Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Welcome, Baby!

Two weeks ago I started a draft post to reflect on August. It was basically going to go something like this: August went by soooo slowly. I feel like I got nothing done, and now school has started (last first day of school!) and nothing else will get done.

Since I started that, time has absolutely FLOWN BY, and I really can't believe it's already half way through September! That means:
- I am almost a quarter of the way done with this semester.
- My birthday is in two weeks.
- It's been two weeks since I had my little girl!

Yep, not much longer after I started thinking about how time was dragging by, I ended up in the hospital with a new baby! Here's how it all went down:

Birth story
So, Tuesday, September 1st, I woke up, late as usual since I've been staying up until all hours of the night, and noticed that I was definitely "leaking" a little more than usual. I obviously decided to ignore this, and finished up some homework, went to a meeting at school, considered going to the gym in the afternoon, and then decided to sit on my couch until class that evening. Around 3 in the afternoon, my husband came home from the gym, and immediately started freaking out (in a calm way). I insisted I was fine, we went to get slurpees at the 7-11 across the street, and then he finally made me call the labor and delivery desk to tell them what was going on. Since I hadn't felt any contractions or anything, I was pretty sure they were going to just let me go until my appointment the next day, but that's not what happened. The nurse said to pack my bags and come on in for an exam, so that's what we did.

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon at this point, so we were a little rushing to try to avoid the traffic on the Beltway getting to Walter Reed. Obviously this is impossible unless it is 3am on Saturday. It took a little over an hour to get there. After changing into a lovely backless, bottomless hospital gown (the best kind), we waited a while for the nurse to do an assessment, then waited a while longer for the OB residents to come do their assessment. Finally, the senior doctor came in to confirm that yes indeed my water had broken, probably the night before, and they wanted to induce me right away to avoid any complications. Baby was on the way!

By this point, we had found out other things, such as, the L&D could not actually find me in the Army medical system, despite the fact that I'd been seen there the whole pregnancy and have been in the Army for 6+ years. This explains all the empty spaces on my discharge paperwork, since they just put in the bare minimum to get me admitted. As I was settled in to a labor room and hooked up to all the monitors and getting IVs put in my hand (ouch), my new nurse also mentioned that apparently I was having contractions about four minutes apart, but they were going to put me on pitocin anyway. I still didn't feel a thing; this might explain everyone's confusion as to why I didn't feel any BH contractions through the entire pregnancy.

Since K still hadn't eaten anything since he got back from the gym at 3, and was also a little stinky, I insisted he run out to get some food and change his clothes while I was still settling in. He went out to Bethesda to get some Shophouse for him and a dozen cupcakes for the night shift nurses, and came back with all of our bags loaded across his back. I was enjoying the fact that I was not sitting in a commercial law class, and indulged in watching Cokie Roberts on Book TV before trying to get some sleep (not so easy with a blood pressure cuff going off every 30 minutes).

By about 5am the contractions were getting much stronger, strong enough that I could definitely feel them, and around 6:30 one of the residents came by to check me and say I was definitely dilated a little over 6cm, so I could totally get the epidural if I wanted it. By that point, contractions were coming about every two and a half minutes, I had completely forgotten all those breathing techniques I never quite mastered, and was doing a sort of, breathe in for 4, scream out for 4, breathing technique. However, everyone does shift change at 7, so I had to wait until almost 7:30 before the anesthesiologist and his brand new resident showed up. I may not have been able to see what was going on behind me, but I heard every little detail as the resident learned how to find the crunchy part of my spine and thread a catheter in there. Thank goodness for modern medicine.

Shortly after that, I think I fell asleep again for a little while, and was a little in and out until around 11 when my midwife came in to say that she wanted me to wait a little while before pushing to see if baby would come down a little bit. Something about not wanting to tire me out....seeing as how I'd only had jello and broth for the past 15 hours, probably a good call.

Once I started pushing, though, I felt great (epidural was still going strong), and my midwife, K and I ended up swapping stories about our worst race experiences. I think that made my midwife a little more comfortable with how long I was pushing, and after about two hours, little Lillian made her appearance! I got to hold her right away while K cut the cord, and everyone got to work on all the "after birth" bits. Since I still couldn't feel anything, see anything, and didn't really care, I just focused on my new little girl while K got an in depth look at what kind of "reconstruction" I was getting (apparently several stitches on my cervix and outside, as well as having to do a full sweep inside to make sure the whole placenta and a huge clot was out). I definitely felt all that later, but since that was the worst part of labor, I'll take it!
So, here's Miss Lillian Qianye, born at 2:16 on September 2, 2015, weighing in at 7 lbs, 7 oz and 19 1/2 inches long!


Recovery
After two days in the hospital, we made it home and are trying to settle into a new routine! My parents drove out from Ohio the day we got home for a night, and my mother in law has been with us the week and a half since as well. Since I went straight back to school (after the Labor Day weekend), I've been exclusively pumping, with some formula supplementation the first few days home. She just keeps getting cuter and cuter!
I've been taking it easy, and spent the first week just trying to get enough sleep and the right nutrition to get some energy back. Last weekend we did venture out for a little bit, and I tried out a new baby wrap (I ended up tying it too loose and mostly used it to keep the rain showers off her).
For now, we're just enjoying every moment at home, being boring and tired, and trying not to cry every time I look at her perfect little face. Since the fall race season is ramping up, and K has a full schedule (N-AF Half, Army Ten Miler, then Marine Corps Marathon), I'm thinking my next few posts are going to be about spectating with a baby!