, I hadn’t progressed beyond the 2cm dilated I was the day before, I wasn’t having regular contractions, and everything seemed to be checking out ok. Then the nurse said something that concerned me. She said the baby “looks a little sleepy on the monitor” and asked when I had eaten last (it was about 3pm at this point.) It only then dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten lunch. I didn’t really understand what she meant by that, but we both seemed to surmise that the baby wasn’t very active because I hadn’t eaten since breakfast so she brought me a Coke in hopes to “wake him up a bit.”

So I sat diligently drinking my Coke, texting mom and Michael to keep them updated. I kept telling Michael not to leave work because I was certain by the time he got there, I would be sent home. My sweet mom, however, didn’t want me sitting at the hospital alone, so before I knew it, she appeared in my closet-room in OB triage. I have to admit, I was happy to have the company.

After watching baby boy on the monitor for another half hour or so, the nurse came back to let us know that she had talked with my doctor to fill her in on what was going on and as a result, she would be coming to check on me after office hours. She also started an IV to help get me hydrated. I knew then that something a little more serious might be going on. Apparently, his heart rate was sluggish and would have moments where it would drop. But the nurse kept reassuring me that it looked like the Coke was helping and that hopefully we would continue to see that trend since I was also now getting fluids.

After another half hour or so, and finally telling Michael that he probably needed to come on to the hospital, the nurse came in and said my doctor wasn’t thrilled with what she was seeing from the baby, and then said, “so, you’re not going to be leaving the hospital…with the baby in your belly.”

Bless her heart, she couldn’t have put it more gently, but I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. All of those things remaining on my lists immediately flashed through my head – most prominently that I did not have our bags packed and thus I was now stuck at the hospital WITHOUT MY STUFF. And then I realized how vain that thought was and started mentally waffling back and forth between panic over the baby being in trouble and trying to stay calm.

They ushered me to a room where my doctor came in and explained more about what was going on and let me know that she was going to break my water to get things moving and see how well the baby handled that and go from there.

There was now an air of mild seriousness about the situation, but everyone was obviously doing what they could to keep me calm, so I just went with it as best I could and prepared to settle in for labor. I made sure the anesthesiologist was nearby for the epidural first and foremost! Michael arrived and we updated him on the new ‘plan’ and I started making my list of what I knew I would need after delivery, etc. before the pain got too bad.

A flurry of nurses and bloodwork and talking with my doctor went on for the next half hour or so as my monitors were being watched closely – every time he would move or “fall off” the radar, a nurse or doctor would immediately be in my room checking everything and having me move to a better position. It didn’t take long before my doctor was looking at the monitor and explaining to us what was happening that she looked at me and, again very gently said, “I think this baby is going to be born abdominally. We need to get him out.”

Ok. So at this point I knew I had two options. Pray and breathe, or panic. I desperately did NOT want to have a c-section for many reasons, but I knew my doctor wouldn’t go this route unless it was absolutely necessary and I was so concerned for my baby boy at this point that I took a deep breath and just held on for whatever was coming next.

Mom was immediately in my face telling me that everything was going to be ok and naming the good points about having a c-section, and I actually remember laughing at her because she was clearly the one panicking at this point, bless her. She, Michael and I held hands for a quick prayer and all breathed a collective breath as we waited for the next steps.

Things picked up rather quickly and the next thing I know, I’m signing paperwork, talking with the anesthesiologist, and being prepped for surgery. It was all a blur, really. They got Michael garbed up for the operating room and before I knew it, I was being wheeled in.

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The spinal was next, and wasn’t bad. I was having pretty good contractions at this point so I was looking forward to the relief from that. My blood pressure took a good hit after that and I thought I was for sure going to drown in mid-air as the spinal took effect, but the dear anesthesiologist, nurses, and my doc kept reassuring me everything would even out soon, and sure enough, I was feeling better – and VERY numb – within minutes.

They got the drape up and Michael came in to sit by my head and hold my hand and we were off and running. I remember thinking at the time that having my wisdom teeth out was so much worse than what I had experienced thus far with the c-section that I so dreaded, so I was still pretty calm and just kept silently praying for my boy to be ok.

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There was a lot of tugging and pulling as they worked, but it really wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be. Once they got to the baby I heard my doctor say “he’s BREACH.” (WHAT? Just the day before, the nurse practitioner had confirmed his head in my pelvis – when did this happen?!) Then just a few minutes later, he was out!

They didn’t raise him above the curtain for me to see and he didn’t cry immediately, but he did let out a brief whimper before they took him to the incubator and I knew he was at least alive. My doctor said he looked ‘ok’ but they were helping him breathe as Michael went over to be with him. Pretty soon, they showed me my swaddled boy who, to me, was the most beautiful thing I’d seen since Elly was born and the whisked him away to the nursery, Michael following.

So, here I was left to hang out with those finishing up my surgery and I was completely delirious at this point. After I drilled my doctor with questions about the condition of my boy, I’m pretty sure I uttered something along the lines of “I love you, man” because I was so happy to know that this thing I dreaded so horribly was almost over. Then, as it turns out, a guy assisting with my surgery is the husband of a girl I went to school with. Small world when you live in a small town. Ha!

Once that was all finished, my well-loved doctor left me to go check on my boy and I was taken to recovery. Mom appeared pretty quickly and showed me some pictures on her camera of my boy in the nursery, which was such a relief. We chatted about the surgery and she loved on me like mamas do. And then we laughed because about every 2 seconds, I was scratching – my neck, my face, my arms…apparently a side effect of a spinal is itching and I definitely experienced that! My blood pressure was still too low so they couldn’t give me any Benedryl to help with the itching, so I just scratched. Small price to pay, I figured!

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After about an hour, I got back to my room and Michael – the proud papa at this point – came in and was bragging about how well baby Beau was doing in the nursery. They had put in an IV because he was severely dehydrated, but he was “plumping up” so nicely that they felt like any issues would likely be fixed with some fluids and so far, he was proving them right. His heart looked good, and everything else was checking out. Michael told me his stats – 7lbs 1oz, 21 in long, and we all agreed that if I had carried him to full term that he probably would have been a good 8 ½ – 9 lbs.

Before I knew it, the lactation consultant was bringing him into my room and I was able to finally have skin-to-skin time with him and nurse him. With all the meds, the adrenaline of the whole experience, and finally holding my sweet boy, I was in heaven. So thankful that everything had gone well, we all were so relieved.

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After an hour or so, they took him back to the nursery for further monitoring and Michael and I tried to get some rest. However, with everything that had gone on, and the fact that there were FOURTEEN other mamas either in OB or maternity, my meds had gotten behind and the spinal was starting to wear off.

This was when I thought I might die.

It was literally like someone had lit a fire in my stomach and it was burning it’s way out. Trying to sleep was a joke. I finally got my medicine and after about an hour of hellacious pain, I could finally rest a little.

The next couple of days were a whirlwind of visitors and getting to know our sweet boy. And realizing this was our new reality. I couldn’t believe how blessed we were to have two beautiful, healthy children. And I was SO thankful not to be pregnant anymore. 🙂

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